Jason Brough

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Back-to-back hat tricks earns Forsberg first star of the week

With back-to-back hat tricks, plus two more goals to boot, Nashville’s Filip Forsberg was today named the NHL’s first star of the week.

Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau were the second and third stars, respectively.

But Forsberg was a slam dunk for the top honor. After getting off to a slow start this season, the 22-year-old winger now has 24 goals — and, more importantly, his Predators have a seven-point playoff cushion.

The Preds went 3-0-1 last week, which included back-to-back wins over two tough opponents, Washington and Edmonton, over the weekend.

With three goals Thursday against Colorado, Forsberg became the first player since Alex Burrows in 2010 to register back-to-back hat tricks.

Red Wings extend Jensen for two more years

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The Detroit Red Wings have signed defenseman Nick Jensen to a two-year contract extension.

Jensen, 26, has three goals and five assists in 27 games this season.

It took the 2009 draft pick a while to get to the NHL, but with Jonathan Ericsson done for the season and Brendan Smith possibly getting traded before Wednesday’s deadline, Jensen should receive plenty of ice time down the stretch.

Below are the financial terms of the deal:

 

Yzerman: Trading Bishop to L.A. was the ‘only option’

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Trading Ben Bishop to Los Angeles was the only thing Steve Yzerman could do, other than keeping the pending unrestricted free agent for the rest of the season.

Yzerman, the Lightning’s general manager, told reporters this morning that the Kings’ offer for Bishop was the “only option” he had.

Bishop is not enjoying a particularly strong season, with a 16-12-3 record and a .911 save percentage.

Also hurting the market for the 30-year-old netminder is the fact there are not many teams in position to make the playoffs with poor goaltending. Jake Allen has turned it around for St. Louis, while Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson have been finding ways to get wins for Calgary.

Dallas, Philadelphia, and Winnipeg are too far behind in the race to address their goaltending now.

As for the Lightning, Yzerman said they still have hopes to make the playoffs. But that won’t be easy, given they’re seven points back of the second wild-card spot in the East.

It’s going to be another interesting summer for Yzerman. Pending restricted free agents include Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Jonathan Drouin, while pending UFAs include Brian Boyle, who’s reportedly drawn trade interest and could still be moved before Wednesday’s deadline.

The Lighting host Ottawa tonight with their new undisputed starter, Andrei Vasilevskiy, expected between the pipes.

“I believe, and time will tell, he has all the tools to be an excellent goaltender in the league for a very long time,” Yzerman said of Vasilevskiy, per team beat writer Bryan Burns.

Vasilevskiy, 22, is 11-13-5 with a .909 save percentage this season.

Related: A ‘number of concerns’ about Jonathan Quick led Kings to pursue Bishop

After perfect road trip, Panthers drop third straight at home

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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) There’s a reason Craig Anderson is often at his best when he faces his former team.

Kyle Turris scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period and Anderson stopped 37 shots to lift the Ottawa Senators over the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Sunday night.

Anderson played for the Panthers from 2006-09 and is 14-7-2 against them.

“This has always been kind of home for me. It’s a little more emotional for me when I play here,” he said. “You seem to get up for those types of games when you have friends and family in the stands.”

Anderson was coming off a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

“You just have to get back on that horse and start riding it again,” he said. “If you have a bad memory I think it works to your benefit.”

Zack Smith scored an early short-handed goal for the Senators, who have won four of six. Erik Karlsson had two assists.

Anderson was out from Dec. 7 until Feb. 11, a span of 26 games.

“Andy is an outstanding No. 1 goalie,” Ottawa coach Guy Boucher said. “We missed him for a long time. You saw what a difference his experience made tonight.”

Jonathan Marchessault scored for Florida, and James Reimer made 31 saves. The Panthers have lost three straight after sweeping a five-game road trip, and dropped their last four home games overall.

The Panthers, fifth in the Atlantic Division, trail the second-place Senators by six points and missed a chance to gain ground.

“This was a four-point game right here,” Marchessault said.

Turris put Ottawa ahead when his wrist shot went over Reimer’s glove at 9:58 of the second for his 21st goal of the season.

“We’re right in the race with Ottawa right now,” Florida center Aleksander Barkov said. “We need to win these close games. We played well but that’s not enough.”

The Senators took a 1-0 lead on the short-handed goal by Smith. Reimer blocked a shot from Karlsson, but Smith grabbed the rebound and poked in the puck at 6:28 of the first. Smith has 12 career short-handed goals.

“It was just a great play off the pass. It was right on my stick,” Smith said. “It was nice to get one short-handed and get a little momentum.”

Marchessault tied it on his power-play goal with 2:47 left in the first. He took a feed from Jonathan Huberdeau in the left circle and put the puck high into the net.

 

‘Hawks nab Jurco in trade with Red Wings

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The Chicago Blackhawks picked up some forward depth today, adding winger Tomas Jurco in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings.

In return, the ‘Hawks sent the Wings a third-round draft pick in 2017.

Jurco has only appeared in 16 games this season. He has no goals and no assists.

The 24-year-old was forced to undergo back surgery this past offseason.

“I could still play with it but the worst for me was sitting on the bench all the time,” Jurco said in November, per NHL.com. “Sometimes I’d have to get up and walk. Sometimes I’d stretch it. It was bad and I’ve been sitting a lot for the last couple of years on the bench. It was really tough but I’m glad it’s gone and I’m excited for a fresh start.”

A pending restricted free agent, Jurco’s cap hit is just $900,000.

In a corresponding move, the ‘Hawks assigned rookie forward Vinnie Hinostroza to the AHL.