Today is Saturday, December 16, 2017.
|Saturday, December 16, 2017|
|National Hockey League|
|Blue Jackets||vs.||Hurricanes||7:00 (EST) Preview|
Hurricanes return home to face Blue Jackets
Saturday, December 16 at 12:35 AM (EST)
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Columbus Blue Jackets are assessing solutions to fill a hole in the lineup while the Carolina Hurricanes are in need of upgrades in several areas.
The Metropolitan Division teams meet Saturday night at PNC Arena, where the Hurricanes haven't played on home ice in two weeks.
Columbus is just one game removed from an injury that could alter the course of its season.
The Blue Jackets (20-11-1) announced that center Brandon Dubinsky will miss up to eight weeks after suffering an orbital bone fracture Tuesday night. Dubinsky had a plus-5 rating along with 12 points in 31 games.
So that suddenly puts Boone Jenner in the spotlight. Through one game when he was switched to center in a heightened role, there were encouraging results. Columbus won 6-4 on Thursday night at home against the New York Islanders, finishing a three-game homestand.
"As the game went on, I thought he ended up handling himself really well," Columbus coach John Tortorella said, noting Jenner's strong outing on faceoffs. "It's one game, (Dubinsky) is going to be out for a while. I'm not going to lock into anything. I'm never going to lock myself in and say we have an answer."
Jenner would like to be a part of that solution.
"It's a different kind of game," he said. "There's more reads, you're more involved. You want to take care of both sides of it."
The Blue Jackets will want to see how this plays out, but it could give Jenner a chance to carve out a more prominent role.
"The key thing with (Jenner) is that I don't think he has found his niche this year," Tortorella said. "I figured it was going to take some time to get his game going. ... I want him to grow into a role. With the injury to (Dubinsky), I think the road is there for him to take it."
The Hurricanes (13-11-7) are trying to find roles and more solid traction coming off a six-game road trip, which concluded with Friday night's 5-4 overtime triumph at Buffalo.
"Some huge character-building moments," Hurricanes forward Derek Ryan said. "It's huge for the morale from the trip and then to go back home."
This will mark Carolina's first home game since Dec. 2. Then the Hurricanes are back on the road for two more games, so this is the lone home outing during a nine-game stretch.
"Obviously, we're striving to get on a roll here," veteran Carolina goalie Cam Ward said.
Ward appeared in back-to-back games for the first time this season by winning twice this week.
If he's in the lineup against Columbus, it would be his first home game since he reached the 300-victory milestone Tuesday night at Vegas. He's one of seven players with at least 300 victories with the same team.
"It's something that I'm proud of," Ward said. "You look at that list, it's a pretty exceptional list. Hopefully, I can keep climbing up that list. ... A lot of people help you get that point. You've got to give your team an opportunity to win. Sometimes you have better nights than others. I've embraced the role that I've been given."
Ward is now considered the team's No. 2 goalie behind Scott Darling, so the frequency of his appearances has declined.
"Knowing you might not get as many starts, but I'm still having fun and enjoying it," Ward said.
Meanwhile, Tortorella said he likes the aggressiveness shown by his Columbus defensemen on the offensive end.
Some of that could come from defenseman Zach Werenski, who recorded two points Thursday night.
"I'm just happy to get the chances right now," Werenski said. "We talk about being offensive and being aggressive. It's always nice when you can have 'D' contributing."
Columbus is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings with Carolina, which hasn't scored a power-play goal against the Blue Jackets in the past four matchups.
|Canadiens||vs.||Senators||7:00 (EST) Preview|
Canadiens, Senators brace for ice-cold outdoor game
Saturday, December 16 at 5:13 PM (EST)
OTTAWA -- Different elements will be in play when the Ottawa Senators entertain the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
Frigid temperatures and the possibility of snow should be among them.
For the first time, Ottawa is playing host to an outdoor game, as NHL100 Classic sets up at TD Place, home of the Canadian Football League Ottawa REDBLACKS.
In excess of 30,000 fans are expected to brave the coldest weekend of the winter thus far. After practicing on the outdoor rink Friday, players expressed their excitement.
"This is unbelievable," said Senators center Matt Duchene, who circled the date on his calendar after being traded from Colorado a month ago. "You're playing for a Canadian team against a Canadian team in the capital of Canada. This has been a whirlwind for me. This is something I knew was coming. I've really been looking for it."
Not to be forgotten for the Senators, however, is the importance of the game. After a brutal road trip that saw them win just one of seven games and fall deep down the Eastern Conference standings, the Senators defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 in their first game back on Wednesday night.
The win didn't get them any closer than seven points back of the last division playoff spot, with the Canadiens a team they have to past on their way.
"I don't think the big thing for us is that we're having this type of game," Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said of playing outdoors. "We needed to come back home and we needed it big time. We've been on the road for a month. That was huge. Just to come back, I saw the energy change at home. We had terrific energy, great enthusiasm. It's the same feeling here."
While Craig Anderson will be in goal for the Senators, Carey Price makes his 10th straight start between the pipes for Montreal.
The Canadiens are coming off Thursday's 2-1 overtime victory over the New Jersey Devils that snapped a three-game losing streak.
To get acclimatized, the Canadiens strayed from their normal routine by practicing in Ottawa on Friday.
"The most important thing for us is to get the two points," Habs center Tomas Plekanec told the Montreal Gazette. "These games are different, they're fun, but we have to remember we need points."
Stressing the point was Canadiens coach Claude Julien, an Ottawa native.
"There's no doubt when you're playing outside you're looking at more things than you would in a normal game," Julien told the Gazette. "Weather has an effect on your game plan. The ice was great today and we hope it's the same tomorrow, but if the ice isn't as good and there are certain situations with the weather and the wind, we'll try to keep the game simple.
"You may have to tweak things along the way, but you don't need to overload your players with all these things. But, as a coach, you have to be ready.
"I don't hate these games. These games get a lot of people excited, even the players. There are guys who haven't played an outdoor game yet. A lot of people will tell you it's grown old, but it's an experience. But you have to manage it properly. Guys have to understand that's a big two points."
|Jets||vs.||Blues||7:00 (EST) Preview|
Blues searching for lost offense vs. Jets
Friday, December 15 at 7:46 PM (EST)
ST. LOUIS -- It sounds simple, but the St. Louis Blues know exactly what they need to do if they want to start winning games.
"We can't get zero (goals) or one goal at the end of the third (period)," said forward Patrik Berglund. "You're not going to win games like that."
The Blues will play the Winnipeg Jets in a home-and-home series beginning Saturday night in St. Louis as they try to find answers for their scoring drought.
Berglund's goal on Thursday night came with just under six minutes to play with the Blues losing 3-0 to the Anaheim Ducks. It followed a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay two nights earlier.
It's the continuation of a trend that has been going on for a while. After beginning the year 5-0 at home, the Blues are under .500, 6-7, in their last 13 home games and have been shut out three times.
Nobody is struggling more than Vladimir Tarasenko, who has only two goals in his last 11 games, one of which was into an empty-net, but coach Mike Yeo is not pointing fingers at any one player for a team-wide problem.
St. Louis scored just 10 goals in its last six home games.
Part of the problem has been the team's performance on the power-play, where the Blues scored only twice -- both times in the same game -- in their last 23 opportunities.
"We've tried a lot of different combinations," Yeo said. "For me, the most important thing is that it's always about the next one. I think right now we're carrying a lot of baggage from the previous power play, and things aren't going well into the next one. You could be 0-for-7 in a game, but you get one opportunity and that could be the difference-maker, and I think we have to make sure we develop that mindset. ... We have to adjust our plan a little bit."
The Jets, who trail the Blues and Nashville Predators by three points in the Central Division race, are coming off a home loss themselves, 5-1, on Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was their first regulation loss at home in 11 games.
"I don't think we need to look anywhere to be honest. We just need to play the game," Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers told the Winnipeg Sun. "We've got 50 games left, so there's still a lot of work to do. Looking at the standings right now, we're in good shape but we need to keep working on our game. We need to get better. We can't start games the way we did today (Thursday) and I'm positive the guys are pretty set on getting that changed quickly."
Winnipeg is in a stretch of four consecutive division games, playing Nashville on Tuesday night after the two games against the Blues.
"It's a really big challenge for us before the break," Bryan Little told the Sun. "They're all big games, they're all division games and they're all against good teams."
Added coach Paul Maurice, "There's a lot of truth to the standard lines -- 'one game at a time,' and 'it's just another game' -- and I get all that. But when we haven't seen these teams -- normally we see them so often -- there is a rivalry, there is an intensity built into these games.
"They're exciting games to watch. They're exciting games to coach."
|Kings||vs.||Islanders||7:00 (EST) Preview|
Kings, Islanders look to halt mini-slumps
Saturday, December 16 at 12:32 AM (EST)
NEW YORK -- A pair of weary teams slumping for different reasons will face off Saturday night when the New York Islanders host the Los Angeles Kings at Barclays Center.
Both squads enter Saturday on two-game losing streaks. The Islanders were off Friday after suffering a wild 6-4 loss to the host Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. The Kings opened a back-to-back set Friday by falling to the New York Rangers 4-2 in the second game of a four-game East Coast road trip.
The two-game skid for the Kings (20-10-3) comes immediately after an eight-game winning streak that was tied for the second-longest run in franchise history. But even when it was winning, Los Angeles was having trouble putting pucks in the net.
The Kings scored more than four goals just twice during their winning streak and have scored three or fewer goals 20 times this season. But Los Angeles had no shortage of opportunities Friday, when it peppered Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist with 35 shots.
"We just couldn't find the net," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "It's a frustrating loss."
The Islanders (17-12-3), on the other hand, are scoring plenty of goals but allowing nearly as many. Through Friday, New York ranked second in the NHL in both goals scored (114) and goals allowed (111).
On Thursday, the Islanders came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie Columbus before giving up two goals in a span of under three minutes late in the second period. The struggles on defense have been a key factor in a 2-5-1 slide in which New York has surrendered at least five goals four times.
"We've proven we're going to score goals and have opportunities -- that's a good thing," Islanders head coach Doug Weight told Newsday following practice Friday. "To me we need some more meat and potatoes. We need more predictability, we need more mash."
With that in mind, New York sent electric yet inconsistent center Josh Ho-Sang to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League on Friday. The club promoted right winger Steve Bernier in a corresponding move.
Weight said Friday he didn't know who would start in goal Saturday night. Thomas Greiss started for just the second time in the last 10 games Thursday, recording 29 saves. Still, that was an improvement over Jaroslav Halak, who made his fourth straight start Wednesday but was pulled for Greiss in the second period after allowing four goals on 20 shots.
Kings backup Darcy Kuemper, who has also started just two of the last 10 games behind Jonathan Quick, will likely start Saturday after Quick made 24 saves Friday. Kuemper last played Dec. 7, when he recorded 37 saves in Los Angeles' 4-3 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators.
Greiss is 3-3-0 in seven career games against the Kings while Halak is 6-10-2 in 18 appearances. Kuemper is 1-1-0 in three career appearances against the Islanders.
Kuemper outdueled Halak and earned the win in the first meeting of the season between the teams on Oct. 15, when the Kings edged the Islanders 3-2 at Staples Center.
|Stars||vs.||Flyers||7:00 (EST) Preview|
Flyers go for sixth straight win, host Stars
Friday, December 15 at 11:55 PM (EST)
PHILADELPHIA -- Only five teams in NHL history have ever followed a winless streak of 10 or more games with five consecutive wins. The Philadelphia Flyers, who became the latest team to achieve the feat Thursday night with a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres, might be heartened to know that the other four teams reached the playoffs in the same season.
In fact, the 1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs went on to win the Stanley Cup.
On Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers (13-11-7) will try to make it six in a row when the Dallas Stars (18-14-1) make their only visit. The Stars are coming off Friday night's 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils, their third stop of a four-game road trip that ends in Philadelphia.
The Flyers' five-game win streak began with coach Dave Hakstol re-arranging all four forward lines and employing a safer 1-2-2 forecheck. The results have been impressive. During their winning streak, the Flyers have outscored opponents 7-1 in the third period. Thursday night's win over the Sabres was just their third by one goal all season (3-4-7).
"It's all about confidence," said Flyers right winger Jakub Voracek, who was dropped to a second line with center Valtteri Filppula and right winger Michael Raffl. "Two or three weeks ago when we went into the third period, we would lose that game. Now it's about making sure those loose pucks get out of the zone and don't make any dumb decisions."
The Flyers are also playing more disciplined with their sticks. They've given opponents no more than two power-play opportunities in each of their last five games.
"That's something we had struggled with in that 10-game (losing) stretch," said Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott (11-6-6, 2.68 GAA, .913 save percentage), who is expected to get his seventh straight start. "We've done a good job with checking with our feet and not our sticks, and that's the (reason) we're not taking as many penalties."
The Stars lost three straight games before heading on their four-game road trip and opened the trip with wins over the Rangers and Islanders. They have been riding the goaltending tandem of veterans Ben Bishop, 31, and Kari Lehtonen, 34, this season. Lehtonen played against the Devils Friday night, so Bishop (13-9-0, 2.75, .909) is expected to get the start against the Flyers.
After a short stint in Los Angeles last season, Bishop signed a six-year, $29.4 million contract with the Stars over the summer and is poised to replace Lehtonen as the Stars' No. 1 netminder. Lehtonen's contract expires after this season.
"We're in a very unique situation in that we have two starters," Stars coach Ken Hitchcock told the Dallas Morning News. "We have two guys who know how to start, they know how to carry the ball, they know how to manage their body clocks, and it's very effective for us. We're in good shape."
Martin Hanzal scored his second goal and Alexander Radulov scored his 11th goal in the Stars' loss to the Devils.
Antoine Roussel, who missed the previous two games with an elbow injury, returned to the lineup in New Jersey.
The Stars fell to 7-3-1 against the Eastern Conference, including 4-2-0 against the Metropolitan Division.
The Stars went 1-for-3 on the power play against the Devils and are now 2-for-38 on the power play over their past 13 games.
Hitchcock began his NHL coaching career in Philadelphia as an assistant under Paul Holmgren in 1988.
|Ducks||vs.||Capitals||8:00 (EST) Preview|
Vrana leads surging Capitals vs. Ducks
Saturday, December 16 at 1:14 AM (EST)
WASHINGTON -- Rookie forward Jakub Vrana is one of the young players the Washington Capitals are counting on to replace the goals they lost due to offseason departures.
After a bump in the road, he is doing that. The 21-year-old Vrana will be looking to score in his third straight game when the Capitals host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
In Thursday's 5-3 win over Boston, Vrana gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead when he split a pair of defenders, drove the net and scored. Vrana has 10 goals and four assists in 32 games and is one of six NHL rookies with 10 or more goals.
"I saw the (defenseman) kind of turning, so I just tried to take advantage of it and get a little breakaway there," Vrana told the Washington Post. "Thankfully it went in. Yeah, I was happy with that one."
He's had a lot to be happy about lately. Playing on a line with Evgeny Kuznetsov, Vrana has six goals in his last 11 games.
Earlier in the season things weren't going so well. After a 13-game stretch in which he scored only two points, he was a healthy scratch Nov. 16. His turnaround started soon after.
"We have to replace those goals that we lost, either (Marcus Johansson) or (Justin Williams) or some of those guys that were in the top nine," coach Barry Trotz said. "Jakub was drafted to be an offensive player, obviously he shoots the puck extremely well. We were hoping that we could replace a lot of those goals and he's doing that."
Washington has won 6 of 7. Alex Ovechkin scored his 22nd goal of the season against Boston and his 16 even-strength goals matches his total from all of last season.
Anaheim (14-11-7) opened a six-game road trip Thursday night with a 3-1 win in St. Louis. They got a youthful boost from 24-year-old Kevin Roy, who scored twice.
Roy, sent down to San Diego Monday as injured players returned, was hastily called back due to an injury to Anaheim points leader Corey Perry and quickly paid dividends.
"It doesn't feel like I went back. It's just a new opportunity," Roy said. "I want to make the most of my chances. That's what happened today. ... It felt pretty good to make a difference and get the win."
Roy has six goals in 16 games with Anaheim this season.
"Every game you learn," Roy told NHL.com. "Once I'm in the offensive zone, I try to have creativity and play within myself. Just get out there, try to make plays and take care of the puck."
Coach Randy Carlyle had been pleased with Roy's play -- before and after his almost-return to the minors.
"He's a smart little player and he knows his way around the rink," Carlyle said. "The puck follows those guys. ... He's shown to us he's capable of making NHL plays."
The Ducks won for the second game in a row and have earned points in six straight (3-0-3).
Goalie John Gibson has allowed three goals in his last two games. He stopped 29 shots and lost a shutout bid against the Blues with 5:35 left to play, improving to 10-10-3.
Against the Capitals, Gibson is 0-2-1 with a 3.64 goals-against average and an .888 save percentage.
Washington's Braden Holtby, who made 34 saves against Boston, is 2-1, 3.25 and .878 against the Ducks.
Right wing T.J. Oshie (upper body injury) will miss his sixth game Saturday. "He skated today," Trotz told the Post. "Until he does a full practice and all that, he will not play."
Defenseman Brooks Orpik also missed Friday's practice with an upper body injury.
|Penguins||vs.||Coyotes||8:00 (EST) Preview|
Penguins, Coyotes facing similar issues ahead of matchup
Friday, December 15 at 9:11 PM (EST)
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Looking at the big picture, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes couldn't be more dissimilar. The Penguins are coming off consecutive Stanley Cup wins. The Coyotes only infrequently win consecutive games.
But, right now, Mike Sullivan of Pittsburgh and Rick Tocchet of Arizona -- coaches who shared the same bench last season -- are going through very similar problems, even if the talent levels and records of their clubs are far different.
The Penguins (16-14-3), despite all their skills and superstars and superior achievements, have dropped their last three games and four of five, all by one goal. All of a sudden, the talk in Pittsburgh isn't of a third consecutive Cup parade, but whether the Penguins will make the make the playoffs -- they currently occupy the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff position.
"I don't think we're rattled," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said following an off-day practice Friday, a day after a 2-1 loss in Las Vegas. "It's a tough point when you're generating chances and in close games and you're finding ways to let them slip away. That's the way it goes sometimes but, sometimes, it goes the other way."
Sometimes it doesn't go your way at all. Ask the Coyotes and Tocchet, an assistant to Sullivan when the Penguins won their second successive Stanley Cup last season.
There almost certainly won't be any playoffs for the last-place Coyotes (7-22-5), who've dropped five in a row and eight of nine. They share some of the Penguins' current problems, only their issues have lasted all season -- there's not enough balance in their scoring, they constantly give away games at the end and they lack depth.
Tocchet has stayed patient much of the season, but he was clearly agitated following a non-competitive 4-1 loss Thursday to NHL-leading Tampa Bay, which unleashed 46 shots on Arizona goalie Antti Raanta.
Among other things, Tocchet called his team tired, dull, dumb and soft.
"I hate soft plays, I hate soft players and we were soft," Tocchet said.
Tocchet was softer in his criticism Friday, saying his players were "disappointed" with their effort -- "A lot of our guys know we didn't play well, and our energy level was low."
But while this stage of the season is critical to the Coyotes only to establish a level of respectability for the rest of the season, this might be the most critical point of this season for the Penguins, period.
They own the same 16-14-3 record they did at this stage of the 2015-16 season, when they went on to win the Stanley Cup. But the difference now is the Penguins' talent level almost certainly was higher that season -- like most Cup winners, they've lost valuable role players to free agency (Chris Kunitz, Matt Cullen and Nick Bonino, among others) and, last spring, to the expansion draft (goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who beat them Thursday night in Vegas).
And, this time, general manager Jim Rutherford is promising to make changes soon unless the Penguins break out of this current slide, one that has dropped them 13 points behind Tampa Bay in the conference standings.
"Every team in the league goes through ups and downs, and we're no different," Sullivan said. "We just have to make sure we do everything to minimize the skid we're in right now. We need a good effort, a resilient attitude (Saturday) and control what we can to get the result we're looking for.
"(We) have overcome so many challenges in my tenure here. There's no reason why we can't continue to do that."
Tocchet doesn't doubt the Penguins will find their way, especially with Sullivan behind the bench.
"Like Tampa, they have high-end talent," Tocchet said. "They have some of the best players in the world. ... The way they're structured, they can ignite at any time. They've won two Stanley Cups back to back and they're dangerous."
This will be the second and last game between the teams this season; the Penguins won the first 3-1 in Pittsburgh on Nov. 7 behind a goal and two assists each from Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, some of that high-end talent Tocchet was talking about.
However, the Coyotes have won the last two games between the two teams in Arizona.
Penguins goalie Matt Murray is expected to start again after stopping 24 of 26 shots at Vegas. Tocchet all but said Raanta, who made a career-high 44 saves Thursday, will start again because he wants the goalie taking on a heavy workload following three separate injury layoffs.
Kessel leads the Penguins with 15 goals and 37 points. Crosby, after a slow start, has 13 goals and 32 points after scoring seven goals in his last nine games. Rookie left winger Clayton Keller scored his first goal in 18 games Thursday but still leads the Coyotes with 12 goals.
On Friday, Arizona called up forward Nick Merkley, their top draft pick in 2015. He is expected to make his NHL debut against Pittsburgh after having 12 goals and 24 points in 20 AHL games.
|Lightning||vs.||Avalanche||9:00 (EST) Preview|
Lightning without Callahan for Avalanche game
Friday, December 15 at 8:45 PM (EST)
DENVER -- The Tampa Lightning aim to keep their perfect December intact when they face the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night at the Pepsi Center.
In a bit of rare bad news for the Lightning, though, they'll have to do so without veteran forward Ryan Callahan.
Callahan suffered an upper-body injury after he and Arizona Coyotes defender Oliver Ekman-Larsson got tangled up and crashed into the boards during the third period of the Lightning's 4-1 win Thursday.
The 32-year-old winger's right arm was in a sling after the game, according to the Tampa Bay Times. General manager Steve Yzerman told the paper Friday that Callahan is sidelined indefinitely and will be evaluated in three to four weeks.
"You feel so bad for him," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman told the Times. "He's battled hard through the whole year, and is such an important player for us."
Callahan missed most of last season with a nagging hip injury but was playing well on the fourth line this season. He had six points in 29 games, and on Thursday, he had five shots and three blocked shots before leaving the game.
"I'm sick to my stomach to watch a guy work as hard as he did to come back, play so well and to have something like that," captain Steven Stamkos told the paper.
On a better note for the Lightning, they head into Denver on a six-game winning streak and own the NHL's best record at 23-6-2.
In the win over the Coyotes on Thursday, Nikita Kucherov scored in a third consecutive game and 21-year-old Brayden Point recorded his first career "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" -- a goal, assist and a fight.
Point, a second-year center, has impressed with Tampa Bay this season. He has 30 points in 31 games.
"I'm just feeling more comfortable," Point told the Tampa Bay Times. "The first year, you're just trying to get your feet wet, and I didn't know if I was staying up or going down (to the AHL). But I'm feeling more comfortable, and playing with two great linemates (Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat). They help."
The Avalanche (15-14-2) have turned things around since their 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Dec. 7, winning three of their last four since their four-game slide to begin this month.
Colorado sits last in the Western Conference Central Division with 32 points.
"We know where we're at in the standings," Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov said after the team's 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday. "By the end of this month we need to be in the playoff picture. ... Six or eight points out of the playoffs by the beginning of January, it's hard to play catch-up hockey."
The Avalanche were the worst team in the league a year ago, but have benefited from the breakout play of center Nathan MacKinnon this season.
MacKinnon had his third two-goal game of the season in the Avalanche's 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday. He has 35 points -- 13 goals and 22 assists -- in 31 games and now has 12 goals in his last 22 games.
"Nate is playing unbelievable right now," Varlamov said. "He's a very skilled guy and I'm glad to have him on our team."
Colorado center Alexander Kerfoot missed his second straight game with a foot injury Thursday. Avs coach Jared Bednar said he is questionable for Saturday's game.
|Predators||vs.||Flames||10:00 (EST) Preview|
Surging Predators look to stay on roll vs. Flames
Friday, December 15 at 8:01 PM (EST)
CALGARY, Alberta -- While his former team in Ottawa struggles in his absence, Kyle Turris' new squad has thrived with his presence.
The Nashville Predators, who reached the Stanley Cup Finals last year, look like a team that could be heading back to the Finals again in the spring of 2018. They are serious contenders at least.
A convincing 4-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday moved the Predators into the top spot in the Western Conference with a 20-7-4 record.
Turris, who was acquired from the Senators on Nov. 5, had a goal and an assist as the Predators won for the 15th time in their past 19 outings. Nashville visits Calgary on Saturday night.
"It's been a lot of fun at the rink and on the ice," the 28-year-old Turris told Postmedia. "Off the ice is where it's been really crazy. Just trying to organize the move with my wife and three kids.
"Everything from vehicles to housing to (immigration) status. It's been a crazy month."
The Predators have won 12 of 16 games since the trade. When it was made, Turris signed a six-year, $36 million extension and he's contributed three goals and 11 assists while playing with Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith.
"I've seen trades where it takes a little bit for a guy to find his footing," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette told Postmedia. "Sometimes it can take two weeks, it can take a month, it can take longer than that. Sometimes you make a trade like that (and) they never find their footing. He's come in, and that line has just been terrific every night.
"I'm saying it, but you're seeing. They're dangerous, they're fast and they're skilled."
The Predators took the day off in Calgary on Friday, leaving media to have to wait until Saturday to find out if Laviolette will stick with backup Juuse Saros in goal after he set a franchise record for saves (46) in a shutout in Edmonton. Or he can turn to No. 1 Pekka Rinne.
While the Predators have been consistently winning, their opponent on Saturday continues to search for consistency.
The Flames surrendered a late goal at home on Thursday and lost to the San Jose Sharks 3-2.
Calgary is 3-5-1 in December and 16-13-3 for the season. It is currently two points back of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
The loss had Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan recalling a similar feeling after a home loss to Chicago in 2016-17.
"It's 2-2 late and they take a shot late and it goes in and you get nothing," Gulutzan said. "It stinks. You get nothing. We should have gotten points. It was a hard-fought game and they are a good team but we should have got points."
Leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau struggled to come up with an answer as to what the Flames have to do to turn things around at home, where they are 8-9-0.
"Play like we do on the road I guess," he shrugged. "Try not to get to fancy at home."
Goalie Talbot returns, Oilers cool off WIld
Saturday, December 16 at 6:18 PM (EST)
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - It was anything but a lazy Saturday afternoon for the Edmonton Oilers.
Second-period goals by Milan Lucic and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins helped them cool off the Wild during a matinee in Minnesota. Edmonton notched a 3-2 win, snapping the Wild's four-game win streak.
Goalie Cam Talbot, who had missed the previous seven games with an undisclosed injury, backstopped the victory with 29 saves for Edmonton (14-17-2), which got the third-period game-winner from Jesse Puljujarvi. Defenseman Matt Dumba scored twice for the Wild (17-12-3) and Alex Stalock had 26 saves but Minnesota lost a regulation game at home for the first time since Nov. 4.
The Oilers notched 10 of the game's first 11 shots on goal before the Wild offense woke up during a power play late in the period. Minnesota second-line left winger Jason Zucker fell victim to friendly fire in the final minute of the first. He was hit in the left knee by a Ryan Suter slap shot while posted in front of the Oilers' net. Zucker was helped from the ice but returned for the second period.
"It's nice for the guys to ease me into the game," said Talbot, who joked that he felt great after a two-and-a-half-week vacation. "Sometimes coming off an extended period like that, sometimes you want early work. But they kept the first few to the outside and let me get comfortable, and just battled out from there and just tried to control the game."
Edmonton broke the deadlock near the midway point of the second with the team's fourth shorthanded goal of the season. After a Talbot save, Zack Kassian started a 2-on-1 break with Nugent-Hopkins. After a cross-ice pass from Kassian, Nugent-Hopkins zipped a rising wrist shot past Stalock on the stick side. It was the team-leading 13th goal of the season for Nugent-Hopkins.
"If you don't win the special teams battle you usually don't win," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, after his team was 0-for-4 on the power play and allowed the shorthanded goal. "You give them six power plays and then when you get your four and you don't take advantage of it and they're plus-one on it then you're in trouble."
Dumba tied the game four minutes later, taking a backhand pass from Mikael Granlund and blasting a slap shot from the high slot, which caught the inside of the right post behind Talbot and deflected in. Wild captain Mikko Koivu hit the pipe on a second-period power play and admitted frustration after the game.
"I think when you're winning, it's a lot easier. But tonight when you don't score on those chances and when you lose the games obviously that's when it gets frustrating, when you're not able to help the team in that way," said Koivu, who has gone 10 games without a point. "All we can do is create and get in there and find a way. It's a matter of the next one. You've got to work at it."
Lucic scored his eighth goal of the season with a fluttering shot that beat a screened Stalock's glove, and assisted on Puljujarvi's goal in the third. Despite Edmonton getting shut out twice recently, Lucic now has 10 points in the Oilers' last 10 games.
"He's one of those factors that we talk about in the locker room," Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. "You have a sense of calmness around him and he's leading the team on the ice, also verbally in the locker room, and also getting some good production out of him, so we're happy to have him."
A slap shot that hit the upper right corner of the net gave Dumba the second two-goal game of his career. Stalock had one of Minnesota's 31 shots on goal, firing a loose puck the length of the ice with the Wild killing a penalty in the third period.
NOTES: Injured Wild LW Zach Parise (back surgery) and D Jared Spurgeon (groin) have begun skating with the team, although neither has returned to the lineup. Parise, who has been on long-term injured reserve, has not been cleared for full contact by doctors. ... On Friday, two teams from the Alberta Junior Hockey League played the final hockey game at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, which was the Oilers' home rink from the building's opening in 1974 until 2016 when the NHL team moved to Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton. Northlands is expected to be demolished sometime after Jan. 1. ... The Wild celebrated girls' and women's hockey over the weekend with several activities, including former high school, University of Minnesota and Olympic star Krissy Wendell practicing with the team on Friday.
Bruins hope to end Rangers' mastery over them
Saturday, December 16 at 3:16 PM (EST)
BOSTON -- Having failed in their bid to end one series losing streak, the Boston Bruins take aim at another one when the New York Rangers visit Saturday.
The Bruins, who lost their 11th straight game to the Washington Capitals Thursday night, have dropped six in a row to the Rangers, their old Original Six rivals.
The records of the two expected goaltenders in this latest matchup reflect the way the series has gone.
New York's Henrik Lundqvist comes in 26-12-2 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in his career against the Bruins. However, he played (and won) Friday, and Ondrej Pavelec, an unspectacular 6-7-2 with 2.95/.912 lifetime against the Bruins, was an option to start Saturday.
Pavelec has stopped 85 of 89 shots his last two times out, going 1-0-1 in those two games.
But Saturday afternoon, the Rangers announced that Lundqvist would get the start.
Boston's Tuukka Rask is 9-8-3 with 2.29/.922 numbers against the Rangers.
The Rangers (17-12-3) defeated the Los Angeles Kings at Madison Square Garden Friday night, as 10 different players posted one point apiece in a 4-2 victory.
"They're one of the best teams in the West and one of the best organizations in the last little bit here so it was a good test for us tonight," said Rick Nash, who scored a goal. "I thought we played pretty much as close as a full 60 as we have all season."
The Bruins (15-10-4) suffered a 5-3 loss to the Capitals Thursday night, ending their three-game winning streak with only their third loss in the last 12 games. The Rangers are 8-3-1 in their last 12.
Boston might be getting Ryan Spooner back from his latest battle with a groin injury that has limited him to 10 games this season.
"We'll make that decision 100 percent tomorrow, but I think it's time," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Friday. "We kind of went back and forth -- we don't want a reoccurrence if we can help it. The lineup was going well, obviously. Those are two of the biggest reasons, I think.
"We're confident when he goes in he'll play well. We just want to make sure he's got the best chance to stay in the lineup."
New York won the first of three 2017-18 meetings between the teams Nov. 8 in New York, a 4-2 victory as Jimmy Vesey, the Harvard product, scored two goals in 29 seconds.
Lundqvist made 31 saves in that game, which was coach Alain Vigneault's 200th victory behind the New York bench.
The Rangers will again be without Mika Zabanejad, who will miss his ninth straight game with a concussion. He is skating and should return soon.
"He's following the protocol," Vigneault said earlier Friday. "He skated on his own yesterday. As far as I know -- I haven't done a lot of checking there -- he's improving. We've got a practice on Monday and he'll practice with us Wednesday."
The Bruins announced that Matt Beleskey, who has $3.8 million coming to him each of the next two years and hasn't had a point in his last 24 games over two seasons, cleared waivers and is headed to Providence.
|Friday, December 15, 2017|
|National Hockey League|
Hurricanes outlast Sabres in overtime
Friday, December 15 at 11:11 PM (EST)
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After a difficult start to their longest road trip of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes are heading home on a high note.
Defenseman Jaccob Slavin scored 2:15 into overtime to lead the Hurricanes to a 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
Slavin's goal capped a frenetic finish that featured six goals in the third period and a hat trick for Buffalo's Jack Eichel.
"We've been on the road 13 days? Wow," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "Let's get home then."
Although the 13-day, six-game road trip is over, the Hurricanes (13-11-7) have a short turnaround with a home game against Columbus on Saturday. The Hurricanes lost their first four games of the trip -- with two of those losses coming in overtime -- before back-to-back wins over Vegas and Buffalo.
As part of a wild third period that featured six goals in a span of 8:14, the Hurricanes surrendered a 4-2 lead before Slavin sealed the deal in overtime. On the game-winner, Elias Lindholm found Slavin open in the center of the ice and Slavin scored on a shot to the blocker side of Sabres goalie Chad Johnson.
"Found a way to get the win in OT, so we've got the two points going home after a long road trip and taking it back to Raleigh," Slavin said. "Just tried to hit the net. Great pass from Lindy."
The overtime goal came after Buffalo's Evander Kane was stopped by Cam Ward on a breakaway.
Lindholm, Justin Williams, Jordan Staal and Derek Ryan also scored for Carolina (13-11-7). Ward made 37 saves.
Slavin's game-winner overshadowed Eichel's first career hat trick for Buffalo (8-18-7). Jake McCabe also scored for Buffalo. Johnson made 29 saves.
"I hand it to our guys to find the energy to come back and tie the game," Sabres coach Phil Housley said. "I thought it was a great effort on their part because it easily could've gone in the other direction. For the most part we played a really, really good game. It's just those little details and I continue to talk about it, our play without the puck. It's that urgency that something bad could happen and it did."
Eichel brought the Sabres back with two goals in 10 seconds.
The second goal by Eichel came 9:24 into the third on a wrist shot from the middle of the ice with traffic in front. Seconds later, Eichel showed tremendous patience in holding onto the puck while moving to his right, waiting for both the Carolina defense and Ward to commit. Eichel then placed a high shot into the net for his hat trick.
Eichel's first goal came with 9:14 left in the second period. McCabe's shot from the point was deflected and fell right to Eichel, who put home his ninth goal of the season.
"I felt good, like I had jump," Eichel said. "I was trying to use my speed, shoot the puck and create for our team.
"There was a lot of good things but at the end of the day, we only get one point. It stings a little bit. It's not good enough to get a point. It seems like it's been the reoccurring theme here of late."
The Sabres have points in five of six games after a dreadful stretch that saw them lose 11 of 12 games. However, Buffalo has also lost four of its past five games (1-1-3).
After falling behind 2-1, Carolina briefly took charge with three goals in just under four minutes.
Staal evened the score three minutes into the third by redirecting a long shot by Slavin. Ryan deflected a hard shot by defenseman Brett Pesce at 4:03, catching Johnson off guard to give the Hurricanes the lead.
Lindholm made it 4-2 on a terrific tic-tac-toe passing sequence with Ryan and Sebastian Aho on an odd-man rush.
McCabe had made it 2-1 1:20 into the third following a rebound.
Williams put the Hurricanes on the board first with 9:44 left in the second on a rebound opportunity.
NOTES: D Josh Gorges, C Jordan Nolan and D Justin Falk were scratched for the Sabres. ... D Klas Dahlbeck and RW Josh Jooris were scratched for the Hurricanes. ... D Nathan Beaulieu returned for Buffalo after missing five games with the flu. Beaulieu told reporters that he lost 10 pounds due to the illness. ... This was the 200th career NHL game for Sabres C Sam Reinhart. ... This was the second of three meetings between the Sabres and Hurricanes this year. The final meeting takes place on Dec. 23 in Carolina.
Nash lifts Rangers over Kings
Friday, December 15 at 10:38 PM (EST)
NEW YORK -- The story of Rick Nash's season has been the inability to finish on an abundance of great scoring chances. The 33-year-old entered Friday with just eight goals on 97 shots, tied for the 21st most in the league, and a shooting percentage about four points below his career numbers.
But with the game on the line against the Los Angeles Kings, Nash picked an opportune time to score his ninth goal.
Nash's unassisted goal with 3:27 remaining in regulation broke a tie and helped vault the New York Rangers to a 4-2 victory at Madison Square Garden.
Nash had multiple dangerous opportunities to score in the first period but was unable to finish.
"In the first period, he had three great looks," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "He wasn't able to hit the net and bury it. But at the right time, he came up real big for us.
"I know that those guys are supposed to score but there's other parts of the game he was doing real well. First period, he had a big blocked shot. This is a 200-foot game and our offensive guys have to put the pucks in the net, but they also have to play that full game."
"It was a fun game to play and a big win," said New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 33 shots. "(Nash) after a couple big chances in the first got the big one in the end, so it was great to see how he battled through this game."
The Rangers (17-12-3) were coming off a regulation loss in Ottawa to the lowly Senators on Wednesday night and had lost three of four entering Friday. The importance of these midseason games has become magnified after the Rangers' rough start to the season but they were able to raise their game against one of the top teams in the league.
"I thought we played pretty much as close to a full 60 (minutes) as we have all season," Nash said."
The Kings (20-10-3) were playing their first game since having their eight-game winning streak snapped by the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday and found themselves in an early hole.
New York's power play ended a five-game drought when a shot by defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk bounced off Chris Kreider in front of the net and past goaltender Jonathan Quick at 10:23 of the first period to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. It was an important goal in an opening period that was otherwise controlled by the Kings.
Marian Gaborik's fifth goal in 11 games this season at 3:46 of the second period pulled Los Angeles even, but Kevin Hayes answered for the Rangers with 5:17 remaining in the period to restore the lead.
The back-and-forth theme continued into the third period, as Torrey Mitchell knotted the game at 2 midway through the period before Nash gave the Rangers the lead for good. The Kings swarmed for the tying goal in the final minutes with Quick on the bench for an extra skater, but J.T. Miller sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 53.4 seconds remaining.
It was a hard loss to swallow for the Kings, who felt they were entitled to a better fate.
"I think we deserve to win games," defenseman Drew Doughty said, "and we were winning the game at times. I wasn't disappointed with our effort; everyone was working their bags off. We were executing well. It's a frustrating loss but we have to move on because we have a quick turnaround (against the Islanders on Saturday)."
"Late in the game, we should be in a position to get points," Kings coach John Stevens said. "We played better but unforced errors ended up costing us points."
The Rangers have an even quicker turnaround, as they have to visit the Boston Bruins late Saturday afternoon.
"We don't have much time to enjoy this one," Nash said. "We have to get some rest, get re-energized and get right back it."
NOTES: Kings LW Marian Gaborik played in his 1,000th career regular-season game. The 35-year-old played 255 games with the Rangers between 2009 and 2013. ... The Kings scratched D Oscar Fantenberg, LW Andy Andreoff and C Jonny Brodzinski. ... Rangers C Mika Zibanejad (concussion) missed his eighth consecutive game and is not expected to play Saturday when the Rangers visit the Boston Bruins. ... Rangers D Steven Kampfer was a healthy scratch.
Boyle's 100th career goal helps Devils defeat Stars
Friday, December 15 at 11:32 PM (EST)
NEWARK, N.J. -- Brian Boyle made his 100th career goal a memorable one Friday night as the New Jersey Devils beat the Dallas Stars 5-2 at the Prudential Center.
Boyle scored the game-winning goal and sparked his teammates with an emotional display that resulted in a three-point performance that equaled his career high.
"We talk so much about (Boyle's) intangibles and presence, but he's a player," said Devils goalie Cory Schneider, who made 28 saves in the victory. "He can score. He can play the game. Sometimes, I think people lose sight of that. He's an important guy for us."
Steven Santini, Blake Coleman and Nick Lappin also scored for New Jersey (18-9-5) and Brian Gibbons added a pair of assists.
The Stars (18-14-1), who lost for the first time on their four-game road trip after beating the Rangers and Islanders, received goals from Martin Hanzal and Alexander Radulov. The loss kept Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock from becoming only the third coach in NHL history to win 800 games as he remains stuck at 799.
"They are a good team," Stars defenseman John Klingberg said of the Devils. "They are fast. We had our chances, but didn't execute."
Boyle scored his milestone goal at 16:39 of the second period to snap a 2-2 tie. Camped in front of the net, Boyle overpowered Klingberg to bury a rebound of Will Butcher's power-play shot while falling to the ice.
When he rose, Boyle jawed at Klingberg, who six minutes prior was penalized for cross-checking Boyle into the boards. That set off a scuffle between the Devils center and Stars defenseman Greg Pateryn, ultimately landing Boyle a two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct. Pateryn received a two-minute minor.
"I went over the line, it was disrespectful the way I celebrated the goal," Boyle admitted. "They had a right to come after me after that. I was excited to get the power-play goal -- it was pretty awful power play to that point -- but again, you play between the whistles and I went too far and I paid for it. That's 10 minutes. It's selfish. I'm almost 33 years old, I should know better."
Boyle explained that Klingberg accused him of diving and that had him extra emotional after he scored the go-ahead goal.
"I told (Boyle) he's 100 pounds heavier than me and I think he fell easy there," offered Klingberg. "I don't think it's a cross-check. And then after he scored the goal, he celebrated in my face and I didn't think that was respectful. But he said he was sorry, so let's move on."
After serving his penalties, Boyle added to his big night with a secondary assist on Lappin's first goal of the season at 12:57 of the third period that provided New Jersey a two-goal cushion, 4-2. Boyle then capped it off with an empty-net goal, his eighth of the season, at 18 minutes of the third.
"You could see his emotion after he scores that (first) goal and after that he's fired up," said Lappin following his second game since being called up from the minors this week. "Coming out in the third period, I thought we built off that momentum and that sparked us and we were able to come out on top."
Santini's goal at 4:28 of the first period gave the home team an early lead, but Hanzal answered for the Stars less than two minutes later, banking a pass off the leg of Devils defenseman Andy Greene and into the net.
Coleman cashed in on a rebound to make it 2-1 Devils at 19:06 of the first, and New Jersey nearly made it 3-1 moments later, but Pavel Zacha's shot into the net failed to beat the clock.
Dallas pulled even again at 8:09 of the second when Radulov scored his 11th goal by powering past Butcher and beating Schneider five-hole.
New Jersey killed off a pair of penalties to open the third period, including 53 seconds of a two-man disadvantage, with Schneider standing out. He stopped all 13 shots he faced in the third, including an incredible diving glove save to rob Jamie Benn with 3:30 remaining in the game.
"It was just pure desperation, and fortunately I was able to get a glove on it," explained Schneider.
Added Stars center Tyler Seguin, "We had some pretty good opportunities. We just didn't finish. We just have to get ready for (Saturday)."
The Stars close out their road trip against the Philadelphia Flyers on the second-leg of this back-to-back set while the Devils are off the next two days.
NOTES: Devils coach John Hynes said before the game that injured LW Taylor Hall, RW Kyle Palmieri and LW Marcus Johansson all skated Friday morning on their own, and the plan is for all three to take part in a full team practice Sunday and possibly be available to play Monday against the Anaheim Ducks. ... The Devils scratched Hall (knee), D Dalton Prout and D Ben Lovejoy, while Palmieri (broken foot) and Johansson (ankle) remain on injured reserve. ... Stars LW Antoine Roussel returned to the lineup after missing two games with an elbow injury. ... The Stars scratched C Jason Dickinson, D Jamie Oleksiak and C Gemel Smith.
|Maple Leafs||1||vs.||3||Red Wings||Final Recap|
Red Wings beat Maple Leafs to end losing streak
Friday, December 15 at 11:58 PM (EST)
DETROIT -- With each heartbreaking setback, the Detroit Red Wings kept reminding themselves that they were a good team, that they were doing things the right way, and that if they stuck with it, they would ultimately be rewarded.
Their moment of redemption arrived Friday, at the expense of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Trevor Daley each scored their first goals of the season as the Red Wings ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the Maple Leafs.
Tomas Tatar also scored for Detroit, which finished a five-game homestand 2-1-2. Jimmy Howard made 25 saves for the victory.
Andreas Borgman scored for the Maple Leafs, who have lost three in a row. Toronto's five-game winning streak against the Red Wings also came to an end.
"As long as we play our way and the right way, we're a good team and we're hard to play against," Daley said. "The results haven't been showing it lately, but tonight was good for our team to see the results.
"Playing the right way, we get the right result."
It didn't start out like it would be Detroit's night. The Leafs grabbed the lead just 1:58 into the game when Borgman's point shot off a faceoff win by Dominic Moore squeezed in between the arm and body of Howard.
"You look at what's been going on lately, it's easy to get down by one and then fold," Daley said. "This team, we've been telling each other we're a good team and the results are going to go the right way.
"We stuck with it and now it's time to build off this."
The Wings tied it 5:22 into the second period. Driving toward the net, DeKeyser slipped around Toronto forward James van Riemsdyk and whipped a quick shot past Toronto goaltender Curtis McElhinney for his first point of the season.
Detroit took the lead while short-handed at 11:22 of the second period. Daley came down the ice with Dylan Larkin on a 2-on-1 and, using Larkin as a decoy, beat McElhinney (26 saves) with a wrist shot on the short side for his first goal as a Red Wing.
Coming into the game, Detroit had just five goals all season from defensemen. Only the Buffalo Sabres (one) had fewer among the NHL's 31 teams.
"We're just trying to jump in the play when we can," DeKeyser said. "I just happened to get up in the play and get a chance. Dales just jumped up there and he had time and space, so that was kind of nice."
Toronto coach Mike Babcock felt the short-handed goal really took the wind out of his team's sails.
"I thought we were good in the first period and into the second, but we came a little unraveled after they scored," Babcock said. "Once they got the second one, we were chasing the game."
Tatar completed the scoring on a power play at 9:39 of the third period, redirecting Henrik Zetterberg's pass behind McElhinney from the edge of the Toronto goal crease.
"That goal for 3-1, it's really big and I think it got the pressure off us," Tatar said. "You have to score more of these in games like this.
"I know it's impossible to do it every time but it will help to pick up the win for sure."
Toronto's three straight losses have come minus team scoring leader Auston Matthews (13-13-26), out with an upper-body. Without Matthews, the Maple Leafs have scored just three goals in the past three games.
"We are missing a great offensive player, and that makes things easier for the other team," Leafs forward Tyler Bozak said. "When he's on the ice, the other team has to match up with him and keep track of him.
"We've won five games without him, though, so we know how to do it."
Friday was also the fifth game in seven nights for Toronto, but Babcock wasn't interested in making excuses for his team.
"Good teams find a way to dig in and win these games, and they do it not necessarily on skill but on determination and good composure, and knowing how to play right," Babcock said. "So we have some work to do. We know that."
NOTES: D Connor Carrick and LW Josh Leivo were scratched for the Leafs. ... Wings scratches were LW David Booth and D Xavier Ouellet. ... The Leafs lost in their first visit to Little Caesars Arena. The Leafs had won their first game in all three of Detroit's other home rinks -- Windsor's Border Cities Arena (2-1, Jan. 4, 1927), Olympia Stadium (2-1, Jan. 12, 1928) and Joe Louis Arena (4-1, Feb. 10, 1980). ... On Dec, 15, 1979, the Wings played their farewell game at Olympia Stadium, a 4-4 tie with the Quebec Nordiques. ... The Wings have scored six short-handed goals, tied for the NHL lead. The Leafs and New York Rangers are the only NHL teams yet to register a short-handed goal. ... The Wings accounted for a combined total of five short-handed goals over the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
Gagner OT goal lifts Canucks past Sharks
Saturday, December 16 at 2:14 AM (EST)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- With the overtime in its dying seconds, Sam Gagner was already thinking about what moves he might try in a shootout.
The Vancouver Canucks center never got the chance to find out.
Gagner scored with 25.7 seconds left in overtime to give the Canucks a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks Friday night. It was just Gagner's fourth goal of the year and first in five games.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Canucks. It also helped Vancouver rebound from a 7-1 loss at home Wednesday against the Nashville Predators.
"It was big for me and it was big for our team," said Gagner. "I think especially after the last game we wanted to bounce back.
"For myself, you want to contribute offensively. Hopefully it's something that allows me to get some offensive swagger and keep producing."
Defenseman Alex Edler fed Gagner a pass that allowed him to break in alone on San Jose goaltender Martin Jones. Gagner took his time then scored on a backhand.
"I just wanted to settle (the puck) down and get him moving," said Gagner, a former Columbus Blue Jacket who the Canucks signed as a free agent this summer. "I thought if I got to my backhand I could get it upstairs.
"I was actually preparing a little bit for the shootout and what I was going to do if I had a chance. It allows you to think about if you get a breakaway. Eddie made a great play and I was able to put it in."
The goal came after defenseman Michael Del Zotto had hit a post and Daniel Sedin shot wide on an empty net.
It was Vancouver's first win at home over San Jose in almost six years. The Canucks had lost 11 straight games (0-9-2) to the Sharks at Rogers Arena.
Markus Granlund scored twice for the Canucks (15-14-4), who improved to 3-3 in overtime games. Brock Boeser also had a goal while Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin had three assists each.
During the morning skate, Canucks coach Travis Green took Granlund aside for a long talk.
"He just said he needs more from me," said Granlund, who now has six goals in 32 games after scoring 19 last season.
"I know I can play better. I want to keep working every day and doing my best every game."
Granlund's first goal came on a power play just 44 seconds into the game. Vancouver peppered the Sharks with 22 shots in the first period.
"That's the type of game we wanted to play," said Boeser, who has a team-leading 17 goals in his rookie season. "We gave them a bit of life in the second but played a lot better in the third.
"That was a huge two points for us."
San Jose defenseman Brent Burns tied the game 3-3 at 14:11 of the third with his second goal of the night. Joel Ward earned an assist on the play for his 300th point in his 700th career game.
Marcus Sorensen scored the other goal for the Sharks (17-10-4).
The Sharks were coming off a 3-2 win over Calgary on Thursday night. They also knew Vancouver would be hungry after their embarrassing home loss.
"They've lost a bunch in a row," said San Jose coach Peter DeBoer. "They're sitting here rested, they got wacked last game 7-1. All the things set up for them to have an A game and they did.
"They were outstanding early. We found a way to get an important point on a night where we probably didn't deserve one."
Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom had 35 saves. Jones stopped 36 shots in the San Jose net and kept his team in the game early on.
"It wasn't a great start for us," said Jones, who was looking to win his 100th career win. "That was a team that got beat up pretty good last game we knew they were going to come out with a lot of jump.
"We were maybe a little flat. We played last night which is always tough. We battled through it though and fought back."
NOTES: Canucks D Chris Tanev is expected to miss up to three weeks with a groin strain. ... The Canucks last beat the Sharks at Rogers Arena on Jan. 21, 2012. ... C Brandon Sutter (upper body) is still seven to 10 days away from returning to the lineup. ... D Erik Gudbranson (upper body) skated with the team Friday morning. ... D Ashton Saunter, called up from Utica of the AHL, and C Michael Chaput were healthy scratches. ... The Sharks were outshot 10-0 in the first 5:39 of the game before managing five straight shots on a power play. ... D Brent Burns has five goals in five games. ... C Daniel O'Regan was a healthy scratch.
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