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Red Wings get off to ’embarrassing’ start, fall 4-1 at home to Coyotes

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DETROIT (AP) Twenty-four hours made a huge difference for the Arizona Coyotes.

Jamie McGinn scored twice and the Coyotes beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Tuesday, one night after Arizona was routed 7-0 in Pittsburgh.

“That was certainly better than last night,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said Tuesday. “You could sense before the game that they wanted to redeem themselves after that game, and they played a very strong game tonight.”

Lawson Crouse and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo also scored for Arizona. Peter Holland had two assists in his Coyotes debut, and Mike Smith made 37 saves.

“We did a lot of the things that it takes to win hockey games,” Smith said. “The offense took its chances and everyone made plays. We knew what happened last night and no one wanted to see that again. We’re a better team than that.”

Andreas Athanasiou scored for Detroit, and Jimmy Howard stopped 15 shots.

“Our start, the effort we had in the first period, it’s embarrassing. That’s on the leaders. That starts with me,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said.

“We’ve got to be better prepared in here to come out. We all know they played last night. They lost pretty bad so we knew they were going to come out and play fast hockey from the start and win a lot of battles. We had to match that and didn’t do that. Even though I don’t think they played great hockey in the first, but that just shows how bad we were.”

DeAngelo’s power-play goal opened the scoring 2:01 into the game. His shot from the left faceoff dot beat Howard on the short side. It was DeAngelo’s third goal.

Athanasiou tied it with 3:48 left in the first period. The rebound of Gustav Nyquist‘s shot off the rush went in off Athanasiou’s skate for his fifth goal.

Crouse gave Arizona a 2-1 lead with 16 seconds remaining in the first. He headed toward the net while battling Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, and Crouse’s backhand shot trickled through Howard for his second goal.

McGinn made it 3-1 just 2:39 into the second period. He tipped Holland’s pass off Howard and into the net.

McGinn got his second goal of the game with 8:33 left in the third. He put in a one-timer from in front off a pass from Anthony Duclair past Howard. It was McGinn’s sixth goal, and Holland got the second assist.

“Peter was great. He gave me a perfect pass for the first goal and then Duke (Duclair) gave me another one for my second goal,” McGinn said.

Holland was acquired from Toronto on Dec. 9, but his debut with Arizona was delayed by visa issues.

“Peter gives us that steady center that we’ve needed since (Brad) Richardson got hurt,” Tippett said. “He didn’t look like a guy playing his first game for a team. He immediately got McGinn back into the game.”

Zetterberg hit the post off Smith’s shoulder in the first minute of the third period. Detroit’s Tomas Jurco hit the post on a breakaway about 4:30 into the third.

The Red Wings didn’t get their first shot on goal until 5:33 remained in the first. It was a harmless backhand from along the left boards by defenseman Alexey Marchenko.

“It’s unacceptable. There’s no way it can look like that,” Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.

Related: The Coyotes are worth watching… for potential trades

 

Habs president Molson pens glowing farewell letter to Markov

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Another bold move by GM Marc Bergevin, another statement from Montreal Canadiens president/CEO Geoff Molson.

However Molson actually feels about the franchise’s decision to let Andrei Markov leave for the KHL, he provided quite the goodbye letter regarding the 38-year-old defenseman. One can’t help but wonder how Molson feels about Montreal’s overall makeover, whether you believe Mark Streit is really “replacing” Markov or not.

Anyway, that will need to wait. In the meantime, here’s the very kind statement from Molson to Markov:

“On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Andrei for his great contributions during his 16 seasons as a proud member of the Montreal Canadiens. Arguably one of the best defensemen in franchise history, Andrei was a model of dedication to the great game of hockey. A respected figure around the league and among his teammates, Andrei demonstrated leadership both on and off the ice. Andrei’s commitment to our franchise was second to none, proven by his overcoming three serious and potentially career-ending injuries. I would like to wish Andrei the best of luck in the next step of his career, and happiness with his family.”

Speaking of Canadiens all-timers, Larry Robinson had plenty of nice things to say about Markov, too.

Related

Markov, Habs officially part ways.

Markov is headed to the KHL.

Sabres re-sign Eichel’s buddy Rodrigues for two years

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The Buffalo Sabres might have signed Evan Rodrigues back in 2015 in part because he enjoyed so much success as a college linemate with Jack Eichel at Boston University, but the undrafted forward seems like he’s making a case that he’ll be a part of their future in his own right.

The Sabres handed Rodrigues a two-year deal that is two-way in 2017-18 and one-way in 2018-19. Whenever he’s at the NHL level, it’s worth $650K per season.

Rodrigues debuted in 2015-16, scoring a goal and an assist in two games. He managed to play in 30 regular-season contests for the Sabres last season, collecting six points.

He’s shown quite a bit of improvement at the AHL level, in particular. After collecting 30 points in 72 games for the Rochester Americans in 2015-16, he scored 30 again in 2016-17, although he only needed 48 contests to do so. Rodrigues isn’t quite Matt Moulson to Eihel’s John Tavares just yet, but it’s possible that he might at least development into a regular NHL player.

Buffalo’s work isn’t done for the summer just yet, as RFAs Zemgus Girgensons and Nathan Beaulieu still need deals.

Andrei Markov opts for KHL after saying goodbye to Canadiens

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Andrei Markov wanted to play his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens. With that option officially off the table, Markov announced that he’s headed for Russia and the KHL.

“I didn’t see myself with any other NHL team,” Markov said during a conference call wrapping up his lengthy stay with the Habs. “I didn’t see myself wearing another jersey.”

(At least not the jersey of another NHL team.)

The 38-year-old also noted that he hasn’t closed the door to a return to Montreal. That makes sense since it seems like it was largely the Canadiens’ decision to part ways with Markov, essentially replacing him with Mark Streit at a heavily discounted rate.

Beyond the comforts of home, Markov was almost certainly motivated to play in the KHL because of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The veteran blueliner did not mention which KHL team he’ll end up playing for. There were some rumblings that Markov might sign with the Florida Panthers, but that turned out to not be true.

If it’s a one-year deal, a return to the Habs is at least feasible in 2018-19. Considering his age, it sure seems like this is the end of Markov’s lengthy run with the Canadiens, though.

After making NHL debut, Jones re-ups with Isles

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One of the Isles’ feel-good stories from last season wrote a new chapter on Thursday.

Connor Jones, the undrafted 26-year-old that made his NHL debut in April, has signed a one-year, two-way extension, the club announced.

Jones certainly earned his way to the show. He spent four years at Quinnipiac before catching on with the Oilers, spending time with both their AHL and ECHL affiliates before jumping to the Isles organization in 2015.

Though he’s not an offensive producer — just 19 points in 58 games with Bridgeport last season — Jones emerged as a good energy guy that proved an effective penalty killer.

With AHL Bridgeport, he also played alongside his twin brother, Kellen, who was in attendance as Connor made his NHL debut in April.

Connor would go on to play four games for the Isles, averaging just under 12 minutes per night.