Cam Tucker

Jakub Voracek boarding major was a ‘terrible call,’ says Flyers GM

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Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has expressed his opinion on the call to penalize Jakub Voracek for five minutes during Saturday’s loss to the Boston Bruins.

Spoiler alert: He doesn’t agree with the call.

Voracek was assessed a boarding major for a hit along the boards on Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller. The Bruins scored on the ensuing power play and Miller didn’t return to the game. There was no further update on his condition after the game.

“It was a terrible call,” said Hextall, per the Courier-Post.

“In my mind it wasn’t a penalty. Jake goes in to forecheck, which is what he’s supposed to do. Their guy puts himself in a bad position, which we try and teach our guys not to, and he takes contact. Saw Jake coming. I don’t understand why that was called. To me, it’s not a two-minute minor, let alone a five-minute penalty. Did it affect the game? Yes. Did it lose us the game? No.”

No, the Flyers manufactured only 24 shots on goal, while the Bruins had 39, as they took the game over in the second period.

Oilers will be without Adam Larsson for Battle of Alberta versus Flames

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The famed Battle of Alberta has recently gone through some lean years, with its two rivals, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, unable to remain competitive in the Western Conference standings.

That seems to be trending in the other direction now, at least if the first half of the season is any indication. The Oilers are third in the Pacific Division with 51 points and it certainly helps having 20-year-old phenom Connor McDavid in your lineup to build around.

The Flames hold a Wild Card spot and are just three points back of the Oilers.

Lots of hockey remaining, obviously, but one of hockey’s more bitter rivalries from past years seems to have been re-energized over these last few months.

The Oilers will enter this game without defenseman Adam Larsson, who won’t play tonight because of a lower-body injury, the club stated this afternoon.

Larsson isn’t known for his point production or his flash.

He has just two goals and eight points in 44 games this season, and he’s basically the complete opposite of Taylor Hall, who the Oilers traded to New Jersey in order to land Larsson and bolster their blue line.

“He can play 25 minutes a night quite comfortably, and he has a lot of experience for a young defenseman,” said head coach Todd McLellan.

“He defends first, he’s positionally sound, solid stick, but the physicality part of it is something that was underestimated by me. I didn’t think he would be as aggressive as he’s been. That’s been a welcome addition to our back end.”

Related: How much has the Hall-Larsson trade helped Edmonton?

After brutal loss to Capitals, Blackhawks face first-place clash with Wild

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From start to finish on Friday, the Washington Capitals were far and away the better team against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The result was a 6-0 loss for Chicago. They fell behind early. Corey Crawford was eventually pulled and the Blackhawks saw their four-game winning streak come to a humiliating end.

“You can’t forget these games,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, per the Chicago Sun-Times.

“You’ve got to let them sink in, you’ve got to learn from them You’ve got to use it, get pissed off, and use it the right way, to address the glaring issues that were present.”

The Blackhawks, masters so far this season of the one-goal victories, which they publicly believe is not a bad sign, won’t have much time to digest this setback. They play the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, with top spot in the Central Division on the line.

The Blackhawks lead the division, but the Wild sit just two points back. Minnesota also has five games in hand right now, and would take over first place with a regulation win.

The struggle continues: Jets hold players meeting after loss to Coyotes

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A disastrous 10-minute span in the first period was enough to cost the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Against the rebuilding Arizona Coyotes, a team with only 12 wins so far this season entering this weekend, the Jets suddenly found themselves chasing the game and they were never able to get it back.

On Friday, goalie Connor Hellebuyck was pulled after three goals on six shots. A decent start for Winnipeg suddenly evaporated and despite their efforts in the third period, the Jets couldn’t complete the comeback in a 4-3 loss.

Two days ago, coach Paul Maurice used some colorful language to describe his team’s performance against Montreal.

There was a players-only meeting following Friday’s loss, per multiple reports.

From the Winnipeg Sun:

The Jets dressing room remained closed for 16 minutes after the game, even though it is supposed to be opened to the media after five minutes by league rule.

Captain Blake Wheeler said it was a players meeting.

“What do you think … you think we were just silent in here with the door shut?” Wheeler tersely responded to a reporter’s question. “Obviously there’s a conversation had between us obviously I’m not going to give you anything that was said in this room.”

Three points out of a playoff spot, the Jets have a huge game Saturday against the L.A. Kings.

The Kings hold the final Wild Card spot in the West. The Jets are three points back. But this wasn’t exactly a great response following Maurice’s tirade. What, exactly, will a players meeting solve?

“We can be better,” Maurice told reporters. “But they never quit. Can we do better things? Sure. Can we get better performances, individually, out of people? Yeah. But they didn’t quit. They kept competing, kept fighting right to the very end and that means a lot right now.”

Rested and refreshed: Maple Leafs defeat Rangers in return from bye week

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NEW YORK (AP) William Nylander and James van Riemsdyk scored in the first period, Frederik Andersen stopped 34 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the New York Rangers 4-2 on Friday night.

Connor Brown and Connor Carrick also scored to help the Maple Leafs win for the seventh time in nine games (7-1-1). Toronto moved four points behind Philadelphia for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Tyler Bozak and Mitch Marner had two assists each.

Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 23 saves. New York had won five of six overall, and four in row against Toronto.

Toronto, which came in sixth in the league on the power play at 22 percent, were 2 for 4 and held the Rangers to 0 for 6.

Both teams were playing for the first time since last Saturday. The Rangers were coming off a 5-4 win at Columbus, and the Maple Leafs lost 5-3 at home to Montreal.

Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Rangers pressed in the third, outshooting the Maple Leafs 14-7.

With Kevin Klein off for slashing, Carrick gave the Maple Leafs a 4-1 lead with 6:40 left, knocking in the rebound of a shot by Bozak for his second of the season.

Miller pulled the Rangers within two again, scoring his 13th off a pass from Pavel Buchnevich with 1:25 remaining.

Kreider gave New York a 2-1 lead at 9:05 of the second. During a scramble in front of Toronto’s goal, Kreider was down on the ice as he tried to swipe the puck in from the right side. The attempt was stopped by Andersen, but the puck came back to Kreider, who turned and was still down on one knee as he backhanded it in for his team-leading 17th.

Brown restored the Maple Leafs’ two-goal lead as he fired a long shot from beyond the left faceoff circle that deflected in off the back end of the stick of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. It was Brown’s 10th goal and gave rookie Auston Mathews his team-leading 36th point.

Nylander got Toronto on the scoreboard 4:49 into the game, taking a pass from Nazem Kadri, skating into the right faceoff circle and firing a shot from the dot through Lundqivst’s five-hole for his ninth.

The Maple Leafs doubled their lead with 2:32 left in the opening period. With about 9 seconds remaining on a hooking penalty on the Rangers’ Brandon Pirri, van Riemsdyk got a pass from Marner in front, moved the puck to his left and sent it through the five-hole of Lundqvist down on his knees for his 15th.