Mike Halford

Dylan McIlrath, Matt Beleskey
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NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Rangers tangle on Rivalry Night


Tonight on NBCSN, the New York Rangers host the Boston Bruins in a classic Eastern Conference grudge match. You can catch the game on TV, or watch online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.


Some notes ahead of tonight’s affair:

• Boston concludes a 4-game road trip tonight. The B’s were swept in their previous 3 games by the California teams, scoring just 3 total goals.

• The Bruins have not lost 4 straight all season and hope to gain ground on Tampa and Florida in the division race. They have a crucial matchup against the Panthers on Thursday.

• The Rangers also struggled on a recent trip to California (1-1-1 in those games), but bounced back on Monday with a 4-2 win over Florida at MSG. The Blueshirts sit 2 points ahead of Pittsburgh for 2nd place in the Metropolitan.

• Even though the Bruins have lost 3 straight on the road, a major reason for their likely return to the playoffs this season is their performance away from TD Garden. The B’s are just a .500 team at home (16-16-5), but one of the league’s top road teams.

• The Bruins are 3 road wins away from tying the franchise record of 26, set in their Cup-winning 1971-72 season. Tonight is one of 5 remaining road games for the Bruins.

• The trademark of previous Claude Julien-led Bruins teams was their defense – over the first 8 seasons of Julien’s tenure, the Bruins allowed the fewest goals/game in the NHL. That number has slipped considerably this season, but the team has still found success due to a spike in offense – the Bruins are the 3rd-highest scoring in the NHL this season.

Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves against Florida to pick up his first win since February 27 (snapped an 0-3-2 stretch). It was his 32nd win of the season and the 371st of his career. Lundqvist is 1 win away from tying former Bruin Andy Moog for 15th all-time, and he has a realistic chance to finish the season alone in 14th place (former Ranger John Vanbiesbrouck is currently 14th with 374 career wins).

Rick Nash snapped a 14-game goal drought on Monday night with his first goal since Dec. 30. Nash has been injury plagued this season, most recently missing 20 games with a bone bruise. After his best season as a Ranger last year, Nash’s production has suffered in 2015-16.

Brad Marchand has a team-leading and career-high 34 goals this season (T-4th in NHL), though he’s currently riding a 5-game goal drought. He joins a short list players – all with notable tenures in Beantown – that have scored 30 goals in a season for Boston since the lockout.

• The Bruins’ most recent call up is also known for scoring. Massachusetts native Frank Vatrano played college hockey at UMass-Amherst, and his first full pro season has been a success, with 39 goals between the AHL and NHL.

• Leads AHL with 33 goals in 33 games for the Providence Bruins

• Scored 6 goals in 30 games with the Bruins earlier this season (last played Jan. 19).

Eric Staal has only produced 3 points (1 G, 2 A) in his 11 games with the Rangers since being acquired near the trade deadline.

Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello lead the team with 25 and 23 goals respectively, but have both struggled of late.

• Brassard: 3 goals in last 14 games.

• Zuccarello: 3 goals in last 15 games (goal Monday night vs. FLA).



Isles prospect McAdam forgoes senior year, signs ELC

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 30:  Eamon McAdam, 70th pick overall by the New York Islanders, poses for a portrait during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center on June 30, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Eamon McAdam, the Penn State goalie taken by New York in the third round of the ’13 draft, has opted to leave school and sign his first pro contract with the Isles, the club announced on Wednesday.


McAdam, 21, completed his third season at Penn State University, posting a 13-8-1 record with a 2.98 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound goaltender’s collegiate career totaled 44 games with a .905 save percentage.

McAdam played three seasons for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League from 2010-11 to 2012-13. He played alongside current Sound Tigers netminder Stephon Williams in 2011-12 and was named Most Valuable Player in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in 2013.

Like many collegiate players that’ve signed in recent days and weeks, McAdam has signed a three-year, entry-level deal, but will begin his pro career immediately by signing an AHL amateur tryout contract. That’ll allow him to suit up for Bridgeport, without having to “burn” a year of his ELC.

Boll to have hearing for late hit on Bellemare


Columbus forward Jared Boll will have a disciplinary hearing for his laet hit on Philly’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on Tuesday night, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety has announced.

Boll was given a five-minute interference major and game misconduct on the play, which occurred early in the second period of Columbus’ eventual 3-2 win. Bellemare appeared shaken up on the play, but did return to finish the contest and log just under 11 minutes of ice time.

It’s worth noting Boll has a history of supplemental discipline. Last March, he was suspended three games for a headshot on then-Ducks forward Patrick Maroon.



WATCH LIVE: Kings at Wild

Jared Spurgeon, Dustin Brown

Tonight, the Minnesota Wild have a huge game against the top team in the Pacific Division — Los Angeles — and, with a win, could move into the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference.

You can catch the game on TV (NBCSN, 8:30 p.m. ET), or watch online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.


Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

NHL on NBCSN: Wild continue their playoff chase against Kings

Kings label Kris Versteeg day-to-day

Torchetti to (again) scratch Vanek, who’s not ‘at the level I think he can play at’

Pens beat deadline, sign prospect Blueger to ELC

ST PAUL, MN - MARCH 21: (L-R) Teddy Blueger #23, Brad McClure #19, Matt Leitner #18, Jean-Paul Lafontaine #12 and C.J. Franklin #15 of Minnesota State celebrate in the final seconds of the 2015 WCHA Final Five hockey championship game against Michigan Tech on March 21, 2015 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. Minnesota State defeated Michigan Tech 5-2. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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Teddy Blueger, the forward taken 52nd overall by Pittsburgh in 2012, has agreed to a two-year, entry-level deal with the club — just months before he was eligible to hit unrestricted free agency.

More, from the club:

Blueger, 21, completed his senior season at Minnesota State-Mankato, leading the Mavericks in points (35) and assists (24) while scoring 11 goals in 41 games as one of the team’s alternate captains.

Seven of Blueger’s 11 tallies this year were game-winning markers. Those numbers earned him a spot on the WCHA First All-Star Team.

A product of Shattuck St. Mary’s (the same prep school Pens captain Sidney Crosby attended), Blueger played his full four years at Minnesota State, which led some to believe he could go the way of Justin Schultz, Kevin Hayes and, most recently, Mike Reilly — skaters that played out their full college careers, passed the deadline to sign with the teams that drafted them, then inked with organizations of their choosing.

Like today’s other signing — Nebraska-Omaha forward Jake Guentzel — Blueger will report to Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he’ll play on an amateur tryout contract.