Category Archives: Hockey News

Saros sets Predators record in shutout win over Oilers

Just when it looked as though the Edmonton Oilers were rounding into form, Juuse Saros and the red-hot Nashville Predators rolled into town.

The Predators were all over the Oilers from the jump, but it was Saros who held down the fort and secured the shutout win in the face of a 46-shot barrage from Edmonton.

With the performance, Saros recorded the most saves in a shutout in the history of the Nashville Predators.

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Watch: Fleury replicates ’09 save on Lidstrom in 1st game against Penguins

Vintage Marc-Andre Fleury.

In his first game against the team he played all his games for prior to this season, the Vegas Golden Knights goaltender absolutely robbed Brian Duoulin by sliding over to get his body in front of the puck.

If it looks familiar, that's because it was very similar to a save he made in the dying seconds of Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final off the stick of Detroit's Nick Lidstrom to preserve the win.

Here's the two saves side by side:

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Leafs castoff Stalock shuts out former club

Minnesota Wild netminder Alex Stalock hit rock bottom in 2016 when he was buried in the AHL by the Toronto Maple Leafs after being acquired from the San Jose Sharks for goaltender James Reimer.

On Thursday, Stalock proved that revenge is a dish best served on ice, as the 30-year-old veteran backup shut out his former club, blanking the Leafs 2-0 with a 23-save performance.

With Devin Dubnyk out for the next few weeks with a lower-body injury, Stalock should get ample opportunity to prove his haters wrong.

Stalock improves to 5-3-1 on the season with the victory.

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Going streaking: Flyers win 5th straight after dropping 10 in a row

The Philadelphia Flyers' season has had some serious ups and downs.

Thursday's win over the Buffalo Sabres marked the club's fifth in a row, which comes on the heels of a 10-game losing streak that lasted from Nov. 11 to Dec. 2.

Goaltender Brian Elliott has been in net for all five games, allowing no more than two goals in the victories.

Not too long ago, it appeared as though the team's playoff chances were on thin ice.

The win over Buffalo, however, improved Philadelphia's record to 13-11-7, bringing them to within two points of the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot.

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Capitals beat Bruins to remain one of NHL’s hottest clubs

Tales of the Washington Capitals' demise appear to have been premature.

Following a win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday, the Capitals have won 10 of their last 12 games, improving their record to 20-12-1. Those 41 points have them level with the Columbus Blue Jackets - who also won Thursday - for first in the Metropolitan Division.

The two-time defending Presidents' Trophy winners were expected to take a step or two back this season after some significant roster losses over the summer, and while they're not right at the top of the standings, the Capitals are climbing the ranks due to a recent run of success.

Leading the charge is Alex Ovechkin, who scored again in the win against Boston to put himself on pace for 55 goals, which would be his highest total since 2008-09.

Winger T.J. Oshie has been out since Dec. 4 with an upper-body injury and could return as early as this weekend, giving Washington something else to be optimistic about going forward.

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Team Canada cuts 1st-rounders Glass, Stanley

With Boxing Day right around the corner, Team Canada's roster is beginning to take shape, as the first round of cuts were announced Thursday, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.

The most notable name from the first group of players who won't be making the trip to Buffalo is Vegas Golden Knights 2017 first-round draft pick Cody Glass. The 18-year-old Winnipeg native has 20 goals and 28 assists for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League this season and was expected to make some noise at camp.

Joining Glass on the plane ride home is Winnipeg Jets first-round pick Logan Stanley, Detroit Red Wings draftee Dennis Cholowski, Vancouver Canucks pick Kole Lind, Florida Panthers prospect Johnathan Ang, and goaltender Samuel Harvey of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior League.

Twenty-seven players remain at selection camp in St. Catherines, Ontario, as the roster closes in on the 23-man group who will be representing the red and white at the end of the month.

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Bruins hope Beleskey finds game in AHL

Matt Beleskey is Providence-bound.

The Boston Bruins placed the winger on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to the team's minor-league affiliate in Rhode Island, general manager Don Sweeney announced Thursday.

"Matt was placed on waivers with the hope he will have the opportunity to go to Providence, play in all situations, get his confidence and game back to the level he brought in his first year with the Bruins," Sweeney said.

"Matt has been nothing but an exemplary teammate and pro during the time he has not been in the lineup, but we felt playing would be more beneficial to Matt than practicing, especially with the limited practice time available with regards to our schedule."

Beleskey is in the third season of a five-year, $19-million contract signed with the Bruins in 2015. He recorded 15 goals and 22 assists in his first season with the club, but has managed just three goals and five assists in his past 63 games, with zero points in 14 outings this season.

Injury issues have hindered him over that time, but Beleskey often has been scratched from the lineup this season despite returning to full health.

It's possible he could be claimed off waivers, or traded if not, but his contract makes that unlikely.

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Murray vs. Fleury: Ex-teammates face each other for 1st time

The Pittsburgh Penguins' former No. 1 goaltender and his heir in the crease will square off in a regular-season game for the first time Thursday night.

Marc-Andre Fleury will tend the twine for the Vegas Golden Knights, opposing Matt Murray, who was confirmed Thursday afternoon as the Penguins' starter.

Related: Fleury prepares to face old friends on Penguins

Murray was activated off injured reserve Tuesday after missing six games with an injury. Fleury stopped 35 of 37 shots in Tuesday's shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in his return from a 25-game absence that was due to a concussion.

Fleury was the Penguins' starter for their Stanley Cup championship in 2009 and played with Pittsburgh from 2003-04 until last season after selecting him first overall in 2003.

The Golden Knights claimed the veteran in the expansion draft over the summer.

Murray supplanted Fleury as Pittsburgh's No. 1 netminder down the stretch in 2015-16, leading them to another title before doing so again this past June.

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Talbot’s return could spark win streak Oilers desperately need

The Edmonton Oilers have played well lately, going 6-4-0 in their last 10 games, but they need to be even better to climb back into playoff contention.

Fortunately, help is on the way, as goaltender Cam Talbot, who missed the last six games with an upper-body injury, told Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun he hopes to be back in "less than a week."

Talbot hasn't been great this season, posting a pedestrian .903 save percentage and a 3.00 goals-against average, but with the way the Oilers have been putting the puck in the net lately, they don't need greatness in goal - they just need consistency.

Backup Laurent Brossoit has reeled off three strong games in a row, but overall, he's been inconsistent. His tendency to let in soft goals is demoralizing for a team that has already been brought down to earth.

The Oilers were projected by many to be a Stanley Cup favorites, but won just three times in their first 11 games. They're still trying to climb out from the hole they dug themselves early on, but they're going to have to go on a run to make it happen, as they sit seven points out of a playoff spot.

With Talbot on the cusp of returning, a prolonged winning streak doesn't seem so far-fetched.

Over the last 10 games, the Oilers have averaged four goals per contest. Perhaps the biggest reason why the offense has been clicking is because head coach Todd McLellan has found a lineup with perfect balance.

At the beginning of the year, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were skating on the same line, but, as he figured out, putting your two best players - who both play center - side by side isn't conducive to team success.

Lately, McLellan has rolled out the following lines, and has seemingly struck gold:

Milan Lucic Connor McDavid Jesse Puljujarvi
Jujhar Khaira Leon Draisaitl Ryan Strome
Patrick Maroon Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Mike Cammalleri
Anton Slepyshev Mark Letestu Zack Kassian

The emergence of Jesse Puljujarvi, the surprising production from Jujhar Khaira, and a major bounce-back season from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have all been X-factors in the team's recent success. How long Puljujarvi and Khaira can continue to produce remains to be seen - they've each scored four goals in the last 10 games - but their play is encouraging, nonetheless.

While the balanced attack has certainly been tough for opposing coaches to match up against, it's possible this scoring spree has been long overdue for the Oilers.

On the season, the team ranks second in Corsi For percentage, second in scoring chances for per 60 minutes, and fifth in high-danger scoring chances for per 60 minutes, all at five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick. However, they sit in the middle of the pack when it comes to goals per game.

Their poor puck luck couldn't have been better demonstrated in their 1-0 loss to Toronto on Sunday, in which they out-chanced the Leafs 51-27 in all situations, and hit at least five posts.

If the Oilers' offense can keep it up, and Talbot can be the rock in net he was a year ago, they could easily reel off a prolonged winning streak and secure a playoff spot. Both are big ifs, but the numbers are in their favor.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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Rutherford might look to make ‘major trade’ if Penguins don’t improve

Jim Rutherford isn't pressing the panic button just yet, but he's not opposed to making a significant move if necessary.

"We're good enough to be better than we're doing," the Pittsburgh Penguins general manager told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday. "Hopefully, that's the way it goes here in the next little while. If it doesn't, I don't think it's unreasonable to think that a major trade would come out of this."

The Penguins won two of five games on their most recent homestand, losing to the last-place Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. They've won only 16 of 32 contests this season, sitting sixth in the Metropolitan Division.

"We're coming into a critical period where we'll make a decision whether we need to shake things up or not," Rutherford said Wednesday, simply replying, "yes," when asked if he'd do something big to get the team's attention.

The GM appears to be mindful of not letting the season slip away for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

"We are at a point where we're slipping in the wrong direction," he said. "We have to watch that real close."

The Penguins now embark on a brief Western road swing beginning with Thursday's clash against former Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and the surprisingly competitive Vegas Golden Knights.

"We're going to play three games here on the road where we're going to have teams that will outwork us. We have to be prepared for it," Rutherford said. "The homestand needed to be better. The good news is we're not far out of the top of the division. The bad news is we're right around not being in the playoffs."

Pittsburgh has about $1.1 million in cap space and is projected to have around $3.2 million to work with at the trade deadline, according to CapFriendly.

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