NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Penguins vs. Bruins; Blackhawks vs. Sharks

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with a doubleheader on Thursday night. In the early game, the Boston Bruins will host the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here

Despite being one of the hottest teams in the NHL during the second half of the season, the Penguins are still under .500 away from home. On the bright side, they’ve managed to win three of their last four road games. Pittsburgh will play two games at home after tonight, but they’ll play five of their following six games on the road.

The Pens are heading into tonight’s game having dropped two games in a row. The first was a 6-5 loss to the Panthers on Saturday, while the second was a 3-2 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday.

“The results that we’ve gotten the last couple of games we’ve probably deserved,” head coach Mike Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We’ve got to do a better job at playing a 200-foot game — making sure that we limit the chances that we give up off the rush, we take care of the puck in the critical areas of the rink, we stay on the right side of scrums, we change smart. All the details of the game that we talk about almost daily. I think it’s that attention to detail that helps us win.”

They currently sit in third place in the Metro Division. They’re two points behind the Flyers and three points behind the Capitals, who are in top spot.

This will be the second game of a six-game homestand. The Bruins won the first one in overtime against the Hurricanes and they’ll look to keep rolling against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions tonight.

“I think the best thing for us about the game it to measure where we are at,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy, per the Boston Herald.

“This is a two-time Stanley Cup champion that is playing very well, and a lot of people think is trending toward a third. So it will be a good measuring stick for the hockey club to see where we are at.”

Rick Nash scored his first goal as a Bruin on Tuesday night, and it sounds like another newly acquired player will make his debut tonight, as Nick Holden should suit up.

The Bruins, who have five games in hand on Toronto, trail the Leafs by a single point in the standings. They’re also six points behind Tampa with three games in hand.

In the late game, the San Jose Sharks will host the Chicago Blackhawks at 10:00 p.m. ET. You can watch that game online by clicking here.

The ‘Hawks haven’t played since Saturday, so they should be well rested for the first tilt of their three-game road trip through California. It’s not like the trip really matters when it comes to the Blackhawks’ playoff chances though. They’re 12 points out of a playoff spot with less than 20 games to go.

“Where we are today is equally frustrating, but it’s sort of in a different way,” GM Stan Bowman said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “We haven’t had the season that we wanted. [But] I think the one bright spot has been the progression and emergence of some of our younger players.”

The latest youngster that will get an opportunity to make an impact with the ‘Hawks is Matthew Highmore, who was recalled from the minors earlier this week. The 22-year-old forward has 21 goals and 35 points in 56 AHL games this season.

As for the Sharks, they won their first game with Evander Kane in the lineup. Kane picked up a pair of assists in Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over Edmonton on Tuesday night.

“I kind of come from not playing so much meaningful hockey to playing some meaningful hockey,” Kane said, per “Obviously you get a little ramped up, and I just tried to change the game in any way I can. It’s good to get on the board and contribute offensively and also with some other elements.”

San Jose will play each of their next five games at home, where they’re 18-9-3 this season. The Sharks are currently second in the Pacific Division. They’re just two points ahead of the Kings, who are in third.

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

#MelnykOut billboards go up in Ottawa as Senators fans urge change

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The billboards in Brooklyn want the general manager out. The billboards in Ottawa, which went up Monday morning, are calling for the owner to sell.

As the dissatisfaction with the state of the franchise continues to intensify, Ottawa Senators fans have come together to purchase four billboards calling for Eugene Melnyk to get “out.”

The campaign was started by Spencer Callaghan, who raised $5,000 in the first 24 hours after the GoFundMe page was opened.

“What I want to accomplish mainly is for people to just start asking questions, like why is this organization in such turmoil,” Callaghan told CTV News in February. “It’s at the point where if we need a change of ownership to get this organization back on track then that’s what we need to push for.”

According to the Ottawa Citizen, the four billboards will be up for two weeks and a fifth will go up for one week on April 2.

It’s been a strange year in Senators land. They went from being within a goal of reaching the Stanley Cup Final to having their owner threaten to move the team to then having him walk that back a few months later to now looking at the NHL draft lottery and coming to the realization that captain Erik Karlsson may be dealt in the off-season.

So you can see why they might be ready for some change.

Meanwhile, it will be a very interesting off-season for the New York Islanders. They are going to miss the playoffs for a second straight season and have to worry about whether John Tavares will decide to re-sign with the organization. Fans upset with GM Garth Snow’s lack of progress with the franchise put up their own billboards in February calling for his removal. Head coach Doug Weight doesn’t seem to have any answers, so will ownership decide to clean house and start fresh as the franchise begins to split games between Barclays Center and a renovated Nassau Coliseum next season as they wait for their new home to be built near Belmont Park?

If the campaigns in Ottawa and New York succeed by reaching their ultimate goals, how much of an inspiration will they be for other fanbases who are sick and tired of the lack of direction with their teams?


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

NHL on NBCSN: Kings, Wild continue pursuit of important points

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Monday night when the Los Angeles Kings visit the Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. You can catch all of the action on NBCSN or on our Live Stream.

If there’s one thing the Kings need right now with 10 games left in the regular season, it’s some consistency. John Stevens’ charges have alternated wins and losses in their eight games in March, leaving them in the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with 84 points.

LA is tied with the Dallas Stars in points, but have the ROW advantage (37-34) while also owning a game in-hand. The Kings are battling on two fronts. Not only are they in the mix for a wild card, but they are on the heels of the Anaheim Ducks for the Pacific Division’s third seed.

So as the Kings begin a four-game road trip Monday night with three games against playoff teams (Minnesota, Winnipeg, Colorado), the road doesn’t get any easier. After a disappointing 3-0 loss at Staples Center on Saturday, they need to rebound quickly.

“You lose a game, you move on and get ready for the next one,” said Stevens via the Orange County Register. “We’ve got an important week coming up this week, so we’re in playoff mode. We’re thinking about Minnesota now, and we’ll get ready for the game after that when that comes.”


The Wild have a little bit of a cushion in the Central Division’s third spot and are looking at four days off following their meeting with the Kings before they host the Nashville Predators on Saturday night. Minnesota grabbed four huge points with back-to-back road wins over the weekend against Vegas and Arizona. In their favor is a very strong record at Xcel Energy Center (24-6-6) and the fact that they’ve taken points from 24 of their last 26 home games.

A victory would give Bruce Boudreau his 500th as an NHL head coach and make him the 26th bench boss to reach that milestone. In his 10 seasons as a bench boss, he’s won eight division titles and one Jack Adams Awards.

[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

PHT Morning Skate: NHL GMs to meet; Lamoriello’s future with Leafs

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at

Joe Thornton’s long-lost brother was apparently at the game Saturday night. [Instagram]

• Goalie interference will be a big topic at this week’s NHL general managers meetings. [The Star]

• Lou Lamoriello’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs remains up in the air. “Any decisions about the organization won’t be made until after the season is over,” Leafs president Brendan Shanahan told Elliotte Friedman. [Sportsnet]

• The NCAA men’s bracket is set with St. Cloud State, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Cornell grabbing top seeds. [College Hockey News]

• For the third time in five years, Clarkson’s women’s team won the NCAA title. The overtime goal, which was scored by Elizabeth Giguere (No relation to J.S.), was a terrific one. [NY Times]

• Daryl Watts, freshman forward at Boston College, took home the 2018 Patty Kazmaier Award as the nation’s top women’s collegiate player. [USCHO]

• With Ilya Kovalchuk interested in an NHL return this summer — and his rights no longer being owned by the New Jersey Devils — the New York Rangers should be all-in on the forward. [NY Post]

• A good look at how these Winnipeg Jets have been built into a contender. [ESPN]

• This season’s Hart Trophy race is quite the crowded field. [Tampa Bay Times]

• The New York Islanders have really wasted what could be John Tavares‘ last season with the franchise. [Sporting News]

• We’re coming up on a full NHL season without any head coaches being fired. [TSN]

• General managers around the NHL muse about the Detroit Red Wings and rebuilds. [Freep]

• Should the Carolina Hurricanes continue the changes and move on from Bill Peters? [Section 328]

William Karlsson doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down as he continues this surprising season. [Toronto Sun]

• How a minority hockey program helped one man become an officer in the Marines. [Color of Hockey]

• Finally, Declan Farmer was the hero for the U.S. Paralympic hockey team, who won their third straight gold with a 2-1 win over Canada. [NBC Olympics]


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

The Buzzer: William Karlsson’s wild night; Hart Trophy race intensifies

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Players of the Night: 

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche: MacKinnon’s MVP campaign got a serious boost on Sunday, as he picked up two goals and an assist in a win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Avs forward is now riding a 12-game point streak. He better start making room on a shelf for a Hart Trophy.

William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights: Karlsson continues to be one of the biggest surprises of the 2017-18 season. His natural hat trick against the Flames puts him at 39 goals on the season. Who would’ve thought that we’d be talking about him as a 40-goal scorer?

Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning: Even though MacKinnon is rolling right now, Kucherov won’t go away quietly in the race for the MVP crown. The Lightning forward picked up two goals in Sunday’s win over the Oilers. Kucherov has 36 goals and 93 points in 70 games this season.

Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks: DeBrincat scored his third hat trick of the season in a losing effort. The rookie has 25 goals and 45 points in 73 games this season. He has a chance to score 30 this year.

Alex Pietrangelo and Vincent Dunn, St. Louis Blues: The Blues came away with a huge comeback win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrik Berglund scored the game-winner in overtime, but Pietrangelo and Dunn each had four points in the victory.

Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets: Laine has been a scoring machine of late. He found the back of the net twice in Sunday’s win over the Dallas Stars. He’s now scored 43 goals in 72 games this season. Laine’s picked up at least one point in 15 consecutive games.

Highlights of the Night: 

A wicked one-timer from Wild Bill:

That’s an incredible backhander from MacKinnon:

Here’s an unorthodox save from Fleury

Factoids of the Night: 

Dunn Deal


Oh and Laine is a teen sensation

DeBrincat’s having an impressive rookie season:


Avalanche 5, Red Wings 1
Golden Knights 4, Flames 0
Lightning 3, Oilers 1
Hurricanes 4, Islanders 3
Flyers 6, Capitals 3
Blues 5, Blackhawks 4 (OT)
Jets 4, Stars 2
Ducks 4, Devils 2

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