NHL on NBCSN: Caps put 15-game home winning streak on the line against Stars


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Washington Capitals host the Dallas Stars at 7:30 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

It’s been a long time since the Capitals have dropped a game on home ice. Their last defeat at the Verizon Center was over two months ago, when they dropped a shootout decision to the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 29.

If you’re looking for their last home loss in regulation, you have to go back two weeks before that defeat to the Devils, when they fell 2-1 to the Canadiens on Dec. 17.

We knew the Capitals would be good this season, but that’s simply an incredible run for them to go on. The fact that we’re over two months into the new year and they still haven’t stumbled on home ice is remarkable.

The run could have ended on Saturday night against Philadelphia, but thanks to a power play goal by Nicklas Backstrom in overtime, the streak hit 15.

When the Capitals acquired Kevin Shattenkirk from St. Louis last week, everyone expected him to give their already lethal power play a significant boost. That hasn’t exactly been true so far.

The Caps had just one shot on goal on their first three power play attempts against Philadelphia before Backstrom cashed in.

Clearly, they’re still adjusting to their new teammate, and Shattenkirk is still getting used to them.

“Sometimes you’re going to have these games [when] the power play is not going,” Backstrom said after the win over Philadelphia, per the Washington Post. “It’s a little bit frustrating. But at the same time, you just have to try to work through it and get better at it.

“We have a new player in there. It’s a lot of new things he needs to take in. I think when we’re all five are clicking, it’s going to look better, from the breakouts to the end zone and where we are. But I thought overall maybe it wasn’t our best game. Obviously the power play was struggling, too.”

Here’s a fun fact for you via the Capitals PR staff:

Kevin Shattenkirk has recorded 24 points (4g, 20a) in 26 career games against the Stars, marking the most points he has earned against an NHL team. In addition, he ranks tied for second among active NHL defensemen in points against Dallas.

As we see every year, when teams that are out of the playoff picture have nothing left to play for, they can become dangerous. So if you expect the Capitals to steamroll the Stars tonight, that might not necessarily happen.

The Stars are coming off a 2-1 win over the Panthers, who are fighting for their playoff lives. That’s not to say that Dallas doesn’t have a chance to sneak into the postseason, but they’re seven points out of the final Wild Card spot and they have to find a way to make up five ROWs.

The win over Florida also snapped Dallas’ six-game losing streak away from home. Prior to Saturday’s victory, their last win away from American Airlines Center was on Jan. 17. It’s also the first time the Stars have given up less than two goals in a game since Dec. 17 (32 games).

So here’s what you’ll have tonight: A Capitals team that hasn’t lost a home game in 2017 taking on a Stars team that has just one road win since Jan. 18. It should be fun!


The Buzzer: Shutouts for three, Dubnyk gets win No. 200

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Players of the Night:

Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, Keith Kinkaid, New Jersey Devils and Curtis McElhinney, Toronto Maple Leafs: Where do we begin on the night of the shutout? Rask didn’t have a particularly busy night making 23 saves, but when you’re facing names like Kucherov and Stamkos, it’s always dangerous. Still, Rask kept rolling along. He is 27-3-2 in his past 32 starts. That’s just silly. … Kinkaid, meanwhile stopped 38 — including 19 in the first period — in a 3-0 win against the Kings for his fourth career shutout. … No Frederik Andersen for Toronto? No problem. McElhinney stepped in and pitched a 33-save performance as the Leafs down the Montreal Canadiens 4-0.

Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues: The Blues defenseman scored twice in regulation and then assisted on Brayden Schenn‘s overtime winner to cap off a three-point night.

Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild: While he didn’t get a shutout, Dubnyk did stop 30 of 31 en route to his 200th career NHL win. The win was also important for the Wild, who moved to within five points of the Winnipeg Jets for second place in the Central Division, and moved five points ahead of the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche for third place.

Highlights of the Night:

Filthy pass:

First-goal celebrations are always the best:

Voracek with a slick move in front:

Save of the year candidate:

Factoids of the Night:

Home is where the wins are:

A legend passes a legend:

Believe in McJesus:

Scary Scenes of the Night:


Sabres 5, Blackhawks 3

Oilers 4, Panthers 2

Devils 3, Kings 0

Maple Leafs 4, Canadiens 0

Bruins 3, Lightning 0

Flyers 4, Hurricanes 2

Blue Jackets 2, Senators 1

Blue 4, Rangers 3 (OT)

Wild 3, Coyotes 1

Sharks 5, Canucks 3

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Senators’ Ryan Dzingel drilled in the head with a puck (video)

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We already saw one lacerated leg, and now we have a one-timer drilling a player in the back of the helmet.

Saturday night hasn’t been so kind.

Ottawa Senators forward Ryan Dzingel was forced to leave the game after some friendly fire against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 2-1 loss.

Dzingel was drilled in the back of the head from teammate Mike Hoffman‘s one-timer of the back of his helmet around the mid-way point of the third period.

Dzingel remained down for a time but was able to skate off the ice with some assistance from Ottawa’s trainers.

He did not return to the game.

If you watch this closely, you will see Dzingel’s No. 8 on the back of his helmet fly off after contact with the puck.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Bruins’ David Backes suffers leg laceration in collision (video)


A scary scene unfolded in the first period between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the visiting Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

David Backes and Yanni Gourde came together in the Lightning crease, with Gourde’s skate appearing to cut Backes on the outside of his right leg.

Backes was able to make his way to the Bruins bench on his own, but he was clutching the back of his leg before getting some help down the tunnel.

Backes did not return to the game.

The Bruins said that Backes suffered a laceration above his right knee, which required several stitches to close.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Dundon, Hurricanes suspend search for new GM: report


The Carolina Hurricanes’ search for a general manager is on hiatus.

Sportsnet’s John Shannon reported Saturday that the process of replacing former GM Ron Francis is being put on hold for the time being, citing that owner Tom Dundon needs more time.

“Tom hasn’t had the time he needs to do face to face interviews and feels that waiting will pay off,” Shannon wrote in a tweet.

Francis was removed from his post as GM on March 7 and “promoted” to a new role as president of hockey operations. There was only one catch: whoever replaced Francis would bypass the Hurricanes’ legend and report directly to Dundon.

The search, thus far, hasn’t been going that well, with three potential targets already withdrawing any interest they were thought to have had.

Part of that problem could be how hands-on Dundon appears to want to be. Part of it could just be timing. Fenton, for instance, could be on his way to a Stanley Cup ring this year in Nashville.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman touched on the situation in a recent 31 Thoughts column.

“I think what I’m looking for, is we have to be comfortable with each other. That’s the most important thing,” Dundon told Friedman when asked what he wants in a new GM. “I actually like to disagree and argue. I don’t want someone to come in and just do what I say, and I don’t want to make decisions. Someone to create a structure of how something is a good idea, and now we are going to get it done.”

You can add Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin to the list:

I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that Dundon wanting his hands all over the team — including whatever the GM is doing — isn’t the best selling point.

There’s some good, young talent on the Hurricanes for a new GM to come in and build around, but there’s also some dead weight, including what’s turned into a bad contract with goalie Scott Darling.

No GM wants to play puppet for an owner.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said the Hurricanes will suspend their search until the summer when a larger crop of candidates reveals itself.

Still, you have to wonder who’ll be willing to take that plunge. Someone will, of course, but people haven’t exactly been lining up to fill the role.

UPDATE: On Headlines on Saturday, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported that the salary being offered to a prospective GM in Carolina is $400,000, to which he said he doesn’t see any GM taking as it’s too low. Friedman, meanwhile, believes the search for a new GM is not on a complete hiatus.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck