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Five team stats you may find interesting

Plus-27 — That’s the Penguins’ goal differential in the third period, the best goal differential of any team in any period. Pittsburgh has scored 46 times in the third frame, while allowing just 19 goals against. Other notables: Minnesota is plus-18 in the second period and Columbus is plus-15 in the first. Montreal and Chicago have also had strong third periods, going plus-18 and plus-15, respectively.

Read more: Torts downplays significance of tonight’s Jackets-Penguins game

Minus-25 — That’s the Winnipeg Jets’ goal differential in the second period, the worst goal differential of any team in any period. The middle frame tripped them up again Tuesday in Vancouver, where they entered with a 1-0 lead and came out tied. They would eventually lose, 4-1. Winnipeg is plus-10 in the first and third periods combined. One other notable: Colorado is minus-20 in the first and minus-13 in the third. But hey, they’re only minus-3 in the second, a relative success.

14 — Rangers victories when they’ve been outshot by their opponent. No team has won more in that scenario, which says two things about the Blueshirts. First, they’ve had some very good goaltending performances from both Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Raanta. And second, they’re converting on a high percentage of their shots (an NHL-best 11.2 percent, in fact). It is also somewhat worrying, given their score-adjusted Corsi is down there with the league’s bottom-feeders. But with a record of 23-11-1, they’ve at least given themselves a nice playoff cushion if they do happen to regress.

Minus-3 — The goal differential of the Carolina Hurricanes while shorthanded — which is, frankly, amazing. The ‘Canes have only surrendered seven goals on the PK all season, and they’ve scored four times shorthanded. Compare that to Winnipeg, which has a minus-26 goal differential while shorthanded. Yep, not to pick on the Jets, but they continue to hurt themselves with penalties under head coach Paul Maurice. Since 2013-14, they’ve been burned a whopping 196 times while shorthanded. Only the Coyotes (216) have given up more PPGs over that time frame.

47.4 — The faceoff winning percentage of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the second worst rate in the league after Winnipeg (46.9). Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche are at 53.2, the second best after Anaheim (56.2). What does this mean? It means it’s always nice to be a good faceoff team, because obviously it is. However, it’s not an absolute prerequisite for winning. The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013 with a faceoff percentage of just 46.8 in the playoffs. The ‘Hawks are only at 48.2 percent this season, and they lead the overall standings with a 22-9-4 record.

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7 — Overtime losses for the Dallas Stars, who really can’t afford so many. The Stars have just one victory in sudden death this season. They have yet to go to a shootout. “(If) you’re scoring in overtime, you’re confident, you believe a little bit more,” defenseman Dan Hamhuis told reporters after Tuesday’s 3-2 OT loss to St. Louis. “You don’t want to say it, but it certainly affects guys out there when we haven’t had a great record so far.”

 

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.

WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.

As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.

While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.

Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.

It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.