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Flyers’ Voracek named NHL’s first star of the week

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Jakub Voracek is earning his money. The 27-year-old forward was named the NHL’s first star of the week today, after a pair of four-point games in the past seven days for the streaking Philadelphia Flyers.

Voracek entered the season under a lot of pressure to produce. He did not have a fantastic 2015-16, finishing with 55 points in 73 games. Through 31 games of 2016-17, he already has as many goals (11) as he did all of last season. He also has 21 assists, giving him 32 points total, tied for the second most in the league behind only Connor McDavid (39).

This is the first year of an eight-year, $66 million contract extension that Voracek signed in the summer of 2015.

From the league’s press release:

Voracek led the NHL with six assists and nine points in four outings to help the Flyers (18-10-3, 39 points) complete a perfect week and extend their overall winning streak to nine games, their longest such run since April 2-22, 1995 (also 9-0-0). He scored his eighth career overtime goal – and second of the season – in a 3-2 victory against the Florida Panthers Dec. 6. Voracek then registered 1-3—4 in each of his next two contests: a 6-5 triumph over the Edmonton Oilers Dec. 8 and a 4-2 win against the Dallas Stars Dec. 10. In doing so, he became the first Flyers player to collect four-plus points in consecutive team games since Dec. 31, 1997 – Jan. 3, 1998 (Eric Lindros).

Rangers goalies Antti Raanta and Blue Jackets center Sam Gagner were the second and third stars of the week, respectively.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.