Pittsburgh Penguins

J.P. Parise passes away at 73

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J.P. Parise, a two-time NHL All-Star and father of Minnesota Wild alternate captain Zach Parise, died on Wednesday night following a battle with lung cancer.

Originally signed by Boston, Parise spent two seasons with the Bruins before moving to Toronto, then Minnesota — and it was with the North Stars where he made his biggest impact, representing the club at the 1970 and ’73 ASGs while also earning a spot on Team Canada at the 1972 Summit Series, playing on a line with Phil Esposito.

Parise finished his career with stints on Long Island and Cleveland before moving onto coaching within the Minnesota organization. Following his time with the Stars, Parise then moved on to become the head coach and hockey director for the famed Shattuck-Saint Mary’s high school program, which produced the likes of his son Zach, Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.

More, from the Star-Tribune:

Zach Parise, who signed a 13-year contract with the Wild in 2012, found out his father had lung cancer when he returned from captaining the 2014 U.S. Olympic hockey team in Sochi, Russia, in February.

J.P. Parise had gone to a doctor because of kidney stones that winter when his cancer was diagnosed. A heavy smoker before quitting in 1973, he survived prostate cancer in 1999.

“I’m 72 years old,” J.P. Parise told the Star Tribune in September. “The average life here is what, 75, 76, 77? I might end up in the middle of things,” he said, laughing. “That’s life. If someone was to tell you today that you’re going to be going at 77, 78, you’d say, ‘Boy, that’s not bad.’

“I never think of this shortening my life, this shortening anything I’m going to do. I’m still going to travel, I’m still going to watch hockey.”

Earlier this week, the Star-Tribune reported that Parise had stopped chemotherapy treatments. Zach then missed Tuesday’s game against San Jose to be with his father.

Update: A statement from the Parise family, courtesy the Wild…

After a brave battle with lung cancer, J.P. Parise passed away peacefully at home Wednesday night with his family by his side. We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from family, friends and the entire hockey community during this difficult time. J.P. was a great husband, father and grandpa and will be greatly missed by all of us.

And here’s the statement from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman…

The National Hockey League family mourns the passing and cherishes the memory of J.P. Parise. Especially in his adopted home state of Minnesota, J.P. was a consummate player, teacher and administrator in the game. The Parise name has been prominent in Minnesota hockey since the 1960s, and J.P.’s commitment and passion for the NHL lives on through his son, Zach. The NHL sends heartfelt condolences to J.P.’s family, to his friends, to the Minnesota Wild organization and to all the organizations J.P. represented with such passion.

Video: Penguins goal waved off due to contact with the goalie

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The Pittsburgh Penguins appeared to have the go-ahead goal against the Boston Bruins in the second period, but it was waved off due to what officials declared as incidental contact with the goalie.

Penguins’ center Zach Sill was going to the net, when he bumped into Boston’s goalie Tuukka Rask by Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid. Craig Adams’ shot went back a fallen Rask but the goal was immediately waved off, keeping the score 1-1. The Bruins, however, took the lead into the third period.

Video: Crosby, Giroux give sledge hockey players surprise of a lifetime

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Check out a pretty cool clip that’s making the rounds — a bevy of NHL stars (including Sidney Crosby and Claude Giroux) dropping in to play sledge hockey with a few unsuspecting players:

Cool moment, and was pretty clear the sledge guys taught the NHLers a thing or two about the finer points of their game:

For more on the Cruisers sledge hockey program, click here.

Get your game notes: Bruins at Penguins

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the Boston Bruins at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

TOP STORYLINES

• Boston’s struggles: Since the start of December, Boston has won just 5 of 16 games (5-6-5).

• The B’s enter having dropped 4 of their last 5 games (1-1-3), including their last 3 – all in OT/SO.

• The Bruins (44 points) are 5th in the Atlantic Division, and trail TOR by 1 point for the 2nd Wild Card spot. On Tuesday, new Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs had critical remarks for the team’s performance this season: “I’d say without question this has been a very disappointing year. It’s unacceptable the way this team has performed given the amount of time, money and effort that’s been spent on this team. To see it deliver the way it has is unacceptable.”

• BOS is coming off a 2-1 (SO) loss at CAR on Sunday.

• Patrice Bergeron netted the lone goal for Boston.

• Tied 1-1 after 2 periods, the Bruins managed just 2 shots in the 3rd period, and finished with 20 in the game for their 3rd-lowest total of the season (BOS was outshot 36-20).

• BOS has not allowed more goals than it has scored in a season since 2007-08. That season, the Bruins qualified for the playoffs as the 8th seed in the East and lost in the Conference Quarterfinals.

• Pittsburgh also hitting a snag: The Pens have just 2 wins in their last 7 games (2-4-1)…

• PIT is coming off a 4-1 loss vs. MTL last Saturday.

• David Perron – acquired from EDM last Friday for Rob Klinkhammer and a 2015 1st round pick – scored the lone PIT goal in his Penguins debut.

• PIT (53 points) is tied in points with NYI for the Metropolitan Division lead (with one game in hand) – those two teams trail only TB and MTL in the Eastern Conference.

• The Pens have won their division each of the past 2 seasons

• Of key players, currently forwards Patric Hornqvist (lower-body), Blake Comeau (wrist), Pascal Dupuis (blood clots), and defensemen Olli Maatta (shoulder) and Paul Martin (undisclosed) are all on IR.

• Martin practiced on Tuesday and coach Mike Johnston said the trainers believe Martin is “really close” to returning. He hasn’t played since Dec. 18.

• The Penguins are 15-1-1 when scoring on the power play this season, but just 1-for-15 in their last 6 games with the man-advantage.

HEAD TO HEAD

• Nov. 24 at BOS: PIT def. BOS 3-2 (OT)

• Evgeni Malkin tied the game at 2 with a power-play goal midway through the 2nd period before scoring the OT-winner 32 seconds into the extra frame.

• Sidney Crosby had a goal and assisted on both of Malkin’s tallies.

• Milan Lucic and Joe Morrow scored 28 seconds apart early in the 2nd for BOS.

• This game was the 300th career victory for Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, making him the 3rd-fastest and 3rd-youngest goalie to reach the milestone.

BOSTON TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• Patrice Bergeron leads the Bruins in assists (20) and points (28). He scored the lone Bruins goal in the loss to Carolina, and has 6 points (2G-4A) in his last 6 games.

• Bergeron: “We’re halfway in, and we’re not in the playoffs. It’s definitely unacceptable.”

• Loui Eriksson has played well of late, with 10 points (4G-6A) and a +6 rating in his last 9 games.

• Overall, Eriksson is 3rd on the team with 25 points (9G-16A).

• Career vs. PIT: Eriksson has 11 points (5G-6A) in 10 GP.

• Brad Marchand leads the Bruins in goals (11), and he is the only Bruin with 10+ goals this season.

• Vancouver (Radim Vrbata – 16 goals) and Buffalo (Zemgus Girgensons – 11) are the only other NHL teams that have just one 10+ goal scorer this season.

• Milan Lucic scored 24 goals in 80 games last season, but he has just 6 in 39 GP so far this season.

• Lucic is in the middle of an 8-game goal drought, and he has just 1 goal in his last 15 games.

• David Krejci will play in his 10th game since returning to the lineup following a month-long absence (groin).

• Krejci led the Bruins in scoring in October (9 points), and has 4 points (1G-3A) in his last 4 games.

• Zdeno Chara is also trying to find his stride since returning to the lineup last month from a knee injury that sidelined him for 19 games.

• Chara has 5 points (all assists) in the 12 games since returning, but is without a point in his last 4.

• Career vs. PIT: Chara has 16 goals vs. PIT – his most vs. any NHL opponent – along with 15 assists.

• Tuukka Rask has made 4 straight starts for Boston, getting at least 1 point in each (1-0-3). However, he has been the hard-luck loser in the past 3 games, dropping 2 in a shootout and one in overtime.

• The reigning Vezina Trophy winner stopped 35 of 36 shots in the SO loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday.

• Rask hadn’t allowed 1 or fewer goals in a game since Nov. 28 – a span of 13 games.

PITTSBURGH TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• Evgeni Malkin is one of just 3 Pens to have played in all 39 games this season (Nick Spaling, Rob Scuderi).

• Malkin leads the team in goals (17 – T-9th in NHL) and is tied for the team lead in points with Sidney Crosby (43 – T-6th in NHL).

• Malkin leads the team in power play goals (8 – T-5th in NHL).

• Malkin has just 2 points in his last 5 games (1 goal, 1 assist in 6-3 win vs. TB last Friday).

• Career vs. BOS: Malkin has 28 points (13G-15A) in 24 GP.

• Sidney Crosby may be locating his scoring touch. He has 6 points (1G-5A) in his last 4 games, including a 4-assist game in the win over Tampa Bay.

• Crosby is tied with Malkin for the team lead in points (43 – T-6th in NHL).

• Career vs. BOS: Crosby has 38 points (11G-27A) in 26 GP.

• PIT acquired David Perron from EDM last Friday in exchange for Rob Klinkhammer and a 2015 1st round pick. The 8-year NHL veteran scored the lone Penguins goal in his debut last Saturday in the 4-1 loss to MTL.

• In 38 games with EDM this season, Perron had 19 points (5G-14A).

• Last season, Perron had a career-high 28 goals and 57 points.

• Perron was a 2007 1st round pick (26th overall) by STL.

• In Patric Hornqvist and Pascal Dupuis absences, Steve Downie has benefitted from playing alongside Sidney Crosby on the top line.

• Downie has as many points (10) in his last 8 games as he did in his previous 26 to start the season:

• Marc-Andre Fleury only has 1 win in his last 6 starts (1-3-1, 3.16 GAA, .898 SV%), but the 30-year-old is still having his best season statistically as a pro.

• His 6 shutouts through 31 games lead the NHL, and are already his career-best for a season. His 2.18 GAA and .926 SV% this season would be his best season averages in his 11-season career (current bests: 2.32 GAA in 2010-11, .921 SV% in 2007-08).

• Career vs. BOS: Fleury is 12-6-3 with a 2.30 GAA and .922 SV%.

Goalie nods: Holtby to make 22nd straight appearance, matching Caps record

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All the latest from the blue paint…

All Braden, all the time

Braden Holtby will be in goal for the Capitals tonight, making history in the process:

The streak began back on Nov. 18, when Holtby was in goal for a 2-1 OT win over Arizona. Since then Backup Justin Peters has seen a grand total of 40 minutes of action; in a 6-2 loss to Toronto in late October, Peters started but was hooked in favor of Holtby after the first period, only to be re-inserted for the final frame.

Peters hasn’t played since.

As the above suggests, Caps head coach Barry Trotz has given Holtby a full vote of confidence as the No. 1 netminder this year, and the 25-year-old has responded well with an 18-8-6 record, .920 save percentage and 2.30 GAA. He’s also won three of his last four starts, including the Winter Classic over Chicago on Jan. 1.

For Toronto, Jonathan Bernier will be in goal.

Elsewhere…

Bruins at Pens: Marc-Andre Fleury for Pittsburgh, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston

Wings at Flames: Petr Mrazek vs. Karri Ramo

Rangers at Ducks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Ilya Bryzgalov