Jason Brough


Senators ‘can’t ask for better’ with shutout win at MSG


NEW YORK (AP) Despite playing less than 24 hours before, Craig Anderson wanted to be in net when the Ottawa Senators took on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The goalie got his wish and made 33 saves in a 2-0 shutout victory Sunday night. Anderson is 7-1-1 in nine regular-season starts at Madison Square Garden.

“It’s New York man,” Anderson said. “It’s one of those buildings there’s a lot of history. Great team over there and it’s one of those things you just get up for. The historic buildings who knows how long they’ll be around for. You’re fortunate enough to be a part of it and that’s kind of the way I address that mentally.”

Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mark Stone scored in the second period.

Ottawa improved to 6-3 in the road. It also improved to 3-0 in the second night of back-to-back sets.

“To have to play here back to back on the road and get a team that’s been firing from all cylinders,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said. “One of the best offensive teams in the league and to get a shutout you can’t ask for better.”

Pageau scored 1:54 into the second. Zach Smith worked the puck behind the Rangers’ net to Tom Pyatt, who drew in two defenders and fed Pageau in front of the net for his third goal of the season.

“It was a really nice play by (Smith) and Pyatt nice pass,” Pageau said. “I was just trying to put it on net and that was in our game plan. Go in the blue paint and try to put pucks on net. So that’s what I tried to do.”

The Senators scored again on a power play. Stone fired a wrist shot from inside the faceoff circle for his sixth goal of the season.

Rangers goalie Antti Raanta made 18 saves in his first loss of the season. He was making his first start since Nov. 21 against Pittsburgh.

The Rangers were 8-0-1 at home through their first nine games before going 0-3-1 in their last four games at Madison Square Garden.

New York’s power play struggled against the Senators, going 0 for 4. The Senators were 1 for 3.

“We had a couple power plays with some open nets and when a team is playing that good defensively,” Derek Stepan said. “They didn’t make a single mistake – you have to execute perfectly all the way to your dumps. We just were a little off and they defended extremely well and that’s the story tonight.”

Ottawa forward Derick Brassard played against the Rangers for the first time since he was traded over the summer. New York sent Brassard to Ottawa on July 18 for Mika Zibanejad and a draft pick.

“I’m really thankful for the fans here and for appreciating my work here the last four years,” Brassard said.

Bruins recall Khudobin, need him to be much better


The Boston Bruins have recalled goalie Anton Khudobin from his AHL conditioning assignment. He’ll be available to play tonight at TD Garden, where the Bruins will host the Calgary Flames.

It remains to be seen who will get the start in Boston’s net. Tuukka Rask played last night in Ottawa, stopping 23 of 26 shots in a 3-1 loss. If Rask goes again tonight, it will be his third start in four days. He also played Tuesday against St. Louis.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, Khudobin’s AHL stint was not all that encouraging, as he allowed 11 goals in three games for Providence, with an .874 save percentage. Prior to the assignment, he’d started twice for the NHL club, losing both while allowing eight goals and compiling an .849 save percentage.

Read more: Khudobin “really happy” to be back in Boston

The Bruins would obviously like Khudobin to be much better. They signed the 30-year-old to a two-year, $2.4 million contract in free agency, with the expectation he would prove superior to Jonas Gustavsson in the backup role.

The Bruins have already used four different starting goalies this season. One of the four, Zane McIntyre, has been assigned to the ECHL. The other, Malcolm Subban, remains in the AHL.

Turnovers doom the Flyers in Black Friday loss to Rangers


A pair of turnovers cost the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon in their Thanksgiving Showdown against the New York Rangers, who escaped Wells Fargo Center with a 3-2 win.

The Rangers opened the scoring at 13:16 of the first period, after Philadelphia’s Scott Laughton tried to make a pass behind his net, only to have it picked off by J.T. MillerMiller then fed it in front to Derek Stepan, who ripped a one-timer past Steve Mason.

Matt Puempel, making his Rangers debut, scored less than two minutes later, converting a brilliant cross-ice feed from Jimmy Vesey.

Then, midway through the second period, it was 3-0, after an errant pass by Mark Streit led to a Kevin Hayes goal.

The first period was a boisterous affair, with a couple of fights (see: here and here) between the division rivals. Henrik Lundqvist was busy in the Rangers’ net, making a number of key saves before Stepan’s goal.

The Flyers made things interesting with third-period goals from Chris VandeVelde and Shayne Gostisbehere. But they couldn’t beat Lundqvist for a third time; he would finish with 40 saves.

All in all, it was a great bounce-back result for the Rangers (15-6-1), who got blasted, 6-1, by Pittsburgh on Wednesday at MSG.

As for the Flyers (9-10-3), they’ve now lost two straight, with just three wins in their last 10.

No Toews today for Blackhawks


The Chicago Blackhawks will be without their captain, Jonathan Toews, this afternoon in Anaheim. Toews will sit out against the Ducks due to the upper-body injury he suffered Wednesday in San Jose.

How will the ‘Hawks manage without their top center?

Well, Toews’ spot on the first line is expected to be filled by Vince Hinostroza, who will skate between Ryan Hartman and Marian Hossa.

But the real top line today will be Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, and Patrick Kane. Those three may really have to carry the offense now.

Read more: Blackhawks banking on improvement from rookies

Toews has four goals and eight assists in 21 games this season. But, of course, he’s so much more than his point totals.

“Johnny’s importance to our team is immense,” head coach Joel Quenneville said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “In all situations, the minutes he absorbs and the assignments he gets against him — they’re all important minutes when he’s out on the ice. There’s a lot of ice time and a lot of quality ice time [to fill] if there’s not Johnny Toews in your lineup.”

The Blackhawks also play tomorrow evening against the Kings. No word if Toews will be available by then.

Trades galore? McPhee expecting ‘a massive player redistribution before the expansion draft’


Now that they have a name, the Vegas Golden Knights have to put a team on the ice.

The newly named franchise will get its first 30 players through the expansion draft in June, and Vegas general manager George McPhee and colleagues around the NHL are already deep in preparations and mock-ups.

Even though McPhee ran the Washington Capitals for 17 seasons, GMs around the NHL don’t have any clue how he’ll piece together the Golden Knights.

“I don’t have any inside knowledge what kind of team they’re planning to have, if it’s going to be younger or older – no idea,” longtime rival GM Ray Shero of the New Jersey Devils said by phone Wednesday. “He’s been a GM for a long time in Washington — I don’t think that comes into play at all in terms of where they’re going to be in Vegas and what kind of player they’re going to be looking for. … Maybe his opinion of some players has changed and the game where it is now, who knows.”

McPhee knows. And he knows that even as his front office does monthly mock drafts to prepare, things will change at the March 1 deadline and again before teams must submit their protected lists on June 17.

Read more: Golden Knights looking for an experienced head coach

Vegas won’t be able to pick from top stars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane, and first- and second-year pros like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are exempt. The NHL also sent out a preliminary list of 66 players who must be protected because of no-movement clauses in their contracts.

Knowing each team’s top six or seven players are off the board, McPhee said the Golden Knights’ scouting staff has certain “bubble players” to focus on. That could be a moving target as GMs make trades and signings to be expansion-draft compliant and not give up a top player.

“There’s going to be a massive player redistribution before the expansion draft in the weeks leading up to it,” McPhee said. “We understand teams are going to try to not give us anything, and that’s the way expansion goes. There are a few teams that have expansion stress and we might be able to get a good player from them, and there’ll be some teams that don’t have anything and rather than take a bad contract we’ll take a throwaway pick.”

That’s one hint from McPhee’s past: He won’t take on burdensome contracts. So don’t expect Vegas to rid the Los Angeles Kings of the final five years and $5.875 million salary-cap hit of former captain Dustin Brown‘s deal, the Devils the final four years and $5.75 million cap hit of center Travis Zajac‘s and the Philadelphia Flyers the final three years and $5 million cap hit of defenseman Andrew MacDonald‘s.

Each team can protect seven forwards and three defensemen, or eight skaters of any position, plus one goalie, and all 30 will lose exactly one player. Even though the best will be protected, it figures to reason that the deepest teams are in the most danger of losing a quality player to Vegas.

Take the Chicago Blackhawks, who have eight players with no-movement clauses they must protect and could lose someone like center Marcus Kruger or young defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. Or the Tampa Bay Lightning, who will protect goaltender of the future Andrei Vasilevskiy and won’t be able to keep 6-foot-7 pending free agent Ben Bishop, whether he’s traded, taken by Vegas or signed by someone else.

“It adds another team for you, so I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all,” Bishop said of the expansion draft. “Even if I wasn’t a free agent, there’s just that many good goalies in the league now and there’s only so many spots.”

Chicago, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, which will have to do something with Marc-Andre Fleury to keep 2016 Stanley Cup-winning goalie Matt Murray, and other contenders like Alex Ovechkin‘s Washington Capitals intend to worry about this season now and the expansion draft later.

“I think some of ours is contract related and will we be able to bring guys back or not bring guys back,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said. “We’re constantly looking at it, but we’re not making decisions yet because our immediate priority is having a winning season here.”

One advantage for Vegas is that it’ll be able to acquire draft picks or prospects in exchange for not selecting certain players. That’s right up McPhee’s alley, too, as he tries to make good on owner Bill Foley’s goal to win the Cup within six years.

“It all comes down to trying to build a good base but really doing well in the entry draft and getting our top players from the entry draft,” McPhee said.

Related: Vegas owner wants a ‘younger-oriented team’