Ondrej Pavelec, Travis Zajac

Riding the Zamboni – March 11; Isles stun Bruins, Devils win again, Ducks roll

New Jersey 3 – Atlanta 2 (F/OT)

Another typically tight game and another win for the Devils. Travis Zajac scored twice including the game-winner in overtime while Ilya Kovalchuk added another goal to help the Devils stay hot. All three Devils goals came on the power play as the Thrashers PK could not get it done tonight. Martin Brodeur made 24 saves to get the win. Dustin Byfuglien scored his 20th goal of the year for Atlanta while Ondrej Pavelec stopped 27 shots in the loss. While the Devils win was good for them and keeps them eight back of the Rangers and Sabres for eighth in the East, giving up the loser point to Atlanta in overtime won’t help them in their hopes of vaulting up the standings.

NY Islanders 4 – Boston 2

The Bruins started off nicely building a 2-0 lead and seemed poised to cruise to victory. Matt Moulson’s goal with two seconds left in the second period to make it 2-1 changed all that as the Isles came storming out in the third with goals from Michael Grabner and Jack Hillen to take a 3-2 lead. P.A. Parenteau would be awarded a goal in the closing seconds as he was hauled down while breaking towards the empty net to provide the final tally of the game. Al Montoya was solid stopping 26 shots in the win. Nathan Horton scored his 20th for Boston while Zdeno Chara scored his 12th. Tim Thomas was obscenely busy in the loss stopping 38 shots.

Detroit 2 – Edmonton 1 (F/OT)

It appeared that the Oilers were set to head to a 1-0 win in Detroit on Ryan Jones’ goal as the seemingly disinterested Wings were going to fall by the wayside. As can happen sometimes in Detroit, the Wings rallied late as Nick Lidstrom’s shot bounced off Andrew Cogliano’s skate and past Devan Dubnyk to tie the game with 25 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Pavel Datsyuk did what he does best, dangling and avoiding Liam Reddox and sniping a shot past Dubnyk to win it. Dubnyk stopped 42 shots in the loss for Edmonton while Jimmy Howard stopped 26 in the win for the Wings.

Washington 2 – Carolina 1

Ottawa 2 – Tampa Bay 1

A frustrating loss for the Lightning as former temporary member of the Lightning Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 shots to lead Ottawa to victory. Jason Spezza and Bobby Butler scored for the Senators as they continue to sink their efforts of landing the top pick in the draft with some outstanding and scrappy play of late. Martin St. Louis had Tampa’s lone goal while Dwayne Roloson stopped just 20 shots in the loss. Tampa Bay is now four points behind Washington in the race for the Southeast Division crown.

Anaheim 6 – Colorado 2

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists while Teemu Selanne and Luca Sbisa each had two assists to help the Ducks win their fifth game in their last six. Dan Ellis stopped 24 shots in the win. For Colorado, the loss is their 17th in their last 18 games. Colorado who at one point this year was leading the Northwest Division now sits 37 points behind front-running Vancouver thanks to their horrible play in 2011. The Avalanche’s attempts to squeeze their way into the #1 pick are improving by the day.

Los Angeles 4 – Columbus 2

While Jonathan Toews is getting plenty of headlines, L.A.’s Anze Kopitar is doing some work lately of his own and tonight he added to it scoring a hat trick for the Kings as they kept life miserable of late for the Jackets. Steve Mason had another rough night in goal as Mason stopped just 18 shots in the loss. Jonathan Bernier was the opposite of Mason in stopping 32 shots. Derick Brassard and Scottie Upshall scored for Columbus.

Dallas 4 – Minnesota 0

Is this the end of the road for the Wild? Kari Lehtonen managed to get his first shutout as a Dallas Star and had to stop just 14 shots to earn it. Jamie Benn scored a goal making it six straight games he’s had a goal in. He’s got 19 goals on the year now in what’s turning out to be a breakout season for him. For the Wild, it’s two straight games they’ve been shutout in now and they’ve only totaled 33 shots in those two games. With a road trip to San Jose and Vancouver up next for the Wild and sitting four points out of  a playoff spot in the tightly contested West, we think we can hear the Fat Lady warming up off stage for Minnesota.

Video: The Ducks and Kings brawl — again

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Oh, look at that: Another heated melee involving the Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings.

You’ll recall a first-period fight fest in a pivotal Pacific Division game between these teams almost one full year ago. On Saturday, in another meeting between these California rivals, the Ducks and Kings were once again at odds.

This latest conflict? Well, Corey Perry was involved. Again. (Last year, order had been restored during a brief scrum before Perry gave an extra shot to a Kings player, resulting in mayhem.)

Perry was called this time around for interference on Anze Kopitar. Kings players, as you might expect, suddenly rushed over before Nate Thompson and Brayden McNabb squared off in the main event.

 

Kings activate Jonathan Quick from IR and he is starting against the Ducks

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08:  Goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings tends net during a preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena on October 8, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Colorado won 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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For the first time since the season opener the Los Angeles Kings are going to have starting goaltender Jonathan Quick in their lineup on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Anaheim Ducks.

Quick, who has played just 20 minutes of hockey this season, has been out of the lineup since Oct. 12 due to a groin injury. The team activated him from injured reserve on Saturday before the game.

In his absence the Kings had to rely on Peter Budaj to carry the load, and he did a pretty admirable job with a .917 save percentage (the best performance of his career) in 53 appearances. Keep in mind that Quick’s save percentage the past four seasons has been .914.

While Quick’s absence seemed like it could have been a big deal at the start of the year, the biggest factor in the Kings’ disappointing season has been on the offensive side, especially in recent weeks as the team’s goal scoring woes have seemingly hit rock bottom. In their past nine games the Kings have managed just 15 goals, and that includes one game where they scored six. Simple math says they scored only nine goals in the other eight games. Not great. They were also shutout three times during that stretch.

Even if Quick is the Kings’ best goalie, and even if he returns to the lineup and plays extremely well down the stretch, it is not going to make much of a difference if the offense continues to score at that sort of abysmal level.

The Kings enter Saturday’s game five points out of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

Goalie nods: Murray, Neuvirth get the call at Heinz Field

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When the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers take their long-time rivalry outside on Saturday night it will be Matt Murray and Michael Neuvirth getting the starts in goal for the teams.

For the Penguins, Murray getting the start is no shock at this point since he has clearly taken over the No. 1 job, starting 14 of the past 17 games the Penguins have played and currently owning some of the best numbers of any goalie in the league this season. His .925 save percentage that is currently fifth best in the NHL while his .935 save percentage during even-strength situations is tied for second best.

He has allowed just 10 goals in his past six starts.

The Penguins’ goaltending situation is still going to be one worth watching over the next couple of days leading up to the NHL trade deadline. With Murray as the guy in net trade speculation surrounding Marc-Andre Fleury has picked up, and even though general manager Jim Rutherford said earlier this week that he would prefer to keep Fleury, he mentioned on Friday that a decision resulting his short-term future will be made in the 24-48 hours leading up to the deadline.

Meanwhile, on the Philadelphia side, it will be Neuvirth getting another start as he tries to shake off the rust he has shown since returning to the lineup from an injury that sidelined him for a large portion of the season. Since returning he has just an .894 save percentage in eight starts, continuing what has been an overall disappointing season for him in net.

He faced the Penguins earlier this season in a 5-4 loss, giving up two goals on 12 shots in relief of starter Steve Mason.

Elsewhere on Saturday…

— It will be Jonathan Bernier vs. Jonathan Quick on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles when the Ducks and Kings face off.

— Phillip Grubauer gets the call for the Washington Capitals when they visit the Nashville Predators and try to prevent Filip Forsberg from recording yet another hat trick. No word yet on who is starting for the Predators.

— Joonas Korpisalo will be giving Sergei Bobrovsky the night off for the Columbus Blue Jackets when they host Thomas Greiss and the New York Islanders.

— The Rangers will go with Antti Raanta for their rivalry showdown with the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider goes for the Devils.

— Huge game in Toronto when it comes to the Atlantic Division standings with the Maple Leafs facing off against a Canadiens team they trail by only four points. It will be a Carey Price vs. Frederik Anderson goalie matchup.

Ryan Miller, suddenly the subject of trade speculation, will start for the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday when they face the San Jose Sharks. Look for Martin Jones to go for the Sharks.

Robin Lehner and Calvin Pickard go for the Sabres and Avalanche respectively on Saturday night in Denver.

Antoine Vermette’s 10-game suspension upheld by Gary Bettman

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The NHL announced on Saturday afternoon that commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the 10-game suspension the league issued to Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette for an abuse of official incident that happened earlier this month.

Bettman met with Vermette on Thursday and heard his appeal, and has ruled that the 10-game ban will remain in place.

Vermette was ejected from the Ducks’ Feb. 14 game against the Minnesota Wild after he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso in the leg following a face off. The NHL ruled that it was a Category II abuse of official foul, which carries an automatic 10-game suspension. He has already served four of those games. He will lose $97,222.22 in salary as a result of the entire suspension.

Vermette’s suspension is the third abuse of official suspension we have seen in the NHL over the past two years following the 20-game ban Dennis Wideman received last year (later reduced to 10 games) and the three-game suspension given to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo this season.

After signing a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Ducks in free agency, Vermette has eight goals and 14 assists in 58 games this season.