National Hockey League
NHL News Wire
  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Rangers G Lundqvist gets start
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was finally given the green light on Saturday, making his return to the net for the New York Rangers after missing 25 games with a sprained blood vessel in his neck.

    • Lundqvist got the start for the afternoon game when his Rangers took on the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

      Lundqvist, the 33-year-old Vezina Trophy winning goalie, last played in the Rangers' 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Feb. 2. Cam Talbot, a 27-year-old backup netminder, went 16-4-3 and boasted a 2.16 goals- against average in 23 appearances since Lundqvist's injury.

      On Wednesday, Lundqvist was activated from long-term injured reserve and served as Talbot's backup during Thursday's 5-1 playoff-clinching victory over the host Ottawa Senators.

      Prior to his injury, Lundqvist went 25-11-3 with a .922 save percentage and a 2.25 goals-against average, the eighth best average in the NHL this season, in 39 games played.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Stars playoff chances deteriorate with loss to Oilers
    By The Sports Xchange

    EDMONTON, Alberta -- Faint hope deteriorated Friday for the Dallas Stars after a devastating 4-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

    • The Stars were clinging to the last gasps of life in their playoff chase, sitting eight points behind the hard-charging Winnipeg Jets for the final wild card spot and desperately needed what was supposed to be a relatively easy two points.

      It wasn't.

      Instead, it was a back-breaking loss that all but crushes any chance the Stars have to make the playoffs.

      "That was a tough one," said Dallas center Shawn Horcoff. "We didn't play the game we have been playing lately that had made us successful. It cost us tonight.

      "We had some chances, but we gave up way too many the other way. That's the type of game we have been trying to get away. Tonight we probably gave up more odd-man rushes than we had in our last 10 or 15. It is pretty disappointing."

      Edmonton took it to the visitors right off the bat, with right winger Jordan Eberle scoring 33 seconds after the opening faceoff. It would turn out to be the winning goal as Edmonton goalie Richard Bachman pitched a 29-save shutout.

      "On a selfish note, it feels good to beat them," said Bachman, who spent four years in the Stars organization. "Our guys did some really good things, blocking shots when I couldn't see them and capitalizing on our opportunities.

      "We gave them a few odd-man rushes that we probably didn't like, but it was a really good hockey game."

      It was still only 1-0 after 40 minutes, but it should have probably been about 6-5 as the two teams played wild end-to-end hockey littered with scoring chances.

      "I don't think we played very well," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "It started with the first shift, turning the puck over and getting scored against. We had a lot of turnovers. We had been playing pretty well defensively, but we didn't tonight. There were a lot of odd-man situations.

      "We just seemed a step behind."

      And through it all, Bachman and Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 24 of 28 shots, were superb.

      "It was definitely fun for the fans," said Eberle. "But I think (head coach Todd Nelson) might have had a heart attack. I honestly didn't like our first two periods, we were cheating all over the ice and they were getting opportunities from it. Lucky for us, Bach brought his game tonight.

      "In the third period we started playing the right way."

      Edmonton pulled away in the third getting goals from center Derek Roy at 9:24 and Benoit Pouliot at 13:32.

      "I had a feeling it was going to turn into a game like that," said Bachman.

      "Just from watching Dallas this year, what they have, and the skill we have. Both teams like to run and gun and that's kind of what it was there for a little bit."

      American Hockey League call-up Andrew Miller rounded out the night by scoring on a penalty shot for his first ever NHL goal.

      "It was pretty fun," said Miller. "Usually I get a little nervous, but I was able to calm down and take some breaths, do my move and luckily it went in.

      "I'll cherish this one forever."

      Dallas won't.

      "We got away from the way we like to play," said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. "We turned a couple of pucks over and they have a lot of guys who can make plays on the rush. It was a back-and-forth game that we didn't want it to be.

      "We can't afford to give up any points right now. We knew we probably had to win out, maybe room to lose a couple of points at best. This loss hurts."

      NOTES: With D Andrew Ference and D Mark Fayne out of the lineup because of injuries, four of Edmonton's six defensemen on Friday started the season in the American Hockey League. ... LW Matt Hendricks and C Boyd Gordon, both out with back injuries, are being listed as day to day and will join the Oilers for their upcoming three-game road trip. ... The Oilers have to win three of their final seven games to avoid breaking the franchise record for fewest wins in a season (25 in 1993-94 and 2011--11). ... Dallas G Kari Lehtonen became the first goalie in franchise history to win nine consecutive road games. ... Stars C Tyler Seguin's 11 power play goals are seventh in the NHL. ... RW Ales Hemsky's two-goal night in the first game of the Stars' four-game road trip was his first multi-goal game since March 2014.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    NHL roundup: Wild strengthen position with win
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota left winger Thomas Vanek scored the go-ahead goal in the third period as the Wild eked out a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Friday.

    • In doing so, the Wild boosted their playoff chances while dealing a serious blow to Calgary's post-season hopes.

      Defenseman Matt Dumba, left winger Zach Parise and center Mikko Koivu also scored for Minnesota, which got 23 saves from goalie Devan Dubnyk and moved within a point of the Chicago Blackhawks for third place in the Central Division.

      Calgary, which could have overtaken the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division with a win, got goals from centers Josh Jooris and Markus Granlund, along with 31 saves from goalie Karri Ramo. With seven games remaining the Flames would miss the playoffs if they started today.

      Blue Jackets 5, Blackhawks 2

      CHICAGO -- Right winger Cam Atkinson scored a hat trick to lead Columbus over Chicago.

      Center Ryan Johansen and defenseman Kevin Connauton also scored for Columbus, which set a franchise record with its seventh straight road win. The Blue Jackets (35-35-4) increased their overall winning streak to five games and improved to 9-2-0 since March 6.

      Left winger Brandon Saad and center Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago. The Blackhawks (44-24-6) dropped to 0-3-1 in the past four games.

      Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 31 of 33 shots to improve to 24-17-2. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was replaced in the first period after allowing four goals on 13 shots. Goaltender Scott Darling stopped 13 shots in relief.

      Oilers 4, Stars 0

      EDMONTON, Alberta -- Faint hope deteriorated into no hope for Dallas after a devastating upset loss to Edmonton all but ended its flickering playoff hopes.

      Edmonton took it to the visitors right off the bat, with right winger Jordan Eberle scoring 33 seconds after the opening faceoff. Center Derek Roy, winger Benoit Pouliot and center Andrew Miller also scored for Edmonton.

      Goalie Richard Bachman finished with a 29-save shutout, while Kari Lehtonen stopped 24 of 28 shots in the loss.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Jackets ride Atkinson's hat trick past Blackhawks
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Columbus Blue Jackets right winger Cam Atkinson saw an empty net and felt his pulse quicken.

    • Ten feet stood between the puck on Atkinson's stick and his second career hat trick.

      "I feel like that puck almost bounced over my stick," Atkinson said with a smile. "I was more nervous on that goal than anything."

      Never mind the nerves. Atkinson buried the shot for his second career hat trick and Columbus cruised to a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.

      Center Ryan Johansen and defenseman Kevin Connauton also scored for Columbus, which set a franchise record with its seventh straight road win. The Blue Jackets (35-35-4) increased their overall winning streak to five games and improved to 9-2-0 since March 6.

      Left winger Brandon Saad and center Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago. The Blackhawks (44-24-6) dropped to 0-3-1 in the past four games.

      The Blue Jackets have not lost on the road since March 1 at Pittsburgh.

      "It's great," Atkinson said. "A lot of people say it's hard to get motivated, especially since we're not going to make the playoffs. But we're playing for pride, we're playing for each other, and we're playing for our fans back in Columbus.

      "We want to get the momentum going into the summer and start showing it at the beginning of the season next year."

      Meanwhile, the Blackhawks will need correct recent mistakes in order to make a deep run in the playoffs this year.

      Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said careless turnovers doomed his team. The Blackhawks committed 12 giveaways, including three by defenseman Duncan Keith and two by defenseman Johnny Oduya.

      "We gave them the first three goals, and the fourth one was the icing on the cake," Quenneville said. “Tough to come back after that one."

      Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky turned aside 31 of 33 shots to improve to 24-17-2.

      Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was replaced in the first period after allowing four goals on 13 shots. Goaltender Scott Darling stopped 13 shots in relief.

      Quenneville said Crawford was not to blame for the team's costly giveaways.

      "I wasn’t blaming (Crawford) at all," Quenneville said. "I didn't pull him because of what he let in. We just wanted to change things up."

      Columbus led 4-2 after a wild first period that featured six goals in less than 13 minutes.

      Saad opened the scoring on Chicago's first shot of the game with 16:34 to go in the first period. He skated toward the net fired a wrist shot from the left circle for his 22nd goal of the season.

      Columbus evened the score 41 seconds later on a breakaway by Johansen, who pounced on a turnover by Keith and beat Crawford glove side. The Blue Jackets gained a 2-1 lead on a deflected shot by Atkinson with 10:36 remaining.

      "It was kind of a crazy first period," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "Unfortunately, they got the first goal, but I liked the way that the guys responded. They stuck with it."

      Toews evened the score at 2 when he redirected a shot from Oduya with 8:22 remaining.

      Columbus struck twice more to gain a 4-2 lead and chase Crawford from the game. Connauton scored on a wobbling shot from the blue line with 6:57 remaining to make it 3-2. Atkinson followed that with a short-handed breakaway goal with 4:14 left for his second goal of the game and his 18th of the season.

      Atkinson added an empty-net goal with 59 seconds left to complete the hat trick.

      Toews said the Blackhawks needed to bounce back strong.

      "You don’t want to get behind early the way we did," Toews said. "You make things difficult on yourself. We're not going to overact and get down on ourselves. We'll try to pick the good moments we had out of our game out there and build off that."

      NOTES: Blue Jackets C Brandon Dubinsky returned after a four-game absence because of an upper-body injury. ... Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane missed his 13th game because of a broken collarbone. Coach Joel Quenneville said he was hopeful that Kane could come back sooner than expected, but the timetable for Kane's return remained mid to late May. ... Blue Jackets RW Jared Boll served the first game of a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim Ducks LW Patrick Maroon on Tuesday. ... Blackhawks LW Bryan Bickell and C Teuvo Teravainen returned to the lineup. Both were healthy scratches Wednesday against Philadelphia. ... Blue Jackets RW Rene Bourque missed his second game because of an upper-body injury.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Wild get fourth straight win
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- With their fourth win in a row, the Minnesota Wild are looking more and more like a playoff team, while the Calgary Flames are looking like a team in trouble.

    • Minnesota left winger Thomas Vanek scored the go-ahead goal in the third period as the Wild eked out a 4-2 win over the Flames on Friday. In doing so, the Wild boosted their playoff chances while dealing a serious blow to Calgary's postseason hopes.

      Defenseman Matt Dumba, left winger Zach Parise and center Mikko Koivu also scored for Minnesota, which got 23 saves from goalie Devan Dubnyk and moved within a point of the Chicago Blackhawks for third place in the Central Division.

      "We're not there yet," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "It's great that we're closer to the teams above us, but we've got to have the same approach. We can't start to get comfortable. We're not there yet, like I said. It's just got to be focused on your game and the results will take care of (themselves)."

      Calgary, which could have overtaken the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division with a win, got goals from centers Josh Jooris and Markus Granlund, along with 31 saves from goalie Karri Ramo. With seven games remaining, the Flames would miss the playoffs if they started today.

      "We have to try to shake it off," said Flames center Mikael Backlund. "There's seven games left and if we don't win five or six we probably hurt our chance to make it, but we've got to take it game by game. We got to play with some desperation now."

      It was the seventh goal in 10 games for Vanek, who was the Wild's most notable free-agent acquisition in the offseason, but started the season slowly and had just one goal at Thanksgiving. His goal was set up by a pass from Wild right winger Justin Fontaine just a few minutes after Fontaine left the game briefly due to a nasty blindside check from Flames center Joe Colborne. No penalty was called on the play.

      "That was just a dirty hit," Vanek said. "It's a late hit and both refs, I guess, didn't see it or didn't think it was a penalty. I think it was great for (Fontaine) to come back a minute later and set up a goal."

      Koivu and Parise added insurance goals later, as the Wild cruised. Ramo was lifted after Parise's breakaway goal and Jonas Hiller finished the game in goal for Calgary, stopping the only shot he faced.

      The teams emerged tied 1-1 after 20 minutes. Calgary opened the scoring when Jooris grabbed a loose puck at the top of the crease with a scramble happening in front of Dubnyk. Jooris slipped a wrist shot past the goalie on the stick side for his first goal of the month. Jooris hadn't scored since Feb. 27.

      "This would have been a lot worse if it wasn't for our goalie," Jooris said after the game. "They beat us to pucks and they seemed like they wanted it a little bit more tonight. They moved the puck really well through the neutral zone."

      Calgary didn't record a shot on goal during its first power play of the game. By contrast, the Wild used their first man-advantage to forge a tie. Dumba ripped a shot from the left circle that Ramo got a piece of between his body and right arm. But the puck slipped from the goalie's grasp and landed in the crease behind him. Dumba, crashing to the net, tapped in the rebound.

      The Wild sent 13 shots at Ramo in the opening period and another 15 in the second, controlling the play for long stretches, but could not get another puck past him until Vanek broke the tie. The goalie had some good fortune as well, as Wild center Mikael Granlund clanked a shot off the crossbar in the opening minute of the third period.

      "They were dominant tonight," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "From the first drop of the puck they dominated us. They controlled the entire game. That's quite a performance for the Wild."

      With Minnesota up 4-1, Markus Granlund scored for the first time since Dec. 29, re-directing a long shot by left winger Mason Raymond beyond Dubnyk.

      NOTES: With the Los Angeles Kings playing the Wild on Saturday night in Minnesota, members of the Kings coaching staff did some in-person scouting on Friday. The Kings and Flames were also sharing a downtown St. Paul hotel. ... Wild C Ryan Carter was taken off the injured reserve list on Friday after missing the previous 22 games with a shoulder injury and returned to the ice for warmups, but did not play in the game. ... The Flames got healthier as well, activating C Paul Byron from IR before putting him into their Friday night lineup. Byron had missed 16 games with a lower-body injury. ... The 33 consecutive starts by Minnesota G Devan Dubnyk are the most by a NHL goalie since G Antti Niemi started 34 straight games for the San Jose Sharks between January and April of 2011. ... LW Austin Carroll celebrated his 21st birthday on Thursday by signing a contract with the Flames. Currently playing with Victoria in the WHL, Carroll was picked by Calgary in the seventh round of the 2014 draft.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    NHL notebook: Blues D Shattenkirk will play Saturday
    By The Sports Xchange

    The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk off injured reserve Friday, and coach Ken Hitchcock said he will play Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    • Shattenkirk has missed 25 games since undergoing abdominal surgery on Feb. 5.

      Shattenkirk led the Blues' defensemen with 40 points before his injury. He still is No. 1 with eight goals and four power-play goals.

      The Blues (46-21-7) lead the Central Division and are tied with the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Western Conference.

      ---Doctors are making the final call, but Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville likes what he sees from a recovering Patrick Kane.

      Kane, sidelined since Feb. 25, was expected to miss 12 weeks with a broken collarbone.

      Quenneville said Friday he is still hopeful Kane can come back ahead of schedule.

      "I've always hoped that," he said. "He's doing a lot of things out there that he wants to do, or is able to do, and I think that's a good sign."

      The regular season ends April 11, and the playoffs begin the following week. Kane could return during the postseason if the Blackhawks have an extended run in the playoffs.

      ---Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and right winger Patric Hornqvist practiced Friday and could return to the lineup Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.

      Malkin, who has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury, said there is a good chance he could play Saturday. Malkin is waiting to see if he experiences any pain or soreness later Friday before making a final decision.

      Hornqvist has missed the past five games with an undisclosed injury.

      --- The Carolina Hurricanes agreed to terms with goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic on a three-year, entry-level contract.

      The NHL part of the deal will pay Nedeljkovic $700,000 in 2015-16, $750,000 in 2016-17 and $800,000 in 2017-18. He will receive a signing bonus of $277,500.

      Nedeljkovic will join Carolina's American Hockey League affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, for the rest of the season.

      --- The Boston Bruins signed forward Colton Hargrove to an entry-level contract.

      A seventh-round pick by Boston in 2012, Hargrove played three seasons at Western Michigan University, recording 34 goals, 28 assists and a plus-26 rating.

      In 34 games this season, the 22-year-old tallied 14 goals and 14 assists. He tied for first on the team in goals, ranked second in points and tied for third in assists.

      ---Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment, the NHL announced.

      Wilson's second citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during a March 19 game at Minnesota. He received a minor penalty for embellishment on the play at 14:45 of the second period.

      ---The Buffalo Sabres recalled forward Tim Schaller from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.

      The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Schaller, 24, joins the Sabres for his fifth recall of the season after making his NHL debut on Nov. 29. He has one goal and one assist in 14 NHL games.

      ---The Nashville Predators recalled forward Kevin Fiala under emergency conditions from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

      The Predators' first-round selection in 2014, Fiala became the fourth 18-year-old in franchise history when he made his NHL debut in a 3-2 victory over Montreal on Thursday night, logging 11:25 and putting three shots on goal.

      ---The Dallas Stars activated forward Valeri Nichushkin from injured reserve and loaned him to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment.

      Nichushkin, 20, has missed the last 59 games since having hip surgery. Additionally, he missed seven games from Oct. 14-28 with a hip injury.

      Nichushkin has skated in four games this season for Dallas, with no points and two shots. He also appeared in two games for Texas on a conditioning assignment from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1 and registered an assist.

      ---The Toronto Maple Leafs recalled defenseman T.J. Brennan on an emergency basis from the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.

      The team also reassigned defenseman Andrew MacWilliam and forward Greg McKegg to the Marlies.

      Brennan, 25, has been held pointless in three games with the Maple Leafs this season. He also has skated in 63 AHL games this season (54 with Rockford and nine with Toronto), collecting 37 points (nine goals, 28 assists) and 65 penalty minutes.

      ---The Boston Bruins assigned forward Brian Ferlin to the Providence Bruins of the AHL.

      Ferlin competed in seven games for Boston, recording one assist. He made his NHL debut on Feb. 20 and notched his first career league point with an assist in his second game on Feb. 22 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

      In his first full season at the AHL level, the 22-year-old Ferlin has appeared in 46 games for Providence, notching 16 points (nine goals, seven assists), with 36 penalty minutes. Boston drafted the 6-foot-2, 209-pound native of Jacksonville, Fla., in the fourth round in 2011.

      ---The Washington Capitals reassigned defenseman Dmitry Orlov to the Hershey Bears of the AHL for conditioning purposes.

      Orlov missed the first 74 games of the 2014-15 season with a wrist injury.

      Orlov, 23, has registered 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) and 37 penalty minutes in 119 NHL games with Washington.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Hurricanes have deal with G Nedeljkovic
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Carolina Hurricanes agreed to terms Friday with goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic on a three-year, entry-level contract.

    • The NHL part of the deal will pay Nedeljkovic $700,000 in 2015-16, $750,000 in 2016-17 and $800,000 in 2017-18. He will receive a signing bonus of $277,500.

      Nedeljkovic will join Carolina's American Hockey League affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, for the rest of the season.

      A second-round pick by Carolina in 2014, Nedeljkovic just finished his third season of major-junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.

      The 19-year-old ranked first among OHL goaltenders in saves (1,827) and tied for third in shutouts (5).

      In three OHL seasons, Nedeljkovic is 65-57-16 with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.

      "Alex had another strong year with Plymouth, and we are pleased with his development thus far," general manager Ron Francis said. "We anticipate that he will play an important role in our organization's future."

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Blues D Shattenkirk will play Saturday
    By The Sports Xchange

    The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk off injured reserve Friday, and coach Ken Hitchcock said he will play Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    • Shattenkirk has missed 25 games since undergoing abdominal surgery on Feb. 5.

      Shattenkirk, who averages more ice time than any St. Louis player other than defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, led the Blues' defensemen with 40 points before his injury. He still is No. 1 with eight goals and four power-play goals.

      Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson also could return Saturday after missing the past two games because of an upper-body injury.

      The Blues (46-21-7) lead the Central Division and are tied with the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Western Conference.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Bruins sign F Hargrove to entry-level deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Boston Bruins signed forward Colton Hargrove to an entry-level contract on Friday.

    • A seventh-round pick by Boston in 2012, Hargrove played three seasons at Western Michigan University, recording 34 goals, 28 assists and a plus-26 rating.

      In 34 games this season, the 22-year-old tallied 14 goals and 14 assists. He tied for first on the team in goals, ranked second in points and tied for third in assists.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Penguins' Malkin, Hornqvist could return Saturday
    By The Sports Xchange

    Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and right winger Patric Hornqvist practiced Friday and could return to the lineup Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.

    • Malkin, who has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury, said there is a good chance he could play Saturday. Malkin is waiting to see if he experiences any pain or soreness later Friday before making a final decision.

      Hornqvist has missed the past five games with an undisclosed injury.

      "I feel much better. It will be a day-to-day decision," Hornqvist said after practice. "Felt good out there and did all the drills."

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Blackhawks' Kane progressing
    By The Sports Xchange

    Doctors are making the final call, but Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville likes what he sees from a recovering Patrick Kane.

    • Kane, sidelined since Feb. 25, was expected to be sidelined 12 weeks with a broken collarbone.

      Quenneville said Friday he is still hopeful Kane can come back ahead of schedule.

      "I've always hoped that," he said. "He's doing a lot of things out there that he wants to do, or is able to do, and I think that's a good sign."

      The regular season ends Sunday, April 11, and the playoffs begin the following week. Kane could return during the postseason if the Blackhawks have an extended run in the playoffs.

      Kane was leading Chicago in goals (27) and assists (37) before he was injured at 7:49 of the first period of a Blackhawks' 3-2 win on a play the team labeled "dangerous." Kane was slammed on a cross-check by Florida defenseman Alex Petrovic, who was given a two-minute minor penalty.

      "It looked a little dangerous," Quenneville said in February.

      Kane had not missed a game in 2014-15 before the injury and he was tied with Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom for the NHL scoring lead with 64 points.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Sabres recall F Schaller
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Buffalo Sabres recalled forward Tim Schaller from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League on Friday.

    • The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Schaller, 24, joins the Sabres for his fifth recall of the 2014-15 season after making his NHL debut on Nov. 29. He has one goal and one assist in 14 NHL games.

      With Rochester this season, Schaller ranks second on the team with 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) in 58 games. The Merrimack, N.H., native signed with the Sabres as a free agent in April 2013.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Capitals' Wilson fined for diving/embellishment
    By The Sports Xchange

    Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment, the NHL announced Friday.

    • Wilson's second citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during a March 19 game at Minnesota. He received a minor penalty for embellishment on the play at 14:45 of the second period.

      NHL Rule 64 is designed to penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Citations are issued by the NHL Operations Department, which tracks all games, logs penalties for diving or embellishment and flags plays not called on the ice.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Predators recall F Fiala
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Nashville Predators recalled forward Kevin Fiala under emergency conditions on Friday from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

    • Fiala was the Predators' first-round selection (11th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

      Fiala became the fourth 18-year-old in franchise history when he made his NHL debut in a 3-2 victory over Montreal on Thursday night, logging 11:25 and putting three shots on goal.

      The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Fiala has recorded 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 26 AHL games since making his North American professional debut with the Admirals on Jan. 21. The native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, started the 2014-15 season in the Swedish Hockey League, posting 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 20 games.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Stars loan F Nichushkin for conditioning
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Dallas Stars activated forward Valeri Nichushkin from injured reserve Friday and loaned him to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment.

    • Nichushkin, 20, has missed the last 59 games after having hip surgery. Additionally, he missed seven games from Oct. 14-28 with a hip injury.

      Nichushkin has skated in four games this season for Dallas, with no points and two shots. He also appeared in two games for Texas on a conditioning assignment from Oct. 31-Nov. 1 and registered an assist.

      The 6-foot-4, 210-pound native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, was selected by Dallas in the first round (10th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Bruins reassign F Ferlin
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Boston Bruins assigned forward Brian Ferlin to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League on Friday.

    • Ferlin competed in seven games for Boston, recording one assist. He made his NHL debut on Feb. 20 and notched his first career league point with an assist in his second game on Feb. 22 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

      In his first full season at the AHL level, the 22-year-old Ferlin has appeared in 46 games for Providence, notching 16 points (nine goals, seven assists), with 36 penalty minutes. Boston drafted the 6-foot-2, 209-pound native of Jacksonville, Fla., in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Draft.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Capitals reassign D Orlov for conditioning
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Washington Capitals reassigned defenseman Dmitry Orlov to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League on Friday for conditioning purposes.

    • Orlov missed the first 74 games of the 2014-15 season with a wrist injury.

      Orlov, 23, has registered 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) and 37 penalty minutes in 119 NHL games with Washington. The Novokuznetsk, Russia, native was drafted by the Capitals in the second round (55th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft.

      Orlov registered 11 points (three goals, eight assists) and 10 penalty minutes in 54 games with the Capitals last season. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Orlov registered 44 points (12 goals, 32 assists) and 48 penalty minutes in 76 career AHL games with Hershey.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Maple Leafs recall D Brennan
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Toronto Maple Leafs recalled defenseman T.J. Brennan on an emergency basis Friday from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.

    • The team also reassigned defenseman Andrew MacWilliam and forward Greg McKegg to the Marlies.

      Brennan, 25, has been held pointless in three games with the Maple Leafs this season. The Willingboro, N.J., native has also skated in 63 AHL games this season (54 with Rockford and nine with Toronto), collecting 37 points (nine goals, 28 assists) and 65 penalty minutes.

      MacWilliam, 25, made his NHL debut on March 11 against the Buffalo Sabres and has registered one assist in eight games with the Maple Leafs. The Calgary, Alberta, native also has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 53 games with the Marlies this year.

      McKegg, 22, has been held pointless in three games with the Maple Leafs. The St. Thomas, Ontario, native also has 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists) in 51 games with the Marlies.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Avalanche win, buoy longshot playoff hopes
    By The Sports Xchange

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Colorado Avalanche showed that they still have a pulse Thursday night -- and sometimes it can be quite strong.

    • Left winger Gabriel Landeskog scored a goal and added an assist as the Avalanche kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a convincing 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

      "It doesn't matter where we are in the standings," Landeskog said. "We play for pride and we play for each other and we play for the crest on our jersey -- and we feel we owe it to each other in here."

      In the end, the rest of the Avalanche owed a debt of gratitude to Landeskog, who was prominent on their three first three goals, though he did not get an assist after igniting the sequence that led to left winger Alex Tanguay's winning tally midway through the second period.

      The Avalanche, in tough to grab a wild-card berth in the Western Conference, improved to 34-28-12 and stayed within 10 points of the Winnipeg Jets, who also won Thursday. The Jets hold the West's final wild-card position.

      The Canucks (43-27-4) saw their three-game winning streak end as they continued their trend of playing poorly against teams below the playoff bar.

      Vancouver retains second place in the Pacific Division, but now holds only a two-point lead on the surging Los Angeles Kings, who moved into third place with a win over the New York Islanders earlier Thursday.

      "I thought we were skating well tonight," said Colorado coach Patrick Roy, whose charges rallied from a loss to the lowly Edmonton Oilers the night before and ended a two-game losing streak. "This is probably one of our best first 40 minutes of the season that we played as well defensively as offensively. We were executing really well. We were moving the puck well. They were fun to watch."

      Right winger Jarome Iginla and center John Mitchell also scored for the Avalanche, who outshot the Canucks 38-34.

      "It's important for us," Iginla said. "We know we're a ways back and we're gonna need to pretty much win out to give ourselves a chance, but you can't do that unless we win this one tonight. You always hear the cliches and the one game at a time, but it really is. We're not looking at the big picture. We just want to enjoy each game and give it our best shot. We've gotta take care of ourselves and hope for the best after that."

      Defenseman Yannick Weber scored the only goal for the Canucks.

      "They were way quicker than us, and their battle level was way higher," said Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins, whose concerns about Colorado's speed after the morning skate fell on deaf ears.

      Avalanche goaltender Reto Berra picked up his third win of the season by making 33 saves. Vancouver netminder Eddie Lack stopped 34 shots in a losing effort.

      Landeskog was allowed to circle the Vancouver net with the puck and put in a shot off Iginla at 3:23 of the second period to open the scoring.

      "I was in the middle of the goalie and he shot it," Iginla said. "It just went off my pants and right into the top corner, so it was a good break. You take those and you always feel good to see them go in -- for sure."

      Landeskog also factored into Colorado's second goal as he stole the puck in the Vancouver zone but was robbed by Lack on a breakaway. The Avalanche managed to keep the puck in the Canucks zone, and Tanguay knocked in the rebound of a shot by defenseman Zach Redmond at 10:17, putting the visitors ahead 2-0 and ultimately securing the win.

      About 2 1/2 minutes later, Landeskog increased Colorado's lead to 3-0 during a power play. He was left all alone and had nothing but net to shoot at as Lack was caught out of position.

      "Backdoor tap-in, not hard to put that one in," he said.

      Weber put the Canucks on the scoreboard just 15 seconds into the third period as he wired home a slap shot during a power play. Iginla was serving a hooking penalty that he took late in the second period.

      Mitchell capped the scoring with an empty-netter with one minute to play.

      Now, the Canucks must hope they can pick up their intensity when the Dallas Stars, another team that is below the playoff bar but gifted offensively, come to town Saturday.

      "Everybody's gotta look at their own game," Desjardins said. "Coaches gotta look at their game, and players, and we have to be better for the next one."

      NOTES: The Avalanche return home to face the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. ... The Canucks wore maroon replica Vancouver Millionaires jerseys in a tribute to Thursday's 100th anniversary of the Millionaires' Stanley Cup victory over the Ottawa Senators on March 26, 1915. The Canucks last wore the Millionaires jerseys a year ago in a loss to Ottawa in the Heritage Classic at B.C. Place Stadium. It turned out to be G Roberto Luongo's final game in a Vancouver uniform, of any kind, before he was traded to Florida. ... Vancouver RW Zack Kassian missed his sixth consecutive game with an apparent back injury, while C Brad Richardson sat out his fifth in a row due to a foot/ankle issue. The problem flared up again after Richardson returned to the lineup for two games following a 24-game absence. ... The Avalanche were missing eight players due to injury: LW Patrick Bordeleau (knee), C Daniel Briere (foot), C Nathan MacKinnon (foot), D Erik Johnson (knee), LW Jamie McGinn (back), RW Boma Rendulic (leg), D Ryan Wilson (shoulder) and C Jesse Winchester (head).

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    NHL roundup: Kings move back into playoff position
    By The Sports Xchange

    UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Center Anze Kopitar scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:23 left in the third period, and the Los Angeles Kings moved into playoff position in the Western Conference with a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum.

    • With their third consecutive win, the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings (37-23-14) moved one point ahead of the idle Calgary Flames for third place in the Pacific Division.

      Centers Nick Shore, Tyler Toffoli and Anze Kopitar all scored for the Kings.

      Center Frans Nielsen and defenseman Johnny Boychuk scored for the Islanders.

      Coyotes 4, Sabres 3 (OT)

      BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Center Sam Gagner scored 56 seconds into overtime, giving Arizona a win over Buffalo.

      Right winger Jordan Szwarz, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and right winger David Moss also scored for the Coyotes (23-44-8). Arizona goalie Mike Smith made 32 saves.

      Center Tyler Ennis, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and right winger Brian Gionta scored for Buffalo (20-46-8). Goalie Matt Hackett stopped 38 shots.

      Hurricanes 5, Penguins 2

      RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina displayed rare offensive execution with a few players breaking scoring droughts in a victory over Pittsburgh at PNC Arena.

      Center Eric Staal, defenseman Ryan Murphy, center Jay McClement, right winger Alexander Semin and center Andrej Nestrasil scored for the Hurricanes, who won for the first time in five games (1-2-2).

      Center Brandon Sutter opened the scoring for the Penguins, who have won only once in a seven-game span and yet remain in solid position to make the playoffs. Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole scored after Carolina built a four-goal lead. Carolina goalie Cam Ward made 27 saves, showing few signs of rust from recent inactivity. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 23 shots for Pittsburgh.

      Capitals 3, Devils 2 (OT)

      WASHINGTON -- Goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 29 of 31 shots, but Washington still needed overtime heroics by defenseman Matt Niskanen to skate away with a wild victory over New Jersey at the Verizon Center.

      Defenseman Karl Alzner and center Eric Fehr scored in regulation for the Capitals.

      Devils right winger Steve Bernier scored with 29.2 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime after center Travis Zajac scored a short-handed goal in the second period.

      Ducks 3, Bruins 2 (OT)

      BOSTON -- Anaheim tied the game in the last minute of regulation and ended a two-game losing streak when captain Ryan Getzlaf scored with 1:51 left in overtime to give his team a victory over Boston.

      Ducks right winger Corey Perry forced overtime with a deflection goal with 38.5 seconds left in regulation and left winger Patrick Maroon scored the other Ducks goal while goaltender Frederick Andersen made 27 saves for the win.

      The Bruins got power-play goals from rookie center Ryan Spooner and right winger Loui Eriksson and Tuukka Rask made 29 saves.

      Rangers 5, Senators 1

      OTTAWA -- The New York Rangers threw some water on red-hot Ottawa in a victory at the Canadian Tire Centre. The win was the Rangers' eighth in their last 10 games and it stopped the Senators' winning streak at seven.

      It also marked the first regulation loss for Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who was pulled in the second period after giving up five goals on 22 shots. He entered with a 14-0-1 record and one game shy of tying the mark for best career start by an NHL goalie.

      Winger Chris Kreider led the Rangers with two goals. Winger Tanner Glass, center Mats Zuccarello and defenseman Dan Boyle had the others. Center Curtis Lazar scored the Senators lone goal.

      Panthers 4, Maple Leafs 1

      TORONTO -- Florida kept its playoff hopes alive with a win over lowly Toronto, moving three points back of the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins, who are tied for the second Eastern Conference wild card.

      Panthers left winger Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman Steven Kampfer scored 30 seconds apart on the second period. Florida center Brandon Pirri added two goals. Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo made 24 saves for his 26th win of the season.

      Rookie center Sam Carrick had the lone goal for the Maple Leafs. Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier allowed three goals on 16 shots and was replaced by James Reimer in the second period. Reimer stopped all 11 shots he faced.

      Predators 3, Lightning 2

      TAMPA, Fla. -- Behind goalie Pekka Rinne, Nashville outlasted Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena.

      The Predators (46-21-8) scored twice in 40 seconds in the opening five minutes -- from centers Mike Ribeiro and Paul Gaustad -- then got a crucial goal from center Michael Santarello in the second period that proved to be the winner.

      Tampa Bay (46-22-7) took a rare home loss to snap a four-game win streak, unable to rally in the third period as they had two nights earlier against the Florida Panthers. Centers Vladislav Namestnikov and Brian Boyle scored the Lightning goals.

      Sharks 6, Red Wings 4

      DETROIT -- Left winger Patrick Marleau had two goals and an assist to lead San Jose over Detroit at Joe Louis Arena.

      Centers Chris Tierney and Logan Couture had a goal and an assist each and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and left winger Matt Nieto also scored for San Jose while goalie Antti Niemi made 30 saves.

      Right winger Tomas Jurco, left winger Tomas Tatar, right winger Stephen Weiss and left winger Justin Abdelkader scored for Detroit. Defenseman Dan DeKeyser had two assists and goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped seven of 10 shots before being pulled after the first period on his 31st birthday. Petr Mrazek made 17 saves in relief.

      Jets 5, Canadiens 2

      WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Mark Scheifele scored and added an assist as Winnipeg dominated Montreal.

      The Jets (39-24-12) also got goals from defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, center Jim Slater, right winger Blake Wheeler and left winger Adam Lowry. The Canadiens' (46-21-8) tallies came from defenseman Andrei Markov and Brendan Gallagher.

      Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made 20 first period stops on route to a 39-save performance for his sixth straight win between the pipes for Winnipeg while goalie Dustin Tokarski made 17 saves in a losing effort for Montreal.

      Avalanche 4, Canucks 1

      VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Left winger Gabriel Landeskog scored a goal and added an assist as Colorado kept its slim playoff hopes alive with a victory over Vancouver.

      The Avalanche, in tough to grab a wild-card berth in the Western Conference , improved to 34-28-12 as they stayed within 10 points of the Winnipeg Jets, who also won Thursday. The Canucks (43-27-4) saw their three-game win streak end as they continued their trend of playing poorly against teams below the playoff bar. The Canucks retain second place in the Pacific Division, but now hold only a two-point lead on the surging Los Angeles Kings, who moved into third place with a win over the New York Islanders earlier Thursday.

      Left winger Alex Tanguay, right winger Jarome Iginla and center John Mitchell also scored for the Avalanche, while defenseman Yannick Weber scored the only goal for the Canucks.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Pavelec stops 39 shots as Jets dump Canadiens
    By The Sports Xchange

    WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Ondrej Pavelec was just happy to survive a first-period onslaught in the Winnipeg Jets' 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

    • The score line may not reflect it, but the Jets goalie was under siege in the first 20 minutes. However, as he did in his previous five starts, the reigning NHL Player of the Week was on point for each of Montreal's 20 shots in the opening frame.

      "Of course, it wasn't the first period we wanted, but we survived," said Pavelec, who finished with 39 saves. "We scored the first goal, it was huge for us, and then every period we got better and better. We found a way to beat one of the best teams in the NHL right now, so I think that we should feel pretty good about ourselves."

      Despite the heroics, Pavelec deferred to his team when recalling the game.

      "I'm happy I can help the team to get the win, and that's all that matters right now," he said. "So, really, I don't want to talk about myself. It's a team sport, and we find a way."

      The Jets (39-24-12) certainly found a way, with five different players contributing goals. Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, centers Mark Scheifele and Jim Slater, right winger Blake Wheeler and left winger Adam Lowry all managed to bulge the twine behind Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski, who made 17 saves in a losing effort.

      The Canadiens (46-21-8) received goals from defenseman Andrei Markov and Brendan Gallagher.

      Pavelec registered his sixth straight win in a outing that left his counterpart in awe.

      "You guys saw it," Tokarski said. "It's a pretty epic performance by him."

      Pavelec had to be sharp through the first 10 minutes.

      "We should have more that period," said center Tomas Plekanec, the Canadiens' alternate captain. "I like the way we played in the second period, we kept on putting pressure on net, we had some very good scoring chances."

      Despite the Canadiens' efforts, the Jets were the team to strike first. At 12:33 of the opening period, Byfuglien unleashed a missile from the top of the circle that trickled over the goal line behind Tokarski. Byfuglien's 16th of the season came on the Jets' fifth shot of the game.

      Winnipeg added to its lead with 6:05 gone in the second period. Montreal produced a rare defensive breakdown, allowing for defenseman Tyler Myers to pick up the puck. Myers found Scheifele wide open in front of the net for his 14th of the season.

      The Canadiens cut the deficit in half 41 seconds later when Markov hit a floater from the point that fooled Pavelec.

      The Jets had the answer 2 1/2 minutes later as right winger Lee Stempniak found Slater at the side of the net for his third of the season. The goal was reviewed as the puck went off Slater's skate and in, but it was judged to be good. Slater recorded his third of the season and gave the Jets markers on back-to-back shots.

      "We put some big goals on board at the right time. It was big," Slater said. "Coming back after they scored to get that next one was huge for us. We were just rolling."

      Wheeler put the Jets up by three after burying a cross-ice feed from Scheifele. The goal was Wheeler's 24th, tying him for the team lead with left winger Andrew Ladd and injured center Bryan Little.

      Gallagher's 23rd pulled the Canadiens within 4-2 with under 10 minutes left in the third, but Lowry answered almost immediately with his 10th of the season to restore the Jets' three-goal cushion.

      "It wasn't like we were discouraged or anything, we knew we were playing a team that was going work hard and going to make it tough in front," Gallagher said. "We were able to create some scoring chances, but there's a difference between creating them and putting them in."

      The Canadiens finished 0-for-4 on the power play.

      "The power play has to be better, it could have changed the course of this night," Gallagher said. "We had enough power plays to take advantage and capitalize, and we felt our game plan was fine. We just didn't execute it."

      NOTES: The Jets continue to be without the services of C Bryan Little (upper body) and C Mathieu Perreault (lower body). Winnipeg D Dustin Byfuglien returned after a nine-game layoff caused by an upper-body injury. ... Montreal D Tom Gilbert (upper body) missed his second game. ... RW Drew Stafford extended his point streak to eight games after recording an assist. He has four goals and six assists in that time and owns the longest active streak in the NHL at the moment. ... Winnipeg G Ondrej Pavelec was selected the NHL's first star for last week, when he posted three wins in three starts, including a 28-save shutout. ... Montreal RW Brendan Gallagher played in his 200th NHL game. ... The Canadiens reached the 100-point plateau for the 18th time in team history on March 24. It is the first time Montreal hit that level in back-to-back seasons since 1987-88 and 1988-89.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Rangers rout Senators, wrap up playoff berth
    By The Sports Xchange

    OTTAWA -- Winger Chris Kreider and his New York Rangers teammates accomplished so much Thursday night.

    • Most of it was completed in the first period of their game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.

      Kreider scored twice to lead New York to a 5-1 victory over the Senators that clinched a playoff spot for the Rangers, moved them into a tie for first in the overall standings, ended the Senators' winning streak at seven games and handed Ottawa goalie Andrew Hammond (14-1-1) his first regulation loss.

      The Rangers, who were able to bounce back from a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, had control of Thursday's game after jumping out to a 3-1 first-period lead.

      "Lately, our starts have been pretty good, but after our start (against the Kings), we kind of dropped off a bit and didn't play Rangers hockey," said Kreider, who also added an assist for a three-point night. "It's good to see a consistent effort from start to finish."

      Hammond, who was attempting to become only the second goalie in NHL history to pick up at least a point from the first 16 games of his career, was replaced by Chris Driedger in the second period after giving up five goals on 22 shots.

      Driedger, in his first NHL appearance, stopped all 10 shots he faced.

      "I don't think anybody had their best game, myself included," said Hammond, who was at least distracted by a lower-body issue sustained in a crease crash during a Monday win over the San Jose Sharks. "It's hard. It's something that you are trying to fight through and work through, and sometimes it's tough to do."

      Also scoring for the Rangers were defenseman Dan Boyle, center Mats Zuccarello and winger Tanner Glass.

      Rangers goalie Cam Talbot continued his remarkable run as a replacement for injured Henrik Lundqvist. He stopped 23 shots while giving up only a goal to Senators winger Curtis Lazar.

      The Senators did manage to hold on to the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but they are now doing so with just their fingertips. They are tied with the Boston Bruins in the standings, but Ottawa has played one fewer game.

      Against the Rangers, the Senators were 0-for-6 on the power play. The Rangers did not have a man-advantage opportunity all night.

      "I'm not so much worried about the loss more than I am trying not to carry it over into next game," said Senators defenseman Marc Methot, whose team plays the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday.

      "It's one game. It's not the end of the world. It's the NHL. There are teams that are going to beat you sometimes. We've got to be pros. Obviously, it can be a big deal. You don't want to let off the gas and fold next game.

      "We weren't very good (on the power play), and we weren't very good five-on-five. I thought we were real flat coming into the game, and in that first period, we didn't have a lot of jump in our step. That's not necessarily the most physical team that we played against. They're a very skilled team. I thought we were panicking and getting rid of the puck maybe a little too quick at times, and that was the difference."

      The Rangers lost defenseman Dan Girardi when he was cut by a shot from Senators defenseman Cody Ceci near the midway mark of the third period.

      "As far as I understood quickly there, it was a gash," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "The puck cut him, and he was just getting stitched up. I don't think it's anything more than that."

      Vigneault noted the importance of the Rangers' quick start.

      "We probably caught their goaltender on an off night a little bit there, and we were able to capitalize early," he said. "Once we got the lead, I thought we played pretty well other than giving them five power-play opportunities. We were able to take it home and get two points to clinch a playoff spot."

      Hammond paid homage to the Rangers.

      "They came in and did exactly what they wanted to do," he said. "I thought they set the tone from the start. They play such a system, if you're not ready to play, you're going to get exposed, and I thought we did tonight."

      Hammond will be called on to bounce back against the Leafs.

      "You just have to show up tomorrow and put your big boy boots on, and go back to work," he said. "It's been long enough now that I have confidence, I know I can play at this level. It's just a matter of coming in tomorrow and putting the work in again and just being ready for the next game."

      NOTES: Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist (neck) was in uniform for the first time since Feb. 5, serving as backup to G Cam Talbot. Lundqvist is expected to play Saturday in Boston, although he said a final decision on whether he'd return to action against the Bruins or Sunday against the Washington Capitals has yet to be made. ... Senators G Craig Anderson took part in the optional morning skate and there's hope he can back up G Andrew Hammond this weekend. Anderson has played just two games since suffering a deep bone bruise in his blocker hand on Jan. 21, with his last appearance on March 10. ... Rangers W Martin St. Louis missed his fifth game with a knee injury. St. Louis skated for about an hour in the morning at Canadian Tire Centre and was encouraged by his progress, but no timetable has been set for his return.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Marleau scores 2 as Sharks down Red Wings
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan didn't think his team could beat the Detroit Red Wings in a high scoring game.

    • But left winger Patrick Marleau had two goals and an assist to lead San Jose to a 6-4 win against Detroit on Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.

      "I told the players this morning we can't expect to win 7-6 or 6-5. That shows how wrong I can be," McLellan said.

      Centers Chris Tierney and Logan Couture had a goal and an assist each and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and left winger Matt Nieto also scored for San Jose while goalie Antti Niemi made 30 saves.

      The Sharks are 10 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

      "Right now, we're looking at every game and saying 'Let's get two points. Let's get two points." Tierney said.

      Right winger Tomas Jurco, left winger Tomas Tatar, right winger Stephen Weiss and left winger Justin Abdelkader scored for Detroit. Defenseman Dan DeKeyser had two assists.

      The Red Wings are third in the Atlantic Division and five points ahead of the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins.

      "Two games in a row where we're not playing good defense. It's tough to win when you have to score five, six goals," Detroit captain and center Henrik Zetterberg said. "We're doing this to ourselves. We have to play with more patience. We're giving the other team too many chances. We know what we're doing wrong; we just have to turn it around."

      Goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped seven of 10 shots before being pulled after the first period on his 31st birthday. He has allowed eight goals on his last 32 shots.

      "Obviously it didn't go the way he wanted. He's a proud guy, we gave him an opportunity to bounce back and he didn't do that," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We'll give Pete Mrazek an opportunity here. He'll get the start next game (Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena). "

      Mrazek made 17 saves in relief.

      Abdelkader was credited with a goal off a goal-mouth scramble to make it 5-4 at 7:27 of the third to pull the Red Wings within one, but Marleau added an empty-net goal at 18:43 to seal the win.

      Weiss put in a rebound to make it 4-3, 3:39 into the third period for his eighth goal. Marleau restored the Sharks two-goal lead 1:17 later.

      San Jose led 3-2 after the first period.

      Vlasic opened the scoring 19 seconds into the game on the first shot, after a turnover by Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. Vlasic's shot from the left point hit a Red Wings player and deflected past Howard. It was Vlasic's ninth goal.

      Nieto made it 2-0 at 9:14, when he scored from just outside the crease for his eighth goal.

      Jurco put Detroit on the board 50 seconds later, when he scored from a goal-mouth scramble in front of the net. It was Jurco's third goal and first in 40 games.

      Tatar tied it 2-2 1:40 later. He tipped in DeKeyser's shot from the point.

      The Sharks re-took the lead on Tierney's goal with 3:58 left in the opening period. His attempted pass went in off the skate of the Red Wings center Joakim Andersson.

      Couture made it 4-2, 31 seconds into the third period. He beat Mrazek with a wrist shot from the right circle.

      "That was a big goal. They pushed us the last two-three minutes of the second period," McLellan said. "We haven't been getting too many good bounces but we got a good on there off the post. So, it was good for us."

      NOTES: Detroit C Pavel Datsyuk missed his fifth game with an undisclosed lower-body injury. ... Red Wings D Niklas Kronwall returned after missing a game with a lower-body injury. ... Detroit RW Erik Cole didn't play because of an upper-body injury. ... San Jose coach Todd McLellan was formerly a Red Wings assistant. ... The Sharks signed Wisconsin G Joel Rumpel to a standard one-year, entry-level contract and assigned him to Worcester of the American Hockey League. Rumpel recently completed his senior season. ... Red Wings assistant coach Tony Granato played with San Jose the last five seasons of his career.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Ducks post controversial OT win over Bruins
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- The Anaheim Ducks, staring at a third straight loss during a battle for the Presidents' Trophy and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, found a way to tie Thursday night's game and then win in overtime.

    • The Boston Bruins, fighting just to get into the playoffs, felt the Ducks' 3-2 win was more than tainted.

      "There was, no doubt, goalie interference there, and that's why they talk about reviewing those kinds of goals and coaches' challenges, because you can't allow those kinds of goals," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Anaheim right winger Corey Perry's tip-in with 38.5 seconds left in regulation came after contact between Ducks left winger Matt Beleskey and Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask.

      "This was a big point we lost tonight on a missed call. Those are the things that are hard to swallow right now."

      The loss was the Bruins' sixth straight (0-3-3).

      Said Rask: "I asked the ref. He said there's nothing there, so that's what we go by. I haven't seen it yet, but somebody took my legs out. I don't know who it was, but, you know, everybody can make their own mind."

      However, even Rask, beaten by a vicious wrist shot by center Ryan Getzlaf with 1:51 left in overtime, had to tip his helmet to Anaheim's work ethic in the closing minutes.

      In other words, good teams find a way to get it done, albeit sometimes with a little help.

      "We played a good hockey team over there, and we battled right until the end," said Getzlaf, whose 24th of the season came after Perry's 32nd. "Getting the two at the end is just a reward for that. Either way, it's a process, and we just want to keep getting better, and I felt we did that tonight."

      The Ducks (47-22-7) improved their total to 101 points and stayed alive in the fight for No. 1.

      Despite the loss, the Bruins moved into a tie with the losing Ottawa Senators for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Ottawa has a game in hand. The Florida Panthers won and are now three points behind Boston.

      After the Bruins killed off a questionable hooking penalty on defenseman Zdeno Chara in overtime, Getzlaf moved in one-on-three and fired his shot over Rask's glove. Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler, who also assisted on the tying goal, set up the winner.

      "Cam just made a good play to the neutral zone, and I knew I had a little bit of space, and generally there I'm waiting to see what Perrs (Perry) is going to do on the outside, and I didn't have any options, so I shot it," Getzlaf said.

      Goaltender Frederik Andersen made 27 saves for the win as the Ducks rebounded from allowing 12 goals while losing the first two games of their five-game road trip.

      The Bruins got power-play goals from rookie center Ryan Spooner and right winger Loui Eriksson to wipe out a 1-0 deficit and take a 2-1 lead 27 seconds into the third period.

      David Krejci, back after missing 15 games with a knee injury, assisted on both Boston goals. He shifted over from his normal center spot to play right wing alongside center Patrice Bergeron.

      Left winger Patrick Maroon scored the other Anaheim goal.

      Rask made 29 saves.

      The power-play goals both came with Ducks defenseman Simon Despres in the box. Despres had three minors in the game.

      The Bruins came through on the power play for the fourth consecutive game. They are 5-for-12 with the advantage in the four games after going 0-for-14 in the previous four.

      The Ducks went 0-for-2 on the power play Thursday and are 3-for-38 with the advantage over the last 16 games. They came in 25th in the league on the power play.

      NOTES: RW Chris Wagner, a local product, played in his fourth NHL game for the Ducks, logging just 7:15 of ice time. ... Bruins C Patrice Bergeron took a delay-of-game penalty, giving him 42 penalty minutes on the season, one minute shy of his personal high set last year. ... LW Tomas Fleishmann and D James Wisniewski, both acquired at the trade deadline by the Ducks, were healthy scratches, while LW Daniel Paille sat for the Bruins. ... Both teams hosted kids via Make-A-Wish for the day and the game -- Anaheim's kid from nearby Beverly, Mass., and the Bruins' from Florida. ... The Bruins raised a record $130,027 by shedding their locks at their eighth annual Cuts For A Cause, with the money going to pediatric cancer research.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Buffalo fans cheer against Sabres in Coyotes' OT win
    By The Sports Xchange

    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After center Sam Gagner lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-3 overtime win over the Sabres on Thursday night, the Buffalo crowd applauded in approval.

    • With many Sabres fans rooting for a loss -- and improved odds in the NHL Draft lottery -- the Coyotes picked up back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly two months in front of a unique and friendly road atmosphere.

      "Yeah, it was different," Gagner said. "Different for sure. But we'll take it when we can get it, I guess."

      Gagner's winner came 56 seconds into overtime on the power play with a hard slap shot from the left circle. The Coyotes began overtime on the man advantage after Sabres defenseman Mike Weber was called for tripping with 30 seconds left in regulation.

      Right winger Jordan Szwarz, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and right winger David Moss also scored for the Coyotes (23-44-8). Arizona goalie Mike Smith made 32 saves.

      "It was a big win for us in Detroit and then to come in here and follow it up with another win, it's a good feeling," Gagner said. "It's what you play for, to win hockey games so it's a good feeling cause we got two."

      The game featured the two worst teams in the league, and a large portion of fans in attendance wanted the hometown Sabres to lose to better their chances of finishing 30th -- which would guarantee either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in the NHL Draft. The young standouts are considered the prizes of the draft, and the Coyotes now have six points more than the Sabres.

      Much of the hometown crowd cheered for Coyotes goals and booed Sabres goals. The crowd booed when the game went to overtime and cheered Gagner's winning goal.

      "I don't even know if disappointed is the word," Weber said. "They scored the first one, our fans are cheering. Late penalty, they cheer. They cheer when they score to win the game. I don't even know what to say.

      "It's extremely frustrating for us. We understand where we are. We understand what this team's doing, what the organization's doing, the place we've put ourselves in. But I've never been a part of something like that where the away team comes into a home building, they're cheering for them."

      Center Tyler Ennis, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and right winger Brian Gionta scored for Buffalo (20-46-8). Goalie Matt Hackett stopped 38 shots.

      "I'm never going to complain about the fans in this city," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "We've got 19,000 fans on a regular basis. I didn't hear what happened at the end. I was just focused on the game."

      For two teams with little to play for, the game was surprisingly entertaining and even throughout.

      Szwarz opened the scoring 7:55 into the game with a shot from the left circle. The high shot to the blocker side was Szwarz's first goal of the season.

      Buffalo evened the score three minutes later on Ennis' 19th goal of the season. Left winger Matt Moulson found a wide-open Ennis in front of the Coyotes net, and Ennis beat Smith with a nifty deke to his backhand.

      Ristolainen gave the Sabres a 2-1 lead with a blast from behind the left circle 8:37 into the second period. It was his sixth goal of the season.

      The Sabres followed that goal by immediately taking a penalty for too many men on the ice, and the Coyotes dominated the rest of the period. Ekman-Larsson picked up his 21st goal of the season with a blast through traffic from the blue line seconds after the power play ended.

      Arizona took its second lead of the game with 5:40 remaining in the second. Moss picked up his fourth goal of the season by deflecting Gagner's shot from the right point past Hackett.

      Gionta tied the score at 3-3 with 3:37 remaining in regulation after a bad giveaway by Arizona right winger Shane Doan. The Sabres captain's hard slap shot beat Smith for a power-play goal.

      The Coyotes will enjoy their first two-game win streak since the beginning of February (Feb. 1 and 3).

      "We came in with a mindset that we wanted to try to have our first two-game winning streak in a long time and I thought we played hard," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "We'll take the two-game win streak and move on."

      NOTES: D Tyson Strachan, RW Jerry D'Amigo (upper body) and G Chad Johnson were scratched for the Sabres. ... LW Lauri Korpikoski and D Andrew Campbell were scratched for the Coyotes. ... This was the first of two meetings between the Sabres and Coyotes this year. They play again Monday in Arizona. ... Prior to the game, Sabres RW Patrick Kaleta was activated from injured reserve. Kaleta had surgery to remove bone spurs from his knee and last played on Feb. 10. He originally suffered a torn ACL in November 2013. ... Prior to activating Kaleta, the Sabres assigned C Tim Schaller back to their AHL affiliate in Rochester, N.Y.By Mark Ludwiczak, The Sports Xchange