Thursday, October 5, 2017

Ultimate Sporting News October 4 2017

Simmonds scores hat trick in Flyers' 5-3 win over Sharks

 Wayne Simmonds scored his second power-play goal to break a tie with 10:33 remaining and completed an opening-night hat trick with an empty-netter as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the San Jose Sharks 5-3 on Wednesday.
Claude Giroux and Jordan Weal also scored to get the Flyers off to a good start after missing the playoffs last season. Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere each had three assists for Philadelphia.
Brian Elliott made 32 saves in his first game with the Flyers after signing a $5.5 million, two-year contract this summer.
Kevin Labanc became the first San Jose player to score two goals in the opening period of the season but also was called for three minor penalties that all led to goals for the Flyers. Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks, who had won seven straight openers.
Martin Jones made 26 saves in San Jose's first game without Patrick Marleau since April 7, 2009. Marleau, the franchise's career leading scorer, left as a free agent to sign with Toronto in July.
The Sharks were searching for ways to replace Marleau's 27 goals and Labanc delivered with his two. But his penalties hurt the cause, including a tripping call in the offensive zone that set up the game-winner.
Just 6 seconds after Labanc went into the box, Simmonds tipped Voracek's point shot past Jones to make it 4-3. Simmonds then sealed it with his empty-net goal in the final minute.
Simmonds also scored on the power play in the second period after another Labanc penalty to give the Flyers the lead, but San Jose tied it early in the third when Couture's pass deflected off Andrew MacDonald's skate and past Elliott for the equalizer.
Jones got off to a rough start for the Sharks, giving the puck away to Voracek on a clearing attempt. That led to Giroux's goal to open the scoring. Jones also got caught too deep in net when Weal scored on a rush on the power play to make it 2-0.
Labanc showed why coach Peter DeBoer put him on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski by scoring twice in the final three minutes of the period. He batted a rebound in midair past Elliott for his first goal and then scored on a wrister from the top of the circle on the power play to tie it in the final minute of the first.
NOTES: Brent Burns assisted on Couture's goal for his 500th career point. ... The last Sharks player to score twice in an opener was Tommy Wingels in 2014 against Los Angeles.
Flyers: Visit the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Sharks: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

McDavid nets hat trick, Oilers blank Flames 3-0 in opener

Connor McDavid scored a hat trick in the season opener, Cam Talbot made 26 saves and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Calgary Flames 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Mike Smith stopped 42 shots in his debut for the Flames, who fell to 0-7-1 in their last eight openers.
McDavid, the NHL MVP last season, began the scoring 11 minutes into the first period when he beat a helpless Smith after taking a pass from Leon Draisaitl.
Talbot had to be sharp on several occasions to keep the second period scoreless, although the Oilers led 29-21 in shots after 40 minutes.
Edmonton went up 2-0 eight minutes into the third as McDavid turned on the jets to blow past a pair of Calgary defenders and beat Smith up high on a breakaway. It was his third breakaway of the game and 150th career point.
McDavid put his third goal into an empty net as Draisaitl set him up again after a crushing hit by Milan Lucic pried the puck loose.
NOTES: It was the Oilers' 38th season opener and the 29th time they've started at home. They are 18-8-3 in those games. ... Edmonton won all four games against Calgary last season. The teams will face off five times this season. ... Recently signed forward Jaromir Jagr did not make the trip with the Flames. ... During pregame ceremonies, the Oilers paid tribute to police officer Const. Mike Chernyk, who was struck by a car and stabbed in Edmonton on Saturday, yet the joined the team on ice for the national anthem.
Flames: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.
Oilers: At the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Pietrangelo gives Blues 5-4 overtime victory over Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins insist they're well aware of the bumpy road ahead as the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions chase history.
Just in case, they needed a reminder, Alex Pietrangelo and the St. Louis Blues provided one.
Pietrangelo's wrist shot from just inside the left circle beat Matt Murray 1:15 into overtime to give the Blues a 5-4 victory Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams. The Blues recovered after letting a two-goal, third-period lead slip away, with Pietrangelo's shot hitting Murray's shoulder and slipping under the crossbar for his second goal of the game.
Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist for the Blues, Brayden Schenn and Colton Parayko also scored, and Jake Allenfinished with 29 saves.
"Gave up the two goals, but we held it together on the bench," Pietrangelo said. "We knew we had a chance, especially if he got to overtime and we did."
Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary scored 54 seconds apart in the third to tie it, but the Penguins couldn't complete the comeback on a night they raised the franchise's fifth Cup banner to the rafters at PPG Paints Arena. Justin Schultz and Olli Maatta also scored for the Penguins. Murray stopped 29 shots but Pittsburgh struggled at times defensively, giving the Blues wide swaths of open ice to take aim at Murray.
"I think that we'd rather not put ourselves in that position, but that was the case, and I thought we found a way to get a couple big goals and get ourselves back in it," Crosby said. "We've got to improve. But yeah, I mean to get that point was important. We have to build off of that now."
Just 115 days after finishing off a heated challenge from Nashville in the finals, the Penguins began the quest for the first three-peat in 35 years with one last nod to the 2016-17 club that became the first team since Detroit in 1997 and 1998 to go back-to-back.
The players received their commemorative bling during a private ceremony on Tuesday night, coming together to pose with their respective nine-carat rings that feature nearly 400 diamonds and come engraved with coach Mike Sullivan's mantra "play the right way."
On Wednesday the party grew considerably larger, with the 485th consecutive home sellout roaring during an electric pregame ceremony that included Crosby skating to mid-ice with the Cup held aloft and the 2017 banner making its way to the rafters to join the four that came before it.
Then the puck dropped, the adrenaline faded and the reality Pittsburgh faces hit.
The Penguins were able to keep the roster nearly intact following their 2016 title. This time around they'll be forced to go without Marc-Andre FleuryMatt Cullen, Chris Kunitz, Nick Bonino and Trevor Daley, all of whom moved on over the summer. Finding out how the new pieces fit together will take time. The proof came during three uneven periods against the Blues, who wasted little time putting a damper on things.
"We know what it is," Pietrangelo said. "You want to come in here and spoil the party, but we didn't watch it. Obviously, we were in here. We knew they were going to have some momentum from it. There was going to be a push from them."
Schultz opened the scoring with a shot from the point that sailed through traffic to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead but St. Louis scored four of the next five goals, many of them coming when Pittsburgh's defense kept backing up, creating open shooting lanes in the process. When Stastny ripped a shot past Murray's blocker 3:38 into the third, St. Louis was in firm control.
Or so it seemed. Robert Bortuzzo and Schenn were hit with penalties 16 seconds apart with less than 8 minutes to go, and the Penguins pounced. Crosby jammed home a rebound , and Sheary finished off a crossing pass from Greg McKegg to knot it at 4. Allen settled down to keep Pittsburgh in check the rest of the way, and Pietrangelo ended it 75 seconds into the extra period.
"Obviously, a special night for (Pittsburgh)," Pietrangelo said. "We're not going to deny that. They deserve to have that night. Hopefully, we get that opportunity."
NOTES: The Blues went 1 for 4 on the power play. The Penguins were 1 for 5. ... Pittsburgh D Kris Letangplayed 26:05 in his first game since Feb. 21. Letang missed the playoffs while recovering from neck surgery.
Blues: Host Dallas on Saturday night.
Penguins: At Chicago on Thursday night.

Marleau scores twice in Toronto debut, Leafs rout Jets 7-2

Denis and Jeannette Marleau drove 10 hours from Aneroid, Saskatchewan, to watch son Patrick's first game with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was worth it.
Marleau scored twice and Toronto beat the Winnipeg Jets 7-2 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
The 38-year-old Marleau signed with Toronto as a free agent after 19 seasons with the San Jose Sharks. He has 510 career goals.
His first goal began with youngster Mitch Marner passing up to sophomore Auston Matthews, who passed it across to Marleau in the high slot. The veteran kicked the puck up to his skate and went in alone on Steve Mason, dekeing before scoring to make it 4-0.
"That was awesome," Matthews said. "Unbelievable pickup by him and the move was even better. Pretty special play by him. I'm sure it feels good for him to get the ball rolling on that so we're all happy for him."
Marleau was energized by the youngsters.
"You can see how hungry they are out there, not only in games but in practice," Marleau said about Matthews and Marner. "They're striving to get better each and every day and you want to be part of that and you can feed off that for sure."
Nazem KadriJames van Riemsdyk and William Nylander scored in a three-minute span in the first period. Matthews and Marner also scored, and Frederik Andersen made 35 saves.
Mark Scheifele ended Andersen's shutout bid midway through the third period, and Mathieu Perreault also scored for Winnipeg.
New Jets goalie Steve Mason was pulled after Marleau's second goal 36 seconds into the third period, having allowed five goals on 20 shots. Connor Hellebuyck stopped nine of 11 shots in relief.
"Five was enough," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said about pulling Mason. "He's going to have a couple he'd like to have back, but there wasn't anything you're looking at saying, `My god, how did he miss that?' "
Winnipeg was dominating the opening period, getting three early power plays and testing Andersen with at least eight shots with the man advantage, but Toronto opened the scoring on its only power play of the period.
With Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba in the penalty box for hooking, Kadri went in front of Mason and took a shot, got his own rebound and then jammed the puck into the net with 4:15 to go.
The Leafs made it 2-0 with 2:20 left when Tyler Bozak went up against Scheifele in a faceoff, got his stick on the loose puck and sent a backhand pass to Van Riemsdyk for his quick, low shot.
Nylander used Toronto's 10th shot to make it 3-0 with 1:37 to go in the period.
Marleau scored his first of the night at 8:32 of the second, and added his second goal after Kadri went down the ice into the corner and fed a pass back to the newcomer 36 seconds into the third.
Marner took advantage of his team's fourth power play to stretch the lead 6-0 at 8:07.
Scheifele broke the goose egg when he took Patrik Laine's pass across the front of the net and beat Andersen to make it 6-1.
NOTES: Matthews had two assists for a three-point game. ... The seven goals tied Toronto's highest output from last season, a 7-1 home victory over the New York Islanders on Feb. 14.
Maple Leafs: Host New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Jets: At Calgary on Saturday night.