Sidney Crosby

Get your game notes: Lightning at Penguins

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Despite TB and PIT’s recent struggles, these two teams are atop the Eastern Conference:

• With 42 points, PIT leads the Eastern Conference through 29 games played, and has a 2-point lead on the Islanders for the Metropolitan Division lead.

• With a win tonight, the Pens would tie their best start through 30 games (44 points) in franchise
history. They also had 44 points through 30 games in the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season.

• This marks the first of a 3-game home stand for PIT, who is coming off a 4-3 (SO) loss at CBJ on Sat.
Pittsburgh, who started the season 13-3-1, has since only won half of its past 12 games (6-3-3).

• TB enters tonight on its worst stretch of play this season having dropped 3 of its last 4 games (1-3-0), but with 41 points, the Lightning are tied with Detroit for the Atlantic Division lead and the 2nd overall spot in the East.

• Tampa Bay’s 41 points and 19 wins through 31 games are both franchise records.

• Tonight’s game is the 2nd of a 5-game East-Coast road trip after TB lost 4-2 at WSH on Saturday.

• The Lightning have now lost 4 of their last 5 road games (1-3-1).

• PIT looks to extend winning streak vs. TB: PIT is riding a 9-game win streak vs. TB, as well as a 7-game home winning streak vs. the Lightning…

• TB last beat the Pens on Nov. 17, 2011, a 4-1 win in Tampa.

• TB last beat the Pens in Pittsburgh on Mar. 31, 2010, a 2-0 win.

• PIT’s 9-game winning streak vs. TB is the team’s longest active win streak vs. any opponent, and tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak any team has against another team in the NHL.

• Pittsburgh Captain F Sidney Crosby now has the mumps: He was diagnosed on Sunday…

• Crosby sat out the Pens’ previous two games for precautionary reasons before being officially diagnosed on Sunday. He will be out for at least tonight’s game, although the team said today that Crosby has passed the contagious phase and is no longer infectious.

• Crosby and NYR F Derick Brassard became the 13th and 14th confirmed cases within the NHL yesterday; the two faced off in the PIT-NYR game last Monday.

• Power play struggles: Both PIT (26.3%; 2nd in NHL) and TB (21.7%; 9th) rank in the top-10 league-wide on the PP, but both units have been slumping of late…

• PIT has gone 0-10 in its last 3 games, and just 1-23 in its last 8 games.

• Malkin is tied for the NHL lead with 8 power play goals (w/ 3 others)

• TB went 0-4 on the PP on Sat. against WSH, and is just 2-19 in its last 6 games

• The Lightning are 16-0-1 when scoring on the man-advantage this season.


• Captain F Steven Stamkos missed 45 games last season with a broken leg, but he has played in all 31 of TB’s games this season.

• Stamkos leads the team in goals (17; T-3rd in NHL), points (34; T-5th), and power play goals (6; T-7th).

• With his goal against the Capitals on Dec. 9, Stamkos became the 10th-youngest player in NHL history to reach the 250-goal milestone (24 years, 305 days).

• Stamkos has 22 points (8G-14A) in 21 career GP vs. PIT.

• After a rookie campaign that earned him a Calder Trophy nomination with 24G-26A, F Tyler Johnson is improving on his numbers from a season ago.

• Through 31 games, Johnson leads the team in assists (21), plus/minus (+17), and ranks 2nd in points (30).

• Johnson’s +17 rating is T-2nd in the NHL (Filip Forsberg – NSH; +24).

• Johnson has 9 points (3G-6A) in his last 9 games.

• F Nikita Kucherov is another 2nd-year player improving on his 2013-14 numbers.

• Kucherov has already surpassed his 9G-9A in 52 games last season with 11G-15A through 31 games this season.

• His 26 points are 3rd on the team (Stamkos, Johnson).

•  G Ben Bishop has lost 3 straight games, all in regulation, his worst stretch of play this season:

• Those 3 losses have come against WSH (twice) and CBJ.

• Bishop has never lost 4 straight games in regulation.

• This season, Bishop is 16-6-2 with a 2.34 GAA and .914 SV%.

• Bishop only has 3 career appearances (all starts – split between OTT and TB) vs. PIT, but he is 0-2-0 with a 4.43 GAA and .876 SV% in those games (11 goals against).


• F Evgeni Malkin had an assist in the loss to CBJ on Saturday to extend his point streak to 4 games (3G-3A).

• Malkin ranks 3rd in the NHL in scoring this season (36 points), trailing Jakub Voracek (37) and Tyler Seguin (38).

• Malkin – the 2012 Hart (MVP) and Art Ross (top scorer) Trophy winner – leads PIT in goals (15) and points (36) this season.

• D Kris Letang had a pair of goals on Saturday against Columbus – a shorthanded goal in the 3rd period and the game-tying goal with 10.9 seconds remaining later in the 3rd.

• Letang now has a goal in each of his past 3 games for the first time in his career, and he extended his point streak to a season-high 5 games (4G, 4A).

• Letang has 7G, 14A in 24 GP this season. His 21 points are 8th among NHL defensemen.

• F Blake Comeau scored the other PIT goal on Saturday vs. CBJ. Comeau has goals in consecutive games and now has 10 on the season in just 28 games. His 10 goals are 3rd on the team this season.

• All of Comeau’s 10 goals have come at even-strength, tops on the Penguins.

• Comeau scored 5 goals all of last season, playing in 61 games for Columbus.

• Comeau had career highs in goals (24) and points (46) as a member of the Islanders in 2010-11.

• G Marc-Andre Fleury had the night off on Sat. vs. CBJ; he saved 26 of 27 shots Fri. night in a 3-1 W vs. CGY.

• Fleury is 7-1-2 in his last 10 starts.

• Overall this season, Fleury is 16-4-2 with a 2.10 GAA, .926 SV%, and 5 SO. His 16 wins are T-3rd in the NHL and his 5 shutouts are T-1st (Henrik Lundqvist – NYR).

• Fleury is 15-10-3 with a 2.39 GAA and .911 SV% in 30 career games (28 starts) vs. TB.

Pens quarantine Bennett due to mumps symptoms


Another Pittsburgh Penguin is showing signs of the mumps — forward Beau Bennett, who has been quarantined by the club, per GM Jim Rutherford:

Bennet’s test results are expected back on Tuesday. News of this latest mumps case comes in the wake of Sidney Crosby’s diagnosis with same virus — a confirmation that came after he showed up at the Pens’ facility with a rather swollen-looking jaw.

In response to Crosby’s appearance, the Penguins offered this up on Monday…

But also this…

Related: Penguins doctor: Crosby’s mumps ‘came about as a bit of a surprise’

NHL on NBCSN: East’s elite meet as Penguins host Lightning

1 Comment

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Consol Energy Center at 7:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

Even with Sidney Crosby swollen and sidelined, hockey fans should be in for a treat when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.

Plenty of star power, plenty of players fans should get to know better

Including Crosby, there are 13 players in the NHL with at least 30 points, and four of them play for these two teams: Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson.

Some casual fans probably look at the Lightning as Stamkos, maybe Victor Hedman and quite a few anonymous players, but the truth is that Tampa Bay is one of the deepest team in the East (if not the NHL).

Johnson quietly has 30 points in 31 contests as he has enjoyed great chemistry on a fantastic line with Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. The Lightning might have to go without Palat today, however, so both teams will be missing a noteworthy forward.

In other words, there should be no shortage of star wattage tonight, even with key injuries in mind.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $1,400. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Cream of the conference crop

Each team currently stands on top of its respective division; the Penguins are 19-6-4 for 42 standings points while the Bolts are 19-9-3 for 41.

The Lightning have been stumbling a bit lately, as they’ve dropped four of six games, including a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday. This represents thes second contest of a five-game road trip.

The Penguins have been trading wins and losses lately, most recently dropping a 4-3 shootout decision in a thriller against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

There’s a solid chance we’ll see a showdown between Marc-Andre Fleury and Ben Bishop, two clear No. 1 goalies who have enjoyed strong starts to their 2014-15 campaigns. Whatever the case may be, the men in net are likely to be tested often tonight.

Last season, the Penguins went 3-0-0 against the Lightning. Will Tampa Bay make something of a statement by beating one of the East’s best? We’ll see on NBCSN.

Rangers’ Brassard diagnosed with mumps


The Rangers announced Sunday evening that forward Derick Brassard has been sent back to New York with a suspected case of the mumps.

Brassard, who had two assists in the Rangers’ 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night, travelled with the team to Edmonton where New York plays the Oilers tonight.

Brassard is just the latest player to be diagnosed.

Sunday morning the Pittsburgh Penguins announced captain Sidney Crosby will miss Monday’s game due to the mumps.

According to Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault, Brassard could’ve contracted the mumps from Crosby.

“He went head to head with Sid Monday,” he said. “Maybe Sid gave them to him.”

With Brassard out, Tanner Glass, who was a healthy scratch Saturday night, will play against the Oilers.

Related: Penguins GM admits he’s worried about mumps spreading

Penguins doctor: Crosby’s mumps ‘came about as a bit of a surprise’


However you speculate about how the Pittsburgh Penguins handled Sidney Crosby’s case of mumps, they’re at least being fairly transparent about the situation (right now).

The team shared a detailed feature on the situation, including some insight from the team’s head physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas.

“It came about as a bit of a surprise to us,” Dr. Vyas said Sunday afternoon. “Every indication was that he was well protected against the disease.”

Here’s the team’s timeline for Crosby’s mumps, verbatim:

Illness Timeline

Pre-Winter Olympics, 2014

Crosby is given immunization and a booster shot to protect against diseases, including the mumps, prior to leaving for Sochi, Russia.

Nov. 24-28

Entire Penguins team was immunized and tested for mumps as an outbreak continues to grow in the NHL.

Nov. 28 vs. Carolina

Crosby suffered an injury to the right side of his neck – the salivary gland. He was tested with a CT scan and for mumps. All blood tests came back negative. Was given medication to bring swelling down.

Dec. 10-11

When medication for the salivary gland was stopped, Crosby developed swelling next to the injured area. Another series of tests, including mumps, were conducted. The tests showed no indication of an infection.

Crosby showed no symptoms of mumps such as fever, chills or generalized body aches.

Dec. 12 vs. Calgary

Crosby’s swelling and condition worsened. Crosby’s DNA was sent to the CDC for a sophisticated test. He was held out of the game until the CDC test results come back.

Dec. 13 at Columbus

Crosby’s CDC test results came back positive for mumps.

Friday, Dec. 12 is maybe the most interesting day in that timeline, as that’s when the 27-year-old was cleared to practice with teammates. It’s also when this jarring image surfaced:


Yeah, it certainly seems like his swelling had “worsened” by then.

Crosby is now being quarantined by CDC guidelines, yet there’s the concern that mumps already spread through the Penguins team and maybe beyond.

Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this, as the league seemingly cannot shake the mumps.