Who’s the greatest American-born NHL player of all-time? One Chicago columnist tabbed Chris Chelios, but there are plenty of great options, from leading scorer Mike Modano, Conn Smythe winner Brian Leetch and more. Mike Milbury and Keith Jones broached the subject tonight, but more than giving him a true rank, both analysts glowed about Chelios’ maniacal competitiveness and startling longevity.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
The 82-game regular season is a marathon for NHL teams, but at various points of the season you want to measure yourself up against a top team in your conference.
On Wednesday Night Hockey, the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals defeated the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins 3-2 at Capital One Arena.
John Carlson scored the go-ahead goal 4:42 into the third period to help propel the Capitals. T.J. Oshie scored twice and Braden Holtby made 30 saves as the Capitals collected their seventh win in the previous eight games.
David Pastrnak scored his NHL-leading 26th goal for Boston but the Bruins have dropped four consecutive games (0-3-1).
Oshie often overlooked
Since being acquired in July of 2015, Oshie has been a consistent offensive threat for the Capitals in the previous four-plus seasons. He has averaged 25.5 goals and added his 12th and 13th of this season in stellar fashion on Wednesday.
Oshie made a quick deke to his forehand before ringing a shot off the crossbar, but then finished his own rebound to even the score early in the second period.
Oshie gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead with a highlight-reel goal. The American forward danced around Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton before converting a nifty deke 3:30 after his first of the game.
While other players in Washington’s lineup receive credit for the Capitals’ strong play in recent years, Oshie should not be forgotten about as he has proven to be a key piece to the puzzle in Washington.
Pastrnak remains red-hot
The Czech winger has solidified himself as one the best pure goal scorers in the NHL today and recorded his 26th goal of the season on Wednesday. No. 88 is on pace for 67 goals this season and has helped the Boston Bruins secure a 10-point lead in the Atlantic Division.
Pastrnak tallied a short-side snipe to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead against the Capitals Wednesday. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy was able to complete a cross-ice pass because centerman Patrice Bergeron skated hard to the net in order to create an open passing lane.
If Pastrnak is able to continue this torrid pace, he could be in line to collect a lot of hardware at the NHL Awards show and help the Bruins collect a trophy they fell just short of last season.
The sign of dominance in any competitive sport is if you can continue to repeat an action while your opponent is aware of what is coming.
For Alex Ovechkin, his presence from the left circle throughout the course of his career has been spectacular. The captain of the Washington Capitals has recorded 299 of his 679 goals (44%) from the left circle or above. And since the 2012-13 season, 54% of his goals have come from that spot on the ice.
NHL teams will continue to game plan and know exactly where No. 8 will be on the ice, especially when Washington is on a power play, but his excellence from that area should be viewed in the same breath as Wayne Gretzky’s operation from behind the net.
Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado Avalanche. Coverage begins at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
The Flyers and Avalanche have both won six of their last seven games and each enter this matchup in playoff position in their respective conferences. This is the first of two meetings this season as these two will play at Philadelphia on Feb. 1.
Nathan MacKinnon, the first overall pick in 2013, is having another standout season. After MacKinnon’s breakout season in 2017-18 (39 goals, 97 points), he upped those totals last season with two more goals and this season he’s tracking towards another career-best year. MacKinnon ranks third in the NHL in points (47) and is tied for fourth in goals (19) this season.
Travis Konecny leads Philadelphia with 28 points this season and is tied with Oskar Lindblom for the team lead in goals (11). Konecny took a hard, open-ice hit from Mark Borowiecki late in the first period on Saturday and did not return – he’s out indefinitely with a concussion. The 22-year-old Konecny was having a career season, on pace for 30 goals and 76 points.
Sean Couturier (22 points), Claude Giroux (21) and Jakub Voracek (21) are next on the team in scoring. Couturier has scored 30-plus goals each of the last two seasons as he’s totaled 76 points both years (his career high). Giroux already has four game-winning goals this season (as many as he had all of last year). Voracek has five points in the last five games (all assists).
WHAT: Philadelphia Flyers at Colorado Avalanche
WHERE: Pepsi Center
WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 9:30 p.m. ET
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Flyers-Avalanche stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Starting goalie: Carter Hart
Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky – Nazem Kadri – Joonas Donskoi
Matt Calvert – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Valeri Nichushkin
Matt Nieto – J.T. Compher – Tyson Jost
Starting goalie: Pavel Francouz
Kathryn Tappen will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Patrick Sharp and Keith Jones and NHL insider Darren Dreger. Chris Cuthbert will handle play-by-play duties alongside Pierre McGuire at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.
The San Jose Sharks cut ties with head coach Peter DeBoer Wednesday evening. Bob Boughner will take over behind the Sharks bench on an interim basis.
San Jose has lost its last five games and currently sits in sixth place in the Pacific Division with a 15-16-2 record. The Sharks have been outscored 15-3 in the previous three games.
“When you have had a level of past success, change is never easy, but we feel this team is capable of much more than we have shown thus far and that a new voice is needed,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. “As a team and as individuals, our play has not met expectations this year and our level of consistency has not been where it needs to be. This group of individuals who will lead our team moving forward are very familiar with our players, and we think this change can provide our group with a fresh start.
“Under the leadership of Pete, along with Steve, Dave and Johan, our franchise accomplished some great things, culminating in reaching the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. We want to thank them for their contributions to our organization’s success over the last four years.”
DeBoer was not the only coaching change. Assistant coaches Steve Spott, Dave Barr and goaltending coach Johan Hedberg were also relieved of their duties.
Boughner will be the boss behind the bench and will be joined by associate coach Roy Sommer, assistant coach Mike Ricci and goaltending coach Evgeni Nabokov. Dan Darrow will remain in his current role of assistant coach, video.
The Sharks are the fifth team to make a coaching change this season along with the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and Toronto Maple Leafs.
San Jose will host the New York Rangers Thursday.
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
The top two teams in the NHL meet for the second of three matchups this regular season (Washington won 3-2 in a shootout on Nov. 16 at Boston). Both clubs have been on recent hot streaks, but each is coming off a loss in its most recent game on Monday night
Each of these teams has won the regular-season points crown in recent years – Boston 2013-14, Washington 2015-16 and 2016-17 – but in each case lost in Round 2 of the playoffs. A Presidents’ Trophy winner has not won the Stanley Cup since Chicago did it in 2012-13 and the last team to do it in a full season was Detroit in 2007-08. The Presidents’ Trophy winner has not made the Conference Finals since 2014-15 (New York Rangers).
Patrice Bergeron missed seven games with a lower-body injury and returned on Monday, scoring his first goal since Nov. 8 – Pastrnak and Marchand assisted on the goal. The B’s top-line center picked up right where he left off as he had seven points (all assists) in the final four games before his injury. Bergeron now has 25 points in 22 games this season.
Nicklas Backstrom returned on Monday after missing eight games with an upper- body injury. Like Bergeron, he also scored in his return (had an assist as well), and also like Bergeron, he had a point streak going before his injury, with an assist in the final three games before missing time.
WHAT: Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
WHERE: Capital One Arena
WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m. ET
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Bruins-Capitals stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Starting goalie: Jaroslav Halak
Starting goalie: Braden Holtby
Kathryn Tappen will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Patrick Sharp and Keith Jones and NHL insider Darren Dreger. Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Brian Boucher will call Bruins-Capitals from Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.