Giguere shines in return to Anaheim

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Jean-Sebastien Giguere admitted that the first trip to Anaheim this season would be special for him. After conference calls and plenty of questions about what the return would mean to him, Giguere finally was able to get down to easy part—the actual game. Sixty minutes later, the Avs were leaving just as quickly as they arrived with a strong 4-2 victory over the Ducks.

Giguere admitted that there were some nerves involved to start the game. “[I was] a little nervous,” Giguere said. “It’s been so long—it’s been two years, that’s a long time in hockey. At the same time, I was excited. I wanted to have a good performance. I am really pleased with the result. It speaks to all the guys who played in front of me.”

No matter how often coaches or teammates spouted off clichés about this being “just another game,” the return to Anaheim was anything but an average game for Giguere over the course of a long, 82-game season. It’s wasn’t just the return—it was the fan’s reaction to Giguere’s return.

In case there was any doubt, the former Conn Smythe winner and Stanley Cup champion returned to a hero’s welcome on Saturday night. “I was pretty touched,” the Avs netminder said. “I wasn’t necessarily expecting a bad reaction, but I’m glad that people reacted that way. Obviously, I consider this place my second home – my kids were born here so it means a lot to me when I come back here. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Ducks fans, they’ve always been amazing to me. I’ve never really gotten a chance to say thanks to them, obviously, so thank you guys.”

Here’s the video montage that the Ducks organization put together for the Honda Center crowd early in the first period.

Video: Weise records Gordie Howe hat trick after spirited scrap with Hamonic

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Thursday’s game between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers wasn’t even nine minutes old by the time Dale Weise had recorded the Gordie Howe hat trick.

Already with the opening goal and an assist on Radko Gudas‘ goal, giving Philly a 3-0 lead, Weise dropped the gloves with Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic for a spirited fight off a faceoff.

Not many, if any, positives for the Islanders after a disastrous start. Needing a win to close the gap on the Boston Bruins in the wild card race, New York fell behind 5-0 by the time the first period was over.

There is perhaps even more bad news for the Islanders: Hamonic wasn’t on the bench to begin the second period.

The Islanders have since provided an update: Hamonic will not return to this game due to an upper-body injury.

 

 

The Islanders are off to a disastrous start in Philly, Flyers chase Greiss

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Talk about the worst possible start for the New York Islanders.

Trailing the Boston Bruins by four points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders lived through a nightmare to begin Thursday’s game, falling behind the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-0 — before the midway point of the first period.

Dale Weise started the scoring at 4:30 of the first period. By the 9:19 mark, the Flyers opened up a four-goal lead and had already chased Islanders starting goalieThomas Greiss, who allowed three goals on eight shots.

Jaroslav Halak was brought into the game and promptly surrendered a goal to Jordan Weal.

It continued to get worse for the Islanders, who finished the first period trailing by five goals. Shots? They were 19-10 in favor of Philly. Yup. It was bad.

With Josh Ho-Sang in the box serving a double-minor for high sticking, Wayne Simmonds gave Philly a 5-0 lead with his 30th goal of the year.

Shaping up to be a long night for the Islanders.

Karlsson’s ironman streak comes to an end as Sens visit Wild

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For the first time since the lockout-shortened season, the Ottawa Senators will not have star defenseman Erik Karlsson in their lineup.

With the Sens four points back of Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead, Karlsson will not play tonight versus the Minnesota Wild, which ends his ironman streak at 324 consecutive games played.

Karlsson trails Brent Burns by only five points for the lead in that category among NHL defenseman. He also logs close to 27 minutes of ice time per game. Only three blue liners in the entire league — Dustin Byfuglien, Drew Doughty and Ryan Suter — play more on average per game.

The injury reportedly occurred when Karlsson blocked a shot against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Trade deadline acquisition Jyrki Jokipakka is expected to make his debut for Ottawa, per the Citizen.

“If we miss him for a game or two, we’re not sure what’s going to happen,” forward Mark Stone told the Ottawa Citizen. “He’s the best defenceman in the world. If you take him out of your lineup, it’s obviously a huge blow.”

WATCH LIVE: Stars at Bruins

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The Boston Bruins hold the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and they will look to continue their push for the playoffs when they host the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

You can catch the game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET) or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

McAvoy has the talent to improve Bruins right now

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins continue push for playoff spot against Stars

Stars go deeper than rock bottom in Ruff’s ‘worst game’ with team