Monday’s tilt at the Consol Engery Center will be special for both individuals.
Despres was traded to Anaheim for Ben Lovejoy last March, while Perron was sent to the Ducks earlier this season.
Both players may have had some good times in Pittsburgh, but in both instances, things didn’t end up the way they had envisioned.
“I don’t want to talk about that,” Perron said of things not working out in Pittsburgh, per the Post-Gazette. “I made some great relationships. Some really good friends.
“The only thing, it didn’t work. That’s what what [general manager] Jim Rutherford and I and [head coach] Mike Sullivan talked when the trade happened. I wish it would have been different but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It didn’t click as good as you wanted it to be. I’m happy I got a new start and it’s going well.”
The 27-year-old played 86 games over two seasons with the Penguins, and he managed to score just 16 goals and 38 points during that span.
Things have been a lot better for him since the move to Anaheim. Perron has three goals, five assists and a plus-7 rating in his first seven games as a Duck.
As for Despres, things haven’t been as smooth since his departure from the Penguins.
The 24-year-old played well in the final month of the season last year, but he missed 42 games in 2015-16 because of a concussion he suffered near the beginning of the season.
He’s been a welcomed addition to the lineup. Anaheim hasn’t lost since Despres returned to the lineup on Jan. 26.
“He hasn’t gotten any points but we haven’t lost since he’s been back,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said, via the Post-Gazette. “We missed him for sure. In the playoffs last year, he was as good of a defenseman as we had. Big and strong and played against big opposition and he didn’t tire. The more games he gets, the better he’s going to get.”
The defenseman spent most of his adult life in the Penguins organization and he admits that’s something he’ll never forget.
“I guarantee that I’ll be a little bit emotional for the game [tonight],” said Despres. “Spent a lot of years here. A lot of memories and good friends. A lot of friends in Pittsburgh.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
–This young defenseman scored a beautiful goal during a Swedish League game:
–Watch the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Capitals and Flyers (top of the page).
–The Anaheim Ducks wore Los Angeles Angels themed jerseys during pregame warmup on Friday night:
–On Sunday, Andrei Markov became the third Canadiens defenseman in history to play in 900 games.
–Sports Illustrated looks at the next group of Russian hockey players that will make an impact in the NHL. (Sports Illustrated)
Don’t look now, but J.T. Miller might just be “getting it.”
By “it” you can mean a number of things: New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault’s confidence, his own confidence and that scoring touch at the NHL level.
He’s been on particularly hot streak for the last three weeks or so. While he failed to score in Saturday’s win against the Philadelphia Flyers, Miller reeled off a run in which he scored five points in three games and eight goals during a nine-game span.
His teammates and coach have taken notice, too, as Denis Gorman of Metro New York reports.
“The first practice I saw him, his strength, the way he shoots the puck. He has good hands, vision, he has everything to become a great hockey player,” Henrik Lundqvist said. “He’s getting there. He’s improving so much, but the biggest thing is probably just confidence, realizing that he is that good and he can use all these tools to be a great player.”
The Rangers aim to be a regular contender, and sometimes staying in the picture is all about developing prospects like Miller.
At the moment, it looks like he’s trending in an impressive direction.
NEW YORK (AP) After two disappointing road losses, the New York Islanders needed to face a last-place opponent like the Edmonton Oilers.
Kyle Okposo had his second career hat trick after the Islanders opened a commanding lead with three first-period goals and New York routed the Oilers 8-1 on Sunday.
Thomas Greiss made 30 saves for the Islanders (27-18-6), who moved within three points of the New York Rangers for second-place in the Metropolitan Division.
“It was good. Good to put up eight. It was a pretty good team effort,” Okposo said. “I thought we were going on all cylinders. It’s definitely nice to get rewarded.”
Boychuk, in his first home game after missing 11 games overall with an upper body injury suffered on Dec. 31 at Buffalo, ripped a slap shot past Nilsson at 2:57 for his fourth goal of the season.
“It’s always good when you strike early,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “We did a lot of good things and got two points.”
Tavares made it 2-0 at 9:12 with his 19th goal before Kulemin added his sixth at 11:24. Oilers coach Todd McLellan then pulled Nilsson, who stopped only seven of the 10 shots he faced.
Okposo made it 4-0 at 2:32 of the second, then scored again at 6:09 of the middle period.
Cal Clutterbuck increased the margin to 7-1 at 16:04 of the middle period with his 11th goal. Talbot raised his arms in frustration after Clutterbuck’s goal, seemingly exasperated with the defensive effort in front of him.
Okposo completed his hat trick at 7:27 of the third, when he whipped a shot on the power play past Talbot for his 15th goal of the season. The goal made it 8-1 and led to a cascade of hats tossed onto the Barclays Center ice. It was a season high in goals for the Islanders.
“Kyle has been playing awesome,” said defenseman Nick Leddy, who had three assists. “His contributions have been felt all year. He has been one of the best players on the ice game in and game out.”
The defeat following Saturday night’s 5-1 loss at Montreal left McLellan fuming.
“I don’t think we were prepared to play for those first few goals against,” McLellan said. “I’m very disappointed in the preparation and the approach to the game. We got our butts handed to us in Montreal and came here and responded in a very inappropriate way. ”
The 19-year-old McDavid – the first overall pick in last June’s draft – returned after missing 37 games with a broken collarbone for the opening game of the Edmonton’s four-game trip. McDavid scored once and added two assists in a 5-1 win at Columbus, then had two assists in a 7-2 victory at Ottawa.
Playing his first game since Jan. 12, Greiss was his usual stellar self. He didn’t have an especially tough game despite the litany of offensive skill on the Oilers roster in addition to McDavid.
“It always helps when we score a bunch of quick goals. It seemed like it was going our way tonight,” Greiss said. “That would be awesome if we could score eight goals every game. We have to be realistic. It’s not going to happen too often.”
Greiss improved to 14-6-2 this season, his first with the Islanders.
The Islanders improved to 17-8-3 at Barclays Center in their first season in Brooklyn after 43 years at Nassau Coliseum.
The Oilers haven’t won in New York against the Islanders since Dec. 14, 1999, when they beat the Islanders 4-2 at Nassau Coliseum.
NOTES: Former Islander Griffin Reinhart played against the team that drafted him fourth overall in 2012 for the first time. … The teams meet again in Edmonton on Feb. 28.