Ducks break out on power play, cruise to Game 5 win over Stars


The Anaheim Ducks have been up and down on the power play all season long but on Friday night, they were up.

Way up.

The Ducks scored four times on the man advantage in Game 5 — after going 0-for-11 in the previous three games — cruising to a 6-2 victory over Dallas while taking a 3-2 series lead in the process.

Dallas has been teetering on the fine line between intensity and poor discipline throughout the series, and the latter was its undoing tonight. The Stars made several decisions that left them shorthanded, beginning when their resident agitators — Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt — took first-period penalties that led directly to Anaheim goals.

Roussel was called for interfering with Frederik Andersen four minutes in, and Nick Bonino capitalized shortly thereafter for his first goal of the series. Then, at the nine minute mark, Garbutt took a five-minute spearing major on Corey Perry and was tossed from the game — on the ensuing power play, Rickard Rakell scored his first-ever NHL goal on assists from Francois Beauchemin and Luca Sbisa.

In the second period, there was more of the same — Dallas lacking discipline, and the Ducks taking advantage.

Mathieu Perreault scored his second of the playoffs on the PP, awarded to Anaheim after Alex Goligoski was called for (another) goalie interference penalty late in the opening frame. Dallas cut the lead to 3-2 when Shawn Horcoff scored midway through the period, but the Ducks blew the game wide open early in the third when Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Getzlaf scored in the opening five minutes, before Corey Perry scored — what else? — a power-play goal at the 6:49 mark.

All told, Getzlaf and Perry combined for six points on the night while Dallas’ dynamic duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin went for just one. While that’s too simple a narrative to describe the entire series, a trend has developed where the team that gets the better performance from its star duo tends to have the greater amount of overall success.

Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see how the Stars regroup and prepare for Sunday’s elimination game in Dallas. The team was great in its first two games at American Airlines, but are now coming off their biggest blowout loss of the series and will have questions about Kari Lehtonen, who was hooked tonight for the first time in this series.

The Jimmy Vesey show leads Rangers over Capitals

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: Jimmy Vesey #26 of the New York Rangers waits for the faceoff against the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden on October 6, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin had the big highlight early in the game on Saturday night, but it was New York Rangers rookie Jimmy Vesey that ended up stealing the show.

Vesey scored a pair of goals for the Rangers — the first multi-goal game of his career —  to help lead his team to a 4-2 win in Washington.

Even though he had never played a game in the NHL before this season, Vesey was still one of the most sought after free agents this summer after he completed his college career at Harvard. He eventually signed an entry level deal with the Rangers, and given how much attention his free agency saga generated it seemed hard to believe that he could ever match the hype. Especially given the track record of players signed as free agents coming out of college (it’s not a great one).

It’s obviously still very early in his career, but so far Vesey has not disappointed in New York.

Saturday was by far his best performance of the season, scoring both of his goals just three minutes apart in the second period. The first goal tied the game at two to help erase a two-goal deficit, and then his second goal proved to be the game winner.

It was also a heck of a play.

Rick Nash would add an empty net goal late in the third period to put the game away for the Rangers while Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced.

For Washington, the loss is its first regulation loss of the season and snaps what had been a three-game winning streak.

Video: Marc Staal was no match for Alex Ovechkin on this goal

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 15: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals looks on against New York Islanders during the second period at Verizon Center on October 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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After being held without a point in his first two games of the season, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has now scored a goal in three consecutive games.

That includes his goal on Saturday night in the first period against the New York Rangers.

It’s one that will probably make the personal highlight reel for Ovechkin, but it certainly won’t make the highlight reel for Rangers defenseman Marc Staal.

To say that this head-to-head matchup turned out to be a mismatch would be … well … a bit of an understatement.

As Ovechkin crossed the blue line into the Rangers zone he started to toe-drag around Staal, only to stop midway through and just rip it from outside the circle, using Staal as a screen and beating Henrik Lundqvist for the goal.

It is probably not a good sign when the defenseman has his back to the shooter when the puck is released.

That goal gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead.

Red Wings’ Abdelkader out with lower body injury

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 15: Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 15, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Red Wings 4-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Detroit Red Wings will be without veteran forward Justin Abdelkader on Saturday night when they host the San Jose Sharks.

The official word from the team is that he is sidelined with a lower body injury.

He will be replaced in the lineup by Andreas Athanasiou. Athanasiou has appeared in three games this season and yet to record a point.

He was not only in the lineup on Friday in the Red Wings in their 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators, but also scored his first goal of the season and played a season-high 17:55.

After scoring 19 goals and recording 23 assists in 82 games in 2015-16 the Red Wings signed a seven-year $29.7 million contract extension.

According to general manager Ken Holland (via Helene St. James) he is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday.

Former Canadiens coach Jacques Demers hospitalized

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OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers has been hospitalized.

Demer’s director of parliamentary affairs confirmed Saturday that the 72-year-old Demers, a Canadian senator, had been admitted to a Montreal hospital, but couldn’t immediately provide any details.

Demers had a stroke in April. He was at the Canadiens’ home opener Tuesday night, smiling in a wheelchair while handing a torch to captain Max Pacioretty to close out a pregame ceremony.

Demers led the Canadiens to their last Stanley Cup in 1993. He also coached Quebec, Detroit, St. Louis and Tampa Bay in the NHL, and Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Quebec in the WHA.