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  • Kings bracing for red-hot Kings
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, December 11, 2017

    If the New Jersey Devils are to break out of their recent funk, they'll have to do so against the hottest team in the NHL when they host the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

    • The Kings (20-8-3) are in the midst of a league-best eight-game winning streak. After missing the playoffs last season, the Kings sit atop the Pacific Division with 43 points, and their plus-29-goal differential is second-best in the NHL.

      Tuesday's contest marks the first of a four-game East Coast road trip for the Kings that is not necessarily an advantage for New Jersey (16-9-4) since Los Angeles is 10-3-1 on the road and the Devils are only 6-5-2 at The Rock.

      "It really doesn't matter what we've done to this point," Kings coach John Stevens told the team's website following practice on Monday. "This is an important trip to continue to get points and continue to try and play well and build our team game."

      What the Kings have done recently is impressive. Their most recent defeat was Nov. 24, and they outscored the opposition 29-13 during the current winning streak. On Saturday, Tanner Pearson scored late in overtime to lead Los Angeles to its latest victory, 3-2 over the Carolina Hurricanes. Anze Kopitar picked up an assist and has nine points in the last five games.

      That win Saturday also lifted the Kings to a 14-3-0 record against Eastern Conference teams and a perfect mark of 5-0-0 against teams from the Metropolitan Division, where the Devils reside.

      "We just don't give up, whether we're down, whether we're up, and we're staying level -- not too high, no too up -- when things happen during games," explained Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty on the club's web site. "We have full confidence in our goaltending and we take pride in being a good defensive hockey team, and defense wins championships, so we're sticking to that."

      It'll be up to the Devils to find a way to break through against the Kings, who own the league's best team defense, surrendering just 2.19 goals per game. New Jersey comes in having lost two straight and three of its last four, scoring only nine goals while allowing 16.

      "We can't continue to make the same mistakes and put us in the same bad positions," Devils goalie Cory Schneider said after Monday's practice. "We haven't had our best recently, and we need a response from everybody."

      New Jersey was outplayed in Saturday's 5-2 road loss to the New York Rangers. The previous night, the Devils surrendered an early 2-0 lead en route to a 5-3 loss on home ice to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

      "Every team in the league goes through that at some point," New Jersey winger Taylor Hall said of losing two straight in regulation for the first time this season. "It's about how quickly you can nip it in the bud and really get that part out of your game."

      The Devils may be without veteran forward Marcus Johansson against the Kings. He did not practice Monday because of a lower-body injury that is believed to be to his ankle. Johansson limped noticeably during the Rangers game.

      Kyle Palmieri skated on his own before Monday's practice and remains out of the Devils lineup with a broken right foot.

      Still, Stevens remains impressed with the Devils.

      "They pose an interesting challenge," said Stevens. "I think they play a really fast skill game, but I think they play a really hard game, too. It's not surprising they're not going away."

  • Maple Leafs look to continue torrid run vs. Flyers
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, December 11, 2017

    PHILADELPHIA -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are the hottest team in the NHL and are proving they can win without star center Auston Matthews.

    • The Philadelphia Flyers were one of the coldest teams in the NHL by losing 10 in a row, but have since rebounded by sweeping a three-game trip through Western Canada.

      On Tuesday night, the two teams will try to extend three-game win streaks when they face off in Philadelphia for the first time this season.

      Matthews is considered day-to-day after colliding with teammate Morgan Rielly late in the third period of a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and sitting out Sunday's 1-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers. The one-goal win was the third straight by the Maple Leafs. They are 12-3-1 in their last 16 games and 5-0-0 without Matthews, who missed four games with an upper-body injury in early November.

      Matthews leads Toronto with 13 goals and 13 assists in 26 games.

      While the Maple Leafs are coming off a tremendous 41-save shutout by goaltender Curtis McElhinney, the Flyers are riding the strong play of veteran netminder Brian Elliott, who won all three games on their trek to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

      Elliott stopped 103 of 108 shots in the three games, posting a 1.66 goals-against average to earn the NHL's Third Star of the Week honors.

      With Matthews out of the lineup, Toronto coach Mike Babcock moved winger William Nylander to center, where he played between wingers Zach Hyman and Connor Brown. The trio had not played together since the forwards were all with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League.

      "It is fun when we get to play together, it (had been) a while," Nylander told TSN following the team's win over the Oilers. "I think it started pretty good. In the third period we were hemmed into our D-zone a lot, so it was a tough third period, but we kept it out of the net and (McElhinney) played amazing so that helps for sure."

      Look for the Maple Leafs' second-leading scorer, Nazim Kadri, to see a lot of ice time against the Flyers' top line of Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier.

      Giroux posted a goal and an assist in each of his last two games, but it is right winger Michael Raffl who has been the Philadelphia's most productive forward lately. Raffl picked up three goals and an assist on the three-game trip and has scored all five of his goals in his last eight games.

      Right winger Jakub Voracek set up seven goals during the three-game win streak to increase his assist total to a team-high 30. However, it has been the switch from a two-man forecheck to a 1-2-2 attack that has helped turn things around.

      The last time the Flyers played at home, they lost their 10th straight game and there were calls for major changes, including chants from the crowd to fire coach Dave Hakstol.

      "When you're at eight, nine, 10 in a row, most teams would start to point fingers and start to just find excuses," Giroux told the Philadelphia Daily News. "That wasn't the case. We were all in the same boat, and no one went over to the dark side. We stuck together, and that shows a lot of what this team is made of."

      The Flyers (11-11-7) still have a lot of work ahead of them if they plan to climb up the Metropolitan Division standings. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, sit behind only the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning with a 20-10-1 record, mostly because of their 10-2-1 record in one-goal games.

      The Maple Leafs have won five of their last six and now play eight of their next nine games on the road, beginning with a trip that takes them to Philadelphia, Minnesota and Detroit.

  • NHL notebook: Canucks' Baertschi out 4-6 weeks
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, December 11, 2017

    Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks with a broken jaw, the team announced Monday.

    • Baertschi sustained the injury after he was hit in the face with a puck during Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. Calgary captain Mark Giordano attempted to clear the puck from his own zone, but it caromed off the glass and caught Baertschi.

      Canucks coach Travis Green said that surgery would not be needed for Baertschi, who has recorded eight goals and 10 assists in 30 games this season.

      The 25-year-old Switzerland native has collected 51 goals and 60 assists in 236 career contests with the Canucks and Flames since Calgary selected him with the 13th overall pick of the 2011 draft.

      --The Winnipeg Jets activated Steve Mason from injured reserve and assigned fellow goaltender Eric Comrie to Manitoba of the American Hockey League, the team announced.

      Mason has been sidelined with a concussion, which was sustained in a 4-0 loss against the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 25. The 29-year-old was hit in the mask by a shot from Tim Heed 11:30 into the game and was pulled by Jets coach Paul Maurice after the conclusion of the first period.

      Comrie played in one game this season with the Jets, making 30 saves in a 6-4 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. The 22-year-old owns an 8-4-1 mark with a shutout, a 2.30 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 13 contests with the AHL's Moose this season.

      --The Nashville Predators recalled goaltender Juuse Saros from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League.

      In a corresponding move, the Predators reassigned goaltender Anders Lindback to their AHL affiliate.

      Saros, 22, has a 2-3-1 record with the Predators this season and made a career-high 43 saves in last Tuesday's 5-2 win at the Dallas Stars. He is 2-0-1 in his last three starts with a .933 save percentage, allowing eight goals on 120 shots against.

  • Conference powers Lightning, Blues set to tangle
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, December 11, 2017

    ST. LOUIS -- The Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning and West-best St. Louis Blues meet on Tuesday night at Scottrade Center to start what both coaches know will be a challenging week for their respective teams.

    • The Lightning and Blues are tied atop the league standings with 44 points and both come into the game riding four-game winning streaks.

      Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper's team won those four games at home, and he knows the Lightning have to find a way to transfer their home success to the road, where they lost three of four games on their last trip.

      Tuesday night's game begins another four-game trip.

      "We've done what we had to at home," Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times. "Now we have to do it on the road, and it's much tougher with all the travel we have to do, especially where we are here. So, we have to learn from what we did on the road before, what we have to do to prepare, but this is a good way to jump-start that."

      Cooper and the Lightning players have not forgotten the team's last road game, a 3-2 loss at Boston on Nov. 29.

      "If there was one lesson we had to learn, we learned that in Boston," Cooper told the newspaper. "Our guys will tell you that (game) was men among boys and we were definitely not the men in that game, so we know we have a long way to go."

      Steven Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times games like the one against the Bruins serve as a reminder of what the Lightning need to do to be successful.

      "When you're winning, a lot of stuff gets swept under the rug," he said. "It's nice to get that friendly reminder sometimes that it's tough to win in this league every night and there are some really good teams out there. You get humbled like that, it makes you hungrier the next game."

      The game against the Lightning begins a busy week for the Blues, who also host Anaheim on Thursday night before a home-and-home series against the Winnipeg Jets over the weekend.

      They know they won't have forward Jaden Schwartz for those games, out for six weeks because of an ankle injury. The Blues don't know the status of defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who missed Sunday night's overtime win over Buffalo because of a leg injury.

      "We try to be optimistic," coach Mike Yeo said.

      "This is going to be four of six for us and it's been a tough stretch with travel and guys out of the lineup. We'll be excited for that game, as will they."

      The Blues and Lightning played in Tampa on Oct. 14, with the Lightning posting a 2-1 victory.

      "A dangerous team," St. Louis forward Paul Stastny said of the Lightning. "For us it's about what we do to be successful. We worry about our own game."

      One of the Blues' strengths has been an ability to overcome injuries to several key players.

      "When one guy does get hurt I think the other lines seem to step up a little more," Stastny said. "It happens to every team. It's a long season, you're going to have injuries, and you can't use it as an excuse. Whoever is in the lineup just focuses on what they have to do."

  • Sabres aim to build on positives vs. Senators
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, December 11, 2017

    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Sabres were much better in a recent three-game road swing following their worst stretch of the season, although there's still plenty of room for improvement.

    • Buffalo will look to carry its momentum into a home game on Tuesday night against another team that has had trouble finding wins this season, the Ottawa Senators.

      The Sabres (7-17-6) had lost 11 of 12 games heading into their recent road trip, with a stretch that ended with back-to-back losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a combined score of 9-1. But the Sabres went on the road and posted a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche before picking up points in back-to-back 3-2 overtime losses to Chicago and St. Louis.

      Those performances have the Sabres feeling better -- but not great -- about their recent upswing.

      "It was four big points out of six, even though we lost two overtimes," Sabres goalie Robin Lehner said, according to the team's website. "We're trying to take it a step at a time in the right direction. We've just got to keep working."

      "It should have been a six out of six road trip," center Jack Eichel said, per The Buffalo News. "Opportunity (Sunday) in overtime, good opportunity in Chicago. Two points we should have."

      Lehner was a big reason for Buffalo's improved play. He stopped 35 of 37 shots in the win over Colorado and had two of his best efforts of the season in the overtime losses to Chicago (48 saves) and St. Louis (42 saves). In 23 games, Lehner has a save percentage of .910 on the season.

      "He's a battler," Sabres head coach Phil Housley said about Lehner, according to the team's website. "He competes really hard, especially on the second opportunities. But I think initially he's just letting the puck hit him. He's a big guy, he's playing his angles really well and he's tight. Sometimes his reaction to some of the shots that are coming off him, he's just fighting and battling to get the puck. It's great to see."

      The Senators (9-12-7) are right where the Sabres were a few games earlier. The Senators have lost 11 of their previous 12 games, with their lone win coming in a 6-5 victory over the New York Islanders on Dec. 1.

      Ottawa is coming off a 5-0 loss to San Jose on Dec. 9 and has been shut out in three of its past four losses.

      "Frustration would be a word right now in a sense that we can't seem to find traction in our game and the way we want to play consistently," said defenseman Dion Phaneuf, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

      "We have spurts of it. It's every guy. It's not one thing or another. The bottom line is as a team we haven't played well enough."

      "The last month has not been what we wanted," Ottawa leading scorer Mark Stone said. "We might have to make a few changes to get ourselves back on track."

      Stone leads the Senators in scoring with 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists).

      Goaltender Craig Anderson has a save percentage of .895 in 22 games, while backup Mike Condon has a save percentage of .902 in 10 contests.

  • Canucks F Baertschi out 4-6 weeks with broken jaw
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, December 11, 2017

    Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks with a broken jaw, the team announced.

    • Baertschi sustained the injury after he was hit in the face with a puck during Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. Calgary captain Mark Giordano attempted to clear the puck from his own zone, but it caromed off the glass and caught Baertschi.

      Canucks coach Travis Green said that surgery would not be needed for Baertschi, who has recorded eight goals and 10 assists in 30 games this season.

      The 25-year-old Switzerland native has collected 51 goals and 60 assists in 236 career contests with the Canucks and Flames since Calgary selected him with the 13th overall pick of the 2011 draft.

  • Predators recall G Saros
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, December 11, 2017

    The Nashville Predators recalled goaltender Juuse Saros from the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League on Monday.

    • In a corresponding move, the Predators reassigned goaltender Anders Lindback to their AHL affiliate.

      Saros, 22, has a 2-3-1 record with the Predators this season and made a career-high 43 saves in last Tuesday's 5-2 win at the Dallas Stars. He is 2-0-1 in his last three starts with a .933 save percentage, allowing eight goals on 120 shots against.

      Saros made two appearances for the Admirals over the weekend, picking up the victory in overtime on Saturday in a 23-save performance against Manitoba.

      A fourth-round draft pick by the Predators in 2013, Saros holds an 12-12-4 career record in the NHL with 2.62 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. The Forssa, Finland, native appeared in two games for Nashville in last season's Stanley Cup Final.

      Saros is 43-14-1 in 59 career games at the AHL level with a 2.31 goals-against average and .918 save percentage and was named to the AHL All-Star Classic in 2016-17.

      Lindback, 29, has not played in a game with the Predators this season. Originally drafted by the Predators in the seventh round in 2008, he returned to Nashville this summer after signing a one-year contract. The Gavle, Sweden, native spent last season with Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League. Lindback has a 45-58-8 record in 130 career NHL games with Nashville, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Dallas and Arizona.

  • Jets activate G Mason off IR
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, December 11, 2017

    The Winnipeg Jets activated Steve Mason from injured reserve and assigned fellow goaltender Eric Comrie to Manitoba of the American Hockey League, the team announced Monday.

    • Mason has been sidelined with a concussion, which was sustained in a 4-0 loss against the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 25. The 29-year-old was hit in the mask by a shot from Tim Heed 11:30 into the game and was pulled by Jets coach Paul Maurice after the conclusion of the first period.

      The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Mason has struggled in his first season with Winnipeg, posting a 2-4-1 mark with a 3.45 goals-against average and .904 save percentage in eight appearances.

      Comrie played in one game this season with the Jets, making 30 saves in a 6-4 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday. The 22-year-old owns an 8-4-1 mark with a shutout, a 2.30 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 13 contests with the AHL's Moose this season.

  • NHL roundup: Surging Blues earn OT win
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, December 11, 2017

    ST. LOUIS -- Vladimir Tarasenko scored with 36 seconds left in overtime to lift the St. Louis Blues to their fourth consecutive win, 3-2 over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night.

    • The Sabres tied the game 2-2 with 1:27 left to play in the third period on Evan Rodrigues' second goal of the game, off a rebound, after Buffalo pulled goalie Robin Lehner for an extra attacker.

      Blues goalie Jake Allen had to stop just 14 shots through the first two periods before the Sabres cut the lead to 2-1 on a power-play goal by Rodrigues 1:42 into the third period.

      Rodrigues was playing just his third game for the Sabres, and the two goals were his first of the season.

      Maple Leafs 1, Oilers 0

      TORONTO -- Backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney earned his first shutout of the season as Toronto made Zach Hyman's goal in the first minute of the game stand up for a victory over Edmonton.

      McElhinney, who was playing in his fifth game of the season, made 41 saves, some spectacular, in picking up his sixth career shutout. He improved to 6-0-0 in his career against Edmonton.

      Oilers goalie Laurent Brossoit stopped 22 shots.

      Blackhawks 3, Coyotes 1

      CHICAGO -- Artem Anisimov scored the go-ahead goal with 4:47 left in the third period, and Chicago pulled away for a win over Arizona.

      Tommy Wingels and Nick Schmaltz also scored as the Blackhawks earned their second consecutive win. Chicago improved to 8-5-2 on home ice and beat Arizona for the eighth straight meeting. Anthony Duclair scored the Coyotes' lone goal. Arizona is winless in its past four games.

      Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford made 31 saves to improve to 13-7-2. Arizona goaltender Scott Wedgewood dropped to 3-6-3 despite turning aside 34 shots.

      Wild 4, Sharks 3 (OT)

      SAN JOSE -- Minnesota's Nino Niederreiter stole the puck from San Jose defenseman Dylan DeMelo and scored with 1:34 left in overtime.

      San Jose rallied from a 3-1 deficit after two periods to force the extra session.

      The Sharks' Brent Burns started the third-period comeback with his second goal of the game and fourth of the season at 2:41 on the power play. Tomas Hertl tied it with his seventh of the season at 14:59 after Minnesota goalie Alex Stalock failed to freeze a shot by DeMelo.

  • Maple Leafs ride McElhinney to shutout of Oilers
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, December 10, 2017

    TORONTO -- Backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney earned his first shutout of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs made Zach Hyman's goal in the first minute of the game stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.

    • McElhinney, who was playing in his fifth game of the season, made 41 saves, some spectacular, in picking up his sixth career shutout.

      He improved to 6-0-0 in his career against Edmonton.

      The Maple Leafs (20-10-1) were without center Auston Matthews, who was sidelined due to an upper-body injury, in winning their third consecutive game.

      Laurent Brossoit stopped 22 shots for the Oilers (12-16-2).

      With a revamped first line because of the injury to Matthews, the Maple Leafs scored 34 seconds into the first period when Hyman tipped in a point shot from Jake Gardiner for his sixth goal. William Nylander passed the puck back to Gardiner to earn the other assist.

      The Maple Leafs had a five-on-three advantage for 18 seconds during the second period, but Edmonton held them off. When Toronto's advantage was reduced to a five-on-four power play, Edmonton's Connor McDavid was stopped by McElhinney on a breakaway.

      The Oilers went on a five-on-three power play at 17:38 of the second when Toronto had simultaneous penalties -- Roman Polak for cross-checking and Mitch Marner for tripping -- but did not score. McElhinney produced some big saves during the Oilers' barrage.

      NOTES: Toronto C William Nylander moved onto the first line between LW Zach Hyman and RW Connor Brown after C Auston Matthews (upper-body injury) was scratched from the game Sunday. Maple Leafs D Connor Carrick and RW Nikita Soshnikov also were not in uniform for the game. ... Toronto G Frederik Andersen was given the night off Sunday after a 4-3 road win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. ... Edmonton LW Nathan Walker, LW Anton Slepyshev and D Eric Gryba did not suit up. ... Toronto FC, winners of the MLS Cup on Saturday, was honored before the opening faceoff. ... Edmonton completes a three-game trip Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. ... The Maple Leafs will visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

  • Maple Leafs C Matthews (upper-body) scratched vs. Oilers
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, December 10, 2017

    TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews was scratched from Sunday's game against the Edmonton Oilers because of an upper-body injury.

    • Matthews was involved in a collision late in the third period of the win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday but Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock indicated that the 20-year-old was fine.

      Before the game Sunday, Babcock said: "He's one of those guys with bumps and bruises here today. We'll go through it. We've had a couple of guys that are -- you know, it's the season. You're playing hockey. You see who's available at game time."

      Matthews has 13 goals and 13 assists in 26 games. Last month, Matthews also missed four games with an upper-body injury.

  • Knights activate G Fleury off IR
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, December 10, 2017

    The Vegas Golden Knights activated three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury from injured reserve on Sunday and assigned fellow goaltender Maxime Lagace to Chicago of the American Hockey League.

    • Fleury has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a concussion. The 33-year-old Quebec native recorded a 3-1-0 mark with a 2.48 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in four games this season.

      Lagace owned a 6-6-1 record with a 3.79 GAA and .872 save percentage in 14 appearances this season. He recorded a career-high 36 saves in Vegas' 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

  • Red Wings, Panthers searching for offense
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, December 10, 2017

    DETROIT -- The outcomes were similar and the postgame comments were the same from both the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers following their most recent performances.

    • On Saturday, the Wings fell 6-1 to the St. Louis Blues to drop to 1-1 on their current five-game homestand, while the Panthers were humbled 7-3 at home by the Colorado Avalanche to end a three-game homestand.

      As the two Atlantic Division foes prepared to face each other Monday at Little Caesars Arena, both come into the contest sharing common assessments of their last outing.

      "You don't want to lose at home 6-1, but the first two periods I thought we did a lot of good things," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "But the puck ended up in our net and not their net."

      Panthers coach Bob Boughner's postgame comments seemed to echo Zetterberg's words.

      "Every team gets breakdowns," Boughner said. "That's when you need your goalie to make a big save. We didn't allow a lot of chances. We didn't. The ones that we did went into the net."

      Carrying the load for the injured Roberto Luongo (upper body), Panthers backup goalie James Reimer allowed four goals for the eighth time in 16 games this season. In Detroit, Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, who was brilliant through the first six weeks of the season, gave up four goals again for the fifth time in eight starts and the sixth time in his last nine appearances.

      "Jimmy's been really good for us all year," Zetterberg said. "He probably wants a few back this game, but it happens."

      Howard wasn't about to debate his captain's assessment.

      "I need to come (up) with saves for the guys," Howard said. "At the end of the day the guys did their job and I have to do mine for them."

      The Panthers, 1-2-2 in their last five games, have struggled to find the net, scoring more than three goals just three times in their last 12 games, but at least there's an excuse for the malady.

      They are without injured center Aleksander Barkov (lower body) and right wing Evgenii Dadonov (shoulder), who have combined for 17 goals between them this season.

      "Not having Daddy and Barky in the lineup, sooner or later, it's going to catch up to you," Boughner said.

      As the Panthers begin a five-game road swing in Detroit, others have sought to pick up the slack. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Denis Malgin are each riding three-game goal-scoring streaks.

      The Wings have topped three goals just once in their last 10 games, but can't blame injuries for their goal-scoring woes.

      It starts with Zetterberg, who has gone a career-high 22 games without scoring. Center Dylan Larkin leads the team with 23 points, but has endured nine games in a row without a goal. Right winger Anthony Mantha is Detroit's goal-scoring leader with 12, but has netted just two in his last 10 games.

      Defenseman Mike Green, second on the team with 16 assists, has one point (a goal) in the last 10 games.

      Detroit coach Jeff Blashill believes his team is doing things the right way and if they stay with it, will ultimately produce results.

      "Certainly through the first 40, I thought we played probably as good as we have," Blashill said of the loss to the Blues. "Unfortunately we didn't score. What I do is you've just got to keep playing like that.

      "That's what you control, how you play, so you've got to come back on Monday and play the same way."

  • NHL notebook: Ankle injury sidelines Blues' Schwartz
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, December 10, 2017

    The St. Louis Blues placed forward Jaden Schwartz on injured reserve with a right ankle injury and he will be re-evaluated in six weeks, the team announced Sunday.

    • Schwartz sustained the injury when he blocked a shot in the Blues' 6-1 win over the Red Wings on Saturday in Detroit. He had to be helped off the ice after suffering the injury, which occurred late in the first period, and was not able to put any pressure on his right leg.

      Schwartz, 25, did not return for the final two periods and the Blues said after the game that initial X-rays were negative. Before having to leave the game, Schwartz scored his 14th goal of the season.

      The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Schwartz shares ninth in the NHL overall with 35 points, including 21 assists, and ranks second with a plus-23 rating through 30 games this season.

      --The Vegas Golden Knights activated three-time Stanley Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury from injured reserve and assigned fellow goaltender Maxime Lagace to Chicago of the American Hockey League.

      Fleury has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a concussion. The 33-year-old Quebec native recorded a 3-1-0 mark with a 2.48 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in four games this season.

      Lagace owned a 6-6-1 record with a 3.79 GAA and .872 save percentage in 14 appearances this season. He recorded a career-high 36 saves in Vegas' 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

      --The Florida Panthers plan to retire No. 37 in honor of franchise founder and former owner H. Wayne Huizenga, the team announced.

      Panthers owner Vincent Viola made the announcement on the 25th anniversary since the club was awarded a hockey franchise. The ceremony will take place on Jan. 19 at BB&T Center when the Panthers host the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

      The No. 37 was selected by the Huizenga family in recognition of Wayne's birth year and lucky number.

      The No. 37 will be the second number retired by the franchise and both honor front office members. In October 2010, the organization raised No. 93 to the rafters in honor of William A. Torrey, the former Panthers president and current special advisor to the general manager.

      --The Dallas Stars recalled forward Jason Dickinson from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

      Dickinson, 22, has appeared in four games with Dallas this season, registering two shots and four penalty minutes. In 20 games with Texas, he has 14 points (13 goals, one assist). His 13 goals are tied for second in the AHL.

      The 6-foot-1, 200-pound native of Georgetown, Ontario, was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NHL draft.

  • Panthers to retire number to honor Huizenga
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, December 10, 2017

    The Florida Panthers plan to retire No. 37 in honor of franchise founder and former owner H. Wayne Huizenga, the team announced Sunday.

    • Panthers owner Vincent Viola made the announcement on the 25th anniversary since the club was awarded a hockey franchise. The ceremony will take place on Jan. 19 at BB&T Center when the Panthers host the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

      The No. 37 was selected by the Huizenga family in recognition of Wayne's birth year and lucky number.

      "Today, on the 25th anniversary of our franchise's inauguration, we have an opportunity to take stock of our history and celebrate what makes our organization special," Viola said in a statement. "If you look at the history of our franchise, it's clear that the founding years and H. Wayne Huizenga's stewardship represents a golden era for our club. We aspire to his example, both on the ice and in the community, which is why we're honored to hang the number 37 from BB&T Center's rafters as a permanent tribute to H. Wayne Huizenga and the Huizenga family's community leadership and high standard of excellence."

      The No. 37 will be the second number retired by the franchise and both honor front office members. In October 2010, the organization raised No. 93 to the rafters in honor of William A. Torrey, the former Panthers president and current special advisor to the general manager.

      "I was honored to partner with Wayne in the founding years of this franchise and I'm thrilled that our names will permanently fly side-by-side over Panthers games," Torrey said. "Our club will forever aspire to Wayne's standard of excellence on the ice and his community leadership off of it, which is why he's deserving of the highest honor the Florida Panthers can bestow."

      On Dec. 10, 1992, the NHL awarded Huizenga an NHL franchise, later named the Panthers. In the inaugural season, the club nearly qualified for the playoffs and amassed 83 points, an NHL record for an expansion franchise that still stands today.

      Huizenga, 79, formerly owned the Panthers, Marlins and Dolphins in South Florida. He sold the Panthers in 2001.

  • Stars recall F Dickinson
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, December 10, 2017

    The Dallas Stars recalled forward Jason Dickinson from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Sunday.

    • Dickinson, 22, has appeared in four games with Dallas this season, registering two shots and four penalty minutes. In 20 games with Texas, he has 14 points (13 goals, one assist). His 13 goals are tied for second in the AHL.

      The 6-foot-1, 200-pound native of Georgetown, Ontario, was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (29th overall) of the 2013 NHL draft.

  • Blues F Schwartz out at least 6 weeks with ankle injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, December 10, 2017

    The St. Louis Blues placed forward Jaden Schwartz on injured reserve with a right ankle injury and he will be re-evaluated in six weeks, the team announced Sunday.

    • Schwartz sustained the injury when he blocked a shot in the Blues' 6-1 win over the Red Wings on Saturday in Detroit. He had to be helped off the ice after suffering the injury, which occurred late in the first period, and was not able to put any pressure on his right leg.

      Schwartz, 25, did not return for the final two periods and the Blues said after the game that initial X-rays were negative.

      "He's obviously really sore right now so we'll get him re-examined when we get home," Blues coach Mike Yeo said.

      Before having to leave the game, Schwartz scored his 14th goal of the season.

      The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Schwartz shares ninth in the NHL overall with 35 points, including 21 assists, and ranks second with a plus-23 rating through 30 games this season. The left winger is in his seventh season with the Blues after the team drafted him 14th overall in the 2010 NHL draft.

      The Wilcox, Saskatchewan, native owns 247 points (103 goals, 144 assists) and 81 penalty minutes in 348 career regular-season games.

      In a corresponding move, the Blues recalled forward Ivan Barbashev from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League.

      Barbashev, 21, has eight points (four goals, four assists) and six penalty minutes in 17 games with the Wolves this season. The 6-0, 187-pounder has skated in six games for the Blues, averaging 11:30 time on ice.

      Overall, Barbashev has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 36 career NHL regular season games. The native of Moscow was drafted by the Blues in the second round (33rd overall) in 2014.

  • NHL roundup: Leafs win fourth out of last five games
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, December 10, 2017

    PITTSBURGH -- The Toronto Maple Leafs scored twice in the opening two minutes Saturday night and held on to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 at PPG Paints Arena.

    • Toronto (19-10-1), which has won four of five, received goals from Connor Brown and James van Riemsdyk in the first 1:42. Tyler Bozak made it 3-0 later in the initial period with the first of his two goals to go along with an assist. Mitch Marner added three assists.

      Riley Sheahan scored for the second game in a row, and Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby also tallied for Pittsburgh (16-12-3), which had won five of six.

      Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen made 33 saves to improve to 10-2-1 with two shutouts and 25 goals allowed in his past 13 games.

      Pittsburgh goalie Casey DeSmith, making his second NHL appearance, stopped 10 shots in relief of Tristan Jarry.

      Golden Knights 5, Stars 3

      DALLAS -- Four different players scored and Maxime Lagace stopped 35 of 38 shots for Vegas in a win against Dallas.

      Alex Tuch, David Perron, Reilly Smith, Brayden McNabb and Erik Haula scored for Vegas (19-9-1), which won its fourth straight. Brendan Leipsic and Cody Eakin added two assists.

      Tyler Pitlick, Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas (16-13-1), which lost its third straight. The Stars have been outscored 13-5 over their last three losses.

      Kings 3, Hurricanes 2

      LOS ANGELES -- Tanner Pearson scored with 20 seconds left in overtime and Los Angeles won its eighth consecutive game with a victory over Carolina.

      Pearson, Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli each had a goal and an assist for the Kings (20-8-3), who pulled within a win of their franchise record of nine straight victories from Jan. 21 to Feb. 6, 2010.

      Jonathan Quick made 32 saves for Los Angeles.

      Carolina scored twice in the final seven minutes of regulation to tie the score.

      Victor Rask prevented Quick from getting his 47th career shutout when he took a pass from Teuvo Teravainen and scored on a one-timer with 6:57 remaining.

      Blue Jackets 1, Coyotes 0

      COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Columbus left winger Artemi Panarin delivered the primary assist on a sixth consecutive goal in the past two games and the Blue Jackets held off Arizona.

      Josh Anderson scored his team-leading 11th goal in the opening minute of the game with the assist from Panarin and Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky posted his fourth shutout of the season.

      The Blue Jackets (19-10-1) survived two penalties against Panarin with 2:53 remaining in the third period to remain atop the Metropolitan Division standings after completing a back-to-back with two wins. They beat the New Jersey Devils on the road the night before.

      In that game, Panarin tied the franchise record with five primary assists in the 5-3 victory. He has a team-leading 19 assists and 26 points in 30 games this season.

      The Coyotes (7-20-5) have lost five of their past six games. They became the first team in the NHL with 20 losses this season.

      Rangers 5, Devils 2

      NEW YORK -- Mats Zuccarello scored twice and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 shots as the New York Rangers defeated New Jersey.

      The Rangers (16-11-2) won for the seventh time in nine games.

      Jimmy Vesey, Jesper Fast and Kevin Hayes also scored for the Rangers. Rick Nash had two assists.

      The Devils (16-9-4) lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season. Damon Severson and Miles Wood scored for the Devils, who received 34 saves from Keith Kinkaid.

      Bruins 3, Islanders 1

      BOSTON -- Tuukka Rask turned aside 30 shots for his fourth straight win, leading Boston to a victory over the New York Islanders.

      Rask, who had been struggling to start the season, causing a bit of a goaltending controversy as Anton Khudobin ripped off four straight wins, has allowed four goals during his winning streak. He lost what would have been his 40th career shutout when Andres Lee scored with 3:08 left but raised his record to 7-8-2.

      With the Islanders pressing for the tying goal, Danton Heinen hit the empty net with 41.2 seconds remaining in the game.

      Brad Marchand (11th goal) and rookie Jake DeBrusk scored, with Torey Krug and David Pastrnak assisting on both goals as the Bruins won for the fourth time in their last five games.

      Blues 6, Red Wings 1

      DETROIT -- St. Louis scored four goals on five shots in the first and second periods and defeated Detroit.

      Brayden Schenn and Jay Bouwmeester had a goal and an assist each and Jayden Schwartz, Vladimir Sobotka, Scottie Upshall and Dmitrij Jaskin scored for St. Louis, which won its third straight. Alex Pietrangelo had two assists and goalie Jake Allen made 28 saves.

      Frans Nielsen scored for Detroit, which has lost eight of its last nine.

      Lightning 4, Jets 3

      TAMPA, Fla. -- Brayden Point scored his third overtime goal of the season to lead Tampa Bay to a victory against Winnipeg.

      Point raced in on goalie Connor Hellebuyck and flipped a backhander into the net for the winner as Tampa Bay won its fourth consecutive game to cap off a perfect four-game homestand.

      Nikolaj Ehlers, Andrew Copp and Kyle Connor scored for Winnipeg, which is on a season-long three-game losing streak.

      Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev and Yanni Gourde scored for the Lightning in regulation.

      Avalanche 7, Panthers 3

      SUNRISE, Fla. -- Colorado scored four straight goals -- including two within 41 seconds -- snapping a four-game losing streak with a win over Florida.

      Semyon Varlamov made 39 saves to earn the win.

      The Avalanche got goals Mikko Rantanen, a tying score from Nathan MacKinnon, a tiebreaking deflection from Alexander Kerfoot, insurance markers by Erik Johnson and Colin Wilson and empty-netters by Matt Nieto and Carl Soderberg.

      Florida got goals from Aaron Ekblad, Denis Malgin and Jonathan Huberdeau but was unable to avoid its fourth loss in the past five games.

      Malgin has four goals this season -- all of them within the past six games.

      Oilers 6, Canadiens 2

      MONTREAL -- Jujhar Khaira scored two goals and Laurent Brossoit made 22 saves to help Edmonton to a win against Montreal.

      Michael Cammalleri, Milan Lucic, Oscar Klefbom and Yohann Auvito also scored for the Oilers (12-15-2), who won for the fifth time in eight games (5-3-0).

      Edmonton captain Connor McDavid had two assists.

      Alex Galchenyuk and Phillip Danault scored for the Canadiens (13-14-4), who have dropped three in a row (0-2-1) following a five-game winning streak.

      Carey Price allowed four goals on 14 shots and was replaced by Antti Niemi at 2:24 of the second period.

      Sharks 5, Senators 0

      SAN JOSE -- Four different skaters scored and Aaron Dell registered his second shutout of the season as the Sharks beat the Ottawa.

      Dell made 25 saves for his third career shutout. The Senators have been blanked in three of their last four outings. San Jose has won consecutive games.

      Joe Pavelski scored his sixth goal of the season at 3:24 of the third period on the power play. Logan Couture provided the primary assist, which was his 400th career point. And Tomas Hertl scored his sixth goal of the season at 17:38 of the third.

      The Sharks were all over the Senators through 40 minutes, leading 3-0 and outshooting the visitors by a 31-14 count.

      Flames 4, Canuks 2

      CALGARY, Alberta -- Sam Bennett scored the game-winning goal with 1:10 remaining in the game and Calgary beat Vancouver.

      Bennett skated out from the corner and put a backhand past Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson for his fourth goal of the season.

      Matthew Tkachuk added an empty netter with 23 seconds left for his second goal of the night. Troy Brouwer also scored for Calgary.

      Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen were the Canucks scorers.

      The Flames (16-12-2) ended a home losing skid at three games and returned to the .500 mark at the Saddledome through 16 games with their eighth home win.

      The Canucks (14-12-4) lost for the second straight game after winning three straight.

  • Blue Jackets recall LW Milano
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, December 9, 2017

    The Columbus Blue Jackets recalled left winger Sonny Milano from the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League on Saturday.

    • Milano, 21, has five goals, five assists and four penalty minutes in 24 games with the Blue Jackets this season. He also has two assists in two contests with the Monsters.

      The Massapequa, N.Y., native owns 11 points (five goals, six assists) and four penalty minutes in 31 career NHL games with the Blue Jackets. He has 85 points (32 goals, 53 assists) and 46 penalty minutes in 129 career AHL games with the Monsters and Springfield Falcons since making his pro debut at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

      Milano was the Blue Jackets' first-round pick (16th overall) in the 2014 NHL draft.

  • Penguins recall D Czuczman
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, December 9, 2017

    The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled defenseman Kevin Czuczman from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Saturday.

    • Czuczman, 26, leads all Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defensemen with 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 22 games this season.

      The 6-foot-2, 206-pound product of Port Elgin, Ontario, joined the Penguins' organization this summer after setting AHL career highs with nine goals, 23 assists and 32 points in 76 games with the Manitoba Moose last year.

      The left-handed-shooting Czuczman made his NHL debut with the New York Islanders in 2013-14, picking up two assists in 13 games. Prior to joining Manitoba, Czuczman skated for two years with the Islanders' farm club, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where he appeared in 124 games and had 22 points (five goals, 17 assists).

      The Penguins also reassigned defenseman Frank Corrado to their AHL affiliate. He skated in three games with the Penguins, averaging 11:06 time on ice.

  • Road-weary Coyotes face surging Blue Jackets
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, December 9, 2017

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Arizona Coyotes are on the road again, playing away from home for the NHL-high 20th time this season, and the Columbus Blue Jackets are returning home triumphantly Saturday night from New Jersey to finish off back-to-back games.

    • The Blue Jackets rebounded from a 4-1 loss at home on Tuesday by going to New Jersey and whipping the Devils 5-3 on Friday night.

      The win vaulted the Blue Jackets (18-10-1) past the Devils into a first-place tie atop the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals. But Columbus coach John Tortorella said he isn't looking at the standings at this point in the season.

      "I know the Metro is a very tough division," Tortorella said after Friday night's win, "but to get caught up (in that) ... I heard someone say this is for first place in the Metro. Who cares?

      "It is 30 games into the season. We have 52 left. We're just trying to be the best team we can be."

      Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin was at his best against the Devils, tying a franchise record with five assists and five points in the game.

      Tortorella recently challenged the talented Panarin to pick up his game, and he responded in a big way. Panarin' teammates are the beneficiaries of his pinpoint passes.

      "He's so skilled," Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski told reporters after scoring a goal Friday night. "We see it every day in practice. We see it every game. What'd he get, five assists (Friday night)? That's insane.

      "It's fun to watch him on the bench, up close and in person. He's such a good player."

      Not only did Panarin produce, but Alexander Wennberg scored a goal for the first time since Oct. 14. His tiebreaking power-play goal in the third period ended a long Columbus dry spell with the man advantage (two goals in the previous 15 games and the second fewest overall this season in the Eastern Conference).

      Meanwhile, the Coyotes just can't wait to get off the road again. Their visit to has Nationwide Arena is part of a trip that has included a 6-1 loss in Boston on Thursday night and concludes Sunday against the Blackhawks in Chicago.

      "I try not to think about it," Coyotes defenseman Luke Schenn said, according to the team's official website, "but at the same time we're all aware of the schedule and how tough it is. It's cliche, but you just try to tackle it game by game, and the guys in this room aren't looking at it as an excuse."

      One bit of good news for the road-weary Coyotes (7-19-5) is the return of goaltender Antti Raanta from an upper-body injury. Raanta, who had been sidelined since Nov. 22, was available but did not play Thursday in the loss to the Bruins.

      Raanta practiced Friday and he is expected to get the start against the Blue Jackets in the teams' first meeting this season.

      "It feels good being with the boys on the ice and everything has gone how we've wanted it to go," Raanta said, according to the team's official website. "So we'll just go day by day. Usually, we want to feel a little bit better every day. Whenever the coaches say you're going, I'm going."

      Raanta is 4-5-0 with a 2.84 goals-against average while playing in just 13 of the Coyotes' 31 games this season. He had won three straight starts before suffering the injury.

      Backup Scott Wedgewood filled in during Raanta's absence and was in goal for Arizona's latest loss. If Raanta is unable to play, Wedgewood will get the call against Columbus.

      Wedgewood made 25 saves on Thursday night and Christian Dvorak scored the lone goal for Arizona against Boston.

      The Coyotes are also happy to have defenseman Jakob Chychrun back. In two games since returning from offseason knee surgery, Chychrun has scored a goal on six shots.

  • Devils, Rangers look to bounce back from losses
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, December 9, 2017

    The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils will renew their rivalry when they meet at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

    • Both teams will take the ice while playing relatively hot hockey, although each team is coming off a loss Friday night to a Metropolitan Division foe.

      The Devils (16-8-4) had won four of six before letting a 2-0 lead slip away in a 5-3 home loss to the Blue Jackets. It marked the second time in three games the Devils allowed five goals, which matches the number of goals Cory Schneider had allowed in his previous three starts combined.

      "You're not going to win every one in the division, these are good teams," Schneider said. "We know what we need to fix. We've got to focus on (Saturday) night, another division game, because there's nothing we can do about this one any more except learn from our mistakes.

      "We're playing a very similar team (Saturday), opportunistic, and if we don't get good goaltending and don't take care of the puck, they're going to make us pay. We just have to have a quick turnaround."

      The Rangers (15-11-2) were winners of six of seven before falling short against the Washington Capitals. New York rallied from down 2-0 to tie the game, but the Capitals scored two late goals to win 4-2. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots in his first game in a week, as he missed time with the flu.

      "Definitely a missed opportunity here," Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh said to the Daily News, "and it stings right now because we worked hard to climb back in it and let them make plays."

      With such a quick turnaround between games, it's possible backups Ondrej Pavelec of the Rangers and Keith Kinkaid of the Devils will be in the nets Saturday at MSG. Neither coach made his decision public late Friday.

      Kinkaid and Pavelec squared off in the first and only meeting between the teams this season. Kinkaid made 29 saves and Pavelec stopped 16 shots as the Devils beat the Rangers 3-2 at MSG on Oct. 14.

      The Rangers will be without top center Mika Zibanejad (concussion) for a fifth straight game. The Rangers are 2-2-0 without him but have averaged more than four goals per game during his brief absence.

      "If we aren't making good decisions (against the Devils on Saturday) and certainly don't come out with the right pace and desperation that we need, we're going to get burned again," McDonagh said to Newsday. "So we have to focus on having a good start."

      With a counter-punching ability not unlike what the Blue Jackets possess, the Devils have a chance to immediately put any lessons mined from their loss Friday to work right away Saturday.

      "It's another step in the right direction if we can learn and understand it's a hard league to win in," said Devils center Brian Boyle, who will be playing his first game at MSG against his former team since he was diagnosed with cancer before the season. "A division matchup against a motivated team, we have to stick to what makes us successful."

  • NHL roundup: Golden Knights outlast Preds
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, December 8, 2017

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Reilly Smith's goal in the sixth round of a shootout Friday night gave the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators at sold-out Bridgestone Arena.

    • Vegas forced overtime at 19:20 when, with a sixth skater, Erik Haula ripped a one-timer from the right circle for his 10th goal of the season.

      Nashville had gained its first lead at 14:56 of the third period off a turnover from Shea Theodore. Viktor Arvidsson took the puck and fed Nick Bonino, who had plenty of time and space in the slot to wire a wrister home for his sixth goal of the season.

      Arvidsson brought the Predators even at 8:04 of the third with his 10th goal, poking the rebound of Kevin Fiala's shot past a prone Malcolm Subban.

      Wild 3, Ducks 2 (OT)

      ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Matt Dumba scored the winning goal 3:43 into overtime and Devan Dubnyk registered 26 saves as Minnesota defeated Anaheim.

      The Wild came back from a 1-0 deficit but blew a 2-1 lead in regulation. The win snapped a three-game road losing streak.

      The Ducks had tied the score 2-2 at 13:35 of the third period on Adam Henrique's seventh goal of the season and third with Anaheim.

      Blackhawks 3, Sabres 2 (OT)

      CHICAGO -- Gustav Forsling scored the winning goal with 4.9 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Chicago over Buffalo at the United Center.

      Alex DeBrincat and Tommy Wingels also scored for the Blackhawks, who erased a one-goal deficit with 3:22 remaining in the third period. Forsling finished with a goal and two assists to help Chicago snap a five-game winless streak.

      Jason Pominville and Kyle Okposo scored for the Sabres, who picked up a point by taking the game to overtime but fell short against Chicago for the 12th game in a row.

      Capitals 4, Rangers 2

      WASHINGTON -- Matt Niskanen scored the go-ahead goal with 3:32 remaining, Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom each added a goal and an assist, and the Washington Capitals defeated New York.

      Wilson's goal gave Washington a 4-2 lead with 1:32 left. Backstrom and Jay Beagle also scored for the Capitals, who have won four straight and seven of their last eight.

      Michael Grabner and Jesper Fast scored for the Rangers in the first meeting of the season between the Metropolitan Division rivals.

      Blue Jackets 5, Devils 3

      NEWARK, N.J. -- After losing to New Jersey on Tuesday, Columbus rebounded to end a two-game skid with the help of a five-point game from Artemi Panarin.

      With the score tied 3-3 early in the third period, Alexander Wennberg came through with only his second goal of the season, snapping a 17-game drought, at 1:32. The goal was just Columbus' eighth all season on the power play.

      Zach Werenski put the game away, scoring a four-on-four goal at 15:02 to make it 5-3. Panarin had the primary assist on all five Columbus goals, tying franchise records for most points and assists in one game.

  • Bruins look at what could've been vs. Islanders
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, December 8, 2017

    BOSTON -- Back in June 2015, the Boston Bruins owned three straight picks in the first round of the NHL draft.

    • They had No. 13 from dealing Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings. They had No. 14, their own. They had No. 15, from the Calgary Flames in the Dougie Hamilton deal.

      Three picks in a row. To this point, Jake DeBrusk, their own pick at 14, is the only one to make it to the NHL.

      With the 16th pick in the 2015 draft, the New York Islanders selected Mathew Barzal, a center from the Seattle Thunderbirds. They also passed on Kyle Connor (Winnipeg, 17th), Brock Boeser (Vancouver,23rd) and Alex DeBrincat (Chicago, 39th).

      On Saturday, Barzal and the Islanders visit the Bruins, allowing Boston fans to get their first look at a special rookie as the Islanders wrap up a four-game road trip.

      While DeBrusk was playing better before missing three games and returning in Thursday night's 6-1 rout of the Arizona Coyotes, Barzal has eight goals and 27 points in his first 28 games -- 13 points in the last 13 games -- and leads NHL rookies in scoring.

      He scored a late goal that triggered a two-goal rally that sent the Isles into overtime Thursday in Pittsburgh. They lost the game but got the point.

      "That was a big-time goal to get us a little more momentum and we definitely fed off that," said Brock Nelson, who followed Barzal's goal with the tying goal with 1:10 left in regulation.

      In the previous game, at Florida, Barzal made two outstanding moves in overtime and then scored the only goal of the shootout, coach Doug Weight yielding to pressure by throwing the rookie out there.

      "Because he wouldn't stop staring at me when I picked the first two guys. I wouldn't look at him," Weight said. "Somehow I think he thinks that's why I picked him. ... But he's a confident kid, he was excited, he wanted to get out there. Those (Jordan Eberle, John Tavares and Barzal) were the three I was going with."

      The Islanders are 16-9-3 overall, 6-3-1 in their last 10 and sat tied for second in the Metropolitan Division after Thursday's games.

      The Bruins, winners of three of their last four -- all three wins by Tuukka Rask in goal -- have gotten back to legitimate (not NHL) .500 at 13-9-4.

      David Backes, who needed half the expected time coming back from having 10 inches of his colon removed Nov. 2, scored his first two goals of the season to take the Bruins from a 1-1 tie to a 3-1 lead in the second period Thursday night.

      Boston then finished the game off with a strong third period, blowing it open as Rask was forced to face just 21 shots.

      "It was a good team win, put a crooked number up on the board," Backes said. "Playing the right way -- forced to play the right way against a team that was clogging up the neutral zone and turning pucks down our throat. Kind of a teeter-totter game there for the first half then I think we got to our ideals and what our identity has been for winning games."

      Rask is 10-5-0 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 16 career appearances against the Islanders. New York's Jaroslav Halak is 8-6 with 2.18/.930 lifetime against Boston.

      On Friday, the Islanders, who allowed two power-play goals in four straight games, practiced at TD Garden, meeting and then working on the penalty kill.

      "You need to focus on it and not ignore it. We went to work, watched some video and we'll try to be better," said coach Doug Weight.

      After Thursday's game, Weight said, "We're going to figure out how to kill a penalty. Sometimes you have to learn again. What's happening is pretty incredible right now. Five out of the last seven that 80 percent of the kill is gone and we're saying they're frustrated, we're doing a great job and it's in our net on the first chance."

      Former Bruin Johnny Boychuk, who missed Thursday's game with what the coach called a "lingering ailment," was kept off skates Friday. Weight said the defenseman felt better and is 50/50 for Saturday night.

      The Islanders won both games in Boston and the Bruins took the only meeting in Brooklyn last season.

  • Oilers searching for spark vs. Canadiens
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, December 8, 2017

    MONTREAL -- The big question when the Edmonton Oilers play the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night is how will the visitors respond to coach Todd McLellan's rant at practice on Thursday.

    • The Oilers, 4-6-0 in their past 10 games and one of the NHL's most disappointing teams this season (eight points out of a wild-card position), were sloppy during a drill at practice Thursday, sparking McLellan's outburst which was picked up by the TSN network.

      "There is nobody checking us right now," McLellan yelled at his players. "There's not a (bleeping) single soul out there checking and we can't make the first (bleeping) pass or the second one. Are you giving yourselves a chance? Is it (bleeping) important? Are you getting better? Because some team is getting better somewhere this morning somewhere."

      There are a lot of teams better than the Oilers right now. They are 14th in the Western Conference with an 11-15-2 record. They are coming off a 4-2 home loss against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

      Edmonton is last in the NHL in penalty killing (72.34 percent), 26th in power play (16.66 percent), gave up the first goal 18 times in 28 games and have been outscored 31-23 in the first period. The power play is 0-for-16 in the past eight games.

      "We haven't been good enough in the first. We always seem to come out sluggish and wait for something bad to happen," Oilers captain Connor McDavid told Postmedia. "This is a long way from over. It's still early. It's early December. There's a lot of hockey left ... nobody is going to roll over in here."

      The Canadiens (13-13-4) have their own issues. After winning five games in a row coinciding with the return of star goaltender Carey Price, who missed 10 games with a lower-body injury, they have lost two games straight. The Canadiens blew a 2-1 third-period lead and lost 3-2 in overtime to the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

      Montreal will likely have center Jonathan Drouin back in the lineup against the Oilers. Drouin missed the past four games, starting with a lower-body injury and then an illness.

      Drouin, tied for second in scoring on the Canadiens with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists), practiced Friday on a line with Alex Galchenyuk, who played a season-low 9:18 against the Flames, and Andrew Shaw.

      "I feel good. It was tough on the body for a few days," Drouin told montrealcanadiens.com. "The virus was tougher than the injury. It would have been tough to play (Thursday). I didn't really have energy and I had trouble moving."

      Montreal coach Claude Julien said after the loss to the Flames that Galchenyuk was sat down because he lost too many battles. The 23-year-old was the Canadiens' first pick (No. 3 overall) in the 2012 draft and has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) this season.

      "We know he's a good player with a lot of talent. We're sitting down with him, looking at video with him and talking about different things," Julien told reporters after practice. "At the end of the day, we never give up on players and we know that Alex is still young."

      "It's disappointing not being played more," Galchenyuk told the team's website. "It's definitely not fun, but it happens."