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‘Yotes believe ‘unluckiness’ one of reasons for Panik’s struggles

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As you’ve probably heard by now, the Arizona Coyotes traded away Anthony Duclair to the Chicago Blackhawks last night. For the most part, fan reaction on social media suggests that the ‘Hawks did pretty well on this trade.

Since the deal went down, PHT has focused on the Duclair angle (stories you can read by clicking here and here), but it’s also important to look at what the Coyotes received for their once promising young forward.

Richard Panik is the piece that will be able to help Arizona the quickest because Laurent Dauphin will be staying in the minors for now. Panik, who had a solid season last year, has struggled pretty badly in 2017-18.

“We feel like some of it this year has just been some unluckiness,” Chayka said, per the Arizona Republic. “We still think he’s playing a well-rounded game, still think he’s doing a lot of good things that he was doing in the past.

“He’s 26 years old, so he’s still a young veteran. But he does provide some veteran experience and takes a bit of a load off some of our younger players … That’s a void we were looking to fill, and we felt that he’d be a good fit for us.”

So, let’s take a look at Panik’s stats from last year (he had 22 goals and 22 assists in 82 games) compared to this year (he has six goals and 10 assists in 37 games).

He opened the 2017-18 season with three goals in his first three games and five goals in his first nine contests. He finally found the back of the net in his last game as a ‘Hawk on Tuesday night, but he went 27 games without a goal. During that time, he was made a healthy scratch five times.

The first thing that jumps out from Panik’s stat line is his low five-on-five shooting percentage , which currently sits at 5.26 percent. Last season, he was firing at 11.76 percent during the same situation. His overall shooting percentage was 14.19 percent last year. This year, that number has dipped to 8.57 percent. Is that unlucky or is that him just coming back down to earth?

The average overall shooting percentage in the NHL last season was 9.2 percent. This year, it’s slightly better at 9.3 percent. That’s not too far off from Panik’s 8.57 mark.

In his defense, his advanced stats have all been better this year. If we take a look at his even-strength stats, the Coyotes forward has seen his CF% rise from 49.53 to 56.76, his FF% has gone from 49.41 to 53.18 and his SF% went from 49.09 to 54.06 this season (stats via Natural Stat Trick)

Those numbers might translate into him scoring with a little more regularity, but it’ll be interesting to see if he can come close to replicating the totals he put up last season.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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

WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Tuesday night, as the New York Rangers host the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:00 p.m. ET.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

PROJECTED LINES

Rangers

Rick NashMika ZibanejadPavel Buchnevich
Mats ZuccarelloJ.T. Miller – Vinni Lettieri
Jimmy VeseyDavid DesharnaisPaul Carey
Michael Grabner – Peter Holland – Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonaghNick Holden
Brady SkjeiKevin Shattenkirk
Marc StaalSteven Kampfer

Startling goalie: Henrik Lundqvist

[Flyers look to push winning streak to five games against Rangers]

Flyers

Claude GirouxSean CouturierTravis Konecny
Michael RafflValtteri FilppulaJakub Voracek
Jordan WealNolan PatrickWayne Simmonds
Taylor LeierScott LaughtonJori Lehtera

Ivan ProvorovShayne Gostisbehere
Robert HaggAndrew MacDonald
Brandon ManningRadko Gudas

Startling goalie: Brian Elliott