NHL Morning Skate – Nov. 14, 2013

NEW YORK – Only three games were featured on the NHL schedule Wednesday night. In St Paul, the Wild needed a late rally to overcome a sub-par performance to defeat the Maple Leafs, 2-1, in a shootout. NHL

“It’s frustrating when you get the number of penalties that we had called against us tonight, a major penalty. Kill that off and think we get momentum,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “We have the puck under control in our zone, we cough it up and it ends up in our net.”

Zach Parise scored late to giet the game to overtime.

“Like the game in Toronto … the one difference is that this was a one-goal deficit we were chasing,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “In Toronto, we didn’t have many opportunities when we were only down by a goal. I think we had little bit more of a feeling that this game was there for us if we could keep going.”

In Edmonton, it just does not get better.

“You need to score to win games,” Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. “I thought early, we had some great chances that could have been easily converted. In the second I liked our structure, but I am not sure we had a shot 5-on-5. We had some zone time, but just couldn’t get the puck to the net. In the third, we had a couple of chances again. But you have to finish and we couldn’t do that.”

The Dallas Stars defeated the Oilers 3-0 behind 22 saves by Kari Lehtonen.

“It was a little bit of a see-saw battle where special teams on both teams could have made a bit of a difference,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “It seemed like penalty killing prevailed. When they got some early power plays, they could have gotten some momentum when they scored and we could have put the game away later when we had our opportunities and we didn’t.”

Meanwhile in Pittsburgh, the Penguins continue to slide as the Flyers took a 2-1 win on the road.

“We’re winning right now. It was a good win,” Flyers coach Craig Berube said. “We didn’t get off to a great start, but our goalie was really good and gave us a chance to win and get our feet under us. And more than anything, I like the fact that we grinded the win out.

“We played the night before and did a lot of little things right. I thought we did a good job of getting the puck out and getting it in deep and it’s just another game. There’s a long way to go.”

It was the Flyers’ third straight win.

SABRES BRING BACK LaFONTAINE, NOLAN
The Sabres hired Pat LaFontaine as president of hockey operations and Ted Nolan as interim head coach following the dismissals of Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston. Both LaFontaine and Nolan have histories in Buffalo.

LaFontaine spent six of his 15 NHL seasons with the Sabres, posting 158-227—385 in 268 regular-season games from 1991-97. He had a career year in 1992-93, setting franchise records for assists (95) and points (148) in a single season. After being sidelined by a knee injury for most of the 1993-94 campaign, LaFontaine returned as the club’s captain in 1994-95 and was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy.

Nolan coached the Sabres from 1995-97, compiling a 73-72-19 regular-season record over two years. He became the franchise’s first Jack Adams Award winner in 1996-97 following a first-place finish in the Northeast Division.

WEDNESDAY’S RESULTS
Minnesota 2, Toronto 1 (SO)
Philadelphia 2, Pittsburgh 1
Dallas 3, Edmonton 0

PARISE, HARDING HELP WILD E-XCEL
Zach Parise scored the tying goal with 4:17 remaining in regulation and potted the first marker in the shootout to help the Wild improve to 11-4-4, including an 8-1-2 record in their past 11 games and 5-0-1 mark in their last six. Minnesota’s 26 points through its opening 19 contests are a franchise record, surpassing the previous mark of 25 accomplished four times (most recently in 2011-12).

Parise recorded his ninth goal of the season and 16th point, both of which lead the Wild. He also scored his 10th career game-deciding goal in the shootout and improved to 34-for-73 (46.6%) all-time in the tiebreaker, the most career shootout goals among active players.

Josh Harding (10-2-2) made 19 saves, plus another in the tiebreaker, in relief of an injured Niklas Backstrom, who exited the game midway through the first period. Harding ranks first in the NHL with a 1.21 goals-against average and second with a .947 save percentage, and has yielded two or fewer goals in 14 of his 15 appearances this season.

Harding also improved to 8-0-0 at Xcel Energy Center, where he has a 1.06 goals-against average, .952 save percentage and two shutouts.

BIG MINUTES FOR SUTER
Wild defenseman Ryan Suter logged a game-high 36:00, his fourth consecutive game topping 30:00 and ninth such contest this season. Suter has totaled 108:19 in his last three games, the most over any three-game span since time on ice started being tracked for the 2000-01 season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Suter leads the NHL in average time on ice at 29:43, over two minutes more than the next-closest player (Calgary’s Dennis Wideman, 27:24).

SCHENN-SATIONAL
Brayden Schenn scored twice to lead the Flyers to their third consecutive victory and seventh win in their past nine visits to CONSOL Energy Center. Schenn paces Philadelphia with 12 points (6-6—12) in 18 games this season. His last multi-goal game was on Feb. 23, when he totaled 2-1—3 in a 5-3 victory over the Jets.

The Flyers improved to 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, earning points in five of their past six (4-1-1), following a 1-7-0 start to the season. Philadelphia is 7-3-1 when scoring first and 0-7-0 when yielding the first goal.

LEHTONEN SHUTS THE DOOR
Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves, including a highlight-reel glove stop, to record his first shutout of the season and the 23rd of his career. Lehtonen improved to 6-1-0 on the road this season, including a 1.91 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.

KADRI HEARING
Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety today for a hit on Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom during Wednesday’s game at Xcel Energy Center.

At 7:07 of the first period, Kadri hit Backstrom while driving to the net. Backstrom initially remained in the game after being attended to on the ice, but was replaced by Josh Harding at 10:31 of the first period and did not return. Kadri received a two-minute minor for goaltender interference on the play.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: goalie interference/charging. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.

LOOSE PUCKS
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored his ninth goal of the season to take sole possession of the League lead in points (9-15—24) . . . Stars forward Tyler Seguin recorded his team-leading eighth goal of the season. He also paces the club with 17 points . . . Phil Kessel played in his 300th game as a Maple Leaf (129-143—272) . . . Stars forward Shawn Horcoff logged 14:49 of ice-time and a +1 rating in his return to Edmonton . . . The Wild improved to 8-1-2 on home ice. They played their 500th all-time game at Xcel Energy Center (regular season and playoffs), moving to 263-163-74 . . . The Stars have won 12 of their last 14 games versus the Oilers, including five straight at Rexall Place.

SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Columbus @ Boston, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, FS-O, NESN
Los Angeles @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., FS-W, MSG PLUS
Anaheim @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., PRIME, SUN
Phoenix @ Chicago, 8:00 p.m., FS-A, CSN-CH
Colorado @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., RDS, ALT, FS-MW
Dallas @ Calgary, 9:00 p.m., FS-SW, SNET-CGY
San Jose @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., CSN-CA, SNET-VAN

WESTERN BATTLES HIGHLIGHT THURSDAY SCHEDULE
Four of the top seven teams in Western Conference face off Thursday.

The Coyotes (13-4-2, 28 points) visit the Blackhawks (12-2-4, 28 points) in the clubs’ first meeting of the 2013-14 season. Phoenix is off to its best start since 1998-99, when the team went 14-3-2 (30 points) in its first 19 games, while Chicago has won six of its past seven contests (6-0-1).

Central Division foes Colorado (14-3-0) and St. Louis (11-2-3) also meet for the first time this season. The Avalanche have set a franchise record with 28 points through their opening 17 games, while the Blues have tied the club mark with 25 through their first 16 contests. A win tonight would establish a record for either team.

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