Barkov’s OT goal gives Tom Rowe first win as Panthers coach

DETROIT (AP) Tom Rowe’s first two games in charge of an NHL team lasted longer than regulation, making him sweat it out to earn his first taste of success.

Aleksander Barkov scored on a breakaway 2:04 into overtime to lift the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night, giving their interim coach his first victory.

The Panthers outplayed Detroit after a rough start. They lost 2-1 in a shootout at Chicago in Rowe’s debut on Tuesday night.

“In between periods I was saying, `We deserve it,”‘ Rowe recalled.

Rowe said equipment manager Teddy Richards gave him the game puck as a keepsake. Rowe coached Florida’s AHL affiliates in Portland and San Antonio and was an assistant with Carolina before moving into the Panthers’ front office and then behind the bench to replace the fired Gerard Gallant.

“Big win, first for him,” Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie said. “Hopefully, there’s many more.”

The Red Wings extended their point streak to five games after losing four straight and nine of 11, but were fortunate to get anything positive out of a night in which they struggled at both ends of the ice.

“We should feel very lucky that we got one,” Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.

The Red Wings went ahead 1:23 into the game when Henrik Zetterberg scored on their first shot, ending a six-game drought.

“We weathered the storm,” Rowe said. “The beginning of the game they came out hard on us, but we were able to get out of the first period with a tie.”

The Panthers were close to skating into the second period with the lead.

Florida’s Vincent Trocheck had a goal negated late in the opening period when Detroit coach Jeff Blashill challenged that Panthers defenseman Jason Demers was offside. Demers then scored with 1:45 left in the first, pulling the Panthers into a tie on a shot that was redirected off Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser.

The Panthers put much more pressure on Petr Mrazek, who stopped 28 shots in regulation, than Detroit did on Roberto Luongo, who faced just 13 shots over the first two periods and had just 18 saves through three periods.

“When you outplay someone like that, there’s a good chance you’re going to outshoot them,” Blashill said. “They outplayed us certainly in one area because we turned too many pucks over.”

Detroit had a power play with 3:14 left in regulation when MacKenzie was called for goaltender interference, but couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity.

On a night in which Detroit didn’t generate many scoring chances, it was fortunate get a goal early in the game. Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad made a no-look, between-the-legs pass behind him in his team’s end of the ice, and it went off a teammate before Zetterberg got to the loose puck. Zetterberg took it from the right circle and into the slot for a backhander that went past Luongo.

Rowe insisted he didn’t have a problem with Ekblad’s pass.

“A little too risky, but we don’t want to take creative plays out of our players’ hands,” he said.

Demers scored in a 4-on-4 situation on a sequence off a faceoff in which Florida’s other three skaters touched the puck.

NOTES: The Red Wings have been banged up this season, losing players at every position to injuries, and may have taken another hit in the first period when forward Justin Abdelkader left with a lower-body injury. “I don’t think he’s going to be out that long, but we’ll see,” Blashill said. … Rowe and Gallant, who was fired Sunday, are former Red Wings players. … Detroit F Drew Miller along with Florida D Dylan McIlrath and F Shawn Thornton were healthy scratches.

UP NEXT

Panthers: Play at Ottawa on Saturday in fourth of five-game road trip.

Red Wings: Start a three-game road trip Saturday at Pittsburgh.

 

Flames’ Bennett, Tkachuk accused of slew-footing in loss to Leafs

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The Calgary Flames dropped an ugly 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, not exactly rebounding from an embarrassing 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.

Things were ugly in a different way toward the end, especially if you ask Maple Leafs fans, as Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk may or may not be guilty of “slew-footing” late in the contest. In each case, they¬†were whistled for roughing.

Bennett was guilty of the first incident on Connor Carrick:

Meanwhile, around the time of the final whistle, Tkachuk’s “roughing” of Martin Marincin drew quite a bit of ire. You can see for yourself in the video above the post’s headline.

More than a few people believe that Tkachuk will be on the Department of Player Safety’s radar thanks to this moment.

There’s no doubt that he’s been making waves as a pest – really, from his first game in the NHL – but some believe he went over the line this time. He’s second in the NHL with 92 penalty minutes, by the way.

Patrick Marleau’s magical third period secures Sharks win vs. Avalanche

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At 37 years old and nearing 500 career goals, there aren’t a ton of things Patrick Marleau has failed to accomplish.* Still, he did something he’s never done – and few players have managed to do – in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.

The amusing thing is that it was a mundane night for Marleau and the Sharks heading into the third period.

They carried a 2-1 lead against the Avs before Marleau’s magical period really kicked into gear. In less than eight minutes of game time, Marleau managed an out-of-left-field natural hat trick:

He didn’t stop there, either, as he also hit the four-goal mark for the first time in his career … and again, it was in the same period.

That’s his first four-goal game (and period, naturally). It’s been a long, long time since someone enjoyed a period like Marleau did:

Speaking of history, this massive night indeed places Marleau close to another impressive feat. He’s now at 497 career goals, three away from the elusive 500 mark.

To underscore how unexpected this outburst was, consider this: Marleau generated zero goals and one assist in his previous seven games.

As the Sharks enjoy an era fueled by the ascent of Brent Burns and the passing of the torch from the likes of Marleau and Joe Thornton to a group including Logan Couture and Martin Jones, it seems fitting that Marleau – a player receding from the team’s spotlight – totally stole the spotlight on Monday.

The Sharks probably won’t complain, either. He helped them seal their fifth consecutive win, putting San Jose in a strong position to regain the lead in the Pacific Division.

Pretty good stuff from a guy who rapidly faded from relevance after being stripped of the Sharks captaincy.

* – How dare you make Stanley Cup jokes on a happy occasion for Sharks fans?

Capitals assert their dominance once again, this time clobbering Hurricanes

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: Dmitry Orlov #9 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammates after assisting Justin Williams #14 on a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Verizon Center on January 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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The Washington Capitals lead the league in standings points … and maybe in swagger. At least, it feels that way lately.

Monday presented their latest display of power as the Carolina Hurricanes had no answer for the Capitals machine. Washington clobbered Carolina by a score of 6-1, but at least the Hurricanes can take comfort in joining a rather large group of teams who’ve been humbled by Braden Holtby & Co.

This makes the Capitals 11-0-1 during a dominant run; they’ve scored at least a point in all but one game since Dec. 21.

Honestly, you can dice up their hot streak in a variety of ways, as Washington’s been outstanding since at least early December. Margin of victory might be the most jaw-dropping way to illustrate Washington’s dominant run:

Yep, that’s something else.

Dmitry Orlov was one of the standouts of this latest win, scoring two goals. His strong night and flashes of brilliance prompted Alex Ovechkin to … maybe go a little over the top.

Hey, when you’re on fire like the Capitals have been lately, it’s probably tough to make some pretty bold comparisons.

Things might be turning around for Lundqvist (not so much for the Kings)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13:  Marian Gaborik #12 of the Los Angeles Kings shakes hands with Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers after the Kings 3-2 double-overtime victory during Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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As you likely know, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game is coming to Los Angeles this weekend. If the Kings don’t get it together, that might be the biggest hockey event for some time, as they’re currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

Monday presented what felt like a story of one cold streak continuing to fade away while the other only seems to get icier.

The positive side: Henrik Lundqvist might just be working through that slump.

The New York Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday, and it wasn’t a walk in the park for Lundqvist. He made 36 out of 38 stops, giving him a personal three-game winning streak in which he’s allowed just four total goals.

Some of those stops were pretty impressive, too:

(He also shut down a Jeff Carter breakaway, which is obviously no easy task.)

While Lundqvist is getting it together, the Kings might just be a little worried after dropping their fourth straight loss.

They’re at 48 points in 47 games, leaving them three points behind the West’s two wild card teams and two behind the Canucks.

The Kings have experience fighting through challenges like these, but they’ve also fallen short of getting into the West’s top eight, and their schedule is awfully road-heavy:

Tuesday: at Devils
Thursday: at Hurricanes
Tuesday, Jan. 31: at Coyotes
Wednesday, Feb. 1: vs. Avalanche
Saturday, Feb. 4: at Flyers
Sunday, Feb. 5: at Capitals
Tuesday, Feb. 7: at Lightning
Thursday, Feb. 9: at Panthers

Some of those opponents are struggling and the All-Star break might allow for a breather, but that could still be a problematic stretch, especially if the Kings are in a fragile state.

Then again, if they look at Lundqvist’s upward trend, they can note that fortunes can change pretty quickly in 2016-17.