Wednesday Rivalry Night

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NHL on NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry: Rangers host Capitals

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with Wednesday Night Rivalry as the New York Rangers play host to the Washington Capitals at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

The NHL’s Christmas break is over and now we begin the quick one month sprint until the next break for all 31 teams — the All-Star Game in Tampa in late January.

Teams will begin having their bye weeks in January, so there will be plenty of rest time for players over the next month, which is good because bad hockey is baaaaadwhile good hockey can be oh so good.

The Capitals and Rangers resume action on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden separated by four points in the crazy Metropolitan Division. Points are always important, but especially so after Christmas and even moreso in that division this season when a win could help you jump from out of the playoffs into a postseason spot.

Just look at this and realize that the last-place Philadelphia Flyers would be fourth in the Atlantic right now:

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It’s going to be real interesting to see how that division shakes out with a potential five teams getting into the dance in April. It will also be fun to watch the Metro’s general managers wheel and deal before the Feb. 26 trade deadline should they feel they need to add in order to secure or maintain playoff position.

[WATCH WEDNESDAY NIGHT RIVALRY LIVE – 8PM ET]

It’ll likely be a battle of the backups tonight as Philipp Grubauer vs. Ondrej Pavelec are expected to start.

After the game be sure to stick around on NBCSN for the third episode of Rangers-Sabres “Road to the Winter Classic” at 11:30 p.m. ET.

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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.

McAvoy has goal, assist as Bruins top Lightning 3-2

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Charlie McAvoy had a goal and added a helper as the Boston Bruins knocked off the NHL’s top team in a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night on NBCSN.

The resurgent Bruins have now won five of their past six games after losing their previous four and leapfrogged the Detroit Red Wings into third place in the Atlantic Division.

Boston welcomed some reinforcements on Wednesday with the return of Brad Marchand, who had missed eight of the past 10 games for Boston, and David Backes, who had been out since Oct. 30 because of colon surgery.

Marchand chipped in with two assists, one on McAvoy’s opener and a second on Riley Nash’s slick wrist shot to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead after a 19-shot performance in the first period.

The Bruins continued the shelling in the second, firing 13-more on Andrei Vasilevskiy, who played a stellar game despite the result, finishing with 33 saves.

After two periods, Boston had outshot the Lightning 32-12, but Andrej Sustr was able to pot his first of the season to cut Boston’s lead to 3-1 after Torey Krug scored what eventually would be the game-winning goal to make it 3-0.

Tampa Bay played with a little more purpose in the third period and Steven Stamkos retained NHL points lead with his 11th goal of the season on a nice tic-tac-toe play in the third period.

Stamkos (37 points) leads teammate Kucherov by one point. Kucherov assisted on Stamkos’ marker, giving him at least one point in 20 of 25 games this season.

Tuukka Rask stood tall, stopping nine third period shots for just his fourth win of the season.

The Lightning has lost four of their past six games but remains atop of the Eastern Conference with 36 points.


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

Sergei Bobrovsky’s 34 saves help Blue Jackets top Sabres

A second period outburst that saw three goals in a span of 2:59 powered the Columbus Blue Jackets by the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 Wednesday night.

Sergei Bobrovsky stood tall, stopping 34 shots to record his first win since Oct. 14 and thirteen Blue Jackets recorded a point. Seth Jones, Nick Foligno and Matt Calvert all scored in the middle frame to blow things open and help sink the Sabres to their sixth defeat of the season.

Columbus took advantage of their first power play of the game when Oliver Bjorkstrand wristed a shot by Chad Johnson midway through the first period:

While staving off the Sabres’ attack, Seth Jones gave the Blue Jackets a little breathing room late in the second as they capitalized on a 4-on-3 break:

It was the fourth time this season that the Blue Jackets have scored three goals in a single period.

According to the NHL, the win helped Columbus (6-3-0) match their best nine-game start to a season in franchise history. It also snaps a two-game slide as they prepare for three games in four nights beginning Friday against the Winnipeg Jets.

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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.

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WATCH LIVE: Sabres at Blue Jackets

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The Buffalo Sabres are looking to win three games in a row for the first time since last Feb. 14-18 as they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets. Coming off a 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night, Phil Housley’s charges will face a well-rested Columbus team that hasn’t played since Saturday night and are looking to snap a two-game skid.

You can watch tonight’s game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET), or online via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick leads Blues over Blackhawks

Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.

Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.

After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.

As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.

St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.

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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.