NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: ‘Hawks vs. Canadiens; Coyotes vs. Golden Knights

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with a doubleheader on Tuesday night. In the early game, the Montreal Canadiens host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:30 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here

The Blackhawks have had no problems scoring goals this season. Through three games, they are 2-0-1 and they’ve managed to find the back of the net 18 times (10 of those goals came in the season opener against Pittsburgh).

“I know we scored a ton of goals but our (defense) has been great moving the puck up, getting in the rush, ending plays quick in our zone,” goalie Corey Crawford said after Saturday’s 5-1 win over Columbus, per the Chicago Tribune. “Every aspect of our game right now is looking good.”

Last night, the ‘Hawks jumped out to 2-0 and 3-1 leads in Toronto, but they ended up losing 4-3 in overtime thanks to a goal by Leafs superstar Auston Matthews.

It’s impressive to see that Chicago has eight players on a point-per-game pace (that number will come down as the season goes on). Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Ryan Hartman all lead the way with six points in three contests.

Goals haven’t been coming as easily to the Canadiens, as they’ve beaten an opposing goaltender just three times in three games.

Montreal opened the season with a shootout win in Buffalo, but they dropped 6-1 and 2-0 road decisions against the Capitals and Rangers over the weekend.

The Canadiens had disallowed goals in Sunday’s game against New York. Still, captain Max Pacioretty isn’t willing to use that as an excuse for his team’s struggles.

“I think they were good calls,” Pacioretty said, per the Montreal Gazette. “Maybe if we disagreed with the calls, then it would be frustrating, but I think they were good calls.

“We were getting the puck there but, like I said, it’s nice to look at the shot count and have lots of shots, but Pittsburgh proved last year by winning the Cup that making plays, making the goalie move, making it hard on him is how you win games. It’s not always going to result in tons of shots, but you need the confidence to make the plays around the net and that’s what it takes to score goals.”

In the late game, the Vegas Golden Knights host the Arizona Coyotes at 10:00 p.m. ET. To stream that game live, click here

The Golden Knights will finally get to play their first regular season home game in franchise history tonight. Although there will be plenty of excitement in the building, the mass shooting that took place in Vegas last week is still fresh in everybody’s mind.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of different emotions,” Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland said, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Obviously, the city is still healing from the tragedy, and as players we’re aware of that. But hopefully we can go out and perform and take everyone’s mind off of what happened for a couple of hours.”

Believe it or not, the NHL’s newest team is off to a perfect 2-0 start. They’ve collected a pair of wins over the Dallas Stars and Coyotes, so they are playing with confidence.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who is clearly the face of this expansion franchise, has been rock-solid, and on Monday, he was chosen as the NHL’s Second Star of the Week.

Fleury can dangle too!

Everyone expected the Coyotes to struggle, again, this season, and that’s been the case early on. They dropped their regular season opener in Anaheim 5-4 before losing to the Golden Knights in overtime this weekend.

The thing is, Arizona has held leads in both of their defeats this season. They were up by three goals against Anaheim and one goal against Vegas.

“That’s something we’re going to have to learn, to close games down,” defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson told the Arizona Repulic after the loss to the Golden Knights. “But at the same time, we didn’t play good enough to win that game.

“We stopped playing a little bit instead of pushing forward for the next goal. We back off, and we make some bad mistakes.”

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