NHL Morning Skate – Dec. 21, 2013

NEW YORK – Five games were on the NHL schedule for Friday night. In New Jersey, the Anaheim Ducks escaped Newark with 3-2 OT win over the Devils.

New Jersey-born Kyle Palmieri netted the winner for the Ducks in the extra session.

Kyle Palmieri

Kyle Palmieri scored game-winner for Ducks in OT – image courtesy of NHL

“It was a pretty memorable night for me, my family, my friends,” Palmieri said. “It was definitely a pretty cool experience for everybody. It didn’t have to be storybook in my eyes, but we were lucky enough to get a win and I was able to contribute, so it felt pretty good.”

It was reported that nearly 100 family and friends were in the arena to see Palmieri play.

“I was really happy for him,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of Palmieri. “It’s been a while since he scored, but you could tell early on that he was getting more involved and he was getting shots off and he had a couple of chances. I really thought he might pop one [Friday], especially after he made the play to Perreault for the go-ahead goal. It was good.”

The Devils played Anaheim tight but were unable to get over the hump to get the win.

“That’s one of the top two or three hockey teams in the NHL,” Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. “I thought the difference was probably the first period. We hit a couple posts. If we could get a couple there, have a little bit of cushion, you know they were going to push back in the second and third. You could see their size and strength and depth. I thought we did a good job finding a way to get the game into overtime. We needed to cash in in the first to put them in the tough hole.”

In Raleigh, Alex Ovechkin continued his assault on the scoresheet. He registered his 400th NHL goal in leading the Caps to a 4-2 win over the Hurricanes.

“I had chances to score a couple really good ones,” Ovechkin said. “Maybe I tried to make more moves than I usually do, but an empty-netter is an empty-netter.”

Capitals coach Adam Oates was pleased with the outcome and compared Ovechkin to players from his days on the ice.

“There’s really only one guy I played with or saw that had some of the skills he does, and that was Brett Hull, in terms of shooting from anywhere and being able to score from anywhere,” Oates said. “But he adds a dimension with his physicality. He’s a huge man out there, and opponents have to be so leery of him.”

In New York, the Rangers reverted to form and lost 5-3 to the Islanders.

“I think we’ve got to work harder. We’ve got to be better on special teams and the power play,” Rangers forward Rick Nash said. “We’ve got to work on our opportunities, especially when you get that many power plays. You’ve got to be better.”

That is the understatement of the season. This roster never has and apparently never will work hard. A closed door meeting after a dreadful loss last week didn’t change anything. Why would this? And when is someone going to stand up and say something about this lackadaisical effort?

FRIDAY’S RESULTS
Anaheim 3, New Jersey 2 (OT)
NY Islanders 5, NY Rangers 3
Washington 4, Carolina 2
Vancouver 3, Chicago 2 (SO)
Winnipeg 5, Florida 2
 
400 FOR OVECHKIN
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored into an empty net for the 400th goal of his NHL career (634 GP). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 28-year-old Ovechkin is the sixth-fastest player in NHL history to reach the 400-goal mark as well as the seventh-youngest to do so.
 
* Ovechkin leads the NHL with 29 goals, 12 power-play goals and 173 shots on goal in 33 games this season. He also ranks fifth in points (40) and second in power-play points (22).
 
* Ovechkin has scored 52 goals in his last 56 regular-season games dating to March 14 of last season (52-24—76).
 
* Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Ovechkin leads the League in goals (400), points (775), power-play goals (139), power-play points (304) and game-winning goals (63). He ranks third in NHL history in goals per game (0.63), trailing only Mike Bossy (0.76) and Mario Lemieux (0.75).
 
FASTEST TO 400 GOALS, NHL HISTORY
1. Wayne Gretzky: 436 GP
2. Mike Bossy: 506 GP
3. Mario Lemieux: 508 GP
4. Brett Hull: 520 GP
5. Jari Kurri: 608 GP
6. Alex Ovechkin: 634 GP
7. Pavel Bure: 635 GP
 
400 OR MORE GOALS, ACTIVE PLAYERS*
1. Jaromir Jagr: 693 (1,427 GP)
2. Teemu Selanne: 679 (1,416 GP)
3. Jarome Iginla: 538 (1,267 GP)
4. Marian Hossa: 448 (1,051 GP)
5. Daniel Alfredsson: 435 (1,210 GP)
6. Patrick Marleau: 420 (1,200 GP)
7. Alex Ovechkin: 400 (634 GP)
8. Vincent Lecavalier: 392 (1,059 GP)
 
* Only Selanne (700) and Jagr (742) reached 400 career goals in fewer than 900 NHL games.
   
PALMIERI CAPS HOMECOMING WITH OVERTIME WINNER
Kyle Palmieri, who was born on Long Island and grew up in Montvale, N.J., recorded 1-1—2, including the game-winning goal at 2:37 of overtime, in his first career visit to Prudential Center, which is about 30 miles from his hometown and nine miles from where he went to high school at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City.
 
“It was a pretty memorable night for me, my family, my friends,” said Palmieri, who had close to 100 guests in attendance. “It was definitely a pretty cool experience for everybody. It didn’t have to be storybook in my eyes, but we were lucky enough to get a win and I was able to contribute, so it felt pretty good.”
 
* The Ducks tied a club record with their seventh consecutive victory, accomplished twice previously, including earlier this season (Oct. 5-20, 2013; Feb. 20-March 7, 1999).
 
* The Ducks also extended their point streak to 10 games (8-0-2), the longest active streak in the NHL.
 
* At 25-7-5 (55 points), the Ducks have matched their second-best record through 37 games in franchise history (also 2012-13: 25-7-5, 55 points). Only the 2006-07 squad had more points after 37 outings (27-4-6, 60 points).
 
* Palmieri has scored 15 goals over the past two seasons (75 GP), eight of which have been game-winners. He had zero game-winning goals in the first two seasons of his NHL career (28 GP).
 
LACK LEADS CANUCKS OVER BLACKHAWKS
Eddie Lack made 24 saves, plus another seven in the shootout, to help the Canucks overcome a third-period deficit and improve to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Lack allowed four goals in his NHL debut Oct. 6, but has yielded two or fewer goals in each of his nine appearances since, including six starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other rookie goaltender in Canucks history to allow two or fewer goals in each of six consecutive starts in one season was Corey Hirsch, who did so in 1995-96.
 
ISLANDERS EDGE RANGERS IN STADIUM SERIES PREVIEW
The Islanders scored three unanswered goals to defeat the Rangers in a preview of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. Michael Grabner scored twice, his first goals since opening night, while Thomas Vanek recorded the decisive marker, his first game-winner since joining the Islanders Oct. 27.
 
KANE STAYS HOT
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane posted 1-1—2, his 15th multi-point performance of the season, to extend his point streak to 11 games (6-14—20). He also stretched his home point streak to 11 games (3-15—18). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kane’s home-ice point streak is the longest by a Blackhawk since 1992-93, when Chris Chelios registered points in 12 consecutive games at Chicago Stadium.
 
* Kane ranks second in the NHL with 21-27—48 in 38 games this season, including 14-23—37 in his past 24 outings.
 
* Kane is the only player to record two point streaks of 10 or more games this season. He compiled 8-9—17 during a career-long, 12-game point streak Nov. 3-27.
 
JONES CLARIFICATION
Kings goaltender Martin Jones made 31 saves on Thursday to improve to 7-0-0 with a 0.85 goals-against average, .971 save percentage and three shutouts in his first seven NHL games.
 
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jones is the third goaltender in NHL history to win his first seven games. Canadiens goaltender Wayne Thomas won his first seven games in 1972-73, while Flyers netminder Bob Froese set an NHL record by winning his first eight games in 1982-83.
 
* Elias also notes that Ray Emery holds the NHL record for consecutive wins to begin a career. Emery won his first nine NHL decisions for the Senators spanning 2003-05 (in his first 12 games, including three no-decisions). Froese, who won his first eight decisions in his first eight NHL games, and Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth, who won eight consecutive decisions in his first nine NHL games in 2012-13, rank second behind Emery.
 
LOOSE PUCKS
The Jets tied a season high with five goals, ending the Panthers’ winning streak at five games . . . Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom recorded four assists to extend his point streak to five games (2-12—14). He leads the NHL with 33 helpers in 35 contests this season . . . Devils forward Jaromir Jagr collected an assist to stretch his point streak to six games (1-7—8) . . . Jets forward Mark Scheifele posted two assists to push his point streak to five games (3-4—7) . . . Capitals forward Marcus Johansson scored his fifth goal of the season to extend his point streak to five games (2-4—6) . . . Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler recorded 1-1—2 to eclipse 100 NHL points . . . Devils forward Steve Bernier played in his 500th NHL game . . . Capitals forward Mikhail Grabovski skated in his 400th career contest . . . Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller earned his 148th career win while playing in his 300th NHL game . . . Islanders defenseman Brian Strait scored his first career regular-season goal, while teammate Ryan Strome recorded an assist on the play for his first NHL point . . . Defenseman Pavel Kubina, who totaled 110-276—386 in 970 regular-season games and captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Lightning in 2003-04, announced his retirement from the NHL.
 
SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Calgary @ Pittsburgh, 1:00 p.m., SNET-W, ROOT
Phoenix @ Ottawa, 2:00 p.m., FS-A, SNET-E, TVA
Colorado @ Los Angeles, 4:00 p.m., NHLN-US, RDS, ALT, FS-W
Buffalo @ Boston, 7:00 p.m., MSG-B, NESN
Detroit @ Toronto, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, CBC, FS-D
Carolina @ Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m., FS-CR, SUN
Anaheim @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., PRIME, MSG PLUS
New Jersey @ Washington, 7:00 p.m., MSG, CSN-DC
Philadelphia @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., CSN-PH, FS-O
Montreal @ Nashville, 7:00 p.m., CBC, RDS, FS-TN
St. Louis @ Edmonton, 10:00 p.m., CBC, FS-MW
Dallas @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., TXA 21, CSN-CA

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