NHL Morning Skate – Dec. 23, 2013 Canucks await official word on Luongo

NEW YORK – A slow night in the NHL on Sunday saw the Rangers take a 4-1 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild and the Canucks edge the Winnipeg Jets, 2-1, in Vancouver.  NHL

In Madison Square Garden, the Rangers spotted the Wild a 1-0 lead early in the first period then scored four unanswered goals to take a rare win on home ice.  The Rangers improved to 2-4-2 and will end their franchise-long nine-game homestand Monday night against the Maple Leafs. 

In Vancouver, the Canucks won 2-1 but are awaiting an evaluation of Roberto Luongo who left the game with the Jets at the 16:30 mark of the first period.  He was reported to have a lower body injury but no specific diagnosis has been released. 

SUNDAY’S RESULTS
NY Rangers 4, Minnesota 1
Vancouver 2, Winnipeg 1

BUSIEST NIGHT OF 2013-14 SEASON
Monday marks the busiest night of the 2013-14 season, with 28 of the NHL’s 30 teams in action. The only clubs not playing are the Canadiens and Canucks.
 
SNEAK PEEK AT MONDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Phoenix @ Buffalo, 7:00 p.m., FS-A PLUS, MSG-B, BELL TV
Toronto @ NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m., SNET-O, MSG 2
Anaheim @ Washington, 7:00 p.m., PRIME, CSN-DC
Columbus @ Carolina, 7:00 p.m., FS-O, FS-CR
Pittsburgh @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m., RDS, ROOT, SNET-E
NY Islanders @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m., MSG PLUS, FS-D+
Tampa Bay @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., SUN, FS-F
Minnesota @ Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2, CSN-PH
New Jersey @ Chicago, 8:00 p.m., MSG PLUS 2, CSN-CH
Boston @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., NESN, FS-TN
St. Louis @ Calgary, 8:00 p.m., FS-MW, SNET-CGY
Winnipeg @ Edmonton, 9:30 p.m., TSN-JETS, SNET-W
Dallas @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., FS-SW+, FS-W
Colorado @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., ALT2, CSN-CA
 
HOT CLUBS CLASH IN WASHINGTON
The Ducks, winners of a franchise-record eight consecutive games as well as five straight on the road, visit the Capitals, who have collected points in eight of their past 10 outings (6-2-2). Tonight’s game marks the teams’ first meeting since Nov. 1, 2011, a 5-4 overtime victory by Washington. The Capitals have earned at least one point in six of their last seven games versus the Ducks, including victories in four of their past five affairs. Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau returns to Washington for the first time since joining the Ducks on Nov. 30, 2011. He compiled a 201-88-40 regular-season record and led the Capitals to four Southeast Division titles from 2007-11.
 
PENGUINS LOOK TO KEEP STREAK ALIVE IN OTTAWA
The Penguins, winners of seven in a row and 12 of their past 13, look to stay hot when they visit the Senators, who have lost four of their last five (1-3-1). Pittsburgh has outscored opponents 25-13 during its seven-game winning streak, including four one-goal affairs. The team also has gone 4-for-17 (23.5%) on the power play and 23-for-25 (92.0%) on the penalty kill during its seven-game run. The Penguins have won seven of their past eight meetings with the Senators, including a five-game series victory in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
 
WILD, FLYERS MEET ON NATIONAL TELECAST
The Wild visit the Flyers in a national telecast in both the U.S. and Canada. Philadelphia has won eight consecutive games at Wells Fargo Center, its longest home-ice winning streak since Dec. 9, 2008-Jan. 10, 2009 (8-0-0). The club hasn’t won nine straight home games since Oct. 7-Nov. 12, 2005 (9-0-0). Minnesota makes its first visit to the City of Brotherly Love since Jan. 17, 2012, a 5-1 defeat. The Wild have lost six of their eight all-time trips to Philadelphia, with their last victory coming March 25, 2010 (4-3 in overtime).
  
LACK LEADS CANUCKS IN RELIEF
Eddie Lack made 15 saves in relief of injured starter Roberto Luongo and Christopher Tanev potted the decisive marker midway through the third period to lead the Canucks to their ninth victory in their past 11 games (9-1-1). Lack, who entered the game with 3:30 remaining in the first period, improved to 6-2-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and one shutout in 11 games this season. He has allowed two or fewer goals in each of his past 10 appearances since making his NHL debut Oct. 6.
 
* Tanev recorded his second game-winning goal in his past seven outings; he had one total game-winning goal in the first 124 games of his NHL career. The 24-year-old Toronto native has already established career highs with 4-8—12 in 39 games this season.
 
* Brad Richardson scored the game’s opening goal, raising his season totals to 7-8—15 in 39 games, his highest production since 2010-11 (7-12—19 in 68 GP).
 
TALBOT BACKSTOPS RANGERS OVER WILD
Cam Talbot made 24 saves in his first start since Dec. 2 and the Rangers scored four unanswered goals to pick up their second victory on their franchise-record, nine-game homestand (2-4-2). Talbot improved to 7-2-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average and .936 save percentage, both of which rank third in the NHL this season. He has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his 11 appearances.
 
* Mats Zuccarello scored his eighth goal of the season. He has 6-9—15, including five multi-point performances, over his past 15 games; Zuccarello totaled 2-8—10 in his first 21 games of the season.
 
* Chris Kreider recorded his team-leading ninth goal of the season (tied with Brad Richards). Kreider has 9-11—20 in 30 games, tied for second in rookie scoring with Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (7-13—20 in 35 GP).
 
NHL ANNOUNCES WINTER CLASSIC ENTERTAINMENT
The NHL announced this morning that the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will feature performances by members of the Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, singer/songwriter Mayer Hawthorne and Juno Award-winning recording artists The Tenors.
 
The game also will include the announcement of the rosters for the 2014 U.S. Olympic men’s and women’s ice hockey teams, a flyover of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) CF-18 fighter jets and a Canada-United States color guard, and appearances by Ann Arbor and Detroit-area youth hockey players.
 
LOOSE PUCKS
The Wild scored the opening goal for the first time in their last 11 road games. They fell to 14-2-2 this season when scoring first . . . Jets forward Mark Scheifele collected an assist to stretch his point streak to six games (3-5—8) . . . Wild defenseman Ryan Suter recorded a helper to extend his assist/point streak to six games (0-6—6), tied for the longest assist streak of his career (Dec. 11-22, 2010: 1-7—8) . . . Canucks forward David Booth posted his 100th career assist . . . Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa played in his 500th NHL game . . . Wild defensemen Jared Spurgeon and Clayton Stoner each skated in their 200th career game . . . ICYMI: NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen recapped the second episode of “24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic.”

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