NEW YORK – The Olympic break is officially over and a few teams look to have made some adjustments curing the hiatus.
The Los Angeles Kings found their offense on Wednesday night as they dumped the Avalanche, 6-4, in Denver. Anze Kopitar picked up two goals and added an assist in the Kings’ come from behind win over Colorado.
“I thought we played well, but we were down two goals,” Kopitar said. “At the end of the day, we got the two points. It wasn’t the easiest two points, but we’ll take it.”
Heading into the break the Kings had scored all of 15 goals going 2-8-0.
Down 4-2 in the second, the Kings rallied with two in the second and Kopitar’s power play goal in the third to take the lead.
“It was great, down by two,” Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. “I don’t think we can say we’ve done that a lot of times, especially coming out of the break there and being in a shootout like we were tonight. Obviously, we got to buckle down defensively, especially on the PK. For us to come out and put up six, it’s huge for our team. When you’re down by two, that’s awesome.”
Martin Jones made the start for LA, giving Jonathan Quick the night off after Sochi. Jones made 25 saves for the win.
“We were resilient. We had our chances in the third period and he made some great saves on Landy, a great save on Jamie,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said of Jones. “We had some good chances to make it a 5-5 game.”
Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored just over two minute apart at the end of the second to stun the Avs and get the game to a 4-all tie.http://
“Those two quick ones at the end of the second were huge and we carried that momentum into the third,” Kopitar said. “It’s nice to start off the third with a PP. We felt good in the second period, too. Our PK wasn’t as sharp as we want it to be, but you obviously have to give them credit.”
In Vancouver, the Canucks put together a complete game and edged the visiting St Louis Blues, 1-0.
Eddie Lack made 20 saves as the Canucks stiffened on defense and limited the Blues’ chances all night.
“Huge win for us to have the break and come back with a win and start feeling good about our game,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. “It’s in my mind maybe the most complete team in the League and we played them well this year and we did it again tonight.”
Lack was steady in net and made the saves when needed in giving Roberto Luongo the night off from travel lag from Sochi.
“A huge relief,” Lack said. “It feels very good to be able to shut the door.”
Lack’s performance earned him fist star of the game.
“Outstanding. Big saves at key times,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said of Lack. “I think he settles the team down, just the way he plays. There’s not a lot of extra motion. He ate pucks tonight. There wasn’t a lot of extra rebounds. He played very well.”
Jannik Hansen’s goal in the third was the difference and showed the Canucks could close a game in the third period.http://
“This is what we talked about after the second period: It was a great opportunity for us to start this capsule of our season with a third period like this, and try to find a way to win a third period,” Tortorella said. “It was a perfect situation. We didn’t give them much, scored a big goal and I felt we were trying to make plays throughout it. Take small steps here, try to regain our confidence, and tonight helped us.”
In Buffalo, the Sabres got a late tally from Matt Mouslon with less than a minute in regulation to knot the game with the Bruins at four all. The Sabres then picked up the win in OT.
“It was a bit of a lucky bounce,” Moulson said. “I was actually trying to get it to [Drew Stafford] and it hit one of their guys’ skates, came right back to me and off the post, off the goalie and in. I felt a little bad for taking that penalty in the end and them getting a goal. It’s good to get that one tied up and get the win for [Jhonas Enroth].”
Matt D’Agostini picked up the game-winner just 22 seconds into the extra session.
“Once I saw the puck go out, I could tell [Chara] didn’t know I’d be coming up from behind him,” D’Agostini said. “I think he just thought he had time to go back and retrieve the puck. I kind of just snuck up behind him. I heard their bench screaming. I tried a little sneak attack on him in there, so it was good that I got by him and snuck it through the pad.”
The Sabres have now both of their games coming out of the break.
“I think we’re a team that expects more and to me we should have walked out of here with a win,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We had the game under control and then we gave them that tying goal and that’s our own mistakes, even on that winning goal, not getting back quick enough.http://
“So you’ve got to look at yourself and say we had the game under control with a little over a minute left, or less than a minute left, and we gave them that first point and gave them that second one.”
Home Teams in Caps
BUFFALO 5, Boston 4 (OT)
Detroit 2, MONTREAL 1 (OT)
Los Angeles 6, COLORADO 4
VANCOUVER 1, St. Louis 0
SABRES GO DOWN TO THE WIRE (AGAIN)
Matt Moulson scored the tying goal with 52.3 seconds remaining in regulation and Matt D’Agostini potted the game-winner 22 seconds into overtime to lead the Sabres to their second down-to-the-wire victory in as many nights. On Tuesday, Christian Ehrhoff scored the tiebreaking goal with 43.4 seconds left in the third period to lift the Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this marks the second time in franchise history that the Sabres have won consecutive games when scoring the tying or tiebreaking goal in the final minute of regulation (also Nov. 17 and 20, 1976). They are the only team to accomplish that feat in 2013-14.
* Jhonas Enroth made 29 saves to pick up his first victory since Oct. 25 (44 saves at FLA). He also recorded his first career win versus the Bruins (1-4-2).
NYQUIST POWERS RED WINGS
Brian Gionta knotted the game late in regulation, but Gustav Nyquist scored with 27.3 seconds remaining in overtime to power the Red Wings to their third victory in their last four outings.
* Nyquist has 10 goals, including two game-winners, in his past 11 games (since Jan. 20). He had nine total goals in the first 63 games of his NHL career prior to this stretch.
* The Red Wings played their 3,000th regular-season road game in franchise history, improving to 1,086-1,439-475. They are tied for fifth in the NHL with 36 points as visitors this season (16-9-4).
KOPITAR LEADS KINGS’ COMEBACK
Trailing 4-2 late in the second period, the Kings scored four unanswered goals – including two from Anze Kopitar (2-1—3) – to pick up their second consecutive victory and match their second-highest offensive output of the season.
* Kopitar recorded his sixth game-winning goal of the season (60 GP), tying his career high set in 2010-11 (75 GP). He has 3-4—7 over his past three outings and is one goal shy of his seventh career 20-goal season.
* Jeff Carter posted 1-1—2, including the tying goal, for his eighth multi-point game of the season. He also collected his 200th NHL assist.
LACK SHUTS THE DOOR
Eddie Lack stopped all 20 shots he faced to record his third career shutout and help the Canucks snap a seven-game skid. Lack improved to 9-8-3 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 23 appearances this season.
* Jannik Hansen scored the lone goal at 11:13 of the third period. He has three game-winners this season (51 GP), matching his career high set in 2009-10 (47 GP).
MacKINNON STAYS HOT
Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, recorded an assist to extend his point streak to nine games (5-7—12). It marks the longest point streak by a rookie since 2010-11, when Kevin Shattenkirk also posted points in nine consecutive games for the Avalanche (Nov. 17-Dec. 4: 4-9—13).
Since Jan. 1, MacKinnon ranks second in the NHL with 12 goals and third with 21 points in 20 games. He leads all rookies in goals (22), assists (23), points (45), power-play goals (8), game-winning goals (5-tied) and shots on goal (171) in 59 games this season.
The Blues were shut out for the first time since May 4, 2013 (Game 3 of WCQ) . . . Bruins forwards Jarome Iginla (2-6—8) and Milan Lucic (3-4—7) both extended their point streaks to five games . . . Kings captain Dustin Brown played in his 700th NHL game . . . Blues defenseman Roman Polak skated in his 400th career game . . . Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk appeared in his 300th NHL game . . . The Wild acquired forward Brad Winchester from the Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Brian Connelly.
SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Columbus @ New Jersey, 7:00 p.m., FS-O, MSG PLUS 2
Toronto @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., SNET-O, MSG PLUS
Chicago @ NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, CSN-CH, MSG
San Jose @ Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m., CSN-CA, CSN-PH
Montreal @ Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m., RDS, TSN-HABS, ROOT
Detroit @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m., FS-D, SNET-E, TVA
Washington @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., CSN-DC, FS-F
Tampa Bay @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., SUN, FS-TN
Phoenix @ Winnipeg, 8:00 p.m., FS-A, TSN-JETS
Carolina @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m., FS-CR, FS-SW
Los Angeles @ Calgary, 9:30 p.m., TSN, FS-W
Minnesota @ Edmonton, 9:30 p.m., FS-N, SNET-W
BLACKHAWKS, RANGERS BATTLE IN THE BIG APPLE
The Blackhawks face off against the Rangers in their first visit to Madison Square Garden since Feb. 16, 2012, a 4-2 victory. Nine of the last 11 meetings between these clubs have been decided by one goal, including New York’s 3-2 win Jan. 8 at United Center. Overall, the Blackhawks have recorded points in five of their past six games (3-1-2), while the Rangers are 5-1-0 in their last six and 11-4-0 in their past 15 dating to Jan. 8.
OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO
Thursday’s game at Madison Square Garden marks the midpoint of an exciting week of playing in iconic venues around the globe for the seven Blackhawks – Niklas Hjalmarsson (Sweden), Patrick Kane (USA), Duncan Keith (Canada), Marcus Kruger (Sweden), Johnny Oduya (Sweden), Patrick Sharp (Canada) and Jonathan Toews (Canada) – who participated in medal games at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games:
Saturday/Sunday, Feb. 22-23: Bolshoy Ice Dome (Sochi, Russia)
Thursday, Feb. 27: Madison Square Garden (New York, N.Y.)
Saturday, March 1: Soldier Field (Chicago, Ill.)