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The Buzzer: Super Bowl edition

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Players of the Night:

Artturi Lehkonen, Montreal Canadiens: The last time Lehkonen lit the lamp was on Oct. 30 of last year, a 24-game drought heading into Sunday’s matinee with the Ottawa Senators. For a guy who had 18 goals last season, having just two in 36 games was a disappointment. Having four in 36 is still not great, but perhaps this will elevate Lehkonen out of his funk.

Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights: Smith pulled Vegas back to even on two occasions in Sunday’s win against the Washington Capitals and continued a nice trend with four goals in four games.

Highlights of the Night:

What a save:

Chandler Stephenson three goals in his past three games. This is the prettiest:

Factoids of the Night: 

Flower Power:

Barry Trotz trotting up all-time games coached list:

Scores:

Golden Knights 4, Capitals 3

Canadiens 4, Senators 1

Sharks 3, Hurricanes 1

Enjoy the Super Bowl, everyone. Who ya got?


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

NHL on NBCSN: Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals visit Nashville Predators

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with a meeting between the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

Both the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals enter Tuesday night’s matchup in good form. The Capitals have won five of their last six games, while the Predators have taken four of their last five.

Kyle Turris impressed in his Predators debut Saturday night, scoring a goal and assisting on another during a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. While one Nashville center looks to continue being productive, another one looks to finally get going.

Ryan Johansen has eight points on the year, but zero goals. Carrying an $8 million cap hit, he’s the highest paid forward without a goal this season.

“As an individual, I’ve just got to find ways to create more,” Johansen told Adam Vingan of The Tennessean. “It’s a role that I’m counted on from the guys here to contribute offensively.”

Tonight’s game will be the fourth time Barry Trotz returns to Nashville after leaving the Predators in 2014. The franchise’s first head coach helped build the team into a playoff contender and now he’s trying to make the most out of a Capitals side that sees its championship window closing.

They’re middle of the pack in scoring (2.82 goals per game) and on special teams (18.6 percent PP, 78.6 percent PK) and surprisingly next-to-last in shots per game (28.5). These aren’t the regular season Capitals we’re used to, but when changes happen on your roster, this can be expected.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

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

PHT Morning Skate: Ducks’ fan gets ‘Corey Perry is a Saint’ tattoo

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Prior to Game 5 an Anaheim Ducks fan on reddit vowed to get a tattoo of the classic Mighty Ducks logo with the words “Corey Perry Is a Saint” written around it. Well the Ducks won 3-2 in overtime on Sunday to advance to the Western Conference final and the fan made good on his promise. (Bar Down)

With Alex Ovechkin guaranteeing a Washington Capitals win in Game 7 tonight, Matt Larkin over at The Hockey News looks at the history of guaranteeing victory in sports. (The Hockey News)

Speaking of Ovechkin’s guarantee, Caps’ coach Barry Trotz applauded his captain for the confident comments.

A fan used his new Apple Watch to track his heart rate during the Rangers’ Game 6 victory on Sunday. (Puck Daddy)

According to Keith Jones, a combination of time off and confidence from Game 6 could prove beneficial for the Capitals especially against a Rangers team full of momentum.

Trotz: ‘We weren’t good enough to win this hockey game’

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The Washington Capitals were out-shot 15-4 and fell behind 2-0 in the opening period of Game 2 on Saturday afternoon – that was the difference in the eyes of coach Barry Trotz.

“We didn’t play our best game for 60 minutes. You can’t get away with that. You can’t get around that. You’ve got to go through those things so full credit to them,” said Trotz. “We weren’t good enough to win this hockey game. The Rangers deserved to win the hockey game.

“To me, it was our start, it was our degree of desperation level… it was higher on their side than it was on ours. They capitalized on that.”

Chris Kreider opened the scoring 38-seconds into the first and Dan Boyle had his first of the playoffs giving New York an early lead at MSG.

“I think after what happened [Thursday], we were all upset,” said Henrik Lundqvist. “I was really annoyed and it really bothered me, so you try to use that energy to bring it over into this game and be determined that we need this one. I think the first period we played one of our better periods.”

Washington out-shot New York 28-20 in the final 40 minutes including 12-8 in the third period, but was unable to find the equalizer falling 3-2.

“I think we matchup very well, I think there’s some things that they do extremely well, I think there’s some things we can do a little bit better, if we do that, then who knows? The series can turn on a dime some times,” said Trotz.

“I think we’re two teams that are quite evenly matched. It’ll be interesting coming back in our building.”

Jason Chimera, who assisted on Evgeny Kuznetsov’s fourth of the playoffs, agreed the start was the difference.

“A slow start hurt us,” Chimera said. “Anytime you dig yourself a 2-0 hole in a building like this, it’s hard to come back. (In) afternoon games, you have to get up for them. You have to get ready.

“You have to have a short memory in the playoffs. Hopefully we can come back in our barn. We have home ice and we have to take advantage of that.”

Game 3 goes Monday night at the Verizon Center.

Rangers hang on, even series with Caps

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Entering Saturday’s game between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers much of the talk centered around the standard of officiating in the playoffs.

Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t happy with how things ended in Game 1 following Nicklas Backstrom’s hit on Dan Boyle. Barry Trotz told reporters on Saturday morning he didn’t feel things changed much in the postseason.

Officiating took a back seat to the goaltending performances by Braden Holtby and Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2.

Lundqvist made 30 saves back-stopping the Rangers to a 3-2 win evening the series at 1-1.

Holtby finished with 32 saves in the loss.

“(Holtby) kept us in the first. We weren’t good, we weren’t winning any races, but he’s grown as a goaltender, and he will continue to grow,” said Trotz.”He’s just entering the prime of his career right now. There’s a lot of good things that he’s learned this year and he will to continue to learn.”

The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Rangers in Game 2s on home ice dating back to 1996.

Chris Kreider and Boyle gave New York a 2-0 lead after one period.

Boyle’s goal, which came with Joel Ward off for hooking, was the first power play goal allowed by the Capitals in these playoffs.

Evgeny Kuznetsov’s fourth of the playoffs got the Caps on the board in the second period.

Derick Brassard scored the eventual game-winner at 6:07 of the third.

Alex Ovechkin scored in highlight-reel fashion to pull the Caps to within one midway through the third; however, there were no last-second heroics from Washington on Saturday afternoon.

“I thought they had some good looks at the end there. Hank had to come up with a couple big saves,” said Vigneault of the final minutes. “They pulled their goaltender and they were coming at us with everything they’ve got.

“Our guys were working real hard and every time we were real close to getting it out, they were finding a way to pull it back in. It was a tough last couple minutes.”

New York’s last eight playoff wins have all been by one goal.

Game 3 goes Monday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. You can catch the game at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.