James O'Brien

Jason Demers suspended two games for elbowing Nick Bonino

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The NHL suspended Dallas Stars defenseman Jason Demers two games for his elbow on Pittsburgh Penguins forward Nick Bonino.

The league explained that many “counter-hits” are OK, and that sometimes a penalty is sufficient punishment when such measures go over the line. However, the NHL believes that Demers deserves a suspension because he used his elbow recklessly and forcefully.

The contact happened during the Stars’ eventual win against the Penguins on Thursday. Losing two games of pay costs Demers $36,559.14.

He received a major and game misconduct during the game itself.

Bonino appears to be OK.

Ovechkin’s latest game-winner guides Caps by Canucks

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Alex Ovechkin broke a tie with 4:55 left and the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.

Jay Beagle pulled Washington even at 5:42 of the third, and Ovechkin won it with his fifth goal of the season.

Jason Chimera scored in the first for the Capitals, but Radim Vrbata and Henrik Sedin each had a goal and an assist in the second for Vancouver.

Washington’s Braden Holtby made 23 saves. He stopped Daniel Sedin on a 2-on-1 midway through the third and made a save against Bo Horvat with less than 7 minutes left.

Washington is 5-1-0 and has beaten Chicago, Carolina and Calgary on its streak.

Vancouver lost its third straight, including a 2-1 overtime loss to Edmonton last time out, to fall to 3-2-2.

Ryan Miller stopped 32 shots for Vancouver.

Ovechkin scored the winner on a fluttering one-timer off the crossbar following a 2-on-1. It was his fifth goal in his five games – he sat out Washington’s lone loss against San Jose after he overslept and missed a practice.

The Capitals tied it when Vrbata gave the puck away behind his own net, with Beagle eventually tipping John Carlson‘s point shot past Miller.

Vrbata was pointless through six games but skated alongside the superstar Sedin twins for the first time this season. He was rewarded for going to the net at 4:14 of the second when Henrik Sedin’s centering pass went in off Vrbata’s skate.

Vrbata had 31 goals and 32 assists while playing with the Sedins for most of 2014-15, but had struggled to find chemistry on the second line with Horvat early this season.

The Canucks grabbed the lead with 5:59 left in the period on the man advantage when Henrik Sedin took a pass from his brother at the side of the net and squeezed a shot between Holtby and the near post for his second of the season. Vancouver’s power play had been 1 for 22 this season, and the goal was the first for the top unit.

Ovechkin nearly made it 2-0 in the first, but was robbed by Miller on a 2-on-1. The goal judge at Rogers Arena was fooled initially, but it was ruled a save.

Notes: Washington visits the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. … Vancouver hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Boudreau’s woes: Predators dominate Ducks 5-1

Bruce Boudreau
AP
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Colin Wilson and Ryan Ellis each had a goal and two assists to lead the Nashville Predators to a 5-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

Mattias Ekholm, and Mike Ribeiro each had a goal and an assist and Eric Nystrom had the other goal for the Predators, who improved to 6-1.

Pekka Rinne made 27 saves for the Predators.

Jiri Sekac scored for Anaheim. Anton Khudobin made 24 saves. The Ducks have lost five of six so far this season.

Nystrom opened the scoring at 3:40 of the second period.

Austin Watson chipped the puck over a diving Cam Fowler just outside the Anaheim blue line and then chased the puck on the right boards. Watson found Nystrom in front, where he had a tap-in for his second goal of the season.

The assist was the first of Watson’s career.

Ellis made it 2-0 at 12:47 of the second.

Just after a Nashville power play, Ribeiro slid a cross-ice pass to Ellis at the left faceoff dot, where his one-timer beat Khudobin on the short side.

Ellis returned to the Nashville lineup after missing Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury.

Ribeiro added a goal at 17:00 of the second on a shot from the lower part of the right circle after collecting the rebound of his initial attempt, which was blocked by Fowler.

Ekholm made it 4-0 when he scored his first goal of the season at 3:03 of the third on a slap shot from the left faceoff dot.

Sekac spoiled Rinne’s shutout bid with a power-play goal at 12:15 of the third. The Ducks entered Thursday as the only team not to score a power-play goal this season.

Wilson finished the scoring with a power-play goal at 18:18 of the third.

Notes: Nashville has not allowed a first-period goal this season. … Anaheim LW Andrew Cogliano played his 300th game with the Ducks. … Anaheim won all three matchups against the Predators last season.

Even video games would struggle to match Toffoli’s moves

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There have been some bumpy times for the Los Angeles Kings, to say the least.

Before you feel too much pity for the two-time Stanley Cup champions, realize that they have up-and-comers like Tyler Toffoli.

Toffoli scored a beyond-ridiculous goal against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. It’s possible he also tipped in a 2-0 goal later on in that same first period, but either way, his first effort was resounding.

Watch it above.

Update: It looks like the second tally goes to Milan Lucic, his first with Los Angeles.

The big story to watch is the health of Joe Thornton. He appeared to suffer an injury in the first period, yet he returned during the second.

The Kings ended up winning 4-1.

Barkov banged up for Panthers, bumps Jagr to … center?

Jaromir Jagr
AP
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The bad news is quite bad for the Florida Panthers: Aleksander Barkov is hurt and his night is over.

(The team is being opaque as NHL squads are wont to do, but the Miami Herald’s George Richards believes it’s a wrist injury.)

The good news? We get a taste, even if it ends up being brief, of Jaromir Jagr as a center.

It didn’t take long for Jagr to make a difference, either, as he gave Florida a better chance to carve out at least a point against the Chicago Blackhawks, cutting their lead to 3-2.

He inched closer to another scoring milestone in the process:

Jagr’s doing well enough to inspire those turn-in-the-knife stats:

On another note: the Blackhawks aren’t doing so poorly so far without Duncan Keith, at least not yet. Brent Seabrook currently has a goal and two assists.

Update: Chicago managed to hold on for the 3-2 win.