NHL Morning Skate – Dec. 24, 2013‏ The National Hockey League will take a holiday break today through Thursday. Dressing rooms will be closed and there will be no scheduled practices.

NEW YORK – Twenty-eight teams were in action on Monday night as the NHL headed for the holiday break this week.  In Chicago, the Blackhawks toyed with the New Jersey Devils in a 6-2 win.  For the game, the Blackhawks limited the evils to 12 shots on goal.

“We didn’t give them much,” said Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, who had two assists. “Obviously we had lots of puNHLck possession and that was the key.”NHL

Chicago cruised in this one on home ice with five players netting two points on the night including Patrick Sharp who had two goals.

“It feels good,” Sharp said. “[It was] a big win in front of our crowd and with three days off it feels even better. We can kind of put our feet up and relax, enjoy our families and get ready for two big games coming out of the break.”

Devils coach Peter DeBoer was at a loss on how to control the Chicago offense.

“Their ability to create offense, I think the goals for speak for themselves,” DeBoer said. “That’s a team that can put four or five [goals] on the board really easily. They’re high-octane and we have to find a way to slow them down.”

Antti Raanta picked up the win with 10 saves on the night.

“It was just a messy, ugly game,” DeBoer said. “That’s a great team that can make you look bad if you’re not on your game and we weren’t on our game. I don’t have a reason, no excuse. It’s a good lesson for us, so I think we’re a team that has to play at full capacity every night. We can’t have passengers. We can’t have an off night. If we do have an off night against a team like that, that’s what it looks like.”

In New York, the Rangers ended their nine-game homestand with a 2-1 shootout win over the Maple Leafs.

The game was not without controversy as the Leafs’ Nasim Kadri scored with 1:24 left in regulation to force the overtime.  Video replay seems to indicate the puck was trapped by Cam Talbot in the New York net but the play was allowed to continue until Kadri scored.

“In my opinion, that was the wrong call. The referee had told Brad [Richards] on the ice that if they didn’t score on [Clarkson’s] wraparound it wasn’t a goal,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “They didn’t score on the wraparound. Kadri came in from the middle and poked it in underneath Cam’s pad. You’ve just got to play through those things and that’s what we did.”

JT Miller scored for the Rangers early in the third to give them the 1-0 lead.

“He’s been good. He’s been effective. The time he’s been on the ice, he’s been dependable,” said Vigneault, who moved Miller to center after playing him on the wing in his previous stints with the club. “Maybe it’s him playing his natural position, but he’s done some real good things for us. He’s progressing as a player.”

Rather than be deflated the Rangers withstood the Maple Leafs’ efforts in the extra session and Mats Zucccarello and Derek Stepan scored in the shootout to gain the win.

“You never want to give up a goal late in the third period. I think as a group we knew there was nothing we could do about it. They weren’t going to change it after they awarded the goal,” Stepan said. “As a group, you just try to move on from it and try to rebound as fast as you can.”

In Washington, the Ducks staked the Capitals to a 2-0 lead and then rallied for a 3-2 win; their ninth in a row.

“I thought our guys were really good after the first 10 minutes,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I think they were trying hard for the guys that were in Washington, and [Ducks assistant coach and former Capitals assistant coach] Bob [Woods] and myself, and I think they were a little nervous in the beginning, but once we got our legs going, I thought we shut them down pretty good.”

Jonas Hiller was solid in net after givinf up two first period goals.  He made 17 saves on the night and got support from the lines in front of him.

“That’s our success right now,” Hiller said. “We don’t look back. We don’t stop playing our game even if we’re down a goal, two goals.”

In Ottawa, the Senators put together a complete effort for 50 minutes and blanked the Penguins, 5-0.  Craig Anderson earned the shutout with 27 savs for his second shutout of the year.

“They got some momentum in the second but our [penalty] killers did a great job,” Anderson said. “When we had the puck on our stick we made sure we got it down 200 feet, and that’s usually when you get punished on the penalty kill. When you get an opportunity to clear and you don’t clear, that’s when teams usually punish you and they make you pay, so we really focused on that, and made sure that when we did have it on our stick we got the puck down the ice.”

Buffalo 2, Phoenix 1 (OT)
NY Rangers 2, Toronto 1 (SO)
Anaheim 3, Washington 2
Columbus 4, Carolina 3
Ottawa 5, Pittsburgh 0
NY Islanders 3, Detroit 0
Tampa Bay 6, Florida 1
Philadelphia 4, Minnesota 1
Chicago 5, New Jersey 2
Boston 6, Nashville 2
Calgary 4, St. Louis 3 (SO)
Edmonton 6, Winnipeg 2
Dallas 5, Los Angeles 2
San Jose 5, Colorado 4 (SO)

The Avalanche scored two goals in 12 seconds to take the lead with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, but Joe Pavelski tied the game with 19.6 seconds left on the clock and Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau scored in the shootout to power the Sharks to their third victory in their last four outings.

* The Sharks improved to 11-0-0 in their last 11 regular-season meetings with the Avalanche at SAP Center.

* The Sharks also improved to 8-0-1 in their past nine games overall at home, including three straight victories. They are 13-1-3 at SAP Center this season, tied for the second-most home-ice wins in the Western Conference.

* Joe Thornton (0-3—3) recorded his eighth multi-point game of the season. He now leads the League with 35 assists in 37 contests.

* Thornton also extended his point streak versus the Avalanche to 11 games (2-14—16). He has 14-35—49 in 40 career games versus Colorado.

* Brent Burns posted 1-2—3 for his fourth multi-point game of the season and second with three or more points (Nov. 29: 3-1—4).

* Couture had a special message for Santa following the game, his 10th straight without a goal:

The Ducks overcame a two-goal deficit for the second time in as many games to pick up their franchise-record ninth consecutive victory. The team also improved to 10-0-2 in its past 12 games, its longest point streak since Feb. 27-March 20 (9-0-3), and 6-0-0 in its last six as visitors, its longest road winning streak since Jan. 22-Feb. 13, 2011 (6-0-0).

* The Ducks lead the NHL with 59 points in 39 games. The team’s 27-7-5 record is its second-best 39-game start in franchise history, trailing only the 2006-07 Stanley Cup-winning squad (28-5-6, 62 points).

* The Ducks also lead the NHL in road victories (14) and points (31).

* Nineteen-year-old Hampus Lindholm (1-1—2) became the third teenage defenseman to score a game-winning goal this season, joining Nashville’s Seth Jones (Oct. 19) and Ottawa’s Cody Ceci (Dec. 16).

Patrick Kane scored his 22nd goal of the season to help the Blackhawks improve to 6-1-2 in their last nine games. With the goal, Kane extended his point streak to 12 games (7-14—21), matching a career long set earlier this season (Nov. 3-27: 8-9—17). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kane is the first player to record multiple point streaks of 10 or more games in the same season since 2005-06, when Jaromir Jagr posted a pair of 12-game streaks (Oct. 10-Nov. 5: 12-7—19, March 12-April 4: 9-14—23).

* The Blackhawks allowed a season-low 12 shots on goal, improving to 18-4-5 when outshooting their opponents. The team also improved to 19-0-4 when scoring first and 10-1-2 versus the Eastern Conference, including a 5-0-0 mark against the Metropolitan Division.

* Kane ranks second in the NHL with 22-27—49 in 39 games this season, five points behind League leader Sidney Crosby (20-34—54).

* Patrick Sharp (2-0—2) recorded his ninth multi-point game of the season. He has 7-5—12 over his last eight contests and ranks second on the team with 18-18—36 in 39 games.

Wayne Simmonds (2-1—3) posted his second consecutive multi-goal game to lead the Flyers to their ninth straight victory at Wells Fargo Center, their longest home winning streak since Oct. 7-Nov. 12, 2006 (9-0-0).

* Simmonds has 5-2—7 during a four-game point streak, his second such streak this season (Nov. 12-19: 2-2—4).

* Jakub Voracek recorded two assists to extend his career-long point streak to eight games (6-7—13).

* Claude Giroux tallied 1-1—2 to stretch his assist/point streak to a career-long seven games (5-8—13).

* Steve Mason made 26 saves to earn his third consecutive victory and improve to 4-0-2 in his last six starts. Mason is 11-2-4 in his past 17 decisions dating to Nov. 5.

The Lightning scored six unanswered goals, powered by Martin St. Louis’ 1-2—3 performance, to record their fifth consecutive victory and improve to 7-0-2 in their last nine visits to BB&T Center. St. Louis has 3-4—7 during a five-game point streak, his second such streak this season (Oct. 5-15: 4-6—10). He leads the Lightning with 16 goals, 21 assists and 37 points in 37 games.

* St. Louis has 31-40—71 in 73 career games versus the Panthers, including 9-9—18 in his last 10 against them. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most points by any opponent in Florida history, surpassing Vincent Lecavalier (26-43—69 in 80 GP) and Ilya Kovalchuk (35-33—68 in 59 GP).

* Ben Bishop made 28 saves to become the second goaltender to reach 20 wins this season. He also ranks fifth in the NHL with a 1.93 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 28 appearances.

* J.T. Brown (2-0—2) recorded his first multi-goal game. He has 3-3—6 in his last eight outings after totaling 1-2—3 in the first 17 games of his NHL career.

* Senators goaltender Craig Anderson made 27 saves to record his 24th career shutout (second this season) and snap the Penguins’ seven-game winning streak.

* Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov stopped all 23 pucks he faced to earn his first shutout of 2013-14. He ranks third among active netminders and 19th all-time with 56 career blank sheets.

Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk was credited with his first career overtime/game-winning goal when his rebound attempt landed in Mike Smith’s pants as he propelled himself into the net.

* The Sabres improved to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games overall versus the Coyotes and 23-7-6 all-time at home against the Coyotes/Jets franchise.

* Ryan Miller improved to 5-0-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average, .966 save percentage and one shutout in five career starts versus the Coyotes.

The Stars scored three unanswered goals to hand Kings goaltender Martin Jones his first career loss (8-1-0, 1.31 GAA, .953 SV%, 3 SO) . . . Ryan Johansen and Jack Skille each scored in the final five minutes of regulation to help the Blue Jackets overcome a one-goal deficit and pick up their sixth consecutive victory over the Hurricanes . . . The Flames rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit, highlighted by Mark Giordano’s tying score with 4.2 seconds left on the clock, en route to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Blues . . . Nazem Kadri tied the game with 1:24 remaining in regulation, but Derek Stepan scored the decisive goal in the shootout and Cam Talbot made 25 saves to lead the Rangers to a victory in the finale of their franchise-record, nine-game homestand (3-4-2) . . . Four Bruins recorded multi-point games, highlighted by Jarome Iginla’s two-goal performance, to help the team improve to 7-2-0 in its last nine outings . . . The Oilers scored six times, their fifth game this season with five or more goals, to snap a six-game losing streak.

Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (1-2—3) posted his second three-point game of the season. He leads all blueliners with 10 goals and 37 points in 39 contests . . . Wild defenseman Ryan Suter recorded a helper to extend his assist/point streak to a career-long seven games (0-7—7) . . . Predators captain Shea Weber posted an assist to stretch his point streak to six games (2-6—8) . . . Avalanche forward Matt Duchene collected an assist to push his assist/point streak to five games (2-8—10) . . . Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula registered 1-1—2 to extend his point streak to five games (3-5—8) . . . NY Rangers forward Benoit Pouliot recorded an assist to stretch his point streak to five games (2-3—5) . . . Flyers forward Scott Hartnell collected an assist for his 500th NHL point . . . Bruins head coach Claude Julien recorded his 400th career victory . . . Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester played in his 800th NHL game and 671st consecutive contest, the longest active streak in the League . . . Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner skated in his 300th career game . . . ICYMI: Los Angeles Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda dropped the ceremonial puck at the Kings-Stars game . . . Dec. 20-22 marked the highest-grossing weekend in the history of the NHL Powered by Reebok Store in New York City. 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series jerseys were the hottest-selling items

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