Sharks top Coyotes in a shootout, enter three-way tie for eighth

The single biggest difference between Saturday’s game between the Phoenix Coyotes and the San Jose Sharks and a playoff contest is that this game ended in a shootout. At the start of the day, Phoenix was just two points ahead of San Jose, while the Sharks were just one point shy of a playoff spot. In the ultra tight Pacific Division, every game is important, but a divisional contest with just two weeks left is vital.

Phoenix’s Daymond Langkow struck first with a goal just 6:31 minutes into the contest. Patrick Marleau and Brent Burns responded with back-to-back goals for San Jose. Joe Thornton assisted on both of those goals, bringing him up to 750 career assists. Thornton is just the 41st player in the history of the NHL to reach that milestone and he’s currently tied with Larry Robinson for 40th place on the all-time list.

Derek Morris evened the game with a goal as time was expiring in the first period. You can check out his buzzer beater and all the game’s highlights below.

Lauri Korpikoski and Daniel Winnik exchanged goals early in the second period before goaltenders Mike Smith and Antti Niemi locked things down for the remainder of regulation time. However, it was all San Jose in the shootout as they picked up that all-important extra point.

The Los Angeles Kings lost in regulation while the Colorado Avalanche finished Saturday’s game against Vancouver with nothing more than a consolation point. As a result, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Colorado are all tied for eighth place in the Western Conference with 86 points. That being said, the Avalanche are at a significant disadvantage as they only have five games left, compared to the Sharks and Kings, which have played in 75 contests each. Colorado and San Jose are scheduled to meet on Monday in what could be a defining contest for the Avalanche.

Thanks to the charity point the Phoenix Coyotes picked up, they are now in seventh place in the Western Conference. However, they are just one point ahead of the Sharks, Kings, and Avalanche. Phoenix has also played in one extra game than San Jose and Los Angeles, so they can’t afford to let their razor thin lead go to their head.

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    Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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    CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

    The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

    The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

    The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

    Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

    The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

    Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

    The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

    Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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    TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

    The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

    “This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

    Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

    Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

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    TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

    The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

    “Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

    The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

    Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.