Edmonton Oilers

‘One of the worst efforts of this season’: Blackhawks lose to Oilers

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The Chicago Blackhawks, one of the best teams in the Western Conference, faced off against the Edmonton Oilers, the worst team in the West, on Friday.

Two easy points for Chicago, right? Wrong.

The Oilers finally hit double digits in the win column for this season – we’re nearing the middle of January – thanks to a 5-2 victory over the Blackhawks. Derek Roy had a goal and two helpers for Edmonton and Nail Yakupov had a goal – a pretty move to the backhand on a two-on-nothing rush – and an assist.

The Blackhawks may have been fortunate to come away with a win and two points against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. They were outshot 44-20 in that game. But their recent run of luck came to an end in Edmonton.

“We got lucky in Minnesota and today was probably one of the worst efforts of this season,” said Blackhawks’ defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, as per Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times.

“I think today was almost the worst game in my whole career in the NHL,” added goalie Antti Raanta.

 

 

Goalie nods: Kinkaid, Montoya give starters a break

All the latest from the blue paint…

Kinkaid gets second start in five games

The New Jersey Devils will lighten Cory Schneider’s load a bit, as rookie netminder Keith Kinkaid gets another start this evening at home against the Isles.

Schneider, who played nearly every game through the first two months of the season, faced 42 shots last night in a 3-0 loss to Boston, hence Kinkaid’s start tonight. But there is reason to suggest Kinkaid also got this assignment on merit; he’s been pretty good this season, posting a 2.01 GAA and .928 save percentage while earning at least a point in three of his last five starts.

For the Islanders, Jaroslav Halak will be in goal.

Al faces Flames

After last night’s emotional win in Vancouver, Roberto Luongo will be given the night off and Al Montoya will face Calgary at the Saddledome.

Montoya, in his first year with the Panthers, last played on Sunday in relief of Luongo during a 4-3 loss to the Capitals (Luongo exited the game after getting bowled over by Alex Ovechkin.) Montoya’s last start, though, came in a loss to the Rangers in which he allowed five goals on 34 shots.

The 29-year-old is 2-4-2 for Florida this season, with a 2.61 GAA and .904 save percentage.

For the Flames, Jonas Hiller will be in goal.

Elsewhere…

Jackets at Leafs: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Jonathan Bernier

Sabres at Bolts: Michal Neuvirth vs. Ben Bishop

‘Hawks at Oilers: Ben Scrivens for Edmonton, no word yet on a Chicago starter.

Meet Detroit’s AHL scoring phenom: His name is Teemu, and he ‘shoots like Brett Hull’

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On Saturday, the Red Wings are expected to give Teemu Pulkkinen his regular season debut — and it’s a highly-anticipated debut on a number of fronts.

Why? Well, the 23-year-old Finn has been a tremendous scorer over his last two AHL campaigns, potting 51 goal in his last 104 games with Grand Rapids. This year, he leads the American League with 20 tallies and recently tied a Griffins record by scoring in eight straight contests.

Then there’s this, courtesy the Edmonton Journal:

Pulkkinen, probably the best scorer in the AHL, is getting a look with Johan Franzen out after being freight-trained by Oilers forward Rob Klinkhammer.

“He shoots like Brett Hull,” said Detroit GM Ken Holland. He was talking volume and release, not necessarily Hull’s great gift for scoring.

He’d be on their team next year for sure because he has to clear waivers, but they’ll have a look now.

As you’ve probably guessed, Pulkkinen’s game is predicated on shots, shots, shots shots shots. While Detroit doesn’t have much issue putting pucks on goal — the Wings sit 10th in the NHL with 30.7 shots per game — it will be interesting to if Pulkkinen can fire away like he did at the AHL level, where he currently leads all players with 125 through 33 games.

“He seems to be a good player that scores, he’s scored his whole life,” Wings head coach Mike Babcock said of Pulkkinen. “Is he ready to score in the NHL? We’re always looking for goals and if he can score, why don’t we have him?

“Plus, he’s a right-hand shot.”

Pulkkinen, who played three games last year without making much of a mark, will likely play on a line with Riley Sheahan and Drew Miller tomorrow when the Wings take on the Caps in Washington.

And he knows what the gameplan is.

“They want me to shoot,” Pulkkinen said. “I want to score goals, and I’m feeling good right now.”

Related: Video: Wings put Franzen on IR after blindside hit from Klinkhammer

PHT Morning Skate: Ducks’ Andersen unveils mask honoring Selanne

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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.

Frederik Andersen has a special mask for Sunday’s Teemu Tribute Night:


Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting an $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Is it time for the Edmonton Oilers to cut their losses and trade Nail Yakupov? (Edmonton Journal)

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews talked about what J.P. Parise, who passed away at the age of 73, meant to him and other young hockey players growing up:

Defenseman Adam Larsson, 22, is looking like one of the big benefactors of the New Jersey Devils’ coaching change. (The Bergen Record)

Drew Doughty wants to be involved in the only aspect of the game Los Angeles hasn’t been using him in: the shootout. (LA Kings Insider)

The AHL Hershey Bears will feature Nathan Walker, who was the first Australian player to be drafted by an NHL team, in a snow globes giveaway. Inside is Walker standing next to a kangaroo. (CSN Washington)

Preds put Neal, Nystrom on IR

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Nashville’s forward depth is about to get its biggest test of the season.

On Thursday, the club placed wingers James Neal — who’s missed the last three games with a lower-body injury — and Eric Nystrom on injured reserve, recalling forward Miikka Salomaki from AHL Milwaukee to fill the void.

Neal, who sits second on the team in goals (13), hasn’t played since a 3-2 win over St. Louis on Dec. 30 — a game in which he scored twice. Nystrom, who has nine points in 39 games this year, played 12:50 in Tuesday’s win over Carolina and assisted on Roman Josi’s game-winner in the third period, so it’s unclear exactly what’s ailing him at the moment.

As for Salomaki, he was taken in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but has yet to make his big league debut. The Finnish forward has 16 points in 26 games for Milwaukee this season, and finished fifth among AHL rookies in scoring last year with 50 points.

As mentioned above, the Neal/Nystrom injuries really thin out Nashville’s forward group. During the morning skate in advance of tonight’s tilt versus Dallas, Craig Smith took Neal’s spot on the top line next to Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro, while Salomaki skated on a wing with Calle Jarnkrok and Olli Jokinen.

Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and Mark Arcobello also rushed together, as did Gabriel Bourque, Paul Gaustad and Viktor Stalberg.