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The Buzzer: Couturier shines again; Red Wings, Lightning drop the gloves

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Player Of The Night: Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers

Sean Couturier is no longer just a good defensive center. He is now a good defensive center that has suddenly turned into a force offensively and has been one of the best two-way players in the NHL this season.

Couturier scored two more goals for the Flyers on Sunday afternoon (his second consecutive two-goal game) as he continues what has been a breakout season.

With still half of a season to play, Couturier has already set new career highs for goals (23 — previous career high was 15) and points (42 — previous career high was 39). He has been especially dominant in recent weeks with eight goals and four assists in the Flyers’ past nine games.

Between Couturier, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek the Flyers have three of the top-16 scorers in the league.

The Flyers have been an incredibly streaky team this season and have now won three of their past four games to stay in the thick of an increasingly tight playoff race in the Eastern Conference’s Metropolitan Division.

Highlight Of The Night

Actually, let’s just watch all five of the goals from the Columbus Blue Jackets-Florida Panthers shootout because they were all pretty slick.

Fight Night In Detroit

After losing back-to-back games the Tampa Bay Lightning bounce back on Sunday night by picking up a 5-2 win in Detroit over the Red Wings to help extend their lead in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.

It was also a pretty intense game, especially in the first period, as the two teams dropped the gloves twice, with some unlikely players deciding to fight.

First Dylan Larkin fought Brayden Point (with Larkin skating away bloodied), then Tomas Tatar dropped the gloves with Yanni Gourde. Gourde also scored a pair of goals in the win.

Here is a look at both fights which came just two minutes apart.

Factoid Of The Night

Evgeni Malkin scored the game-winning goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night, capping off one of the most thrilling games of the NHL season to this point. It was also a noteworthy goal because it was his 12th career overtime goal, moving him into sole possession of first place on the Penguins’ all-time list, ahead of some guy named Mario Lemieux. It was also a pretty slick goal. You can see it by clicking here. [NHL PR]

Misc.

Nikita Kucherov is back in a tie (with Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals) for the NHL’s goal-scoring lead with 27 goals. He is also running away with the scoring title.

William Karlsson, the most unbelievable story on the unbelievable story that is the Vegas Golden Knights, scored his 22nd goal of the season in his 41st game. In 173 NHL games before this season he scored 18 goals. The Golden Knights won again, because of course they did, to extend their lead in the Western Conference.

Karl Alzner scored his first goal for the Montreal Canadiens in their 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Perhaps an even bigger deal for the Canadiens: Max Pacioretty scored for the second game in a row. He had scored just one goal in the 22 games before that, including a 13-game goal drought. Players that score 35 goals every year just do not suddenly lose it like that. He will be fine. He will still score a lot of goals.

Scores

Philadelphia Flyers 4, Buffalo Sabres 1

New York Islanders 5, New Jersey Devils 4

Chicago Blackhawks 4, Edmonton Oilers 1

Winnipeg Jets 4, San Jose Sharks 1

Washington Capitals 4, St. Louis Blues 3

Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Florida Panthers 2

Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Detroit Red Wings 2

Pittsburgh Penguins 6, Boston Bruins 5

Vegas Golden Knights 2, New York Rangers 1

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

The Buzzer: Spezza bounces back after healthy scratch; another injury for Predators

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Player Of The Night: Jason Spezza, Dallas Stars

On Monday night the Dallas Star made veteran forward Jason Spezza a healthy scratch as he was mired in a lengthy goal-scoring drought. The Stars wanted to see more from him, and they knew he could provide more.

When he stepped back into the lineup on Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings he did exactly that by scoring a pair of goals in the Stars’ 4-2 win.

Even though Spezza had been struggling to put points on the board he was still doing an excellent job when it came to driving possession and generating shots, as well as the fact the team was outscoring its opponents when he was on the ice. His ice-time has been cut significantly this season, but he was doing enough to suggest that it was only a matter of time until he got back into the goal column.

He snapped out of it in a big way on Tuesday.

Another big injury for Nashville

The Nashville Predators are already playing without two of their top forwards with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson sidelined.

They lost another one on Tuesday night in their 1-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights when Ryan Johanson had to leave the game after taking a high hit from William Carrier.

Johanson left the game and did not return. There was no penalty called on the play.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette had no update on Johansen after the game and said they were given an explanation that it was a clean hit.

The Predators ended up winning the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from Kevin Fiala and 43 saves from Jusse Saros.

Highlight Of The Night

Not much in the way of highlight reel plays tonight, but here is a big goal from Vince Dunn to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Factoid Of The Night

A big milestone for New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist as he picks up his 20th win of the season.

Scores

New Jersey Devils 4, New York Islanders 1

New York Rangers 5, Philadelphia Flyers 1

Dallas Stars 4, Detroit Red Wings 2

St. Louis Blues 2, Toronto Maple Leafs 1

Nashville Predators 1, Vegas Golden Knights 0

San Jose Sharks 3, Arizona Coyotes 2

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Report: Blackhawks concerned Crawford could miss remainder of season

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Here is some less than encouraging news for the Chicago Blackhawks.

According to a report from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times on Tuesday night, there is some growing concern within the Blackhawks organization that starting goaltender Corey Crawford could miss the remainder of the season due to experiencing vertigo-like symptoms for the second time in his career.

Crawford has been sidelined since before Christmas due to an upper-body injury, but the team has been quiet on specifics other than to say publicly that they expect him to return this season.

Over the past few years Crawford has become one of the NHL’s top goalies and when he has been on the ice this season has been absolutely stellar for the Blackhawks. Given the current state of their defense and the rate that they give up shots he has become one of the team’s most important players and the one that seems to drive their success more than any other.

[Related: Corey Crawford has become the Blackhawks’ most important player]

In his absence the team has leaned on Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass. Both have played about as well as could have been expected, but they aren’t Crawford and there is a noticeable drop in play at the position when he is not in there.

In 26 games this season Crawford is 16-9-2 with a .929 save percentage.

As of Tuesday night the Blackhawks are on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture, sitting three points back of the Minnesota Wild. They also have the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche sitting between them.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Rick Nash snaps out of slump, powers Rangers to huge win

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The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are two of the teams in the middle of the free-for-all that is the Eastern Conference playoff race that had five teams separated by just three points heading into Tuesday night.

Both teams had been rolling in opposite directions over the past week with the Flyers having won four in a row and five of their past six, while the Rangers were riding a three-game losing skid and had lost four out of five.

Their past two losses coming out of the bye week were especially ugly, losing to the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins (two other teams they are competing with) by a combined score of 12-4.

Both the Rangers’ and Flyers’ streaks came to an end in their game on Tuesday with the Rangers picking up a huge 5-1 win.

Rick Nash was the big star for the Rangers on Tuesday with a pair of goals, including a breakaway goal in the first period to tie the game at one after the Rangers gave up an early goal. It was a big performance for Nash because he had been mired in a brutal slump that had seen him go 12 consecutive games without a goal. He also had just one assist during that stretch. That slump has contributed to a down year offensively that has him on track for one of the least productive seasons of his career.

But he came through in a big way on Tuesday to help give the Rangers two huge points and move them three points ahead of the Flyers. The Flyers still have one game in hand while the two teams will still play three more games the rest of the season.

The Rangers’ win on Tuesday, combined with the Islanders’ 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, moves the Rangers back into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference for the time being.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Predators place forward Viktor Arvidsson on injured reserve

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Nashville Predators have placed forward Viktor Arvidsson on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and recalled forward Frederick Gaudreau from the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals.

The Predators made the move Tuesday afternoon.

Arvidsson was helped off the ice Monday during practice, and The Tennessean reports he tested himself during Tuesday morning’s skate.

The forward ranks third on the Predators with 13 goals and fourth with 27 points. The Predators already have Filip Forsberg on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

Gaudreau has played 18 games with the Predators with three assists. He had 14 points in 21 games with the Admirals this season.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey