Author: Cam Tucker

San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings

WATCH LIVE: Sharks at Kings

Two California rivals, the San Jose Sharks and L.A. Kings, do battle in the final game before the holiday break. You can catch all the action on TV (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) or online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

The Kings enter this game with a chance to increase their lead over the Sharks in the Pacific Division to 10 points, while San Jose can close that deficit heading into the holidays with a victory.

Last games

L.A.: The Kings are coming off a 5-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday to conclude a six-game road trip through the Eastern Conference that resulted in seven of a possible 12 points.

San Jose: The Sharks are coming off an overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, despite Joe Pavelski scoring his 16th goal of the season.

 

 

Ducks lose to Rangers in OT, go into holiday break last in the West

The Anaheim Ducks will go into the holiday break on a losing note.

They still get a single point, but are last in the Western Conference standings, which remains arguably one of the biggest stories so far this season because the Ducks were favored to be a force in the West — a potential Stanley Cup contender — when this all began in October.

Mats Zuccarello scored the winner for New York on a power play in overtime, as the Rangers defeated the Ducks 3-2. Anaheim needed a late goal from Rickard Rakell just to force the extra period.

The Ducks conclude this road trip with three of a possible eight points.

Now, what could this loss mean for the Ducks when the schedule resumes next week? There has been speculation about the future of coach Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim, but general manager Bob Murray has been more than patient to this point, despite an underwhelming 12-15-6 record for a team that made it to the conference finals in the spring.

While it looks dire for the Ducks right now, they’re still by no means out of a playoff race. Not in the Pacific Division, which has been a weak spot in the league — with the exception of the L.A. Kings — this season.

While last in the division, the Ducks are only five points back of the second-place Vancouver Canucks, who now sport a record of 13-14-9.

 

Video: Canucks’ Prust drops the gloves with Lightning’s Angelidis

The Vancouver Canucks and Tampa Bay Lightning don’t play each other enough in a season to build a true dislike akin to what you might see between natural or long-time rivals, but that didn’t stop Brandon Prust and Mike Angelidis from dropping the gloves early in the first period of Tuesday’s game.

The fight, a lengthy one, occurred less than three minutes into the game. These two are no stranger to fisticuffs and there is a history between them. They fought twice in one game last March.

Marlies sign Emery to PTO, Maple Leafs crease belongs to Bernier … for now

The goaltending situation in Toronto has taken yet another twist.

On Friday, the Marlies, AHL affiliate for the Maple Leafs, signed Ray Emery to a PTO. The veteran puck stopper was released from his tryout with the Ontario Reign earlier this month.

This particular move comes with Jonathan Bernier currently holding the No. 1 netminder spot with the Maple Leafs due to injuries to James Reimer and now Garret Sparks.

Bernier, who recently concluded his conditioning stint in the minors, is still searching for his first win of the season, despite playing in 11 games. He replaced Sparks on Thursday after the rookie goalie suffered a lower-body injury versus the Sharks.

The Maple Leafs host the L.A. Kings on Saturday. With trade rumors swirling around him — reports that the Calgary Flames seem to have an interest — Bernier is slated to get the start.

“That’s the great thing about life, you just work hard and prepare, it’s amazing how breaks go your way,” said Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, as per the Globe and Mail.

“He’s got to do the same now. He’s starting the next game, you’ve got to dig in, he’s got to compete and he’s got to battle and he’s got to find his mojo. And he gets an opportunity now he might not have got.”

 

Rangers recent road woes continue after getting walloped in Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Bryan Little scored two first-period goals, Blake Wheeler had four assists and the Winnipeg Jets beat the New York Rangers 5-2 on Friday night.

Little scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season in a 2:31 span for a 2-0 lead.

His line – with wingers Andrew Ladd and Wheeler – combined for nine points after only recording four points as a line over the past four games.

Winnipeg also got goals from blue liners Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers, as well as Ladd on the empty net.

J.T. Miller and Dan Boyle scored the Rangers.

Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck picked up his fifth win in seven starts with a 26-save effort. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves and fell to 15-8-3 on the year.

Little opened the scoring 5:03 into the first period after corralling Wheeler’s pass.

The duo hooked up again moments later. Little tapped in Wheeler’s hard pass at the side of the net following the right winger’s nifty work to find open space to set up the play.

The goal was initially waved off, but replays showed Little’s shot hitting the camera just inside the net.

Miller cut Winnipeg’s lead in half with his sixth of the season at 14:01. The Rangers forward was prone on the ice but still managed to get a stick on the puck, which had trickled behind Hellebuyck following Kevin Hayes‘ initial shot.

The Jets regained their two-goal cushion off the faceoff late in the period. Mark Scheifele won the draw clean back to Byfuglien, who launched a one-timed rocket for his ninth of the year.

Winnipeg dominated much of the second period, but an unsportsmanlike penalty to Ladd in the second half of the frame allowed the Rangers back in the game.

Ryan McDonagh‘s point shot was saved by Hellebuyck, but the rebound found Boyle’s stick and soon after the back of the net to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 3-2 at 14:12.

Wheeler found Myers in space, and the big defenseman wired a snapshot off the crossbar and in for the 4-2 lead.

NOTES: Chris Thorburn was given a standing ovation by the home crowd in the first period after breaking the franchise record for most games played. Thorburn was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in 2001 and played in his 595th game for the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise, surpassing the old mark set by Ilya Kovalchuk.