Associated Press

The Buzzer: Pettersson notches five points; Luongo wins in return

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Three Stars

1. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks

You get the sense that this kid is going to be written in this top spot many times over the next 15 years. He’s just bloody special. Pettersson had two goals and five points in a 7-6 win against the Colorado Avalanche. His second goal of the game came with the score 6-5 Avalanche and 35 seconds left on the clock in the third period. Clutch. Also clutch? An assist on the game-winner in overtime. Pettersson has nine goals and 15 points now in nine games and is starting to run away in the rookie of the year race in early November.

2. Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers 

Luongo wasn’t supposed to feature in Finland at first. Then he was brought on the trip, taken off injured reserve and placed into the net for the first time since around the 32-minute mark of Florida’s season opener. And Luongo picked up right where he left off, saving a lot of pucks. ‘Lou’ shut the door 32 times against the Winnipeg Jets as the Panthers earned a split in Finland. The win was Florida’s third of the season. James Reimer and Michael Hutchinson have been south of brutal thus far so Luongo can stay healthy, it’s likely Florida can start clawing its way back.

3. Antti Raanta, Arizona Coyotes

You have to hand it to a goalie who stopped 48 of 51 shots against a high-power Carolina Hurricanes team. Raanta was the savior on special teams as well, turning aside nine power-play shots on six Carolina power plays. Carolina was 0-for-6 on their opportunities. Raanta and the Coyotes survived a flurry in the third period after getting outshot 23-5 in the final frame. Raanta then had to make a clutch save in overtime to boot to help ‘Yotes to their fifth straight win.

A couple other notables:

  • Brock Boeser snapped an eight-game goalless streak with two goals against Colorado
  • Nathan MacKinnon had a three-point night, including two goals and is up to 11 markers on the season.

Highlights of the Night

Holy moly:

That footwork:

Goalie hat trick:

Factoids

Scores

Panthers 4, Jets 2

Coyotes 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT)

Canucks 7, Avalanche 6 (OT)

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

WATCH LIVE: Jets battle Panthers in Finland on NBCSN

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Thursday afternoon’s matchup between the Winnipeg Jets and the Florida Panthers at 2 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports App by clicking here.

The Jets are looking to rebound after blowing a 2-0 lead in the third period last Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Losers of two out of their past three, the Jets are looking to climb the Central Division standings with a win in the first of a back-to-back in Finland as part of the NHL’s Global Series.

Meanwhile, the Panthers need to start winning. With just two wins in their first nine games of the season, the Panthers sit dead last in both the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference.

James Reimer gets the nod in net for the Panthers. Reimer has struggled in the absence of Roberto Luongo, posting just a single win in five game starts. His .878 save percentage leaves a lot to be desired and he’s in tough against the high-powered Jets offense.

Reimer will face off against Vezina finalist Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck’s season hasn’t started in the same vein as it did when he won 44 games last year. He’s 4-4-1 with a pedestrian .907 save percentage in nine starts.

[WATCH LIVE – 2 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

What: Winnipeg Jets at Florida Panthers
Where: Hartwall Arena (Helsinki, Finland)
When: Thursday, Nov. 1, 2 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: You can watch the Jets-Predators stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

JETS
Nikolaj EhlersMark ScheifeleBlake Wheeler
Kyle ConnorBryan LittleMathieu Perreault
Brandon TanevAdam LowryPatrik Laine
Brendan LemieuxAndrew CoppJack Roslovic

Josh MorrisseyJacob Trouba
Ben ChiarotDustin Byfuglien
Dmitry KulikovTyler Myers

Starting goalie: Connor Hellebuyck

PANTHERS
Evgenii DadonovAleksander BarkovNick Bjugstad
Jonathan HuberdeauVincent TrocheckMike Hoffman
Frank VatranoJared McCannDenis Malgin
Troy BrouwerJuho LammikkoColton Sceviour

Keith YandleAlexander Petrovic
Mike MathesonAaron Ekblad
MacKenzie WeegarBogdan Kiselevich

Starting goalie: James Reimer

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Roberto Luongo’s looming return is big for Panthers

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An in-season journey overseas can be disruptive for even the most well-acquainted teams, yet this Finnish trip isn’t the only curveball the Florida Panthers have been dealing with.

Years of wear and tear (sometimes absorbing a hail of shots, often with Florida) seem to be catching up to Roberto Luongo, and it didn’t take long for them to catch up with the veteran goalie again. Just one game into 2018-19, Luongo suffered an injury that landed him on IR. Thursday brings a positive sign, then: he’s been taken off IR.

The less-good news is that Luongo’s not expected to play in Thursday or Friday’s Global Series games against the Winnipeg Jets, yet coach Bob Boughner believes he is close, as NHL.com’s Brian Compton reports.

“Officially, if [Luongo] is ready, he could play, but we’re going to make that decision tomorrow,” Boughner said. “I could see him more playing when we get back home, [but] he’s close. He’s real close.”

Considering what the 39-year-old goalie has been through, it’s not that surprising that Florida’s being conservative regarding Luongo’s return. Bougher wants him to be at “110 percent,” which is something we should all strive for, really.

(You had me at 85 percent.)

When Luongo went down with his latest injury, the thought was that Florida was at least reasonably prepared to roll without their No. 1 goalie.

After all, James Reimer‘s been either a starting goalie (in Toronto) or a prominent “platoon” option for some time, and the Panthers scooped up a reasonably inexperienced netminder in Michael Hutchinson as added goalie insurance. If nothing else, the Panthers are allocating serious resources beyond Luongo; Reimer’s $3.4 million cap hit runs for three more seasons.

Well, they haven’t really been getting their money’s worth so far. The Panthers head into this game against the Jets with a frustrating 2-4-3 record, and poor goaltending ranks as one of their biggest issues. Reimer’s been disappointing (.878 save percentage in seven games) and Hutchinson’s been lousy (.839 in four games), so it’s not shocking that Florida ranks among the dregs as far as team save percentage goes.

The Panthers can’t expect their battered puckstopper to heal all wounds, but you can forgive them for crossing their fingers that Luongo might at least stop the bleeding.

MORE: Your 2018-19 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.

NHL on NBCSN: Laine, Barkov set for spotlight in Finland

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Thursday afternoon’s matchup between the Winnipeg Jets and the Florida Panthers at 2 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports App by clicking here.

For the NHL, the next two days is a chance to showcase their product to a country that sports one of the league’s best talent streams.

For Finland, it’s a rare chance to bask in their homegrown talent. Two teams, each possessing two of the top exports ever produced on the east side of the Gulf of Bothnia, which spills into the Baltic Sea.

Patrik Laine — Suomi’s great sniper.

Aleksander Barkov  — Suomi’s great all-rounder

The Battle of Tampere in the Land of a Thousand Lakes, the home of Darude and Sandstorm.

Both Laine and the Winnipeg Jets and Bakov and the Florida Panthers enter this rendition of the NHL’s Global Series in considerably different places.

Laine has flat out struggled out of the gate. Aside from his three power-play goals and one power-play assist, the ‘Finnisher’ has but one point in five-on-five situations in 12 games this season.

It’s been a tough go for the 20-year-old in his third NHL season. Jets coach Paul Maurice has had to bring out the industrial blender more than once over the past few games. Each press of that blend button has produced a different result. Stints on first, second, third and fourth line have all been tried.

So far, nothing has worked.

Despite this, the Jets have cobbled together a 7-4-1 record with Laine running on less-than-optimal fuel.

[WATCH LIVE – 2 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

Conversely, Barkov has eight points in nine games, picking up right where he left off after last season’s career year. But one wonders if he’d trade in some of those for a couple more wins.

Barkov’s problem isn’t himself, but rather his team. Florida has just two wins to show for in their first nine tries.

Another season has meant another injury for starter Roberto Luongo. His rotten luck has forced Florida into relying on James Reimer and Michael Hutchinson, an endeavor that hasn’t exactly panned out. Both of Luongo’s understudies sport save percentages well below .900 and have mostly failed to perform at even the minimum level required to win.

Florida sits in the middle of the pack in terms of goals-per-game but hovers near the bottom in goals-against. The math isn’t that complicated: score fewer + give up more = lose many. That math has checked out.

Both teams have had several days now to ponder their respective lots in life.

Laine should be salivating at the thought of seeing Reimer and Hutchinson over the next 48 hours. On the golden hockey scale, the guy who can’t seem to score five-on-five should outweigh the goalie who can’t stop pucks.

The pressure on Laine is growing, and he knows the kind of stakes he’s walking into.

“This might be the only time in my life that I’m able to play an NHL game back home,” Laine told the Winnipeg Sun.

Barkov, too.

“We’re just going to play as hard as we can and try to adjust to the atmosphere,” he told NHL.com. “I know it’s going to be really nice to play here and good fans and everything will be different than America, but it’s still really big points for us.”

Both teams are trying to achieve similar outcomes at the end of the day.

In 48 hours, we may be talking about Laine getting his season back on the rails or Florida right back in the thick of things in the Atlantic Division.

Neither is also a possibility, but with two Finns getting a chance to grab bragging rights, it’s likely at least one is in the cards.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

‘Dirty play’ knocks Canucks’ Pettersson out of game

Sportsnet
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(UPDATE: Matheson will have a Monday phone hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety.)

Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green didn’t need to mince words when he was asked about the controversial hit that knocked one of his star players out of Saturday’s game.

“It’s a dirty play,” Green said of the stinging hit by Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson on Elias Pettersson.

Pettersson, as you will see below, put a nice move on Matheson moments before the hit.

Matheson didn’t take too kindly getting beat by the skilled Swede, and on his next opportunity, hit Pettersson and then threw him viciously down onto the ice. It appeared that the 19-year-old’s head bounced off the ice shortly after getting thrown down.

As you can see, Pettersson struggled to get back to his feet, falling over on his first attempt. He was able to get to his feet after waiting a moment, but he definitely looked woozy.

The Canucks refrained from getting retribution on the night, but Antoine Roussel made it clear that they’ll see the Panthers again.

“It’s a long season, we’ll catch them back,” Roussel said after the game.

“Looked like WWE to me,” said Sven Baertschi.

Pettersson had already done what he does best earlier in the game, sniping a shot on the power play that James Reimer had zero chance at saving.

The goal matched a team record for longest point streak by a player to start his career at five games. Pettersson has been a godsend to the Canucks and has five goals and three assists during that span.

Green had no update on Pettersson’s status after the game.

The Canucks held on to win 3-2.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck