Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Predators rally, beat Flyers 6-5 to celebrate raising banner

The banner went up and the home team came back to win in a thrilling finish. All in all, a perfect night for the Nashville Predators and their fans.
Filip Forsberg scored his second goal with 35.6 seconds left and the Predators rallied by scoring twice in the final 1:17 to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-5 on Tuesday for their first victory of the season.
"This season, being down 0-2, it was a huge game for us," Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne said. "Good start to the game and then let it slip a little bit and then a huge comeback. I feel like we've done that many times. It's a pretty hard way to play. Emotionally and everything, it was a big win for us."
On the night they raised their Western Conference championship banner, the Predators blew a 3-0 lead as the Flyers scored five straight goals.
But then Forsberg scored his first of the game 50 seconds after the Flyers took a 5-3 lead, and Scott Hartnell jammed in his second goal tying it with 1:17 left on a 5-on-3 that was actually 6-on-3 with Rinne pulled. When Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol challenged for offside and lost, the Predators had the man advantage, and Forsberg scored the winning goal top shelf.
Hakstol was surprised he lost the replay review.
"Otherwise, I wouldn't have made the challenge," he said.
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said the team practiced the 5-on-3 situation Monday, with the sixth attacker a bonus.
"Our guys did a really good job," Laviolette said.
Craig Smith and Nick Bonino also scored, and P.K. Subban had three assists for Nashville. Forsberg also had an assist on Hartnell's tying goal as Nashville won its fifth straight home opener.
Valtteri Filppula scored twice for the Flyers, and Andrew McDonald, Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny each added a goal. Philadelphia finished 2-2 on its first four-game road trip to open a season since 1971.
The Predators, losers at Boston and Pittsburgh, raised the banner 19 years to the day of the first game in franchise history.
Mike Fisher , the captain who retired in August , joined current captain Roman Josi in unveiling the banner before it was raised to the rafters. Then country star Trace Adkins performed the national anthem, and Nashville's mayor came out to wave a towel as the Predators continued their playoff tradition for at least the home opener.
Then the Predators gave their fans reason to keep cheering, with Smith scoring a power-play goal with a wrister past Brian Elliott at 4:17 of the first period. That gave Nashville its first lead this season, and the Predators took eight of the first 10 shots.
Nashville scored first in the second period, too. Hartnell beat Elliott with a slap shot off the rebound of teammate Pontus Aberg's shot at 3:08 for a 2-0 lead. Mattias Ekholm skated across the crease, and his backhand shot went off Elliott to Bonino, who easily tapped the puck in for a 3-0 lead and his first goal since leaving Pittsburgh for Nashville this offseason .
Then the Flyers turned the celebration into a game. McDonald scored his first goal on a slap shot at 10:19, and Patrick, the second overall pick in the June draft, got his first career goal 16 seconds later on a wrister. Philadelphia took advantage of its third power play in the period when Filppula scored on a wrister at 15:05, tying it at 3.
Konecny scored on a breakaway at 5:03 followed by Filppula's power-play goal for a 5-3 lead that seemed safe until Forsberg pulled Nashville within a goal 50 seconds later to set up the amazing finish.
"Obviously, a crazy comeback," Forsberg said.
The Flyers picked up two penalties on the same play with 2:41 left, giving Nashville a 5-on-3 advantage. Hakstol lost his challenge for offside, and a delay-of-game penalty gave Nashville the man advantage.
"We gave it away," Elliott said.
NOTES: The Flyers were 4-0-1 in their previous five games against Nashville. ... Rinne came in needing only three saves for 13,000 in his career. He reached that mark in the first period, making nine saves. ... Josi and Colton Sissons were scratched by Nashville with lower-body injuries and are day to day. ... Nashville defenseman Samuel Girard, 19, made his NHL debut with Josi out and got the secondary assist on Forsberg's first goal. ... Eleven of the 18 skaters for Philadelphia had at least one point.
Flyers: Host the Washington Capitals in their home opener Saturday night.
Predators: Host the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

DeBrincat helps Blackhawks to 3-1 win over Montreal

It was only a matter of time before Alex DeBrincat scored his first NHL goal.
The 5-foot-7 right winger, who was a scoring machine for the Erie Otters in junior hockey, got his first as a Blackhawk and set up one for Artem Anisimov as Chicago spoiled the Montreal Canadiens' home opener with a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night.
And tallying his first against a Vezina Trophy winner like Carey Price made it that much better.
"It's pretty cool," said DeBrincat. "He's a great goalie. I was lucky enough to get one past him."
The 19-year-old DeBrincat was drafted 39th overall by Chicago in 2016, on a pick obtained in a trade from Montreal, in the midst of a junior career that saw him score 167 goals in 193 games over three seasons for Erie.
Last season, he was voted top player in the Ontario Hockey League after a 65-goal season.
So it was no surprise for him to find the net at the next level of hockey.
"You want to score your first goal but you know it's not going to be easy," the Michigan native said. "I tried to keep it out of my mind. It was bound to come sooner or later."
Brandon Saad also scored for Chicago (3-0-1), which was coming off an overtime loss Monday night in Toronto.
Tomas Plekanec scored for Montreal (1-3-0) when he picked off a Ryan Hartman pass in the Blackhawks zone, wheeled and scored on a wrist shot inside the near post 1:15 into the game.
Patrick Sharp intercepted a Jordie Benn clearing attempt and fed DeBrincat for a one-timer goal at 17:53. Only 19 seconds later, Saad got this fifth goal of the season on a tap-in while finishing a three-man rush with Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik.
DeBrincat made the decisive pass in a tic-tac-toe play with Cody Franson that Anisimov finished with a tap-in on a power play 10:44 into the second frame.
The Canadiens, who outshot the Blackhawks 42-25, have lost three in a row and scored only four goals in as many games. They went 0 for 5 on the power play and are now 0 for 14 for the season.
Coach Claude Julien juggled his lines halfway through the game, which produced several good chances but no goals against Corey Crawford, who shut Montreal down after the early Plekanec goal.
"Confidence is low now," said Julien. "We have to fight our way through this.
"We don't want to make excuses, we want to find solutions. That's how you become a mentally hard team. We could use some puck luck, but there are lots of things we can do about it. I see the potential on this team that we are going to turn this around. We don't lack confidence, we're just squeezing the stick a little."
Blackhawks: host Minnesota on Thursday.
Canadiens: Montreal opened with four games in six nights, but now have a break before hosting the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Milano nets 2nd goal in OT, Blue Jackets beat Hurricanes 2-1

 Blue Jackets left wing Sonny Milano is definitely off on the right skate this season.
The 2014 first-round draft pick scored two goals Tuesday night, including the game-winner on a breakaway with 31 seconds left in overtime to give Columbus a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
"Forget about offense," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We knew that was coming. But (Milano) has really been consistent away from the puck, too. He had some coverages tonight in our zone that were really good, and he did a really good job on the wall protecting pucks and getting pucks out. That's the most important part for this coach. And then he has free reign offensively."
Milano scored midway through the third period before Jeff Skinner tied it late in regulation with Carolina's net empty. Sergei Bobrovsky, last season's Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie, made 37 saves for Columbus.
"That was fun," Bobrovsky said. "I don't like to talk about goals - it is what it is. But we got two points and that's the most important thing for us. In those kinds of games you build up confidence in the locker room and confidence in each other."
Scott Darling, obtained in an offseason trade with Chicago, stopped 25 shots for the Hurricanes.
Milano scored on a ricochet off Darling's backside at 10:01 of the third, becoming the first Columbus player to score in his first three games of a season. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nick Foligno assisted on the goal.
"I just went for a spot goalies usually leave open and got it over the pad," Milano said. "It's good to have three goals in three games, especially being a rookie."
Skinner tied it with an unassisted goal at 18:35 after the Hurricanes had pulled Darling.
But with the clock ticking down in overtime, the 21-year-old Milano scored his second game-winner.
"I knew all three guys were caught on my breakaway," he said.
Carolina (1-0-1) has not won the first two games of a season since 2010.
"I thought there were times when we dictated and times where they dictated," coach Bill Peters said. "It was kind of back-and-forth. But I thought it was pretty even throughout. ... It's a resilient group and it's a work in progress."
Columbus outshot the Hurricanes 11-10 in the first period, with each team killing off one minor penalty. The second period went similarly, as each team killed off a penalty and the Hurricanes outshot the Blue Jackets 10-9.
NOTES: It was the 400th NHL game for Hurricanes center Marcus Kruger. ... Carolina's next four games are all on the road before a return home on Oct. 24 against Tampa Bay. ... Carolina D Trevor Van Riemsdyk (concussion) sat out, while C Martin Necas and RW Josh Jooris were healthy scratches. ... Ex-Carolina center Zac Dalpe, and D Scott Harrington, were healthy scratches for the Blue Jackets. ... Columbus hosts Carolina in their next matchup Nov. 10.
Blue Jackets: Return home Friday night to play the New York Rangers.
Hurricanes: At the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night for the first of three straight games in Canada.

Blues improve to 4-0, beat Rangers 3-1 behind Hutton

The St. Louis Blues recognize that they've entered the new NHL season in a precarious position because of injuries to key players.
They're not letting that stop them from finding ways to win.
"Next man up is the mentality we have to have," coach Mike Yeo said after Carter Hutton made 16 of his 32 saves in the third period to help the Blues remain unbeaten with a 3-1 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.
Carl Gunnarsson and Brayden Schenn scored first-period goals for St. Louis, which improved to 4-0. Jaden Schwartz added an empty-netter with 1:47 left.
"The guys battled really hard," Yeo said. "Our veteran players have really raised their game and stepped up."
After the Rangers dropped to 1-3, left wing Rick Nash was asked if the team was concerned about its start to the season.
"There has to be," Nash said. "With all these home games early on, these are the games that when you get to March and April, that really mean something.
"There's definitely an urgency to fix this and start winning some games."
Trailing 2-1, the Rangers pressured an injury-depleted Blues squad in the third period, outshooting St. Louis 16-8.
New York outshot the Blues 32-23 overall.
"There's no doubt that in the first two periods we didn't generate a lot," New York coach Alain Vigneault said. "In the third I thought we brought a lot more energy and willpower. We spent a lot more time in their end and we finally got some pretty good looks but we weren't able to score."
Hutton, in his first start of the season, was a significant reason why the Rangers were stymied. His three biggest stops occurred in the third period, beginning with Michael Grabner's short-handed semi-breakaway, later followed by Jimmy Vesey's stuff-in attempt during a goalmouth scrum, and Pavel Buchnevich's try from the low slot.
Buchnevich slammed his stick against the ice in frustration a moment after the whistle blew to stop play.
"I felt really comfortable," Hutton said. "In the third we hung on."
Even though the Rangers held an 11-7 advantage in shots, it was the Blues who went into the first intermission enjoying a 2-1 advantage. Gunnarsson opened the scoring at 15 seconds with his second of the season, a wide-open wrist shot from the slot.
Mika Zibanejad tied the game 2:07 later with his fifth of the season on the power play.
New York was credited with six of the nine shots on goal following Zibanejad's goal, but it was the Blues who went ahead on Schenn's second of the season at 13:30 when the center banked Paul Stastny's rebound off goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
"I went top shelf," Schenn said. "Sometimes you are lucky."
Benefiting a team that has started the season without Patrik Berglund (left shoulder), Jay Bouwmeester (left ankle), Robby Fabbri (left knee), Zach Sanford (left shoulder) and Alexander Steen (left hand) due to injuries, the Blues employed a tighter brand of hockey in a second period in which neither team scored and St. Louis had the two best opportunities.
The first was Scottie Upshall's short-handed semi-breakaway eight minutes into the second, and the other was Schwartz's drive from the left circle with 8:51 left, both of which were stopped by Lundqvist.
Lundqvist also was credited with a goalmouth stop on Stastny during a St. Louis power play in the third. New York's goalie finished with 20 saves.
"I think I played a pretty solid game," Lundqvist said. "But it's not the start you're looking for."
NOTES: Adam Cracknell made his Rangers debut. New York picked up the 32-year-old right wing off waivers Monday from Dallas. He wore No. 25 and skated on the fourth line with Paul Carey and David Desharnais. ... Prior to the game, New York announced rookie Filip Chytil had been assigned to AHL Hartford, and Andrew Desjardins was released from his professional tryout. .. St. Louis announced it had reached an agreement with San Antonio to be the Blues' AHL affiliate. According to a statement from the Blues, they will share "select players" with San Antonio this season, and "the official affiliation" starts next season. ... Yeo benched Dmitrij Jason for missing a team meeting, and scratched Wade Megan. ... New York scratched defensemen Brendan Smith and Tony DeAngelo. It was the second straight game Smith, who signed a four-year, $17.4 million contract with New York on June 28, was a scratch.
Blues: Visit the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
Rangers: Travel to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets on Friday.

Ultimate Sporting News October 9 2017