Get your game notes: Rangers at Wings, Rivalry Night

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Detroit Red Wings hosting the New York Rangers on Rivalry Night at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

THE RIVALRY

WHEN IT BEGAN

• Both Detroit and New York entered the NHL as Original Six franchises in 1926 (Detroit’s nickname during the 1920s was the Cougars – it wasn’t until 1932 that the team was called the Red Wings). The Cougars shut out the Rangers 1-0 at home in their first meeting on December 4, 1926.

• These two clubs have storied histories with 15 combined Stanley Cup victories, but they have only met in the Final twice. Two of the Red Wings’ 11 overall Stanley Cup titles – in 1937 and 1950 – came at the Rangers’ expense. Detroit’s 11 Stanley Cups rank 3rd all-time (MTL-24, TOR-13), while the Rangers’ 4 places them T-7th all-time.

• Since that 1950 seven-game Stanley Cup Final encounter, Detroit and New York have not met each other in the playoffs.

1950 STANLEY CUP FINAL: DETROIT def. NEW YORK, 4-games-to-3

• While Detroit entered the playoffs with the best record from the regular season, it lost then 21-year old Gordie Howe – the team’s third-leading scorer – to injury in the first game of the postseason.

• The Rangers qualified as the fourth and final playoff team with a losing record during the regular season, but advanced to the Stanley Cup with a 4-1 series victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals.

• Due to bizarre scheduling, the Rangers actually played no true home games during the Stanley Cup Final against Detroit. Because the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had taken over Madison Square Garden, Game 1 was played in Detroit at Olympia Stadium, Games 2 and 3 were played at a neutral site in Toronto (Maple Leaf Gardens), and Games 4 through 7 were played back at Olympia.

• The Rangers fell into a 2-1 series deficit, getting outscored 9-4 in those first three games.

• 23-year old Ranger forward Don Raleigh – who only scored 12 goals during the regular season for New York – scored back-to-back overtime goals in Games 4 and 5 to reverse the momentum in the series. Per Elias, he is one of two players in history to have scored overtime winners in consecutive games during the Stanley Cup Final (John LeClair – 1993).

• The Rangers had 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3 leads in Game 6, but future Hall-of-Famers Ted Lindsay and Sid Abel scored 6 minutes apart – both players’ second goals of the game – in the 3rd period to complete the 5-4 comeback victory for Detroit.

• Game 7 was the 4th consecutive one-goal game, and the third game of the series to go to overtime. The Red Wings erased a 2-0 New York 1st-period lead with three 2nd period goals. The game remained tied at 3 through regulation, setting up the first Stanley Cup Final to be decided in overtime of Game 7 in NHL history.

• Detroit winger Pete Babando scored the Cup-clinching goal just over 8 minutes into the second overtime period, giving the Red Wings a 4-3 win and their 4th ever Stanley Cup victory.

• The Red Wings would win another Stanley Cup in a Game 7 OT in 1954, and to date the 1950 and 1954 Cup-clinching games remain the only two times in NHL history a Stanley Cup has been won in overtime of Game 7 (Elias).

LUCKY JOE

• Joe Kocur was the only player on all 3 Rangers/Red Wings Cup-winning teams in the 1990s. He helped New York to its first Stanley Cup in 54 years in 1994, and then skated on the Detroit teams that won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998. Kocur spent 15 seasons in the NHL, scoring 80 goals in 820 career games. He ranks 20th all-time in PIM (2,519).

TOP STORYLINES

• Both teams enter tonight coming off wins against the league’s top team – the Nashville Predators.

• Extending Mats: On Monday afternoon, it was confirmed that Rangers F Mats Zuccarello agreed to a 4-yr/$18M extension, which reportedly includes a full no-trade clause in the first season of the deal.

• Zuccarello responded to the new deal immediately, getting the primary assist on the first 2 Ranger goals later that night against NSH and earning the First Star of the Game.

• “I like everything about him: his tenacity, his hard work, his seeing the ice, the way he plays, the chemistry he brings to our team and the way he is in our dressing room. He’s been a terrific player for us.” – Sather on Monday, on Zuccarello

• Henrik Lundqvist: On Jan. 31, Lundqvist was hit in the neck by a puck vs. CAR. Lundqvist played the following game against FLA (Feb. 2) but has since been out with a sprained blood vessel in his throat.

• “I won’t play until I’m ready to play, and it won’t be an issue moving forward after that. I’m going to heal 100 percent.” – Lundqvist, on Feb. 8

• The scheduled evaluation that Lundqvist said was supposed to take place 2-3 weeks from Feb. 8 has not occurred yet, and there remains no concrete update on his status other than he continues to skate on his own.

• “We continue to evaluate him. And we’ll keep you posted in a little while, but that’s about all I’m gonna say about it today.” – Sather, speaking about Lundqvist during his post trade deadline press conference on Monday.

• The Rangers have gone 10-2-2 without Lundqvist. Backup Cam Talbot has started all but 1 of those 14 games:

• Though Talbot lost his only start vs. DET this season (3-2 on Dec. 6 at Joe Louis Arena, stopped 31 of 34 shots), his first NHL win also came at the Joe. On Oct. 26 last season, in his 2nd career start, Talbot stopped 32 of 34 shots in a 3-2 (OT) Rangers win.

• In this stretch with Lundqvist out, Talbot also registered his 4th shutout of the season. NYR lead the NHL w/ 9 shutouts. The last time two Rangers goaltenders earned at least four shutouts in the same season was in 1970-71, when Ed Giacomin had eight and Gilles Villemure had four.

• Wings weathering the storm: The Red Wings are near the end of what is arguably their toughest stretch this season. On Saturday, Detroit completed a 6-game road trip 4-1-1, capped off by a 4-3 win against Nashville – the top team in the NHL (also beat CHI, DAL, SJ…lost 4-3 SO at ANA & 1-0 at LA).

• After playing the Rangers tonight, the Wings close out the week against two more teams currently in playoff position (vs. CGY on Friday, at BOS on Sunday).

• Though DET lost 3 straight earlier in the month (0-2-1 record), their victory over Nashville made them the only remaining NHL team without consecutive regulation losses this season (NSH had been the only other team, and that defeat to DET on Saturday was the Preds’ 2nd consecutive regulation loss at the time).

• DET last lost consecutive games in regulation back on Mar. 25 & 27, 2014.

Mitch Marner extends Maple Leafs-record points streak to 21 games

Mitch Marner
USA Today
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TORONTO — Mitch Marner extended his franchise-record points streak to 21 games with a second-period goal and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-0 on Thursday night.

Marner gave Toronto a 4-0 lead with his 11th goal of the season, scoring on a slap shot after a Los Angeles turnover inside its blue line.

Marner became the 10th player in the past 35 years to string together a streak of 21 or more games. He has 10 goals and 16 assists during the run.

Auston Matthews, Pierre Engvall, David Kampf and William Nylander also scored for Toronto. Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves for his first shutout with the Maple Leafs and the seventh of his career.

Toronto has won seven of eight to improve to 17-5-6.

Los Angeles dropped to 14-11-4 with its seventh loss in 10 games. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made 36 saves.

Penguins’ Kris Letang returns to practice 10 days after stroke

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to practice with his teammates just 10 days after suffering the second stroke of his career.

The 35-year-old Letang remains out indefinitely, with the club describing him as “day to day.”

Letang said he felt “pretty good” after being greeted by stick taps from his teammates when he skated onto the ice at the team’s practice facility. Still, the married father of two called the experience “scary,” particularly for his family.

“My kids, they don’t care if I’m a hockey player or not,” he said. “They care about having a dad. Same with my wife. She could care less about hockey. She knows there’s so much more. After hockey, there’s a long time and you want to be able to enjoy those moments with your family, with your kids.”

Letang missed more than two months in 2014 after his first stroke, which was caused by a small hole in the wall of his heart. The condition also led to the second stroke, which Letang suffered on Nov. 28 after dealing with a series of debilitating headaches.

This time, the symptoms have resolved themselves much more quickly, according to team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, who described this stroke as “smaller” than the one Letang endured in 2014.

Letang began skating on his own just two days after the diagnosis and was cleared to return to practice on Thursday though both Letang and Vyas stressed they are in no rush for him to play in games.

“We don’t think this is accelerated in any way,” Vyas said. “We are taking all the right precautions to make sure that it is safe to go out and play and when that time comes we’ll let him go back to playing his sport.”

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said it was a “relief” to see Letang back at work.

“It’s a great visual that he’s making progress,” Sullivan said. “Our medical team that has monitored him extremely closely feels comfortable with some of the progress that he’s making and the steps he’s taken. Everyone was excited for him to join the group.”

Letang signed a six-year contract extension over the summer that will carry him into his 40s if he decides to play that long. Vyas said the data around strokes is “evolving” though it is unclear if Letang is now more susceptible to having additional strokes now that he’s had a second one.

The six-time All-Star is cautious but optimistic.

“We’ve been through this,” Letang said. “Me and Dharmesh have a clear understanding that we’re going to take all the time we need and make sure the research is possible and it’s no danger for me to keep going.”

The Penguins are 8-1-1 over their last 10 games and have won three straight heading into a home-and-home series with the Sabres. They’re also eager to have Letang’s familiar No. 58 back in the lineup, but only when he’s ready.

“He’s been here for a long time and his experience and everything that he brings on and off the ice, the way he competes (is important),” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “But I think in the (locker) room, (he has) poise and (he’s) somebody who’s been around a long time and whose experience you feel when he’s around.”

Thompson nets 4 in 1st, 5 overall, as Buffalo tops Columbus

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Russell LaBounty/USA TODAY Sports
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Tage Thompson matched an NHL record by scoring four times in the first period and finished with five goals and an assist as the Buffalo Sabres won their third straight road game, 9-4 over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.

Thompson is the second U.S.-born player to score five goals in a game. He is the fourth player in NHL history to record four goals in the first period of a regular-season game, joining Peter Bondra (1994), Grant Mulvey (1982) and Joe Malone (1921). He is also the fourth active player to score five goals in a game, joining Timo Meier (Jan. 17, 2022), Mika Zibanejad (March 5, 2020) and Patrik Laine (Nov. 24, 2018).

“It’s definitely a rewarding feeling,” Thompson said. “You’ve spent a lot of years working to get to this point and to be rewarded for it is a pretty good feeling and it just leaves you hungrier.”

Thompson’s outburst helped Buffalo score six times in the first 16:40.

“That was an amazing performance by Tage, and really, the whole group set the table,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “I thought the energy, the collective effort, the focus to start was really good and enabled that to happen.”

Alex Tuch had a goal and three assists, Dylan Cozens added a power-play goal and two assists and Rasmus Dahlin finished with a goal and two assists. Peyton Krebs also scored. Jeff Skinner picked up four assists and Jacob Bryson had two. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 20 shots.

Patrik Laine and Gustav Nyquist each scored twice for Columbus.

Joonas Korpisalo stopped two shots before being pulled in the first in favor of Elvis Merzlikins, who stopped 15 shots through the second period. Korpisalo returned in the third and finished with six saves.

Columbus has lost six straight home games and five of its last six overall.

“We didn’t have an answer for that one line,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “Tage Thompson just tore us up tonight.”

Buffalo dominated from the puck drop, scoring four goals on its first six shots.

Cozens put the Sabres on the board at 3:21 of the first, 53 seconds into a Blue Jackets penalty, and Thompson made it 2-0 just 2:09 later. Dahlin scored Buffalo’s third goal at 7:28 of the first, driving Korpisalo from the net in favor of Merzlikins, who gave up Buffalo goal No. 4 to Thompson 32 seconds later.

Thompson’s third career hat trick and second of the season came on a power-play goal at 12:22 of the first. He followed with his fourth goal, also on the power play, at 16:40.

Columbus scored two goals in just over a minute, with Laine at 10:49 and Nyquist at 12:04, before Buffalo reeled off three straight in just over three minutes to end the period, including Thompson’s fifth, and goals by Krebs and Tuch.

Laine and Nyquist scored in the third period for Columbus.

STREAKING

Cozens has 12 points in his last five games and is riding a career-best, five-game point streak. Thompson has eight goals and five assists in his last five games and 10 multi-point games. Dahlin has a five-game point and assist streak, and Gaudreau stretched his points streak to six games.

NOTES: The Sabres joined the Kraken as the second team this season to score nine goals in a game. … Thompson is the second player in Buffalo history to have five goals in a game, joining Dave Andreychuk, who had five goals and an assist on Feb. 6, 1986.

UP NEXT

Buffalo: Hosts Pittsburgh on Friday.

Columbus: Hosts Calgary on Friday.

Ovechkin, Strome lead Capitals past struggling Flyers 4-1

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Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA — Alex Ovechkin scored two empty-net goals, Dylan Strome had a goal and an assist and the Washington Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Wednesday night.

T.J. Oshie also scored for the Capitals, who finished 3-3 on a six-game trip. Charlie Lindgren made 29 saves.

Kevin Hayes scored for Philadelphia, which has lost 13 of 15 games. Carter Hart made 23 stops.

Strome broke a 1-all tie with 10:41 remaining when he deflected John Carlson‘s shot from long range past Hart.

Hayes had a golden opportunity to tie it on a Philadelphia power play, but Lindgren made a great right pad save on a try from close range with 8:20 remaining.

Ovechkin iced it, scoring into an empty net with 1:35 left and adding another empty-netter with 8.2 seconds left for his 15th of the season. Ovechkin has 795 career goals, good for third all-time. He is six goals away from tying Gordie Howe for second place. Wayne Gretzky, with 894 goals, tops the list.

Hayes scored his ninth goal of the season for his team-leading 28th point with 4:14 left in the first period to give the Flyers a 1-0 lead. Hayes rushed to the bench after breaking his stick on a slap shot attempt, and scored on a wrist shot from the high slot with his new stick.

The Flyers had a power-play goal for the third straight game and have four overall in that stretch. Philadelphia, which began play ranked 30th in the NHL in scoring on the man advantage, now has converted 16.7% (14 of 84) of its chances.

Oshie tied it 3:51 into the second on the Capitals’ fourth power play as the Flyers continued to take sloppy penalties. This time, James van Riemsdyk committed Philadelphia’s third tripping minor of the game. Oshie made them pay with his fifth goal of the season when he finished a nifty passing sequence with Strome and Evgeny Kuznetsov with a perfectly placed one-timer over Hart’s left shoulder.

NOTES: Van Riemsdyk returned after missing the last 20 games due to a broken right index finger. . Flyers forward Tanner Laczynski was placed on injured reserve after departing midway through the third period of Monday’s 5-3 win over Colorado with what looked like an injury to his left leg. . Washington was without several injured players, including starting goalie Darcy Kuemper (upper body). Kuemper was with the team, but missed his second in a row. . Carlson had two assists. . Philadelphia’s Cam Atkinson, out all season with an upper body injury, has been practicing and is close to returning.

UP NEXT

Capitals: Host Seattle on Friday night.

Flyers: Open four-game trip at Vegas on Friday night.