Henrik Lundqvist

Get your game notes: Ducks at Rangers

The red-hot Ducks visit the resurgent Rangers tonight on NBCSN, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— The Rangers and Ducks have the two longest road trips of the 2013-14 NHL season, among all teams. The Rangers began with a franchise record-tying, nine-game road trip (3-6-0 record, Oct. 3-26), while the Ducks will complete a season-high, eight-game road trip (4-2-1 record, Oct. 22-Nov. 4) tonight.

— The Ducks have not won at Madison Square Garden since Feb. 7, 2008 (0-3-0 since), the fourth-longest active drought by any NHL team at MSG, in terms of time duration. (Elias Sports Bureau)
1. Columbus Blue Jackets – Feb. 24, 2007 (six years, 253 days)
2. Phoenix Coyotes – Dec. 16, 2007 (five years, 323 days)
3. Los Angeles Kings – Feb. 5, 2008 (five years, 272 days)
4. Anaheim Ducks – Feb. 7, 2008 (five years, 270 days)

— The Ducks rank fifth in the NHL in goals/game (3.27). However, of their 49 goals, a league-high 42 have come during five-on-five situations. Their special teams have been far from special: they have converted on only four of 58 power play opportunities (6.9%), which ranks last in the NHL, and have killed off only 36 of 49 opportunities on the man-disadvantage (73.5%), which ranks 2nd-worst.

— The Rangers fired a combined 84 shots on goal in their last two games (46 in a 2-0 shutout of Buffalo on Oct. 31, and 38 more in a 5-1 victory over Carolina on Nov. 2). The last time the Rangers had more shots on goal in a two-game stretch was Dec. 23-27, 2010, when they had 89 combined.

— Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, the Ducks’ Corey Perry is one of only two players with at least 200 goals (228) and 500 penalty minutes (750) during that span. The other is the Hurricanes’ Eric Staal (260 goals, 509 penalty minutes), whose younger brother Marc will have the task of stopping Perry tonight.

— Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello assisted on all three of Derek Stepan’s goals in the Rangers’ 5-1 win vs. Carolina on Saturday. The last time the same three players accounted for all the points on a hat trick was Feb. 27, 2013, when the Ducks’ Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf assisted on all three goals scored by Kyle Palmieri, in a 5-1 win vs. Nashville. (Elias Sports Bureau)

— Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (47 shutouts in 521 games) needs two blank sheets to tie Ed Giacomin (49 shutouts in 538 games) for the franchise career mark. Since his rookie season (2005-06), Lundqvist has the most shutouts (47) in the NHL (Martin Brodeur – 46, Roberto Luongo – 41).

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau ranks second among all active NHL coaches, in terms of points percentage, i.e. total points won divided by maximum two points per game. (Minimum 100 games.)

1. Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh, 449 pts./334 games (668 maximum pts.) = .672 points%
2. Boudreau, Washington/Anaheim, 593 pts./450 games (900 max pts.) = .659 points%
3. Todd McLellan, San Jose, 511 pts./390 games (780 max pts.) = .655 points%
4. Mike Babcock, Anaheim/Detroit, 1,019 pts./801 games (1,602 max pts.) = .636 points%

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, Montreal/Vancouver/N.Y. Rangers, ranks tenth on the list among actives, with 952 pts./819 games (1,638 max pts.) = .581 points%

Former NHLer LaCouture pleads not guilty to assaulting woman

PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 19: Dan LaCouture #28 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the game against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 19, 2006 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bruins won 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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BARNSTABLE, Mass. (AP) A former NHL player has pleaded not guilty to charges he assaulted a woman in Massachusetts over the weekend.

The Cape Cod Times reports Daniel LaCouture appeared Tuesday in Barnstable District Court on charges of assault and battery and vandalizing property.

Police responded just after 6 p.m. Saturday to a house in Centerville, where they say the 39-year-old LaCouture hid underneath a vehicle in the home’s driveway before confronting the victim and striking her in the collarbone.

LaCouture is due back in court July 15.

A phone number listed for LaCouture in online public records was disconnected.

LaCouture made his NHL debut with Edmonton in 1999. The forward had 20 goals and 25 assists in 337 career games with six NHL teams.

He is one of dozens of plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the NHL over concussion-related injuries.

A better start is key for Sharks in Game 2

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It’s easy to suggest that perhaps the San Jose Sharks got caught up with some nerves during the first period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After all, this is a franchise that, after well-documented playoff shortfalls, is playing in the championship series for the first time. The Pittsburgh Penguins, on the other hand, well they’ve been here before — seven years ago.

Sharks’ defenseman Brent Burns conceded that his team may have been overwhelmed at first, outshot 15-4 in the opening 20 minutes, before eventually getting back on track in the middle of the game.

The result was a two-goal deficit, as the Penguins jumped into the lead. San Jose fought back, but ultimately lost on a late Nick Bonino goal.

The Sharks, of course, have stressed getting out to a better start, and that what happened Monday can be a learning experience, as they look to even the series in Game 2 on Wednesday.

“We were excited to play. We felt we were ready. Then at the start, we didn’t execute the way we needed to. We try to take that lesson and learn from it,” Joe Pavelski told reporters on Tuesday.

“Hopefully we can have a better start. Obviously it’s exciting to be here. I don’t know if it’s your first time or your fifth time, I’m sure it’s exciting every time. So we’ll learn from that game and hopefully have a better start.”

 

Bears face Monsters for the AHL’s Calder Cup

MILWAUKEE - JUNE 15:  Chris Bourque #17 of the Hershey Bears kisses the Calder Cup after the Hershey Bears defeated the Milwaukee Admirals in game six of the AHL Calder Cup Finals on June 15, 2006 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bears defeated the Admirals 5-1 in game six to win the AHL Calder Cup. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Hershey Bears and Lake Erie Monsters will play for the 2016 Calder Cup, as the American Hockey League’s championship series begins Wednesday.

The Bears, who start with home ice advantage, enter the series having won the Calder Cup 11 times — the most of any franchise in the league’s history. They also enter the final having dispatched the Toronto Marlies — Canada’s remaining hope for an AHL championship, right…? — in the third round.

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Meanwhile, the Monsters have been on a torrid run in the playoffs, losing only twice in 13 games so far. They’ve earned the sweep in two of three series, making quick work of the Rockford IceHogs and Ontario Reign.

Bears forward Carter Camper, a journeyman in the minors with three games of NHL experience with Boston in 2011-12, is second in AHL playoff scoring with 15 points in 17 games.

For the Monsters, Blue Jackets prospect Lukas Sedlak has been on a roll, offensively, and now has 13 points in 13 post-season games this year.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Sedlak was regarded as a smart two-way forward, but his offensive production was minimal, almost non-existent. Players like that tend to drift away after a few seasons, pushed aside by the next wave of young talent and high draft picks.

“I’d say right around Christmas I started wondering what was going to happen,” Sedlak said. “I was asking my agent what Columbus thought of me, and I was prepared for everything — maybe even going back to Europe.

“I knew my contract was up after the season. I thought I was playing pretty well … but you just don’t know.”

 

Stars sign Dowling, Ranford to one-year deals

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The Dallas Stars made a pair of depth moves on Tuesday, announcing the signings of forwards Justin Dowling and Brendan Ranford to one-year contracts.

Both players have put up good numbers in the American Hockey League with the Texas Stars.

This past season, the 24-year-old Ranford scored 19 goals and 59 points in 76 games — all career highs for him in the minors. He played once for Dallas last season, but didn’t register a point.

Initially undrafted and a Stars’ free agent signing from two years ago, the 25-year-old Dowling was also productive with 11 goals and 46 points in 52 games.