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Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ryan Malone fight for position. (MIKE CARLSON/Reuters)
Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ryan Malone fight for position. (MIKE CARLSON/Reuters)

NHL Notebook

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THE SAM GAGNER SHOW: Sam Gagner, whose eight points in a single game Thursday night tied an Edmonton Oilers’ franchise record shared by Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey, jumped 90 places in the NHL scoring standings with that outburst, moving from 200 to 110. Gagner had 22 points going into the game. Good tweet about it from teammate Ryan Whitney, who also produced his first goal of the season: “What a sick night. When he got his 8th point Darryl Sittler's heart rate must have just skyrocketed. 8 points now is like getting 14 in 80s” ... Of course, the temptation immediately was to scroll down to the bottom of the NHL scoring stats to see who might have fewer than eight points all season. Yep, Scott Gomez, everybody’s favourite punching bag, seven assists in 20 games. Gagner’s father, Dave, who works for the Vancouver Canucks, once had six points in a game back in 1994 playing for the Dallas Stars. Wouldn’t it be weird if the rumours came true and the Chicago Blackhawks actually acquired Gagner between now and the trading deadline to add offensive depth? Gagner played his junior hockey in London with Patrick Kane, another small but skilled forward, who happens to be in one of the deepest scoring funks of his career (four goals in the past 33 games). Chicago and Vancouver seem destined to meet in every playoff year and that would create an interesting family dynamic between pere et fils ... Gagner had his big night, playing mostly with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ regular linemates, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. Nugent-Hopkins, closing in on a return from a Jan. 2 shoulder injury suffered against the Blackhawks, has managed to hold onto the rookie scoring lead, despite a month on the sidelines. He had 35 points in 38 games; New Jersey’s Adam Henrique is next at 34, although coming hard is Vancouver’s Cody Hodgson, the rookie of the month for January, who cracked the 30 point barrier this week. It’s possible that Gagner’s big night will give the Oilers reason to pause and re-think their strategy relating to his long-term future with the team. He is, after all, just 22. If the line as currently formed can develop any kind of consistent chemistry, Nugent-Hopkins could then anchor a solid second line. Up front, more than anything, the Oilers need better scoring balance ... The Red Wings will get an interesting test now, depending upon how long starting goaltender Jimmy Howard is out with a broken pinkie figure. Detroit thinks the injury isn’t serious and Howard could be back playing within a week or two. In the meantime, Ty Conklin will get a handful of starts and the time off probably won’t hurt Howard, 44 appearances this season. Only Nashville’s Pekka Rinne, at 46, has more ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Predators have the NHL’s most challenging schedule coming out of the all-star break, given that their remaining opponents have collectively posted a .596 winning percentage. At the other end of the spectrum: The Florida Panthers, aiming to break that decades-long playoff drought, have the easiest at .532.

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