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Goalie nods: Condon to make eighth straight start, 17th straight appearance

Mike Condon‘s been a workhorse for the Sens since they acquired him from Pittsburgh, and things will come full circle tonight when Condon gets the nod as Ottawa hosts the Penguins at the Canadian Tire Centre.

The start will be Condon’s eighth in a row, but his consecutive games played streak will extend to 17. That’s because, in a 6-2 win over the Isles on Dec. 18, Condon came on in relief of an injured Andrew Hammond to pick up the win.

Prior to that game, Condon had started five in a row.

“I don’t know but I don’t think, consecutive, I’ve made this many straight appearances,” he said on Wednesday, per the Ottawa Citizen. “I feel great, healthy, I’m getting some good work in. No complaints.”

It’s been a nice redemption story from Condon, who was waived by Montreal at the end of training camp and barely played for Pittsburgh before getting dealt. He’s gone 9-6-3 with the Sens, posting a .918 save percentage and 2.36 GAA while regular No. 1 Craig Anderson is with his wife, Nicholle, as she undergoes cancer treatment.

No word yet who starts for the Pens. Marc-Andre Fleury lost in Washington last night, and Matt Murray is back from injury, so it could be Murray’s game.

Elsewhere…

Steve Mason, mired in an ugly seven-game losing streak, will try to reverse his fortunes when the Flyers host the Canucks. Vancouver will counter with Ryan Miller, who lost an OT heartbreaker to the Preds on Tuesday.

— The red-hot Anders Nilsson will get another start for Buffalo, after making 39 saves in a win over Philly on Tuesday. He’ll be up against Ben Bishop, who returns for the Bolts after missing nine games with an injury.

— An all-Finnish matchup in Nashville, as Tukka Rask and the Bruins take on Pekka Rinne and the Preds.

— A marquee matchup in Minnesota, as Carey Price and the Habs take on Devan Dubnyk and the Wild.

Petr Mrazek will look to snap his five-game losing streak as the Wings travel to Dallas to take on the Stars. Based on the morning skate, it appears Antti Niemi will be in goal for Dallas.

Cory Schneider has rediscovered his form in January, posting a 1.63 GAA and .945 save percentage through five games. Tonight, he’ll get the start in Edmonton against Cam Talbot and the Oilers.

John Gibson gets yet another start for the Ducks, after shutting out the Stars on Tuesday. He’ll be up against Seymon Varlamov, who returns to the crease after missing time with a groin injury.

Jake Allen has struggled lately, but the Blues will go back to him for the start in L.A. He’ll be up against Peter Budaj who, like Allen, was hooked from his last start.

The Buzzer: Eichel beats McDavid; More Vegas gold

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Player of the Night: Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres

So far in their careers, Connor McDavid comparisons haven’t been kind to Jack Eichel. To be fair, just about every other NHL player pales in comparison to McDavid, but Eichel gets it the worst because he was selected right behind McDavid in the 2015 NHL Draft.

McDavid’s enjoyed a deep playoff run and piled up some impressive hardware, yet Eichel got the best of number 97 for at least one night. As part of a 5-0 win for the Sabres against the Oilers, Eichel generated a goal and three assists.

If you haven’t noticed, Eichel’s been playing some of the best hockey even before Tuesday. With 10 points in his last five games, he’s enjoying the most productive stretch of his young career.

It was outrageous to place Buffalo’s blame on Eichel, so hopefully this torrid run at least turns down the volume on his critics.

Highlights of the Night:

We saw the nasty side of Brad Marchand with this questionable hit, but this goal was very, very nice:

This Shea Theodore outlet pass is so slick, it’s almost tough to keep your eye on it. William Karlsson scored yet again, and the Golden Knights won once again.

You may also enjoy Travis Konecny’s overtime game-winner, which you can check out here.

Factoids

The Boston Bruins’ run continues, while the Avalanche’s winning streak ended.

Vegas Golden Knights zero in on more records for expansion teams. Remarkable stuff.

From remarkably great to almost unspeakably bad: how can the Oilers’ penalty kill be this ineffective?

Some key bits from tonight

Panthers, Stars brawl.

Canadiens end Avalanche’s winning streak at 10.

Flyers edge Red Wings in OT.

Possible injury for Joe Thornton?

Goalie injuries also cause for concern.

Scores

Bruins 3, Devils 2
Penguins 3, Hurricanes 1
Canadiens 4, Avalanche 2
Flyers 3, Red Wings 2 (OT)
Blues 3, Senators 0
Lightning 4, Predators 3 (OT)
Stars 6, Panthers 1
Sabres 5, Oilers 0
Canucks 6, Kings 2
Golden Knights 6, Blue Jackets 3
Ducks 6, Rangers 3
Jets 5, Sharks 4 (OT)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Fights: Stars, Panthers pile up season-high 138 penalty minutes

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When you think of the Dallas Stars against the Florida Panthers, a few things might come to mind:

  • No state income taxes, if you’re an unrestricted free agent.
  • “Non-traditional franchises.”
  • Going further on that point, arguably examples of Gary Bettman’s vision in expanding the league’s scope.

You probably don’t think “blood rivals,” but maybe Tuesday will change that. Perhaps it was triggered in part by a misunderstanding about James Reimer‘s injury, or maybe because Antoine Roussel is Antoine Roussel, yet either way, things got pretty nasty between the Stars and Panthers on Tuesday.

The two teams piled up a whopping 138 penalty minutes in this one, which is great for lovers of chaos and/or fantasy hockey owners.

According to Sportsnet’s stats, that’s the highest combined PIM for a game so far in 2017-18. Somehow Matthew Tkachuk wasn’t even involved.

Again, it was a little senseless, which admittedly is sometimes the most entertaining form of violence.

¯_(ツ)_/¯

The Stars pummeled the Panthers 6-1, by the way.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Sharks’ Hertl ejected; Joe Thornton injured?

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Brad Marchand isn’t the only player who delivered a questionable hit on Tuesday, as Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks is also likely to draw the attention of the Department of Player Safety.

Hertl received a game misconduct and major penalty for boarding Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, as you can see in the video above this post’s headline.

For whatever it’s worth, Hertl, 24, hasn’t been suspended in the NHL. It seems like Kulikov suffered at least some ill effects from the hit.

Some put at least a portion of blame on Kulikov for turning his back before the check.

Is the major penalty sufficient or should Hertl sit for that hit?

Update: The Jets ended up beating the Sharks 4-3 in overtime, but the bigger concern for San Jose is that Joe Thornton might be injured. More information may not come for a while.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Should Brad Marchand be suspended for elbow on Marcus Johansson?

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Much has been made of Brad Marchand cleaning up his act, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Boston Bruins forward has totally stopped blurring the line between “physical” and “illegal” play.

Marchand was everywhere in the Bruins’ 3-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, and that was mostly in a good way, scoring a goal and an assist, easily leading all forwards with 20:06 time on ice.

Devils fans were unhappy when Marchand wasn’t penalized for a highly questionable elbow on forward Marcus Johansson. You can watch the infraction in the video above this post. You can also see it in GIF form below.

NBC Sports Boston’s Joe Haggerty reports that the Department of Player Safety is aware of the elbow, and supplemental discipline may come:

Again, many recall other incidents with Marchand, so plenty were unhappy with the situation:

What do you think? Is a suspension appropriate in this case?

More on the Bruins:How will they cope without Charlie McAvoy?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.