Nate Thompson

Pittsburgh Penguins Center Sidney Crosby (87)
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The Buzzer: Crosby sparks Penguins; Aho extends point streak

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Three Stars

1) Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Alex Ovechkin, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins have dominated the Eastern Conference storylines this season. But Sidney Crosby and the Penguins jumped into first place of the Metropolitan Division after a thorough 5-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday. Pittsburgh’s captain recorded four points in his third consecutive multi-point game. Crosby has netted seven goals and dished out 16 assists in 13 games since returning from a core muscle surgery that kept him sidelined since mid-November. No. 87 has also tallied 11 points during a five-game point streak. The Penguins have flown under the radar for most of the season but should be considered one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference and a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

2) Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets

The Jets increased their winning streak to three games with a 6-3 victory against the Los Angeles Kings. Wheeler recorded two goals and added an assist as Winnipeg looks to keep pace in the Western Conference wild-card race. Wheeler was rewarded late in the second period for darting toward the back post during an odd-man rush. Mark Scheifele took the puck from Trevor Lewis in the defensive zone then raced up ice to set up the captain. Wheeler’s second goal of the night came late in the final frame when he redirected a shot from Neal Pionk into the back of the net.

3) Anthony Angello, Pittsburgh Penguins

No matter the circumstances, Jim Rutherford and Mike Sullivan expect every player in any lineup to contribute in a meaningful way. The Penguins have done a fantastic job integrating players from the minor leagues into their NHL lineup in recent years. Anthony Angello didn’t even expect to play Tuesday, but alternate captain Evgeni Malkin was unable to complete warmups and left an opening in the lineup. Angello participated in the pre-game skate and was ready to fill the void. In only his fifth NHL game, the 23-year-old scored his first career goal late in the first period. Sam Lafferty fired a shot from the top of the circles and Angello provided a screen and masterfully redirected the puck past Frederik Andersen. Patric Hornqvist retrieved the milestone puck for the young forward.

Other notable performances

  • Sebastian Aho extended his point streak to 10 games with a third-period goal in the Hurricanes’ 4-1 win against the Predators.
  • Jordan Binnington picked up his second shutout of the season as the Blues blanked the Devils for their first win since the Jay Bouwmeester incident.
  • Nikolaj Ehlers had two assists and the eventual game-winning goal in the Jets’ 6-3 win against the Kings.
  • Andreas Athanasiou scored twice as part of a three-goal third period to help the Red Wings snap a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 win against the Canadiens.
  • Artem Anisimov scored twice in the Senators’ 7-4 victory against the Buffalo Sabres.
  • Vladislav Namestnikov scored his fourth shorthanded goal. Ottawa Senators lead the NHL with 13 shorthanded goals this season.
  • Travis Konecny recorded three points as the Flyers gained ground in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Highlights of the Night

Auston Matthews hammered this pass from William Nylander to score his 43rd of the season. He took sole possession of the top spot on NHL goal-scoring list.

Sean Couturier whiffed but ends up with credit for the goal after Elvis Merzlikins lost sight of the puck before it trickled through his legs

Paul Byron stole the puck from Athanasiou then Nick Cousins set up Nate Thompson for the easy tap-in goal.

Stats of the Night

Scores

Philadelphia Flyers 5, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 2
Ottawa Senators 7, Buffalo Sabres 4
Detroit Red Wings 4, Montreal Canadiens 3
St. Louis Blues 3, New Jersey Devils 0
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Nashville Predators 1
Winnipeg Jets 6, Los Angeles Kings 3


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

Canadiens’ Shea Weber bloodied after blocking shot with his face (Video)

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The Montreal Canadiens picked up a hard fought (and much needed) win in New York on Friday night by knocking off the Rangers, 2-1, thanks to a late goal from Nate Thompson with a minute to play in regulation.

It was a painful win for captain Shea Weber.

He was once again a workhorse on the Canadiens’ blue line, playing a game-high 24 minutes, finishing as a plus-one, attempting five shots, and blocking five in the defensive zone. One of those blocks in the first period left him bloodied as he slid to the ice and was hit directly in the face by a shot from Rangers center Ryan Strome.

You can see the play in the video above. He somehow did not miss a shift after that play.

Weber has been one of the consistent bright spots for the Canadiens this season and is showing that he can still be a dominant, impactful player. His biggest problem the past few years has been staying healthy enough to remain in the lineup so he can make that impact. So far this season that has not been a problem. He already has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in the Canadiens’ first 30 games this season while posting some of the best possession numbers of his career. His 0.76 points per game average would also be the highest mark of his career.

The Canadiens’ win on Friday was only their second in their past 11 games.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Report: Ducks’ Thompson suffered two labral tears, expected out five to six months

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Surgery performed this week on Anaheim Ducks forward Nate Thompson has reportedly revealed further damage to his injured shoulder.

According to a report from Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register on Friday evening, the operation revealed two labral tears, with a recovery time of five to six months for the 30-year-old Thompson.

The Ducks stated that Thompson would undergo surgery on Thursday. The hard-hitting forward missed the first round of the playoffs because of injury, before returning to the Ducks lineup against the Calgary Flames.

In his first season with the Ducks, Thompson scored five goals and 18 points in 80 games, before scoring twice with six points in 12 playoff games.

Ducks reveal Getzlaf has a sports hernia

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Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was very hard on himself in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final in what would ultimately be a 4-3 series loss to Chicago. As it turns out, he might not have been 100%.

The Ducks revealed that Getzlaf played through a sports hernia. It’s not clear when he sustained the injury and thus we don’t know how long he was dealing with the problem. He did record two goals and 20 points in 16 playoff contests, including an assist in Game 7 of Anaheim’s series against the Blackhawks.

The good news is that Getzlaf will not require surgery. Teammate Nate Thompson unfortunately can’t say the same.

Thompson, 30, is scheduled to have a shoulder operation today. He was hurt in a game against Arizona on April 11 and missed the first round of the playoffs as a result. However, he returned on April 30 and went on to record two goals and six points in 12 postseason contests.

It’s not yet known what the timetable is for Thompson’s recovery, per the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens.

Ducks juggle lines ahead of Game 7

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The Anaheim Ducks did a bit of line juggling during the team’s morning skate at the Honda Center on Saturday.

After sitting out Game 6, it appears Tomas Fleischmann will enter the Ducks’ lineup tonight in place of Emerson Etem. The 31-year-old practiced on the team’s fourth line with Kyle Palmieri and Rickard Rakell.

Ducks’ coach Bruce Boudreau has a history with Fleischmann, which dates back to when the two were with the Hershey Bears, the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals.

“There’s a real good chance that he’s in,” said Boudreau. “I just think an experienced guy, he’s been through these wars, he’s played in Game 7s, he’s been in championship games.

“When I was with Hershey, it was a while ago, but he was the MVP in the playoffs. So he knows what to do in these situations.”

Fleischmann played 10:19 in Game 5 after sitting out four games as a healthy scratch.

In five playoff games this spring, Fleischmann has one assist.

With Palmieri on the fourth line, Jiri Sekac moves up to the Ducks’ third line along side Nate Thompson and Andrew Cogliano. Sekac has a plus-1 rating and two penalty minutes while averaging 11:14 in ice time in six games this spring.

Puck drop tonight is at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.