NEW YORK – Three shutouts graced the NHL finals from Monday night including the Blue Jackets’ skunking of the Leafs, the Lightning’s blanking of the Rangers, and the Wild’s loss to the Blues in St Louis.
The inconsistency in the east is maddening, none of the teams in the eastern conference has shown a modicum of consistent play this season. Just when the Rangers were getting a head of steam they laid a goose egg on the ice in Tampa as Ben Bishop pitched a shutout in a 5-0 shelling by the Bolts. Martin St Louis had two goals and an assist in the win.
Before the game, St Louis was honored for his 1000th NHL game.
“Tonight was pretty emotional, seeing the whole presentation and seeing my kids, my wife, my parents,” St. Louis said. “And then when they started the video, I couldn’t watch. I kind of lost it. But, you have to play. Scoring a goal early helped everything else settle in. It was a special night and then to win the game and contribute, I don’t know I kind of feel like myself tonight … like a flash from the past.”
The Rangers were without their chances but could not get a break and their defense and goaltending was suspect for the first time in a long time.
“We were unable to make them pay, especially in the first period when they made some mistakes and we had quality chances,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
In Toronto, the Blue Jackets routed the Maple Leafs, 6-0.
“We had a lot of guys step up tonight,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. “We had a lot of players really step up when we needed them to.”
Sergei Bobrovsky picked up his fifth career shutout in making 18 saves on the night.
“We just couldn’t find the pace of the game at all,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “It was like we were playing on our boots, and they were playing on skates. Every puck that was up for grabs, it just seemed that when we had it, we gave it away or we lost it, it went off the end of our stick, bounced over our stick. We couldn’t get shots directed towards the net when we did try, and then when we tried to pass, we put the pass in the guy’s feet. It was one of those ones where it was very frustrating.”
In St Louis, Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves in shutting out the Wild in a 3-0 Blues win
“The first two periods, it was no shots again, no action for me, just a couple shots,” Halak said. “I just needed to stay focused tonight. It wasn’t easy, but going into the third and having the lead, that’s what we wanted.”
The game was much tighter and more entertaining than the score suggested.
“I just thought our 5-on-5 play was really good today,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “I thought this was one of the best games we’ve played 5-on-5 for a long time. I thought any of the scoring chances they got were on the power play. I thought 5-on-5, we really competed, and I thought we created a lot of pressure and presence, especially in the first two periods.”
The Wild thought they has scored early in the game but the officials waived it off and confirmed by video review.
To me, it was clear it was a good goal,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “The call on the ice impacts it. Fair to say we came unraveled for a few minutes after that. It was a big moment in the game.
“It’s bad enough we should be up 1-0 and now all of a sudden we’re down 1-0. But we still had plenty of game in front of us and not going to make excuses, but it was very disappointing.”
NHL, ROGERS ANNOUNCE LANDMARK 12-YEAR DEAL
The NHL and Rogers Communications announced this morning a landmark 12-year broadcast and multimedia agreement that includes all national rights to NHL games on all platforms in all languages. The agreement, the largest media rights deal in League history, begins with the 2014-15 season and continues through the 2025-26 season. This marks the first time a premium North American-wide sports league has granted all of its national (Canadian) rights to one company on a long-term basis.
Rogers also announced it has selected CBC and TVA for separate sub-licensing deals for English-language broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada and all national French-language multimedia rights, respectively.
The agreement is subject to approval by the NHL’s Board of Governors at its meeting on Dec. 9-10.
Boston 4, Pittsburgh 3 (OT)
Columbus 6, Toronto 0
Winnipeg 3, New Jersey 1
Tampa Bay 5, NY Rangers 0
Florida 3, Philadelphia 1
St. Louis 3, Minnesota 0
Nashville 4, Phoenix 2
Chicago 5, Edmonton 1
Los Angeles 3, Vancouver 2 (OT)
KRUG, BRUINS OVERCOME CROSBY’S LATE HEROICS
Sidney Crosby scored the tying goal with 0.3 seconds remaining in regulation, but Torey Krug potted the winner 34 seconds into overtime to help the Bruins snap a seven-game, regular-season losing streak to the Penguins.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau:
* Crosby is the first NHL player to score a tying goal at the 19:59 mark of the third period since March 19, 2010, when Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski did so in an eventual 3-2 shootout loss to the Oilers.
* Crosby last scored a tying or go-ahead goal in the final minute of regulation on March 9, 2008, when he tallied the tiebreaking marker at 19:32 of the third period en route to a 4-2 victory over the Capitals.
* Krug is the first rookie defenseman in Bruins history to score an overtime goal (in the regular season or playoffs). He’s also the first rookie blueliner on any team to do so this season.
* Krug is tied for first among NHL defensemen with seven goals this season (Erik Karlsson, Michael Stone, Shea Weber).
* The Bruins improved to 8-1-2 in their last 11 games, including a 4-0-1 mark in their past five. They also have points in nine consecutive games at TD Garden dating to Oct. 31 (7-0-2).
ST. LOUIS CELEBRATES MILESTONE, LEADS LIGHTNING TO VICTORY
On a night when he was honored for playing in his 1,000th NHL game (Nov. 19), captain Martin St. Louis registered 2-1—3, his 70th career three-point game, and a +3 rating to lead the Lightning to their sixth consecutive victory at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
With his three-point performance, St. Louis (350-586—936) moved into sole possession of 92nd place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list, passing Lightning player development coach Steve Thomas (421-512—933). The 38-year-old undrafted forward leads Tampa Bay and is tied for 11th in the NHL with 10-14—24 in 24 games this season.
“Tonight was pretty emotional, seeing the whole presentation and seeing my kids, my wife, my parents,” St. Louis said afterward. “And then when they started the video, I couldn’t watch. I kind of lost it. But, you have to play. Scoring a goal early helped everything else settle in. It was a special night and then to win the game and contribute, I don’t know I kind of feel like myself tonight . . . like a flash from the past.”
* Ben Bishop made 37 saves for his second shutout of the season and the fifth of his NHL career. He ranks second in the League with 14 victories and also places in the top 10 in goals-against average (2.08), save percentage (.931), saves (512) and appearances (19).
* Bishop improved to 4-0-0 with a 0.89 goals-against average, .970 save percentage and two shutouts in four career appearances versus the Rangers.
* Forward Nikita Kucherov made his NHL debut, scoring his first goal (the game-winner) on his first shot 2:12 after the opening face-off. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the earliest goal by a player in his League debut since Oct. 7, 2006, when Predators defenseman Mikko Lehtonen scored at the 1:41 mark of the first period. Lehtonen never scored another goal in his NHL career, which only lasted 15 games.
STEEN, HALAK POWER BLUES . . .
Alexander Steen scored twice and Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves for his second shutout of the season in leading the Blues to their fourth consecutive victory. The team also extended its home points streak to nine games (7-0-2), its longest since a franchise record 21-game streak from Dec. 6, 2011-Feb. 18, 2012 (18-0-3).
* The Blues improved to 11-1-2 at Scottrade Center, their second-best start at home in franchise history (2000-01: 12-1-1).
* Steen scored his 18th and 19th goals of the season, moving one behind Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin for the League lead. He also has 29 points, two behind Penguins captain Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead.
* Steen is just five goals shy of matching his career high (24), which he set in 68 games during the 2009-10 season. He posted a career-high 51 points in 72 games during the 2010-11 campaign.
* Halak recorded his 27th career shutout and 18th with the Blues, building on his franchise record. He is 13-3-2 with a 2.21 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 18 appearances this season, tied for third in the NHL in victories. That includes an 8-1-2 record with a 2.14 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and two shutouts in 11 home appearances.
* The Blues have won six straight games versus the Wild, the longest active winning streak among NHL teams. They also have recorded at least one point in 11 consecutive home games against the Wild (8-0-3).
. . . KANE, BLACKHAWKS KEEP PACE
Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal to help the Blackhawks (17-4-4, 38 points) pick up their third consecutive victory and remain one point ahead of the Blues and Ducks for first place in the NHL standings. Kane extended his point streak to 11 games (6-9—15), matching a career long. He leads the Blackhawks and ranks eighth in the League with 13-13—26 in 25 games this season.
* Jonathan Toews scored his sixth career shorthanded goal and first since March 20. He ranks second on the Blackhawks and tied for 11th in the NHL with 12-12—24 in 25 games.
* Corey Crawford made 24 saves for his League-leading 16th victory of the season.
* Duncan Keith posted a pair of assists and now leads all defensemen, and is tied for third in the NHL, with 19 helpers in 25 games this season.
* The Blackhawks improved to 13-0-3 when scoring first this season.
Mike Richards scored the tying goal with 2:54 remaining in regulation and Anze Kopitar netted the winner 48 seconds into overtime to help the Kings improve to 7-0-3 in their past 10 games, one shy of the longest point streak in franchise history (set in 1973-74 and matched in 2010-11). Ben Scrivens made a season-high 37 saves; he is 5-0-3 since taking over for Jonathan Quick, who was injured Nov. 12.
Hurricanes forward Kevin Westgarth will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety today for a hit on Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki Sunday at PNC Arena.
At 7:55 of the first period, Westgarth hit Borowiecki along the boards. Borowiecki was helped from the ice and did not return to the game. Westgarth received a two-minute minor for boarding on the play.
The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: boarding. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.
Ryan Johansen posted 2-1—3 and Sergei Bobrovsky made 18 saves for his fifth career shutout as the Blue Jackets picked up points for the seventh time in their past nine games (4-2-3) . . . Sean Bergenheim scored twice, his first goals since April 24, 2012, to help the Panthers snap a five-game losing streak to the Flyers at BB&T Center . . . The Predators improved to 12-1-1 when scoring more than one goal . . . Penguins forward James Neal recorded 2-1—3 and now has 6-6—12 in nine contests since returning from a 15-game absence . . . Panthers netminder Tim Thomas made a season-high 38 saves . . . Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien collected a pair of assists to move into second place in points among blueliners (6-15—21) . . . Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 12-of-13 shots in his Oilers debut (in relief of Devan Dubnyk) . . . Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin collected his League-leading 23rd assist of the season to extend his point streak to five games (1-8—9) . . . Flyers captain Claude Giroux posted an assist to stretch his point streak to five games (2-4—6) . . . Ondrej Pavelec made 25 saves to become the first goaltender in Jets/Thrashers history to reach 100 victories . . . Kings forward Mike Richards played in his 600th NHL game . . . ICYMI: Canucks forward Daniel Sedin pulled out a tooth after getting hit with a high stick.
SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Anaheim @ Dallas, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, NHLN-CA, RDS2