NEW YORK – Five games in the NHL were featured Sunday evening. The closing match of the night was the Kings hosting the Edmonton Oilers. The game needed a shootout to decide a 2-1 victory for LA. The Kings launched a season-high 48 shots on Richard Bachman in the Oilers net.
Anze Kopitar finally ended the night with a shootout goal.
“You’ve got to keep on plugging away,” Kopitar said. “That’s what it is. Last game, we scored four in the first. Tonight, we just couldn’t do it. But you can’t get frustrated; keep on going, keep on going. Eventually, they’re going to go in. Having 48 shots meant we were doing something right.”
For Bachman it was a long night.
The ugly game of the night was in Columbus where Brandon Dubinsky made a date with Brendan Shanahan of the NHL’s discipline office. With seconds left in the middle frame, the Jackets Dubinsky received a major for interference and a game misconduct for hitting Saku Koivu in the head. Koivu fell the ice and tried to regain his balance but collapsed to the surface again. He did not return to the game.
Dubinsky was of the opinion that his hit on Koivu did not rise to the level of the call on the ice.
“I don’t agree with the call but the refs see it at game speed and have to make the call,” Dubinsky said. “I don’t think I’m a dirty player. I don’t think I was trying to target his head. I understand The League is trying to crack down on hits to the head. I don’t think it was. It’s a game, we’re all competitive and you want to make sure everybody’s safe.
“Obviously I feel bad that Koivu didn’t return to play.”
And right there is why the NHL will have a difficult time controlling head shots in its game. The players are oblivious to their own actions and the consequences, intended and otherwise. Koivu was dazed by a check to the head. Dubinsky did not leave his feet but his body extended through the check and made contact with the jaw of his opponent. What part of that is not clear?
The Ducks won the game 4-3 on a late goal from Corey Perry.
In Ottawa, the Sharks continued their rampage through the NHL with a 5-2 win over the Senators on the effort of back-up goalie Alex Stalock.
“He’s waited a long time,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “He was a bit of a sparkplug for us tonight. I think the guys really wanted to play for him. I thought he handled himself well. They’re a big team that create a lot of crease opportunities. There are a lot of bodies going there and whacks at the puck and he handled himself really well.”
Stalock has been waiting for the opportunity to get back to the NHL for more than a year after sustaining an injury in the minors.
“I think coming back was huge,” said Stalock, who was sidelined for nearly a year when he was seriously injured in a minor-league game just days after his first outing with the Sharks. “Just being able to play the game again was a big step for me. It started in the [ECHL] a year later and I was lucky enough to make it back to the NHL.
“It seems every interview I can’t get out of an interview now without the injury question, and I think I’m past it hockey-wise. I pray that it doesn’t happen again to me or anybody else. It’s behind me and I’ll answer questions about it any time, but I don’t think it’s affected me in any way.
Elsewhere Sunday, the Lightning needed a SO to down the Panthers, 3-2 and the Avalanche clipped the Winnipeg Jets, 3-2 in regulation.
VANEK HEADS TO THE ISLAND
The Islanders acquired forward Thomas Vanek from the Sabres in exchange for forward Matt Moulson, a first-round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in 2015.
Vanek, 29, has recorded 4-5—9 in 13 games with the Sabres this season. The Vienna, Austria, native was selected by Buffalo with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NHL Draft. In 598 career NHL games, all with the Sabres, he has totaled 254-243—497, including two 40-goal seasons. His 254 goals since the start of the 2005-06 season rank seventh in the League, behind Alex Ovechkin (381), Ilya Kovalchuk (309), Dany Heatley (281), Jarome Iginla (281), Eric Staal (260) and Patrick Marleau (259).
Moulson, 29, has totaled 6-3—9, including five power-play goals, in 11 games with the Islanders this season. The North York, Ont., native was selected by the Penguins in the ninth round (263rd overall) of the 2003 NHL Draft and signed with the Islanders as a free agent in July 2009. He has played all but 29 of his 333 career NHL games with the Islanders, compiling 124-109—233, including three consecutive 30-goal seasons from 2009-10 through 2011-12.
San Jose 5, Ottawa 2
Tampa Bay 4, Florida 3 (SO)
Anaheim 4, Columbus 3
Colorado 3, Winnipeg 2
Los Angeles 2, Edmonton 1 (SO)
THE AVALANCHE CONTINUES
Trailing after two periods for the first time this season, the Avalanche scored a pair of third-period goals (by Jan Hejda and Paul Stastny) to improve to 10-1-0, matching the club’s best start in franchise history (Nordiques: 10-1-0 in 1994-95). Colorado also equaled the franchise record for wins in October, set in 2009-10.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Avalanche are the seventh team in NHL history to win 10 of their first 11 games of a season, but only the third to do so while recording each victory in regulation-time. The other two teams to post 10 regulation wins in their first 11 games both did so during the 1994-95 season: the Penguins (10-0-1) and the Nordiques (10-1-0).
Matt Duchene scored his ninth goal of the season, tying the Avalanche record for goals in October (Joe Sakic, 1997; Peter Forsberg, 2000; and Chris Stewart, 2010). Duchene’s nine goals are a career high for a single month, surpassing his previous best of eight in December 2010.
Corey Perry scored the game-winning goal with 2:25 remaining in regulation to help the Ducks improve to 2-2-0 on their season-long, eight-game road trip. Perry has 24 game-winning goals since the start of the 2010-11 season, tied with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos for the most in the NHL.
STAMKOS TORMENTS PANTHERS
Less than three weeks after recording his sixth career hat trick in a 7-2 victory over the Panthers Oct. 10, Steven Stamkos again tormented the Lightning’s intrastate rival, posting 1-1—2 and the shootout winner in a 4-3 triumph. Stamkos has scored 21 goals in 30 career games versus the Panthers, including 14 in their last 12 meetings. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft has 8-9—17 in 11 games this season, second in the League behind Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (8-10—18).
BACHMAN SHINES IN OILERS DEBUT
Richard Bachman made a career-high 47 saves, including 23 in the third period, to set an Oilers record for most saves in a team debut. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the previous mark was set on March 12, 1980, when Ron Low turned aside 42 shots in a 6-3 victory over the Nordiques. The 26-year-old Bachman signed with the Oilers this offseason after playing the first 32 games of his NHL career with the Stars.
LONG TIME COMING
Making his first NHL start, Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock posted 38 saves to record his first victory since a nine-save win in relief of Antti Niemi on Feb. 1, 2011. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 999 days between wins for Stalock is the longest gap in Sharks history (previous mark: 617 by Vesa Toskala).
Anze Kopitar scored the deciding goal in the shootout to help the Kings improve to 5-0 this season in games that have gone past regulation, including a 4-0 mark in the tiebreaker. Kopitar is 3-for-4 in shootout attempts this season, with all three goals deciding the tiebreaker; his 27 career shootout goals (on 67 attempts, 40.3%) rank 10th among active skaters, while his 11 career game-deciding goals are tied for sixth.
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made one save (on two shots on goal) in the shootout. He has denied 10-of-11 shootout attempts this season (.909). Quick’s 34 career shootout victories place fifth among active goaltenders; he led the League with 10 shootout wins in 2010-11.
Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety today for a hit on Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry Saturday afternoon.
At 13:42 of the first period, Hanzal checked Petry against the boards in the Edmonton end after Petry had moved the puck. Hanzal received a two-minute minor for charging on the play. Petry was shaken up on the play, but remained in the game.
The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: charging. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.
Sharks forward Tomas Hertl scored 76 seconds after the opening face-off to reclaim the rookie scoring lead (8-3—11). Hertl now has three goals in the first two minutes of games this season – also Oct. 5 vs. PHX (0:46) and Oct. 12 vs. OTT (0:55) . . . Artem Anisimov posted his second multi-goal game with the Blue Jackets and first since Feb. 2 . . . Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen made 18 saves for his third win in as many appearances this season . . . The Panthers scored a pair of third-period goals to force overtime. The team has 13 third-period goals this season; it has 12 combined in the opening two periods of play . . . Jets forward Olli Jokinen played in his 1,100th NHL game . . . The Avalanche have killed off 18 consecutive power plays and lead the League with a 92.3% penalty-kill efficiency rate . . . The Lightning improved to 9-1-1 in their last 11 games versus the Panthers . . . The Kings improved to 13-1-6 in their last 20 games against the Oilers . . . The Ducks improved to 6-0-0 in one-goal games this season . . . The Flames unveiled a new third jersey . . . Re-live the best plays of the week.
SNEAK PEEK AT MONDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Dallas @ Buffalo, 7:00 p.m., FS-SW, MSG-B, BELL TV
Pittsburgh @ Carolina, 7:00 p.m., ROOT, FS-CR
Montreal @ NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, RDS, TSN-HABS, MSG
Chicago @ Minnesota, 8:00 p.m., CSN-CH, FS-N
Washington @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., CSN-DC, SNET-VAN
RUFF RETURNS TO BUFFALO
Lindy Ruff, who served as the head coach of the Sabres for 16 seasons (1997-2013), returns to Buffalo for the first time as the bench boss of the Stars. Ruff compiled a 571-432-162 record behind the bench for the Sabres, becoming the franchise’s winningest coach before being fired on Feb. 20. The 32nd overall pick by Buffalo in the 1979 NHL Draft, Ruff also played parts of 10 seasons for the Sabres and was named the team’s captain in November 1986. The Stars hired Ruff as their 22nd head coach in franchise history, and seventh in Dallas history, on June 21.
HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER
The Sabres and Canucks host their Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Nights Monday. For more information about Hockey Fights Cancer, as well as a team-by-team listing of Awareness Nights