Mike Halford

Dmitry Orlov, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov

Red-hot Caps win sixth straight, down ‘Canes 2-1

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It was probably the least convincing of the bunch but hey, a sixth straight win is a sixth straight win.

That’s what the Washington Capitals accomplished on Monday night in Carolina, squeaking out a 2-1 victory to give themselves an NHL-best 25-6-2 record.

Though they were out-shot and at times outplayed by the ‘Canes, the Caps were able to secure all three points thanks to goals from Michael Latta and Jason Chimera. Washington also received some quality netminding from Phillip Grubauer, who stopped 31 of 32 shots in a rare night off for workhorse No. 1 goalie Braden Holtby.

For the ‘Canes, Kris Versteeg scored the lone goal — but what a goal it was:

Tonight’s defeat will be a tough one to swallow for Carolina, who came in on a nice streak of its own — the ‘Canes were 5-2-1 in their previous eight games, and had scored 23 times in their last five games.

As for the Caps, they’ll head into the break as the hottest team in the league, and will look to push their winning streak to seven when they host Montreal on Saturday.

Carolina is next in action on Saturday as well, when it takes on the Devils in New Jersey.

Duck hunt: Isles chase Andersen with three goals on 11 shots

Frederik Andersen
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Frederik Andersen‘s night in Brooklyn is over early.

Andersen, who got the start for Anaheim on Monday against the Isles, allowed three goals on 11 shots in the opening frame and was replaced by John Gibson to start the second period.

All three of New York’s goals came in a five-minute span at the end of the frame. Cal Clutterbuck scored at 14:54 to equalize Carl Hagelin‘s opener and, not long after, Travis Hamonic scored to make it 2-1.

Brock Nelson scored his 12th of the season to give the Isles a two-goal advantage with just 17 seconds left on the clock.

Tonight’s outing is a tough development for Andersen, who missed a bunch of time earlier in the month with an illness.

That illness forced the Ducks to recall Gibson from AHL San Diego, and allowed Gibson to run with the starting gig — which eventually forced the club to keep their prized goalie prospect at the NHL level, and waive (and eventually demote) veteran Anton Khudobin.

Video: Johansen checks Cole through glass

Johansen-Cole
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After Ryan Johansen was made a healthy scratch last week, Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen told the Dispatch that “sometimes a message has to be hard, and it’s obviously a hard message when a player is scratched.”

Well, it sure looks like Johansen got the hard part.

During the first period of tonight’s game in Pittsburgh, Johansen drove Pens d-man Ian Cole through the glass with a pretty healthy bodycheck:

This was Johansen’s second game back since getting parked in the press box — he played over 20 minutes in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win over Philly.

All told, the 23-year-old finished tonight’s opening period with just under six minutes of ice time, winning 75 percent of his draws. Columbus went into the intermission leading 1-0 on an Alexander Wennberg goal.

 

After 34 games, Tinordi to make season debut for Habs tonight

Jarred Tinordi, Brendan Gallagher

Been a long time coming for Jarred Tinordi.

Montreal’s first-round pick (22nd overall) in 2010, Tinordi will finally get a chance to play this season when he replaces the injured Jeff Petry on defense versus Nashville.

The 23-year-old had previously been a healthy scratch in all 34 of the Habs’ games this season, a situation that has been monitored closely — and garnered a lot of attention — throughout the campaign.

More: Tinordi becomes the latest youngster to be sent to the AHL for ‘conditioning’

Because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, Tinordi’s been “stuck” on Montreal’s roster for most of the season. It’s a similar situation to what Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here) and Patrik Nemeth (see here) have experienced, though Tinordi had to wait longer than all of them to make his regular-season debut.

“It’s a situation that’s been very difficult for [Tinordi], we all know,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said, per Sportsnet. “He’s been training hard, he has a good attitude. We hope he has a good game because he deserves to.”

Tinordi is projected to play on the club’s third pairing, alongside veteran Tom Gilbert.

Rinaldo says linesman ‘cranked me down pretty hard,’ caused injury (Video)

Rinaldo-Hendricks
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Curious tidbit here from CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty on the injury that forced Zac Rinaldo to miss Boston’s last three games:

The more interesting aspect of the situation was the B’s fourth liner claiming that linesmen David Brisebois was the one that caused the [upper-body] injury when he was separating Rinaldo and Matt Hendricks after the two of them scrapped in the Edmonton game a week ago.

“He was trying to keep me down, so I wouldn’t get up,” said Rinaldo. “I was coming up, and he cranked me down pretty hard.”

Here’s the incident in question (Brisebois is No. 96):

It’s hard to see what exactly happened — the incident was over pretty quick, and Rinaldo didn’t appear to immediately grab at any injured part of his (upper) body.

He also ended up playing for the remainder of the contest, finishing with 14 shifts for just under nine minutes of ice time.

That said, he was clearly displeased with Brisebois’ actions. Rinaldo went on to tell CSNNE “there was no reason to use that much force like the ref did,” and “the last thing you want to deal with is a ref using all his strength.”

He did say he’ll be available for selection should the B’s need him tomorrow night, when they host the Blues at TD Garden.