NHL Morning Skate — Feb. 5, 2014 Canucks woes continue with loss in Boston

NEW YORK – There were more surprises on the NHL schedule Tuesday night including the come from behind win by the Ottawa Senators over the St Louis Blues, 5-4 in a shootout.

Once again the issue across the league is one of consistency. Just when the Blues were getting on a roll again they stumble.

“I think it’s a characteristic of what’s going on right now,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’re probably taking a step the wrong way when we’ve got the game in good hands and we’re kind if turning pretty controllable games into track meets.

“The second goal was the one that hurt us a lot. We’re on the wrong side of the puck in the neutral zone and had full control of the hockey game. It was just winding down and that gave them the life and then the fluke third goal and the fourth goal was poor.”http://

And for Ottawa is was a huge win to break them out of their funk.

“This was huge, very emotional,” Kyle Turris said. “A very physical game. To have the type of response we had in the third, to tie it up, to get the two points in a tough building against a very good team is huge.”

Jason Spezza had a goal and three points for the Senators.

“It’s a big win for us,” said Spezza, who has 10 points in eight games. “We haven’t picked up any points in the last couple [games]. We’re at that stage of the year where you’ve got to keep moving up in the standings. A big two points in this rink where it is tough to get them.”

In St Paul, the Wild get their own big win in edging the Lightning, 2-1. Darcy Kuemper was busy in the Wild net stopping 34 shots for the win.

“Really impressive,” Wild coach Mik eYeo said of Kuemper after the game. “The last game, in overtime, is still a loss. Lose the game before that. … How do you come to the rink the next day and be mentally tough enough to come in and perform at the level you need to? That’s what was very impressive about him tonight.”

The 23-year old Kuemper was coming off a brace of badly played games and he was in the spotlight against a Bolts team jammed with offensive talent.

“I’ve been in this situation before at different levels,” Kuemper said. “It was nothing new really. It was the first time at this level, but you just have to treat it the same way.

“Right now, you just go out and try to do your part to help the team get wins every night.”

Kuemper outshined Ben Bishop in the Tampa net who stopped 24 on the night in the loss.http://

“We worked harder, we just didn’t work smarter,” Lightning coach Job Cooper said. “That was a big problem. We’re a pretty good puck possession team, but if you keep turning pucks over in the neutral zone like we did for the first 50 minutes of the game, it’s going to be hard to generate offense.”

In New York, the Colorado Avalanche were playing their second game in two nights after winning in Newark, 2-1, over the Devils.

The New York Rangers were coming off a three-day break and dealing the soap opera that is the Ryan Callahan “sign or trade” scenario on Broadway.

Ryan Callahan

Ryan Callahan’s two goals lead Rangers to win over Avs – image courtesy of NHL

The outcome? Callahan went out and scored the first two goals of the game en route to a 5-1 Ranger win.

“I think those three days [off] helped us. We jumped out in the first and then we get that momentum and we seemed to roll with it and never gave it back to them in that first [period],” said Callahan, who faced some questions regarding the trade rumors. “I try not to bring that business to the rink. I try to concentrate on the Rangers and what we’re doing here and trying to get two points. That’s my main focus.”

Brad Richards was empathetic to Callahan’s situation after game, having gone through a similar issue two seasons back.

“[Ryan] wants to contribute. It’s not easy going through these things,” said Richards. “Financially we’re lucky to do what we do. It is also part of the business sometimes. It’s unfortunate when you have to go through it. He’s been professional through it. He really helped our line and really played well.”

After rallying in New Jersey for the win Monday, there was no rally in the Avs’ sticks in Manhattan.

“As much as we had some good breaks yesterday in Jersey, tonight it was the opposite,” Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. “We score on the power play, it’s a 2-1 game. They take a shot from the blue line, it goes off the pants of our player and makes it 3-1. We have a few good chances, it hits the skate and goes in. Some nights the puck doesn’t bounce your way. That’s the way it was tonight.”

For Callahan, who seems to want to be a Ranger for the rest of his career, the night was special.http://

“That’s where I want to be, on the ice playing for the Rangers,” Callahan said. “It’s nights like this that I enjoy that.”

Tuesday’s Results
Boston 3 Vancouver 1
NY Rangers 5 Colorado 1
Carolina 1 Winnipeg 2
Montreal 2 Calgary 0
Florida 4 Toronto 1
Washington 0 NY Islanders 1
St Louis 4 Ottawa 5 SO
Minnesota 2 Tampa Bay 1
Phoenix 1 Dallas 3

 

TOP TEAMS FACE OFF IN ANAHEIM
The top two teams in the NHL face off when the Ducks (40-13-5, 85 points) play host to the Blackhawks (34-10-14, 82 points) at Honda Center. The clubs have met two times this season, with Anaheim picking up a 3-2 shootout victory Dec. 6 and Chicago securing a 4-2 win Jan. 17. Overall, the Ducks have lost consecutive games in regulation for just the third time this season and first time at home. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, have recorded points in four straight (2-0-2) and 10 of their last 11 on the road (4-1-6).

PENGUINS, SABRES MEET ON “RIVALRY NIGHT”
The Penguins visit the Sabres on NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” telecast in a matchup that evokes memories of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, when Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby beat Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller at 7:40 of overtime to give Canada a 3-2 victory over the United States in the gold-medal game. Both players will again represent their countries in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which begin next week in Sochi, Russia.

REMINDER: EPISODE 3 OF “NHL REVEALED” DEBUTS TONIGHT
The third episode of “NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other” debuts on NBCSN tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET. The episode will air on CBC tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. ET.

TUESDAY’S RESULTS
Boston 3, Vancouver 1
NY Rangers 5, Colorado 1
Winnipeg 2, Carolina 1
Montreal 2, Calgary 0
Florida 4, Toronto 1
NY Islanders 1, Washington 0
Ottawa 5, St. Louis 4 (SO)
Minnesota 2, Tampa Bay 1
Dallas 3, Phoenix 1

CALLAHAN, LUNDQVIST SPARK RANGERS
Ryan Callahan (2-1—3) scored a pair of first-period goals, including the eventual game-winner, and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to power the Rangers to their season-high fourth consecutive victory.

* The Rangers improved to 15-5-1 in their past 21 games, including a 10-3-0 mark in their last 13. They also have registered at least one point in 11 of their past 15 games at Madison Square Garden (9-4-2), including nine of their last 12 (8-3-1).

* Callahan posted his second multi-goal game of the season and first since Oct. 12 (2-0—2). He led all skaters with six shots on goal and seven hits, and matched a season high with a +3 rating (also Nov. 7).

* Lundqvist has started all four games during the Rangers’ winning streak, compiling a 1.50 goals-against average and .950 save percentage in that span. He is 11-3-1 with a 1.85 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and one shutout in his last 15 appearances dating to Dec. 29.

* Lundqvist now has 297 career victories (554 GP), four shy of tying Mike Richter for the most in franchise history (666 GP).

* Mats Zuccarello collected two assists to eclipse the 40-point mark for the first time in his NHL career (15-26—41 in 56 GP). He has 2-4—6 and a +6 rating during a four-game point streak.

* ICYMI: Rangers teammates and Team USA members Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and Callahan appeared on the “TODAY” show this morning to discuss the upcoming 2014 Olympic Winter Games (photo courtesy of @NYRangers).

JETS INCH CLOSER TO WILD CARD
Chris Thorburn scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:03 remaining in regulation to lead the Jets to their third consecutive victory. With the win, the team moved within two points of the Canucks for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference:

* The Jets improved to 9-2-0 under head coach Paul Maurice, who returned to Carolina for the first time since being dismissed by the club Nov. 28, 2011. Maurice is the winningest coach in Hurricanes/Whalers history, posting a 384-391-167 record over two stints with the franchise (1997-03, 2008-11).

* Jets captain Andrew Ladd, who was drafted by the Hurricanes fourth overall in 2004, scored his 13th goal of the season and now has 8-8—16 in 20 games against his former team.

* Thorburn recorded his first game-winning goal since March 8, 2009 – a 5-2 victory by the Thrashers over the Flames.

IGINLA, BRUINS STAY HOT AT HOME
Jarome Iginla posted 1-1—2, including the game-winning goal, to lift the Bruins to their seventh victory in their last nine games (7-1-1). With the win, the team improved to 19-3-2 in its past 24 contests at TD Garden. At 22-6-2 (46 points), the Bruins are tied with the Penguins (23-4-0) and Ducks (22-4-2) for the most points on home ice this season.

* Iginla has registered multiple points in four of his last six outings, totaling 3-8—11 in that span. He had five multi-point performances in his first 49 games of the season.

* Iginla also recorded his 600th NHL assist, becoming the eighth active skater to reach that milestone. His 1,146 career points (1,287 GP) rank fourth among active players.

SENATORS RALLY PAST BLUES
Down 3-1 after 40 minutes, the Senators scored three times in the third period and another three times in the shootout to improve to 3-1-1 in their last five games. The team picked up its fifth victory this season when trailing after two periods (5-17-2), tied for the third-most such wins in the League.

* Jason Spezza posted 1-2—3, matching a season high in points (also Oct. 15: 3-0—3 and Oct. 17: 1-2—3). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Senators are 9-0-3 when Spezza records two or more points this season, versus 16-21-8 when he fails to do so.

PRICE, NABOKOV SHUT THE DOOR
* Carey Price stopped all 27 shots he faced to lead the Canadiens to their third win in their past five games (3-1-1). Price has four shutouts this season, including two in his last four starts, and 23 in his NHL career, tied with Jose Theodore for seventh in franchise history.

* Evgeni Nabokov denied all 22 shots he faced to help the Islanders end a five-game skid (0-4-1). Nabokov has two shutouts this season and 57 in his NHL career, which ranks third among active goaltenders and 19th all-time.

LOOSE PUCKS
Antoine Roussel scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period to help the Stars improve to 5-1-1 in their last seven games . . . Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper made his 11th consecutive start, stopping 34 shots to improve to 7-3-2 on the season . . . The Panthers recorded a season-high 48 shots on goal en route to their second win in their last three games . . . The Blues fired a season-high 50 shots on goal, including 23 in the second period – their most in a single period since Nov. 21, 2002 (23 in the third period) . . . Canadiens forward Rene Bourque scored the game-winning goal against his former team. Bourque played in 249 games for the Flames, totaling 88-76—164 in parts of four seasons before being traded to the Canadiens Jan. 12, 2012 . . . Defenseman Raphael Diaz scored in his Canucks debut, snapping a 53-game drought dating to Feb. 19, 2013 . . . Blues captain David Backes reached the 20-goal mark for the fourth time in his eight NHL seasons . . . Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette recorded his 21st goal of the season to stretch his career-long point streak to eight games (8-3—11) . . . Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog scored his 17th goal of the season to push his point streak to seven games (3-6—9) . . . Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri (3-7—10), Stars forward Tyler Seguin (3-7—10) and Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (3-6—9) all extended their point streaks to six games . . . Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk played in his 300th NHL game . . . Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher skated in his 100th career contest . . . ICYMI: U.S. Army Capt. (Ret.) Mark Little dropped the ceremonial opening puck at the Islanders-Capitals game.

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