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Ducks win in Randy Carlyle’s return to Toronto

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The Anaheim Ducks got the win Monday, surely a victory that had to mean a little extra to Randy Carlyle — even if he didn’t admit it afterward.

Once again back behind the Ducks bench, Carlyle returned to Toronto to face his old team, which fired him in January of 2015 and has, since the fallout of that decision, gone in the direction of a full-on rebuild, with an eye toward the future.

The Ducks are once again in contention for the Pacific Division, although the beginning to this season under Carlyle wasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.

In fact, they were outshot on Monday, but a late power play goal from Cam Fowler and a strong 33-save performance from John Gibson was enough to give Anaheim the 3-2 win over Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs.

If there was any desire to get something of a last laugh against the organization that gave him his walking papers, Carlyle didn’t let on.

“It’s nice, but the bottom line is the hockey club needed a win more than I needed a win,” said Carlyle.

The Ducks got the win, but did so without defenseman Kevin Bieksa for the majority of the game.

Bieksa was hit in the face by a deflected Roman Polak shot early in the second period. He left the game and didn’t return, but that was just a precautionary measure, said Carlyle.

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)

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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

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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