National Hockey League
NHL News Wire
  • Monday, December 22, 2014
    Capitals recall Volpatti, Burakovsky
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Washington Capitals recalled left winger Aaron Volpatti and center Andre Burakovsky from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League on Monday.

    • Volpatti, who had been assigned to Hershey on a long-term injury/illness exception conditioning loan, will return to the Capitals' injured non-roster list and long-term injury list.

      Volpatti, 29, has missed 27 games with Washington this season with an upper-body injury. The Revelstoke, British Columbia native scored two goals and registered 49 penalty minutes in a career-high 41 games with the Capitals last season. Volpatti has recorded seven points (five goals, two assists) and 137 penalty minutes in 112 career NHL games with Vancouver and Washington. The Caps claimed Volpatti on waivers from Vancouver on Feb. 23, 2013.

      The 6-foot-1, 203-pound Volpatti appeared in three games with the Bears this season. He tallied 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) and 97 penalty minutes in 64 career AHL games with Manitoba and Hershey.

      Burakovsky, 19, has appeared in 26 games with the Capitals this season, registering 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and six penalty minutes. The Malmo, Sweden native made his NHL debut on Oct. 9 against Montreal and scored his first goal in the first period. Burakovsky ranks tied for fifth among NHL rookies in assists this season and tied for eighth in points.

      The 6-3, 198-pound Burakovsky appeared in two games with Hershey this season, making his AHL debut on Friday at Lehigh Valley. Burakovsky registered 87 points (41 goals, 46 assists) in 57 games with the Erie Otters (OHL) in 2013-14.

  • Monday, December 22, 2014
    33-year-old Flyers rookie goalie wins debut in OT
    By The Sports Xchange

    WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Journeyman goalie Rob Zepp earned a win for the aged Sunday night.

    • Making his NHL debut at 33 with the Philadelphia Flyers, Zepp turned aside 25 shots in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

      NHL leading scorer Jakub Voracek scored a pair of goals, including the unassisted winner just 10 seconds into overtime, for the Flyers, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to begin the third period.

      Zepp made a sprawling toe save off center Mark Scheifele with just seconds left in the middle frame that seemed to spark the visitors, who were a rather listless group for much of the first 40 minutes.

      Struggling center Vincent Lecavalier also scored twice for the Flyers (13-14-6), his third and fourth goals of the season. His second of the game at 16:46 of the third period tied the contest.

      Right winger Matt Halischuk scored his first goal of the season for the Jets (17-10-7), while defenseman Dustin Byfuglien notched his eighth and center Mathieu Perreault added his sixth.

      Regular Philadelphia backup Ray Emery got the night off after playing in Toronto on Saturday night. The club's No. 1 netminder, Steve Mason, was injured during practice Friday, prompting Zepp's promotion from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League.

      Zepp, signed in July after seven seasons with the Berlin (Germany) Polar Bears, said the triumph was a storybook finish to a whirlwind 48 hours.

      "The way the guys battled in the third period was unbelievable," Zepp said. "I appreciate this more than anybody knows. This is 26 years trying to get here. And then to be able to get here and play, and the game wasn't perfect, obviously, but to get the win at the end like that is incredible."

      Zepp played alongside Flyers captain Claude Giroux in Berlin during the last NHL lockout.

      This season, he earned a job with the Flyers organization and played 17 games with Lehigh Valley, posting an 8-5-4 record with a 2.70 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.

      "I've been reflecting on the journey to get here since I've been called up," he said. "There's so many different things along the way that have to come together for this to happen. I always believed in my ability, and I was fortunate to get an opportunity with the Flyers. And for the guys to have a third period like they did tonight and pull it out makes it extra special."

      Zepp said the start to his debut was pretty much a blur.

      "As calm as you try to be, when you wait this long and you get out on the ice, I'm not going to lie, I didn't feel like myself in the first 10 minutes," he said. "It was a little complicated, too, because (the Jets) were flying out there."

      Zepp, a native of Newmarket, Ontario, made a highlight-reel stop with just seconds left in the second period, snapping out his right skate while sprawled spread-eagle on the ice to steal a sure goal away from Scheifele.

      Giroux said that stop sparked the club heading into the dressing room.

      "He made some big saves and kept us in the game," the center said. "He's worked so hard to be here. His work ethic is unbelievable. There's no one who deserves it more than him.

      "We're really happy for him, and we wanted to get that win for him."

      Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec turned in a 19-save performance.

      The extra period had barely started when Voracek pounced on a loose puck that was bobbled by Byfuglien, went in on Pavelec and shot through his pads.

      "It was a good forecheck by (Giroux)," said Voracek, who leads the league with 44 points. He also leads in assists with 30. "He put pressure on Buff right after the faceoff, and as soon as I see it bounce over his stick, I knew I was going to have an opportunity to take it to the net."

      The game was the second of eight straight on the road for the Flyers, who play the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night before the Christmas break.

      The Jets, 7-1-4 in their past 12 games, head out to face the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

      Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said his club was particularly sloppy on its breakout.

      "You just can't keep kicking the puck into the neutral zone," he said. "We stopped making the plays you need to make and have the confidence to make them.

      "Speed is a really important part of our game, and I think we came off that on our front end. Our back end is as good as theirs."

      NOTES: Winnipeg D Dustin Byfuglien took a stick to the face in the late stages of Friday's 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins and missed the final few frenzied minutes of the game. However, he was back playing big minutes against the Flyers on Sunday, which was good news for a club already missing four key blue-liners to injury. ... The Flyers and Jets hadn't clashed in more than a year, when Philadelphia earned a 2-1 home-ice victory Nov. 29, 2013. ... Trailing the Maple Leafs 2-0 just six minutes into the first period Saturday in Toronto, the Flyers rallied to win 7-4. Toronto had been 14-0-0 this season when scoring first.

  • Monday, December 22, 2014
    NHL game roundup: Wings skid reaches six
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- Centers Nate MacKinnon and center Matt Duchene and right winger Jarome Iginla scored in a nine-round shootout to give the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night at Joe Louis Arena.

    • It was Detroit's sixth consecutive loss.

      Defenseman Erik Johnson scored for Colorado and goaltender while Calvin Pickard made 34 saves in the first 65 minutes.

      Center Pavel Datsyuk scored for Detroit, which is 1-7 in shootouts this season, while Petr Mrazek made 22 saves in regulation and overtime. Right winger Gustav Nyquist and left winger Tomas Tatar scored in the shootout.

      Stars 6, Oilers 5 (SO)

      EDMONTON, Alberta -- In the worst loss of a season that already features 27 losses in 34 games, Edmonton blew a three-goal lead on home ice and lost to Dallas in a shootout.

      Forwards Shawn Horcoff, Erik Cole, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin (twice) scored for Dallas in regulation while Horcoff added the winner in the shootout.

      Edmonton left winger Taylor Hall and center Mark Arcobello scored two goals each and right winger Ted Purcell once for Edmonton.

      Rangers 1, Hurricanes 0

      NEW YORK -- Defenseman Ryan McDonagh scored the game's lone goal, and goaltender Cam Talbot made 18 saves as the New York Rangers defeated Carolina at Madison Square Garden.

      The Rangers (17-10-4) earned their sixth consecutive win. The Hurricanes (9-20-4) lost for the eighth time in nine games.

      New York also defeated Carolina 3-2 in a shootout in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday.

      Blackhawks 4, Maple Leafs 0

      CHICAGO -- Forward Patrick Kane scored a goal and added two assists, while fellow forward Patrick Sharp added three assists and Chicago shut out Toronto at the United Center.

      Backup goaltender Antti Raanta, spelling No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, stopped all 31 of Toronto's shots in the game. Toronto goaltender James Reimer stopped 30 of Chicago's 34 shots.

      Defenseman David Rundblad, forward Kris Versteeg and center Jonathan Toews also scored goals for Chicago.

      Bruins 4, Sabres 3 (OT)

      BOSTON -- Just when their slide looked like it was going to continue, Boston pulled out a dramatic win over Buffalo.

      Defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who had an earlier goal in the game, forced overtime with his second goal of the game with 1:31 remaining in regulation and right winger Loui Eriksson scored with 2:46 left in overtime, giving the Bruins a victory. Forward Chris Kelly scored the other goal for Boston.

      Center Tim Schaller, and defensemen Andres Meszaros and Rasmus Ristolainen scored for Buffalo.

      Flyers 4, Jets 3 (OT)

      WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- NHL leading scorer Jakub Voracek scored unassisted just 10 seconds into overtime as Philadelphia beat Winnipeg.

      The goal was his second of the game and 14th of the season.

      Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier fired just his third goal of the season to tie the game at 16:46 of the third period.

      Rob Zepp, 33, a journeyman goalie who has played most of his pro hockey in Europe, made 25 saves in his NHL debut for Philadelphia (13-14-6), while regular backup Ray Emery got the night off after playing in Toronto on Saturday night. Philadelphia's No. 1 netminder Steve Mason was injured during practice on Friday, prompting Zepp's promotion from the American Hockey League.

  • Monday, December 22, 2014
    Talbot, Rangers blank Hurricanes
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- There's usually very little work during the regular season for Henrik Lundqvist's backup. As one of the game's top goaltenders, the New York Rangers have little reason to turn to anyone else.

    • Yet goaltender Cam Talbot once again made the most of his fleeting opportunities Sunday night.

      The 27-year-old stopped 18 shots for his third win and third shutout of the season as the Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 1-0 at Madison Square Garden for their sixth straight victory.

      Talbot, who signed a one-year contract extension Friday, has six shutouts in 27 career starts for the Rangers over the past two seasons. He hadn't started since Dec. 26 but with the Rangers playing back-to-back games and in the midst of a stretch of three games in four nights, coach Alain Vigneault wisely tapped Talbot for the start.

      "It was a lot of fun," said Talbot, who has a .938 career save percentage in 29 games. "Not a whole lot of work, so it's always a good thing. The guys played really well in front of me and they didn't give them a whole lot of quality opportunities, which is always nice when you haven't played a game in a few weeks."

      We are no different than any team in the NHL," Vigneault said. "You can't win if you don't get goaltending. (Lundqvist) is playing the way we know he can. When we use Cam, he's given us some real good performances."

      The Rangers swept the home-and-home series with the Hurricanes, which included a 3-2 shootout win in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday. This recent surge has propelled the Rangers to 17-10-4 and into third place in the Metropolitan and it's probably not a coincidence that the team is about as healthy as it's been all season during the stretch.

      "We've had a lot of different lineups with guys coming out early on and we were just trying to find our way through that," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "We started getting confidence and rolling again. We started playing like we're used to."

      This was the Hurricanes' third game in four nights and a slow start proved to be the difference. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh scored his second goal of the season at 4:10 of the first period and the Hurricanes barely threatened over the final 55:50 while losing for the eighth time in nine games.

      Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin did everything he could to keep his team within a goal, including making a remarkable save on center Derick Brassard with less than seven minutes to play in the third period.

      But the Hurricanes (9-20-4), who have 10 goals in their past nine games, couldn't find the equalizer.

      "He played real well," Hurricanes center Eric Staal said. "It's been unfortunate for him. He's played real well the last few times he's been in there. We have to try to get some offense for him but it hasn't been happening."

      "What can I do right now?" Khudobin said. "If you look at the game, it looks like I played good and whatever, but you still didn't get results. There are a lot of things in my head now but there's not much I can do. Tomorrow is practice. Go work on your things and focus on the next game."

      While the Hurricanes are sinking to the bottom of the standings, the fast-rising Rangers will concluded their own stretch of three games in four nights at home against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday before entering the holiday break.

      "We have a good feeling in the room here," Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. "We are not flying too high, but we are feeling good about our game and how we need to play it."

      NOTES: Hurricanes RW Alexander Semin returned to the lineup after missing six games with a lower-body injury. ... Hurricanes D John-Michael Liles was back in action after an upper-body injury sidelined him for three games. Hurricanes D Michal Jordan was scratched. ... Key players absent for the Hurricanes include C Jordan Staal (leg), D Andrej Nestrasil (upper body) and LW Jiri Tlusty (upper body). ... Rangers RW Lee Stempniak remains in quarantine as the team tests him for mumps. ... Rangers D Dan Girardi played in his 600th NHL game, all with New York. ... Rangers D John Moore was a healthy scratch.

  • Monday, December 22, 2014
    Bruins rally to defeat Sabres in OT
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- On the verge of suffering a painful defeat at the hands of a weaker and depleted opponent, the Boston Bruins came through with two points on Sunday night.

    • Defenseman Dougie Hamilton scored his second goal of the game with 1:31 left in regulation and right winger Loui Ericsson then delivered with 2:46 remaining in overtime to give the Bruins a 4-3 victory over the shorthanded Buffalo Sabres.

      It was Ericsson's second OT goal in the last three games.

      “It's always fun to score those important goals," he said. “I don't know why it's been that way but hopefully it continues like that."

      The win was only the fourth in the last 13 games for the Bruins and was also their fourth straight over Buffalo, their longest streak over the Sabres in almost 20 years. It was only the fourth time in 13 games the Bruins (17-14-3) scored more than two goals.

      Hamilton, who also had an assist, fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Jhonas Enroth after the Bruins had pulled goaltender Tuukka Rask. Erickson then took a pass from left winger Milan Lucic, broke in and, as defenseman Josh Gorges caught up, swept his seventh goal of the season past Enroth.

      “It's huge if you don't get the two points," said Lucic.

      Added defenseman/captain Zdeno Chara, who picked up his second assist of the game on the winner: “It was really a positive, especially any time you score with the extra attacker. You're feeding off that. You have the energy."

      The Sabres, who have what they think is the flu -- and not the mumps that are affecting the rest of the league -- and injuries running through the team, put up a great fight and deserved a better fate in suffering their third straight loss after four wins in a row.

      “Just the way the game ended you're disappointed, but the effort, we couldn't ask for more," said Buffalo coach Ted Nolan. “They gave us everything they had ... all things being equal, I thought we did a great job."

      Already hurting and sick enough to be dressing some players in a different locker room, the Sabres lost right winger Brian Gionta and left winger Marcus Foligno on the same high hit by Boston defenseman Matt Bartkowski in the first period.

      Gionta was knocked silly on the hit, Foligno stepped in and was injured in a fight with Bartkowski. Nolan said Gionta still wasn't feeling well after the game and added Foligno will be out “a while."

      “The head hits are dangerous hits so we'll let the league look at that and make the correct call," said Nolan.

      Enroth, who played a strong game before allowing the winner, didn't know until 5 p.m. he was playing and played because Michal Neuvirth was sick and too weak to play.

      Center Tim Schaller, who hails from nearby Merrimack, N.H., and played his college hockey at Providence, beat Rask on a wraparound 1:27 into the third period to break a 2-2 tie.

      As television cameras showed Schaller's parents in the stands, teammate Ryan Flynn, who assisted on the goal, retrieved the puck.

      Defensemen Andres Meszaros, a former Bruin, and Rasmus Ristolainen also scored for the Sabres (13-19-2), while left winger Chris Kelly also scored for the Bruins, his first goal in 23 games.

      The Bruins, 0 of 11 in the last five games and 1 of 29 in the last 15, actually scored twice on the same power play to take the lead. First, right winger Reilly Smith's shot from the blue line beat Enroth, but Eriksson was called for obstructing Enroth, on what appeared to be a clean play. Center Carl Soderberg then hit Hamilton for the goal that counted.

      NOTES: Like so many NHL teams, illness is sweeping through the Sabres, but LW Matt Moulson and RW Patrick Kaleta, who didn't make the trip, apparently don't have the mumps, the illness traveling through the NHL. "Right now they tell us that mumps doesn't have symptoms like the guys are having," coach Ted Nolan said before the game. "It's flu-like symptoms." ... Nolan was also missing D Tyler Myers, out with a lower-body injury but in line to play Tuesday night at Detroit; while Buffalo recalled D Mark Pysyk and F Tim Schaller. Mike Weber, who missed his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury, may also return on Tuesday. ... Boston D Matt Bartkowski played in his 100th game and was ejected early after knocking Brian Gionta silly with a high hit and then fighting Lw Marcus Foligno, who came to Gionta's defense. It was Bartkowski's first NHL fight. ... The Bruins finish their pre-Christmas schedule by hosting the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Heavy-hearted 'Hawks shut out Maple Leafs
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Right winger Patrick Kane has some bad news for the rest of the NHL -- he's playing at the top of his game and intends to continue doing so.

    • Kane scored one goal and added two assists to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to their third shutout of the season, a 4-0 shutout of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night at the United Center.

      Kane now has four goals and six assists in his last six games, with 16 goals and a team-leading 36 points this season.

      Not to be outdone, Blackhawks left winger Patrick Sharp -- who missed 14 games due to injury earlier in the season -- continues his scoring ways of late, assisting on three of Chicago's four goals.

      It was a strong bounce-back performance after Chicago lost 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night at Columbus.

      But the Blackhawks also played with inspiration and heavy hearts following the unexpected death early Sunday morning of assistant equipment manager Clint Reif, 34.

      The team held a moment of silence for Reif, who had been with the Blackhawks since 2005, prior to the game, and players wore a decal in remembrance of him on their helmets.

      "It's something that still hasn't sunk in for most of us yet," Blackhawks captain and center Jonathan Toews said. "We're definitely playing with heavy hearts out there. We're still in disbelief. The fact that we went out there and played the way we did, I think we dedicated that one to our good friend Clint."

      The Blackhawks (23-9-2) have now won 16 of their last 20 games.

      Backup goaltender Antti Raanta, spelling No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, stopped all 31 of Toronto's shots in the game. It was Raanta's second shutout of the season and improved his personal record this season to 6-2-0.

      "I commend the guys," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "(It was a) very emotional, draining day. They came up and played such a solid game from Antti right on out to play the right way.

      "We got better as the first period went on and then had a real solid third period, but commend the guys. (It was a) real challenging day."

      Toronto (19-12-3) dropped its third straight loss after a prior six-game winning streak.

      "We're not happy about the record we have in the last three games," Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "We have got to find a way to turn it around.

      "The bottom line is we didn't get points. It's a result-oriented business and we have to focus on getting results. We know how to do it and we've done it lots before, but right now we're in a little bit of a rut, but we'll find our way out."

      Goaltender James Reimer suffered the loss in goal for the Maple Leafs, stopping just 30 of Chicago's 34 shots. His record fell to 6-4-0.

      "That's a pretty good hockey club, obviously," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. "They executed at a very high level, moved the puck around us quite a bit in the game and we just didn't have an answer for it.

      "And when we did have chances, I think their goaltender made some big stops. We missed some golden opportunities both on the power play and 5-on-5."

      Defenseman David Rundblad scored his first career goal with the Blackhawks at 15:30 of the first period. It was Rundblad's second career NHL goal, his first coming with Ottawa back in the 2011-12 season. Sharp and Kane earned assists.

      Chicago went ahead 2-0 with one second left in the opening stanza when forward Kris Versteeg tallied his ninth goal of the season, good for third-most on the team. Versteeg took a feed from Kane and muscled it past Reimer. Also assisting on the play was Sharp.

      With the Blackhawks on the power play, Kane scored his 16th goal of the season at 9:07 of the third period on a wrist shot past Reimer. Sharp and defenseman Brent Seabrook assisted on the tally.

      Toews wrapped up Chicago's scoring, tallying his 13th goal, with an assist from Seabrook as well as defenseman Duncan Keith at 11:22.

      NOTES: Attendance was 22,131. ... Toronto entered the game with the highest scoring average in the NHL (3.39 goals per game). ... Sunday was the start of a seven-game road trip for the Maple Leafs, who play the Stars in Dallas on Tuesday. ... The Blackhawks play host to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Stars come back to beat Oilers in shootout
    By The Sports Xchange

    EDMONTON, Alberta -- Even by Edmonton Oilers standards, this was a bad loss.

    • They were up 5-2 on home ice with 21 minutes to go, and somehow, incredibly, found themselves on the wrong end of a crushing 6-5 decision.

      The Stars scored late in the second and two goals early in the third, then won it in the eighth round of a shootout to improve to 14-13-5.

      The Oilers fell to 7-20-7, losing for the 18th time in 19 games.

      "Yeah, it did feel good, I'd be lying if I said it didn't," said Dallas forward Shawn Horcoff, who scored the shootout winner. "We needed that win, and just coming back in the third the way we did was great.

      "We played super aggressive got in on them real hard, I thought we could come back."

      And they did, thanks to a pair of third period goals from Tyler Seguin, who leads the NHL with 25.

      "It's been a great road trip so far and it was gut-check time when it was 5-2 in the second period," said Seguin. "I have to give a lot of credit to (backup goalie) Anders Lindback coming in cold like he did (after the Oilers went up 4-2) and shutting the door.

      "We all tested ourselves in the third and I think (head coach) Lindy (Ruff) challenged us. We've had a few games in the past where we've been down a goal or two in the third and we haven't had much of a push, but I thought we dominated the game in the third period."

      The Oilers have grown accustomed to losing this season, but even this one knocked the wind out of them.

      "A couple of mistakes, we started to back off a little bit and we lost our confidence," said center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

      "And for whatever reason we let our foot off the gas."

      "There's no excuses, we're up three goals we have to find a way to close it off," added right winger Ted Purcell. "They're down two goals going into the third and they have the leading scorer in the league over there and he gets two goals. "We have to be a bit more aware. We have to do a better job of identifying who's on the ice and taking away their time and space."

      The Oilers started well enough, with left winger Taylor Hall giving them a lead just 2:58 into the first period. But it didn't last long as Horcoff and Erik Cole scored at 6:36 and 10:20 to give Dallas a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.

      The Oilers picked up speed in the second, starting with Purcell's goal at 11 seconds, followed by two from center Mark Arcobello and one more from Hall to give the Oilers a 5-2 lead.

      But the Stars rallied hard, with winger Jamie Benn scoring at 19:39 of the second and Seguin scoring twice in the third, at 52 seconds and at 9:13, to tie it up.

      "I could see it coming," said Edmonton interim Todd Nelson, who replaced Dallas Eakins, who was fired last week. "We were just trying to get out of the second period and they scored a power play goal to give them some life.

      "We talked about wanting to come out for the third and have a strong first five minutes, then they scored in the first minute. The game swayed in their direction and we couldn't recover."

      The Stars wouldn't let them.

      "It was a gutsy effort," said Benn. "We laid an egg in the second period and found a way to win the shootout. We have a lot of character guys in here."

      NOTES: The Oilers made first round draft pick C Leon Draisaitl a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He's been struggling and they wanted to make room for AHL call-up C Anton Lander, who was sent back down right after the game. ... Sunday's game was a battle of teams with the two worst Goals Against Average in the NHL. The Oilers have a 3.30 GAA and the Stars 3.32. ... Stars LW Ryan Garbutt returned to the lineup after finishing his three-game suspension for slew-footing Winnipeg's LW Dustin Byfuglien. ... The Stars assigned LW Curtis McKenzie to the AHL on Friday to beat the holiday roster freeze. ... G Kari Lehtonen got the start against Edmonton based on his 12-3-1 record, 2.05 GAA and .932 save percentage against the Oilers. ... Stars RW Tyler Seguin, who went second overall the Oilers LW Taylor Hall in the 2010 draft, has more goals (25), than all three of Edmonton's first overall picks (Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov) combined (23).

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Avalanche edge Red Wings in lengthy shootout
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- The Colorado Avalanche managed to hang around long enough Sunday night.

    • Center Nate MacKinnon, center Matt Duchene and right winger Jarome Iginla scored in a nine-round shootout to give Colorado a 2-1, come-from-behind win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

      Colorado came out on top despite playing for the second night in a row. The Avalanche beat the Sabres 5-1 Saturday in Buffalo.

      "Defensively, even if we gave up 30 shots, it was back-to-back games," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "I thought, under the circumstances, we performed pretty well."

      Defenseman Erik Johnson scored in regulation for Colorado (12-13-8), and goaltender Calvin Pickard made 34 saves through regulation and overtime.

      "It was fun," Pickard said. "It's a great place to play. A pretty good defensive match for a while. It was a pretty exciting shootout. It's nice to be on the winning end of it. I just wanted to be patient. They have a lot of guys with good hands and high-end skill."

      Iginla got the shootout winner. He skated in and scored with a shot after Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek stopped six in a row, most on attempted fakes, dekes and moves.

      "No one had really shot," Iginla said. "I just wanted to come in and pick a spot."

      Detroit (17-8-9) took its sixth consecutive loss.

      Center Pavel Datsyuk scored in the third period for Detroit, which is 1-7 in shootouts this season. Mrazek made 22 saves in regulation and overtime. Red Wings right winger Gustav Nyquist and left winger Tomas Tatar scored in the shootout.

      The Red Wings have six goals during the losing streak (0-2-4).

      "We're obviously not scoring very good right now," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "In the end, their goalie was good, and we didn't finish.

      "We need to find a way to score goals. We had lots of opportunities and didn't finish. They found a way to ride good goaltending and hang in there until they could find a way to get a goal and get the extra point. We need to find a way to get the second point. Two adds up better than one."

      Johnson's power-play goal tied the game with 4:15 left in the third period. He put in a one-time slap shot from the top of the left circle. It came 10 seconds after right winger Tomas Jurco went off for interference in the offensive zone.

      Datsyuk got the game's first goal 4:52 into the third period. On a power play, Datsyuk beat Pickard with a wrist shot from the high inside area of the right circle after taking a cross-slot pass from center Riley Sheahan. It was Datsyuk's 13th goal and the Red Wings' first goal in 95 minutes and three seconds of game time.

      Detroit had several opportunities to make it a two-goal lead in the following minutes but couldn't beat Pickard again.

      "I had to keep it at one because it's tough to come back from two goals," Pickard said.

      Pickard stopped defenseman Niklas Kronwall's tip attempt from the bottom of the left circle 1:33 into the third period. It came off a spinning blind pass from Datsyuk from inside the blue line.

      "Early in the third period, they certainly had a better start to the period," Roy said. "(Pickard) without a doubt, the first part of the third period was the star for us."

      Pickard stopped Tatar from the slot, as Tatar pulled up on the rush with 5:25 remaining in the second period.

      The Avalanche killed off a four-minute short-handed situation that began in the first period and ended 34 seconds into the second period. It was the result of center Maxime Talbot's high stick to the face of Kronwall that drew blood.

      NOTES: Detroit G Jimmy Howard did not play because of a lower-body injury sustained in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders. He is day-to-day. Tom McCollum was called up from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to back up Petr Mrazek ... Colorado G Semyon Varlamov remained out due to a groin injury. ... Red Wings C Stephen Weiss was still out because of a separated shoulder. ... Avalanche D Brad Stuart is a former member of the Red Wings. ... Detroit coach Mike Babcock reunited centers Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the same line. Datsyuk played center and Zetterberg left wing. Justin Abdelkader was on the right wing.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Bruins' Bartkowski ejected for high hit on Gionta
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- Buffalo Sabres right winger Brian Gionta left Sunday night's game against Boston after being leveled by a high hit from Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski 5:52 into the game.

    • Gionta was chasing a puck at his defensive blue line when Bartkowski nailed him, sending him to the ice clearly dazed.

      As teammate Marcus Foligno jumped in and started a fight with Bartkowski, Gionta was being tended to on the ice. He was helped off and the announcement came later he would not return.

      Bartkowski was given a major for interference and a game misconduct to go along with the five minutes he received for fighting.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    NHL roundup: Red Wings' Howard misses game with injury
    By The Sports Xchange

    Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard did not play Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche because of a lower-body injury sustained in Friday night's 2- 1 loss to the New York Islanders.

    • He is listed as day-to-day.

      Goalie Tom McCollum was called up from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League to back up Petr Mrazek.

      --The Edmonton Oilers made first-round draft pick center Leon Draisaitl a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He's been struggling, and they wanted to make room for AHL call-up center Anton Lander, who was tied for the scoring lead on Edmonton's minor league team.

      --Dallas Stars left wing Ryan Garbutt returned to the lineup after finishing his three-game suspension for slew-footing Winnipeg left wing Dustin Byfuglien.

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

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Hurricanes activate Semin from IR
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Carolina Hurricanes activated winger Alexander Semin from injured reserve, and he is expected to return to the lineup for Sunday's game against the New York Rangers. The team reassigned forward Justin Shugg to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League.

    • Semin, 30, has missed five games due to a lower-body injury. In the second year of a five-year, $35 million deal, he has just one goal and six points in 21 games this season.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Sabres recall Schaller, Pysyk
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Buffalo Sabres recalled forward Tim Schaller and defenseman Mark Pysyk from the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League.

    • Schaller is tied for the Amerks' team lead with eight goals and is fourth with 18 points in 29 games. He made his NHL debut in Montreal on Nov. 2, and registered five hits and three blocked shots in five two games before returning to Rochester.

      Pysyk is third among Amerks defensemen with 10 points in 28 games. A first-round pick in 2010, he made his NHL debut in 2012 and has 12 points in 63 career games for the Sabres.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Canucks' Hansen appears OK after collapsing
    By The Sports Xchange

    Vancouver Canucks right winger Jannik Hansen collapsed on the bench during the second period of Saturday night's 3-2 victory over Calgary after taking a hard hit from Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman.

    • Hansen was helped to the dressing room and didn't return to the game. Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said he didn't think Hansen was seriously injured.

      "I don't think there's going to be a problem," Desjardins said. "He seemed like he couldn't get his breath. He kind of went down.

      "But everything's checked out at the hospital and everything is fine."

      Wideman thought the hit was an innocent play.

      "We just collided," he said. "I think he was trying to hit me. I just held my ground.

      I'm not sure what happened. It was kind of weird. Hopefully, he is OK."

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Canucks stop five-game slide
    By The Sports Xchange

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Chris Tanev celebrated his 25th birthday in style by helping the Vancouver Canucks put the brakes on a five-game skid.

    • The Canucks defenseman scored 18 seconds into overtime to give Vancouver a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. The Flames had battled back from a 2-0 deficit only to see their winless streak extended to eight games (0-7-1).

      The winning goal came on a three-on-two rush. Centre Henrik Sedin carried the puck into the Calgary zone and fed Tanev with a pass. Tanev beat Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller with a wrist shot over the blocker.

      "We're a very confident group here, but when you blow a two-goal lead ... it just shows how resilient we are," said Tanev, who scored for just the second time this year.

      The goal capped a strange game that saw the Flames score into their own net and Vancouver right winger Jannik Hansen collapse on the bench in the second period after taking a hit from Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman.

      Hansen was helped to the dressing room and didn't return. Coach Willie Desjardins said he didn't think Hansen was seriously injured.

      "I don't think there's going to be a problem," Desjardins said. "He seemed like he couldn't get his breath. He kind of went down.

      "But everything's checked out at the hospital and everything is fine."

      Wideman thought the hit was an innocent play.

      "We just collided," he said. "I think he was trying to hit me. I just held my ground.

      I'm not sure what happened. It was kind of weird. Hopefully, he is OK."

      Vancouver took a 1-0 lead at 4:40 of the first period on a bizarre play.

      With Calgary attacking in the Vancouver end, Hiller raced to the bench on a delayed penalty. Wideman sent a pass back to the point that left winger Mason Raymond missed, resulting in the puck sliding the length of the ice into the empty net.

      Wideman said the puck handcuffed Raymond.

      "I don't know what to tell you," he said. "It was just a basic pass back to the point that kind of handcuffed him, took a funny bounce off the wall and ran all the way down the ice into the net."

      Calgary coach Bob Hartley said goal was another example of how things have gone wrong lately for the Flames.

      "For my part, that's the first time I have been involved in a goal like this and that sums up the way it has been going for us," he said.

      "But credit to our guys. We never quit and it's too bad we couldn"t get that last goal."

      Vancouver defenseman Yannick Weber was credited with his second goal of the season because he was the last Canucks player to touch the puck.

      Right winger Radim Vrbata also scored for Vancouver on the power play. It was the Canucks' first power-play goal in 19 attempts going back six games. Left winger Daniel Sedin had two assists.

      The win improved Vancouver's record to 19-11-2 for 40 points and helped ease some frustration in the locker room.

      "It gives the boys a little confidence in here," goaltender Ryan Miller said. "We were doing a lot right within this streak. We got rewarded with some bounces tonight.

      "You are going to go through these stretches. I thought we kept working, got some good bounces tonight and that's what happens."

      Calgary rookie left winger Johnny Gaudreau forced the four-on-four overtime by scoring at 7:05 of the third. Right winger David Jones got the other goal for the Flames, who are 17-15-3 for 37 points.

      "We felt really good in the third period," said Gaudreau, who has seven goals. "That was a heartbreaker to give one up there in overtime.

      "The guys are still disappointed. A loss is a loss. We'll take the one point and get back after it."

      The loss was Calgary's ninth in a row to the Canucks and the eighth straight time the Flames have lost in Vancouver.

      NOTES: Canucks LW Tom Sestito, who has dressed for just two games this season, says he might have to play somewhere else if he doesn't fit into coach Willie Desjardins plans. ... Vancouver D Dan Hamhuis, out with a lower body injury since Nov. 20, was on the ice with team physiotherapist Rick Celebrini before the morning skate. ... Canucks RW Zack Kassian, out since Nov. 23 with a finger injury, is expected to return after Christmas. ... The Canucks play Arizona on Monday night at Rogers Arena. The last time the Flames won at Rogers Arena was Dec. 23, 2011. ... Flames rookie C Josh Jooris played despite wearing a walking cast Saturday morning after blocking a shot in Friday's loss to the Dallas Stars. ... Calgary plays Monday in Los Angeles. ... Not dressed for the Flames was D Ladislav Smid (upper body) and C Mikael Backlund (abdominal surgery).

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Burns nets winner to lift Sharks past Blues in OT
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Brent Burns' overtime heroics rewarded the first sellout crowd at SAP Center in 11 games on Saturday night.

    • The San Jose defenseman drilled his 10th goal of the season from the middle of the blue line on the power play to lift the Sharks to a dramatic 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues to extend their winning streak at home to eight straight games.

      San Jose had not drawn a full house of 17,562 since Nov. 6.

      "He has a shot, doesn't he?" Sharks coach Todd McLellan said rhetorically. "He put himself in a good position, created a shooting lane. The pass was in his wheelhouse, he just pounded away at it. It's hard to stop a shot that fast and quick."

      Blues left winger Alexander Steen tripped Joe Pavelski at center ice following a St. Louis turnover that could have resulted in a breakaway by the Sharks' right winger to give the hosts the power play and set the stage for Burns.

      "Whenever a team gets a chance in overtime like that the odds go up that they score and they did a good job," Allen said.

      Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic tied the game with his fourth goal of the season with 20.6 seconds left in regulation. Vlasic's wrister from the left point slipped past Blues goalie Jake Allen after San Jose center Joe Thornton supplied the set-up feed.

      "There's a lot of ice available and, with Jumbo making that pass, he's not going to miss," Vlasic said. "It took a lot against a good defensive team. We found a way to get a late goal, but we had a lot of opportunities before that. It's nice to get the win the way we did."

      "The most disappointing part of it is team-wise we played extremely well and we didn't get the job done," Blues left winger Steve Ott said. "Collectively we made some mistakes and unfortunately those mistakes happened late in the game and in overtime. We have to clean ourselves up and we have to play better and find ways to close games out."

      The Sharks outshot the Blues 13-2 during the opening eight minutes of the second period, finally punched through to break a scoreless tie but went into the second intermission trailing as the visitors rallied to score a pair late.

      San Jose fourth-line center Andrew Desjardins scored his second goal of the season and first in 11 games at 10:47 when his shot from the bottom of the left circle elevated over Allen's right pad and under the goalie's blocker on the near post.

      "I would have liked to have the first one back," Allen said. "That was an unacceptable goal."

      St. Louis gained the equalizer at 14:29 when center Patrik Berglund scored his fourth of the season with a sweeping backhand shot past sprawled San Jose goalie Antti Niemi, who left a rebound on a hard slap shot from Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Sharks defensemen Brenden Dillon couldn't tie up Berglund's stick.

      Then, at 17:21, the pesky Ott scored his first goal in 55 games as a member of the Blues on a breakaway. St. Louis center Maxim Lapierre saw Ott had split Burns and Dillon and hit him in stride with a 50-foot pass from the offensive zone. It was Ott's first goal in 59 games overall as his last was scored while with Buffalo against Edmonton on Feb. 3, 2014.

      "We were pushing hard in that second period. I think we gained the momentum in the second even though we lost the lead," Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. "Guys came out hard in the third. ... It just took a long time."

      NOTES: San Jose rookie D Mirco Mueller will participate in the World Junior Tournament Dec. 26-Jan. 5 for Switzerland. Mueller, 19, has appeared in two previous World Junior events. He was a healthy scratch in six of nine games before the decision was announced. ... The Blues' top defense pairing of Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester were split up on Saturday after being on the ice for five of Los Angeles' six goals Thursday. Pietrangelo, a minus-10 coming into the game, was paired at the outset with Chris Butler while Bouwmeester, a minus-3, skated alongside Kevin Shattenkirk. ... St. Louis C David Backes became the 10th player in team history to appear in 600 career games. ... The Sharks and Blue hadn't met this season before Saturday, but will be done with their three-game series in the span of 12 nights. ... The Sharks begin a stretch of six of eight games on the road in Anaheim on Monday. ... The Blues cap a three-game trip in Denver on Tuesday. ... San Jose's healthy scratches included D Mirco Mueller, D Matt Irwin and C Chris Tierney. ... LW Chris Porter, D Petteri Lindbohm and LW Magnus Paajarvi did not dress for St. Louis.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    NHL game roundup: Islanders rally late to stun Lightning
    By The Sports Xchange

    UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Centers John Tavares and Anders Lee scored 12 seconds apart late in the third period Saturday night as the New York Islanders came back to stun the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 in front of a delirious sellout crowd at Nassau coliseum.

    • Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped the Islanders' first 42 shots and was 3:09 from authoring a shutout in his first career start when Tavares, falling to the ice, squeezed a shot between three players in the goalmouth.

      The Islanders won the subsequent faceoff and Lee got a stick on a shot by defenseman Travis Hamonic as the roar of the crowd, still buzzing over Tavares' goal, reached deafening levels.

      Left winger Nikolay Kulemin added an empty net goal with 1:11 left for the Islanders (23-10-0), who won their fourth straight. Goalie Jaroslav Halak made 19 saves.

      Right winger Brett Connolly scored just before the midway point of the third for the Lightning (20-11-4), who have lost seven of 10 (3-5-2). Vasilevskiy made 45 saves, including several of the point-blank variety.

      Penguins 3, Panthers 1

      PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored his first goal in nearly a month to lead Pittsburgh over Florida.

      Crosby broke his scoring drought with the game's final goal at 7:01 of the third period. It was the star center's 10th goal of the season but first since Nov. 24 after he went eight games without scoring.

      In the previous six games, Crosby had managed just two assists.

      Center Nick Spaling had a goal and an assist and defenseman Derek Pouliot, who was making his NHL debut, scored what turned out to be the winning goal for Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh. Right winger Steve Downie assisted on two goals before being ejected in the second period.

      Predators 6, Wild 5 (OT)

      SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Defenseman Mattias Ekholm scored his first goal of the season 1:45 into overtime to lift Nashville over Minnesota.

      Left winger Filip Forsberg and defenseman Roman Josi scored in the third to give Nashville a 5-3 lead, only to see the Wild rally to tie. Centers Calle Jarnkrok, Matt Cullen and Craig Smith also scored for the Predators, who got 22 saves from goaltender Pekka Rinne.

      The Wild got two goals from left winger Zach Parise, a goal from left winger Jason Zucker, a power play goal from defenseman Marco Scandella, and the tying goal from left winger Thomas Vanek in the final minute of regulation.

      Kings 4, Coyotes 2

      LOS ANGELES -- Center Anze Kopitar collected three assists and winger Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist as Los Angeles defeated Arizona.

      Defenseman Jamie McBain added two assists and goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 15 Arizona shots to move the Kings into a tie with the San Jose Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division.

      Arizona got goals from center Martin Hanzal, winger Kyle Chipchura and 31 saves from goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

      Avalanche 5, Sabres 1

      BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Left winger Alex Tanguay scored twice to lead Colorado over Buffalo.

      Defenseman Erik Johnson, left winger Cody McLeod and center John Mitchell also scored for the Avalanche. Goalie Calvin Pickard made 25 saves.

      Goalie Jhonas Enroth made 18 saves for Buffalo. Left winger Johan Larsson scored Buffalo's lone goal, the first of his career.

      Capitals 4, Devils 0

      NEWARK, N.J. -- Center Nicklas Backstrom had two goals and an assist and goalkeeper Braden Holtby stopped 21 shots for his second shutout of the season, leading Washington over New Jersey.

      The Capitals extended their unbeaten streak to eight games and earned their third win in four games against the Devils this season.

      Capitals right winger Alexander Ovechkin scored his 15th goal of the season in the third period with a brilliant, diving goal.

      Flyers 7, Maple Leafs 4

      TORONTO -- Center Claude Giroux scored two goals and picked up an assist as Philadelphia beat Toronto.

      Right winger Jakub Voracek added four assists for the Flyers who gave up the first two goals of the game early in the first period before coming back to take command.

      Defenseman Niklas Grossmann, left wingers Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl and centers R.J. Umberger and Sean Couturier also scored for the Flyers.

      Left wingers Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk, right winger David Clarkson and center Peter Holland scored for the Maple Leafs, who have lost two in a row.

      Blue Jackets 3, Blackhawks 2 (SO)

      COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Defenseman Jack Johnson scored in the ninth round of a shootout and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky continued his torrid play of late, leading Columbus over Chicago.

      Right winger Jack Skille and defenseman Kevin Connauton scored in regulation for the Blue Jackets, while Bobrovsky had 39 saves. He also stopped eight of nine shooters in the shootout as Columbus snapped a 13-game losing streak (0-10-3) since Feb. 18, 2011 to the Blackhawks.

      The Blackhawks got goals from right winger Patrick Sharp and right winger Ben Smith, while goaltender Corey Crawford had 17 saves in his first start back from an injury.

      Canadiens 4, Senators 1

      MONTREAL --Two late third-period goals lifted Montreal over Ottawa.

      Left winger Brandon Prust, right winger Brendan Gallagher and centers Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk scored for the Canadiens.

      Right winger Erik Condra scored for the Senators.

      Goaltender Carey Price made 24 saves for Montreal. Netminder Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots for Ottawa.

      Rangers 3, Hurricanes 2 (SO)

      RALEIGH, N.C. -- Center Mats Zaccarello scored the only goal in a shootout as the New York Rangers extended their winning streak to five games, defeating Carolina.

      It was a late-game turnaround for the Rangers because defenseman Kevin Klein scored with 2:23 remaining in regulation to force overtime.

      Center Jeff Skinner, center Nathan Gerbe and left winger Chris Terry were denied in the shootout for Carolina.

      Canucks 3, Flames 2 (OT)

      VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Defenseman Chris Tanev scored 18 seconds into overtime and Vancouver snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Calgary.

      The Flames forced the four-on-four overtime by tying the score at 7:05 of the third period when left winger Johnny Gaudreau took a pass from center Jiri Hudler and snapped a shot past Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller.

      The Canucks improved their record to 19-11-2 for 40 points. Right winger David Jones scored for Calgary, which saw its losing streak extended to eight games (0-7-1). The Flames are 17-15-3 for 37 points.

      Sharks 3, Blues 2 (OT)

      SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Brent Burns' overtime heroics rewarded the first sellout crowd at SAP Center in 11 games. The San Jose defenseman drilled his 10th goal of the season from the middle of the blue line on the power play to lift the Sharks to a dramatic win over St. Louis to extend their winning streak at home to eight straight games.

      San Jose had not drawn a full house of 17,562 since Nov. 6.

      Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic tied the game with his fourth goal of the season with 20.6 seconds left in regulation.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Islanders rally to defeat Lightning
    By The Sports Xchange

    UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- New York Islanders center Anders Lee entered Saturday night having played 363 hockey games since his freshman year of high school. So at some point along the way, he figures he was part of a team that mounted a come-from-behind win by scoring multiple goals in the final few minutes of the third period.

    • "For sure," Lee said. "Played so much hockey."

      But none of those wins felt as good as the win Lee helped author Saturday.

      Islanders center John Tavares tied the game with 3:09 left before Lee scored the winning goal just 12 seconds later to lift New York to a stunning 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at a euphoric Nassau Coliseum.

      "Tonight was special," Lee said. "It was a fun way to come back. And obviously with the atmosphere and everything, it was a fun building tonight."

      The Islanders dominated the Lightning for most of Saturday night and ended up outshooting Tampa Bay 48-21. But they were stymied repeatedly by rookie goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who had several point-blank stops among the 45 saves he made in his second career start.

      Lightning right winger Brett Connolly finally broke the scoreless tie with a goal 9:16 into the third period, and Vasilevskiy was 3:09 away from a shutout when Tavares tied the game.

      Tavares, circling around in front of the net, was falling as he shot but managed to sneak the puck between a pair of players in front of Vasilevskiy.

      The Lightning turned the puck over after winning the subsequent faceoff and the puck ended up on the stick of defenseman Travis Hamonic, who fired it toward the net. Lee, who was facing Hamonic, got a stick on it and redirected it past Vasilevskiy.

      Lee fell to his knees and pumped his fists as the cheers from the sellout crowd of 16,170 -- which hadn't even had a chance yet to applaud the announcement of Tavares' goal -- reached deafening levels.

      "'Hammer' just put a nice shot, perfect spot for me to tip a little bit," Lee said. "Was able to get it to come back the other way and surprise them a little bit. Was pretty pumped up after that one."

      Left winger Nikolay Kulemin added an empty-net goal with 1:11 left for the Islanders (23-10-0), who won their fourth straight following a three-game losing streak that included back-to-back losses in which New York blew a three-goal lead.

      "We've been on the other side of it, too," said Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, who was behind the bench last season when New York lost 13 games in which it squandered a two-goal lead. "When you've got a club that works as hard as we worked tonight, you hope you get rewarded. And the right thing happened tonight."

      Goalie Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves for the Islanders, who remained two points behind Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division. The winning streak is the fourth of at least four games for New York this season.

      "It's awesome," Hamonic said with a wide grin. "It's fun. Playing hockey right now is a ton of fun and things are obviously going good for us as a group."

      The once-potent Lightning (20-11-4) isn't having as much fun lately. Tampa Bay entered Saturday with an NHL-high 112 goals but has scored two goals or less seven times in the last 10 games, during which it is 3-5-2.

      "We generated 20-some shots," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "That's not enough. One goal -- can't expect your goaltenders every night to pitch a shutout. You've got to give them a little bit of help and we just haven't been able to do that."

      With losses Friday (a shootout defeat at the hand of the New Jersey Devils) and Saturday, the Lightning fell into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with the Montreal Canadiens, who beat the Ottawa Senators, 4-1.

      "Came out of the gate pretty strong and banked some points," Cooper said. "And now we're giving them away."

      NOTES: Islanders C John Tavares needed stitches when he was hit in the ear by a puck shortly after C Anders Lee's go-ahead goal. ... The Islanders had three healthy scratches: LW Eric Boulton, D Matt Donovan and D Brian Strait. ... The Lightning scratched G Ben Bishop, who missed his third straight game because of a lower-body injury, as well as RW J.T. Brown and D Andrej Sustr, who were healthy. C Tyler Johnson returned after missing Friday's game because of a stomach virus. ... Lightning D Jason Garrison left in the second period with an undisclosed injury. Coach Jon Cooper admitted he was concerned about Garrison afterward. ... The Lightning finished 16-25-1-2 (wins-losses-ties-overtime losses) all-time at Nassau Coliseum, which the Islanders are vacating at the end of the season. Cooper, who went to college across the street from Nassau Coliseum at Hofstra University, admitted to feeling "very nostalgic" about Tampa Bay's final scheduled trip to the Coliseum. Cooper said he went to about 20 Islanders games a year while at Hofstra during the mid-to-late 1980s.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Jackets end long losing streak to Blackhawks
    By The Sports Xchange

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets haven't lost a game since November. But that streak wasn't the topic of discussion on Saturday night as a shootout beckoned in Nationwide Arena.

    • No, the Blue Jackets were sick and tired of losing to the Chicago Blackhawks.

      "When we got to the shootout, we were like 'We have to win this,'" Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson said. "We had to get the monkey off our backs."

      Johnson scored in the ninth round of a shootout, leading the Blue Jackets to a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks before 18,164.

      The Blue Jackets had lost 13 straight to Chicago, an 0-10-3 skid that started during the 2010-11 season and was tied for the longest head-to-head streak of futility in the league.

      "Our guys have pride," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "You always want to win. But you get tired of losing to the same team, too. It gets personal."

      Right winger Jack Skille and defenseman Kevin Connauton scored in regulation for the Blue Jackets, and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had 39 saves.

      Bobrovsky also stopped eight of nine shooters in the shootout.

      The Blackhawks got goals from right winger Patrick Sharp and right winger Ben Smith, and goaltender Corey Crawford had 17 saves in his first start back from an injury.

      Chicago lost despite outshooting the Blue Jackets 41-19.

      "We did everything but win that game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought the quality of chances were in our favor, but when you let a team hang around and get into a shootout, it's anybody's game."

      Johnson made a series of moves that confounded Crawford, forcing him out of the way before easily scoring.

      Crawford threw the puck out of his net the length of the ice in frustration.

      As much as the Blue Jackets were outplayed, they never trailed.

      The Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead at 17:24 of the first period when Skille redirected a puck past Crawford off a shot by defenseman Fedor Tyutin.

      Sharp, who has 27 goals in his career against Columbus, pulled Chicago even at 7:27 of the second period.

      The Blue Jackets took a 2-1 lead at 1:55 of the third period -- with one second left on a power play -- when Connauton's wrister from the left point beat Crawford.

      Chicago pulled even at 8:49 of the third on a goal that caused much confusion, not just in Nationwide Arena but all the way to the NHL's review booth in Toronto.

      Chicago's Markus Kruger ran over Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski on his way to the net, then slide skates first into Bobrovsky, who was pushed to his right.

      The puck went off Kruger's skates, then glanced off Smith's stick and went into the net.

      NHL official Chris Rooney signaled "no goal" on the ice, but after a lengthy review, it was allowed to stand.

      The Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in nine straight games, have gone to overtime or shootout in six straight, one short of an NHL record.

      NOTES: Blackhawks G Corey Crawford, out since Nov. 29, returned to the lineup. Crawford was hurt when he slipped and fell at a rock concert, he said. ... Add two more Blue Jackets to the injury list. LW Boone Jenner will miss one to two months after a stress fracture was discovered in his back after a test on Friday. LW Brian Gibbons is expected to miss four to six weeks with a knee injury. ... The Blue Jackets lead the NHL with 209 man-games lost to injury. ... Chicago D Duncan Keith was back in the lineup after missing a game out of fear that he had contracted the mumps virus. Tests were negative.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Canadiens 4, Senators 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    MONTREAL --Two late third-period goals lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

    • Left winger Brandon Prust, right winger Brendan Gallagher and centers Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk scored for the Canadiens.

      Right winger Erik Condra scored for the Senators.

      Goaltender Carey Price made 24 saves for Montreal (21-11-2). Netminder Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots for Ottawa (14-13-6).

      With the Canadiens on the power play, the Senators got the scoring started in the first period.

      After right winger Sven Andrighetto lost his balance at the Ottawa blue line, center David Legwand got the puck up to right winger Erik Condra, who was looking to kill time and took a shot from below the right circle. Price, on his feet, made the save, but the puck dropped between his legs and trickled just in front of the goal line, where Condra poked it in at 2:50.

      Prust tied the score at 6:38 when his sharp-angled, goal-line shot from Lehner's glove side squeaked through. It was the winger's 100th career NHL point.

      Montreal went ahead at 7:30 of the second period on a strike off an odd-man rush from its top line. Left winger Max Pacioretty skated into the Ottawa zone and dished off to center Alex Galchenyuk, who then quickly fed Gallagher. Pacioretty wasted little time sliding it past Lehner for his ninth goal of the season.

      Plekanec made it 3-1 on a late third-period power play. After struggling to keep the puck in the Ottawa zone, the Canadiens finally sustained some pressure. Right winger Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau found Plekanec at the goal line to Lehner's left. Plekanec spun around to beat the Ottawa goalie stick side at 16:50.

      Galchenyuk scored his 10th goal of the season less than a minute later on a one-timer after some quick passing from Pacioretty and defenseman Alexei Emelin.

      NOTES: Canadiens C Lars Eller returned to the lineup after missing the last five games with an upper-body injury. LW Max Pacioretty took his usual spot on the top line after leaving Thursday's game after taking a hard hit from Ducks D Clayton Stoner. ... Montreal LW Michael Bournival was the lone healthy scratch. ... The Senators were without D Marc Methot, D Patrick Wiercioch, RW Chris Neil and C Zack Smith, all sidelined by injury. ... Montreal G Carey Price appeared in his 397th game with the club, tying him with Ken Dryden for third all-time among Canadiens goalies. ... The game against Montreal closed out the sixth of 13 back-to-back sets on Ottawa's schedule this season.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Rangers rally late for fifth straight win
    By The Sports Xchange

    RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Rangers are in such a groove that they figure they'll find a way to keep winning.

    • That happened Saturday night with a late-game goal and then success in a shootout, defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 at PNC Arena.

      "The most important thing is that we never gave up," New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. "We kept working really hard and really deserved this."

      Center Mats Zaccarello scored the only goal in a shootout as the Rangers extended their winning streak to five games.

      It was a late-game turnaround for New York because defenseman Kevin Klein scored with 2:23 remaining in regulation to force overtime.

      "I thought it was just a matter of time before things happened," said center J.T. Miller, who scored the first of the Rangers? two third-period goals.

      That mindset was spread throughout the team.

      "I thought the resilience we showed not to let up (was critical)," Klein said. "I thought we did a good job of not getting down."

      The Rangers (16-10-4) completed only the fourth perfect road trip of four or more games in franchise history after coming off a western swing for the first three games of the trip.

      Despite holding a lead throughout chunks of the game, there were uneasy feelings for the Hurricanes.

      "They were coming," Carolina coach Bill Peters said. "We didn't have the puck. We didn't make many plays. We were just holding on the whole time."

      Center Jeff Skinner, center Nathan Gerbe and left winger Chris Terry were denied in the shootout for Carolina.

      Skinner responded to the first goal for the Rangers by scoring to put the Hurricanes back in front in what became an eventful third period.

      Yet the sudden change of fortunes later in the game sullied some of the stellar goaltending from Cam Ward for the Hurricanes (9-19-4), who were aiming to post consecutive victories for the first time since the first week of November.

      Miller's power-play goal, set up by a pass from Zuccarello, pulled the Rangers even 4:01 into the third period. The goal came as Miller cut through the defense.

      "It felt awesome to score there," Miller said.

      But Skinner's back-hander came 26 seconds later off a pass from center Elias Lindholm. It was his second goal in three games.

      Lundqvist made 18 saves. He has been the winning goalie in each game of the five-game streak.

      This time it took some dramatics.

      "I thought we kept playing," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. "It's not an easy league to come back."

      Ward stopped 32 shots.

      Even with the outcome, Ward kept a hot-scoring team in check for the second game in a row, though this time the Hurricanes weren't rewarded. Combined with Thursday night's victory against Toronto, he stopped 57 of 60 shots in the two games.

      "When you have lead late in the third period and they score a goal with two minutes to go, you can't help but think you let a win slip away," Ward said. "It's unfortunate to once again lose in a shootout."

      Ward's strong play in the net has become something the Hurricanes can count on for the past few weeks, Peters said.

      "He stole us a point here tonight," Peters said.

      Rangers left winger Rick Nash's 11-game point streak, which was the longest active stretch in the NHL, was snapped.

      The Rangers began with an early string of high-quality scoring chances, but the Hurricanes struck first.

      Terry scored on a 2-on-1 situation, receiving a pass from center Nathan Gerbe for his sixth goal of the season just 7:20 in the game. The goal wasn't verified until video review confirmed that the puck hadn't cross the goal line at the other end of the ice for a Rangers goal.

      Terry has goals in back-to-back games for the second time this season, both times with the second game of those sets coming against the Rangers.

      The Rangers thwarted three Carolina power plays across the first two periods.

      NOTES: D Derick Brassard was back in the Rangers' lineup after missing two games with the mumps. On the flip side, RW Lee Stempniak missed the game with the mumps and he's being isolated from the team for five days. ... LW Alexander Semin is closer to returning to the Carolina lineup after he missed his sixth game in a row with a lower-body injury. ... The Hurricanes played Saturday night without any healthy extra players. ... In an NHL rarity, neither team's lineup had a player who has ever played for the other team. ... The teams meet in a rematch on Sunday night in New York. The Hurricanes don't return home until Dec. 29.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2014
    Crosby ends dry spell in Penguins' 3-1 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    PITTSBURGH -- Scoring goals is nothing new for Sidney Crosby as he has 284 in his 10-year career.

    • However, when his shot found the back of the net in the third period on Saturday night, Pittsburgh's star center broke into a wide grin as his first goal in nearly a month led the Penguins to a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.

      Crosby broke his scoring drought with the final goal at 7:01 of the third period on a wrist shot from the right circle. It his 10th of the season but first since Nov. 24 after he went eight games without scoring.

      In the previous six games, Crosby had managed just two assists.

      "It was nice to get a good look and finally do something with it," Crosby said. "It seems like I've had a hard time getting a good bounce lately, but (defenseman Kris Letang) did a really nice job of holding the puck and drawing everyone toward him and away from me."

      Center Nick Spaling had a goal and an assist and defenseman Derek Pouliot, who was making his NHL debut, scored what turned out to be the winning goal for Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh (22-6-4). Right winger Steve Downie assisted on two goals.

      Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 45 saves to win for the sixth time in his last seven games. His performance came two nights after shutting out the Colorado Avalanche.

      "It was a real battle, a really tough game," Fleury said. "The Panthers are a good team, a much-improved team and they just kept coming after us."

      Rookie center Vincent Trocheck scored the Panthers' lone goal in his first game playing in his native Pittsburgh.

      Florida goalie Roberto Luongo stopped 31 shots and fell to 1-3-3 in his last eight starts against the Penguins. The Panthers (14-9-8) had played beyond regulation in their previous four games, tying a franchise record.

      "Sometimes we didn't have puck-luck," Panthers coach Gerald Gallant said. "We hit a lot of posts. I thought Fleury was outstanding. He made some great saves and they get some breaks.

      "The guys competed and battled and I thought it was a complete effort, a complete team game from our group and (I'm) real happy."

      Spaling gave the Penguins an early 1-0 lead when he scored from beyond the left circle at 1:48. Then Pouliot scored at 6:56. Pouliot's goal came on his first career shot, a wrister from just inside the right dot.

      "It was exciting, a dream come true," Pouliot said of scoring in his debut. "I had played in some exhibition games, so I had an idea what to expect, but the speed of the game is so much faster here than in the AHL and everyone on the ice is capable of making a play at any time. It was fun."

      Trocheck answered with a power-play goal 35 seconds later to cut the deficit to 2-1. He tipped in a shot by center Jonathan Huberdeau for his third goal of the season.

      The first period was contentious with 15 penalties totaling 38 minutes.

      There were eight more penalties covering 30 minutes during a scoreless second period. Downie received a 10-minute misconduct penalty after getting into a fight with Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

      The teams meet against Monday night at Florida.

      "Downie is a guy who can get fueled up," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "The thing about him is he is always there for his teammates. If he feels one of them is being taken of advantage of, he's ready to help."

      NOTES: Penguins C Craig Adams' franchise-record streak of 319 games played in a row ended as he sat out with an undisclosed injury. ... Pittsburgh D Christian Ehrhoff (lower body) and D Paul Martin (undisclosed) also did not play. .. Ehrhoff is expected to miss two more games then return when the Penguins come back from Christmas break next Saturday to host Washington. ... Penguins LW Chris Kunitz returned to the lineup after missing eight games with a broken foot and skated on the first line with C Sidney Crosby and RW Patric Hornqvist. ... Panthers RW Brad Boyes was back in action after missing Thursday's win at Philadelphia because of an upper body injury. ... Florida RW Jimmy Hayes was a healthy scratch as coach Gerard Gallant wanted to give rookie C Vincent Trocheck an opportunity to play in his hometown. ... Penguins D Simon Despres was credited with 10 hits.

  • Saturday, December 20, 2014
    Avalanche score impressive win over Sabres
    By The Sports Xchange

    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Colorado coach Patrick Roy made it clear Saturday morning that he wanted to see his team better utilize its speed.

    • His players answered the bell in one of Colorado's most impressive performances of the year, a 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

      "That was the point and that was the objective," Roy said. "I thought we seemed very confident in our morning skate and I was hoping we could bring this to the game and when I saw the way we started, I was very happy and I was confident we would have a good night."

      Left winger Alex Tanguay had two goals for Colorado. Defenseman Erik Johnson, left winger Cody McLeod and center John Mitchell also scored for the Avalanche (11-13-8).

      Colorado's speed and skill was on display right from the very start, as the Avalanche quickly jumped out to a commanding 2-0 lead.

      Johnson opened the scoring 2:23 into the first on a wrist shot from inside the right circle. Johnson beat Enroth with a shot to the far left side of the net for his seventh goal of the year.

      McLeod made it 2-0 five minutes later by finishing a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush. Following a terrific feed from center Ryan O'Reilly, McLeod scored on a tap-in for his second goal of the year.

      "That was the best first period I think we've had all year," Johnson said. "As far as establishing pressure defensively and in the neutral zone, it was a really good period ... we played a really good game, one of our best this season."

      Tanguay increased Colorado's lead to 3-0 just under two minutes into the third. As the trailer on an odd-man rush, the veteran left winger ripped a wrist shot into the upper right corner of the net for his 10th goal of the season at 1:51. The goal came after a fine setup by Mitchell and right winger Jarome Iginla.

      Tanguay also added an empty-netter with 26 seconds remaining.

      "We're not kidding anyone, we've been hard (pressed) since the start of the year," Tanguay said. "We haven't been played at the level we should be playing at. And tonight in the first, we skated, we moved the puck, and we used our tools which is our speed. You saw the first two goals with speed, driving the puck. We've got to get back to basics and move the puck and, like I said, use our best tool -- speed."

      Mitchell made it 4-0 at 5:09. Playing for the first time since Nov. 29 due to a lower-body injury, Mitchell put home an opportunity in the slot for his fourth goal of the year.

      Young goaltender Calvin Pickard continued his recent stretch of strong play between the pipes for Colorado and made 25 saves.

      "He's been outstanding," Tanguay said. "Ever since he's come here he's battled, he's given us a chance to win every night. He's been nothing but spectacular."

      Goalie Jhonas Enroth made 18 saves for Buffalo (13-18-2). Left winger Johan Larsson scored Buffalo's lone goal with 6:33 remaining in the third, the first of his career.

      The loss ended a six-game home win streak for the Sabres, who have been much improved over the last month.

      "They're a very skilled team," Nolan said. "You give them a chance, they're going to put them in. The scary part is I liked our first period except we had made a couple crucial mistakes and they capitalized on it. ... We did the same thing (later on). It was more our mental mistakes than anything."

      A bad night for the Sabres became even more difficult due to injuries. Right winger Patrick Kaleta left in the second period due to an illness, and defenseman Tyler Myers left in the second due to a lower-body injury. Neither player returned.

      Nolan said after the game that Myers is questionable for Buffalo's game Sunday against Boston and that more players will likely be called up from the minors.

      NOTES: LW Matt Moulson (sick), C Torrey Mitchell and D Tyson Strachan were scratched for the Sabres. C Cody McCormick (lower body) was placed on injured reserve before the game. ... The Sabres recalled C Mikhail Grigorenko and LW Johan Larsson from the Rochester Americans (AHL) before the game. ... D Nick Holden and RW Dennis Everberg were scratched for the Avalanche. ... This was the first of two meetings between the two teams this season. Their next meeting is on March 28 at Colorado. ... This was the 136th game all-time between Buffalo and the Colorado/Quebec franchise.

  • Saturday, December 20, 2014
    Backstrom leads Capitals past Devils
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEWARK, N.J. -- Nicklas Backstrom knows that he's been on a bit of a scoring tear for the Washington Capitals, but the veteran center knows that things can turn around in a hurry in the NHL.

    • "We came out hard in the second period and all of a sudden, we started to get some chances," said Backstrom, who had two goals and an assist in the Capitals' 4-0 whitewash of the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at the Prudential Center.

      "We're working better together and using the game better," said Backstrom, who now has five goals and four assists in the last six games, all wins for the Capitals (16-10-6). "We have created opportunities off that. The last couple of games, we're relaxing a little and not waiting for the power play to get us going. We're working better and that's the big difference."

      Another big difference was the play of goaltender Braden Holtby, who stopped 21 shots for his second shutout of the season, the 13th of his career and his 14th win of the season.

      "I think we did a pretty good job of clearing it from out front," said Holtby, who beat the Devils for the third time in four games this season. "I didn't have to deal with many second opportunities. I give credit to my defensemen for that. They kept them away."

      The Capitals extended their unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2).

      "I think we're doing what we've wanted to do all season, but we're now finding a way to do it consistently," Holtby said. "We're using our speed and size to our advantage. There aren't a lot of teams who can match up with us there. We now know it's our strength."

      Another Capital strength is the play of superstar Alex Ovechkin, who was brilliant skating up and down the ice all night, hit the post on two earlier opportunities, then scored his 15th goal of the season with a brilliant, diving goal.

      Ovechkin scored Washington's third goal of the night at 7:16 of the third period with perhaps the most amazing goal he has scored this season. The talented right winger went through two defensemen with a rush, then secured the puck as he dove to his right and scored his 15th goal of the season.

      Ovechkin downplayed the goal after the game.

      "I was just making a move," Ovechkin said. "It was a good play. I was frustrated early on with our first shift and was frustrated that the puck wasn't going in. I was glad to get the one there. We knew it was going to be a big game for us. We need to have this kind of game on the road and need to keep it going."

      Backstrom's second goal of the game was an empty net score on a backhand with 2:07 remaining.

      Cory Schneider stopped 17 shots in vain as New Jersey (12-17-6) lost for the 11th time in its last 14 games. They have not won consecutive games since Nov. 11 and Nov. 14, the second one a 1-0 win over Washington.

      "If you are going to move up in the standings, you have to go on a run," Schneider said. "Every team seems to do it or has a streak where it gets them in the mix. It almost seems like for the last season and a half, we've had trouble stringing together a hot streak. Again, we can talk about it all we want, but we just have to go out and do it."

      After Schneider made three saves during an early power play, the Capitals drew first blood in the opening minutes of the second period.

      Backstrom made a brilliant play up the ice, then found defenseman Mike Green, who fired a slap shot with Capitals right winger Troy Brouwer screening Schneider in front. Green's shot found the top right corner of the net, a shot that Schneider never saw and the Caps had a 1-0 lead at the 3:08 mark of the second on Green's fourth goal and first since Oct. 22.

      "I don't think he (Backstrom) even saw me on the play," Green said. "He might have just heard me. But he made a great pass and I was able to get it. It feels good to contribute. It's been a while, so it's good to get one again."

      The Capitals pushed the lead to 2-0 off some great work from Backstrom, who first cleared the puck from in front of the goal during a Devils' flurry, then skated back to receive a back pass from Jay Beagle to blast a wrist shot past Schneider for his ninth goal of the season with three minutes left in the period.

      Ovechkin was later awarded a penalty shot when Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky took him down on a breakaway, but Schneider stopped the attempt with a pad save.

      "He was flying tonight," Schneider said of Ovechkin, still marveling at Ovechkin's goal. "That was the best I have seen him play against us. You can see why he is such a dangerous player. He made a great move. Again, I stayed with him pretty well. I thought I had him but he was able to elevate in tight like that and finish it off."

      NOTES: New Jersey LW Mike Cammalleri was placed on the injured list with a lower body injury, retroactive to Dec. 13 and missed his fourth game with the injury. ... The Devils also recalled D Adam Larsson from Albany, where he was sent for conditioning after missing eight games with the mumps. Although he was in attendance for the game, Larsson did not play Saturday ... The Devils also recalled RW Mike Sislo from Albany to replace Cammalleri. Sislo had no goals and one assist in eight games with New Jersey earlier this season ... Devils C Patrik Elias remained stuck on 397 career goals after scoring one Friday night. Elias needs three goals for 400 and one assist for 600 in his 17-year NHL career, all with New Jersey. ... The Capitals' eight-game unbeaten streak is the team's longest since a 10-game streak in March-April 2013. ... Washington G Holtby entered Saturday's game with a 3-1 career record against New Jersey and a 1.00 goals against average. Capitals RW Ovechkin has tallied 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) in 36 career games against the Devils.

  • Saturday, December 20, 2014
    Kopitar, Gaborik lead Kings past Coyotes
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES – For the first time since the opening days of this season, the Los Angeles Kings are starting to show signs of going on an extended winning streak.

    • Center Anze Kopitar collected three assists and winger Marian Gaborik had a goal and an assist as the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Arizona Coyotes, 4-2, on Saturday at Staples Center.

      The Kings (17-11-6) won consecutive home games after a disappointing 1-3-1 trip, improving their record to 13-4-1 at home.

      Defenseman Jamie McBain added two assists and goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 15 Arizona shots to move the Kings into a tie with the San Jose Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division.

      Arizona (11-17-4) got goals from center Martin Hanzal, winger Kyle Chipchura and 31 saves from goaltender Devan Dubnyk. The Coyotes suffered their eighth loss in their last 10 games and fell 14 points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

      While it was no surprise for Los Angeles to get production from their stars, McBain chipped in offensively after not dressing for nine consecutive games.

      "You have to keep good practice habits until it’s your turn," McBain said. "We’ve got a really talented team and I had opportunities to hit guys who can finish around the net."

      After two home games against Calgary and San Jose, the Kings hit the road for tilts against the Flames, Oilers and Canucks teams with fewer points than Los Angeles. The Kings must get continued production from their top line to get a high seed for the playoffs.

      "They’re getting going," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. "They're both obviously different types of players; all three of them with Jeff [Carter]. They've all had their ups and downs this year and you expect them to take carry more of an offensive load. They’re doing a little bit more now."

      As for the Coyotes, their season continues in a downward spiral with their only victories this month coming against the woeful Oilers.

      “We got outcompeted on puck and we got fortunate with a couple of bounces to get ahead. In the end we took three penalties in the offensive zone that cost us the game,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.

      Hanzal echoed Tippett’s remarks regarding the team's poor effort and decision making as the factor in the defeat.

      "They are a good team and we knew we had to stay out of the penalty box to win the game," Hanzal said. "Dubnyk was unbelievable for us but we just didn’t play hard enough, it was unacceptable."

      Defenseman Alec Martinez scored what proved to be the game winning goal on the power play at 1:14 of the third period.

      With Hanzal in the penalty box for a delay of game penalty, Kopitar hit Martinez with a cross-ice pass and his slap shot from 28 feet cleanly beat Dubnyk for his sixth goal of the season.

      Center Trevor Lewis added an insurance goal at 16:24 of the third period, tipping in a feed from winger Tyler Toffoli for his fifth goal of the season.

      The Kings tied the game, 2-2, on Gaborik's 10th goal of the season on a power play at 17:40 of the second period.

      Kopitar took a pass from McBain and flipped a backhand pass to Gaborik who easily beat Dubynk with a wrist shot for his sixth goal in the last four games.

      The Coyotes scored twice inside the first six minutes of the second period, knotting the game, 1-1, on Hanzal's sixth goal of the season only 44 seconds into the middle frame.

      Less than five minutes later, the Coyotes took their first lead of the game when Chipchura's wrist shot to the left of Quick took a gratuitous bounce off the skate of Kings center Mike Richards and over the netminder's left shoulder at 5:42 of the second.

      The Kings jumped on top on right wing Jeff Carter's ninth goal of the season at 17:22 of the first period.

      Kopitar gained possession by stealing the puck from Yandle behind the Arizona net and feeding Carter, who rifled a slap shot past Dubnyk.

      NOTES: Arizona did not dress D Michael Stone, LW Lauri Korpikoski and C Alexandre Bolduc. ... Coyotes RW Shane Doan played in his 100th game against the Kings. ... The Kings placed D Robyn Regehr on Injured Reserve on Friday because of a hand injury sustained in the first period of Thursday's win over St. Louis. D Jeff Schultz was recalled from AHL affiliate Manchester to take his spot on the roster. Regehr is likely to miss 2-3 weeks. ... Los Angeles also recalled F Andy Andreoff from a conditioning assignment with Manchester. ... Los Angeles scratched Schultz, Andreoff and RW Jordan Nolan.

  • Saturday, December 20, 2014
    NHL roundup: Jackets place Jenner on IR
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Columbus Blue Jackets placed Boone Jenner on injured reserve with a stress fracture in his back that is expected to sideline the forward for one to two months.

    • Center Sean Collins was recalled from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League on Saturday.

      Jenner, 21, has six goals and six assists to go with 10 penalty minutes in 20 games this season. He had five goals and one assist in the eight games before being injured.

      Collins, 25, appeared in two games for Columbus earlier this season and has 19 points and 14 penalty minutes in 27 games with Springfield this season.

      ---The Ottawa Senators signed forward Nick Paul to a three-year entry-level contract.

      Paul, 19, leads the Ontario Hockey League's North Bay Battalion with 19 goals and 34 points with 28 penalty minutes in 27 games. He is in his third season with the Battalion.

      ---The Buffalo Sabres recalled forward Mikhail Grigorenko from the Rochester Americans of the AHL.

      Grigorenko has scored 19 points in 29 games with the Amerks this season, and has eight points in 44 games with the Sabres over the past two seasons.

      ---The Detroit Red Wings recalled goaltender Tom McCollum from the Grand Rapids Griffins and assigned defenseman Xavier Ouellet to the AHL club.

      McCollum, 25, has a 5-8-3 record with a 2.57 goals-against average in 16 games for the Griffins this season. McCollum had a career-high 24 victories for the Griffins last season, but has appeared in only one NHL game -- a relief stint against St. Louis in 2011.

      Ouellet, 21, has one assist in nine games with the Red Wings this season. He also has seven points and 12 penalty minutes in 18 games for the Griffins.

      ---The Los Angeles Kings recalled forward Andy Andreoff from his conditioning assignment with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL.

      Andreoff had five goals and five assists with a plus-8 rating and 11 penalty minutes in seven games with Manchester. In eight NHL games (all this season) with the Kings, Andreoff has no points and 12 penalty minutes.

      ---Defenseman Joe Morrow of the Boston Bruins was assigned to Providence of the AHL.

      Morrow skated in 15 games with Boston this season, including his NHL debut on Oct. 30 against the Sabres in Buffalo. The 22-year-old scored his first career NHL goal on Nov. 24 against the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

      ---The Dallas Stars reassigned left winger Curtis McKenzie to the Texas Stars of the AHL. McKenzie, 23, has one goal and 19 penalty minutes in 14 games for Dallas this season.