James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Video: Hoffman gives Senators 1-0 lead vs. Penguins within first minute


Well, that didn’t take long.

People wondered if the Ottawa Senators would ride the wave of the series switching to their home arena on Wednesday, and while the first minute doesn’t tell the whole story, the early answer is a big “Yes.”

On the strength of a couple of strong early shifts, Mike Hoffman scored an odd little goal on Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Sens a 1-0 lead against the Pittsburgh Penguins about 45 seconds into Game 3.

Check out that tally – Hoffman’s fifth of the Stanley Cup Playoffs – above. Here’s the tally in GIF form, too.

You can watch Game 3 on NBCSN, online and via the NBC Sports App. (Stream online here)

Penguins – Senators Game 3 lineups: Daley, Streit give Pittsburgh 7 D

One can debate how voluntary the decision really is, but it turns out the Pittsburgh Penguins are dressing seven defensemen in Game 3, as expected.

Mark Streit and Trevor Daley are drawing into the mix for the Penguins, who lost Justin Schultz to an awkward fall into the boards against the Ottawa Senators in Game 2.

Pittsburgh essentially rolls with the same forwards they deployed for most of that 1-0 win, as Dion Phaneuf‘s big hit on Bryan Rust limited them to 11 forwards for almost the entire contest.

Mike Sullivan said all the right things about Streit, yet the way he’s used him, it might actually be more important that Daley can play.

Meanwhile, Viktor Stalberg replaces Tommy Wingels in Ottawa’s lineup. Stalberg had missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury.

WATCH LIVE: Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators – Game 3


Whether they sat back by design or merely were overwhelmed by the Pittsburgh Penguins attack, the Ottawa Senators couldn’t seem to get out of their zone in a 1-0 loss in Game 2.

Of course, that contest was in Pittsburgh. Perhaps Erik Karlsson will be able to get the Senators’ transition game going, leading to a more action-packed tug-o-war with Sidney Crosby and the Pens? That might not be the plan for Guy Boucher, but it could happen with Senators fans urging the action along.

Either way, one team will finish Game 3 with a 2-1 series lead. The game airs on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App. Afterward, stick around for the debut episode of “Game Changers,” which features discussions with Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and more.

Here are other key details regarding Game 3:

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators (series tied 1-1)

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Check out the highlights from Pittsburgh’s 1-0 win in Game 2


Time for Streit? Pens head coach ponders using “savy player”

Penguins-Senators is getting nasty, and Dion Phaneuf is a big part of it

Gretzky, Lemieux recall Orr’s legendary goal in NBCSN’s ‘Game Changers’

Following NBCSN’s coverage of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, you can check out the debut of NHL Game Changers | All-Time Greats, a 30-minute roundtable discussion featuring Stanley Cup champions and NHL legends Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.

The show will be hosted by NHL on NBC play-by-play man Mike “Doc” Emrick, with more episodes airing as the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue.

As you can see in the video above, all-time greats are slated to discuss one of the all-time great goals tonight, as Bobby Orr’s Cup-winning goal gets the spotlight.

There will be more contemporary discussions, as well, as Toews and Crosby remember their championship moments.

Check out even more about “Game Changers” here, which includes additional preview videos.

Wednesday stands as a fantastic night for hockey fans on NBCSN, beginning with a big Game 3 between Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators. You can stream it via this link.

Carlyle on Predators crashing Ducks’ net, big shots difference in Game 3


Rather than balking at the challenge, the Nashville Predators responded to a 1-0 deficit and a great John Gibson performance by just imposing their will in an eventual 2-1 Game 3 win.

The Predators overcame back-to-back canceled-out goals in that rush to succeed, and there are at least some who wonder if they were crashing Gibson’s net in a way that wasn’t quite innocent.

(Granted, every team kind of sort of goes for that … just some tend to collide with netminders more than others. And sometimes it seems a little more intentional than others.)

You can watch the two negated goals in the video above.

Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle didn’t provide bulletin board material on the subject like Ryan Johansen did regarding Ryan Kesler, but his comments were still interesting:

Again, intriguing, but not sassy. Carlyle was far sassier in disputing the Predators’ mammoth shot differential in Game 3, which was listed as a 40-20 shot edge in Nashville’s favor.

Carlyle thought the shot counter might need glasses, prompting onlookers to make less-than-flattering comparisons to his days with the Toronto Maple Leafs. To Carlyle’s credit, he still admitted that the game was pretty lopsided at times.

One would expect a more aggressive Anaheim attack in Game 4, even with that contest in Nashville. Considering Corey Perry‘s notorious crease-crashing tendencies, Pekka Rinne may also want to be alert.

You can watch Game 4 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App (Click here for the livestream).