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Statement made? Blue Jackets take first in Metro by pummeling Penguins

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Sorry, Torts. People are probably going to make a pretty big deal about this one.

The Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t just beat the Pittsburgh Penguins to win their 11th consecutive game and move – at least briefly – to first place in the Metropolitan Division. They absolutely dominated the Penguins in the process, beating them 7-1.

(They’re also considered in first in the entire league thanks to tiebreakers. So yeah.)

In doing so, the Blue Jackets followed some interesting patterns:

The usual suspects: Cam Atkinson scored his 15th goal of 2016-17, extending his career-high point streak to eight games. Brandon Saad also generated his 12th goal of the season.

Others stepping up: Scott Hartnell grabbed the headlines, however, showing surprising speed during one goal and ultimately generating a rare hat trick.

Teams also must shudder at the thought of Boone Jenner possibly raising his level of play to a level that may approach his 2014-15 breakout.

Bob keyed in: As usual, Sergei Bobrovsky was sharp, even if the Blue Jackets didn’t necessarily need a near-perfect game from him.

Blowing out good teams: Let’s consider some of Columbus’ lopsided wins in 2016-17:

Nov. 4: That 10-0 shellacking of Al Montoya and the Canadiens.
Nov. 12: An 8-4 drubbing of the Blues.
Nov. 29: Handing a demoralizing 5-1 loss to the Lightning.
Dec. 10: Beating the Islanders 6-2.
Thursday night: Pummeling the Penguins.

The Blue Jackets fattened their 3-1 lead to a 6-1 edge with three goals in less than a minute during a staggering run in the third, and they scored four goals six-and-a-half minutes to start that opening frame. Ridiculous. College football pundits couldn’t keep up with the fun.

Columbus already came into the night with the best goal differential in the league, and now it’s at a resounding +44.

The Blue Jackets aren’t just “hanging in there.” Yes, their Metro lead is slim right now, but they hold games-in-hand advantages over their division peers.

And, again, they’re rolling over teams. Just ask the Penguins.

More: Sidney Crosby‘s impressive but ultimately irrelevant goal.

Olympic hockey on NBC: 2018 women’s gold medal game

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Hockey Week in America continues Sunday with the unforgettable Olympic women’s gold medal game in 2018.

NBC will present the women’s gold medal game at the 2018 Olympics between Team USA and Canada, won by the Americans in a 3-2 shootout in PyeongChang. With the victory, the women’s ice hockey team claimed its second ever Olympic gold medal and ended the Canadians streak of four straight gold medals.

Kenny Albert, AJ Mleczko and Pierre McGuire called the gold medal game in PyeongChang.

You can catch a replay of the 2018 women’s Olympics gold medal game Sunday on NBC at 1 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SUNDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Maple Leafs vs. Bruins (Game 7, Round 1, 2013 playoffs) – 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Golden Knights vs. Sharks (Game 7, Round 1, 2019 playoffs) – 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Kings vs. Blackhawks (Game 7, Western Conference Final, 2014 playoffs) – 12 a.m. ET on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Capitals vs. Penguins on NBCSN: Kuznetsov’s overtime series clincher

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

In 2018, the Capitals and Penguins met in Round 2 for the third straight postseason. Pittsburgh won the previous two series en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles. But this time Washington would have its revenge. Evgeny Kuznetsov would score in overtime of Game 6 to help the Capitals advance as they went on to win their first championship in franchise history.

You can catch Game 6 of the 2018 Penguins vs. Capitals playoff game Saturday night on NBCSN beginning at 12:30 a.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Capitals vs. Penguins on NBCSN: Bonino Bonino Bonino!

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

The Capitals needed a win to force Game 7 in Round 2 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Facing the Penguins yet again, the clawed back from a 3-1 third period deficit to force overtime. It was there, however, that Pittsburgh once again topped their Metro Division rivals. This time it was Nick Bonino breaking their hearts to put the Penguins on a path to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup title.

You can catch Game 6 of the 2016 Penguins vs. Capitals playoff game Saturday on NBCSN beginning at 10 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2016 playoffs) – 10 p.m. on NBCSN
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

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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.

Crosby vs. Ovechkin on NBCSN: The dueling hat trick game

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

After edging the Penguins in Game 1 of their Round 2 series in 2009, the Capitals were eager to take a 2-0 series lead. Little did we all know it would be the Crosby and Ovechkin show as the two superstars exchanged hat tricks. Ovechkin’s Capitals came out on top after he scored his second and third goals of the game in a span of 3:29 late in the third period for a 4-3 victory.

You can catch the dueling hat trick game Saturday on NBCSN beginning at 8 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
Penguins vs. Capitals (Game 2, Round 2, 2009 playoffs) – 8 p.m. on NBCSN
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2016 playoffs) – 10 p.m. on NBCSN
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

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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.