NEW YORK – A busy schedule on the NHL slate had a number of east teams venturing west including the Pittsburgh Penguins who were defeated by the host San Jose Sharks, 5-3.
The Sharks let the line out and gave the Pens an early 2-0 lead through the first twenty minutes.
The Sharks got one back in the second and tied things up early in the third.
A tightly played forty minutes led to a wild third where the Sharks netted four goals for the win.
“I thought that’s as physical as we’ve played in a while,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “We were really engaged, and it’s not about running out of position and big hits. It’s about body position, playing on the inside, knocking people off 50-50 pucks, playing around the opposition’s net, even in front of our net. It’s nice to get rewarded for that type of effort.”
San Jose outshot the Pens 46-22 but needed a rally in the third to get the win.
“Raffi [Torres] was effective. I thought Brent Burns, that’s as physical as I’ve seen him play and maybe one of his best games that I’ve seen him play. One goes with the other. He scored two goals tonight because he was a force, almost a bully out there on the ice,” McLellan added. “He needs to bring that every night because he could be a very effective guy that way.”
The Sharks used their size and speed to dominate the final frame.
“They played not only physical but a fast game,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “They tried to counter quickly and get to the offensive zone. In the second half we were not able to negate that by playing in our zone.”
Patrick Marleau’s shorthanded goal in the third tied the game at two.http://
“They’re physical and we didn’t get a lot of time in the offensive zone,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. “We’re on a four-minute power play. We can’t give a goal. That’s a big goal for them.”
Crosby was a minus-6 on the night.
In Glendale, the Coyotes hosted the Montreal Canadiens and their new additions including Tomas Vanek, late of the New York Islanders.
The Coyotes beat the Habs for the first time since 1998 in a 5-2 win.
“This was a big game for us. We had to have it before we leave on the four-game trip (beginning Saturday against the Washington Capitals),” said Phoenix’s Mike Ribeiro, who played with Erat in Washington last season. “I think Erat is going to be a good fit for us, we play a lot like he did in Nashville. It will be good for Vrby and [injured center Martin Hanzal]; they can go out there and speak Czech and draw up their little X’s and O’s and have a ball.
“Erat’s a tough competitor; he goes in the corners and makes plays. That kind of player is going to help you.”
The Coyotes remain one point behind Dallas for the 8th spot in the west.
“These are desperate points for us and we need this win bad,” said Phoenix coach Dave Tippett, who was disgusted that his team took four second-period penalties that allowed Montreal to get back in the game. “We battled through a poor second period and made sure we played a real disciplined third period and pushed the game along.”
In Dallas, the Stars drubbed the listless Canucks, 6-1. Vancouver was in a tail spin heading into the Olympic break and fans had hoped the team would use the hiatus to regroup. But the Heritage Classic loss to the Senators solidified the team’s downward spiral.
And Thursday night was no better as the Stars broke out 3-0 after the first period.
“The fast start, our execution was good,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “Puck movement was crisp. I thought we played well in a lot of areas of the ice. It began in our own end, and the transition was good. We were on the tape and when we’re on the tape that leads to real good speed.”
Tyler Seguin netted a hat trick for Dallas.
“Regardless of the score, that’s a huge two points for us,” Seguin said. “We knew we had two big games, tonight and Saturday, but we didn’t want to look past tonight. Even though it was a higher score than I expected, that’s two points for our locker room.”
The Canucks are now 1-10-1 in their last 12 games and losing ground to everyone else in the west.
“It’s hard on us right now to try to overcome that right away without even getting in the game, it happened so early. Are they fragile? Sure, but we got to figure it out,” Canucks coach John Tortorella said. “No one else is going to figure it out for us. We have to try to find a way to get some sort of consistency in our game for some good things to happen for us.”
Their personnel moves have been head-scratchers and are not seen as supportive of the club.
This loss was hard on the Canucks bench.
“It was a humiliating game to be a part of, just to be outplayed,” Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. “I don’t care what the shots were, but the first 30 minutes of the game, when the game was on the line, we were just flat out outplayed by a team that executed better than us.”
(Home Team in Caps)
BOSTON 3, Washington 0
Los Angeles 3, WINNIPEG 1
Buffalo 3, TAMPA BAY 1
Colorado 3, DETROIT 2 (OT)
CHICAGO 6, Columbus 1
St. Louis 2, NASHVILLE 1
DALLAS 6, Vancouver 1
PHOENIX 5, Montreal 2
EDMONTON 3, NY Islanders 2 (OT)
SAN JOSE 5, Pittsburgh 3
SEGUIN CONTINUES TO STAR FOR DALLAS
Tyler Seguin (3-2—5) registered his second five-point performance and League-leading third hat trick of the season in powering the Stars to their sixth victory in their last nine outings (6-2-1).
* With the win, the Stars (30-23-10, 70 points) remained one point ahead of the Coyotes (29-23-11, 69 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
* Seguin also recorded five points Nov. 14 versus the Flames (4-1—5). He has posted four or more points in a game five times this season; no other NHL player has more than three such performances.
* Seguin’s three hat tricks in 2013-14 match a Stars/North Stars franchise record accomplished by five other players, most recently Bill Guerin in 2003-04.
* Seguin leads the Stars with 28 goals and 63 points in 61 games this season. He is one shy of his career high in goals, three shy of his career high in assists and four shy of his career high in points, all set during the 2011-12 campaign with the Bruins (29-38—67 in 81 GP).
* Seguin also scored the game-winning goal, his fifth of the season. He posted a career-high seven game-winners with the Bruins in 2011-12.
* Jamie Benn added 1-2—3, his sixth game with three or more points this season. Benn now has 2-6—8 in five outings since the Olympic break and 4-6—10 during a seven-game point streak versus the Canucks.
* Alex Goligoski (1-1—2) potted his fifth marker of the season to extend his goal-scoring streak to three games, matching a career long set March 19-26, 2011.
* The Stars (3-0-0) swept their regular-season series versus the Canucks for the first time since 1986-87 (3-0-0).
MacKINNON BREAKS GRETZKY’S RECORD IN AVALANCHE WIN
Nathan MacKinnon set up Andre Benoit’s overtime winner to help the Avalanche overcome a pair of one-goal deficits and pick up their fourth consecutive victory.
* With the assist, MacKinnon extended his point streak to 13 games (5-13—18). At 18 years, 186 days, MacKinnon broke Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record for the longest single-season point streak by a player age 18 or younger (Gretzky: 12 games, Dec. 9, 1979-Jan. 5, 1980). He also is now one game shy of matching the longest point streak by any player this season (14 games: Patrick Kane and Ryan Getzlaf).
* Benoit has posted seven goals in his 102-game NHL career, four of which have been game-winners.
* Matt Duchene (1-1—2) scored to reach the 20-goal plateau for the third time in his NHL career. He has 3-7—10 during a six-game point streak, matching a career long.
* Ryan O’Reilly collected two assists to extend his point streak to five games (3-6—9).
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Avalanche now have a League-high six road overtime victories this season, tying a single-season franchise record set in 2002-03 and equaled in 2003-04.
STAMKOS RETURNS, NAMED 10TH CAPTAIN IN LIGHTNING HISTORY
Steven Stamkos fired five shots on goal, won 17-of-24 draws (70.8%) and led all Lightning forwards with 21:03 of ice time in his return to the lineup after missing the past four months with a fractured right tibia.
Prior to the game, the Lightning named Stamkos the 10th captain in franchise history. The 24-year-old Markham, Ont., native has played his entire NHL career in Tampa Bay, amassing 222-187—409 in 391 games. A two-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy winner (2009-10 and 2011-12), Stamkos already ranks third in franchise history in goals, power-play goals (75) and game-winning goals (30) in less than five seasons with the team.
SHARKS CONTINUE HOME DOMINANCE VERSUS PENGUINS
The Sharks scored four third-period goals to overcome an early two-goal deficit and pick up their fifth win in their past seven outings (5-1-1).
* The Sharks have now won 11 consecutive home games against the Penguins, with Pittsburgh’s last win in San Jose coming Oct. 22, 1997 (5-2).
* Three Sharks had multi-point performances: Joe Pavelski (0-3—3), Brent Burns (2-0—2) and Joe Thornton (1-1—2).
* Patrick Marleau potted his franchise-record 16th shorthanded goal, tied for eighth among active players.
KINGS DEFEAT JETS FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT WIN
The Kings scored three unanswered goals to record their sixth consecutive win, their second such run of 2013-14 (also, Dec. 2-14: 6-0-0).
* The Kings have allowed one goal or fewer in five of the six games during their current streak.
* Jonathan Quick made 17 saves to improve to 20-13-2 with a 2.02 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and four shutouts in 36 appearances this season. He has allowed one goal or fewer in five consecutive starts.
* The Kings improved to 19-0-0 when leading after two periods this season. They are 124-1-11 in their last 136 regular-season games (dating to April 4, 2009) when leading after 40 minutes; their lone regulation loss in that span was Jan. 22, 2013 (3-1 at COL).
RASK, BRUINS SHUT DOWN CAPITALS
Tuukka Rask made 16 saves to pick up his League-leading sixth shutout of the season and backstop the Bruins to their third consecutive win.
* Rask also ranks in the top five in wins (27, 5th) and save percentage (.928, 4th), while his 2.13 goals-against average places seventh in the NHL.
* Gregory Campbell scored what proved to be the game-winning goal. He has four goals, including two game-winners, in his last four games; he had three goals, and zero game-winners, in his first 58 outings of the season.
* The Bruins improved to 11-2-3 in their last 16 games, including a 6-1-2 mark in their past nine.
MILLER, BLUES EDGE PREDATORS
Ryan Miller made 20 saves to record his third victory in as many starts with the Blues, helping the team pick up its sixth win in its last nine games (6-2-1).
* The Blues improved to 16-0-1 this season against the Central Division, two games shy of the franchise record for consecutive games with a point versus divisional opponents (November 1968-January 1969).
* The Blues also posted their fifth straight win over the Predators and fifth consecutive win at Bridgestone Arena, both tying franchise records.
TOEWS, SHAW LEAD BLACKHAWKS OVER BLUE JACKETS
Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw each scored two goals to power the Blackhawks to their 12th consecutive victory over the Blue Jackets.
* The Blackhawks have now scored five or more goals in a League-leading 23 games this season.
* Toews extended his goal/point streak to three games (5-1—6). He eclipsed the 60-point plateau for the fourth time in his NHL career (24-37—61 in 64 GP) and first time since 2010-11 (32-44—76 in 80 GP).
* Shaw posted his third multi-goal game of the season and first since Nov. 25 (2-1—3 at EDM).
* The Blackhawks improved to 29-1-6 when scoring first this season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ryan Smyth scored a power-play goal to spark the Oilers’ comeback from a two-goal, third-period deficit. Smyth now has 126 power-play goals as an Oiler, tying Glenn Anderson for the most in franchise history (and one ahead of Wayne Gretzky).
KASSIAN TO HAVE PHONE HEARING
Canucks forward Zack Kassian will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety today for his hit on Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon during the first period of Thursday’s game at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Kassian was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct at 18:40 of the first period. Dillon remained in the game.
The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: boarding. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to these infractions accordingly upon further review.
Jhonas Enroth made 43 saves to lead the Sabres to their third victory in their last four outings . . . Radim Vrbata (2-0—2) recorded his third multi-goal game of the season, and first since Nov. 27, to lead the Coyotes to their second straight win . . . Oilers forward Taylor Hall scored his fourth career overtime goal . . . Islanders forward Anders Lee scored his fourth goal in five games this season and fifth goal in seven career games . . . Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta (2-0—2) posted his first career multi-goal game. He ranks second among rookie blueliners in goals (9) and points (27) . . . Predators forward Mike Fisher collected an assist to extend his point streak to five games (1-4—5) . . . Predators forward Patric Hornqvist recorded his 100th NHL assist . . . U.S. Olympic figure skater Polina Edmunds dropped the ceremonial opening puck at the Penguins-Sharks game.
SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Rangers @ Carolina, 7:00 p.m., MSG 2, SPSO
New Jersey @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m., RDS2, MSG PLUS, FS-D
Buffalo @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-F
NY Islanders @ Calgary, 9:00 p.m., MSG PLUS 2, SNET-W
Pittsburgh @ Anaheim, 10:00 p.m., ROOT, PRIME
FLAMES TO HONOR NIEUWENDYK
The Flames will raise a “Forever a Flame” banner in honor of Joe Nieuwendyk prior to their game against the Islanders at Scotiabank Saddledome. Nieuwendyk spent the first nine seasons of his 21-year NHL career in Calgary, capturing the Calder Trophy in 1987-88 as the League’s top rookie and becoming just the third player in NHL history to score 50 goals in each of his first two seasons (following Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky). He also was an integral part of the club’s 1989 Stanley Cup championship and served as Calgary’s captain for four seasons.
With NHL press release