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The Buzzer: Raanta shutout, Brassard showcase, Blackhawks finally win

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Be sure to visit NBCOlympics.com and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang.

Players of the Night:

Antti Raanta, Arizona Coyotes: Raanta shutout Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers, stopping all 40 shots sent his way for his first goose egg as a member of the Coyotes.

Derick Brassard, Ottawa Senators: The Derick Brassard Showcase continued on Saturday night. The Senators forward, who has been the subject of trade speculation leading up to the trade deadline in two weeks, scored in his fourth straight game and added two helpers in a 6-3 win against the New York Rangers.

Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights: Smith extended his point streak to seven games, scoring twice and adding a helper in a 6-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens. Smith has five goals and seven assists during his streak and now has 51 points in 58 games this season.

Anders Nilsson, Vancouver Canucks: Nilsson turned aside 44 of the 45 shots he faced from one of the league’s hottest teams in the Boston Bruins. The Canucks obliged their goaltender, scoring six and chasing Tuukka Rask in a 6-1 win.

Jonathan Toews and the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks: Losers of eight straight coming into Saturday, the Blackhawks finally ended the streak, putting up seven goals against the Metropolitan Division-leading Washington Capitals. Toews had a goal and two assists in the game. It was Chicago’s first win of the month and their seven goals were half of the number they scored in their previous eight games.

Eddie Lack, New Jersey Devils: Lack wasn’t supposed to be playing against the league’s top team. But there he was on Saturday, stopping 48 of 51 shots against Stamkos, Kucherov and Co. He even out-dueled Andrei Vasilevskiy, who will likely win the Vezina in June. Impressive stuff.

Highlights of the Night:

Ryan Hartman, untouchable:

Nikita Scherbak’d:

Matt Murray did this two nights ago. Deja vu:

Two-pad stack alert:

Factoids of the Night:

The season can’t end fast enough for the Oilers:

The Golden Knights are creeping toward another record:

Evgeni Malkin hits 900:

MISC:

Scores:

Kings 4, Sabres 2

Ducks 3, Wild 2 (SO)

Senators 6, Rangers 3

Coyotes 1, Oilers 0

Golden Knights 3, Canadiens 3

Devils 4, Lightning 3

Penguins 5, Maple Leafs 3

Red Wings 3, Predators 1

Blackhawks 7, Capitals 1

Canucks 6, Bruins 1

Panthers 6, Flames 3


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

Report: Anders Nilsson could return to the NHL

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Goaltender Anders Nilsson, who left the New York Islanders as a restricted free agent to sign with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, could be headed back to North America.

According to Igor Eronko, Nilsson refused to sign an extension with the KHL club.

The Chicago Blackhawks own Nilsson’s rights after the Islanders dealt him as part of the Nick Leddy trade in October.

In 38 regular season KHL games, Nilsson posted a 20-9-8 record to go along with a 1.71 G.A.A. and a .936 save percentage.

The 25-year-old left the Islanders following the 2013-14 season after New York refused to meet his demands of a one-year contract.

Nilsson was not interested in spending another year in the American Hockey League.

“I have done for three years in the AHL and I do not think it would be good for my development to play a fourth year in the AHL,” Nilsson in April 2014. “That’s what I’ve said to them, since we have not started to go into contract negotiations.”

Nilsson appeared in 23 games for the Islanders over two seasons posting a 9-9-2 record to go along with a 3.05 G.A.A. and a .898 percentage.

Agent for Islanders’ Leddy releases statement

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Newly acquired Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy is excited to begin the next chapter of his career.

Neil Sheehy, the agent for Leddy, released the following statement Saturday evening:

“Nick Leddy loves Chicago, yet he is a young player, who will fit in with the young players the NYI have assembled and he is excited to be a part of their core group as the team moves to Brooklyn next year.” (via Brian Sandalow)

Leddy along with goaltender Kent Simpson was dealt from the Blackhawks to the Islanders for prospects Anders Nilsson, Ville Pokka and T.J. Brennan.

The trade leaves the Blackhawks, who were up against the cap, with roughly $1.5 million in cap space per CapGeek.

In a separate move, the Islanders acquired defenseman Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins.

Report: Isles working on deal to land Halak (Update: Done!)

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Some big news on the free agent goaltending front — the Islanders are reportedly working on a deal to get Jaroslav Halak out of Washington, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

The deal would give the Isles Halak’s negotiating rights and a head start on hammering out a deal, as Halak’s set to become an unrestricted free agent in July. The 28-year-old is in the last of a four-year, $15 million deal and has changed addresses frequently this season, starting with St. Louis before moving to Buffalo as part of the Ryan Miller deal, then moving from Buffalo to Washington in exchange for Michal Neuvirth.

Despite all that movement, Halak compiled a good year statistically — 29-13-10, .921 save percentage, 2.25 GAA, five shutouts — though his time as a Capital ended badly after head coach Adam Oates suggested Halak asked out of a key start against his former Blues team, which led to friction between player and club (and agent).

As for the Islanders, this move would make a lot of sense as they currently don’t have any of their three goalies — Evgeni Nabokov, Anders Nilsson or Kevin Poulin — under contract for next season. Nabokov’s time on Long Island appears over and, yesterday, reports surfaced that Nilsson was contemplating a move to play in Europe.

Update: Done deal, per the Washington Post — Halak’s rights go to the Islanders in exchange for a fourth-round pick at this year’s NHL Entry Draft.

Update 2: Sounds like negotiations have already begun…

Report: Islanders’ Nilsson might sign with European club

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Goaltender Anders Nilsson has played in 23 career games with the New York Islanders since he came to North America in 2011, but the 24-year-old has gotten significantly more work in the minors.

He’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer and would like to ink a one-year contract after posting a 3.11 GAA and .896 save percentage in 19 games this season. The Islanders aren’t willing to meet that demand, so he will probably sign with a Swedish or KHL club, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Nilsson reportedly tipped his hand to the Swedish newspaper Expressen.

“I have done for three years in the AHL and I do not think it would be good for my development to play a fourth year in the AHL,” Nilsson said, per Google translate. “That’s what I’ve said to them, since we have not started to go into contract negotiations.”

If this report is true, it would make the Islanders’ goaltending situation is a little more uncertain. The Islanders starting goalie, Evgeni Nabokov, is also scheduled to become a free agent. The 38-year-old netminder had a 2.74 GAA and .905 save percentage in 40 games in 2013-14.