Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Palmieri, Stafford help Devils top Lightning 5-4 in shootout

Kyle Palmieri scored the lone goal in a shootout, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
Drew Stafford scored twice in regulation as New Jersey improved to 5-1-0. Palmieri and Brian Gibbons each had a goal in the first period, and Cory Schneider made 33 saves.
Vladimir Namestnikov, Ondrej PalatNikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos scored for Tampa Bay, which had its four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 5-1-1.
Kucherov's goal was his eighth in seven games. He has scored at least once in every game this season, and the 24-year-old right wing became the sixth player in modern NHL history to score at least one goal in the first seven games of a season.
Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Ken Hodge and Tony Tanti are the others. Lemieux holds the record with at least one goal in the first 12 games of the 1992-93 season.
Peter Budaj made his first start of the season for the Lightning and had 30 saves.
Entering the nationally televised game, New Jersey's 4.20 goals per game were tied for second-best in the NHL, and Tampa Bay's mark of 3.83 ranked fifth. So befitting two of the league's highest-scoring teams, it didn't take long for the Lightning and the Devils to trade goals.
Stafford opened the scoring at 2:45 of the first period with a shot from the right side off the rush that Budaj appeared to misplay.
Tampa Bay drew even when Namestnikov flipped an in-tight forehand over Schneider's stick at 7:33, and took the lead on Palat's power-play goal at 12:21.
New Jersey equalized on Palmieri's rocket from the right side at 16:19, and Gibbons' goalmouth tap-in sent the Devils into the first intermission with a 3-2 lead.
The Devils scored all three of their first-period goals on 15 shots, while allowing Tampa Bay to fire 11. For the game, the Lightning finished with a 37-34 advantage in shots.
If the first period resembled a 100-meter dash, the second period was akin to a marathon. Both teams had scoring chances, but the defenses tightened up as Tampa Bay held an 11-9 advantage in shots.
Still, it took just two to send the Lightning into the second intermission with a lead. Kucherov tied the game 3-all by ripping a slap shot under Schneider's glove at 14:02.
Tampa Bay regained the lead 3:21 later when Stamkos pounced on a loose puck in the slot before beating Schneider with a backhand.
Stafford's power-play goal with 4:06 left in regulation tied it at 4.
The Devils were 2 for 4 on the power play, while Tampa Bay went 1 for 5.
NOTES: During his pregame media availability, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper was effusive in his praise of defenseman Dan Girardi. The Lightning signed the former Ranger to a two-year, $6 million contract on July 1, a few weeks after New York announced it had bought out the final three years of the six-year, $33 million deal he agreed to in February 2014. "You appreciate guys more when you have them with you," Cooper said. "You really appreciate him being in your locker room. When you have a guy like (rookie defenseman Mikhail) Sergachev ... he can go to guys like Girardi, but Girardi goes to him. The other thing is his willingness to sacrifice his body for the betterment of the team." Cooper later added Girardi was "everything our team needed." . During a stoppage in play in the second period, the 13,176 in attendance cheered and began a "Let's go Yankees!" chant after the final score from Game 4 of the AL Championship Series was posted on the video board. ... New Jersey scratched D Dalton Prout, D Ben Lovejoy and RW Stefan Noesen. ... RW J.T. Brown, D Slater Koekkoek and C Gabriel Dumont were scratched by the Lightning.
Lightning: Finish a three-game road trip Thursday at Columbus.
Devils: At the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

Brown scores as Leafs continue hot start, beat Caps 2-0

Connor Brown made the most of his move up the lineup to keep the Toronto Maple Leafs' hot start rolling.
Brown scored the game-winning goal in the third period as the Maple Leafs beat the Washington Capitals 2-0 Tuesday night in a rematch of their first-round playoff series last spring. Toronto, which handed Washington its second consecutive loss since losing top defenseman Matt Niskanento injury, has won five of its first six games.
"We feel good about our team," said Brown, who poked a rebound past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby with 14:07 left for his second goal of the season. "We're really excited about what we have. We feel like we're getting better defensively and I think we've got a lot of options that can score goals. That helps you win night in, night out."
Frederik Andersen stopped all 30 shots he faced as the Maple Leafs shut out the Capitals on the road for the first time in 73 regular-season meetings. Nazem Kadri added an empty-netter with 22 seconds left to seal the victory.
"These are the big games, the good teams you get up for," Andersen said. "You want to kind of measure yourself a little bit, especially since they beat us last year in the playoffs. I think it's fun for us to come down here and get a little bit of revenge."
Brown moved up to the third line alongside James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak and scored when he corralled the rebound of Morgan Rielly's point shot and beat Holtby.
"I liked that Brownie worked hard, he was good on the penalty kill and he got to the net when they got the puck there," coach Mike Babcock said. "It was great to see him get to the net and be rewarded."
The Capitals leaned on Holtby to make a handful of his 28 saves in the first few minutes as the Maple Leafs dominated. Their defense was better than in an 8-2 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday, but the power play went 0 for 3 and Alex OvechkinEvgeny Kuznetsov and Washington's top stars couldn't cash in on limited opportunities.
"It's pretty hard to play without puck right now," Kuznetsov said. "We have to work harder away from the puck."
Forcing defenseman John Carlson to play 27:33 with Niskanen out until at least Nov. 7 with an upper-body injury, the Capitals couldn't muster the kind of offensive firepower they've been known for in previous seasons. Carlson thought the team effort was better, but the results simply weren't there.
"We gave up a lot of chances - too many from what we're used to," Carlson said. "I think we've got to score goals. You're not going to win if you don't score."
Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs didn't score at their NHL-leading pace, something Babcock would like to fix moving forward. But a young team that lost in six games to the Capitals in last year's playoffs will take victories in tight games however they can get them.
"When it's crunch time and you're getting close to the end of the year like we were last year, we were right in the mix, you look back on these kind of close games and you think about the value that's in these points," Rielly said. "To get these ones and to get a good feeling in our room and get rolling a little bit is a great feeling. But it's only six games. We've got a long way left to go, but those points do feel good."
NOTES: Washington C Tyler Graovac left in the first period with an upper-body injury after taking successive hits from Toronto's Matt Martin. Coach Barry Trotz said Graovac is "going to miss a little bit of time here." ... Graovac was filling in for C Lars Eller, who missed the game with an illness. ... Brown swapped places with Mitch Marner, who Babcock complimented for playing well on the fourth line with Martin and Dominic Moore.
Maple Leafs: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night in the second half of a back-to-back.
Capitals: Travel to play Detroit on Friday in their first visit to new Little Caesars Arena.

Flyers explode for 4-goal 2nd period, beat Panthers 5-1

 Wayne Simmonds pounded Florida's enforcer with a series of rights and dropped him with a left. Simmonds waved his arms toward the Flyers crowd and exhorted them to get louder as he skated toward the locker room to serve his major penalty. He high-fived fans and the orange-and-black faithful went wild for a period on the short list of the best in three years under coach Dave Hakstol.
Score the round for Simmonds.
Give the KO to the Flyers.
Sean CouturierShayne GostisbehereClaude Giroux and Dale Weise all scored in the second period to lead Philadelphia to a 5-1 win over the Panthers on Tuesday night.
The Flyers followed an 8-2 win against Washington with another dominant offensive effort, capped by the four-goal second.
"This is fun hockey," Gostisbehere said. "It's fun when you're winning and making plays, that's the biggest thing. Coach has given us the leeway to do that and I think we've responded well."
Simmonds, who left in the third with an undisclosed injury, stole the show after the fourth goal when he fought agitated Panthers center Michael Haley to a decisive victory at center ice.
By then, this one was over.
Michal Neuvirth made the lead stand with 40 saves in his first win of the season.
"I thought I made a couple of big saves in the first," he said. "The guys in front of me played really well."
Jamie McGinn spoiled the shutout with his first goal of the season that made it 4-1 late in the third.
"It's just about playing the right way," McGinn said. "It doesn't matter what your line combinations are if you're turning over the puck and giving up quality opportunities in your own end. That's our own fault."
Valtteri Filppula scored an empty-netter for the Flyers.
The Flyers are deep, fast, attack in waves, and are suddenly one of the more formidable offenses in the league a year after missing the playoffs. They scored five goals in the season opener, scored another five in one of their only two losses, and pounded the Capitals for a stunning eight goals.
"I think our depth so far has been really good and we have to keep it that way," Couturier said.
The Flyers actually went scoreless on 11 shots against Roberto Luongo in the first.
Just a blip.
Couturier poked the puck past a diving Luongo only 1:05 into the second for his fourth goal of the season. Simmonds found Gostisbehere off the give-and-go in the slot for a slapper and a 2-0 lead.
"Ghost" scored his first goal of the season and Robert Hagg had his first career NHL point.
From All-Stars (Giroux, Simmonds) to rookie defensemen (Hagg), everyone has been in on the scoring fun for the Flyers. Giroux scored his fourth goal of the season on a rare power-play breakaway effort for a 3-0 lead.
Weise scored his first goal of the season off a between-the-legs drop pass from No. 2 overall draft pick Nolan Patrick. The 19-year-old Patrick is a future cornerstone player for a franchise that hasn't won a Stanley Cup since 1975. But there's little pressure to produce immediately if the rest of the core players such as Giroux, Simmonds, Couturier and Jake Voracek (who had his whopping 11th assist) continue to thrive. That they ran up the score against a Panthers team that swept them last season (3-0) made it more impressive.
"It was fun hockey to play," Giroux said.
Notes: Giroux had his 400th career assist. ... Panthers F Owen Tippett, the 10th overall pick of the 2017 draft, made his NHL debut. ... The Panthers allowed the first goal for the fifth straight game. ... Florida is winless on the road. ... The Flyers are 8-0-1 at home dating to last season.
Panthers: Host the Stanley Cup champion Penguins on Friday night.
Flyers: Host Western Conference champion Nashville on Thursday night.

Crosby, Malkin lift Pens over struggling Rangers 5-4 in OT

Timely goals by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin extended the New York Rangers' slow start to the season.
Crosby tied the score with less than a minute remaining in regulation, Evgeni Malkin put in the winner 58 seconds into overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the struggling Rangers 5-4 on Tuesday night.
"We kind of had some ups and downs in the game," Crosby said. "Started off good, lose the lead, give it up there late and then climb our way back. Those games don't happen every night but it's a good test when they happen and we responded the right way."
Patric HornqvistPhil Kessel and ex-Ranger Carl Hagelinalso scored for the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, who handed New York (1-5-1) its fourth consecutive loss.
Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh turned the puck over in overtime and Phil Kessel set up Malkin for the game-winning goal. Just before that, the Rangers iced the puck, leading to a faceoff in their zone.
Michael Grabner put New York ahead 4-3 when he and David Desharnais completed a nifty give-and-go at the 8-minute mark of the third period.
Desharnais, Pavel Buchnevich and J.T. Miller scored in a span of 2:30 as the Rangers got three straight goals early in the second to take a 3-2 lead.
"We gave ourselves a chance going into the third period all tied up," defenseman Marc Staal said. "We got the goal we needed, we just weren't able to close it out. It's not easy for us to get a win."
Penguins goalie Matt Murray and counterpart Henrik Lundqvist each made 28 saves in the first of four meetings this season between the division rivals.
Crosby scored with 56 seconds left in the third period when he put a puck between Lundqvist's pads. It was Crosby's fifth consecutive game at Madison Square Garden with a goal.
Kessel scored on the game's first shot just 43 seconds in. Hagelin made it 2-0 when his wrist shot sailed over Lundqvist's glove. Olli Maata extended his point streak to six games (one goal, five assists) with an assist on the second goal.
In the second period, Desharnais snapped a shot past Murray to cut the margin in half. It was Desharnais' first goal for the Rangers since signing a one-year contract this summer.
Shortly after that, Crosby took a double-minor for high-sticking Jimmy Vesey. The Rangers took full advantage of the opportunity as they scored on both chances.
Buchnevich got his first of the season and then a minute later, Miller launched a snap shot past Murray to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. Miller also had two assists in his first three-point game of the season.
"We've got to do a better job of reeling our guys in and making sure that we maintain an element of discipline so that we don't get in that chance-for-chance game," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.
Hornqvist tied it late in the second period on a power play with Rangers forward Chris Kreider in the box. Kreider was penalized for cross-checking, which abruptly ended a two-man advantage for New York.
"They really had a chance to capitalize and we had some big blocks there," Hornqvist said, referring to the 5-on-3 situation. "We'll take every point we can right now, but we still need to be a little better than that."
Malkin went to the dressing room with 14:17 remaining in the third period. Shortly before that, he scrapped with Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. They were given matching two-minute roughing penalties.
NOTES: Murray surpassed Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford for sole possession of 10th place on the team's career wins list with 45. ... The Rangers scratched forward Paul Carey, D Nick Holden and D Steven Kampfer. ... The Penguins scratched forwards Josh Archibald and Scott Wilson. ... Pittsburgh placed Matt Hunwick on injured reserve with a concussion. The defenseman was injured Monday at practice. ... D Ian Colereturned to the lineup after missing the previous three games with a facial injury. ... The Penguins also reassigned D Chris Summers to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.
Penguins: Visit the Florida Panthers on Friday.
Rangers: Host the New York Islanders on Thursday.