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Therrien has high praise for Pacioretty after Habs bump slump

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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Montreal’s long scoring drought ended with a five-goal outburst Thursday night, and that was just enough for the Canadiens to end a four-game losing streak.

Alex Galchenyuk scored 2:13 into overtime to give the Canadiens a 5-4 victory against the Arizona Coyotes. Max Pacioretty had two goals and two assists, one on the winning play.

“You know what? Pac was a true leader tonight,” Montreal coach Michael Therrien said. “He was a true captain. He took charge. He played a hell of a game and deserves a lot of credit for that win.”

Christian Dvorak scored twice for Arizona, his second tying it at 4 with 4:52 to play in regulation when he hit a wobbling puck into goalie Carey Price, who kicked it into the net.

Andrei Markov had a goal and an assist for Montreal. Max Domi, in his third game back since missing two months with a broken bone in his hand, had a goal and an assist for Arizona.

The Canadiens were shut out in their two previous games, the most recent an embarrassing 4-0 loss at Colorado.

“It was a big one for us,” Galchenyuk said. “It was an up-and-down game but, like we talked here in the locker room, we needed to get that win no matter what. It wasn’t a perfect game but we got the win and that’s the most important thing.”

The Coyotes took a 3-2 lead with a three-goal blitz over a 2:21 span late in the second period, but coach Dave Tippett said his team really had no business making the game as close as it was.

“We didn’t have enough guys play well enough to win the game,” he said. “When you don’t deserve to win the game, you don’t win a game very often.”

Tippett said Domi “was good.”

“That’s the first game since he’s come back that he really looked like he had his skating legs,” Tippett said. “We needed a few more players with skating legs tonight.”

Mike Smith made 35 saves for Arizona. Price had 20 for the Canadiens, who outshot the Coyotes 40-24.

Pacioretty’s 27th goal of a season, 2:52 into the third period, tied it 3-all. Montreal regained the lead at 4-3 when Alexander Radulov scored with 10:04 remaining in regulation.

The first Arizona goal came on a power play, when Dvorak took a pass from Domi and scored on a left wrister into the upper right hand corner of the net with 6:14 to play in the second period.

The next two Arizona goals came 23 seconds apart.

With both teams down a player, Domi got a goal on a reversal of a call on the ice. Arizona’s Peter Holland lost control of the puck at the net on a breakaway and Domi tried to jam the rebound past Price. At first, the ruling was no goal. But after a video review, Domi was awarded the score.

And 23 seconds later, the Coyotes caught Price looking the wrong way for a short-handed goal. Alex Goligoski knocked the puck into the open net to put Arizona ahead 3-2.

“It’s tough going into the third period with a lead in this league,” Domi said, “so when you do you’ve got to take advantage of that and find a way to win the last 20 minutes, and we came up a little short.”

Montreal entered the game having not scored in 137 minutes, 11 seconds, but the drought ended in a hurry when Pacioretty took a pass from Phillip Danault in front and sent the puck past Smith 57 seconds in.

The Canadiens made it 2-0 with 6:50 left in the first on Markov’s slap shot from the point. The puck glanced off Goligoski’s stick, hit the post and bounced into the net. It was Markov’s first goal since Nov. 18.

DeBoer praises ‘courageous’ Thornton for playing with torn ACL, MCL (Updated)

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In a fairly stunning admission on Monday, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters that Joe Thornton played in four of San Jose’s six playoff games versus Edmonton with a significant knee injury.

Thornton, who was hurt against Vancouver late in the regular season, suffered tears to both his left MCL and ACL.

“I’ve never seen a guy play with a torn MCL and ACL,” DeBoer said, per the club’s Twitter account. “It’s a courageous effort as I’ve ever seen.”

Thornton, 37, missed the first two games of the series to rest his knee, before suiting up for the final four. He averaged 18:50 TOI per night and finished with a pair of assists, numbers that are pretty remarkable given the severity of his ailment.

Jumbo wasn’t the only unhealthy Shark during the first-round playoff ouster. Logan Couture‘s face/mouth injury was well-documented and, today, DeBoer also revealed that Tomas Hertl was playing with a broken foot, and Patrick Marleau with a broken thumb.

Looking ahead, Thornton’s knee injury might cloud what’s an already murky future. He’s a pending UFA, and there have been no clear signals from the organization on how they’ll address his potential return. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported in January the Thornton camp was looking for a three-year deal.

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Sharks GM Doug Wilson has time on his side. It’s understood the club probably wouldn’t act on an extension for Thornton until after the June expansion draft, which could give the Sharks enough time to better gauge his health.

Update:

Per NBC Sports California, Wilson confirmed Thornton is undergoing surgery today to repair the ligaments.

 

 

Online bookmaker: Caps are Stanley Cup favorites

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The Washington Capitals got a bit of a scare in the first round, but they’ll go into the second round as the Stanley Cup favorites.

Per online bookmaker Bovada, here is the full list of Stanley Cup odds for the eight remaining teams:

Washington Capitals   7/2
Pittsburgh Penguins    17/4
Anaheim Ducks             11/2
Edmonton Oilers          11/2
St. Louis Blues              13/2
Nashville Predators     7/1
New York Rangers       8/1
Ottawa Senators           10/1

The Chicago Blackhawks entered the postseason as 4/1 Cup favorites at Bovada. Of course, the ‘Hawks were then swept by the Preds, who’ve gone from 25/1 long shots to 7/1 heading into their series with the Blues.

The Caps’ odds actually dropped to 13/2 after they fell behind the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-1. But three straight wins, two in overtime, clinched them a spot against the Penguins in the second round.

The Ottawa Senators are the long shots of the bunch now, despite having home-ice advantage over the Rangers in the second round.

Isles bring back Seidenberg — one year, $1.25 million

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The Islanders saw enough from Dennis Seidenberg this season to bring him back for another.

On Monday, the club announced it had signed the veteran defenseman to a one-year deal. Per Newsday, it’s for $1.25 million — a slight raise from the $1M he earned this season.

Seidenberg, 35, caught on with the Isles in late September, parlaying a good showing with Team Europe at the World Cup into a contract after going the entire summer unsigned.

For New York, it worked out very well.

Seidenberg was a regular lineup fixture, averaging 19:26 TOI over 73 games. He also provided some good production from the back end, scoring five goals and 22 points — his highest offensive output in five years.

Today’s deal also gives the Isles some flexibility when it comes to the upcoming expansion draft. The club now has six blueliners under contract for next season — Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey and Scott Mayfield — and a seventh, pending RFA Calvin de Haan, will (presumably) be locked in as well. The same might be said of fellow RFA Adam Pelech.

Young d-man Ryan Pulock, who only appeared in one game this year, locked in through 2018.

Cassidy ‘absolutely’ wants to return as Bruins’ head coach

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To nobody’s surprise, Bruce Cassidy is on board with shedding his interim tag and becoming Boston’s full-time bench boss.

“Absolutely,” Cassidy said of coming back, following the Bruins’ opening-round playoff loss to Ottawa (per CBS Boston). “One hundred percent.”

One would think the 51-year-old did enough to warrant a longer look. After replacing Claude Julien in early February, Cassidy led a team on the fringes of the playoff picture to an 18-8-1 record down the stretch, and a third-place finish in the Atlantic Division.

Yes, the B’s fell short against the Sens, but were hamstrung by a depleted lineup missing the likes of Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo. Top center David Krejci was also extremely limited, missing three of six games to injury.

When further asked about his future, Cassidy tapped the brakes on predicting what will happen, or what changes the team needed for next season.

“Well, now we’re making a lot of assumptions,” he said. “That will be determined going forward by management. It’s a tough question to answer.”

Cassidy’s time with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence, and his history working with young players, may certainly help his cause. A few of his guys — Austin Czarnik, Frank Vatrano, Tommy Cross, Noel Acciari — forged out roles with the big club this season, while other youngsters certainly made an impact in the playoffs.

Prized d-man prospect Charlie McAvoy was a central figure on defense, and one of Cassidy’s more notable lineup moves — putting Sean Kuraly in for Games 5 and 6 — gave the club a boost of energy.

That said, the B’s do have options on the coaching front.

There are a number of experienced bench bosses available. Lindy Ruff, Darryl Sutter and Jack Capuano — a former teammate of Sweeney’s, it should be mentioned — are just a few of the higher profile free agents out there. It’s unclear if Boston is interested in going this route, however. Cassidy has been with the organization a long time, going on eight seasons, and has certainly paid his dues.