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NHL on NBCSN: Bruins go for third win in a row against slumping Canadiens

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NBCSN’s coverage of the NHL continues on Sunday night when the Montreal Canadiens visit the Boston Bruins. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and you can catch all of the action on NBCSN or right here via our Live Stream.

Just one day after getting a rare win from one of their backup goaltenders the Boston Bruins are back in action on Sunday night when they host a Montreal Canadiens team that is trying to get back on track having lost five of its past six games, including a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

It is also the second Star Sunday feature on the NBC Networks with the focus in this game going to Montreal defenseman Shea Weber and Boston forward Brad Marchand.

With wins in each of Bruce Cassidy’s first two games behind the bench, including Saturday’s win over Vancouver thanks to a late David Pastrnak goal, the Bruins might be starting to get back on track. But before you rush and give all of the credit to the coaching change keep in mind that this is a team that has won five of its past seven overall, a stretch that has seen the team score 30 goals.

Offensively, it is their best seven-game stretch of the season and it was probably long overdue.

All season long the Bruins have been a team that has done a lot of the correct things that should lead to offense (most shots on goal per game in the NHL, one of the best possession teams) but have simply been unable to put the puck in the net. There were two very different opinions as to what this meant. On one hand, there was the shots and Corsi don’t matter argument that said the Bruins weren’t getting the “right” shots. On the other hand, there was the argument that said they were probably a little unlucky and that if they kept doing what they were doing the results would soon follow.

It seems the results are starting to arrive a little bit, at least offensively.

The thing about this Bruins team is that it was always a team that should have been better than it was offensively because of the talent it has up top with Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

Even right now, for as disappointing as the season has been offensively on a team-wide level, they still have two of the top-11 goal scorers in the NHL in Pastrnak and Marchand, while Bergeron has 23 points in his past 20 games. There is talent here.

They look to keep this recent strong play going on Sunday night against a Canadiens team that is having the exact opposite problem lately — they can’t score, averaging just a little more than two goals per game over their past 15. That lackluster offensive performance, combined with a down year from Carey Price in net (and what has been an extended slump over the past month)has resulted in just five wins during that stretch.

‘Dialed in’ Hurricanes could add more drama to playoff race

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At first glance, Carolina’s potential playoff push seems like a longshot.

The ‘Canes head into tonight’s action five points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and would need to leapfrog both the Bolts and Isles just to get there.

BUT!

The ‘Canes have a game in hand on both New York and Tampa Bay, and two on Boston. They also get to play six of their last nine at home, and are currently riding a terrific streak in which they’ve collected 17 of a possible 20 points (7-0-3 in their last 10).

“Guys are playing well, guys are dialed in,” head coach Bill Peters said, per the Raleigh News & Observer. “You’ve got to continue to keep pace. Around the league everyone seems to find a way to win, so you’ve got to keep pace and then hopefully somebody falters.”

Looking ahead, the next 48 hours will decide if this dream becomes a reality. Carolina begins a crucial back-to-back set against the Red Wings tonight, with both games to be played at PNC.

Tonight’s game, you may recall, is the makeup date for the Dec. 19 postponement due to unplayable ice.

As such, the ‘Canes now get a Red Wings team playing its third game in four nights, following Friday’s 2-1 OT loss to Tampa Bay and yesterday’s 3-2 OT win over Minnesota. Veteran Detroit d-man Niklas Kronwall isn’t expected to face Carolina, and the club is unsure if Darren Helm (lower body) can go.

The ‘Canes, meanwhile, are pretty healthy and firing away. Jeff Skinner has a five-game goalscoring streak, Elias Lindholm has points in each of his last 10 contests and Sebastian Aho in each of his last six. The club has also received terrific netminding from Eddie Lack, who has gone 5-1-1 in March with a .931 save percentage.

If they can get a result tonight, attention will be turned to the out-of-town scoreboard. The Isles are at home to the streaking Nashville Predators (6-1-0 in their last seven), and the Bolts host the Blackhawks, who are coming off an embarrassing 7-0 loss in Florida.

The Bruins aren’t back in action until Tuesday, when they host the Preds.

Report: Coyotes majority owner has a ‘potential new partner’

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The Arizona Coyotes’ ownership group may be getting a new member.

According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, Randy Frankel is a “potential new partner” for majority owner Andrew Barroway.

Frankel, who made his money on Wall Street, is already a part owner of MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays.

Shannon also reported that the Coyotes required a mid-season cash call, to the tune of $20 million, from their ownership group. Arizona has averaged just 13,020 fans at home games this season; hence, the revenue shortfall.

The Coyotes, of course, are trying to get a new arena built in the greater Phoenix area. So far, their efforts have been for naught.

Related: Arizona lawmaker suggests Coyotes pledge more money for new arena

Report: Rangers land Gophers standout Lettieri

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University of Minnesota senior Vinni Lettieri has agreed to join the Ranger organization, per the Star-Tribune.

Lettieri, 22, finished second on the club in goals this year, with 19, and third in scoring with 37 points in 38 games. The Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo reports Lettieri is joining New York’s AHL affiliate in Hartford, and that he and the Blueshirts are closing in on a two-year, entry-level contract.

Lettieri has some interesting bloodlines. His grandfather is former Minnesota North Stars player/head coach/GM Lou Nanne, and his father is former professional soccer netminder Tino Lettieri, who represented Canada at the 1986 World Cup.

The younger Lettieri went undrafted, and was a free agent following Minnesota’s NCAA championship loss to Notre Dame.

Zetterberg on pace to play 1,000th game in Joe Louis Arena farewell

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Barring injury, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will get the opportunity to make his 1,000th NHL game even more special.

Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill confirmed today that Zetterberg will play tonight and tomorrow in Carolina, putting the 36-year-old on pace to play his 1,000th game on Apr. 9, the date of the final Wings game at Joe Louis Arena.

The Wings, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990, have eight games left in their regular season. They host New Jersey on Apr. 9.

Tonight’s game was originally scheduled for Dec. 19, but had to be postponed due to poor ice conditions at PNC Arena.