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Weekly Primer

Thornton's 1,600th game, Malkin chasing 400 goals highlight week in NHL

Bruins against Capitals on 'Wednesday Night Hockey' among can't-miss events

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / Staff Writer

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton will play in his 1,600th NHL game, and the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals face off on "Wednesday Night Hockey." But there are more stories to watch this week. Here are the top five along with fantasy can't-miss players.

1. Thornton set for No. 1,600

Joe Thornton will become the 12th player in NHL history to reach 1,600 games when the San Jose Sharks face the New York Rangers at SAP Center on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, MSG, NHL.TV).

The 40-year-old center is projected to pass Ray Bourque (1,612 games) and Larry Murphy (1,615) on the NHL list. He is also 12 points from becoming the 14th NHL player with 1,500.

The Sharks open the week at the Nashville Predators on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, NBCSCA, NHL.TV).

Video: SJS@CAR: Sorensen buries Thornton's terrific pass


2. Bruins, Capitals face off in 'Wednesday Night Hockey'

A showdown between the top two teams in the NHL takes place when the Boston Bruins visit the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVAS). 

The Capitals (22-4-5) have won six in a row for the second time this season and lead the NHL with 45 points. Behind them are the Bruins (20-4-6), who are 8-1-1 in their past nine games.


3. Malkin seeks 400th NHL goal with Penguins

Evgeni Malkin will try to score his 400th goal in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who play three games beginning against the Montreal Canadiens at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, ATTSN-PT, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV).

The center, chosen with the No. 2 pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, is one goal from joining Mario Lemieux (690), Sidney Crosby (451) and Jaromir Jagr (439) as the only Penguins to reach the milestone. Malkin missed 11 games this season after sustaining a lower-body injury in the second period of a 7-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 5.

Video: PIT@DET: Malkin scores in 2nd period


4. Vlasic set for 1,000th game in NHL

Marc-Edouard Vlasic will play his 1,000th game when the Sharks host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SN360, SN1, CITY, NBCSCA, NHL.TV). The defenseman will be the third skater in Sharks history to reach the milestone (Thornton, Patrick Marleau).


5. Golden Knights to reach NHL landmark

The Vegas Golden Knights will play their 200th NHL game when they face the Canucks at T-Mobile Arena on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; SN, TVAS, ATTSN-RM, NHL.TV).

The Golden Knights are 109-68-19 since joining the NHL in 2017-18. They have reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of their first two seasons, including a run to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. Forward William Karlsson is their leader in goals (75) and points (159). 

Vegas is 15-12-5 this season, third in the Pacific Division.


Fantasy can't-miss picks

Alex Tuch, VGK -- He had a four-game point streak from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, totaling seven points (three on power play) and 14 shots on goal. He's playing on the third line at even strength but also on a power-play unit with valuable forwards Jonathan Marchessault, Karlsson and Reilly Smith. Vegas has four games this week, including winnable home games against the Chicago Blackhawks and Canucks. -- Pete Jensen

Matthew Tkachuk, CGY -- He's quietly on a four-game point streak with one goal and four assists over the span. Tkachuk has added appeal with four games this week against the Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes. -- Rob Reese

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