NHL Morning Skate – Oct. 11, 2013 Rangers continue to look befuddled and uncoached on road trip

NEW YORK – The Colorado Avalanche continued their hot start to the season with a 2-0 white washing of the Bruins in Boston. The Avs’ JS Giguere pitched the shutout of the Bruins.

“Yeah, you know, I just wanted to battle, battle to try to get a win,” Giguere said. “This is a real tough building to get a win in, and I just wanted to give myself a chance, the team a chance. You don’t expect a miracle in your first game. All you can expect is you give it 100 percent. I gave it all my best today, and the guys played really well in front of me, so that was a good feeling.”NHL

The Blue Jackets also stayed hot as they topped the Sabres in Buffalo 4-1. The Jackets broke out on top with three first period goals and then coasted to the win. The loss kept the Sabres winless on the season.

“I don’t like talking about goals,” Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky said after the game of Thomas Vanek’s circus goal. “I don’t know, he shoot and score. We’re happy about the win and that’s the most important thing.”

In Tampa, the Lightning struck the Panthers in a 7-2 drubbing. For the Bolts, Steve Stamkos scored a hat trick in the Tampa home opener. The Coyotes visited Detroit and doubled up the Wings in a 4-2 as the Coyotes continued their up and down start to the season. Earlier in the week Phoenix had been drubbed by the Islanders, 6-1.

Also on the road, the Maple Leafs blanked the Predators, 4-0.

Out in Anaheim, the Rangers continued their road trip of futility as the Ducks scored early and often in hanging yet another defeat on New York’s ledger. Hard to imagine Ranger brass having the stomach to watch the dreadful performance of its high-priced and under-performing roster of prima donas. This club is not just losing, they are being humiliated early and eliminated from contests before most fans have a chance to get a beer and hot dog. So much was made in the locker room after the 9-2 demolition at the hands of the Sharks Tuesday night yet it all went for naught in Anaheim. At some point, before this season is a total loss, someone in the Ranger organization needs to take a stand and make the tough decision(s).

The one person who looks like the genius is John Tortorella for getting out of New York before this debacle was unleashed on the NHL. The 6-0 loss by the Rangers now has them 1-3-0 on the season and they have been outscored 20-6.

THURSDAY’S RESULTS

Colorado 2, Boston 0

Columbus 4, Buffalo 1

Carolina 3, Washington 2

Phoenix 4, Detroit 2

Tampa Bay 7, Florida 2

Toronto 4, Nashville 0

Minnesota 2, Winnipeg 1

Montreal 4, Edmonton 1

San Jose 4, Vancouver 1

Anaheim 6, NY Rangers 0

STAMMER TIME

Two-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner Steven Stamkos scored his first three goals of the season, added an assist and finished with a +3 rating in the Lightning’s 7-2 victory over the Panthers. The performance marked the sixth hat trick of Stamkos’ career and first since Dec. 31, 2011, versus the Hurricanes. The 23-year-old Stamkos, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2008, is the only NHLer to finish in the top five in League scoring in each of the last four seasons, missing out only during his rookie campaign in 2008-09.

Stamkos, who finished second in the NHL in goals (29) and points (57) in 2012-13, has scored more goals (188) than any other player since the start of the 2009-10 season (Alex Ovechkin is second with 157). The Lightning are 90-42-14 in games which Stamkos has scored during that time span.

Stamkos now has 20-14—34 in 29 career games versus the Panthers, his second-highest point total against any team (24-17—41 in 28 GP versus the Jets/Thrashers franchise).

AVS KEEP ROLLING

The Avalanche improved to 4-0-0 for the first time since the franchise relocated to Denver for the 1995-96 season. The best start in franchise history came in 1985-86, when the Nordiques won their first seven contests of the season.

 

The Avalanche (3 GA) have not allowed more than one goal in any of their first four games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other team in NHL history to begin a season with four consecutive wins while allowing no more than one goal in any game was the 1995-96 Flyers. The last team to allow three or fewer goals in its first four games of a season was the 2006-07 Thrashers.

Playing in his first game of the season, veteran netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 39 saves for his 37th career shutout, which ranks seventh among active goalies and tied for 39th all-time. His 39 saves were a career high in a regular-season shutout.

BERNIER BLANKS PREDS

Jonathan Bernier made 36 saves for his seventh career shutout and first as a Maple Leaf. Through four games with the team (three starts), Bernier is 3-1-0 with a 0.85 goals-against average and .974 save percentage. He improved to 8-1-0 with a 1.67 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts in nine career games versus the Predators.

OVI TIES FRANCHISE MARK

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has scored in each of the team’s first four games of the season, tying the franchise record set by Dennis Maruk in 1979-80 and matched by Mike Gartner in 1987-88. Ovechkin has 5-2—7 through four contests, marking the most points he has earned in the first four games of a season since 2010-11 (4-3—7).

YOUTH IS SERVED

Elias Lindholm, the fifth overall selection by the Hurricanes in the 2013 NHL Draft, recorded his first goal/point in his fourth game. Ryan Murray, the second overall pick by the Blue Jackets in 2012, and Morgan Rielly, the fifth overall selection by the Maple Leafs in 2012, each collected their first NHL assist/point.

PLAYER SAFETY HEARINGS

Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler will have a hearing Friday with the Department of Player Safety for an incident during Thursday’s game versus the Sharks. At approximately 19:46 of the second period, Edler collided with Sharks forward Tomas Hertl near the Canucks bench, resulting in Hertl losing his helmet. There was no penalty called on the play and Hertl skated on his regular shift in the third period. 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.

Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta also will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety for an incident during Thursday’s game versus the Blue Jackets. Kaleta was offered the opportunity for an in-person hearing as required by provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for any suspension that can exceed five games. At 3:10 of the first period, Kaleta collided with Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson near the boards just inside the Sabres zone. No penalty was assessed for that hit, but Kaleta received a fighting major after engaging with the Blue Jackets forward Jared Boll. Johnson 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.

PLAYER NOTES

Now in his second stint with the Ducks, Dustin Penner scored his first goal since rejoining the team as a free agent this offseason. His last goal with Anaheim was the winning score in Game 4 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Final . . . Two nights after Tomas Hertl scored a highlight-reel, between-the-legs goal, Sabres forward Thomas Vanek also went between the legs for the 252nd goal of his NHL career . . . Playing in his ninth NHL game, Sharks forward Matt Pelech scored his first career goal, which proved to be the game-winner . . . Blue Jackets forward Marian Gaborik (1-2—3) recorded his 49th career game with three or more points and first since being acquired by Columbus at last season’s Trade Deadline . . . Hurricanes forward Nathan Gerbe scored his third goal of the season in his fourth game. He began last season on a 16-game goalless drought and didn’t register his third marker until his 19th game.

LOOSE PUCKS

The Sharks, who improved to 4-0-0, lead the League with a +16 goal differential (21-5) . . . The Avalanche improved to 7-0-1 in their last eight visits to Boston, with their last loss coming March 30, 1998 . . . The Hurricanes played their 1,200th regular-season game since relocating from Hartford for the 1997-98 season . . . According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers became the first team since the Thrashers in November 2000 to lose consecutive games in the same season by six or more goals . . . Sports Illustrated went behind the scenes of Scott Hartnell’s car commercial.

SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION

All Times Eastern

Phoenix @ Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m., FS-A, CSN-PH

Los Angeles @ Carolina, 7:00 p.m., FS-W, SPSO

Pittsburgh @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., RDS2, ROOT, FS-F

NY Islanders @ Chicago, 8:00 p.m., NHLN-US, MSG PLUS, CSN-CH

Dallas @ Winnipeg, 8:00 p.m., FS-SW, TSN-JETS

New Jersey @ Calgary, 9:00 p.m., MSG PLUS 2, SNET-W

PANTHERS CELEBRATE 20 YEARS

Nearly 20 years to the day of the first home game in franchise history (a 2-1 loss to the Penguins on Oct. 12, 1993), the Panthers launch their 20th anniversary home season with a special “throwback” night versus the same the team they first played in Sunrise, the Penguins. Festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. and include interactive games, an inflatable rink, bounce houses, a live DJ, a Port-A-Party mobile bar and the unveiling of the Panthers’ new state-of-the-art scoreboard during pre-game ceremonies. Original Panthers captain Brian Skrudland and first draft pick Rob Niedermayer also will be on-hand for the special evening.

* Research from the Elias Sports Bureau was used in compilation of these notes.

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