NHL on NBCSN: An ‘intense’ Metro Division battle between the Caps and Flyers

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers host the Washington Capitals at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

The Philadelphia Flyers saw their 10-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday afternoon. They’ve now dropped back-to-back games and will face a stiff test, at home, against the Washington Capitals tonight.

It’s the first time these two teams do battle since they met in the opening round of the playoffs last season, which the Capitals won in six games.

Even though they were able to rattle off 10 consecutive victories, the Flyers still haven’t been able to crack the top three in the Metropolitan Division. That’s mainly because the teams within the division have been playing incredible hockey.

The Penguins, Rangers and Blue Jackets are all ahead of Philadelphia and it’s easy to see why. Pittsburgh is 8-0-2 in their last 10, the Rangers are 7-3-0 (they were smoked 7-2 by the Pens last night) and the Blue Jackets have also rattled off 10 victories in a row.

The two teams going head-to-head tonight currently own the first and second Wild Card spots in East (the Flyers hold a one-point lead over the Caps).

“We knew we were in a good division,” captain Claude Giroux said, per the Courier-Post.“But the way everyone else is playing…even Columbus on a (10)-game winning streak, they could be the hottest team in the league. We’ve just got to focus on our game and when we start focusing on other things, that’s when you stop doing what you have to do.”

The Capitals are coming off a 2-1 home loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, and they know things won’t get any easier tonight.

“Anytime we play the Flyers, it’s been intense, so I don’t expect anything different,” head coach Barry Trotz said, per the Washington Post. “. . . I’ve yet to see us and the Flyers not have an intense game, so I don’t know how to react to that. I expect the same, I guess.”

One of the things that’s made Washington so dangerous in the past is their power play. They struggled on the man-advantage at the start of the year, but they seemed to have turned it around of late.

“On the power play, we just weren’t bearing down as much,” forward T.J. Oshie said via CSN Mid-Atlantic. . “We weren’t hitting the net enough. And now we’re working together, we’re winning puck battles, we’re getting goals from both units. It’s trending up, but with how good this power play has been in the past, it was only a matter of time until we got that hard mentality, that work ethic back to win puck battles and get second chances and third chances.”

With the division as competitive as it is, a red-hot power play could be the difference between starting the playoffs on the road and starting them with home-ice advantage.

This one should be a lot of fun!

Lightning storm back against Blackhawks, finish one point out of playoffs

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Who would have thought that the Tampa Bay Lightning would rally back from a 4-1 deficit tonight? Then again, who expected them to be so close to a playoff spot mere weeks ago, when they were sellers at the trade deadline?

The Lightning continue to show that they won’t just roll over and die, scoring four unanswered goals to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime on Monday.

While Jonathan Drouin was a catalyst for the second-period rally, it was an unlikely scorer who clinched the victory, as Yanni Gourde ended a thrilling run of 3-on-3 chances with the overtime-winner.

Really, it might have been fitting. Things looked glum when Tomas Jurco scored his first goal of the season against the Lightning, then the mood was totally flipped when Gourde’s second tally of 2016-17 grabbed a huge win.

With the Islanders losing to the Predators, the Hurricanes only managing a “loser point” against the Red Wings and the Bruins idle, Tampa Bay is a breath away from a playoff berth:

Final wild card: Bruins – 84 points in 75 games played

Lightning – 83 points in 75 GP
Islanders – 82 points in 75 GP
Hurricanes – 80 points in 74 GP

Yes, all of a sudden, a long-shot postseason run seems quite attainable.

Maybe the Lightning would prefer it if we kept counting them out, though?

Hurricanes’ Lack taken off on stretcher after collision on Red Wings’ OT goal

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The Carolina Hurricanes fell short of a win on Monday, but their thoughts likely revolve around the health of goalie Eddie Lack instead.

Lack was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a collision during Andreas Athanasiou‘s game-winning goal in overtime. Officials reviewed that the goal counted, giving the Red Wings a 4-3 overtime victory against Carolina.

While it’s been a tough overall season for Hurricanes goalie, Lack has been an integral part of Carolina’s push for a postseason spot. PHT will keep an eye out for updates regarding his condition after this scary collision.

The Red Wings stayed on the ice as Lack was taken off, a nice gesture after an unfortunate accident.

Drouin triggers second-period rally for Lightning vs. Blackhawks

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Just when you think it’s time to count the Tampa Bay Lightning out, they rally back.

It’s been happening overall in 2016-17, and that pattern carried over into Monday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Lightning decided to put Andrei Vasilevskiy back in the net in the second period after he gave up three goals on eight shots in the opening frame … and at first, that looked like a mistake that would do them in. Chicago went up 4-1 and things looked dire.

But, again, the Bolts followed the script when it comes to flipping the script, with Jonathan Drouin triggering a resounding rally in the second.

Droun’s first goal came 11:45 into the second period, followed about a minute later by an Anton Stralman tally. Less than four minutes later, Drouin hit the 20-goal mark with the 4-4 marker on the power play.

First, check out Drouin’s first goal, which began the rally:

Next, witness the 4-4 goal, also by Drouin:

And … just like that, the Lightning tied things up. Wow.

Apparently Drouin created more offense than just his two goals, too:

Impressive. Remember when he seemed like he was out the door last season? Now that feels like another reminder not to give up on this group, no matter how ugly things look at times.

Video will be added when available.

Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

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By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

Here’s the Jurco goal:

Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.