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Blackhawks' Kane can extend streak vs. Predators

by Brian Compton / NHL.com

Patrick Kane set a Chicago Blackhawks record when he extended his point streak to 22 games in the final minute of a win against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

Kane will go for No. 23 when the Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators at United Center on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-TN, CSN-CH).

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville did everything he could to help Kane extend the streak Sunday; Kane had seven shifts in the final 10 minutes of the game. He had the primary assist when he made a legal hand pass to Artemi Panarin, who scored an empty-net goal with 1:46 remaining.

Kane leads the NHL with 42 points in 27 games. He has 13 goals and 23 assists during the streak.

"I think it's one of those things," Kane said. "You try not to think about it too much. But if it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be. I'm trying not to think about that stuff and just doing the right things on the ice, playing the right way. We got a goal there to seal it so that felt good too."

Here are other games that should garner plenty of attention:

Tuesday, Dec. 8: New York Islanders at Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, MSG+, CSN-PH) -- It's usually a physical, competitive game when these Metropolitan Division rivals get together, and it shouldn't be any different at Wells Fargo Center. The Islanders are 5-0-2 in their past seven games.

Wednesday, Dec. 9: Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, RDS) -- It's the final game between the teams before they'll play outside at Gillette Stadium at the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1. The Canadiens, who are without injured goaltender Carey Price, have lost back-to-back games but still have a two-point lead atop the Eastern Conference. Boston is 9-2-2 on the road this season.

Thursday, Dec. 10: Washington Capitals at Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, FS-F) -- Each team saw a winning streak end during the weekend; Washington won six straight before an overtime loss at the Jets on Saturday, and the Panthers' five-game run was stopped at the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. Florida forward Jaromir Jagr is still chasing goal No. 731, which would tie Marcel Dionne for fourth place on the League's all-time list.

Friday, Dec. 11: Los Angeles Kings at Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET; SN1, TVA Sports 2, FS-W, ROOT) -- It's the second game in less than a week between these teams; the Kings defeated the Penguins 5-3 at Staples Center on Saturday. The Kings have won four in a row and built a seven-point lead in the Pacific Division.

Friday, Dec. 11: New York Rangers at Edmonton Oilers (9 p.m. ET; MSG, SNW) -- The Oilers will honor their former coach, general manager and executive Glen Sather in a pregame ceremony. Sather, who is Rangers president, coached Edmonton to Stanley Cup championships in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988. He was Oilers president and GM when they won the Cup in 1990.

Saturday, Dec. 12: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues (8 p.m. ET; FS-SW+, FS-MW) -- The top two teams in the Central Division clash at Scottrade Center. Dallas, which has built an eight-point lead, has scored 92 non-shootout goals this season, which leads the Western Conference. The Blues have lost their past two home games, including a 4-1 defeat against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Buffalo Sabres -- The 21-year-old defenseman is thriving in his third NHL season with four goals and 14 assists in 27 games. Ristolainen had three assists in Buffalo's 5-4 shootout loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 1.

"He's playing against the best players every night," Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Olean Times Herald. "He's taking that as a challenge and he's improved his game in a lot of areas in that regard. It's been big for our team. I don't know how I view the points. I don't think they’re a result of some good play with the puck. They're not a result of him being a fantastic offensive defenseman or a risk-taker. They've come right in the midst of playing against other teams' best players."

Anders Nilsson, G, Edmonton Oilers -- The Oilers traded three draft picks to the New York Rangers last summer for Cam Talbot, but Nilsson has supplanted him as Edmonton's No. 1 goaltender. Nilsson won three games and had a .957 save percentage in the past week, capped by a 4-2 victory against the Sabres at Rexall Place on Sunday. Nilsson (8-7-1, 2.49 goals-against average, .922 save percentage) has helped the Oilers pull within three points of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"It's nice to get on a little bit of a roll," Nilsson said. "We need to continue on this path and get more wins so that we can get in the playoff race."

Jason Pominville, RW, Minnesota Wild -- Pominville is turning things around; he has goals in three of his past four games after going without a goal in his first 21 games. He has 25 shots on goal in the past six games.

LINE CHANGES

Scott Hartnell, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets -- Hartnell got whatever message coach John Tortorella was trying to send when he made him a healthy scratch Friday against the Penguins. Hartnell responded with a goal and two assists Saturday in a 4-1 win at Philadelphia.

"There's some highs and lows through the season," Hartnell said. "You've got to have something snap you out of a funk and that definitely snapped me out of my funk. It was a long day before the game; a long day [Friday] ... you don't know what to do when you're not in the lineup. I wanted to work hard, get on the puck, create some turnovers and make plays. We did a great job of getting pucks to the net and we were able to get a couple."

Oscar Lindberg, C, New York Rangers -- One of the Rangers' more consistent offensive players this season, Lindberg centered their second line Sunday between Chris Kreider and Rick Nash. Lindberg had five shots on goal in a 4-1 win against the Ottawa Senators.

"I do think that Oscar has played well," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the New York Post. "He seems to feel more and more comfortable with more responsibilities. There's no doubt that if we do decide to go this route, those are two pretty good players [that] might be a good fit for him. We'll see what we come up with."

Darcy Kuemper, G, Minnesota Wild -- He's started three games this season, but Kuemper will get more time this week while No. 1 goalie Devan Dubnyk recovers from a mild groin strain sustained during a 3-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Kuemper, who made nine saves in relief after Dubnyk went down in the second period, will get his first start since Nov. 28 on Monday at Colorado.

"I hadn't been playing, but it's nice to get half a game in and get the win and get some momentum going into the game [Monday]," Kuemper told the Wild website. "I'm feeling good about my game. I've just been trying to stay sharp and waiting for my opportunity. And now I have a chance to play so I have to take advantage of it."??????????????????????????????????????????????????????

POINT SHOTS

It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen during the past month, but he brushed aside speculation that he and Tortorella aren't getting along. Johansen has six goals and 13 assists in 26 games. "[Tortorella] is … we have a great relationship," Johansen told The Columbus Dispatch. "Obviously I need to be doing things better. And when I'm not doing the right things on the ice we're going to have talks and whatever. He's going to coach. He's going to do his job. We know that." Speaking of the Blue Jackets, forward Nick Foligno has three goals in the past three games after scoring once in the first 25. … Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic continues to show that whatever personal matter he's dealing with, he won't allow it to impact his play on the ice. Hamonic is averaging 23:50 of ice time per game, which leads the Islanders. "I've known for a while the situation that's gone on and it has never affected him. He was playing extremely well even before that came out," coach Jack Capuano told Newsday. "One may view it like that, like it's off his chest and he's playing better. But to me he's been one of our best players since Day One. That's him. He's an elite player … It is what it is in this situation. It's not affecting him. It's not affecting our team. It's business as usual." … It was a scary situation Saturday when Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop's eye was clipped by the stick of San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl. Bishop left the game and did not return, but was OK and relieved Andrei Vasilevskiy on Sunday.

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