Mike Halford

Will Boudreau still be coaching the Ducks by Sunday?

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Following Anaheim’s loss in St. Louis last night — one that dropped the Ducks to an ugly 1-7-2 on the year — the question was asked of Bruce Boudreau:

Do you still expect to be coaching the team for its next game, at home, on Sunday?

His answer?

“Until somebody tells me (I’m not), I’m coaching the team,” Boudreau said, per the OC Register.

By now you’ve heard all the issues plaguing the Ducks — they can’t score goals, they can’t win games, they’re frustrated. Boudreau sounds like a coach that’s entirely out of answers; following the loss to the Blues, he all but acknowledged the club’s success is partly beyond his control.

“We do need a break,” he explained. “And we’re not getting them right now, and that’s what usually happens when a dark cloud is over you.”

Which begs the question: When will that dark cloud be lifted?

Some have pointed to Sunday’s game against 7-1-1 Nashville as the one in which Boudreau’s tenure could end. The Ducks will be back in Anaheim after a five-game road trip and, as callous as it may sounds, it’s easier — at least from a logistical standpoint — to relieve a coach of his duties at home.

Easier to call a press conference, easier to deal with the administrative stuff, etc. etc.

(Columbus turfed Todd Richards right before heading out on its current four-game road swing, for what it’s worth.)

It’s also widely assumed that Anaheim already has its next head coach in Paul MacLean, currently serving as Boudreau’s assistant. MacLean’s had plenty of success as a bench boss, highlighted by winning the Jack Adams in ’13.

If Boudreau is dismissed, it’ll be a tough and ultimately unfair ending for a guy that won 163 games as Anaheim’s head coach, and took the Ducks to within one game of last year’s Stanley Cup Final.

But for GM Bob Murray, an unfair ending might be the only option.

Benn keeps rolling, leads Dallas to OT win over Canucks

Jamie Benn, Alex Goligoski,Jordie Benn
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DALLAS (AP) — Jamie Benn scored midway through overtime and the Dallas Stars rallied to beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on Thursday night.

Patrick Sharp twice tied the game with goals for Dallas. The Stars have won two in a row by overcoming multiple-goal deficits.

Sharp’s second score tied it with 4:35 left in the third period, erasing what had been a 3-1 Canucks lead. Jason Demers had scored about 5 minutes earlier.

Alexandre Burrows, Alexander Edler and Radim Vrbata scored for the Canucks.

Vancouver was held without a shot on goal for nearly 12 minutes to start the game.

Benn scored after skating out of the corner with the puck, shooting from just inside the right faceoff dot 2:28 into overtime.

The Canucks scored first on Burrows’ penalty shot, the first awarded in the NHL this season.

Sharp tied it with 4:05 left in the first, but Edler scored early in the second and Vrbata got his goal 10 seconds into the third to build a 3-1 lead.

Dallas’ Antti Niemi made 29 saves. Vancouver’s Ryan Miller had 25.

Benn, the NHL scoring leader with 17 points, assisted on Sharp’s second goal. The Canucks’ Daniel Sedin had two assists.

Stars had a 10-0 advantage in shots until Burrows skated in on Niemi and shot into the goalie’s pads.

Dallas’ Alex Goligoski slashed Burrows on that look, leading to the penalty shot. Burrows skated across from the right and sent a left-handed wrist shot between Niemi’s legs.

The Stars tied the game on Sharp’s wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. Jyrki Jokipakka sent a back-hand pass from the blue line across to Sharp to set up the goal.

By that time, the Canucks were controlling the game. Dallas’ second penalty led to Edler’s slapshot goal on the power play at 5:38 of the second. Vancouver outshot the Stars 12-5 in the period.

The Stars’ best chance in the second came when Tyler Seguin sent a rebound wide left.

Vrbata scored by putting in the rebound of Daniel Sedin’s shot. It was the fastest third-period goal allowed by the Stars since they moved to Dallas in 1993.

Demers took a cross-ice pass from Johnny Oduya and sent a drive from the right point past Miller at 10:06. Sharp tipped in John Klingberg‘s shot from the blue line.

NOTES: Vancouver C Brendan Gaunce made his NHL debut. His brother Cameron Gaunce formerly played for Dallas. . Demers returned after a two-game suspension for elbowing. . Sharp has scored three goals in the last two games after an eight-game drought to begin the season. . Dallas outshot Anaheim 17-2 in the third period on Tuesday, so the Stars had held opponents to two shots in 31 minutes. . The Canucks went to overtime for the fifth time in 10 games; Dallas was playing in the 3-on-3 overtime for the first time. Vancouver is 1-0-4 in OT.

King Leon: Draisaitl sparks three-goal comeback as Oilers stun Habs

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Yesterday, Leon Draisaitl was plying his trade for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

Today, he’s the toast of Edmonton.

Recalled on Thursday afternoon, Draisaitl scored twice on Thursday night — including the game-winning tally with 62 seconds left — to give the Oilers an improbable 4-3 win over Montreal at Rexall.

It was a memorable evening for the Oilers and their fans — though for the first 39 minutes, it sure didn’t feel that way.

The Canadiens jumped out to a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from Brendan Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell and Alex Galchenyuk. They looked very much like the team that started the year 9-0-0, and very much like a team looking to bury Tuesday’s disappointing 5-1 loss in Vancouver.

But then, things changed.

With less than a minute to go in the second period, Draisaitl scored his first of the night on assists from Taylor Hall and Oscar Klefbom. That gave the Oilers life heading into the third, when the Connor McDavid show took center stage.

McDavid reclaimed the rookie scoring lead with a pair of assists, first setting up Brandon Davidson to cut Montreal’s lead to one, then assisting on Benoit Pouliot‘s game-tying goal at 10:43.

Edmonton kept pouring on the pressure — they out-shot the Habs 22-10 over the final two periods — and were rewarded late, when Draisaitl scored his second of the evening off assists from Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

It was a wild, crazy game that could go a long way in defining the Oilers’ season.

And at the very least, it’s something the club can look back on fondly.

“Nobody was happy with our start, but we stuck with it,” head coach Todd McLellan said afterward. “It’s something we can be proud of and build on.”

Video: Jets’ Hutchinson continues mastery of Chicago

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There aren’t many goalies that can say they routinely stone the Chicago Blackhawks.

Michael Hutchinson, though, is definitely one of the few.

The Jets goalie continued his dominance of the ‘Hawks on Thursday night, with a sparking 45-save effort in a 3-1 win. Prior to tonight, Hutchinson had faced Chicago four times, posting three wins with a .961 save percentage and 1.23 GAA.

Clearly, he’s got a thing going.

“I don’t know what it is,” Hutchinson said after the game. “It’s  definitely easy to get up for a game against them, especially since they’re the defending Stanley Cup champions.”

Hutchinson’s heroics allowed Winnipeg to erase a 1-0 deficit — thanks to Artemi Panarin’s first-period goal — and score three unanswered, with captain Andrew Ladd netting the eventual game-winner in the second frame.

The win pushed the Jets to a solid 6-3-1 on the year and closed out their six-game homestand with a 3-2-1 record, which is important given they’ll now play eight of their next nine on the road.

As for Chicago — well, the offensive struggles continue.

The club has now scored just 11 goals in its last seven games, and just three in the last three.

Forwards Marian Hossa, Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, Ryan Garbutt, Bryan Bickell, Viktor Tikhonov and Andrew Desjardins have combined to score one goal this season.

Red-hot Devils beat Flyers for fifth win in six

Travis Zajac, Kyle Palmieri, Jiri Tlusty, Eric Gelinas, Jacob Josefson
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Devils are feeling right at home on the road.

Travis Zajac had two power-play goals and Kyle Palmieri added a goal and two assists to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Andy Greene scored an empty-net goal with 6.7 seconds left for the Devils, who won their fourth straight on the road. New Jersey has lost just once away from home this season.

“It’s not easy to do in any league,” Devils coach John Hynes said of winning on the road. “But tribute to the guys, they’ve found ways to win.”

Luke Schenn scored for Philadelphia.

“We didn’t deserve to win the game,” Flyers’ Jakub Voracek said. “They were better than us.”

Voracek didn’t have a point and has just three assists without a goal through nine games. He set a career high with 81 points last season.

“We always leave 100 percent on the ice, (but) we just didn’t play good,” Voracek said.

Palmieri put the Devils in front at 1:28 into the third period when he blocked Evgeny Medvedev’s shot attempt at the blue line, raced past Medvedev and fired a wrister from the left circle over goalie Steve Mason‘s left shoulder that made it 2-1.

“It was a great effort,” Hynes said. “You see a guy make a real hard play, sacrifice his body to block a shot and then winds up scoring the winning goal was nice to see and a great job by him.”

Said Palmieri, “I was just trying to put it on net and make him make a save.”

Zajac made it a two-score lead just over a minute later with his second power-play goal, beating Mason from the slot with a backhander that again went over the goalie’s left shoulder. The Devils had the man advantage after Philadelphia was penalized a second time for having too many men on the ice.

“I’ve got to communicate better on the bench and that’s the bottom line,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said.

Voracek was more direct.

“There’s no excuse for that,” he said. “It should happen twice a year, not twice a game.”

The Flyers got on the board first with 4:56 left in the second period when Schenn fired the puck toward the net from the right boards and past Cory Schneider, who misplayed what appeared to be a routine save.

New Jersey tied it at 1 when Zajac scored his third goal of the season with about two minutes left in the second period.

Palmieri set up that power-play goal with a deft pass from the left circle between two Flyers defensemen. A wide-open Zajac tapped in a forehand shot into an empty net from just in front of the crease as Mason couldn’t get there in time.

“All I had to do was put my stick on the ice,” Zajac said.

Veteran Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier assisted Schenn’s goal in his season debut after sitting as a healthy scratch for the club’s first eight games. Lecavalier, who has been idle despite 411 career goals and two years left on a five-year, $22.5 million contract, replaced Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (lower body). Bellemare was hurt in Tuesday’s overtime loss to Buffalo and is expected to miss two weeks.

Mason made 29 saves. He dropped to 0-7-0 in eight games, seven of which have been starts, against the Devils. New Jersey is the only team Mason hasn’t beaten.

“Yeah, I’ve known that,” Mason said. “It’s not for a lack of trying. Sometimes things don’t go your way.”

Schneider had 27 saves.

Notes: Flyers C Sean Couturier (upper body) missed his third straight game. … Philadelphia backup goalie Michal Neuvirth returned to the bench after missing the last two games due to an upper body injury. … The teams will meet three more times this season. … The Flyers begin a five-game road trip on Friday night in Buffalo.