Rangers’ Kreider ejected after landing spinning elbow on Canucks’ Pettersson

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It’s hard to believe that Elias Pettersson was born with a bullseye on his head, but the damage he’s taken in his first NHL season would make one reconsider.

The rookie superstar has taken a beating to his noggin’ this season and he took another shot to the head on Wednesday in Vancouver.

Pettersson had the puck behind his own net when Kreider came flying in. Pettersson did well to make him miss on the initial check, but Kreider spun around and caught the Calder candidate with an elbow flush to the face.

Pettersson was bloodied on the play and stayed down while a trainer rushed out to see him. He was able to get back to the bench before he was summoned to the quiet room for concussion testing. The good news is Pettersson was able to return late in the second period.

Kreider, meanwhile, was handed a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct.

Later in the period, Rangers newcomer Brendan Lemieux was also thrown out of the game after Antoine Roussel barreled into him as he was going hard to the net. Lemieux was given a five-minute major of his own plus a game misconduct. Lemieux can be a hot-head at times, but he was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time on this one.

Roussel had to be helped off the ice and did not return to the game. The way he looked after the incident, that’s not all that surprising.

UPDATE:


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

Hockey Hall of Famer Howell, Rangers games leader, dies at 86

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NEW YORK (AP) — NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Harry Howell, who played the most games in New York Rangers’ history, has died. He was 86.

Howell died Saturday night. He had been living at an assisted care facility near his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.

A seven-time All-Star, Howell played 1,160 games for the Rangers from 1952-69 and had his No. 3 retired by the team. He also played in the NHL for the Oakland/California Golden Seals and Los Angeles before finishing in the World Hockey Association.

Known for his smart, steady play, ”Harry the Horse” won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 1966-67. He finished with 94 goals and 324 assists in the NHL and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979.

Howell also coached for the Minnesota North Stars and scouted for Edmonton.

”The National Hockey League mourns the passing of legendary defenseman, consummate professional, and Hockey Hall of Famer Harry Howell,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

The NHL said Howell’s wife, Marilyn, died last month.

Capitals outlast Rangers in shootout, regain Metropolitan lead

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It took a no-goal call on the ice and then a correction by the league for Alex Ovechkin to be awarded the shootout winner in a 3-2 victory against the New York Rangers on NBC on Sunday.

Ovechkin came down the ice for his attempt, deked Alexandar Georgiev to the right and then lost the puck after Georgiev hurled his stick at Ovechkin’s. The call was no goal. It was still no goal after a referee huddle, but then the call came in from the NHL and the review clearly showed Georgiev’s infraction.

Ovechkin’s shot, after getting stopped six times in regulation and overtime, counted and the Washington Capitals moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division for the first time since the middle of January with their fourth straight win (and fourth straight this season over the Rangers).

If not for Georgiev, the game never would have been in the shootout to begin with. He was the prime reason why the Rangers took a point off the Capitals. His saves on Ovechkin throughout the game were particularly impressive. He slid across the ice twice on Washington power plays to rob The Great 8, and then he stopped Ovechkin cold in overtime with this beauty:

For a Rangers team in rebuild mode, and with Henrik Lundqvist in the twilight of his career, it has be comforting to the Rangers to see The King’s heir-apparent doing this well against some of the top shooters in the game.

The Rangers have been plucky as of late, even with the losses of Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello and Adam McQuaid. They took a point of the Tampa Bay Lightning last week after playing them into overtime and did well once again on Sunday to take the Metropolitan-leading Capitals into deep waters.

Ryan Strome gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead 45 seconds into the game but it was quickly leveled by Carl Hagelin just 1:18 later as the swift forward scored his first for the Caps since being acquired last week.

The Capitals would take a 2-1 just after the midway point of the period, a score that would remain that way until 14:20 of the second frame, when Pavel Buchnevich found the back of the net behind Braden Holtby to tie the game.

Georgiev was front and center for the rest of the way, ultimately making 37 saves in 65 minutes as the Rangers lost their fourth straight.

Holtby’s save on Filip Chytil, however, would be the one needed to give Washington a chance and then Ovechkin ultimately scored to secure both points.

The Capitals will hold first place at least until the conclusion of the New York Islanders matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers, which is in progress.

For now, Washington can enjoy the view from the summit.


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: Rangers host Capitals on NBC

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NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Sunday’s matchup between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. Coverage begins at 12 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Washington sits in a tie for first in the Metro with the New York Islanders (Isles have one game in hand) as they look to be headed back to the postseason for the fifth straight time and what would be an 11th appearance in the last 12 seasons. The Capitals have won five of their last six games and this is the second game of a thre-game road trip after beating the Islanders, 3-1, on Friday (Washington plays at Philadelphia on Wednesday on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET).

Alex Ovechkin leads the team in points (75) and paces the entire league with 45 goals (Patrick Kane – second with 40) as he pursues another Rocket Richard trophy – aiming to break a tie with Bobby Hull (seven) and become the first player in NHL history to finish atop the goal-scoring race eight times. With Ovechkin’s goal on Friday, he became the first player in NHL history to score 45-plus goals in 10 seasons:

The Rangers are coming off a 4-2 loss to Montreal on Friday – their third straight loss as they are headed towards missing the postseason for the second consecutive year – after a stretch that saw them make the playoffs 11 times in a 12-season span from 2006-2017.

Henrik Lundqvist turned 37 years old on Saturday. The longtime starting goalie is in a bit of slump having lost seven of his last eight starts (1-5-2, 3.14 GAA). His record sits at 17-17-9, and he’s currently sporting a 3.04 goals against average and .907 save percentage, both of which would be career-worsts if the season ended today.  King Henrik is just three wins away from his 14th straight 20-win season (in as many years in the NHL). If he can reach that mark, he’ll become the fourth goalie in NHL history to record at least 14 seasons with 20 wins, along with Patrick Roy (17), Martin Brodeur (16) and Ed Belfour (15).

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 12 P.M. ET – NBC]

What: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers
Where: Madison Square Garden
When: Sunday, March 3, 12 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
Live stream: You can watch the Capitals-Rangers stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

CAPITALS
Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny KuznetsovTom Wilson
Jakub VranaNicklas BackstromT.J. Oshie
Carl HagelinLars EllerBrett Connolly
Andre BurakovskyNic DowdTravis Boyd

Michal KempnyJohn Carlson
Dmitry OrlovMatt Niskanen
Brooks OrpikNick Jensen

Starting goalie: Braden Holtby

RANGERS
Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadJimmy Vesey
Vladislav NamestnikovRyan StromeJesper Fast
Brendan LemieuxLias AnderssonPavel Buchnevich
Brendan SmithBrett HowdenFilip Chytil

Brady SkjeiKevin Shattenkirk
Marc StaalTony DeAngelo
Libor Hajek – Neal Pionk

Starting goalie: Alexandar Georgiev

Six-time Emmy Award-winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst), and Pierre McGuire (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from New York. Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones will handle studio coverage.

NHL on NBC: Capitals look to regain top spot in Metropolitan vs. Rangers

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NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the Sunday’s matinee matchup between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. Coverage begins at 12 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

It was Jan. 14 when the Washington Capitals last held first place in the Metropolitan Division. They will have a chance to regain the crown, if only for a short while on Sunday.

If the Caps can beat the New York Rangers for the fourth straight time this season, they will have also extended their current winning streak to four games and leapfrogged the New York Islanders for top spot. Whether they stay there will be determined by the Isles, who play later in the day.

For Washington, taking care of business against the Rangers has come easy in recent times. They’re 8-0-1 in their past nine meetings, including five straight wins, and their current three-game run at the moment started a week ago against the Blueshirts.

Washington has been going steady for longer than that, however, with five wins in their past six games and seven in their past 10. A big part of all their success has, of course, been thanks to Alex Ovechkin‘s torrid pace in the goal department.

He has eight goals in his past 10 games and hit 45 on Friday night to make a little history.

“His ability to score goals, create offense is something that I have never seen before,” Caps forward T.J. Oshie said. “There are greats in the league, but none that I have seen that are such a natural prolific goal scorer.”

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 12 p.m. ET – NBC]

Fellow Caps teammate Nicklas Backstrom will be featured as part of Star Sunday.

Since entering the league 12 years ago, Backstrom has the most assists (636) and power-play assists (282) among all NHLers and is second in power-play points with 353 and fifth in points with 860.

Mika Zibanejad will be the Rangers player featured.

Zibanejad has been the one Rangers constant this season, and he’s doing everything at a career-high rate having already established new bests in assists (36) and points (63). The forward’s 27 goals has tied a career-best mark he set last season and still has plenty of time to round out the career-high hat trick.

The Rangers are in rebuild mode and lost several key players at the trade deadline, including Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello. Still, Zibanejad feels the team is moving in the right direction.

“Our work ethic is completely different than it was last year,” he said after a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. “Even this game, with our first period, down 2-0, I think we would have collapsed against this kind of team and it would have been 6-1 in the third period. But we don’t do that this year… Obviously we are not where we want to be, but I think we can build off this for next year, and that’s something we are going to strive for over these last 19 games.”

Six-time Emmy Award-winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), Olczyk (analyst), and McGuire (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from New York. Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones will handle studio coverage.


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