James O'Brien

Ovechkin fires away, but Red Wings blank Caps


DETROIT (AP) Andreas Athanasiou scored 4:06 into the third period and Petr Mrazek had 38 saves, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 1-0 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.

Athanasiou scored his first career goal in his second NHL game from an improbable angle. He shot from the goal line near the left corner, getting the puck between goaltender Braden Holtby and the left post.

Holtby had 26 saves for the Capitals and appeared to get away with scooping a puck out of the net with his glove in the first period. The play was reviewed, but the no-goal call on the ice was upheld.

The Capitals started a power play with 5:08 left in the game, but couldn’t take advantage even with some Alex Ovechkin‘s slap shots.

Ovechkin was on the ice for almost the entire 2-minute man advantage and had chances to score a milestone goal, but was denied by Mrazek. Ovechkin has 483 career goals, tying him with Sergei Fedorov for the most goals in the NHL by a Russian-born player.

Fedorov dropped the ceremonial first puck and embraced Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg and Ovechkin, both of whom are former teammates, as he was honored a day after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Fedorov was given a rousing, standing ovation before the game and was cheered again in the third period when highlights of his career were shown and he acknowledged the fans by waving from the owner’s suite.

The Capitals pulled Holtby with 1:15 left to add an extra skater and called timeout 12 seconds later, hoping to come up with a plan to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Detroit didn’t let Washington get a puck past Mrazek, who had his first shutout of the season and the sixth of his career.

The Red Wings have won four of their last five games despite scoring two or fewer goals in three of those victories.

Washington had won two straight, scoring a total of seven goals in those games, and was shut out for the first time in nearly a month.

NOTES: Fedorov lamented before the game that he didn’t stay in Detroit for his entire career. He left to sign with Anaheim as a free agent and later played for Columbus and Washington. “I’m going to blame the agents,” he said. … Red Wings D Mike Green played against his former team for the first time. The Capitals drafted him in 2004 and he had 113 goals, tying for third among defensemen on the franchise’s all-time list with Calle Johansson.

Lundqvist breaks another Richter record, Rangers stay hot

Henrik Lundqvist
1 Comment

NEW YORK (AP) Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves for his first shutout this season and 56th of his career, leading the New York Rangers to a 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

Jesper Fast, Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh scored for New York, which improved to 11-2-2 with its sixth straight win. The Rangers improved to 17-1-0 against Carolina since Feb. 22, 2011.

Fast and Nash scored 11 seconds apart in the first to give the Rangers the lead even though Carolina controlled play for much of the period.

Fast scored his third of the year following a sequence in which New York was able to maintain extended possession of the puck in the offensive zone, leading to the right winger taking a shot from the right circle.

Nash’s goal was aided by a giveaway, and Cam Ward‘s over-aggressiveness. The Carolina goaltender slid far to his left, leaving Nash with essentially an empty net to put the puck into.

Ward stopped 20 of 23 shots for the Hurricanes, who fell to 6-9-0.

On a night in which Lundqvist passed Mike Richter for most appearances for a goaltender in franchise history and became New York’s record holder for combined regular season and postseason saves, New York’s netminder was strong throughout. Never more so than in the second period, where he made 14 saves to help the Rangers maintain their two-goal lead.

Arguably his toughest save came with 8:03 left in regulation, when he grabbed Victor Rask‘s drive from the circle after Dan Girardi turned the puck over in the defensive zone.

Lundqvist also benefited from good fortune as Jeff Skinner‘s shot hit the crossbar and caromed out.

McDonagh’s goal 13 seconds into the third ended the scoring.

NOTES: New York scratched Dylan McIlrath and Dominic Moore. When asked why he held out Moore following the optional skate, New York coach Alain Vigneault said he was “just trying to piece all our lines,” and later added, “any time you’re faced with decisions like that, it’s not easy. Especially a guy like Dom and what he’s done for our team. But I’m looking at the big picture and I’m trying to see if we can’t come up with a combination.” . Carolina scratched Noah Hanifin, Andrej Nestrasil and Brad Malone. Hanifin, the fifth overall pick in the draft, has been scratched three times in 15 games. Still, Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said Hanifin’s development has “been good. It’s a big step from where he was three years ago. We were talking about it at the ceremony last night: Three years ago, he’s playing high school hockey, so it’s a big step over a 36 month period. He’s handled it well.”

Patrick Marleau would reportedly accept a trade to these three teams …


Remember those murmurs from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman about Patrick Marleau possibly being on the trade market?

It’s all still very much off-the-record, but CSNCalifornia.com’s Kevin Kurz reports that Patrick Marleau would accept a trade to three teams: the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers.

(Everyone wants to play at MSG, right?)

On one hand, San Jose Sharks fans would probably have a conniption if Marleau relocated to one of the other California teams.

On the other, it certainly makes sense, as the life-long Shark probably would prefer not to uproot his family.

Interestingly, it’s possible that Marleau may have asked for a trade.

PHT’s own Jason Brough and Mike Halford discussed why it might make sense for San Jose to move their former captain in the video above.

Quick thought: the Ducks may prove to be the most suitable partner of the three, as they boast bountiful cap space compared to the Kings or Rangers.

Eichel towers as Buffalo blasts listless Lightning


Tuesday’s game between the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning sure felt like two teams going in opposite directions.

The Buffalo Sabres managed an impressive 4-1 win, and it wasn’t by luck or accident. They often took it to the Lightning, ending a seven-game losing streak against the Bolts.

Ryan O'Reilly continues to be a bit of an under-the-radar force for the Sabres while Jack Eichel manages to please fans both casual and hardcore.

Eichel grabbed the opening goal and assisted on the game-winner by Cody Franson. Beyond that, he just looked like the beyond-his-years force many were hoping for.

Andrei Vasilevskiy suffered some rough moments, including a Marcus Foligno tally that more or less deflated the already-quite-flat Lightning.

Speaking of the Bolts, they’ve now lost two in a row to fall to 7-8-2, only scoring one goal during this two-game skid.

Most worrisome is their longer struggles: they’re just 2-6-1 in their last nine games.

This is still the time of year where we constantly mutter “it’s early,” but the Lightning have to be worried that their offense remains in hibernation.

Dan Bylsma admits it’s  significant for the Sabres.

Jake Allen: Still on fire

Jake Allen,

Has Jake Allen “arrived,” so to speak?

That still remains to be seen, but he’s clearly on a hot streak at the moment.

PHT went into greater depth on Sunday, and Allen didn’t allow that praise to jinx him tonight, as he’s now the owner of a two-game shutout streak. His St. Louis Blues blanked the New Jersey Devils 2-0 last night, with debuting Martin Havlat’s goal serving as the game-winner.

After stopping a whopping 45 shots for his last shutout, Allen had a lighter night, but the bottom line is that he’s on a roll. Beyond those two shutouts, Allen’s also on a three-game winning streak, allowing a single goal in that span.

He’s also 6-1-0 in his past seven appearances, notching three shutouts and allowing just five goals overall.

Again … he’s on quite the run.

Shutouts are pretty widespread in general tonight, by the way, with Reto Berra and Henrik Lundqvist also notching goose eggs so far.