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Weekly Primer

Kane's road to 1,000 points for Blackhawks highlights week ahead

Avalanche hosting Stars, Blues among can't-miss events

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is on the road to 1,000 points in the NHL. But there are more stories to watch this week. Here are the top five along with fantasy can't-miss players.


Kane on road to 1,000 NHL points

Patrick Kane is five points from 1,000 in the NHL for the Chicago Blackhawks, who begin the week at the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, NBCSCH, NHL.TV).

The forward has scored at 64 points in each of his 11 full NHL seasons and has 57 (24 goals, 33 assists) in 46 games this season. The three-time Stanley Cup winner (2010, '13, '15) also won the Hart and Art Ross Trophies when he had 106 points (46 goals, 60 assists) in 2015-16, and had an NHL career-high 110 points (44 goals, 66 assists) in 2018-19.

Video: CHI@VAN: Kane buries Boqvist one-timer for PPG


Avalanche face two division rivals

The Colorado Avalanche play two important Central Division games at Pepsi Center against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ALT, FS-SW+, NHL.TV) and St. Louis Blues on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ALT, FS-MW, NHL.TV).

The three teams are competing for first place in the division with the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues (29-10-7) nine points in front of the Stars (25-15-4) and 10 ahead of the Avalanche (25-15-5).

Colorado is a combined 1-4-1 against St. Louis (1-2-0) and Dallas (0-2-1) this season. The Avalanche are led by center Nathan MacKinnon, the NHL's First Star for the week ending Jan. 5 whose 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) trail Edmonton Oilers forwards Connor McDavid (71 points; 25 goals, 46 assists) and Leon Draisaitl (70 points; 25 goals, 45 assists) for most in the NHL.


Bruins, Penguins kick off 'NHL Game of the Week' schedule on NBC

NBC presents its first 'NHL Game of the Week' when the Boston Bruins play the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, TVAS). It will be the first of nine games airing on NBC the rest of the regular season, including the 2020 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series game between the Los Angeles Kings and Avalanche on Feb. 15.

The Bruins (27-8-11) lead the Atlantic Division by seven points over the Tampa Bay Lightning (27-14-4). The Penguins (28-12-5) are three points ahead of the New York Islanders (27-12-4) for second in the Metropolitan Division and four behind the first-place Washington Capitals (30-11-5), despite missing injured forwards Sidney Crosby (core muscle surgery) and Nick Bjugstad (core muscle surgery), and defensemen Brian Dumoulin (ankle surgery) and Justin Schultz (lower body). Forward Jake Guentzel, whose 20 goals and 43 points lead Pittsburgh, is out for at least the remainder of the regular season after having surgery on his right shoulder Dec. 31.


Big Apple rivalry renewed

The Islanders and New York Rangers play for the first time this season at Madison Square Garden on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG, MSG+, NHL.TV) and again at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, MSG 2, NHL.TV).

The Islanders are 124-121-6 with 19 ties against the Rangers since entering the NHL in 1972, including 2-2-0 last season. They're have allowed the second-fewest goals (110) behind the Stars (105) after giving up the fewest (196) in 2018-19.

The Rangers (21-19-4) are six points behind the Philadelphia Flyers (23-16-6) for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.


Islanders hope to end hex against Hurricanes

After playing the Rangers, the Islanders visit the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-CR, MSG+, NHL.TV) for the second time this season.

New York has lost five straight games to Carolina, a stretch that began when they were swept from the 2019 Eastern Conference Second Round. The Islanders, who lost 5-2 in Carolina on Oct. 11, 2019, haven't won against the Hurricanes since a 4-1 victory at PNC Arena on Nov. 24, 2018.

Carolina (27-16-2) holds the first wild card from the East but is 4-8-1 against division opponents, compared to 23-8-1 against the rest of the NHL.

Video: LAK@CAR: Hurricanes celebrate Whalers style


Fantasy can't-miss picks

Igor Shesterkin, G, NYR: He went 2-0-0 with a .926 save percentage in his first two NHL starts and could feasibly start two of the Rangers' three games this week, a schedule that includes home and road games against the Islanders. Shesterkin, who saved 46 of 49 shots against the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 9, is part of a three-goalie rotation with Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev but has emerged as the most intriguing fantasy option of the bunch for the rest of the season. -- Pete Jensen

Patric Hornqvist, F, PIT: He's scored five goals and and 29 shots on goal in his past seven games. Hornqvist has additional appeal this week with four games against the Minnesota Wild, Bruins (twice) and Detroit Red Wings and could receive a boost if elite center Sidney Crosby returns to the lineup. -- Rob Reese

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