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.

Devils, Hischier agree to seven-year, $50.75 million extension

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While the Devils don’t know yet if Taylor Hall will sign an extension to remain in New Jersey or find a new home next summer in free agency, GM Ray Shero has young locked down one of the team’s core pieces.

On Friday, Nico Hischier agreed to a seven-year, $50.75 million extension that carries a $7.25 million cap hit through the 2026-27 NHL season. The deal buys three unrestricted free agent years since the Devils forward has been playing since he was 18, per Cap Friendly.

“Nico is a special person who possess a team-first mentality combined with an inner drive to succeed,” said Shero in a statement. The entire organization is thankful to him and his family for believing in our future. We are excited that he will continue to play a prominent role with us for many years to come.”

According to the Devils, here’s the year-by-year breakdown:

2020-21: $7,000,000 (includes $3 million signing bonus)
2021-22: $7,250,000
2022-23:  $4,500,000
2023-24:  $7,750,000
2024-25:  $7,750,000
2025-26:  $8,000,000
2026-27:  $8,500,000

The extension also features a modified no-trade clause in the final three years.

In 157 NHL games, Hischier, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, has 37 goals and 101 points while averaging over 17 minutes a night. His offense has been just fine with a 20 and 17 goals in his first two seasons, but his two-way game is what’s really boosted his talent.

The 20-year-old center joins the list of NHLers who passed on restricted free agency in 2020 to put pen to paper on a new deal, joining the likes of Alex DeBrincat, Clayton Keller, Thomas Chabot, and Sam Girard.

Mathew Barzal, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Dylan Strome, and Mikhail Sergachev are some of the other potential 2020 RFAs who will be looking for extensions before next season.

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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.

Helm fined $5K for slash on Flames’ Lindholm

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Darren Helm and Elias Lindholm had a little battle in the third period of Thursday’s 5-1 Flames win and it has resulted in a $5,000 fine for the Red Wings forward.

It all began during a face-off when Lindholm got taken down by Helm. The Flames forward took exception and skated after Helm as the puck entered the Calgary zone. The tiff continued on with Lindholm throwing an elbow at Helm, who responded by getting up off the ice and slashing Lindholm in the back of the leg.

“Their guy comes with an elbow that should have probably been called right away,” said Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill. “Then Darren reacts to that as most guys would, you get an elbow to the face for no reason you’re going to react. We got to be more disciplined in those situations, but he slashed him. I don’t think the slash was that super-hard, but it sure looked hard the way he went down.”

The fine is the maximum amount allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Helm was given a major for slashing and a game misconduct, while Lindholm got off with just an interference minor. Lindholm was helped to the dressing room and there’s been no update yet on his condition.

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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.

LA Kings set Guinness World Record for ‘Largest Laser Show’

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The Los Angeles Kings may have dropped their third in a row Thursday night and fell to 2-5-0 on the season, but they set a world record during the first intermission.

The Kings’ game presentation department used 642 lasers as part of the Guinness Book of World Records “Largest Laser Show” at STAPLES Center. So, yeah, they were shutout, but they made history.

For the record, the first-period goals by Casey Mittelstadt and Conor Sheary did not, in fact, count toward the final laser total.

With Thursday being the 20th anniversary of the opening of the arena, which featured a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band concert back in 1999, the Kings wanted to do something special, so they went and shattered the previous record of 342, per the team.

Now, if only one of those lasers could have destroyed the “cursed” Taylor Swift banner

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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.

Kempny returns to Capitals’ blue line for first time since March

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Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer doing the ceremonial puck drop honors won’t be the only thing Capitals fans can look forward to Friday night. Defenseman Michal Kempny will make his long-awaited return to the ice against the Rangers after tearing his hamstring in March.

Kempny, who was paired with Radko Gudas during Friday’s morning skate, was given a four-to-six month timeline after undergoing surgery right before the end of last season.

“Yeah, I’m playing tonight. It’s been a long time. I’m very excited,” Kempny said. “There was a lot of hard days, especially from the beginning of the rehab, small steps make me happy. I think it’s part of rehab and all the bad is behind me and I’m just focusing now [on] today’s game.”

Kempny knows he won’t be logging heavy minutes just yet and wants to focus on getting back into the normal routine of a regular player. How his ice time is managed will be something his head coach has to worry about.

“We have a range we’d like to have him in and we’ll see how the game goes,” said Todd Reirden. “Obviously he’s fresh, he’s skating really well, he’s in unbelievable condition, so now it’s just to see how it transfers into game action and how his wind is and his conditioning.”

Braden Holtby is back between the pipes are being given a one game “reset,” as Reirden put it. How he fares against the Rangers will either pause the goalie controversy talk with Ilya Samsonov for now or only add more fuel to the fire.

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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.