NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02:  Derek Stepan #21 of the New York Rangers celebrates a goal against the Buffalo Sabres during their game at Madison Square Garden on April 2, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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NHL on NBCSN: Rangers look to push winning streak to four against Sabres

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Buffalo Sabres at 7:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

The New York Rangers might not be the most talked about team in the Metropolitan Division, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been good.

They’ll come into tonight’s game riding a three-game winning streak, and they’ve done so without Rick Nash (groin), Pavel Buchnevich (back) and Mika Zibanejad (broken fibula).

What’s more impressive, is that the Rangers have found the back of the net 16 times during that span, including back-to-back six-goal performances in Arizona and Colorado.

Chris Kreider and Matt Puempel each scored a hat trick in the last two games, while J.T. Miller put up a pair of points in each.

Of the 16 goals they’ve scored during their winning streak, seven have come on the man-advantage.

“Our power play right now is winning us some games,” Miller said after Saturday’s win over Colorado, per the Daily News. “It’s just putting the momentum in our favor whether it’s tying the game or going up by one. At the end of the day those add up. If you get several goals a game on the power play, that’s gonna be hard for the other team to play well and keep momentum and win the game.”

Let’s just say scoring goals hasn’t come as easily for the Sabres.

They closed out 2016 with a pair of losses to the Boston Bruins and they scored just three goals combined in those pair of defeats.

The Sabres are currently last in the Eastern Conference with 34 points in their first 36 games, which obviously isn’t good enough if they want to play deeper into April or May.

“As a whole team, everyone needs to look in the mirror and we all need to get a lot better,” said forward Jack Eichel, per the Buffalo News. “I think I speak for the team in saying that we’re all frustrated with where we’re at, and I don’t think I’m the only person in the locker room that’s not satisfied.”

The 2017 schedule won’t do them any favors early on, as they’ll play just four of their 13 games in January on the road, where they have a 6-7-5 record this season.

“If we play how we can and we win hockey games at the rate we can, it can put us in that area where we think we’re going to need to be to be in playoff consideration,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “That’s really got to be the focus for us here.

“But it also can’t wait for another 20 games to say that same situation. We have to realize the situation we’re in now, and we’ve got to win 60 percent of our points the rest of the way out for sure.”

Red Wings rally by Bruins in another game that evokes the Eighties

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Things looked pretty grim for the Detroit Red Wings after the Boston Bruins chased Jared Coreau from the net with a quick 3-0 lead. Maybe the Red Wings took note that this has been a weird, high-scoring week in the NHL, because they rallied back and eventually won 6-5 via a shootout.

To recap the zaniest games of each day from this odd few days of hockey:

Monday: The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Washington Capitals 8-7 in an overtime thriller.

Tuesday: The Dallas Stars managed to hold off the New York Rangers in a 7-6 victory. Plenty of weird things happened beyond all of those goals.

Wednesday: Red Wings storm back from that 3-0 deficit to eventually win.

Games like these can be a nightmare for coaches and goalies on both sides, yet Claude Julien was probably especially steamed by this one.

The Bruins were up 3-0, 4-1 and 5-4 but the Red Wings kept fighting back. As a defensive-minded coach, Julien couldn’t have been happy with his team’s play.

(That’s the coach’s answer to slamming a video game controller in a frustrating loss.)

Fitting in with this week’s other wilder contests, there were flurries of goals even beyond the trio that quickly gave Coreau the boot. The Red Wings warped a 4-1 Bruins lead to a 4-4 tie with three goals in a little more than 10 minutes of time.

Adam McQuaid then regained Boston’s lead 21 seconds after it was tied, but the Red Wings didn’t give up. Instead, they applied a ton of pressure in the third period until Gustav Nyquist tied it up with about three minutes left.

Detroit still has a long way to go to protect its remarkable playoff streak, especially when teams like the Bruins can at least salvage “charity points” with losses. If the Red Wings want to make an unlikely push, they’ll need to show the kind of resolve that was on display on yet another wild night in the NHL.

Pavelec makes highlight reel save, gets win in return to Jets’ net

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 28:  Ondrej Pavelec #31 of the Winnipeg Jets dives across to make a first period save against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Jets 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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With an expiring contract, Ondrej Pavelec’s time with the Winnipeg Jets is nearing an end. Plenty of Jets fans would say, mercifully.

Still, he did return to the Winnipeg Jets net on Wednesday for his first NHL appearance since April 9, 2016, to mostly successful results. The Jets beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-3, for one thing.

Beyond that, it probably felt like a typical Pavelec start for many Jets fans, though some would contest that it would also need to involve a loss.

There were those regrettable moments, like giving up a goal right away:

Even his critics would probably agree that Pavelec does have a knack for making breathtaking saves:

It’s unclear how many more times we’ll see Pavelec play for the Jets (or an NHL team in general). His performance – if given more chances – in the near future may determine that answer.

If nothing else, his 2016-17 debut felt pretty fitting.

Connor McDavid hits the 100-point mark, scores OT-winner (or did he?)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 08: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers skates with the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period at Wells Fargo Center on December 8, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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PHT brings you the hard-hitting math, as you know, so here’s the latest burst: Connor McDavid is more than a point-per-game player.

You see, he scored the 100th point of his promising NHL career, and he did so in just his 92nd career game on Wednesday. Let us remind you that he’s just 20 years old (and he turned 20 on Jan. 13). Yeah.

Point 100 came on via an assist on a Zack Kassian goal as the Edmonton Oilers went up 1-0 against the Florida Panthers.

Here’s the clip:

Update: There’s debate regarding whether McDavid’s overtime-winner should have counted or not, but either way, it’s impressive that he generated a goal and an assist after hitting the 100-point mark. So it’s now 102 points in 92 games.

Here’s that contested goal:

 

Video: This assist helps explain why Red Wings might not trade Vanek

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In the video above, you can see Bob McKenzie lay out the Detroit Red Wings’ status as the trade deadline begins to look like more of a consideration.

Considering their playoff streak, it’s not that shocking that they’re at least struggling with the idea of being sellers. More than a few people probably did a double-take (or spit-take?) when McKenzie noted that management might opt to re-sign forward/remarkable reclamation project Thomas Vanek instead of moving him for assets.

It’s reasonable to question that logic, but then you see what he’s doing lately, particularly the chemistry he seems to be building with Andreas Athanasiou.

Wednesday’s gorgeous assist to Athanasiou illustrates some of that brilliance, if stats bore you:

If stats tell some of the story, well, they’re impressive. Vanek now has a seven-game point streak with the assist; if he doesn’t score another point, he’ll have 10 points during that span. He also has at least a point in 11 of his last 12 contests.

Athanasiou’s really “feeling it” lately, too. If he stays at a goal tonight, he’ll have five goals and eight points in his last seven games, only failing to generate a point in two of those contests. His speed and skill really seem to be coming to the surface, a great sign for the 22-year-old.

Still, Vanek is 32, and the Red Wings would need a heck of a run to even make the playoffs. So that’s where the discussion gets a little sticky.

There’s still time to sort that out, though. In the meantime, fans should enjoy what those two have been accomplishing, even if many want the window to close on that combo soon.