Joe Yerdon

Penner’s play wowing Ducks teammates

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Dustin Penner’s second time around with the Anaheim Ducks has been a great one to this point.

During the Ducks’ 6-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night, Penner had a goal and three assists. Both he and Ryan Getzlaf piled up four points in the blowout win with Getzlaf earning a hat trick.

Following the game, Getzlaf spoke glowingly of Penner’s play.

Being a major contributor on a line with top talent can get you noticed.

Since Penner has played on a line with Getzlaf and Corey Perry, business has picked up. He has a five-game point streak and has piled up 12 points in 11 games. Meanwhile, he has a league-leading to this point plus-minus rating of plus-18.

Compare that to last season with the Los Angeles Kings when he had 14 points in 33 games and was a healthy scratch on occasion. Being back in Orange County is treating Dustin Penner pretty well.

NCAA Hockey on NBCSN: No. 4 Notre Dame hosts No. 1 Minnesota

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NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 college hockey season tonight when the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Compton Family Ice Arena with coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also catch the game online

We may be early in the college hockey season, but Friday night’s matchup between Notre Dame and Minnesota provides a possible NCAA tournament showdown.

Two top-five teams, loads of NHL-drafted talent (25 draftees in all), and two of the best coaches in the game will be on display. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Don Lucia’s Gophers head to South Bend hoping to stay unbeaten this season. With a 5-0-1 record, they’re one of two teams without a loss this season (St. Cloud State the other). After earning a tie and a win against Boston College two weeks ago, the Fighting Irish provide another early-season measuring stick for the Gophers.

Headlining Minnesota’s attack is junior forward Sam Warning. His five goals and 12 points both lead the team and he’s tied for eighth in the country in scoring. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t drafted. Their forward attack is deeper than just Warning.

Junior Kyle Rau (Florida) and freshmen Hudson Fasching (Los Angeles) and Justin Kloos have been steady in their production. The play of Fasching and Kloos have given the Gophers the kind of offense fitting of the No. 1 team in the country.

As for the Fighting Irish, they’re coming off two straight frustrating weekends in which they split with both Minnesota-Duluth and Vermont. While their record sits at 6-0-2, there’s no doubt coach Jeff Jackson wants more from his team. They’ll get the test they’re looking for out of the Gophers.

The Fighting Irish have a more balanced attack with seven players having five or more points early in the season. Freshman forward Vince Hinostrosza (Chicago) and senior forward T.J. Tynan (Columbus) lead the way with eight points each and sophomore forward Sam Herr leads the team in goals with five. On defense, Shane Tayker and Robbie Russo (New York Islanders) have five points each as well. We told you it was a balanced attack.

Goalies

Minnesota sophomore Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay) has carried the load all season to this point and has been stellar with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. Expect him to get the call once again for the Gophers.

For Notre Dame, senior Steven Summerhays is their workhorse and he’s been just as good as Wilcox. He’s 6-1-0 this season with a 1.49 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage.

Despite how steady both teams’ offenses have been, you get the feeling Friday’s game could be a showcase in net.

NHL Draftees

Minnesota – Forwards: Hudson Fasching (Los Angeles), Kyle Rau (Florida), Taylor Cammarata (NY Islanders), Nate Condon (Colorado), Seth Ambroz (Columbus), Travis Boyd (Washington), Christian Isackson (Buffalo)

Defense: Mike Reilly (Columbus), Michael Brodzinski (San Jose), Ben Marshall (Detroit), Jake Bischoff (NY Islanders), Brady Skjei (NY Rangers), Justin Holl (Chicago)

Goalie: Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay)

Notre Dame – Forwards: Vince Hinostrosza (Chicago), T.J. Tynan (Columbus), Austin Wuthrich (Washington), Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh), Jeff Costello (Ottawa), Mario Lucia (Minnesota), Steven Fogarty (NY Rangers), Thomas DiPauli (Washington).

Defense: Robbie Russo (NY Islanders), Stephen Johns (Chicago), Kevin Lind (Anaheim)

Please note: Saturday night’s game between these same teams will be streamed on NBC Live Extra on NBCSports.com at 7 p.m. ET.

Wings put Smith on IR, call up Almquist

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The Detroit Red Wings will have yet another new face on the blue line when they face the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.

The team placed defenseman Brendan Smith on injured reserve and called up 2009 seventh-round pick Adam Almquist to take his spot. Almquist impressed with his play during the preseason and continued to play well in the AHL to start the year with seven assists in 10 games. If/When he plays tonight, it’ll mark his NHL debut.

Smith, on the other hand, will be out a minimum of seven days. He was injured in a fight with Edmonton’s Will Acton on Saturday night in the Red Wings’ 5-0 victory.

The Red Wings are already without Jonathan Ericsson on defense because of a shoulder injury.

NHL on NBCSN: Ducks finish road trip against Rangers

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NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the New York Rangers host the Anaheim Ducks at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The long road home for the Anaheim Ducks is nearly at an end. Their 15-day, 8-game road trip has been a largely successful one (they’re 4-2-1 heading into Monday night’s game) and they’re coming off a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres.

Leading the way for the Ducks have been the usual cast of characters. Corey Perry has a team-high eight goals and Ryan Getzlaf leads the team in points with 16. The surprising leader for them? Mathieu Perreault.

Since coming over in a trade with the Washington Capitals and being reunited with coach Bruce Boudreau, Perreault has five goals and 13 points, good for third on the team. With injuries to Teemu Selanne and Jakob Silfverberg up front, his offensive takeoff has given the Ducks a big lift.

If they plan on closing things out on a high note, they’ll have to do something they haven’t done since 2008: Win at Madison Square Garden. They’re 0-3-0 since then, a span of five years and 270 days.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league that includes Monday and Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Monday at 7:30pm ET. Here’s the link.

Winning on the road is hard enough, but the Ducks face a New  York Rangers team that seems to have gotten their act together.

The Rangers have won three in row, including their last two games at home in which their offense has awoken scoring seven goals in those games. Leading that charge are a pair of players you didn’t think would be doing just that together.

source: Getty ImagesForwards Derek Stepan and Brad Richards each have 10 points and it’s Richards’ five goals that lead the team in that department. Yes, the offense has had its struggles, but Stepan’s breakout of late (he had a hat trick against Carolina) to go along with Richards’ inspired play early on has to make coach Alain Vigneault happy.

One player who’s loved returning home from the team’s month-long nine-game road trip is Henrik Lundqvist. In the Rangers’ three games at MSG this season, he’s 2-1-0 with a 1.02 goals-against average and .964 save percentage. After his brutal start to the season, Lundqvist’s home numbers should inspire the Rangers to really want home-ice advantage in the playoffs.

Injuries

New York: Rick Nash (IR-concussion), Ryan Callahan (IR-broken thumb), Dominic Moore (strained oblique)

Anaheim: Teemu Selanne (IR-jaw), Jakob Silfverberg (IR-broken hand), Luca Sbisa (IR-sprained ankle, may return), Viktor Fasth (IR-lower-body), Matt Beleskey (IR-upper-body), Saku Koivu (IR-head), Sami Vatanen (upper-body, may play), Sheldon Souray (IR-wrist)

PHT Morning Skate: Parise said facing former team was like a scrimmage

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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.

What was it like for Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise to face his former team, the New Jersey Devils? It felt like a scrimmage and that’s not the best feeling in the world. (Michael Russo)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league that includes Monday and Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Monday at 7:30pm ET. Here’s the link.

On top of rookie Jon Merrill getting hurt for the Devils last night, Bryce Salvador and Ryane Clowe are hurting as well. Not good times in Newark. (Tom Gulitti)

Good news Oilers fans! Defenseman Ladislav Smid said things can definitely get worse from here for Edmonton. Cue Clark Griswold saying, “Worse?! How can it get any worse?!” (Edmonton Journal)

Vancouver’s second line is coming along nicely now. That’s bad news for teams out west. (The Province)

Some people out there are bagging on Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Jack Todd says that’s partially Michel Therrien’s fault. (Montreal Gazette)

Even though Ben Bishop helped the Lightning beat the Blues, his former team are still big fans of his. (Tampa Bay Times)

Reto Berra’s reactions to his first win and playing in Chicago to do it are pretty great. (Calgary Sun)

The Wild are still looking for someone to grab the first-line right wing job and run with it. (The Star-Tribune)