Cam Tucker

PHT Morning Skate: Wild, Blue Jackets score goals two seconds apart (Video)

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

— The Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets tied an NHL record by scoring goals two seconds apart on Tuesday. Nick Foligno scored for Columbus at the 19:44 mark of the third period, and Mikael Granlund followed that up for Minnesota on the ensuing faceoff, scoring into an empty net at 19:46. Below is a brief explanation on the more technical aspect of the record:

— Nice moment here as the Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning, and the fans in Calgary, paid tribute to veteran linesman Mike Cvik, who was officiating his last NHL game Tuesday after a 29-year career. (Calgary Sun)

— Hurricanes goalie Eddie Lack is expected to start Wednesday in Vancouver against his old team, the Canucks. A popular figure with the fans of Vancouver, some ex-teammates didn’t have much to say when asked about Lack or his return to Rogers Arena ice. (The Province)

— “So we’ve got to be disappointed,” said Claude Julien after depleted Bruins lose to Washington Capitals. (CSNNE.com)

— Fans voting John Scott into the All-Star Game is, according to one columnist, “less a proud moment for fan interaction than a plea for help.” (Sportsnet)

‘Two steps forward, one step back’ for Lightning after loss to Flames

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While one Florida-based NHL team remains the hottest team in the league, the second is approaching the midway mark of its schedule searching for answers and sitting on the outside of the playoff picture.

The Florida Panthers are winners of 10 in a row. The Tampa Bay Lightning, the Eastern Conference representative in last year’s Stanley Cup Final, lost to the Calgary Flames by a score of 3-1 on Tuesday and is currently two points back of the Boston Bruins for the final Wild Card spot.

Steven Stamkos scored to cut Calgary’s lead in half early in the third period, but Tampa Bay couldn’t beat Karri Ramo for the tying goal.

Ramo stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced.

As far as the Lightning is concerned, controversy has leaked into the headlines this season, whether it’s the Stamkos contract situation and trade rumors, or Jonathan Drouin’s now public trade request (read about it here and here and here), or underachieving in the standings.

On the verge of Game 41 of the season, which comes against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday, Tampa Bay have three teams ahead of them — Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Boston — in the East standings.

“Lately, we feel like we’re playing well,” said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, as per the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s two steps forward and one step back. We need to go on a run.”

Related:

Stamkos wants Bolts to be ‘pissed off with the situation that we are in’

Capitals defeat Bruins to regain top spot in NHL standings

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BOSTON (AP) Washington’s lone losing streak of the season didn’t last long.

Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist and the Capitals took over the top record in the NHL with a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

Washington scored the first two goals and Braden Holtby stopped a dozen shots in the third period as the Bruins attempted to rally.

“We came out better right away,” said Marcus Johansson, whose goal in the third period was the difference. “When we get the lead and play the way we can then I think we are really really tough to beat and get something going on.”

The Capitals were coming off a 5-4 shootout loss in Columbus on Saturday, two nights after a 4-2 loss at Carolina. It was the first time the Capitals lost back-to-back games this season, although they still got a point in the shootout loss.

“We talk about the loss in the second game,” Kuznetsov said. “No way we are going to lose today.”

Andre Burakovsky also scored for the Capitals, who entered the game trailing Dallas by a point for the NHL lead. The Stars’ 6-2 loss to the Rangers in New York on Tuesday gave Washington the opportunity to climb on top and the Capitals took advantage despite a quiet night from captain Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin had just two shots and remained at 496 career goals. Ovechkin’s next milestone will come soon enough for the Capitals, who at 29-7-3 continued their roll through the regular season with their fourth straight win over Boston.

“It’s a good spot to be because they challenge you every night,” said Holtby, who finished with 25 saves. “I mean we have been in the position where we have played those top teams during the regular season and you always get up a little bit more for it because you want to test yourself and I think that’s good for us.”

Patrice Bergeron had a goal and assist and Loui Eriksson also scored for Boston.

Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for the Bruins, who remained one win shy of their 3,000th regular-season victory in franchise history. Boston has lost two straight and five of six.

“We have to find ways to generate more goals and more chances. I thought it was a much better effort but still not good enough,” Bergeron said. “The standings are way too tight to let games like that slip by.”

Boston outshot Washington 13-6 in the third period and pulled Rask at the end for an extra skater, but Bergeron’s goal in the third was the only shot to get past Holtby in the period.

“It was a weird game,” Rask said. “It looked like there were some moments where we had a lot of emotion but then at times it was kind of just not a whole lot going on out there.”

Kuznetsov assisted when Burakovsky scored with 4:59 left in the first period to put Washington up 1-0. with an assist from Kuznetsov.

Kuznetsov gave Washington a 2-0 lead on a power-play goal with 7:20 left in the second.

Bergeron and Brett Connolly assisted when Eriksson scored Boston’s first goal and cut Washington’s lead to 2-1 with 4:34 left in the second period.

Bergeron’s shot with 8:08 remaining deflected off the stick of Justin Williams and beat Holtby to pull Boston within 3-2.

The Capitals had taken a 3-1 lead 1:11 earlier in the third period when Johansson poked in a rebound off a slap shot by Dmitry Orlov.

Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was injured when he was checked headfirst into the glass by Zach Sill early in the second period. McQuaid was facing the boards when Sill arrived and the hit drove McQuaid’s forehead into the glass. McQuaid stayed down for several minutes and was helped to the locker room.

McQuaid did not return and Boston coach Claude Juliene said didn’t have an update on his condition.

Washington coach Barry Trotz said the hit may have looked bad, but it appeared to be clean.

“That’s just a hockey play. Unfortunately McQuaid got hurt,” Trotz said. “But that’s 100 percent a hockey play and that was absolutely the right call.”

NOTES: Boston fans booed when there was no penalty on Sill after the hit on McQuaid. … Boston LW Brad Marchand served the third of his three-game suspension for a hit last week against Ottawa. … Holtby went 9-0-1 in December.

‘I let my teammates down’: Benn, Seguin benched in loss to Rangers

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Dallas Stars star forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin had a difficult night against the New York Rangers, and were reportedly benched for the remaining 12 minutes of the third period as a result.

Both players finished with minus-three ratings and the Stars were thumped 6-2 by the Rangers. Dallas has now lost four of its last five games, with one point of a possible six on this three-game Eastern road trip.

Both Benn and Seguin, at or near the top of the league in goals and points as dynamic offensive players, were both held off the score sheet in each of the three games on the trip.

Both players owned up to their recent performances, which culminated Tuesday.

“It’s myself not leading the way,” said Benn, as per the Dallas Morning News. “It was pretty much embarrassing, and I let my teammates down.”

He added, via NHL.com: “[We played] played stupid hockey and it’s not good enough.”

Meanwhile, that’s a big win for the Rangers, who have struggled along for a few weeks now, with four wins in their last 10 games.

They’re only three points up on the New Jersey Devils, who hold down the first Wild Card spot in the East. The Pittsburgh Penguins, currently out of the playoff picture, are only five backs of the Rangers.

Jayson Megna, making his season debut for New York, had a goal and an assist in the win.

Update: Wild say Koivu’s visit to hospital was for ‘precautionary reasons’

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Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu will travel home with the team after he was taken to hospital during Tuesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In a statement released on Twitter, the Wild said Koivu was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons and that he would travel back to Minnesota with the rest of the team.

The type of injury Koivu suffered has yet to be disclosed, according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Koivu was involved in a frightening collision into the end boards, as slid along the ice before crashing heavily into the boards back first.

The Wild defeated the Blue Jackets by a final score of 4-2. Zach Parise had a hat trick for the Wild.