Mike Halford

Erik Karlsson Ryan Miller

Canucks won’t dress Miller against Bolts, recall Cannata

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Ryan Miller won’t be in goal tonight when Vancouver takes on the Lightning in Tampa Bay.

Heck, he won’t even be on the bench.

After exiting Sunday’s shootout loss to Florida with cramps, Miller will be held out of tonight’s tilt entirely — on Tuesday, the Canucks announced that Jacob Markstrom would start, while recently-recalled Joe Cannatta will back up.

If this was a scheduled start for Markstrom, giving Miller a night off isn’t a huge story. The 35-year-old has been one of the NHL’s busiest netminders through the first three months of the year, sitting tied for second in starts (28) and third in minutes played (1664:53).

Markstrom, who missed time with an injury earlier this season that forced Miller into extra action, is 1-3-2 with a .911 save percentage and 2.76 GAA.

Avs’ Berra (ankle) to undergo MRI after hallway soccer injury

Reto Berra

Patrick Roy said he wanted to pull starting netminder Semyon Varlamov from last night’s ugly 7-4 home loss to Toronto, but couldn’t.

Why?

Because he didn’t have another goalie.

Prior to the loss, backup Reto Berra suffered an ankle injury playing hallway soccer during warmup, per the Denver Post. That kept Berra from entering the game and kept Varlamov on the hook for six goals — on just 21 shots — as Colorado saw its five-game winning streak snapped.

Berra is set to undergo an MRI today.

Should the ankle injury be significant, it’d be a pretty big blow for the Swiss netminder. Berra was in the midst of a strong bounce-back campaign following a disappointing ’14-15 — though his record (5-8-0) leaves something to be desired, he does have a solid save percentage (.922) and GAA (2.41).

If Berra is out, it’s likely that Calvin Pickard will be recalled from AHL San Antonio.

Slumping Habs blown out again, this time in Nashville

Dustin Tokarski
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Pekka Rinne made 35 saves and Nashville beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 on Monday night, giving the Predators their first winning streak in more than a month.

Shea Weber had a goal and two assists, and Roman Josi and Calle Jarnkrok each added a goal and an assist. Colin Wilson scored an empty-netter and had two assists as Nashville won its second straight, something the Predators hadn’t done since Nov. 14 and 17.

Alex Galchenyuk scored a power-play goal for Montreal, which lost its fourth straight. The Canadiens have dropped eight of nine.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien changed goalies, inserting Mike Condon for Dustin Tokarski after Ryan Ellis‘ goal in the third period put Nashville up 3-0 on 14 shots.

This was the second game of an eight-game road trip for Montreal around the NHL’s Christmas break, and the Canadiens took eight of the first nine shots.

Montreal outshot Nashville 36-19 but got only one goal that counted past Rinne.

The Predators had been outshooting opponents with few goals to show for their efforts in dropping 11 of 15 until beating Minnesota 3-2 on Saturday night. Nashville appeared very comfortable playing tight defense, and Weber scored on a slap shot at 8:40 of the first period to put the Predators up 1-0 on their second shot of the game.

Rinne stopped all 14 shots in the period, including a nice glove save on a shot from in front by Canadiens center David Desharnais.

Nashville forward Paul Gaustad had a short-handed chance that went across the crease, and the Predators didn’t manage a shot on goal in the second until Canadiens right wing Dale Weise was caught holding Craig Smith. Josi scored his ninth on a slap shot at 8:22 off an assist from defensive partner Weber, putting Nashville up 2-0.

The Predators made it 3-0 just after a man advantage ended, with Ellis scoring his third off an assist from Wilson at 3:08 to chase Tokarski from the Montreal net. Jarnkrok padded the lead at 8:58 with a wrister off Wilson’s second assist of the game.

Montreal thought it at least avoided a shutout when Daniel Carr scored off a rebound midway through the third, but Nashville coach Peter Laviolette won his challenge for contact with Rinne.

The Canadiens finally did prevent a shutout when Galchenyuk scored his eighth off a slap shot on a 4-on-3 at 12:08.

Wilson got his second goal this season with 2:05 left for the final margin.

NOTES: Weber has 15 points in December. … Weber and Josi both are on three-game point streaks, and Weber posted his sixth multipoint game this season. … Nashville is 10 for 36 on the power play this month. … Nashville improved to 11-1-2 when leading after two periods.

Getzlaf: Ducks ‘have to be mentally stronger’ after third loss in five

NEW YORK (AP) Islanders coach Jack Capuano had been waiting for captain John Tavares to break out of his scoring slump, and that patience paid off Monday night.

Tavares had two primary assists 43 seconds apart in the first period of a 5-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The assists on New York’s second and third goals were the first for Tavares since a 3-1 win against Philadelphia on Nov. 25, a stretch of 12 games.

During that span, he scored three goals.

“It was just a matter of time,” Capuano said. “He got rewarded.”

The top pick in the 2009 draft leads New York in goals (13) and is second in assists (12) and points (25).

“I know I need to be a lot better,” Tavares said. “I’ve been feeling a lot better, more like my game.”

New York snapped its three-game losing streak and improved to 19-11-5. The Islanders also passed the idle New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves to pace New York. Cal Clutterbuck, Travis Hamonic, Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey and Matt Martin scored for the Islanders.

“I’m just trying to make plays,” Tavares said. “I’ve had some good games in this stretch and just haven’t gotten rewarded.”

Anaheim dropped to 12-15-5 with its third loss in five games. Carl Hagelin and Josh Manson had goals for the NHL’s lowest-scoring team.

“You feel like you’re not going to score,” Ryan Getzlaf said. “We have to be mentally stronger.”

Frederik Andersen allowed three New York goals on 11 shots in the first period and was replaced by John Gibson before the start of the second. Gibson finished with 18 saves.

“His decision,” Andersen said of coach Bruce Boudreau opting to make the goaltending change.

New York swept the season series. The Islanders beat the Ducks 4-1 on Nov. 13.

Hagelin put Anaheim on the board 6:52 into the game with his third of the season. The sequence began with Hagelin attempting a shot that was blocked by Calvin de Haan, but Hagelin found the loose puck and snapped a quick shot that beat Halak.

Anaheim had a lead, but New York ended the period scoring three straight goals in a 5-minute span. To a man, the Islanders pointed to Martin’s fight with Manson, after the Anaheim defenseman threw a thunderous check into New York defenseman Nick Leddy and Ducks center Ryan Kesler.

“It was the right thing to do,” Capuano said of Martin. “He steps up. … It gave us momentum.”

And the Islanders took advantage.

Clutterbuck equalized at 14:54 with his seventh of the season. He walked along the goal line before firing a shot that Anderson could not stop.

New York went ahead with a minute left in the period on Hamonic’s second of the season, and extended its lead to 3-1 on Nelson’s wrist shot from the slot with 16.3 seconds left.

Manson’s second of the season 7:32 into the third cut the deficit to 3-2. But Bailey’s goal 2:03 later allowed New York to regain its two-goal advantage. Martin’s empty-netter with 2:33 left ended the scoring.

“You get some goals and it does wonders for you,” Tavares said. “We got some chances and a few goals. We were able to settle in.”

NOTES: The Ducks did not hold a morning skate at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Boudreau said the thinking was the Ducks’ normal game-day routine would be affected by multiple bus trips to and from the team hotel to Barclays. … Boudreau also said Gibson will start Tuesday night at the New York Rangers. That game marks Hagelin’s first against the Rangers since being traded to the Ducks at the NHL draft on June 27 for Emerson Etem and a second-round pick. … New York scratched Eric Boulton, Kyle Okposo and Marek Zidlicky. Anaheim’s scratches were Max Friberg and Clayton Stoner. … Nate Thompson served the third of his three-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk in Anaheim’s 5-1 loss on Dec. 11. … The Islanders are off until Dec. 27 due to the NHL’s Christmas break. … Attendance was 13,578.

Torts: Malkin acted ‘like he was dead’ after Jenner knee (Video)

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John Tortorella wasn’t happy with how Evgeni Malkin reacted to a Boone Jenner hit on Monday night.

Midway through the second period of Pittsburgh’s 5-2 win over Columbus, Jenner was given a two-minute tripping minor for kneeing Malkin, as seen in the above video.

Malkin looked to be hurt on the play, but didn’t miss much time and finished with 24 shifts for over 20 minutes of ice time, scoring twice.

When asked if he thought Jenner might face supplemental discipline for the incident, Torts had this to say:

Transcript of the key quote:

“He got up, didn’t he? It was like he was dead, and then he’s out there the next shift.”

Tortorella, you’ll remember, has a bit of history with Malkin.

At the tail end of the 2012 regular season, Tortorella, then coaching the Rangers, sounded off after former Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik took out Derek Stepan with a knee.

But instead of going after Orpik, Torts went after Malkin and Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby.

“That’s one of the most arrogant organizations in sports,” he said, per NHL.com. “They whine about this stuff all the time. It’s ridiculous.

“But they’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they? Starting with their two [expletive] stars.”

Tortorella was fined $20,000 for his remarks.