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Top guys: Blue Jackets continue dominance with 12th straight win

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The Columbus Blue Jackets cemented themselves as the No. 1 team in the Metropolitan Division and in the NHL on Friday.

By winning their 12th game in a row with a 2-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens, the Blue Jackets are more clearly seeing the benefits of their hot streak.

And, seriously, it’s been quite the run.

Here’s how the Metro looks at the moment:

1. Blue Jackets – 50 points in 32 games played
2. Penguins – 49 points in 35 GP
3. Rangers – 47 points in 36 GP
4. Capitals – 44 points in 32 GP
5. Flyers – 44 points in 36 GP

Columbus also finds itself on top of the NHL with those 50 points. The Chicago Blackhawks can tie things up with a win tonight, yet even then, the Blue Jackets will hold two games in hand. So, yeah, they’re the best team in the league right now.

As far as Thursday’s game went, it was a tight game where a lot of usual suspects came up big.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 out of 37 stops against the Canadiens, winning back-to-back games after allowing just a single goal in each contest. The scorers were also guys who have been generating points consistently for Columbus; Sam Gagner scored his 14th goal of 2016-17 while Brandon Saad nabbed his 13th. Nick Foligno generated two assists.

That’s the sort of work that the Blue Jackets are, dare we say, starting to expect from these guys. Even if it’s still a little shocking to see the wins keep pouring in.

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.