Alexandre Burrows

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The Buzzer: Bruins, Flyers stay hot; Habs finally win

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Three Stars

1. Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights

It’s felt like the Golden Knights haven’t had the greatest luck at times so far this season, and Marchessault fits into that argument, carrying what would be a career-high 5.3 shooting percentage into Wednesday’s game. It’s now at 7.7 percent after Tuesday.

That’s the least dramatic way of saying that Marchessault generated the third hat trick of his career. He turned that game on its head, spoiling the Devils’ first game after firing John Hynes with a natural hat trick.

Alex Tuck presents an alternate option, collecting three assists during this win. Marchessault now has five points in his past three games, while Tuck is at six.

2. John Carlson, Washington Capitals

While Marchessault crept into Tuesday a little cold, Carlson has been ghost pepper-hot for basically all of 2019-20. Carlson scored one goal and two assists during Washington’s win against San Jose, pushing the defenseman to a whopping 40 points in just 29 games. No other defenseman has reached 30 points yet (Dougie Hamilton is second with 28).

Carlson isn’t quite hanging with the absolute top scorers in the NHL any longer, but he’s still holding up pretty well, standing at sixth right now.

For more context on just how special Carlson’s start has been, check the factoids. To help his cause for a strong Tuesday, both of Carlson’s assists were primary assists, and his goal was the game-winner.

3. Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets

Connor Hellebuyck has easily been the most important part of the Jets surviving (and thriving) despite massive talent losses on defense. Key forwards are coming through too, though.

Patrik Laine has been dicing up Dallas for some time, but Connor was a standout on Tuesday, collecting a goal and two assists as the Jets beat the Stars.

Connor now has 24 points in 28 games this season. He’s been heating up lately, in particular, with three goals and three assists for six points during his last four games.

Highlights of the Night

Two examples of serious burst stand out tonight. First, there’s Jason Zucker for the Wild:

Then, Miro Heiskanen finds another gear for the Stars:

Factoids

  • NHL PR has some impressive John Carlson stats. Carlson is the first defenseman to reach 40 points in 29 games or less since Al MacInnis did so in 1990-91. Also, only three other defensemen beyond Carlson and MacInnis managed to generate at least 40 points in 29 games or less: Bobby Orr (who absurdly did so six times), Denis Potvin (twice), and Paul Coffey once. Yeah, pretty solid, Carlson.
  • The Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Islanders on Tuesday, ending an eight-game winless streak. The Boston Bruins were the last team to beat the Habs, and after blanking the Hurricanes, the Bruins are now on an eight-game winning streak. The Flyers are on a smaller-but-still-impressive five-game winning streak, which is notable also because of how sore the Maple Leafs were about it.
  • Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen almost earned a three stars nod with 44 saves on Tuesday, the most saves in a game for any rookie goalie in the franchise’s history.
  • The Canucks inducted Alexandre Burrows into their Ring of Hono(u)r on Tuesday.

Scores

BOS 2 – CAR 0
MTL 4 – NYI 2
MIN 4 – FLA 2
VGK 4 – NJD 3
PHI 6 – TOR 1
ARI 4 – CBJ 2
TBL 3 – NSH 2 (OT)
WPG 5 – DAL 1
VAN 5 – OTT 2
WSH 5 – SJS 2

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.

Wild’s fight to enter playoff position stalled by Canucks

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The Minnesota Wild have gone from a long shot to make the playoffs just a month ago to a legitimate contender with their 10-1-2 stretch. Thanks to that run they are nearly in a playoff position, but they weren’t able to capitalize on a key opportunity tonight. Instead, Vancouver fought the rising Wild back with its 3-2 victory.

The contest was tied through 40 minutes, but Canucks rookie forward Bo Horvat broke the stalemate just 1:33 minutes into the third. Defenseman Alex Biega, provided the Canucks with some insurance by scoring in his NHL debut:

“I’m not really sure what warranted the celebration in my face,” Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk said of Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows, per the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo. “I guess that’s the way he wants to do it.”

Wild forward Nino Niederreiter netted his 18th goal of the 2014-15 campaign less than two minutes later, but that proved to be too little, too late.

Had the Wild won tonight, they would have been tied with Vancouver in terms of points at 65, although Vancouver would have still had possession of the second Wild Card spot because they have the edge in ROW (regulation plus overtime wins). Instead, the Canucks kept pace with Calgary to maintain their hold on second place in the tight Pacific Division.

NHL stars help raise $140K in ‘Smashfest’ charity ping-pong tournament

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New York Rangers forward Dominic Moore helped to attract 23 former/current NHL players to his charitable ping-pong tournament “Smashfest” on Thursday, raising an impressive $140K for cancer research along the way.

(As you may remember, Moore received the 2014 Bill Masterton Trophy following the loss of his wife Katie Moore.)

Minnesota Wild Stephane Veilleux won the tournament for the second year in a row – this was the third “Smashfest” event – beating Vancouver Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows. Here’s a photo of Veilleux accepting the trophy, via the event’s Facebook page by way of the NHLPA:

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It certainly looked like a blast, with one of the best shots coming from Michael Del Zotto’s Instagram page:

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(Apparently the MDZ + Tyler Seguin combo won their match.)

Even beleaguered Toronto Maple Leafs power forward David Clarkson looks like he had a fantastic time:

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Apparently “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe was in attendance, probably taking the cake for least expected celebrity appearance:

(Then again, this Doug Gilmour photo is a little surprising, too.)

Sportsnet’s Luke Fox passes along 29 facts from the event that are a worthy read, but if you’d rather just watch a video, here’s one from Katie Moore.org:

The often-used phrase “good time for a good cause” is thrown out often, yet it seems appropriate for this event.

Get your game notes: Kings at Ducks

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Anaheim Ducks hosting the Los Angeles Kings starting at 10 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• For the 22nd time in Stanley Cup playoff history – and the 16th time since 1994 – the road team won the first four games of a best-of-seven series. In the previous 21 series, the winner of Game 5 went on to win 18 times (.857 win%). The only three teams that lost Game 5, but later won the series, were the 1980 North Stars (vs. Montreal), 1995 Sharks (vs. Calgary) and 2001 Penguins (vs. Buffalo). (Elias Sports Bureau)

• Ducks goaltender John Gibson stopped all 28 shots for a shutout in his NHL postseason debut. The 20-year-old Pittsburgh native, who won gold medals at the international level for Team USA at the U-17 (2010), U-18 (2011) and U-20 (2013) levels, made NHL history in several ways. Elias Sports Bureau
Gibson became…

— the youngest goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in his Stanley Cup playoffs debut (20 years, 330 days),

— the sixth goalie since 1954 to post a shutout in his Stanley Cup playoffs debut (the most recent of the five previous was his current back-up, Jonas Hiller, in 2009)

— the fourth-youngest goalie in NHL history to record a postseason shutout (after Detroit’s Harry Lumley in 1945, Montreal’s Patrick Roy in 1986 and Carey Price in 2008),

— the second goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in both his first regular-season (Apr. 7 vs. Vancouver) and postseason games (Boston’s Tiny Thompson did so in 1928-29)

• The Ducks helped Gibson’s cause by blocking 25 shots in Game 4, led by defensemen Ben Lovejoy (six) and Bryan Allen (five). It was the fifth time this playoff round that any team has blocked 25 or more shots. Four of those times (Montreal – 30 in Game 1, 29 in Game 3; Chicago – 25 in Game 2; and Anaheim – 25 in Game 4), the team won. The only team to lose was the Ducks, which posted 29 blocks in its Game 1 overtime loss to the Kings. They have 72 total in this series (avg. 18.0/game).

• After registering at least one point in his team’s first 10 games, Kings center Anze Kopitar was held without a point in Game 4. The playoff scoring leader (4-11–15) also committed a double-minor for high sticking in the third period, thwarting a possible comeback for his team. Only once in 55 career playoff games has Kopitar spent more time in the penalty box than he did in Game 4 (four minutes): he was assessed a five-minute major for fighting Vancouver’s Alexandre Burrows in 2012.

• As Ryan Getzlaf goes, so go the Ducks in the playoffs. The Anaheim center and team captain, who ranks second in franchise history with 25 goals (behind teammate Teemu Selanne – 35), has single goals in 25 of 78 postseason games. Including his goal that gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead in Game 4, Anaheim is 23-2 when he scores a goal.

• Kings goaltender Martin Jones relieved starter Jonathan Quick (two goals allowed on 11 shots) after the first intermission, and did not face a shot until the 5:29 point of the third period (Getzlaf). The Kings became only the third team in the Expansion Era (1968-present) to allow no shots on goal in an entire period of a playoff game. They were the second team of the trio to lose. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Canucks’ offense approaches crossroads

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While the future of the Vancouver Canucks’ defense and goaltending seems established, the majority of their forwards face some uncertainty.

Ryan Kesler (four seasons remaining) and David Booth (three seasons left) are the only noteworthy NHL-ready offensive players with contracts exceeding two years.

It’s reasonable to say that the team will be interested in bringing back many of these guys anyway, but here are the players whose deals are set to expire after a season or two:

Contract years

Alexandre Burrows ($2 million cap hit) – Any “NHL’s biggest bargains” list must include Burrows’ name. Keeping him around after 2012-13 could prove very costly.

Manny Malhotra ($2.5M) – Still valuable defensively even after a scary eye injury.

Mason Raymond ($2.275M) – Hoping to redeem his career and fatten his bank account.

Chris Higgins ($1.9M) – Speedy forward found a great fit in Vancouver so far.

Two more seasons

The Sedin twins ($6.1M) – Could easily command more than their current cap hits on the open market. Even with two more years of mileage, they’re likely to be pricey – and probably would prefer to stay.

Jannik Hansen ($1.35M) – Underrated winger might earn himself a solid raise.

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Other guys who could make themselves nice raises over the next year or so include pest Maxim Lapierre and Zack Kassian.