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NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Bruins vs. Flyers, Maple Leafs vs. Oilers

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The NHL on NBCSN is back with two great games tonight. It all gets going at 7:30 p.m. ET when the Boston Bruins visit the Philadelphia Flyers. In the late game, it’s an all-Canadian matchup featuring Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers against Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coverage of that one gets going immediately after the Boston-Philly game. 

To watch the Bruins and Flyers online, click here

After dropping back-to-back games to the Lightning and Rangers, the Flyers were able to get back to their winning ways by beating Calgary on Sunday.

The feel-good story of that game was Anthony Stolarz picking up his first career win in his first career game.

It’s still early in the year, but Philly needs to start banking points more frequently if they want to make a push for a playoff spot this spring.

They’ve been decimated with injuries and that’s affected their ability to be consistent, but they need to be better.

“We’ve got to stop with this win one, lose one type of thing,” goalie Steve Mason said, per the Courier-Post. “It’s so important to put together streaks of winning. We’ve got to stop talking about it and start going it. It’s as simple as that. Points, especially at this point of the season, are extremely valuable. We’ve got to start getting as many as possible.”

On Sunday, the Bruins managed to snap their three-game losing streak by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was their first win since captain Zdeno Chara exited the lineup three games ago with a lower-body injury.

With Chara out, again, against the Bolts, it was Torey Krug who stepped up for Boston. Krug, who has been struggling this season, picked up a pair of assists, a plus-2 rating and even dropped the gloves with Nikita Kucherov.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, they lost another defenseman, John-Michael Liles, in that game and he’s expected to be out for a while.

“Next man up. We just have to figure it out,” defenseman Kevan Miller said after Sunday’s game, per the Boston Herald. “There’s nothing you can do at that point. You just have to go out there and handle it the best you can. And I think we did a pretty good job.”

Finally, to watch the Oilers-Maple Leafs game online, click here

This should be a good one. Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid have played against each other at the World Junior Hockey Championship, they’ve played together for Team North America at the World Cup, and now, they’ll go head-to-head at the NHL level for the second time.

Toronto won the first meeting 3-2 in OT on Nov. 1. Interestingly enough, Matthews and McDavid both failed to register points in that game (Nazem Kadri scored twice, including the game-winner).

The Leafs couldn’t be happier with their selection of Matthews. Even though he went through a prolonged scoring slump, the team sees him as a complete player with incredible upside.

“We’re extremely pleased,” GM Lou Lamoriello told the National Post. “He’s had opportunities. You go through stages. I don’t like comparing people to other people, but there are a lot of exceptional players who go through it. I’ve had 500-goal scorers who have gone through it. But in Auston’s case, he’s been playing excellent defensively and had excellent progressive success on the systematic part of the game and on face-offs. Remember, he’s up against the best and had the best playing against him.”

Although the Leafs are off to a modest 9-8-4 start, they have to be thrilled with the contributions they’ve been receiving from rookies like Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

Marner is tied for the team lead in points with 18, Matthews is in a three-way tie for the team lead in goals with 9 and Nylander has quietly put up 15 points in 20 games.

On the other side, the Oilers have stunned many by being in the top spot of the Pacific Division at this point of the season.

There’s no denying that McDavid is the biggest reason for that. He’s already picked up 10 goals and 29 points in 23 games and the team’s next best scorer is Jordan Eberle, and he has 17 points.

The Oilers center does a lot of things well, but when you watch him play, it’s incredibly obvious that he can do special things at a speed that most players can only dream of.

“It’s for sure his speed,” Jordan Eberle said of McDavid’s greatest asset, per Sportsnet. “It is unmatched in the league. I don’t know how he does it — they should figure it out and teach kids how to do it. But he’s a rush player. He creates everything off the rush with his speed, and as a defenseman you can’t gap up.”

We should be in for a real treat tonight!

The Buzzer: Mangiapane tricks Ducks; Lightning win record 11th straight

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THREE STARS

1. Andrew Mangiapane, Flames

The Flames’ 6-4 win over the Ducks was powered by Mangiapane’s first career hat trick. Two of his three goals came during a third period where Calgary entered it trailing 3-1 and scored five times en route to the win. He would register an assist on Matthew Tkachuk‘s 20th of the season to add to a career-best four-point night. The hat trick is also the first by a Flames player this season.

2. Antti Raanta, Coyotes

Arizona won for the second straight game behind Conor Garland‘s 20th goal of the season and 28 saves from Raanta. The 2-1 win over the Islanders gives the Coyotes a winning streak for the first time since Dec. 31-Jan. 7 and also puts them into a tie for the final Western Conference wild card spot. Raanta’s been in net for both wins and has stopped 64 of his last 66 shots faced.

3. Nikita Kucherov, Lightning

The Lightning set a franchise record with their 11th consecutive win by topping the Avalanche, 4-3, in overtime. During the extra period, it was Kucherov beating Pavel Francouz five-hold to keep Tampa red-hot. How hot? They are 23-2-1 since Dec. 21.

AVS LOSE RANTANEN

Adding to the bad night against Tampa, the Avalanche lost Mikko Rantanen to an upper-body injury in the second period. He’ll be out for “weeks.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NIGHT

• Here’s Alex Ovechkin catching up with old teammate Nate Schmidt:

• They don’t see each other often, but the temperature certainly rose when the Avs and Lightning met:

STATS OF THE NIGHT

Jonathan Huberdeau picked up his 50th assist of the season in the win over the Sharks. He now joins Aleksander Barkov as the only two players in Panthers franchise history to record multiple 50-assists seasons.

• Via the NHL, Matthew Tkachuk is now the fourth player in Flames history to record three 20-goal seasons before his 23rd birthday. Sean Monahan (4 times), Robert Reichel (3 times) and Jarome Iginla (3 times) are the only others on the list.

SCORES
Coyotes 2, Islanders 1
Panthers 5, Sharks 3
Flames 6, Ducks 4
Golden Knights 3, Capitals 2
Lightning 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)

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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.

Avs lose Rantanen for weeks after crash into boards

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Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen will miss “weeks,” per the team, after he crashed into the boards during Monday night’s loss to the Lightning.

Rantanen was on a 2-on-1 with Andre Burakovsky in the second period when he tripped over a diving Erik Cernak and slid into the end boards behind the Tampa net. He left the ice favoring his left shoulder and was later ruled out for the rest of the 4-3 overtime defeat.

Rantanen, who has 19 goals and 40 points in 41 games, missed 16 games this season due to ligament damage in his left ankle.

The injury comes on the day it was announced goaltender Philipp Grubauer is day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered during the Stadium Series game, Matt Calvert is out long-term, and a week after Nazem Kadri was ruled out for “weeks, not days” with an LBI.

Colorado sits one point behind the Blues and Stars for the top spot in the Central Division with 24 games to go.

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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.

Canucks strengthen up front by acquiring Tyler Toffoli

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Tyler Toffoli‘s final game with the Los Angeles Kings was a memorable one.

After notching a hat trick during their Stadium Series win over the Avalanche, Toffoli was dealt to the Canucks on Monday. Heading back to LA is a package of Tim Schaller, the rights to NCAA prospect Tyler Madden, and a 2020 second-round pick.

The deal also includes a conditional draft pick, which would see a 2022 fourth rounder going to the Kings if Toffoli re-signs, per Pierre LeBrun. LA will also not be retaining any of Toffoli’s $4.6 million salary this season.

“Tyler brings goal scoring abilities and is good in battles,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning. “He has great offensive instincts and experience playing in high pressure, meaningful games. We look forward to adding his skill and strength to the line-up.”

The 27-year-old Toffoli can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and was one of the bigger name forwards likely to be on the move with the NHL trade deadline a week away. In 58 games this season he has 18 goals and 34 points.

As the Canucks sit one point behind the Oilers for tops in the Pacific Division, this is Benning bolstering his roster with 23 games to go. Vancouver has been a surprise this season and with the opportunity present to make a run at the playoffs and division title, the move is a boost to the players for the stretch run.

Adding Toffoli also helps the Canucks’ forward group after the news that Brock Boeser will be out of the lineup with a rib injury and will be re-evaluate in three weeks.

The question to be answered is whether this was a premature move for Benning to pull off given the price and where the Canucks are in their turnaround. Madden, who is currently dealing with a broken finger, has 19 goals in 27 games this season at Northeastern University and adds to an already strong prospect pool for the Kings. There’s also no guarantee that Toffoli, who is reunited with his “That 70s Line” mate Tanner Pearson, will stay in Vancouver.

We always see GMs gamble this time of year, but there’s certainly an opening in the West this season, and Benning clearly has confidence his group can do something special.

MORE: PHT’s 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

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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.

Ovechkin continues chase for 700 goals Thursday on NBCSN

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The Capitals lost for the fifth time in seven games and Alex Ovechkin remained stuck on 698 goals as the Golden Knights came out on top, 3-2, Monday night.

NBCSN has added the Capitals’ next game, Thursday at home against Montreal (7 p.m. ET), to its schedule as Ovechkin continues chasing goal No. 700.

The Golden Knights built up a 3-0 lead by the second period and held off a Capitals’ comeback as T.J. Oshie cut the led to 3-2 with pair of goals. Marc-Andre Fleury, who has surrendered the most goals to Ovechkin of any NHL goalie (24 goals in 42 games), stopped 24 shots for his second straight win. Ovechkin finished with eight shot attempts and four shots on goal.

Ovechkin is now goalless in five straight games after registering a hat trick against the Kings on Feb. 4. Of the seven members in the 700-goal club, five players took five games or longer to go from 698 to 700 career goals – Jaromir Jagr (5 games), Marcel Dionne, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Gartner (6 games), and Brett Hull (12 games).

MORE OVECHKIN:
NHL Power Rankings: Ovechkin’s top 10 goals
By the Numbers: Ovechkin’s 698 NHL goals
Stunning Numbers as Alex Ovechkin closes in on 700 goals
Can Alex Ovechkin break Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals?
My Favorite Goal: Ovechkin scores ‘The Goal’

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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.