NHL Morning Skate – Feb. 28, 2014 Detroit thrashed Senators

NEW YORK – A big schedule in the NHL had games throughout the two conferences including cross-over matches.

Rick Nash

Rick Nash nets game winner in third – image courtesy of NHL

One of those included the New York Rangers hosting the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago entered the game looking to get even for a pasting the Rangers handed in Chicago. That game saw the Hawks treat the Rangers a bit too lightly.

Thursday night was a different story as both clubs played it close.

Cam Talbot got the start in the New York net to give Henrik Lundqvist a day to rest.

Talbot faced 32 shots and came within 12 seconds of blanking Chicago. Peter Regin picked up his third of the season to spoil the shutout bid.

“First game at home after the break, Chicago, it was important to win,” Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. “Obviously the ending of the game is not the way we wanted to do it, but I thought we played pretty well, pretty smart with the puck for most of the game. It was big for us just to get that. We were playing so well going into the break, and having that feeling come back to the room I think is pretty big.”

Midway through the first Derick Brassard picked up his 12th of the year to give the Rangers the lead. New York protected the one-goal lead through the second and deep into the third when Rick Nash collected his 19th of the year to give the Rangers some breathing room.

Despite a mediocre Olympic performance Nash was able to pick up his scoring touch that he left before the break.

Nash had originally been denied on a nice stick check and the puck deflected to the far corner. Rather than give up on the puck he skate4d after it and circled back out to the faceoff dot and wristed home the puck for the 2-0 Ranger lead.http://

Corey Crawford faced 24 shots in the Chicago net and took the loss.

“We’re playing against the Stanley Cup champions and we’re playing against the No. 1 offensive in the League; I believe that trading chances is probably not the way to go,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We were really solid. We really backchecked hard. Their shift lengths were good, so we were able to keep a smart, high pace, and we didn’t give them very much in the first two periods.”

In Newark, the Devils broke out to a 3-1 first period lead and never looked back as they cruised past the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2

Jaromir Jagr picked up his 18th of the year and Cory Schneider had a solid night in net with 17 saves on 19 shots.http://

The Devils defense played well and limited the Jackets’ chances.

Special teams were a big reason for the win as New Jersey picked up two power play markers and Adam Henrique scored a short-handed goal in the second.

“I think we kind of stressed over the last week … that we wanted to create more offense,” Rayne Clowe told MSG Network. “That’s what we talked about. And to be able to come out and put one on the board early, and then gain momentum and score two more was definitely key. You don’t want to overthink it, but we needed to score more goals and we need to get more pucks to the net. We did that tonight.”

In Uniondale, the focus was on the response of the Islanders to the loss of their star John Tavares to injury in Sochi. The Isles responded very well with a 5-4 OT win over the visiting Maple Leafs.

Michael Grabner had two short-handed goals in the first period on the same penalty kill. The second was a complete failure of communication between Jonathan Bernier and his defenseman as Grabner picked off the puck and had an easy shot for the 2-1 lead.

It wasn’t much better at the end of the game as rookie Anders Lee capitalized on Toronto’s inability to clear the low slot And Lee deflected a pass from the far corner past Bernier.http://

Then in the extra session, Lubomir Visnovsky scored midway through the period off another poor defensive effort by the Leafs. Vishovsky slapped the puck at the net and Bernier missed the shot giving the Isles the win.

“We gave them three goals. You can’t win in the NHL giving away three goals,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said. “Gifts. Total gifts. We were fortunate to get a point.”

THURSDAY’S RESULTS
Home Teams in Caps
NEW JERSEY 5, Columbus 2
NY ISLANDERS 5, Toronto 4 (OT)
NY RANGERS 2, Chicago 1
San Jose 7, PHILADELPHIA 3
Montreal 6, PITTSBURGH 5 (SO)
Detroit 6, OTTAWA 1
Washington 5, FLORIDA 4
NASHVILLE 3, Tampa Bay 2
WINNIPEG 3, Phoenix 2 (SO)
DALLAS 4, Carolina 1
Los Angeles 2, CALGARY 0
Minnesota 3, EDMONTON 0

HAT TRICKS POWER SHARKS, RED WINGS
* The Sharks exploded for five goals in the second period, including Joe Pavelski’s second-career hat trick, en route to a 7-3 win in Philadelphia. Pavelski’s first hat trick came Jan. 18 in Tampa Bay, making him the first Shark to tally multiple three-goal games in a season since Dany Heatley in 2009-10 (Elias). Pavelski has tallied 32 goals this season, matching his single-season career high and tied for second place in the League with Toronto’s Phil Kessel.

* Johan Franzen recorded his first hat trick since Nov. 8, 2011 as Detroit opened a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-1 victory in Ottawa. Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson made 37 saves and Niklas Kronwall added three assists as the Red Wings claimed their second road win in as many nights.

SEE-SAW BATTLES AROUND THE LEAGUE
* Washington surrendered a pair of two-goal leads but Alex Ovechkin’s tally with 4:17 left in the third period proved to be the winner as the Capitals skated to a 5-4 win over the Panthers. Ovechkin’s League-leading 41st goal of the season was his third point of the night, giving him 7-8–15 in his past 10 games. Brooks Laich (1-2–3) and Nicklas Backstrom (1-2–3) also posted three-point performances while netminder Braden Holtby made 30 saves for his fifth win in his past six games.

* Montreal’s Daniel Briere (2-1–3) knotted the game at five with his second goal at 14:06 of the third period and David Desharnais netted the lone shootout marker as Montreal overcame four one-goal deficits to win 6-5 in Pittsburgh. The Canadiens won for just the third time in their past 10 games against the Penguins (3-4-3).

* Martin St. Louis’ 26th and 27th goals gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes but the Predators scored three straight power-play goals, rallying for a 3-2 victory in Nashville. Captain Shea Weber recorded a pair of assists, giving him 15-25–40 this season and moving him into a share of the Predators’ scoring lead with David Legwand (10-30–40).

* Anders Lee scored twice in his first NHL appearance of 2013-14, including the tying goal with 2:40 left in regulation, and Lubomir Visnovsky netted the winner at 1:55 of overtime as the Islanders overcame three one-goal deficits for a 5-4 win over the Maple Leafs. Lee was recalled Monday from the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, where he has tallied a team-leading 22 goals this season.

SHORTHANDED SUCCESS
* Islanders forward Michael Grabner tallied twice in 48 seconds with his team a man short in the first period against the Maple Leafs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Grabner tallied the fastest two shorthanded goals by an NHL player since Edmonton’s Esa Tikkanen scored a pair in 12 seconds on Nov. 12, 1988 at Toronto. Grabner’s tallies were the fastest shorthanded goals by one player in Islanders history, breaking Ziggy Palffy’s record of 53 seconds (Apr. 17, 1999 at Pittsburgh).

* Stars forward Jamie Benn and defenseman Brenden Dillon each scored shorthanded goals, marking the first time since Mar. 16, 2010 that the Stars tallied twice while on the penalty kill (Elias).

SHINING STARS
Captain Jamie Benn went coast-to-coast to score one of his three points (1-2–3) and Kari Lehtonen made 29 saves as the Stars regained the second Western Conference Wild Card berth with a 4-1 win against the Hurricanes.

* The Stars improved to 10-0-1 in their past 11 home games against the Hurricanes. The Stars have dropped just one home game against the Hurricanes/Whalers franchise since relocating to Dallas, with their only defeat coming against Hartford on Feb. 11, 1996.

JAGR EDGES CLOSER TO HISTORIC GOAL
Devils forward Jaromir Jagr scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season and the 699th of his NHL career in New Jersey’s 5-2 win over Columbus. Jagr’s next goal will make him the seventh player in NHL history to reach 700. The 42-year-old Kladno, Czech Republic native has tallied 15 points (5-10–15) in his past 15 NHL games since Jan. 11. He leads the Devils in goals, assists (32), points (50), plus-minus (+20) and shots (155).

Most Career Goals:
1. Wayne Gretzky, 894
2. Gordie Howe, 801
3. Brett Hull, 741
4. Marcel Dionne, 731
5. Phil Esposito, 717
6. Mike Gartner, 708
7. Jaromir Jagr, 699

MULTIPLE MILESTONES
* Pittsburgh’s James Neal (1-1–2) recorded his 300th NHL point with his first of two against Montreal while teammate Jussi Jokinen notched an assist for his 400th career point. Florida’s Ed Jovanovski recorded his 500th NHL point with an assist in the third period against Washington.

* Maple Leafs forward Nikolai Kulemin played in his 400th game while Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey played in his 100th career contest.

* Flames goaltender Joni Ortio made 22 saves in his NHL debut while Markus Granlund (Calgary) and Mike Halmo (NY Islanders) also played in their first contests.

WILD, KINGS PERFECT IN ALBERTA
* Darcy Kuemper stopped all 21 shots he faced en route to his first NHL shutout in Minnesota’s 3-0 win in Edmonton. The Wild’s 43 total wins (43-23-9) and 19 road wins (19-12-7) against the Oilers are the franchise’s highest totals against a single opponent.

* Jonathan Quick made 25 saves in recording his fourth shutout of 2013-14 and 29th of his NHL career in a 2-0 win at Calgary. Quick moved within three shutouts of the Kings’ all-time leader, Rogie Vachon, who posted 32 with Los Angeles from 1971-72 through 1977-78. The Kings improved to 17-0-0 this season and 122-1-11 in their past 134 regular-season games when leading after two periods (since Apr. 4, 2009).

LOOSE PUCKS
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (1-1–2) became the first player to reach 80 points this season (29-51–80). . . Derick Brassard scored to extend his point streak to seven games (4-5–9) and Rick Nash tallied the eventual winner in the third period as the Rangers skated to a 2-1 win versus the Blackhawks. New York holds a 6-2-3 record in their past 11 games versus Chicago. . . Playing in his second game as a Blackhawk, Peter Regin netted his first goal and won 7-of-10 faceoffs (70%). . . Adam Henrique scored twice in New Jersey’s 5-2 win over Columbus, matching his career high with 16 goals this season. . . Blue Jackets forward Marian Gaborik played his first game since Dec. 21 and scored his first goal since Oct. 25. . . The Sharks improved to 12-1-2 in their past 15 games against Philadelphia.

SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
San Jose @ Buffalo, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-CA, CSN-CA, MSG-B, BELL TV
Phoenix @ Colorado, 9:00 p.m., FS-A PLUS, ALT
Minnesota @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., FS-N, SNET-P
St. Louis @ Anaheim, 10:00 p.m., FS-MW, PRIME

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