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D Letang practices 10 days after stroke

(AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)

PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to practice with his teammates Thursday, just 10 days after suffering the second stroke of his career.

The 35-year-old Letang remains out indefinitely, with the club describing him as "day to day."

Letang said he felt "pretty good" after being greeted by stick taps from his teammates when he skated onto the ice at the team's practice facility. Still, the married father of two called the experience "scary," particularly for his family.

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Marner looks to push streak to 21 games

The Toronto Maple Leafs can extend their points streak to 13 games while Mitchell Marner tries to stretch his to 21 games Thursday night against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.

Marner earned an assist Tuesday in the 4-0 victory over the host Dallas Stars to improve his team-record points streak to 20 games.

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Sabres' Thompson scores 5 with 4 in 1st

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Tage Thompson matched an NHL record by scoring four times in the first period and finished with five goals and an assist as the Buffalo Sabres won their third straight road game, 9-4 over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.

Thompson is the second U.S.-born player to score five goals in a game. He is the fourth player in NHL history to record four goals in the first period of a regular-season game, joining Peter Bondra (1994), Grant Mulvey (1982) and Joe Malone (1921). He is also the fourth active player to score five goals in a game, joining Timo Meier (Jan. 17, 2022), Mika Zibanejad (March 5, 2020) and Patrik Laine (Nov. 24, 2018).

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Ovechkin puts 2 into empty net, Caps win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Alex Ovechkin scored two empty-net goals, Dylan Strome had a goal and an assist and the Washington Capitals defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Wednesday night.

T.J. Oshie also scored for the Capitals, who finished 3-3 on a six-game trip. Charlie Lindgren made 29 saves.

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Ullmark, Bruins shut out banged-up Avs

DENVER (AP) Taylor Hall scored twice and had an assist, Linus Ullmark stopped 23 shots for his second shutout of the season and the Boston Bruins cruised to a 4-0 win over the banged-up Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.

David Pastrnak and Trent Frederic added goals for the Bruins, who beat Colorado 5-1 last weekend. Boston improved to 10-0-1 against Western Conference teams this season.

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McDavid has 4 points, Oilers rip Coyotes

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Connor McDavid had two goals and two assists and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and had an assist as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Arizona Coyotes 8-2 on Wednesday night.

The rout came two days after Edmonton allowed 50 shots in a 3-2 loss to the injury-riddled Washington Capitals.

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Rangers score 4 in 3rd to beat Knights

LAS VEGAS (AP) Mika Zibanejad had two goals and an assist, and the New York Rangers scored three times in 1:54 in the third period to beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1 on Wednesday night.

New York's Artemi Panarin reached 600 career points, picking up his milestone point when he found Zibanejad, whose one-timer from the left circle put the Rangers in front 2-1 at 5:59 into the third. Panarin reached that number in his 535th game, and only Connor McDavid (421), Sidney Crosby (430), Alex Ovechkin (464) and Evgeni Malkin (490) have gotten there quicker.

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Andersson snaps tie as Flames down Wild

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Rasmus Andersson scored a tiebreaker at 15:57 of the third period and had two assists as the Calgary Flames rallied to beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3 on Wednesday night.

"Obviously not the start we wanted," Andersson said. "First 10 minutes weren't good enough, but we got a little bit of momentum toward the end of the first that we carried with us to start the second."

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Pettersson lifts Canucks by Sharks in OT

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Elias Pettersson scored on a breakaway at 4:25 of overtime, giving the Vancouver Canucks a 6-5 win over the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night.

"(Spencer) Martin made two big stops, and then on the breakaway (Kuzmenko) gave me a good pass I just tried to go low blocker," Pettersson said.

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Christmas may be new playoff barometer

For the better part of two decades since the NHL instituted a salary cap, enjoying turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes were synonymous with feeling pretty good about making the playoffs.

Dating to 2005-06, with lockout- and pandemic-related seasons excepted, 76% of teams in a playoff spot by the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday wound up qualifying. It became such a popular narrative it began to seep into coaches' offices and locker rooms based on the odds alone.

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