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The Buzzer: Merry Christmas Edition

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Players of the Night:

Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders: Barzal recorded his first career NHL hat trick against the Winnipeg Jets and took over the rookie scoring lead with 35 points. Not a bad day.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks, James Reimer, Florida Panthers, Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights, and Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks: Each of these goaltenders recorded shutouts on Saturday night. Vasilevskiy got his fourth of the season, stopping 22 shots to tie Sergei Bobrovsky for the NHL lead in shutouts; Gibson made 29 saves, including one you will see below on Sidney Crosby; Reimer stopped all 38 shots sent his way by the Ottawa Senators; Fleury kept the Capitals in check, stopping 26 shots for his first shutout of the season; and Jones dethroned the Kings, stopping all 28 shots he faced.

Dallas Stars penalty killers: The Stars appeared dead in the water after Jamie Benn and Dan Hamhuis took penalties in overtime against the Nashville Predators, but Ben Bishop and Co. weathered the storm, which included 31 seconds of 5-on-3 time, and ended up taking the game in a shootout on Tyler Seguin‘s winner.

Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks: Kane became the fifth player in Blackhawks history to record his 300th NHL goal on Saturday.

Highlights of the Night:

John Gibson did this to Sidney Crosby tonight:

Barzal’s hatty deserves its spot here:

Taylor Hall scored on this ridiculous deke. Poor Anton Forsberg:

Alexander Radulov‘s shootout goal was pretty filthy:

Factoids of the Night: 

More Barzal:

Vegas keeps, well, Vegasing.

Brock Boeser smashes Pavel Bure’s record by 15 games:

“Merry Christmas to me,” Brock Boeser said, probably.

MISC: 

Scores: 

Bruins 3, Red Wings 1

Islanders 5, Jets 2

Oilers 4, Canadiens 1

Lightning 3, Wild 0

Panthers 1, Senators 0

Devils 4, Blackhawks 1

Ducks 4, Penguins 0

Hurricanes 4, Sabres 2

Blue Jackets 2, Flyers 1 (SO)

Golden Knights 3, Capitals 0

Avalanche 6, Coyotes 2

Stars 4, Predators 3 (SO)

Sharks 2, Kings 0

Blues 3, Canucks 1

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone!


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

Sabres owners purchase women’s league Buffalo Beauts

Gary Wiepert, File/AP
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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Sabres and Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula are expanding their sports holdings by purchasing the National Women’s Hockey League Buffalo Beauts in a first-of-its-kind sale for the 3-year-old professional league.

The Pegulas will become the first private owners to have full control of one of the NWHL’s four franchises in a move that further expands the league’s ties to the NHL. Two months ago, the New Jersey Devils reached what was called ”a strategic alliance” with the Metropolitan Riveters in which they also gained partial ownership of the team.

The NWHL operates its two other franchises in Boston and Connecticut.

The defending champion Beauts already had ties with the Sabres in playing home games at the Pegula-operated HarborCenter hockey and entertainment facility.

Kim Pegula says the purchase represents her and Terry’s commitment in contributing to the growth of women’s hockey.

NWHL founder and commissioner Dani Rylan described the purchase as a significant step for women’s hockey.

The Pegulas’ purchase of the Beauts has the potential of providing the young league financial stability a year after the NWHL was forced to cut player salaries.

The Buzzer: Eichel hat trick, Schneider robbery, Gaborik’s 1,000th game

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Players of the Night: 

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres: Eichel ended a four-game goal-less drought with some authority on Friday. After scoring in the first period, Eichel watched as his Sabres blew a 2-1 lead to trail 4-2 with 10 minutes to go. Eichel then turned on overdrive, scoring twice in 10 seconds to tie the game and force overtime. Sadly, his efforts were in vain as the Carolina Hurricanes got the winner 2:15 into the extra frame. It’s Eichel’s first career NHL hat trick.

Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils: What an inspirational story Boyle has been this year. On Friday, Boyle scored twice, including the game winner, to bring his goal total to eight on the season. His second of the night was also his 100th of his career.

Highlights of the Night:

Eichel showed a good bit of patience on his hat trick goal:

Cory Schneider committed robbery on this save:

Sam Gagner scored on a pretty backhand deke to give the Vancouver Canucks the win in overtime, ending a four-game losing streak:

Factoid of the Night: 

MISC: 

Scores: 

Hurricanes 5, Sabres 4 (OT)

Devils 5, Stars 2

Rangers 4, Kings 2

Red Wings 3, Maple Leafs 1

Canucks 4, Sharks 3 (OT)


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

Watch the first episode of Sabres-Rangers ‘Road to the Winter Classic’

Winter Classic - Sabres vs Rangers
NHL
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We’re less than two weeks away from the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers meeting on a hockey rink at CitiField in New York for the 2018 Winter Classic.

This is the 10th anniversary of the game, typically played on New Year’s Day, and features one of the teams that took part in the inaugural event against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008. The Penguins would win that one 2-1 after a shootout during a snowy day Ralph Wilson Stadium. Memories were created that afternoon in Buffalo, but so was a staple event on the NHL’s annual calendar.

With participation in the Winter Classic comes the requirement of starring in the all-access show that follows both teams leading up to the New Year’s Day game. This season, “Road to the Winter Classic” has moved to NBCSN. The first episode premiered Wednesday night and will air each week NBCSN, Sportsnet and NHL Network.

You can watch the first full episode here

“Road To The NHL Winter Classic” presented by Honda on NBCSN (all times Eastern)

Premiere – Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 11:30 p.m. immediately following Boston Bruins-Detroit Red Wings
Episode 2 – Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 11:30 p.m. immediately following Detroit Red Wings-Philadelphia Flyers
Episode 3 – Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 11:30 p.m. immediately following Washington Capitals-New York Rangers
Episode 4 – Sunday, Jan. 7 at 11 p.m. immediately following Boston Bruins-Pittsburgh Penguins

“Road To The NHL Winter Classic” presented by Honda on Sportsnet (all times Eastern)

Premiere – Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.
Episode 2 – Friday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m.
Episode 3 – Thursday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.
Episode 4 – Friday, January 5 at 7 pm (SN1)

“Road To The NHL Winter Classic” presented by Honda on NHL Network (all times Eastern)

Episode 1 – Sunday, Dec. 17 at 10 p.m.
Episode 2 – Sunday, Dec. 24 at 10 p.m.
Episode 3 – Sunday, Dec. 31 immediately following live World Junior Championship coverage (approximately 10:30 p.m.)
Episode 4 – Monday, Jan. 8 at 10 p.m.

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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.

NHL ‘Road to the Winter Classic’ coming to NBCSN

Winter Classic - Sabres vs Rangers
NHL
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The critically-acclaimed Road To The NHL Winter Classic presented by Honda behind-the-scenes series will return to take viewers inside the dressing rooms and homes of the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers as they prepare to meet outdoors in the 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on Jan. 1 at Citi Field in New York, the National Hockey League (NHL®) announced today. Produced by 53-time Emmy® award winner Ross Greenburg in partnership with NHL Original Productions, the four-week, 30-minute limited series will premiere on Wednesday, Dec. 13 in the U.S. on NBCSN at 11:30 p.m. ET immediately following the Boston Bruins-Detroit Red Wings game on Wednesday Night Rivalry, and on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. ET in Canada on Sportsnet before the Pittsburgh Penguins-Vegas Golden Knights game telecast.

The Road To The NHL Winter Classic docuseries has become an integral part of the NHL Winter Classicexperience for fans and teams alike,” said NHL Chief Content Officer and Executive Vice President Steve Mayer, who also serves as an Executive Producer for the series. “We are thrilled to showcase this great series with our partners who are broadcasting the game.  It’s a peek inside our world and we plan to take our fans behind the curtain more than ever before.”

“I’m excited to be part of the latest version of Road To The NHL Winter Classic,” said Greenburg. “I’m looking forward to working with the Sabres, Rangers and the NHL to give viewers a unique look as both teams prepare for January 1.”

Full episodes also will air on NHL Network™ and be available for viewing on NHL.com worldwide, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app in the U.S. and the Sportsnet app in Canada.

Both the Sabres and Rangers will be making their second appearance in the NHL Winter Classic®. Buffalo hosted the first-ever NHL Winter Classic® against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 2-1 shootout loss in front of 71,217 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Jan. 1, 2008. New York defeated the hometown Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park at the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on Jan. 2, 2012, by a score of 3-2.

The intrastate rivals have faced off in 177 regular-season games since the 1970-71 season, with the Sabresholding a 196-172 edge in points over the Rangers (BUF 81-62-34—196; NYR 71-76-30—172). In addition, the Sabres and Rangers have met twice in the Stanley Cup® Playoffs, with Buffalo winning both best-of-seven series, including their most recent matchup in the 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The 2018 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will be broadcast live on NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports at 1 p.m. ET, continuing the tradition the League established in 2008 of hosting a regular-season outdoor game at the onset of the new year, with this year’s edition marking the 10-year anniversary of the first NHL Winter Classic® in Buffalo. Fans can join the conversation at NHL #WinterClassic on Twitter at @NHL, @NHLonNBC and @Sportsnet.

“Road To The NHL Winter Classic” presented by Honda on NBCSN (all times Eastern)

Premiere – Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 11:30 p.m. immediately following Boston Bruins-Detroit Red Wings
Episode 2 – Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 11:30 p.m. immediately following Detroit Red Wings-Philadelphia Flyers
Episode 3 – Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 11:30 p.m. immediately following Washington Capitals-New York Rangers
Episode 4 – Sunday, Jan. 7 at 11 p.m. immediately following Boston Bruins-Pittsburgh Penguins

“Road To The NHL Winter Classic” presented by Honda on Sportsnet (all times Eastern)

Premiere – Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.
Episode 2 – Friday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m.
Episode 3 – Thursday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m.
Episode 4 – Friday, January 5 at 7 pm (SN1)

“Road To The NHL Winter Classic” presented by Honda on NHL Network (all times Eastern)

Episode 1 – Sunday, Dec. 17 at 10 p.m.
Episode 2 – Sunday, Dec. 24 at 10 p.m.
Episode 3 – Sunday, Dec. 31 immediately following live World Junior Championship coverage (approximately 10:30 p.m.)
Episode 4 – Monday, Jan. 8 at 10 p.m.