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The Buzzer: Huge games for Kris Letang, Avalanche top line

With almost as many fights as there were goals, the Pittsburgh Penguins' win vs. rival Washington Capitals was hard fought.

Three Stars

1. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins. Kris Letang is having a Norris Trophy worthy season for the Pittsburgh Penguins and is already among the league leaders in ice time on a nightly basis. He had to take on an even bigger role on Wednesday night in their 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals due to the injury suffered by Jamie Oleksiak in the game’s first minute. Letang ended up playing more than 32 minutes and was absolutely sensational all night. This was the second time he topped the 32-minute mark in a game this season, but unlike the first one this game did not go to overtime. He played all of those minutes in regulation. Along with helping to shut down the Capitals’ offense, he also recorded an assist on Sidney Crosby’s second period power play goal. That assist gives him 27 points in 32 games so far this season.

2. Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche. If the Colorado Avalanche win a game you can be sure their top line of Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog played a huge role in it. That was the case on Wednesday night in their 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens as they accounted for both of the team’s goals. Rantanen had two more points, including his 16th goal of the season, to help lead the way. With those two points he added to his league leading point total and is now up to 58 points for the season. He of course was not the only player on that line to shine on Wednesday night.

3. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. Right behind Rantanen in the points race this season is his teammate and linemate, Nathan MacKinnon. He recorded two assists in the win and remains three points behind Rantanen in the scoring race with 55 for the season. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov is the only other player in the league this season to have already topped the 50-point mark so far.

Highlights of the Night

The save of the night belonged to Marcus Pettersson of the Pittsburgh Penguins for sweeping the puck right off of the goal line when it was just inches away from potentially tying the game in the third period.

Gabriel Landeskog bats the puck out of mid-air for the game winning goal early in the third period. This play was challenged by the Montreal Canadiens for goalie interference but upheld after review.


It was a two-point night for Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, scoring a goal and recording an assist in their win over the Washington Capitals.

Joe Thornton, of course, entered the NHL seven years before Crosby did and has played in 625 more games than Crosby has at this point.

The Colorado Avalanche top line is comically dominant.


Pittsburgh Penguins 2, Washington Capitals 1

Colorado Avalanche 2, Montreal Canadiens 1

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

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