SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Haley Irwin and Sarah Nurse scored in the second period, sending Canada to a 3-1 victory over the United States on Friday night in the latest Olympic tuneup between the world’s top powers in women’s hockey.
Marie-Philip Poulin also scored for Canada, and Ann-Renee Desbiens made 25 saves.
Brianna Decker opened the scoring for the U.S. with a power-play goal early in the second. Alex Rigsby stopped 33 shots in defeat.
Poulin made it 3-1 with her goal 55 seconds into the third.
It was the fifth of six meetings between the rivals as they prepare for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. They play again Sunday night in Edmonton, Alberta.
Canada has won four of the five recent matchups, after the Americans took the series opener Oct. 22 in Quebec City.
”We just have to be better in the red zones – that’s the difference between winning and losing,” United States coach Robb Stauber said. ”We’ll give some focus and energy to some things we think we can do better, and we’re going to go into Edmonton and see what that end result looks like.”
The last four Olympic gold medals in women’s hockey have gone to Canada, but the U.S. has won seven of the past eight world championships.
Players of the Night:
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres: Eichel ended a four-game goal-less drought with some authority on Friday. After scoring in the first period, Eichel watched as his Sabres blew a 2-1 lead to trail 4-2 with 10 minutes to go. Eichel then turned on overdrive, scoring twice in 10 seconds to tie the game and force overtime. Sadly, his efforts were in vain as the Carolina Hurricanes got the winner 2:15 into the extra frame. It’s Eichel’s first career NHL hat trick.
Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils: What an inspirational story Boyle has been this year. On Friday, Boyle scored twice, including the game winner, to bring his goal total to eight on the season. His second of the night was also his 100th of his career.
Highlights of the Night:
Eichel showed a good bit of patience on his hat trick goal:
Cory Schneider committed robbery on this save:
Sam Gagner scored on a pretty backhand deke to give the Vancouver Canucks the win in overtime, ending a four-game losing streak:
Factoid of the Night:
- Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk did his best to steal the spotlight from his team’s outdoor game on Saturday.
- Marian Gaborik scored a goal in his 1,000th NHL game at MSG
Hurricanes 5, Sabres 4 (OT)
Devils 5, Stars 2
Rangers 4, Kings 2
Red Wings 3, Maple Leafs 1
Canucks 4, Sharks 3 (OT)
If you’re looking for someone to spoil an upcoming function, you may want to give Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk a call.
On the eve of the Senators’ outdoor game against the Montreal Canadiens at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, and on the night when Ottawa’s greats from yesteryear took the ice with Parliament Hill as a backdrop, Melnyk did his best to steal the spotlight from the NHL 100 Classic on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters, Melnyk threatened to pull the plug in Ottawa and relocate the team if disaster struck.
“If it becomes a disaster, yes,” Melnyk said. “If you start not seeing crowds showing up, yes. But, for now, we are on the cusp of doing OK.”
The doom and gloom continued, with Melnyk suggesting he isn’t going to waste a “lifetime of working hard” to support the Senators.
“It’s not going to happen,” he said. “The bigger question is whether I’m prepared to blow all that money I made over many years in a different industry in a different country. How long can you underwrite a team?”
Melnyk reiterated that he’s not looking to sell the team, a statement he made earlier this week in the Ottawa Sun, and used McDonald’s as an example on Friday.
“It won’t. It just won’t happen,” he said. “It’s a franchise. Imagine if you own a McDonald’s franchise, but you can move it. But why would you sell it? It’s something that’s very difficult to buy.
We’re doing OK here. Not great, but we’re doing OK. It’s just too much fun. What else do you do? I’m a Canadian. I’m a hockey fan, fanatically a hockey fan, and I couldn’t think of anything better to do.”
Melnyk said the Senators have “cut everything to the bone,” saying the Senators have one of the thinnest management groups in the league.
“We want to keep and maintain great players,” he said. “You can’t keep spending at the top end and getting the lowest revenues. It doesn’t work.”
According to CapFriendly, the Senators are at just over $73 million in projected cap space.
Melnyk called the Senators disaster on the ice this season a “crappy streak” that every team goes through.
“We have way too much talent with this team not to perform,” he said.
When asked if his comments on Friday could take away from the luster of the event taking place in Canada’s capital this weekend, Melnyk said no.
“It keeps the newspapers selling and the radio people listening,” he said.
Marian Gaborik has already hit two milestones that end in double zeroes this season.
On Friday night, and at the world’s most famous arena, he hit his first that ends in three.
Gaborik took to the ice at Madison Sqaure Garden in his 1,000th NHL game as the Los Angeles Kings took on the New York Rangers.
It’s not a bad backdrop for the veteran of 19 NHL seasons.
Gaborik played 255 games with the Blueshirts between 2009 and 2013, hitting the 40-goal plateau twice and recording his career-best season in 2009-10, scoring 42 goals and adding 44 helpers for 86 points in 76 games played.
Gaborik has only played 11 games this season after starting the year on the shelf with a knee injury. Gaborik only returned to the lineup on Nov. 24, but he set two milestones in his return, hitting 400 career NHL goals and 800 career NHL points earlier this month.
Coming into Friday’s game, his stat line read 800 points in 999 NHL games.
As Sportsnet’s Mike Johnston points out, perfect symmetry could be achieved if Gaborik finishes with a plus-one in the plus-minus column in the game and he is held without a point.
I’m sure he’d rather have a new puck to add to his mantle… but think of the stats, Marian.
UPDATE: He didn’t think of the stats.