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Let’s look at the many, many key injuries heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs

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Over the next few months, you’ll be subjected to a litany of stories — some written by PHT! — about players getting hurt during the exhausting, physical Stanley Cup playoff grind.

So why not get out in front, and look at all the players hurt heading into the postseason?

Because there are a lot of them.

A lot.

• Let’s start in Tampa, where captain and former 60-goal scorer Steve Stamkos is out 1-3 months following vascular thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. The procedure, which removed Stamkos’ upper right rib, was conducted on Apr. 4 and, according to the doctor that performed the surgery, Stamkos would be re-evaluated “in about two weeks.”

That would put the re-evaluation around Apr. 18, and Game 4 of the Bolts’ opening-round series with Detroit is on the 19th. There is hope a speedy recovery process would allow Stamkos to return at some point during the postseason, possibly as early as the second round.

• Let’s stick in Tampa, where veteran defenseman Anton Stralman is out indefinitely with a fractured left leg. A 22-minutes-per-night guy that’s among the Bolts’ best possession d-men, Stralman is a valuable right-handed shot, on a blueline that doesn’t have many. So needless to say, it’s a big loss.

Neither the club nor Stralman has ruled out a return, but there’s no timeline for it.

“Who knows? There’s definitely going to be a few weeks, it’s a fractured bone,” he said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “It has to heal. I hope I’ve got good healing powers, otherwise I’ll blame my dad.”

• Pittsburgh’s also dealing with injuries to a star center and valuable defenseman.

Evgeni Malkin, out with an upper-body injury, is expected to miss the first two rounds. While Malkin is a major loss — the former Hart and Conn Smythe winner has 111 points in 101 career playoff games — the Pens have thrived in his absence, and won eight of nine to close out the regular season.

On defense, Olli Maatta (lower body), who hasn’t played since mid-March, was back on the ice at practice Monday, a good sign for his pending return. And in equally good news, starting netminder Marc-Andre Fleury was also at practice. Fleury’s been out of action since Mar. 27 with a concussion.

• In Dallas, star center Tyler Seguin remains sidelined with a lacerated Achilles. The injury occurred in mid-March and forced him to miss the final 10 games of the season. Seguin has said he’ll be back for the playoffs, but the “when” remains unknown — last week, he resumed skating in a limited fashion, but head coach Lindy Ruff said it was too early to comment on whether Seguin could play in Game 1 versus Minnesota.

• The Isles are dealing with a number of injuries at the moment. Starting goalie Jaroslav Halak‘s been out since early March with a groin ailment and, while he’s on target to return by mid-April, it’s hard to envision him getting thrown back into the mix after so much time off.

Minutes-munching defenseman Travis Hamonic is out with a knee injury, versatile forward Anders Lee is out with a broken left fibula and veteran Mikhail Grabovski hasn’t played since Mar. 17 due to a concussion. Of those three, Hamonic seems most likely to return, as he resumed light skating last week.

• The Rangers will reportedly be without captain Ryan McDonagh to start their series against the Pens. McDonagh, who suffered a broken right hand last week, was thought to possibly be out for the entire first round but, over the weekend, Blueshirts head coach Alain Vigneault listed McDonagh as “day-to-day.” Stay tuned…

• Nobody’s really sure what’s going on in St. Louis. Captain David Backes and goalie Jake Allen were shut down for the final three games of the regular season (both lower-body) back in early April. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock has since named Brian Elliott the Game 1 starter against Chicago, and Backes wasn’t at practice on Monday.

• It’s unclear if the Panthers, back in the playoffs for the first time in four years, will have captain Willie Mitchell available for selection. Mitchell, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, has been out since January with post-concussion symptoms, but did practice with the team on Monday. There’s also uncertainty about key forward Vincent Trocheck, who is still in a walking boot after injuring his foot on Mar. 30. Trocheck had 26 points in 27 games prior to getting hurt, so his loss is a big one.

• More unknowns out of Anaheim. Veteran d-man Kevin Bieksa hasn’t played since Mar. 24 due to a lingering upper-body issue, while shifty forward Rickard Rakell (appendicitis) has been out since Mar. 28. Rakell is expected to be ready for Game 1, but the outlook for Bieksa is less clear. David Perron, who had 20 points in 28 games after being acquired from Pittsburgh, is out longer term with a separated shoulder.

• Minnesota will open its series with Dallas minus the services of Thomas Vanek, who will be out “more than a week” with an upper-body injury (per interim head coach John Torchetti). Vanek, who finished fourth on the team with 18 goals this year, is expected to miss at least the first two games of the series.

• San Jose has been without shutdown d-man Marc-Edouard Vlasic since Mar. 17. Vlasic, who’s dealing with a MCL sprain, is expected to be ready to start the opening round against the Kings — though there could be a rust factor, given he sat out the final 12 games of the regular season.

• Los Angeles is relatively healthy, but there are some players to monitor. Top-four defenseman Alec Martinez is day-to-day with an undisclosed ailment, yet he did skate on Sunday. Veteran winger Marian Gaborik, out since mid-February with a knee injury, was originally thought to be on track for a playoff return, but now he could miss some of the first round. Tough guy Jordan Nolan had back surgery in early March, and could be done for the year.

• Chicago was without the services of Artem Anisimov, Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw down the stretch, but all returned to practice on Monday.

• What about Washington, you ask? Oh, the Presidents’ Trophy winner heads into the playoffs at 100 percent health, now that Jay Beagle appears ready to dress for Game 1 versus Philly.

Capitals break Flyers’ streak, but both teams stay hot

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The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers entered Wednesday Night Hockey as two of the hotter teams in the NHL. While something had to give, it’s fitting that the two rising clubs needed a shootout to settle things.

Overall, it was quite the goalie duel between Braden Holtby and Carter Hart, with the Capitals ultimately taking the 3-2 (SO) win.

Climbing starters

There are also some parallels between Holtby and Hart, specifically.

Each goalie carried four-game winning streaks into this game, showing signs of getting on track despite slow starts (Holtby had a .898 save percentage before the bout, while Hart lagged behind even further with a mark of .893).

Holtby ended up prevailing, improving his winning streak to five games, and he hasn’t been dinged with a loss since Oct. 10. Despite individual struggles, Holtby is now 9-1-3 in a crucial contract year for the 30-year-old.

Not nearly as much money hinges on how Hart fares in 2019-20, being that the 21-year-old still has two seasons remaining on his RFA deal. That said, Hart generated hype with Philly late last season, and Flyers fans are always eager to see a goalie actually deliver — to the point where it has to really heighten the pressure for netminders who might be vulnerable to such attention.

[More: reasons for optimism for Philly fans.]

Again, both goalies delivered. Holtby stopped 30 out of 31 shots and got the W, while Hart earned the Flyers a point after making 35 of 36 saves.

Not cooling off yet

At this rate, the Capitals’ quiet dominance might build to a roar. They improved to 14-2-4, continuing an 11-0-2 point streak that began on Oct. 14. With their next game coming against the Canadiens on Friday (Nov. 15), that means Washington is now on a month-long point streak. Impressive stuff.

The Flyers finished the night at 10-5-3, which is quite impressive after a 2-3-1 start to 2019-20. Their winning streak stopped at four games, but their point streak is growing, as it is now at seven games (5-0-2).

Both teams are showing some ability to adapt to nightly situations to get wins, or at least a standing point, for their troubles. In Philly’s case on Wednesday, they should absolutely thank Hart.

MORE:
• Pro Hockey Talk’s Stanley Cup picks.
• Your 2019-20 NHL on NBC TV schedule

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights livestream: How to watch Wednesday Night Hockey

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights. Coverage begins at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

The Blackhawks and Golden Knights will meet Wednesday night for the second time this season. The two teams met on October 22 in Chicago where the Knights rallied from a late one-goal deficit in the third period to win 2-1 in a shootout and keep their undefeated streak against the Hawks alive. Hawks forward Kirby Dach scored his first career NHL goal in the loss, while Knights defenseman Nick Holden scored the equalizer with 1:33 remaining in regulation.

Patrick Kane set a career high in points last season with 110 (44G-66A) and has shown no signs of slowing down in 2019-20. Kane is currently riding a six-game point streak and has tallied 11 points (5G-6A) over that span. He leads Chicago in scoring with 20 points (8G-12A). Kane recorded three points (2G-1A) on Sunday as he helped the Haws defeat the Maple Leafs. His two goals were his first multi-goal effort of the season.

After a home-and-home sweep of the Sharks to open the season, the Knights looked like one of the clear favorites out West. But that no longer seems to be the case as Vegas has now dropped five of their last six games (1-2-3) overall. The Knights ended a four-game road trip on Sunday by losing to the Red Wings 3-2. Vegas squandered a 2-1 lead midway through the third period and Wings forward Anthony Mantha scored the winner with 31 seconds remaining in the game.

Knights forward Mark Stone currently leads the team with 18 points (8G-10A) but was held scoreless during the teams recent four-game road trip. Stone began the season with four multi-point performances in his first five games of the season but has tallied just one multi-point game since. In Stone’s scoring absence, Max Pacioretty has stepped up by scoring a goal in three straight games. The former Canadiens captain has six pts (4G-2A) in his last seven contests.

[COVERAGE BEGINS AT 10 P.M. ET ON NBCSN]

WHAT: Chicago Blackhawks at Vegas Golden Knights
WHERE: T-Mobile Arena
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 10 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Blackhawks-Golden Knights stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

BLACKHAWKS
Alex DeBrincatDylan Strome – Patrick Kane
Brandon SaadJonathan Toews – Kirby Dach
Andrew ShawDavid KampfDominik Kubalik
Alex NylanderRyan CarpenterZack Smith

Duncan KeithErik Gustafsson
Calvin de HaanBrent Seabrook
Olli Maatta – Adam Boqvist

Starting goalie: Corey Crawford

GOLDEN KNIGHTS
Jonathan MarchessaultWilliam KarlssonReilly Smith
Max Pacioretty – Paul Stastny – Mark Stone
Alex TuchCody EakinCody Glass
Tomas Nosek – Nicolas Roy – Ryan Reaves

Brayden McNabbNate Schmidt
Shea TheodoreNicolas Hague
Jon Merrill – Nick Holden

Starting goalie: Marc-Andre Fleury

Kathryn Tappen will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp and NHL insider Darren Dreger. John Forslund, Eddie Olczyk  and Pierre McGuire will have the call from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

Golden Knights’ Theodore talks about cancer diagnosis (Video)

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It was a turbulent summer for Vegas Golden Knights defender Shea Theodore.

It all started with his team being eliminated in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in crushing fashion, blowing a three-goal third period lead in Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks, and continued with a shocking testicular cancer diagnosis following the World Championships where he represented Team Canada and won a Silver medal.

[COVERAGE OF BLACKHAWKS-GOLDEN KNIGHTS BEGINS AT 10 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

Theodore sat down with NBC Sports and opened up about his diagnosis, his recovery, and the support he received from his Golden Knights teammates.

You can watch the entire segment in the video above.

The 24-year-old Theodore has come back and appeared in all 19 games for the Golden Knights this season, scoring one goal with six assists.

Theodore and the Golden Knights host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night on NBCSN.

Kathryn Tappen will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp and NHL insider Darren Dreger. John Forslund, Eddie Olczyk  and Pierre McGuire will have the call from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

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.

Capitals vs. Flyers livestream: How to watch Wednesday Night Hockey

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Washington’s six-game winning streak was snapped by Arizona on Monday night, losing 4-3 at home in a shootout. The Caps trailed 3-0 early in the second period before rallying to tie the game in the final 90 seconds of regulation. Washington pulled Ilya Samsonov in the final minutes of the third period and, with the man-advantage, T.J. Oshie sent the game into extra time by notching his ninth goal of the season.

The Caps have scored 76 goals this season (most in NHL) and are the only team averaging more than four goals per game (4.00). They have scored 4-plus goals in 10 of their last 12 games. They also have an impressive 8-1-1 road record this season and lead the league with 17 points as the visitor. Washington has won three straight games on the road.

After somewhat of a slow start to the season (2-3-1), Philly has been on a roll as of late. The Flyers are currently on a four-game winning streak and have earned points in six straight (5-0-1). The Flyers three most recent wins have come past regulation. Philly has lost just once in regulation this season at the Wells Fargo Center and have earned points in seven of their eight home games overall. Their season opening victory against Chicago in Prague was counted as a home game, making their home record 6-1-1 on the season.

Philly and Washington made a one-for-one trade swap of defensemen this past offseason. The Caps dealt Matt Niskanen to the Flyers in exchange for Radko Gudas to free up cap space and, so far, the trade has been working out for both parties as the defensemen are set to face their former teams Wednesday night.

[COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6:30 P.M. ET ON NBCSN]

WHAT: Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers
WHERE: Wells Fargo Center
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Capitals-Flyers stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

CAPITALS
Alex OvechkinNicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Jakub VranaEvgeny KuznetsovTom Wilson
Chandler StephensonLars EllerRichard Panik
Brendan LeipsicNic DowdGarnet Hathaway

Michal KempnyJohn Carlson
Dmitry Orlov – Radko Gudas
Jonas SiegenthalerNick Jensen

Starting goalie: Braden Holtby

FLYERS
James van Riemsdyk – Claude Giroux – Joel Farabee
Oskar LindblomSean CouturierTravis Konecny
Carsen TwarynskiKevin HayesJakub Voracek
Andy Andreoff – Michael RafflTyler Pitlick

Ivan Provorov – Matt Niskanen
Shayne GostisbehereJustin Braun
Travis Sanheim – Philippe Myers

Starting goalie: Carter Hart

MORE: Why Flyers fans have reason for optimism

Kathryn Tappen will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp and NHL insider Darren Dreger. Kenny Albert, Mike Milbury and Brian Boucher will call Capitals-Flyers from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.