Here’s today’s front page of the Los Angeles Times — simple, yet effective:
Not to be outdone, here’s the cover of the Bakersfield Californian:
Wow, ten bucks worth of Indian food for five!
Go to the net and good things will happen. Coaches tell players that all the time with the hope that good positioning will result in a goal. Justin Williams learned that the hard way Thursday night, joining a club that Connor Garland of the Arizona Coyotes entered earlier this season.
As the Carolina Hurricanes continue chasing one of the Eastern Conference’s wild card spots, they visited the Florida Panthers and opened the scoring in unusual fashion.
Just a few minutes into the first period, Brett Pesce sent a shot toward the Panthers’ net and it ended up deflecting off Williams’ face and past James Reimer into the Florida net. Williams, as you see, crumpled to the ice in a scary scene.
Williams would leave the game with blood dripping from his face and return only a few minutes. Later in the game the Hurricanes captain, with a nostril full of gauze, would use his stick to score and snap a 3-3 tie:
Nikita Kucherov‘s magnificent season continued on Thursday night when he became the first player in the NHL to hit the 100 point mark this season.
He reached it by scoring his 30th goal of the season to tie their game against the Buffalo Sabres, 1-1, midway through the second period.
This is a big deal for a couple of reasons.
For one, it is the second year in a row Kucherov has hit the century mark and makes him one of just six active players in the NHL to have multiple 100 point seasons, joining a list that includes only Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Joe Thornton, and Connor McDavid.
What makes this one so special for Kucherov is that he only needed 62 games to reach it, an unprecedented accomplishment in this era of the NHL. You have to go all the way back to the 1995-96 season to find the last time a player hit the 100-point mark this quickly when it was done by Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Before them you have to go back to 1994 when Wayne Gretzky did it for the Los Angeles Kings.
Obviously some pretty good company to be with.
Given the way Kucherov is not only running away with the scoring title, but is also having arguably the best offensive season the league has seen in 25 years, and is doing it for what is by far the best team in the NHL he would seem to be the runaway favorite to win the MVP award this season.
It would be awfully difficult to build an argument against him at this point.
NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Thursday night’s matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
The Nashville Predators could end up being one of the biggest buyers during the impending trade deadline, but as far as Thursday’s concerned, they hope to beat the Los Angeles Kings.
If Nashville wins this game, they’d climb over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division, at least for a little while.
The Kings are on a five-game losing streak, so it will be a challenge to keep their heads high entering a four-game road trip. For all we know, we might see certain Kings players suit up for L.A. for the last time (or last times) before possibly being moved. That thought likely also cross the minds of various low and mid-level Predators, in the event that Nashville has to give up parts in a splashy move.
Fans can also witness the slightly under-the-radar dominance of the Predators’ top line, although it’s possible that Viktor Arvidsson might not be able to suit up alongside Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen on Thursday.
What: Los Angeles Kings at Nashville Predators
Where: T-Mobile Arena
When: Thursday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m. ET
Live stream: You can watch the Kings-Predators stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick
Starting goalie: Pekka Rinne
Alex Faust (play-by-play) and Brian Boucher (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. Pre-game coverage starts at 7 p.m. ET with NHL Live, hosted by Kathryn Tappen with Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones.
With the trade deadline days away, it’s still unclear how things are going to pan out with Mark Stone or Matt Duchene. The Ottawa Senators are taking the logical step to make sure that injuries don’t force their hand.
(You know, barring someone slipping on ice or getting injured eating pancakes.)
It’s no surprise that Duchene is a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, as that appeared to be the plan all along. The bigger surprise is that Mark Stone is also being preserved with a healthy scratch. Actually, the Senators are leaving plenty of doors open, as Ryan Dzingel was also kept from action.
All three players are pending UFAs, with Stone and Dzingel being 26, and Duchene at 28.
While there are heavy indications that Duchene is especially likely to be traded, none of them are guaranteed to go. That said, some wonder if Thursday served as an unofficial deadline for Stone negotiations. Take this from The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, who wrote of a possible Stone scratch earlier on Thursday:
It’s believed owner Eugene Melnyk and general manager Pierre Dorion wanted an agreement in place with Stone’s camp by Thursday evening and they don’t want to take any risk he’s going to get hurt if he’s to be moved before the deadline.
If you’re already exasperated watching the “will they or won’t they?” pendulum swing back and forth for Duchene and Stone, there’s good news and bad news. The Senators play three games before Monday’s 3pm ET deadline: Thursday against the Devils in New Jersey, Friday against Columbus in Ottawa, and a Sunday home game versus the Calgary Flames.
The good news for those who are annoyed: we’ll know for sure if they get traded very soon. Again, the deadline is Monday afternoon.
Now, if you enjoy this sort of thing, then you’re in for a treat, no matter how close to the wire things go. Could this signal that the Senators are finally going to start firing away? What kind of prices are realistic, versus rumors designed to maximize value? Could Duchene, Dzingel, and/or Stone actually end up sticking with Ottawa after all? The window’s open wider for potential extensions, but trades-wise, we’ll get some answers soon. For everyone but Senators fans, this could be very exciting.
The Devils are holding out two players for precautionary reasons of their own: forward Marcus Johansson and defenseman Ben Lovejoy.