For all that’s been said about how NHL teams have lost out on sending players to the Olympics, people usually don’t give much thought to teams turning their fortunes around following a change of scenery. One game doesn’t tell the whole story, yet it’s possible that the Los Angeles Kings might carry momentum over from some strong Sochi performances.
After falling behind 4-2 with less than five minutes left in the second period, the Kings really turned things around against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, scoring four unanswered goals for a 6-4 win.
Those six goals equal the Kings’ output from their last seven games heading into the Olympic break.
Anze Kopitar starred for the otherwise star-less Slovenians in Sochi, and he carried his success over tonight, scoring two of those four late Los Angeles goals, including the power-play game-winner in the third period. He also had an assist in the contest.
Here’s video of Kopitar’s game-winner:
The Kings now have two straight wins after beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in OT heading into the Olympic break. They had only won two of their last 11 games heading into Wednesday, so the clear hope is that the strong runs by Kopitar, Drew Doughty & Co. will end up being signs of better things to come.
(Jonathan Quick received the night off, as Martin Jones notched the win.)
The Avalanche find themselves in a minor funk – at least if you carry over results from before the break – as they’ve now lost three of four games. They play six of their next eight contests in Colorado, so there’s a lot of incentive to avoid a lull following the break.
We asked earlier tonight if the bad blood between the Canucks and Leafs would spill over into tonight’s rematch. It had been pretty tame — unlike what occurred last month.
But there were some fireworks and, as expected following the events of Nov. 5, the combatants were Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson and Maple Leafs tough guy Matt Martin.
The two dropped the gloves for a heavyweight scrap during the second period, with both landing some major shots.
Placed on injured reserve earlier this week, Gabriel Landeskog may be close to returning to the Colorado Avalanche lineup.
Out with a lower-body injury for the past eight games, including tonight’s home contest against the Dallas Stars, Landeskog reportedly skated briefly with his teammates on Saturday. Head coach Jared Bednar provided more reason for optimism on the condition of the Colorado captain when he spoke to the media.
“He’s been working in the gym the last couple of days,” Bednar told the Denver Post.
“He’s been progressing. He feels better again today. He skated slightly on his own there for a few minutes, and that seemed to go well. I’ve already talked to (trainer Matt Sokolowski) about that. I would expect he’s a guy who’s going to continue to move forward here and probably be on the road trip with us.”
The Avalanche could certainly use their leader in the lineup.
They sit tied for last in the West with the Arizona Coyotes and Bednar, earlier this week, ripped his team for a lack of intensity following a 5-3 loss to Nashville on Tuesday.
The Avalanche begin a four-game road trip on Tuesday, as they face the Predators.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Michael Cammalleri‘s second goal of the game with 18 seconds remaining on the clock in overtime capped New Jersey’s comeback from three goals down in the third period and gave the Devils a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
Taylor Hall took a pass from Cammalleri and brought the puck up the right side into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 break, passed it back to Cammalleri cutting up the middle and he fired it past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
Cammalleri started the Devils’ comeback from a 4-1 deficit after two as he fired a rebound into an open net 25 seconds into the third.
Andy Greene pulled New Jersey within one 30 seconds later and Adam Henrique tied it with a power-play goal through Rinne’s legs with 7:23 remaining.
Hall had a goal and two assists, Travis Zajac also had two assists and Green added one for the Devils, who were 0-4-2 in their previous six road games. Keith Kincaid stopped 38 shots to improve to 3-1-2.
Kevin Fiala had two goals and P.K. Subban and Roman Josi also scored for the Predators, who fell to 9-1-2 at home. Rinne, a five-time All-Star, gave up five goals on 22 shots.
New Jersey evened its record to 6-6 in games beyond regulation, and Nashville fell to 0-4.
Fiala gave the Predators a 1-0 lead when Matt Irwin‘s point shot appeared to bounce off him into the net with 3:46 left in the first.
Hall tied it 1:17 later when he swatted a rebound out of the air past Rinne.
Nashville went back ahead on Subban’s wrist shot from the slot with 39 seconds left in the opening period. Five of Subban’s six goals have come at home.
Fiala’s second goal increased the Predators lead to 3-1 on a tic-tac-toe play from Craig Smith and Mike Ribeiro at 6:02 of the second period.
Josi extended the Predators’ advantage to 4-1 when he blasted a one-timer from just inside the center of blue line past Kinkaid with 5:29 left in the second.
Tough news for the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
The Oilers have lost sophomore defenseman Darnell Nurse for the ‘long term’ with a lower-body injury, coach Todd McLellan told reporters. In 25 games this season, the 21-year-old Nurse has three goals and five points.
Another update is expected at a later time from general manager Peter Chiarelli, although it was speculated in the Edmonton Sun that the injury could be a broken foot. McLellan said the injury occurred against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
From the Edmonton Sun:
With Nurse going on injured reserve, Mark Fayne, who was on waivers a week ago but was recalled when Eric Gryba was hurt in practice, will play his first game since injuring his knee against Carolina Oct. 18. He only played 2:27 in that game. Fayne will likely play with Oscar Klefbom. Matt Benning will be with Andrej Sekera.
The Oilers also recalled defenceman Dillon Simpson from the Bakersfield Condors as a seventh guy. Brandon Davidson (shoulder) is skating and practising but is a week to 10 days from playing. He could find his way into the top six when deemed ready, too.
The Oilers host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. These two teams are tied with 28 points in the Pacific Division. The winner tonight takes over sole possession of second in the division.