Get your game notes: Leafs at Wings

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

• Top of the East: At 17-6-5, Detroit has 39 points, which ties the team with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh for the top spot in the Eastern Conference…

• Since Detroit dropped a 4-1 contest in Toronto on Nov. 22, Detroit has gone 7-1-0 in its last 8 games

• In this 8-game stretch, the Red Wings are averaging 4.00 goals/gm, and have scored 3+ goals in each of those games. DET is now the 4th-highest scoring team in the NHL (3.11 G/GM, behind PIT, TOR, and 1st-place TB).

• The Wings are on a 3-game win streak, defeating DAL, NYR, and CAR by a combined score of 11-5.

• Coach Mike Babcock became the 19th coach – and 2nd fastest – to 500 career wins last Sat. in the win over the Rangers. He then tied Pat Burns with his 501st career win the next day when DET beat CAR. Next up on the list is current Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who has 521 all-time wins.

• Babcock said the following about his team yesterday: “This is the best team we’ve had here since ’09, not necessarily point-wise, but direction-wise” (the ’09 Wings team lost to PIT in the Cup Final).

• Maple Leafs recovery: On Nov. 18, the Maple Leafs allowed 9 goals in a game for the first time since Dec. 1991 in a 9-2 home thrashing at the hands of the Predators. Since then, the Leafs have rebounded to go 6-1-1 in their past 8 games….

• They have scored at least 3 goals in all 8 of those games, and now boast the 2nd-best offense in the NHL, scoring 3.44 goals/game.

• The Leafs are also coming off a 5-game home stand in which they went 4-1-0, including decisive wins in their past two games over VAN (last Saturday) and CGY (yesterday), outscoring those two teams 9-3.

TORONTO TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• The Maple Leafs’ top line of LW James van Riemsdyk, C Tyler Bozak, and RW Phil Kessel are the top three scorers for Toronto this season, and they’ve been particularly effective of late:

• Kessel has 28 points (14G, 14A) in 27 GP this season, including 5 points in his last 5 games after a goal in last night’s 4-1 win over CGY.

• Kessel has led TOR in scoring every season since 2009-10 – the season he was acquired from BOS.

• Bozak is on pace for a career season with 24 points (11G, 13A) in 27 games. While he does not have a point in his last 2 games, Bozak still has 9 points (5G, 4A) in his last 8 games overall.

• Bozak set career-highs with 19 goals and 30 assists last season.

• Van Riemsdyk has 23 points (11G, 12A) in 27 games this season, including 6 in his last 5 games.

• C Mike Santorelli has been on a tear in his last 7 games, posting 2 goals, 8 assists, and a +8 rating in that span.

• Santorelli is 4th on the team in points (19), and is tied with Kessel and Dion Phaneuf for the team lead in assists with 14.

• The 28-year-old is in his first season with the Leafs after stints in NSH, FLA, WPG, and VAN. The Leafs signed him this offseason to a 1-yr/$1.5M contract.

• While G James Reimer and G Jonathan Bernier split time early, Bernier appears to have control of the starting job having made 9 straight starts, the longest stretch of consecutive starts in his career.

• Bernier is 6-2-1 in that stretch, including a win last night vs. Calgary in which he stopped 32 of 33 shots.

• However, Reimer is likely to play tonight, as this is TOR’s first back-to-back stretch since Nov. 15, which was also when Reimer made his last start. In that game, a 6-2 loss in Buffalo, Reimer allowed 6 goals on 35 shots. Overall, Reimer is 4-3-0 with a 3.64 GAA and .898 SV%, both career-worsts for a season.

• Reimer has never defeated DET in his career, posting a 0-3-0 record, 3.96 GAA, and .877 SV%.

DETROIT TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• C Pavel Datsyuk began the season on injured reserve with a separated shoulder (suffered in preseason), and overall he has played in just 17 of the Red Wings’ 28 games.

• Despite this, he is tied for the team lead in goals (12 – with Nyquist and Tatar) and is 2nd in points (22).

• Datsyuk has had multi-point efforts in 4 of his last 5 games, posting 5G, 4A in that stretch.

• Datsyuk had a hand in all 3 goals in DET’s 3-1 win in CAR on Sunday with a goal and 2 assists.

• For his efforts last week, Datsyuk was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week.

• Captain C Henrik Zetterberg has played in all 28 games and leads DET in assists (19) and points (24).

• Zetterberg has been held without a point during the Red Wings’ 3-game winning streak.

• RW Gustav Nyquist is tied for the team lead in goals with 12 (Datsyuk, Tatar).

• Nyquist leads the team in PPG (7) – that ranks him 4th overall in the NHL (3 players have 8 PPG).

• Over the last two seasons, Nyquist has scored 40 goals in 85 games.

• LW Tomas Tatar is the 3rd Red Wing with 12 goals this season (Datsyuk, Nyquist). He is 3rd on the team in points (20).

• G Jimmy Howard is 13-5-4 with a 2.21 GAA and .917 SV% this season. He is 8-3-1 in his last 12 starts.

Sabres agree with Dylan Cozens on 7-year, $49.7M extension

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with forward Dylan Cozens on a seven-year extension worth $49.7 million.

The team announced the contract. Cozens will count $7.1 million against the salary cap through the 2029-30 season.

Cozens, who turns 22, is the latest core player the Sabres have extended over the past six months. Buffalo signed All-Star forward Tage Thompson for $50 million over seven seasons in August and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to a seven-year, $30 million deal in October.

Rasmus Dahlin, the top pick in 2020 who’s a Norris Trophy candidate and filled in for Thompson at NHL All-Star weekend, figures to be next for a big contract. He’s signed through next season and can begin talking about an extension this summer.

Cozens, who was set to be a restricted free agent, has already set career highs with 17 goals, 26 assists and 43 points – with 30 games left in the season. The seventh pick in 2019, Cozens has 34 goals and 60 assists in 169 regular-season NHL games, all with Buffalo.

The Sabres, led by Dahlin, Thompson, Cozens and 2021 No. 1 pick Owen Power, are contending to make the playoffs. The organization’s 11-year playoff drought dating to 2011 is by far the longest in the league.

Stanley Cup champion Avalanche steadily returning to health

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Had his coach been watching, this might have made for an anxious moment: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar catching an edge and falling in the fastest skater contest.

Jared Bednar wasn’t tuned in, though, and had no idea what happened in the skills contest over All-Star weekend. Only that Makar emerged from his crash into the boards just fine.

These days, things are definitely looking up for the Stanley Cup champions on the injury front. Defenseman Bowen Byram returns to the lineup, along with forward Valeri Nichushkin. Defenseman Josh Manson is creeping closer to a return. Same for captain Gabriel Landeskog, who’s yet to play this season. Forward Darren Helm is progressing, too.

In spite of all their bumps and bruises, the Avalanche entered the All-Star break in a playoff spot. To weather the injury storm, Colorado has relied on 39 different skaters this season, a mark that’s tied for the most in a single season since the team relocated to Denver in 1995.

“Anybody we can get back right now is huge,” said Makar, whose team kicks off a three-game trip Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Byram returns after being sidelined with a lower-body injury since early November. He was an integral part of their Stanley Cup run a season ago, when he led all rookies with nine assists in the postseason. Byram was off to a fast start this season – two goals and three assists in 10 games – before his injury.

“He’s looking great. He’s buzzing out there,” Makar said of his fellow blue liner. “Hopefully it doesn’t take him too long to get back into game mode. But I think he’s a guy that can turn it on pretty quickly.”

Byram missed a chunk of games last season as he dealt with concussion symptoms. This time, he was able to be around the team as he worked his way back.

“I was just happy it wasn’t my head,” Byram said. “It was a lot easier to be out when you’re still feeling good and feel like yourself. … I’m just excited to get going again.”

Count on Byram for as many minutes as necessary, too.

“I’m 100%, so no reason to ease into it,” Byram said. “I’m confident with jumping back in.”

Manson will join the Avalanche on the trip so he can skate with the squad. He’s been out with a lower-body injury since the start of December.

“I do think it helps to get on the road, be around the guys,” Bednar said.

Landeskog could be back “fairly soon,” Bednar said, but didn’t have a definitive timeline quite yet. The longtime Avalanche captain has been sidelined since knee surgery in October.

The Avalanche entered the All-Star break on quite a roll, winning seven of their last eight. They’ve amassed 57 points, which trails Dallas (66 points at the All-Star break), Winnipeg (65) and Minnesota (58) in the Central Division.

One thing the Avalanche are guarding against is another slow start out off the break. It happened over Christmas when the team had a few days off and promptly went 0-4-1 upon their return.

“It’s just shifting the mentality back to game mode. No more vacation,” Makar said. “We still have a long way to go. We’re not where we want to be right now. But there’s a lot of time left.”

Kraken add some size, acquire Jaycob Megna from San Jose

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE — The Seattle Kraken acquired defenseman Jaycob Megna from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.

Megna is in the midst of his best season with 12 points in 48 games for the Sharks while averaging more than 19 minutes per game.

“Jaycob has shown with his play this season that he is a responsible defenseman that can be relied on in all situations,” Seattle general manager Ron Francis said. “He provides welcome depth to our defensive group and we are happy to have him join our organization.”

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Megna will add some size and bulk to Seattle’s lineup. Megna ranked fifth for San Jose in both blocked shots and hits.

Megna previously played for Anaheim for parts of three seasons between 2016-19. The 48 games played this season is a career-high for the 30-year-old.

Seattle is tied for the lead in the Pacific Division and will return from the All-Star break beginning against the New York Islanders.

Islanders sign Bo Horvat to 8-year deal after trading for him

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The New York Islanders signed center Bo Horvat to an eight-year contract less than a week after acquiring him in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks.

The team announced the contract after their first practice following the All-Star break. Horvat’s deal is worth $68 million and carries a $8.5 million salary cap hit through the 2030-31 season.

General manager Lou Lamoriello joked to reporters at practice on Long Island that Horvat’s contract was “too long and it’s too much money.”

The Islanders sent forward Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a protected first-round pick to the Canucks for Horvat . He was set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and the trade was a result of Vancouver and Horvat’s camp being unable to reach a deal last summer.

Lamoriello and Horvat expressed confidence about getting a deal done after the trade. The 27-year-old has scored more than 30 goals for a second consecutive season.

Horvat was chosen as an All-Star and played for the Pacific Division despite the trade. He played with longtime Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and combined on one last goal together before parting ways.

“I want to get going,” Horvat said after the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. “That’s enough. Let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again.”

Horvat was on vacation with his family in Orlando when he was traded. He said coach Lane Lambert wanted him to enjoy All-Star festivities before getting rolling with the Islanders, who play at the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Obviously getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1 and getting systems down and obviously chemistry with the new linemates and stuff like that,” Horvat said.

After facing the Flyers and Seattle, Horvat will play against his former team when Vancouver visits UBS Arena.