Get your game notes: Bruins at Leafs

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting the Boston Bruins at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• BOS has won its last five games – the last four of those at home – despite missing two star players during that span. D Zdeno Chara (knee) has not played since Oct. 23, and C David Krejci (lower-body) has missed 3 of the last 5 games.

• During the win streak, the line of LW Brad Marchand, RW Reilly Smith and C Patrice Bergeron has combined for 8G-11A.

• In the last four games, Bergeron has stepped up offensively with 2G-4A. In his first 12 games of the season, he had just 1G-5A.

• This is the Bruins’ longest win streak since March 2-22 of last season, when they won 12 straight games.

• 20-year-old C Seth Griffith had a backwards, between-the-legs goal in the Bruins’ last game, a 4-2 win vs. NJ on Monday.

• Chara, who suffered a knee injury vs. NYI on Oct. 23, has not played since and was expected to miss 4-6 weeks from that time.

• Krejci will not make the trip to Toronto. He played in just 2 of the 5 games during the Bruins’ win streak (Oct. 30 and Nov. 6). He has a suspected hip problem, according to the Boston Herald.

• TOR is 5-1-1 since losing to BOS, 4-1, in the teams’ first meeting this season on Oct. 25. The Maple Leafs have scored 5 goals in each of their last two games and have just 2 regulation losses in their past 10 games, in which they are 6-2-2.

• RW Phil Kessel (8G-11A) is tied for third in the NHL with 19 points this season. The 5-time 30-goal scorer was a fifth overall draft pick by BOS in 2006 and spent the first three seasons of his career playing with the Bruins before being traded to the Maple Leafs on Sept. 19, 2009. He’s now in his 6th season with TOR.

• TOR traded two first-round draft picks and a second-round pick to BOS for Kessel. Those first-round picks ended up being D Dougie Hamilton – who has 3G-7A this season with the Bruins – and C Tyler Seguin, who is now with DAL and is tied for the NHL lead with 12 goals this season. The second-round pick, C Jared Knight, has yet to play an NHL game.

• TOR is 7-1-1 when Kessel has a point this season and 1-4-1 when he does not have a point.

• In his first game vs. BOS this season, Kessel was held to 0 points and a -2 rating. In that same game, the first for the Bruins this season without D Zdeno Chara (knee), D Dougie Hamilton had 1G-2A and C Patrice Bergeron had 2A.

STANDOUT STATS

• BOS: Five of D Dougie Hamilton’s 10 points this season have come on game-winning goals. He scored the game-winning goal on Oct. 18 vs. BUF and assisted on deciding goals on Oct. 25 at TOR, on Oct. 30 at BUF, on Nov. 4 vs. FLA and on Nov. 6 vs. EDM.

• TOR: The Maple Leafs are 5-0-0 when scoring first this season and 3-5-2 when their opponent scores first.

NOTABLE INJURIES

• BOS: D David Krejci (lower-body) and C Zdeno Chara (knee) will not play tonight. D Kevan Miller (shoulder) practiced on Monday and is day-to-day.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

• BOS: C Patrice Bergeron has 16G-29A in 45 career GP vs. TOR, including 3 game-winning goals. Bergeron had 5G-3A in 4 games vs. TOR last season (2 points in each game).

• BOS: G Tuukka Rask is 10-2-0 in 12 career starts vs. TOR with a 1.59 GAA.

• TOR: C Tyler Bozak has 3G-2A in his last 3 games vs. BOS.

• TOR: RW Phil Kessel had 5A in 4 games vs. BOS last season and has 3G-11A in 27 career GP vs. BOS.

BOSTON TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• C Carl Soderberg (5G-8A) leads the Bruins with 13 points this season, and he’s had 2G-4A during the team’s current 5-game winning streak.

• The Swedish forward is in just his second full NHL season, having come from the Swedish Elite League, which he led in scoring with 31 goals and 60 points in the 2012-13 season. But he was left off the Swedish roster at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

• C Patrice Bergeron is second on the Bruins with 12 points this season, and he has an NHL-leading 207 faceoff wins and ranks second in the NHL in faceoff percentage at 63.1%.

• Bergeron scored the tying and game-winning goals against TOR in Game 7 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to give the Bruins a 5-4 (OT) victory after trailing by 3 goals in the third period.

• D Torey Krug returned to the Bruins’ lineup on Monday for the first time since breaking his finger in a game vs. MIN on Oct. 28. He had one shot on goal and a +1 rating in 21:16 on the ice on Monday vs. NJ.

• G Tuukka Rask was taken 21st overall by the Maple Leafs in the 2005 draft. But he was traded to the Bruins for goaltender Andrew Raycroft before playing even a single game with the Maple Leafs. Raycroft, meanwhile, retired at the end of last season.

• Rask is 8-4-0 this season with a 2.44 GAA and .909 SV%. He has allowed just 7 goals in his last 4 games.

• In 2013-14, Rask won the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender) after winning a career-high 36 games. He finished the season with a 2.04 GAA, .930 SV% and an NHL-leading 7 shutouts.

TORONTO TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• RW Phil Kessel has led the Maple Leafs in points in every season since 2009-10. He has skated in 379 consecutive games. The last time he missed a game was Oct. 31, 2009 against Montreal.

• The two-time Olympian led the U.S. in scoring with 8 points at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

• C Tyler Bozak (5G-7A), a Ukrainian-Canadian, is second on the Maple Leafs with 12 points this season and leads the team with 4 power-play goals.

• LW James van Riemsdyk, second behind Kessel with 7 points for the U.S. at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, is also second behind Kessel on the Maple Leafs this season with 6 goals.

• RW Carter Ashton was suspended 20 games without pay on Thursday for violating the terms of the NHL/NHL Players’ Association Performance Enhancing Substances Program. He is eligible to return Dec. 20. In a statement, Ashton said he used another athlete’s inhaler during training to relieve himself from an asthma attack.

• C Daniel Winnik returned to practice on Tuesday after being held out for two games because of concussion protocol. Winnik left TOR’s game at COL last Thursday after falling head first.

• G James Reimer (6 starts) and Jonathan Bernier (9 starts) have split time in TOR’s net this season. Reimer has a 1.75 GAA in his last six games against the Bruins, while Bernier has a 4.46 career GAA against the Bruins and was pulled in the third period of their last meeting after allowing four goals. Bernier is expected to start tonight.

The Buzzer: Toews powers Blackhawks, Petterson’s return, first place Isles

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Three Stars

1. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks. The Chicago Blackhawks are having an awful season, which has to be even more frustrating for them when you consider their superstars up front have been great all year. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane continued that on Sunday as both had five points in an 8-5 win over the Washington Capitals, continuing what has been one of the best individual seasons for Toews offensively in his career. Those five points for Toews included a hat trick. Just a shame for the Blackhawks it all happening during a season when everything around the top players has gone away.

2. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks. Elias Pettersson has been a franchise-changing player for the Vancouver Canucks and has been one of the biggest reasons they are still in the Western Conference playoff race. He returned from injury on Sunday after missing more than two weeks and tallied two points, including his 23rd goal of the season early in the first period to open the scoring. He also assisted on the game-tying goal mid-way through the third period.  He is rolling toward the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year and nobody is even close him in this rookie class.

3. Cal Clutterbuck, New York Islanders. The New York Islanders remained in first place thanks to their win over the Anaheim Ducks and the Washington Capitals’ loss to the Blackhawks on Sunday. They are not only in first place, but they actually have a three-point lead over the rest of the pack and are top-five team in the league in total points in the standings. They have now won five games in a row and 15 of their past 18. Cal Clutterbuck had the big game for the Islanders on Sunday with a pair of first period goals.

Highlights of the Night

It took Nino Niederreiter just 30 seconds to score his first goal as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night. Then he scored another later in the period as the Hurricanes went on to rout the Edmonton Oilers.

It was not a great game for goalies in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, but we do need to give some love to these two saves by Blackhawks goalie Collin Delia.

Robin Lehner stopped all 19 shots he faced for the now first-place New York Islanders.

Factoids

  • Darcy Kuemper is one of four goalies without a regular loss since the start of the new calendar year. He improved to 5-0-2 since Jan. 1 with the Arizona Coyotes’ win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday evening. [NHL PR]
  • Nino Niederreiter’s two goals on Sunday were more than Victor Rask, the player he was traded for this past week, scored for the Carolina Hurricanes all season. [@SaraCivian]
  • Andrei Svechnikov recorded his 20th point of the season on Sunday night, making him one of four players from the 2018 NHL draft class to have already hit that mark this season. [NHL PR]

Chicago Blackhawks 8, Washington Capitals 5

New York Islanders 3, Anaheim Ducks 2

Vancouver Canucks 3, Detroit Red Wings 2

Arizona Coyotes 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 2

Carolina Hurricanes 7, Edmonton Oilers 4

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.

Canucks’ Pettersson returns Sunday after five-game absence

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The man who will likely be crowned as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year is back in the lineup for the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Elias Pettersson will suit up for the Canucks against the Detroit Red Wings after missing five games with a knee injury. Pettersson sprained his MCL after getting tangled up with Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi back on Jan. 3.

After Saturday’s practice, Pettersson told the assembled media that there was a good chance he would play on Sunday. And with the team activating him off injured reserve today, that chance turned into a confirmation.

“I don’t like to watch hockey, I like to play it,” Pettersson said.

He’s pretty good at the latter.

Pettersson’s start to the season, despite missing two now because of a concussion and the aforementioned knee injury, has been nothing short of sensational.

Pettersson led all rookies with 22 goals and 42 points prior to his latest injury and will return still leading all rookies.

And his absence from the Canucks, who are battling for a playoff spot, has been notable:

Still, they were 2-1-2, picking up points in four-of-five.

The Canucks are one point behind the Minnesota Wild for the final wild card in the west.

UPDATE: He’s already scored. 


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

Toews hat trick, five-point afternoon leads Blackhawks past Capitals

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Stout defense and solid goaltending, two traits that Sunday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and visiting Washington Capitals had neither of.

But goal scoring? Yeah, there was a metric tonne of that in an 8-5 win for the Blackhawks on NBC.

Jonathan Toews scored a hat trick and added two assists for a five-point afternoon. Patrick Kane had a five-point game of his own, notching two goals and adding three helpers to push his point streak to eight games. Dylan Strome had a goal and two apples.

For the Capitals, they didn’t get one goal from their forwards. John Carlson led the way with two goals. All five of their goals came care of their defenseman — six if you include Dmitry Orlov’s own goal (he also scored one on the right net, too).

It was a game that reeked of two teams desperate to end their respective losing streaks. Chicago owned the longest of the two, coming into the game winless in five. The Capitals’ streak, meanwhile, extended to five, which extended their season-long drought.

The Caps came into the game outscored 14-4 in that time. You’d think scoring one more than they had in their previous four would be enough, but when Braden Holtby gets pulled after 22:30, allowing four goals on 11 shots, it’s probably not going to end well.

Goaltending wasn’t of particular importance in the game.

Collin Delia got the start for the Blackhawks and did enough in the end, despite allowing a few ugly ones. There weren’t a lot of notable saves in this one, but Delia made the save of the game with this effort in the second period.

Alex DeBrincat also found the back of the net, notable because he now has seven goals in his past seven games and 25 on the year.

DeBrincat is now three shy of the 28 he threw up in his rookie season last year and still has 32 games to get there. He’s likely going to crush that record in his sophomore season.

None of that is surprising given he can do things like this:

While Washington seems secure for the moment in terms of a playoff spot, their stock in Metropolitan Division is plummeting.

The New York Islanders leapfrogged them already with their four-game winning streak and could buy themselves some breathing room now with a win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.

The win for Chicago moves them out of the Western Conference basement, one point up on the lowly Los Angeles Kings. The Blackhawks are in a different battle down the stretch here, with the best lottery odds on the line for June’s NHL Draft.


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

WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks meet Capitals on NBC

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NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Sunday’s matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

The Capitals have hit their biggest road block in their title defense after going 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, including four straight losses (0-3-1). The last time Washington lost four straight games was in March of 2017. During this four-game losing streak, the Caps have been outscored 12-1 in 5-on-5 play, and the lone goal in that scenario came against Nashville with the team trailing 7-1 late in the third period.

The last time the Capitals lost five straight games was Oct. 26 to Nov. 4 2014.

Alex Ovechkin enters this game tied with Dave Andreychuk for 14th place on the all-time goals (640) list. He is also only five points away from tying Hockey Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov for the most in League history by a Russian player (1,179).

The Blackhawks have lost seven of their eight games in the new year (1-4-3), including five straight losses (0-3-2) and are once again last in the NHL. Since Jeremy Colliton took charge on November 6, Chicago has lost 24 of their 34 games under their new head coach (10-18-6) after going 6-6-3 in 15 games under Joel Quenneville. The Hawks are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Rangers on Thursday.

A bright spot for Chicago has been its power play which has now scored in seven consecutive games (9-for-21, 42.9 percent). That hot streak has put them in the middle of the pack in the NHL at 18.9 percent for the season.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 12:30 P.M. ET – NBC]

What: Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks
Where: United Center
When: Sunday, Jan. 20, 12:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
Live stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

BLACKHAWKS
Drake CaggiulaJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatDylan StromeDominik Kahun
Brandon SaadDavid KampfMarcus Kruger
John HaydenArtem AnisimovChris Kunitz

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook
Carl DahlstromConnor Murphy
Slater KoekkoekErik Gustafsson

Starting goalie: Collin Delia

CAPITALS
Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas BackstromT.J. Oshie
Jakub VranaLars EllerTom Wilson
Andre BurakovskyEvgeny KuznetsovBrett Connolly
Chandler StephensonNic DowdDevante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry OrlovJohn Carlson
Michal KempnyMatt Niskanen
Brooks OrpikMadison Bowey

Starting goalie: Braden Holtby

Six-time Emmy Award-winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk, and ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire will have the call from United Center.