Get your game notes: Penguins at Blue Jackets

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

• The winning team in the Pittsburgh-Columbus series has come back from a 3-1 deficit in all three games. In Game 3,
the Penguins and Blue Jackets became the first teams in NHL history to play three consecutive games in one playoff
year – in one series or spanning two series – with the winning team having overcome a deficit of two or more goals in each game. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• In Game 3, Penguins center Evgeni Malkin became the sixth player in Penguins history to register 100 career postseason points when he assisted on Jussi Jokinen’s game-winning goal. Malkin was the fourth-fastest Pens player to reach that milestone, needing 86 playoff games. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Four of the most prolific offensive players on the Penguins team, Sidney Crosby, Malkin, James Neal and Kris Letang have a combined zero goals this series. This prolongs a collective postseason goal drought by the quartet that goes back to Game 5 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinal series vs. Ottawa. The four notoriously went without a goal or assist in the Eastern Conference Final vs. Boston.

• The Blue Jackets have registered 164 hits through three games (54.7/game), second-most among all teams this postseason (Los Angeles – 169). Of the 12 players league-wide with 16 or more hits, four are on Columbus: Brandon Dubinsky (22 – most in the NHL), Derek MacKenzie (18), Blake Comeau (17) and Boone Jenner (16).

• Penguins defenseman Paul Martin has recorded two assists in each of the first three games of this series. Martin, who is tied for the NHL lead with six assists (with Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon), became the first Penguins player to record three consecutive multi-assist playoff games since Hockey Hall of Famer Paul Coffey did so in four straight contests in April 1989. (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Almost half (14) of the 33 points the Penguins have registered this series have come from defensemen, led by Martin and Matt Niskanen (four). No other team has more than 11 points from blueliners. The Blue Jackets’ Jack Johnson leads all defensemen with three goals, one in each game.

• The Penguins are playing in their eighth consecutive best-of-seven series (since 2010) in which they hold home-ice advantage. This series marks the fifth time they’ve split the first two games, and all five times, they’ve won Game 3 on the road. They are 2-2 in the previous Game 4s. Last season, they defeated the N.Y. Islanders 5-4 in overtime in Game 3, then lost Game 4 by a 6-4 count.

• The Penguins, who tied Washington for the NHL lead in power-play efficiency (23.4 percent) during the regular season, lead all postseason teams with 17 power-play opportunities. They have scored on three of those opportunities, but have also allowed an NHL-high two shorthanded goals to the Blue Jackets.

Robin Lehner to make Golden Knights debut; Mark Stone injured

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The Vegas Golden Knights have been one of the league’s hottest teams over the past month and will be looking to extend their current winning streak to eight games on Friday night when they host the Buffalo Sabres.

Coach Pete DeBoer had some significant lineup news ahead of the game on Friday afternoon, including a potentially significant injury.

First, is the news that big trade deadline acquisition Robin Lehner will be making his first start in goal for the team. The Golden Knights acquired Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks just ahead of the NHL trade deadline on Monday for a draft pick and a prospect. Lehner has been one of the league’s best goalies for the past two years and alongside Marc-Andre Fleury should give them one of the league’s best goaltending duos.

The far more serious news, though, was the announcement that forward Mark Stone will not play on Friday due to a lower-body injury.

DeBoer had no immediate information on how long Stone could be out, only to say that he is still being evaluated.

When asked if it could potentially be a long-term injury DeBoer said “There’s always fear. We don’t know, but we’ll see,” via NHL.com.

Stone is one of the league’s best all-around forwards and has not only been a point-per-game player for the past three seasons, he is also one of the best defensive forwards in the league. He finished the 2018-19 season as the top runner-up for the Selke Trophy, something that has become almost unheard of for a winger.

The Golden Knights enter Friday’s game in first place in the Pacific Division, four points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.

Related: Blackhawks trade Robin Lehner to Golden Knights

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

 

Oilers’ Mike Green to miss 3-4 weeks with sprained MCL

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Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland was busy at the NHL trade deadline adding Mike Green, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tyler Ennis to his roster in an effort to improve its depth. But just two games later his team has already lost one of those new players to injury.

The Oilers announced on Friday that Green, acquired from the Detroit Red Wings for Kyle Brodziak and a draft pick, will be sidelined for the next 3-4 weeks due to an MCL sprain.

That is the way things seem to be going for the Oilers right now as injuries keep adding up throughout their roster.

Green joins an injury list that already includes the team’s top defenseman (Oscar Klefbom), as well as James Neal, Kailer Yamamoto, and Kris Russell.

Green played 19 minutes in the Oilers’ 3-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.

Athanasiou was also injured in that game, but is expected to play on Saturday when the Oilers host the Winnipeg Jets.

The Oilers enter the weekend in third place in the Pacific Division with 74 points, four points back of Vegas and only two points ahead of the non-playoff teams in the Western Conference.

Related: Red Wings send Mike Green to Oilers

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Islanders will play all home games at Nassau Coliseum in 2020-21: Report

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March 22 will be the final Islanders’ game at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, according to Newsday.

Randi Marshall reports that New York governor Andrew Cuomo will announce on Saturday that the Islanders will play any home playoff games this season and all of their 2020-21 home schedule at Nassau Coliseum.

The Islanders are currently building a new arena by Belmont Park race track which is expected to be ready in time for the 2021-22 NHL season. The franchise played all of its home games at the Coliseum from 1972-2015 before moving to Brooklyn full-time in 2015. That lasted until 2018 when they split home games at both arenas, with Nassau Coliseum playing host to their Round 1 matchup against the Penguins and Barclays for their second round series against the Hurricanes.

While Barclays Center helped keep the Islanders in New York, it has not been the easiest arena to travel to for fans. The ability to get there via mass transit was a positive that the Coliseum doesn’t have. Yet when the Islanders returned back to Long Island last season, there was plenty nostalgia over the building that was home for the franchise’s glory days.

In September the Islanders broke ground on the new 19,000-seat arena by Belmont Park which is less than 10 miles from Nassau Coliseum.

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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.

David Ayres gets own hockey card, stick on display at Hall of Fame

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It has been quite a week for David Ayres.

At this time seven days almost no one in the hockey world knew who he was. But after being forced into action as an emergency backup goalie for the Carolina Hurricanes, and then getting the win in the game over the Toronto Maple Leafs, he is still getting some pretty big honors.

First, there was the shirt that the Hurricanes started to produce with his name and number on the back (with Ayres getting royalties, and other proceeds going to a kidney foundation). He was also invited to the Hurricanes’ home game on Tuesday night to sound the siren before their game against the Dallas Stars.

Now he is getting his own hockey card from Upper Deck, while the stick he used in Saturday’s game is on display at the Metropolitan Division exhibit at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The card is part of Upper Deck’s Dated Moments e-packs.

From Upper Deck:

David Ayres, a 42-year-old maintenance operations manager and part-time Zamboni driver, was called into action as the emergency goaltender about halfway through the Carolina Hurricanes’ game against Toronto after both Carolina goaltenders were injured. In his surprise NHL debut, he helped Carolina to a 6-3 win over the Maple Leafs.

Meanwhile, the stick he used in Saturday’s game to stop eight out of 10 shots, is now on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

The 42-year-old Ayres had previously served as an emergency backup goalie for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies but never entered the game. He was forced to play on Saturday after Hurricanes goalies James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were both injured.

MORE: Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres beats Maple Leafs

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.