The NHL on NBCSN is back with two great games tonight. It all gets going at 7:30 p.m. ET when the Boston Bruins visit the Philadelphia Flyers. In the late game, it’s an all-Canadian matchup featuring Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers against Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coverage of that one gets going immediately after the Boston-Philly game.
To watch the Bruins and Flyers online, click here.
After dropping back-to-back games to the Lightning and Rangers, the Flyers were able to get back to their winning ways by beating Calgary on Sunday.
The feel-good story of that game was Anthony Stolarz picking up his first career win in his first career game.
It’s still early in the year, but Philly needs to start banking points more frequently if they want to make a push for a playoff spot this spring.
They’ve been decimated with injuries and that’s affected their ability to be consistent, but they need to be better.
“We’ve got to stop with this win one, lose one type of thing,” goalie Steve Mason said, per the Courier-Post. “It’s so important to put together streaks of winning. We’ve got to stop talking about it and start going it. It’s as simple as that. Points, especially at this point of the season, are extremely valuable. We’ve got to start getting as many as possible.”
On Sunday, the Bruins managed to snap their three-game losing streak by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was their first win since captain Zdeno Chara exited the lineup three games ago with a lower-body injury.
With Chara out, again, against the Bolts, it was Torey Krug who stepped up for Boston. Krug, who has been struggling this season, picked up a pair of assists, a plus-2 rating and even dropped the gloves with Nikita Kucherov.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, they lost another defenseman, John-Michael Liles, in that game and he’s expected to be out for a while.
“Next man up. We just have to figure it out,” defenseman Kevan Miller said after Sunday’s game, per the Boston Herald. “There’s nothing you can do at that point. You just have to go out there and handle it the best you can. And I think we did a pretty good job.”
Finally, to watch the Oilers-Maple Leafs game online, click here.
This should be a good one. Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid have played against each other at the World Junior Hockey Championship, they’ve played together for Team North America at the World Cup, and now, they’ll go head-to-head at the NHL level for the second time.
Toronto won the first meeting 3-2 in OT on Nov. 1. Interestingly enough, Matthews and McDavid both failed to register points in that game (Nazem Kadri scored twice, including the game-winner).
The Leafs couldn’t be happier with their selection of Matthews. Even though he went through a prolonged scoring slump, the team sees him as a complete player with incredible upside.
“We’re extremely pleased,” GM Lou Lamoriello told the National Post. “He’s had opportunities. You go through stages. I don’t like comparing people to other people, but there are a lot of exceptional players who go through it. I’ve had 500-goal scorers who have gone through it. But in Auston’s case, he’s been playing excellent defensively and had excellent progressive success on the systematic part of the game and on face-offs. Remember, he’s up against the best and had the best playing against him.”
Although the Leafs are off to a modest 9-8-4 start, they have to be thrilled with the contributions they’ve been receiving from rookies like Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.
Marner is tied for the team lead in points with 18, Matthews is in a three-way tie for the team lead in goals with 9 and Nylander has quietly put up 15 points in 20 games.
On the other side, the Oilers have stunned many by being in the top spot of the Pacific Division at this point of the season.
There’s no denying that McDavid is the biggest reason for that. He’s already picked up 10 goals and 29 points in 23 games and the team’s next best scorer is Jordan Eberle, and he has 17 points.
The Oilers center does a lot of things well, but when you watch him play, it’s incredibly obvious that he can do special things at a speed that most players can only dream of.
“It’s for sure his speed,” Jordan Eberle said of McDavid’s greatest asset, per Sportsnet. “It is unmatched in the league. I don’t know how he does it — they should figure it out and teach kids how to do it. But he’s a rush player. He creates everything off the rush with his speed, and as a defenseman you can’t gap up.”
We should be in for a real treat tonight!