Cam Tucker

Montreal Canadiens v Anaheim Ducks
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Ducks continue march up the standings after ninth straight win

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The Anaheim Ducks just keep on winning.

After struggling to Christmas, the Ducks have rapidly ascended through the Pacific Division and Western Conference standings. They’re the hottest team in the National Hockey League right now with nine straight victories. They came back to beat the Montreal Canadiens by a final score of 3-2 in the shootout on Wednesday.

They now move into a tie with their rivals, the L.A. Kings, for first place in the Pacific Division. Both teams are even with 78 points.

Corey Perry, who was left off Team Canada’s preliminary World Cup roster, scored the tying goal — his 27th of the season — and Jakob Silfverberg scored the winner in the shootout.

That race in the Pacific has tightened considerably over the last few weeks. Previously considered the weaker of the divisions in the league, the fight for top spot has become between three teams, while Vancouver, Arizona, Calgary and Edmonton have all fallen well off the pace.

And those top three California teams now have 20 games remaining on each of their respective schedules to try to win the division and avoid what would likely be a physically brutal opening round confrontation.

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A new look: World Cup of Hockey 2016 uniforms revealed

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The initial rosters have been released. (The debate is already underway.)

And now the uniforms for the World Cup of Hockey 2016 have also been revealed, in cooperation with the NHL, NHLPA and adidas.

“We took iconic emblems from each of the participating teams to create jerseys that honor the traditions of each nation and fused those with an emphasis on technical design for elite performance on the ice,” said Keith Leach, senior director NHL, the adidas Group, in a statement.

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Made with adidas’ cutting-edge adizero technology, the new uniform features the blending of three lightweight, resilient fabrics, which have been tested and tuned over the past four years. Engineered for durability, while providing greater airflow, the innovative adizero fabric has been developed to keep athletes cool and comfortable. Additionally, the new adizero cresting reduces weight, adds flexibility and improves overall movement, allowing players to perform at their highest levels.

The uniforms feature some new looks and designs, particularly for Team Europe and Team North America, as those teams enter into the competition for 2016.

Related:

Kessel among notable omissions as U.S. names preliminary World Cup roster

Canada unveils preliminary World Cup roster — no Subban, Perry or Marchand

Lundqvist, Sedins highlight Sweden’s veteran-laden World Cup roster

No Jagr — not yet anyway — for the Czech Republic at the World Cup

Finns announce preliminary roster for World Cup led by Rask, Koivu

Ovechkin, Malkin highlight Russia’s initial World Cup roster

 

 

 

 

Kings sign Budaj to one-year contract extension

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The L.A. Kings have signed goaltender Peter Budaj to a one-year contract extension.

The 33-year-old Budaj has played only one game for the Kings this season after he was signed in October to bring added depth at that position within the organization.

Budaj has spent the bulk of this season in the AHL, where he has posted some impressive numbers for the Ontario Reign. Appearing in 43 AHL games, he’s posted a 30-10-3 record with eight shutouts and a save percentage of .934.

Video: Leafs’ Soshnikov celebrates first NHL goal in style

Go ahead and celebrate, Nikita Soshnikov.

Playing in his second career game with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the 22-year-old winger scored an absolute beautiful goal on Wednesday against the Washington Capitals. It’s also the first of his National Hockey League career.

Skating down his off-wing, Soshnikov beat Philipp Grubauer short side with a wrist shot under the crossbar.

And Soshnikov loved it.

His celebration was almost as good as the goal. Adjust the volume on your computer accordingly.

Video: Kane, Seabrook help Blackhawks overpower Red Wings

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The Chicago Blackhawks followed up Sunday’s win over the NHL-leading Washington Capitals — in what could’ve been a Stanley Cup Final preview — with a decisive victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

Patrick Kane led the way with three points, including the eventual winning goal as he ripped a wrist shot stick side on Petr Mrazek in the second period. He’s now up to 88 points on the season, which ties his career high from 2009-2010. Brent Seabrook also had three points for Chicago.

Recently acquired Andrew Ladd — brought in from Winnipeg as Chicago’s GM Stan Bowman bolstered his roster before the deadline — had a goal. And rookie Artemi Panarin scored twice, giving him 24 goals this season, as the Blackhawks skated to a road 5-2 victory.

Tempers flared momentarily in the second period after Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson leveled Andrew Desjardins with a hit from an awkward angle into the neutral zone boards, sparking a brief skirmish between the two. There was no call on the initial hit.

The win puts the Blackhawks into sole possession of top spot in the Western Conference.

For Detroit, the loss snaps a three-game winning streak.