NHL Morning Skate – Jan. 28, 2014

NEW YORK – The West continues to draw our interest this season. Monday night had the Los Angeles Kings in San Jose trying to break a skid that has seen fall from the top teams in the conference and potentially out of a playoff position.

The Kings have been unable to score. They lost the Stadium Series game, 3-0, to the Ducks and once again the centers have disappeared for LA.

Anze Kopitar

Anze Kopitar scores lone goal in LA win over San Jose – image courtesy of NHL

Monday night presented a tough opponent in the Sharks. And the Kings stepped up with a 1-0 win over Sam Jose. Anze Kopitar scored the only goal of the match and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves to get the shutout win.

“I mean, I guess we needed a win like this to break out of the slump,” Kopitar said. “[Quick] was obviously solid back there and gave us a chance to win. I guess one was enough. We hit a couple posts, had a couple good chances. Could have been two or three, but it doesn’t really matter. It was enough for two points.”

The Kings ended their six-game stretch without a win and the loss snapped the Sharks’ five-game win streak.

“We don’t score many goals,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “So you got to make big saves and you got to limit the other team, and you got to bear down on opportunities. We had plenty of opportunities. … This is a tough building to come into and get one point, let alone two. You can say you worked hard and not get nothing.”

Alex Stalock made 20 saves in the loss and picked up the game’s second star.

“Every game we seem to play against them, it’s a one-goal game and offense is at a premium and so are shots,” Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. “I think both teams played real well defensively and they got the break with one goal.”

Kopitar’s goal came with just over two minutes left in the middle frame.

“Sometimes you need a game or an opponent like San Jose or like St. Louis where there’s a heavy game, a playoff-like atmosphere,” Kopitar said. “I thought there was certainly that out there tonight, and we were able to get the two points. That’s the most important thing.”

In Vancouver, the woes for the Canucks continue as the Edmonton Oilers came to town and doubled-up the hosts, 4-2.

David Perron had a hat trick to lead the Oilers to the win.

Ilya Bryzgalov made 25 saves on the night for the win. Meanwhile, Roberto Luongo faced only 19 shots making 16 saves. Perron completed his hat trick into an empty net with 1:09 left in regulation to seal the win.

“You don’t want to give David Perron too much room out there,” Eakins said. “He can hurt you quickly. He’s a deadly shooter, and he was able to get freed up a couple times tonight.”

The Oilers took the lead for good with 2:20 gone in the third when Jesse Joensuu beat Luongo.

“I have to come up with that save,” said Luongo. “The team needed it, and I didn’t come up with it.”

Back on the Island, in Uniondale, the Islanders were looking to sweep the Bruins this season but Boston had other ideas as they defeated New York, 6-3.

A strong all around game from Boston the third period put the game away. The Bruins had a 4-3 after forty minutes and clamped down defensively and used opportunistic scoring to put home two more goals.

“We’ve got to keep that going,” Boston’s Patrice Bergeron said of the Bruins’ balanced attack. “We’re feeling good right now. We have some good confidence, and we’re moving the puck well. When we do that, we’re creating some chances for ourselves.”

Until the third period, the game had been a back and forth affair with the Bruins holding an early advantage but they surrendered it to the Isles following a penalty.http://

“We got off to such a great start. We looked like the team that had been playing that way for the last few games,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Then we took that penalty, and that power play really gave them momentum. We really finished [the period] on our heels.”

Julien was not pleased with the Bruins’ erratic play in the second period.

“I thought we got sloppy and shot ourselves in the foot with the way we gave them their goals in the second period,” Julien said. “Giveaways, turnovers, bad decision-making — it was really uncharacteristic of the way we play.”

The Islanders now get ready for their appearance at Yankee Stadium in the next installment of the Stadium Series against the New York Rangers Wednesday night.

Monday’s Results
NY Islanders 3 Boston 6
Carolina 3 Columbus 2
Pittsburgh 3 Buffalo 0
Dallas 3 Colorado 4
Vancouver 2 Edmonton 4
San Jose 0 Los Angeles 1

 

ISLANDERS DROP STADIUM SERIES TUNE-UP
The Islanders fought back from a trio of one-goal deficits, but ultimately fell to the Bruins in their final game before facing the Rangers Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series.
 
* Kyle Okposo recorded 1-2—3, his fourth three-point game of the season. He now has 4-7—11 during a six-game point streak, including four multi-point efforts.
 
* Okposo has 23-34—57 in 54 games this season, career highs in both assists and points. He also is one goal shy of matching his career high, set in 79 games during the 2011-12 season.
 
STAALS SPARK HURRICANES’ COMEBACK
Down 2-0 with less than nine minutes remaining in regulation, the Staal brothers combined to lead the Hurricanes to their fourth consecutive victory – Eric scored twice in 60 seconds to tie the game, Jordan then recorded the tiebreaking goal with 5:55 left on the clock.
 
* With the win, the Hurricanes (24-19-9, 57 points) leapfrogged the Blue Jackets (26-22-4, 56 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division.
 
* E. Staal posted his first multi-goal game since March 2, 2013. He now has 4-5—9 during a six-game point streak and 11-24—35 in his past 31 games, including 5-9—14 in his last 10 outings.
 
* J. Staal tallied his first game-winning goal of the season. He now has played in 100 games with the Hurricanes, compiling 21-35—56.
 
* Alexander Semin collected an assist to extend his point streak to six games (6-3—9).
 
FLEURY, PENGUINS SHUT THE DOOR . . .
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 24 shots he faced to help the Penguins improve to 8-2-1 in their last 11 games, including a 3-1-0 mark in their past four.
 
* Fleury recorded his League-leading 29th victory of the season. He also posted his fourth shutout of 2013-14, tied for second in the NHL, and the 27th blank sheet of his career.
 
* Sidney Crosby collected two assists to extend his point streak versus the Sabres to 16 games (9-17—26), matching a career long versus any opponent. He also now has 27 assists and 39 points at home this season, both tops in the NHL.
 
* Chris Kunitz scored his 26th goal of the season (53 GP), matching a career high set in 2011-12 (82 GP).
 
* The Penguins earned their League-leading 22nd home victory of the season. They are 15-1-0 in their last 16 contests at CONSOL Energy Center and have won 40 of their past 48 at home dating to last season.
 
. . . QUICK, KINGS DO THE SAME
Jonathan Quick denied all 23 shots he faced to help the Kings snap a five-game losing streak and end the Sharks’ six-game winning streak.
 
* Quick now has three shutouts this season and 28 in his career, four behind Rogie Vachon for the most in club history. He improved to 5-4-2 with a 1.53 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and two shutouts since returning from injury Jan. 4.
 
* Anze Kopitar scored the lone goal. Five of his of 15 goals this season have been game-winners.
 
* The Kings improved to 110-41-13 all-time when Kopitar scores in the regular season.
 
VARLAMOV ENJOYS HEAVY TRAFFIC
Semyon Varlamov made 41 saves to backstop the Avalanche to their sixth win in their last eight games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Varlamov is 5-0-1 when facing 40 or more shots on goal this season. His five such wins rank second in the NHL behind Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who has won six times when facing 40 or more shots this season.
 
* Varlamov improved to 26-9-5 this season (42 GP), including a 10-1-1 mark in his past 12 decisions. His 26 wins match a career high set in 53 games during the 2011-12 season, his first campaign in Colorado.

PERRON TRICKS CANUCKS
David Perron recorded his second career hat trick to power the Oilers to back-to-back wins for the fourth time this season. His other hat trick also came against the Canucks, in a 6-1 victory by the Blues Nov. 10, 2009. Perron now has a career-high 22 goals this season (51 GP), topping his previous mark of 21 in 2011-12 (57 GP).

MILLER’S MASK READY FOR SOCHI
Bishop Designs released several images of the mask Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller will wear as a member of Team USA during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Click here for more pictures.
 

 
LOOSE PUCKS
Bruins forward Brad Marchand posted 1-3—4, his third career performance of four or more points. He now has 7-5—12 during a six-game point streak . . . Stars forward Tyler Seguin recorded 1-2—3, his team-leading 15th multi-point game of the season . . . Alex Stalock set a Sharks record for the longest shutout streak in franchise history, posting 178:55 of scoreless play before allowing a goal at 17:56 of the second period . . . Canucks forward Jordan Schroeder scored twice in his first game since Oct. 19 . . . Stars captain Jamie Benn (1-1—2) reached the 20-goal plateau for the fourth time in his career . . . Bruins forwards Patrice Bergeron (4-6—10) and Reilly Smith (2-5—7) both extended their point streaks to six games . . . Oilers forward Taylor Hall assisted on the game-winning goal to stretch his assist/point streak to five games (0-6—6) . . . Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin played in his 500th NHL game. He has 231-380—611 in his career . . . Bruins captain Zdeno Chara recorded his 500th career point (156-344—500) . . . Artist Mark Paul Deren, known as Madsteez, created a 72” x 48” painting of Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin. Click here to learn more.
 

 

 
SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Florida @ Boston, 7:00 p.m., FS-F, NESN
Tampa Bay @ Toronto, 7:00 p.m., TSN, SUN
Detroit @ Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m., FS-D, CSN-PH
Ottawa @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., SNET-E, FS-O
Washington @ Buffalo, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2
Carolina @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., RDS, FS-CR
New Jersey @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., MSG PLUS, FS-MW
Nashville @ Winnipeg, 8:00 p.m., FS-TN, TSN-JETS
Los Angeles @ Phoenix, 9:00 p.m., FS-W, FS-A
Chicago @ Calgary, 9:30 p.m., TSN, CSN-CH
Minnesota @ Anaheim, 10:00 p.m., FS-N, PRIME

 

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