Nightly recap: Thursday, October 21st

A busy night tonight with 11 games, so we’ll keep things easy like Sunday morning for you.

Boston 4 – Washington 1

Tim Thomas got the start again and was once again outstanding stopping 38 shots. Goalie controversy time in Boston? No way, just a dominating tandem. Zdeno Chara, Jordan Caron, Nathan Horton, and Michael Ryder scored for Boston. Jason Chimera had Washington’s lone goal while Semyon Varlamov took the loss.

NY Rangers 2 – Toronto 1

Martin Biron did his job getting the start for the Rangers stopping 24 shots in the win. Meanwhile, Ruslan Fedotenko and Artem Anisimov scored for New York. There was no “payback” in the game for the Leafs taking out Marian Gaborik in their previous meeting. Sorry all fans of revenge out there. Jonas Gustavsson looked strong for Toronto stopping 30 shots in the loss.

Anaheim 3 – Philadelphia 2

This is one the Flyers would like to have back. The Ducks started without Cam Fowler and Curtis McElhinney made his first start of the season and was sensational stopping 40 shots in the win. Sergei Bobrovsky was a bit more shaky in this one stopping just 19 shots. Ryan Getzlaf had the night’s game-winning goal late in the third for the Ducks.

Detroit 4 – Calgary 2

After a sleepy first period, the Wings got their act together. Mikael Backlund had both Calgary goals in the first period, but after that it was all Wings. Henrik Zetterberg had his first goal of the year, meanwhile Nick Lidstrom, Johan Franzen, and former Flame Todd Bertuzzi also added goals for the Wings.

New Jersey 3 – Montreal 0

The Canadiens are probably going to start hoping they can get Martin Brodeur stopped at the border when the Devils come to town. Brodeur is on his best when he’s back in Montreal and tonight was no different as the future hall of fame goalie stopped 29 shots in earning the shutout. Zach Parise, Jason Arnott, and Matt Taormina all scored for New Jersey. Carey Price stopped 17 shots in the loss.

NY Islanders 3 – Tampa Bay 2 (F/OT)

While the game may have ended controversially with Matt Moulson’s OT winner needing eight minutes of review time to decide if the puck went across the goal line, what’s lost in that is a pretty solid performance from Rick DiPietro. DiPietro stopped 28 shots in the win and looked strong in goal for the game.

Dallas 4 – Florida 1

It was Jamie Benn’s first game back after a concussion sat him down for about a week, but it was Tom Wandell who stole the show for Dallas scoring twice. Kari Lehtonen was solid stopping 27 shots, allowing only a late goal to Stephen Weiss to keep him from getting a shutout. Tomas Vokoun didn’t fare well, giving up all four goals before being relieved by Scott Clemmensen to start the third period. Vokoun was likely overdue for a break anyway but he didn’t look strong tonight after being outstanding of late.

Pittsburgh 4 – Nashville 3 (F/OT)

Pittsburgh’s big guns came out to play tonight. Sidney Crosby had two goals, Evgeni Malkin had another goal and Kris Letang scored the game-winner in overtime all while Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the win in goal. It may not have been a stellar game for Fleury (he made just 21 saves), but a win is a win and he needed the confidence boost. Pekka Rinne stopped 34 in the loss, while David Legwand, Cody Franson, and Patric Hornqvist all had a goal a piece.

San Jose 4 – Colorado 2

Joe Pavelski was a man on a mission tonight scoring two goals in the second period to provide the difference maker for San Jose. Logan Couture and Scott Nichol added a goal each, meanwhile Antero Niittymaki was solid in goal stopping 29 shots. Milan Hejduk and Kyle Cumiskey scored for Colorado while Craig Anderson saved 30 shots in the loss.

Minnesota 4 – Edmonton 2

Despite the Wild playing one of the sloppier games of the year, they came away winners of the youthful Oilers. Kyle Brodziak had two goals for Minnesota, meanwhile Niklas Backstrom was outstanding stopping 34 shots in the win. Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff had the goals for Edmonton and rookie Taylor Hall, while not getting on the score sheet played a brilliant game. He may be poised to awaken and start showing he’s the #1 overall pick now.

Phoenix 4 – Los Angeles 2

While the severe lack of attendance tonight is going to get a lot of attention, Lee Stempniak getting his first career hat trick should be noticed as well. Stempniak’s efforts all night long held strong as Wayne Simmonds of the Kings tried to single-handedly get them back in the game, scoring both Los Angeles goals. Andrew Ebbett, who is filling in for Shane Doan while he’s suspended, had a short-handed goal, meanwhile Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 28 shots in the win.

 

Expansion draft will force Ducks to make some big decisions

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Bob Murray managed to keep the Anaheim Ducks together for a shot at the Stanley Cup.

But after losing to Nashville in the Western Conference Final, Anaheim’s general manager will now have to make some big decisions — especially with the expansion draft looming.

If the Ducks decide to protect seven forwards and three defensemen, the blue line will definitely be worth watching. Hampus Lindholm will be protected for sure, and Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are each exempt. But that only leaves two spots for Sami Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa, Cam Fowler, and Josh Manson.

Bieksa, 35, has a no-movement clause, so unless the Ducks find a way to get around that, they’ll need to protect him. (Chances are, they’ll seek a way around it, either via trade or buyout or just convincing him to waive.)

Fowler, meanwhile, only has one year left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. And after the season he just had, with 39 points in 80 games, the 25-year-old won’t be cheap to re-sign. For that reason, it’s possible Murray may choose to shop Fowler instead. Or perhaps it’s Vatanen that goes on the block.

Yes, there is the option to protect four defensemen and four forwards. But Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler all have NMCs, and the Ducks won’t want to expose Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silfverberg.

In goal, the Ducks have John Gibson under club control for years to come, but they’ll need to choose a backup. Jonathan Bernier is an unrestricted free agent, and even though he played well during the regular season, his performance against the Predators wasn’t great. Murray may want to at least consider his options there.

Related: Fowler surprised he wasn’t traded

Carlyle says Ducks were dealt ‘tough hand’ by schedule-makers

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Call it sour grapes if you wish, but Randy Carlyle thinks the Anaheim Ducks got screwed by the NHL’s schedule-maker.

The head coach launched his complaint last night after his Ducks fell to the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.

“I don’t think we played poorly in the series,” said Carlyle. “I think that the toughest part I have about the whole thing is that this was our seventh game in 13 days.

“Now, there’s various reasons for that, but I think there’s got to be some consideration in the scheduling in the future between series. We finished on a Wednesday and had to open again on Friday, whereas other teams had to open on Saturday. An extra day would have given us a chance to recover. And we know how tough these games are. And that was a tough hand that was dealt to us.”

The “other” team to which Carlyle was referring is Pittsburgh. The Penguins beat Washington in Game 7 of the second round on May 10, then opened against Ottawa on May 13.

The Ducks, on the other hand, knocked out Edmonton in Game 7, also on May 10, then had to start against Nashville on May 12.

Fatigue may, indeed, have been a factor early in the series against Nashville. In Game 1, the Ducks were badly outshot, 46-29, and lost, 3-2, in overtime.

Carlyle said afterwards that the extra rest had made a difference for the Preds, who’d eliminated the Blues in six and gone four days without a game.

Ducks forward Sorensen signs in Swedish League

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Nick Sorensen, the forward taken 45th overall by Anaheim in 2013, has opted to return to Europe and sign a two-year pact with SHL club Linkoping, the team announced on Tuesday.

Sorensen, 22, returned to North America this season after spending ’14-15 and ’15-16 in Sweden (the latter with Linkoping, so this is a homecoming of sorts).

A former Quebec League standout, Sorensen impressed during training camp and made the Ducks’ opening-night roster, appearing in five games before being dispatched to AHL San Diego.

“Every game, every practice, every day for me, it’s a look to try to stay here,” Sorensen said back in October, per the Daily News. “Even if I play zero, one, five or 20 games, I’m not going to get comfortable up here. It’s the best league in the world.

“I’m just going to try to prove to them every day I want to be here.”

With the Gulls, Sorensen had 10 goals and 22 points in 48 games. He also chipped in with another four in eight playoff contests, but did suffer an injury during the postseason.

Sorensen was a pending RFA, having just wrapped the last year of his entry-level deal.

 

Sens owner: ‘very disturbing’ that tonight’s game may not sell out

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Entire rows in the upper deck of the Canadian Tire Centre still haven’t been sold for tonight’s Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Not surprisingly, the specter of a non-sellout for one of the biggest home games in franchise history has the Senators’ owner rather concerned.

“It’s very disturbing,” Eugene Melnyk told Postmedia, “however, knowing the players and coaches they will be trying their hardest for Ottawa.”

The Senators’ attendance has been a big story throughout these playoffs. In the second round, a crowd of just 16,744 was announced for Game 1 against the New York Rangers.

It was thought the story would go away once the conference final started. And for Games 3 and 4, capacity crowds were, indeed, announced.

But with no opportunity for the Sens to advance to the Stanley Cup Final tonight, it’s possible the building may not be full.

Via Ticketmaster, the blue dots represent unsold seats, while the pink dots are tickets available for resale: