Cam Tucker

Flyers can’t maintain strong start in shootout loss to Predators

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The Nashville Predators, without P.K. Subban in their lineup because of injury, inched closer to the final Wild Card spot in the West on Monday.

It looked, for the longest time against the Philadelphia Flyers, like the Predators might come away completely empty-handed. But this was an important win for them. A big comeback.

The Predators started slow, but began to gain momentum as the game went on. Filip Forsberg finally converted in the third period, eventually sending the game to overtime, before Ryan Ellis won it in the shootout. Nashville came back for a 2-1 win on the road against a team that only recently had a 10-game winning streak snapped.

For the Flyers, this will be looked at as an opportunity missed. They had the run of the play for most of this game, but couldn’t beat Pekka Rinne for that all-important second goal.

This game had its feisty moments, too.

Flyers forward Jakub Voracek took an elbow to the back of the head along the boards early in the third period, causing him to skate slowly to the bench. He did remain in the game, missing only a couple of minutes.

Video: Bieksa leaves game after taking a puck to the face (Updated)

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Bad news for the Anaheim Ducks, as defenseman Kevin Bieksa had to leave the game — at least for the moment — after taking a puck to the face.

The incident happened in the second period, as a Roman Polak shot deflected up and hit Bieksa, who immediately fell to the ice. It appeared he took the puck near the mouth.

The good news was that he skated off under his own power, but he missed all but one shift of the second period.

Updated: Per Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, Bieksa will not return to the game.

Poor ice conditions have delayed Red Wings-Hurricanes game (Updated: It’s postponed)

RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 18:  General view of the game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Montreal Canadiens at PNC Arena on November 18, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Hurricanes won 3-2.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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The visiting Detroit Red Wings and host Carolina Hurricanes were supposed to drop the puck for their game at 7 p.m. ET tonight.

That hasn’t happened. Instead, this game has been delayed due to ice conditions at PNC Arena in Raleigh.

Updated: Per reports, tonight’s game has now been postponed and will be re-scheduled.

The latest from the NHL:

“It’s disappointing, but in 18 years of the building, it’s the first time this part’s ever gone out. It’s not something that’s happened in the past,” said Hurricanes president Don Waddell in a television interview.

“Our crew noticed it … 20 minutes before we were supposed to go on the ice, right before warm-up, and jumped on the problem right away. They’re doing the best they can. It’s just a matter of now, if the Freon will bring the ice temperatures back down.”

Canucks prospect Juolevi to captain Finland’s world junior team

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Olli Juolevi celebrates with the Vancouver Canucks after being selected fifth overall during round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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In just a few days, Finland will begin its defense of world junior hockey gold — and it will have a returning champion, Olli Juolevi, as its captain.

The official announcement came Monday.

The Vancouver Canucks selected Juolevi with the fifth overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, bolstering the depth among their defensive prospects. Juolevi, 18, saw some playing time during the pre-season in Vancouver, but he was sent back to his junior team in London.

At last year’s tournament, Juolevi had nine assists in seven games. His performance there left an impression on Canucks management ahead of the draft.

“We thought he had an exceptional tournament for a 17-year-old kid,” Jim Benning told Sportsnet earlier this year. “To step in and help lead his team to a championship… In all my years of scouting, I don’t think I remember a 17-year-old who did what he did this year.

“We just felt of all the defensemen, we liked his all-around game the best.”

On Monday, USA Hockey named Minnesota Wild first-round pick Luke Kunin as its captain for the upcoming tournament.

Kunin, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, was taken 15th overall in this year’s draft. This season, he has 11 goals and 17 points in 16 games.

Colin White, an Ottawa Senators first-round pick in 2015, and Charlie McAvoy, taken in the first round of this year’s draft by Boston, were named alternate captains.

“I couldn’t be happier to have these three quality guys leading this locker room,” said U.S. junior head coach Bob Motzko in a statement.

“We’ve been saying it every day that there’s a pulse with this group. We know Luke, Charlie and Colin are at the center of that through their style of play and their tremendous amount of heart. We’re fortunate to have them leading this team.”

Wild prospect Joel Eriksson-Ek was named captain of Sweden’s team.

Eriksson-Ek already has experience in the NHL regular season, playing nine games in Minnesota, scoring twice with five points, before he was sent back to Sweden.

Related: Coyotes prospect Strome to captain Canada at World Juniors

Milestone night: King Henrik backstops Rangers to shootout win over Devils

Henrik Lundqvist
AP
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NEW YORK (AP) Henrik Lundqvist came up big when the New York Rangers needed him and got a key milestone win.

Kevin Hayes scored the deciding goal in the shootout and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 29 shots through overtime and three more in the tiebreaker to help the Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Sunday night.

Lundqvist stopped Damon Severson in the fourth round of the shootout to secure the Rangers’ sixth win in seven games and second against the Devils at home in eight days. It also gave Lundqvist his 389th career win, tying him with Dominik Hasek for the most by a European-born goaltender.

“He was an inspiration to me growing up,” Lundqvist said about the feat. “He was the first guy I saw play paddle down. I grew up watching him, so this special for sure.”

Lundqvist has been stellar since serving as the backup to Antti Raanta, who started four straight games from Dec. 8-13. In three games since, Lundqvist is 3-0-0 with a 0.98 goals against average and a .967 save percentage. He also made several big stops on Sunday, which included two saves on New Jersey breakaways, to fend off the Devils.

“Hank is such a competitor. He works so hard,” Rangers center Derek Stepan said. “He’s an absolute workhorse – a great teammate. And I expected nothing less from him.”

New York coach Alain Vigneault isn’t surprised by Lundqvist’s recent play.

“This is the start of my fourth year. As soon as I got here, I knew his preparation and his work ethic in practice,” Vigneault said. “That’s why he was one of the best goaltenders in the league at that time, and he continues to be. He just works at his game, he’s really focused, and he’s a great person.”

Mats Zuccarello also scored in the shootout, and Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan had goals in regulation.

PA Parenteau and Miles Wood scored and Cory Schneider stopped 24 shots as the Devils lost their sixth straight. Michael Cammalleri had a shootout goal.

“Things are going to happen in hockey games,” Cammalleri said. “We aren’t hiding from the fact that we’re on a losing streak and we have to get out of it.”

Parenteau broke a scoreless tie early in the second with his seventh goal of the season and the Devils on the power play. Parenteau pushed a loose puck underneath Lundqvist and off the post, but the Rangers’ goalie inadvertently hit the puck into the net as he tried to cover it up.

The Rangers upped the pressure in the third and after several chances that were stopped by Schneider. New York finally found the back of the net as Mats Zuccarello quickly swung the puck from behind the net to Kreider, who tapped the puck in to even the score at 8:10.

The Devils quickly responded to recapture the lead with 9:28 left in the third. Adam Henrique forced Dan Girardi to turn over the puck behind the Rangers’ net, fought off two Rangers players and sent the puck to Wood, who got a quick shot off in front of the net to give the Devils the 2-1 lead.

However the Rangers kept pressing and tied it with 1:13 left in regulation as Stepan redirected the puck past Schneider.

“It’s not the result we wanted so that’s a little frustrating and disappointing,” Schneider said. “I thought our defending was good here against a really offensive team, but again at the end of the day it’s the two points that matter.”

Sunday was the final time the Devils will play at Madison Square Garden this season and the loss extended their struggles away from Prudential Center. New Jersey is now 4-11-5 on the road and looking snap their six game skid.