NHL Morning Skate – Jan. 6, 2014

NEW YORK – In Chicago, the San Jose Sharks rallied from a one-goal deficit to force overtime and then defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout.

“We talked about the details,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of a team meeting that was held earlier in the day. “The difference between winning and losing is a real fine one. It’s hard to demand perfection, but you have to demand as close as you can get to that. The players tonight gave us that. It still was a tough task. To score only two and win a game against Chicago, you’ve done something pretty well.”

Brent Burns’ goal just past the halfway mark of the third was the goal to force OT. But it was the defensive effort by his Sharks that got McLellan’s attention.

“It was the best defensive effort we’ve had in this building in a while,” McLellan said. “We talked a lot about it before the game. When you feed their transition, which is their biggest strength, you get yourselves in a lot of trouble. It still happened throughout the night. It’s hard to play perfect, but we were pretty solid and solid in our zone. [Our] goaltender gave us a chance and everybody contributed. It was a really good game.”

It was the first win in four years for San Jose in Chicago.

“We were just a little more competitive,” San Jose’s Joe Thornton said. “You’ve got to be competitive against these guys and that’s all it was. They’re the champs. In my opinion, [Chicago] and [the Anaheim Ducks] are the best two teams in the [Western Conference], so to come in here in their building and beat them, it’s a huge feather in our cap.”

Corey Perry

Corey Perry’s goal with 0.6 seconds on clock in OT wins it for Ducks – image courtesy of NHL

In Anaheim, Corey Perry scored with two seconds left in the extra session to propel the Ducks to a 4-3 win over Vancouver.

“I saw a couple of seconds on the clock and just yelled for the puck,” Perry said. “I knew I would shoot it right away. It wasn’t hard, but it probably fooled him more than anything. It found a way in. Of all the places I shot tonight, a trickler is the one that goes in.”

The win kept the Ducks’ streak alive for not having lost in regulation on home ice this season.

For goalie Eddie Lack it was a surprise to have been beaten on the game winner.

“I honestly thought when it went in it was over already, but I looked up at the clock and it was .6 seconds,” Lack said. “That’s just the kind of night we had.”

Lack made 45 saves on a busy night.

“He’s been something, hasn’t he?” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said of Lack. “He brought it to another level tonight. You try to find some good stuff, that’s certainly some good stuff.”

The Canucks have been surrendering shots much to the displeasure of most.

“You play good teams like Anaheim and L.A, there’s a lot of lessons, and they expose things in your game that aren’t solid,” Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. “We’ve seen that in L.A., and we talked a lot about that this morning. A lot of that has to do with our mindset. We’re playing not to lose, and we’ve to start playing to win.”

In Edmonton, the Oilers hosted the Lightning and sent them packing with a 5-3 loss.

Ilya Bryzgalov was solid in net stopping 24 for the win.

Jordan Eberle was the first star of the game with two goals.

“We played the right way to start the game, and for whatever reason, we started to play the wrong way,” Eberle said. “They tied the game up and then we got back to playing the way we needed to. It is frustrating when you give up a lead, but at the end of the day, we won the game and got the two points and that’s what matters.”

The Bolts’ Ben Bishop left the game after one shot on goal. His coach had no idea for the departure after the game.

“I have no idea,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I don’t ask, so I can look you in the eye and say I don’t know, so I don’t know.

“We don’t know, it’s hard to speculate. I don’t know what the injury is, but I don’t think it’s going to be major serious. I hope not anyway. But if it is, then [Lindback] is a proven goaltender in the League and he’ll be fine. But let’s make that determination when we find out what’s wrong with him. I think it’s way too early to speculate on what’s going.”

The Oilers broke out to a 3-1 lead after the first period.

“I was disappointed how we came out,” Cooper said. “Give them credit, they had a lot of jump in their legs, and unfortunately, it took us a period to fall behind 3-1. It’s a tough League and it takes a lot of energy to come back. We got it back to tie, but we just couldn’t find a way to get the next one.

“I thought we had ample chances to get the next one. Their goaltender stood tall and they benefited from a few post and benefited from us being a little bit too unselfish. I think if we do get that fourth one, it’s maybe a little bit of a different game. But give them credit, they got that fourth one and that was the one that won it.”

Tampa tied it in the second but the third period belonged to the Oilers.

“There were certainly some shifts in the second period where we didn’t play well, but for the most part, our effort was good,” Edmonton’s Taylor Hall said. “Our execution was good. There have been a lot of times this season where we have gone into a third period tied or in a close game and we just haven’t really played the way we should. [Sunday] was a different story. It was nice to see, especially against a team that is as good and as high in the standings as Tampa.”

SUNDAY’S RESULTS
Pittsburgh 6, Winnipeg 5
Carolina 2, Nashville 1
San Jose 3, Chicago 2 (SO)
Edmonton 5, Tampa Bay 3
Anaheim 4, Vancouver 3 (OT)
 
LATE HEROICS KEEP DUCKS’ STREAK ALIVE . . .
Nick Bonino scored the tying goal with 1:27 remaining in regulation and Corey Perry tallied the game-winner with 1.3 seconds left in overtime to help the Ducks improve to 17-0-2 this season at home and 31-8-5 overall.
 
* The Ducks lead the NHL with 67 points (tied with the Blackhawks, but hold the tiebreaker). They are off to their best 45-game start in franchise history, besting the previous mark set in 2006-07 (29-9-6, 64 points).
 
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Ducks are the fifth team since 1973-74 to record at least one point in each of its first 19 or more home games of a season:
 
1979-80 Flyers: 26 (19-0-7)
1978-79 Islanders: 23 (19-0-4)
2008-09 Sharks: 22 (20-0-2)
1973-74 Bruins: 21 (19-0-2)
2013-14 Ducks: 19 (17-0-2)
NHL record
 
* The Ducks’ 19-game point streak at Honda Center also is their longest home point streak at any point of a season (previous best was 14 games).
 
* The Ducks improved to 11-1-2 this season versus the Pacific Division and a League-best 17-3-2 against the Western Conference (.818 points percentage).
 
* Perry scored his fifth career regular-season overtime goal, tying Ryan Getzlaf and Scott Niedermayer for the second-most in franchise history. He also recorded his League-leading eighth game-winning goal of the season.
 
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Perry’s goal was the latest overtime winner by a Duck since Nov. 17, 1995, when Peter Douris scored with one second remaining in a 2-1 victory over the Islanders.
 
* Jonas Hiller made 17 saves to pick up his 11th consecutive win, extending his franchise and personal record.
 
. . . PENGUINS ALSO STAY HOT AT HOME
The Penguins scored a pair of third-period goals to erase a one-goal deficit and earn their 12th consecutive home victory dating to Nov. 15, matching a franchise record set Feb. 22-March 30, 2013.
 
* The Penguins lead the NHL with 19 home-ice victories this season (19-3-0). They have outscored opponents 49-27 during their 12-game winning streak at CONSOL Energy Center.
 
* Evgeni Malkin posted 2-1—3, including the game-tying goal, in his first appearance since Dec. 14. His third point moved him past Jean Pronovost and into sole possession of sixth place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list (228-376—604 in 491 GP).
 
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Malkin has eight career games with three or more points versus the Jets/Thrashers franchise, his most against any opponent. The only other teams against which Malkin has recorded at least five such games are the Capitals and Maple Leafs (six each).
 
* James Neal scored two goals in a 34-second span of the second period. He has found the back of the net 14 times in his past 16 games and ranks second in the NHL with an average of 1.42 points per game this season (16-18—34 in 24 GP), behind only teammate Sidney Crosby (1.43, 23-40—63 in 44 GP).
 
* Crosby posted an assist to extend his point streak to five games (3-6—9). He also stretched his home point streak to 16 contests (8-17—25) and has at least one point in 21 of 22 games at CONSOL Energy Center this season.
 
* Matt Niskanen scored his fourth game-winning goal of the season, the most among NHL defensemen.
 
* With the victory, head coach Dan Bylsma tied Eddie Johnston for the most regular-season wins in franchise history (232).
 
* The Penguins improved to 5-8-1 when trailing after two periods, tied for the most such wins in the NHL this season (with the Blackhawks, Bruins, Capitals, Coyotes and Devils).
 
* The Penguins recorded their 13th consecutive home victory over the Jets/Thrashers franchise dating to Dec. 27, 2006, their longest home winning streak versus any opponent in club history.
 
STALOCK, SHARKS EDGE BLACKHAWKS
Alex Stalock made 33 saves, plus another two in the tiebreaker, to backstop the Sharks to their fourth consecutive shootout victory dating to Dec. 21. They improved to 7-5 in shootouts this season, tied for the second-most such wins in the NHL (with the Maple Leafs). 

* Stalock improved to 5-2-0 with a 2.03 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in 10 appearances this season. He has recorded 30 or more saves in four of his five victories.
 
* Joe Thornton collected his League-leading 43rd assist of the season to extend his assist/point streak to eight games (0-12—12).
 
* Logan Couture scored the deciding goal in the shootout and added an assist to stretch his point streak to five games (4-1—5).
 
* Despite the loss, the Blackhawks extended their point streak to 10 games dating to Dec. 15 (6-0-4).
 
SKINNER, HURRICANES KEEP ROLLING
Jeff Skinner posted 1-1—2, including the tiebreaking goal with 3:31 remaining in regulation, and Anton Khudobin made 31 saves to lead the Hurricanes to their season-high fourth consecutive victory.
 
* Skinner extended his point streak to five games (6-4—10), matching a career long set during his rookie season (Jan. 7-15, 2011: 5-3—8). He has 16-6—22, including seven multi-point performances, in his last 16 games after totaling 4-7—11, with two multi-point outings, in his first 16 contests of the season.
 
* Khudobin improved to 5-0-0 with a 1.99 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in six games this season. He has made 30 or more saves in four of his five starts and has allowed two or fewer goals in five of his six appearances.
 
MYERS HEARING
Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety today for a hit on Devils forward Dainius Zubrus Saturday at First Niagara Center.
 
Myers received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head of Zubrus at 7:02 of the third period. Zubrus remained in the game.
 
The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: illegal check to the head. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.
 
CROSBY LEADS 2013 JERSEY SALES
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had the top-selling player jersey on Shop.NHL.com in 2013. Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane rounded out the top five.
 
FINLAND WINS 2014 IIHF WJC
Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen scored 9:42 into overtime to give Finland a 3-2 victory over Sweden in the gold-medal game of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
 
Lightning prospect Andrey Vasilevskiy made 30 saves to backstop Russia to a 2-1 win over Canada in the bronze-medal game.
 
LOOSE PUCKS
Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack made a career-high 45 saves while celebrating his 26th birthday, but fell to 7-3-2 . . . Jets forward Evander Kane posted 2-1—3 for his second three-point game of the season . . . Oilers forward Taylor Hall recorded 1-1—2 for his fifth multi-point game in his last nine outings . . . Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made a season-high 40 saves . . . Lightning forward Ondrej Palat recorded an assist to extend his career-long point streak to six games (2-5—7) . . . Predators forwards Mike Fisher (4-6—10) and Patric Hornqvist (2-4—6) both stretched their point streaks to five games . . . Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi played in his 600th NHL game . . . Undrafted Sharks forward Eriah Hayes, 25, made his League debut . . . With Roberto Luongo injured, the Canucks signed 43-year-old SoCal local Rob Laurie to a one-day PTO contract. Laurie also dressed for the Ducks as a backup last season . . . Chicago Bears placekicker Robbie Gould attempts to kick the puck into the net during the Blackhawks’ “Shoot the Puck” contest between periods.

SNEAK PEEK AT MONDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Dallas @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., FS-SW, MSG PLUS
Columbus @ NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m., FS-O, MSG
Florida @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., RDS, FS-F, TSN-HABS
Calgary @ Colorado, 9:00 p.m., SNET-W, ALT

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