NHL Morning Skate — Dec. 1, 2013

NEW YORK – At Madison Square Garden, on Saturday afternoon, rookie netminder Cam Talbot made his first home start for the Rangers and Chris Kreider netted a hat trick to upstage the return of New York’s ex-bench boss, John Tortorella.

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Cam Talbot made his first home start Saturday – image by Lewis Bleiman

Since losing his first NHL start, 2-1 to Philadelphia, Talbot has reeled off six straight wins (6-1-0) and has yielded 11 goals in his eight appearances.

Kreider got the crowd into the game with the first goal of the match.

“The crowd went crazy as soon as Kreider buried that first one,” said Talbot. “They’re our seventh man, we feed off their energy.”

Kreider completed his first NHL hat trick near the midway point of the third period. During a post game interview he deftly deflected any praise to his linemates.

“Those are just the kind of players they are. It doesn’t matter really who you put with them, they’re so good. I’ve been really lucky to have some good linemates this year,” Kreider said. “I think if you play with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash, the game is going to slow down for you.”

Nash scored his third of the season and added two assists as he is now getting more comfortable on the ice with his linemates.

“It definitely opened things up. We had a lot of chances and we capitalized on our chances,” Nash said. “We were feeling some chemistry early and everything worked out.”

In Montreal, the Canadiens extended the Maple Leafs woes with a 4-2 win. Max Pacioretty collected two goals and an assist and managed 10 shots on goal in leading to the Habs to the win.

“Confidence is huge, and it’s not just confidence for shooting the puck, it’s confidence with reading the play,” Pacioretty said. “When I’m thinking too much I probably don’t get those chances, so it’s good to go out there and not think and just play my game.”

In Glandale, the Chicago Blackhawks used a three-goal first period to defeat the Coyotes, 5-2.

With the circus in Chicago, the Blackhawks were finishing up their extended seven-game road trip in the Arizona desert. The win over the Coyotes was their sixth straight as they finished the trip 6-1-0. The lone loss was to the Avalanche to open the trip.

“It’s a long time to be away from home, but we heard it’s the best ‘Circus Trip’ in the history of the Hawks,” said Patrick Kane. “If you told us before the trip that we’d be 6-1, I think we’d all be happy with that. We didn’t start off the way we wanted to but it definitely finished the way we wanted to.”

SATURDAY’S RESULTS

NY Rangers 5, Vancouver 2

Boston 3, Columbus 1

Montreal 4, Toronto 2

Pittsburgh 5, Florida 1

New Jersey 1, Buffalo 0 (OT)

Washington 3, NY Islanders 2 (OT)

Philadelphia 3, Nashville 2 (SO)

Chicago 5, Phoenix 2

Colorado 3, Minnesota 2 (SO)

Calgary 2, Los Angeles 1

San Jose 4, Anaheim 3 (SO)

 

LATE GAME HEROICS

Three close games saw a goal scored in the final minute of regulation on Saturday: 

*Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom notched a short-handed, game-tying goal with 48.5 seconds left in the third and Alex Ovechkin scored 2:07 into overtime as Washington rallied for their second straight win past regulation. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Washington player to score a shorthanded, game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation was Michal Pivonka on Jan. 24, 1990. 

* Mike Cammalleri scored the game-winning goal, his 10th of the season, with 23 seconds remaining in regulation as Calgary ended Los Angeles’ franchise record-tying 11-game point streak. 

*Wild captain Mikko Koivu scored the game-tying goal with 0:06 remaining in regulation as Minnesota rallied for a point in an eventual shootout loss to Colorado. Koivu (5-9–14) and Zach Parise (5-9–14) combined for 28 points in November, including five game-tying or winning goals in the last five minutes of regulation: 

Nov. 13: Parise tying goal with 4:17 remaining in 2-1 shootout win vs. Toronto

Nov. 17: Koivu winning goal with 3:12 remaining in 2-1 win vs. Winnipeg

Nov. 20: Koivu winning goal with 2:57 remaining in 4-3 win at Ottawa

Nov. 23: Parise tying-goal with 4:55 remaining in 3-2 shootout win at Winnipeg

Nov. 30: Koivu tying goal with 0:06 remaining in 3-2 shootout loss at Colorado

 HABS WIN ORIGINAL SIX SHOWDOWN

Montreal scored the first four goals of the game, led by Max Pacioretty’s three-point night (2-1—3) and Carey Price made 34 saves as the Canadiens held off a second-period Maple Leafs rally to improve to 5-0-1 in their last six games. Pacioretty has seven goals in his past six games after going eight games without one, and his nine goals this season shares the team lead with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher. Pacioretty scored on the power-play 58 seconds into the game and added his first-career shorthanded marker in the second period. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Canadiens player to score both a power-play and shorthanded goal in the same game was Robert Lang on Jan. 7, 2009 (one power-play, one shorthanded and one even-strength). NHL

KREIDER, TALBOT LEAD RANGERS

Chris Kreider became just the third Rangers rookie in the last 20 years to record a hat trick (Derek Stepan – Oct. 9, 2010 and Jan Hlavac – Feb. 11, 2000) and Cam Talbot made a career-high 35 saves as New York handed Vancouver a 5-2 loss in former coach John Tortorella’s return to Madison Square Garden. 

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Talbot (6-1-0) is the first Rangers netminder to win six consecutive decisions in his first year since Jim Henry won seven straight in 1941-42. The 26-year-old Caledonia, Ontario native is also the first goaltender to hold his opponent to two or fewer goals in each of his first seven NHL starts since Frank Brimsek (BOS) did so in his first 12 starts in 1938-39. 

BLACKHAWKS KEEP WINNING

Rookie goaltender Antti Raanta made 32 saves and five different Blackhawks scored as the team wrapped up their 12-day, seven-game road trip with six straight wins and a 6-1-0 record. Chicago has recorded at least a point in 24 of their 28 games this season and rank first overall in the NHL with 44 points (20-4-4). Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith recorded two assists to extend his points streak to seven games (0-9–9). He ranks first among NHL defensemen with 23 assists and second with 24 points, two back of Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (7-19—26). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other time a Blackhawks defenseman notched assists in each of seven consecutive team games in one season over the past 17 years was when Keith himself did so in December 2009. The only NHL defenseman other than Keith with a seven-game assist streak this season is the Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk (Oct. 25-Nov. 7). 

MALKIN PUTS UP FOUR

Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin extended his season-high point streak to eight games (4-13–17) with a four-point performance (1-3–4) in Pittsburgh’s 5-1 win over Florida. Malkin has at least one point in 14 of his last 15 games, tallying 4-21–25 in that span to move within one point of teammate Sidney Crosby (36 points) for the League scoring lead. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Malkin’s 21 assists in November were the most by an NHL player in one calendar month since Wayne Gretzky registered 21 assists for the Los Angeles Kings in January 1996. 

AVS SWEEP HOME-AND-HOME

Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves and Ryan O’Reilly scored the lone shootout goal as the Avalanche recovered from a late Wild rally to sweep a home-and-home with Minnesota. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog opened the scoring 2:22 into the game as the team improved to 17-0-0 when scoring first this season. The Avalanche own a perfect record when leading after the first (13-0-0) and second (16-0-0) period this season. Colorado rookie Nathan MacKinnon, the No. 1 selection in June’s draft, scored in consecutive games for the first time in his NHL career. 

HOME AT THE GARDEN

Milan Lucic (2-0–2) and David Krejci (0-2–2) combined for four points as the Bruins improved to 9-0-2 in their last 11 home games and 10-3-0-2 all-time versus Columbus. The home-ice point streak is Boston’s longest stretch without a regulation loss at TD Garden since a 14-game home-win streak from Oct. 25, 2008 to Jan. 1, 2009.

TOM HANKS WANTS TO CALL UPSTAIRS

Tom Hanks took in Saturday’s game at Staples Center and made it clear he wanted to call upstairs on Justin Williams’ third period goal for Los Angeles. The goal was the 200th of Williams’ career while teammate Anze Kopitar recorded an assist for his 500th NHL point. 

LOOSE PUCKS

The San Jose Sharks (18-3-5) completed a perfect 5-0-0 homestand in which the final three wins came against other Western Conference powers in the Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks. They lead the Pacific Division with 41 points… Cory Schneider’s average of one shutout every six starts over the last two seasons (seven shutouts in 42 starts) is the best rate for any NHL goaltender who has made at least 30 starts since the beginning of the 2012-13 season (Elias)… Devils defenseman Andy Greene extended his point streak to five games (1-5–6) with an assist on Steve Bernier’s overtime winner… Alex Grant became the first Ducks defenseman to score in his NHL debut (Elias)… Canucks forward Daniel Sedin scored his 301st NHL goal to tie Ulf Dahlen for fifth all-time among Swedish-born players… Panthers forward Scottie Upshall finished the month of November with 6-6—12 in 15 games to match his career-high for points in a calendar month (7-5–12 in 15 games in December 2009)… Predators forward Matt Cullen played the 1,100th game of his career and Maple Leafs forward Jerred Smithson played in his 600th NHL game. 

SNEAK PEEK AT SUNDAY’S ACTION

All Times Eastern

Vancouver @ Carolina, 1:00 p.m., SNET-P, FS-CR

Detroit @ Ottawa, 5:30 p.m., RDS, TSN, NHL Network-US, FS-D+

Edmonton @ Dallas, 6:00 p.m., SNET-W, SNET-EDM, FS-SW

 ALFREDSSON RETURNS TO OTTAWA

Daniel Alfredsson returns to Ottawa for the first time since joining the Detroit Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent prior to the season. Alfredsson, who captained the Senators for 13 seasons, holds the franchise record for games played (1,178), goals (426), assists (682) and points (1,108). 

“It’s a very different situation from anything I’ve ever gone through before, so I don’t know what to expect or what’s going to happen, but I’m hopeful that it’s going to be a good night.” – Daniel Alfredsson.

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