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.

 

‘Many teams’ interested in Leafs prospect Toninato, who could go UFA

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Here’s a name to keep an eye on as this summer progresses: Dominic Toninato.

Toninato, 23, was Toronto’s fifth-round pick way back in 2012. From there, he went the collegiate route and put together a strong four years at Minnesota-Duluth. His NCAA career culminated with a senior season in which he served as team captain, set a personal high in points and led the Bulldogs to the Frozen Four final.

Though his rights are currently owned by the Leafs, Toninato would become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 16 if he and the club don’t reach an agreement. You’d think, based on his body of work, Toninato would be a major priority for GM Lou Lamoriello, but it’s not that simple. Thanks to years of stockpiling draft picks, Toronto has a ton of prospects — but can only have 50 players under contract at the NHL level.

Adding to the complexity? There are other teams lined up to make Toninato an offer.

“Dom’s a good player. Will teams be interested? Yes. There will be many teams interested in him,” agent Neil Sheehy told the Star. “The process right now is working with the Leafs. They hold his rights till Aug. 16.

“They have a lot of things that they’re trying to figure out.”

Reading between the lines, it doesn’t sound especially promising in Toronto. The club offered Toninato a deal last summer, which he turned down to return to school. They could offer him an AHL contract — there’s no limit on those — but Sheehy said his client isn’t interested in that.

Sheehy said he hopes to have more clarity in late June, following the expansion and entry drafts.

 

 

Expansion draft will force Ducks to make some big decisions

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Bob Murray managed to keep the Anaheim Ducks together for a shot at the Stanley Cup.

But after losing to Nashville in the Western Conference Final, Anaheim’s general manager will now have to make some big decisions — especially with the expansion draft looming.

If the Ducks decide to protect seven forwards and three defensemen, the blue line will definitely be worth watching. Hampus Lindholm will be protected for sure, and Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are each exempt. But that only leaves two spots for Sami Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa, Cam Fowler, and Josh Manson.

Bieksa, 35, has a no-movement clause, so unless the Ducks find a way to get around that, they’ll need to protect him. (Chances are, they’ll seek a way around it, either via trade or buyout or just convincing him to waive.)

Fowler, meanwhile, only has one year left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. And after the season he just had, with 39 points in 80 games, the 25-year-old won’t be cheap to re-sign. For that reason, it’s possible Murray may choose to shop Fowler instead. Or perhaps it’s Vatanen that goes on the block.

Yes, there is the option to protect four defensemen and four forwards. But Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler all have NMCs, and the Ducks won’t want to expose Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silfverberg.

In goal, the Ducks have John Gibson under club control for years to come, but they’ll need to choose a backup. Jonathan Bernier is an unrestricted free agent, and even though he played well during the regular season, his performance against the Predators wasn’t great. Murray may want to at least consider his options there.

Related: Fowler surprised he wasn’t traded

Carlyle says Ducks were dealt ‘tough hand’ by schedule-makers

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Call it sour grapes if you wish, but Randy Carlyle thinks the Anaheim Ducks got screwed by the NHL’s schedule-maker.

The head coach launched his complaint last night after his Ducks fell to the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.

“I don’t think we played poorly in the series,” said Carlyle. “I think that the toughest part I have about the whole thing is that this was our seventh game in 13 days.

“Now, there’s various reasons for that, but I think there’s got to be some consideration in the scheduling in the future between series. We finished on a Wednesday and had to open again on Friday, whereas other teams had to open on Saturday. An extra day would have given us a chance to recover. And we know how tough these games are. And that was a tough hand that was dealt to us.”

The “other” team to which Carlyle was referring is Pittsburgh. The Penguins beat Washington in Game 7 of the second round on May 10, then opened against Ottawa on May 13.

The Ducks, on the other hand, knocked out Edmonton in Game 7, also on May 10, then had to start against Nashville on May 12.

Fatigue may, indeed, have been a factor early in the series against Nashville. In Game 1, the Ducks were badly outshot, 46-29, and lost, 3-2, in overtime.

Carlyle said afterwards that the extra rest had made a difference for the Preds, who’d eliminated the Blues in six and gone four days without a game.

Ducks forward Sorensen signs in Swedish League

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Nick Sorensen, the forward taken 45th overall by Anaheim in 2013, has opted to return to Europe and sign a two-year pact with SHL club Linkoping, the team announced on Tuesday.

Sorensen, 22, returned to North America this season after spending ’14-15 and ’15-16 in Sweden (the latter with Linkoping, so this is a homecoming of sorts).

A former Quebec League standout, Sorensen impressed during training camp and made the Ducks’ opening-night roster, appearing in five games before being dispatched to AHL San Diego.

“Every game, every practice, every day for me, it’s a look to try to stay here,” Sorensen said back in October, per the Daily News. “Even if I play zero, one, five or 20 games, I’m not going to get comfortable up here. It’s the best league in the world.

“I’m just going to try to prove to them every day I want to be here.”

With the Gulls, Sorensen had 10 goals and 22 points in 48 games. He also chipped in with another four in eight playoff contests, but did suffer an injury during the postseason.

Sorensen was a pending RFA, having just wrapped the last year of his entry-level deal.