Get your game notes: Red Wings at Rangers

1 Comment

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the New York Rangers hosting the Detroit Red Wings at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• NYR has lost its past two games, both in shootouts (1-0 vs. WPG last Saturday and 4-3 on Monday against STL). The Rangers have several key absences to their blueline, as 4 of their 6 opening night defensemen were out of the lineup for Monday’s game against STL.

• Captain D Ryan McDonagh separated his shoulder in last Saturday’s loss to WPG. He is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.

• Veteran D Dan Boyle broke his hand in the first game of the season and remains sidelined.

• D Kevin Klein was also injured in the Jets game. Klein suffered a foot contusion blocking a shot and is considered day-to-day.

• D John Moore will serve the 3rd game of his 5-game suspension after last week’s illegal hit on MIN F Erik Haula.

• This has forced many NYR defensemen into new roles:

— D Conor Allen, 24, was recalled from Hartford (AHL) on Nov. 2 and played in his 4th career NHL game on Monday, logging 13:03 TOI. Allen signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013 following his career at the University of Massachusetts.

— D Dylan McIlrath, 22, was also recalled last Sunday, and played 8:02 against STL – his 3rd career game. He was NYR’s 1st round pick (10th overall) in the 2010 Entry Draft.

— D Mike Kostka has more NHL experience (66 career GP), but also began the season in the AHL. Kostka also played at UMass, and is now on his 4th NHL team in his 3rd season.

— D Matt Hunwick began the season as the Rangers’ 7th defensemen, but has played over 24 minutes in each of NYR’s last two games. This is Hunwick’s 8th NHL season – and his 1st in NYR – after stints in BOS and COL.

• DET will be playing on back-to-back nights following last night’s 3-1 loss in Ottawa.

• Like NYR, the Red Wings have dropped their past two games – 3-2 (SO) to BUF on Nov. 2 and 3-1 to OTT yesterday. DET has not lost three straight games or two consecutive regulation games yet this season.

• G Jimmy Howard stopped 29 of 31 shots last night, but lost his second straight start. The Red Wings will turn to backup G Jonas Gustavsson for tonight’s game against NYR.

• Gustavsson shut out TOR in his first start on Oct. 18 but gave up 3 goals on 16 shots in his only other start, a 4-2 DET loss in PHI on Oct. 25.

QUICK HITS

• 579th regular-season meeting

• 1st of 3 meetings this season. Final 2 games (Dec. 6 and Mar. 4) are in DET.

• Last season, NYR went 3-0-0 against DET, including shutouts in both games at MSG (1-0, 3-0).

• The Rangers have won 4 straight overall against DET. They have not won 5 straight against DET since the 1983 and 1984 seasons.

• DET last win at NYR: 3-1 on Dec. 6, 2009 (0-2-1 since).

•NYR has held DET scoreless for the past 144:58 dating back to last season.

• NYR: D Matt Hunwick is a Warren, MI native and played 4 seasons in the NCAA for the Michigan Wolverines.

STANDOUT STATS

• Both DET and NYR enter tonight on 2-game losing streaks.

• DET: 17-7-6 record in back-to-back games last season (7-5-3 in the 2nd game of back to backs).

• NYR: Including playoffs, the Rangers have sold out 138 consecutive games at MSG.
MILESTONE TRACKER

• NYR: Head Coach Alain Vigneault will be coaching his 900th career game tonight.

NOTABLE INJURIES

• DET: D Kyle Quincey (ankle) has missed two straight games and is day-to-day.

• NYR: Captain D Ryan McDonagh (separated shoulder) will be out for 3-4 weeks.

• NYR: C Derek Stepan (broken leg) has been IR all season. He has been cleared for contact but has yet to participate in a contact practice.

• NYR: D Dan Boyle (hand) was injured on opening night and is now skating in a non-contact jersey.

HEAD TO HEAD

• DET: C Pavel Datsyuk has 3 goals, 5 assists, and a +3 rating in 10 career games vs. NYR.

• DET: LW Henrik Zetterberg, RW Johan Franzen, RW Gustav Nyquist, and Datsyuk all went scoreless against NYR last season.

• NYR: G Henrik Lundqvist had shutout victories in both of his starts against DET last season.

• NYR: LW Rick Nash has 25 goals and 47 points in 55 career games vs. DET. His 25 goals are tied for the most he has against any other NHL team (w/ CHI).

DETROIT TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

• The Red Wings’ first line of Captain LW Henrik Zetterberg (15 points), C Pavel Datsyuk (10 points), and RW Justin Abdelkader (10 points) are the top 3 scorers for DET this season.

• Datsyuk began the season on injured reserve with a separated shoulder, but has put up 5 goals and 5 assists in 7 games since rejoining the lineup. His 5 goals and 10 points are both T-2nd on DET.

• Datsyuk had opened his season with points in 6 straight games before being held off the score sheet on Tuesday in the loss to Ottawa.

• Zetterberg has 4 goals and 11 assists through 12 games. His 11 assists and 15 points are tops on the Red Wings, and he is currently T-5th in NHL scoring.

• Abdelkader has benefitted from time alongside Datsyuk and Zetterberg; the 27-year old has never scored more than 10 goals or 28 points in an NHL season, but already has 5 goals and10 points through 12 games.

• RW Gustav Nyquist leads DET with 7 goals this season. He has also scored 4 of the Red Wings’ 5 PPG this season.

• Last season, Nyquist led DET with 28 goals despite only playing 57 games.

• G Jonas Gustavsson (1-1-0, 1.45 GAA, .935 SV%, 1 SO ) is scheduled to make his third start of the season for DET.

NEW YORK TEAM/PLAYER NOTES

•  Like Detroit, the Rangers’ top line of LW Rick Nash (12 points), C Derick Brassard (9 points), and RW Martin St. Louis (8 points) are also 1-2-3 in scoring on the team so far this season.

• Nash leads NYR in goals (9) and points (12). He is 2nd in the NHL in goals, trailing only Corey Perry’s 11.

• Nash started with 8 goals through his first 7 games, but has just 1 goal in his past 4 games.

• All of Nash’s 9 goals have come at even strength, tops in the NHL.

• Nash is the only NHL player with an active streak of 10 straight 20-goal seasons.

• D Dan Girardi has been counted on for extra minutes while the NYR defense remains injured. Girardi played at least 32:58 in each of the Rangers’ last two games.

• The last Ranger to log at least 30 minutes of ice time in 3 consecutive games was Brian Leetch, who did so in 8 straight games in Dec. of 2000.

• G Henrik Lundqvist (5-3-1, 2.85 GAA, .902 SV%, 2 SO) has all 5 Ranger wins in net. While Lundqvist already has 2 shutouts this season, he has also given up 3+ goals 5 times in his first 9 games.

Avalanche furious over referee decision to not stop play after Calvert injury

6 Comments

Thanks to huge performances from Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar on Saturday night, the Colorado Avalanche were able to pick up a 5-4 overtime win in Vancouver to gain a little more ground on the first place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

Makar continued to look like an emerging superstar with four points, while MacKinnon looked like an MVP candidate with two goals, including a highlight reel coast-to-coast goal in overtime to win it.

One of the biggest reasons the game even made it to overtime was because of a late third period rally by the Canucks that saw them score two goals in the final three minutes. The manner in which the Canucks scored the first of those two goals left the Avalanche completely livid.

It all happened after forward Matt Calvert was struck in the side head by an Elias Pettersson shot from point-blank range and remained down on the ice, bleeding from his head. The on-ice officials allowed play to continue and it ultimately resulted in Alex Edler scoring to bring to the Canucks to within one.

You can the sequence in the video above.

Here is the rule that is relevant to why play was allowed to continue:

When a player is injured so that he cannot continue play or go to his bench, the play shall not be stopped until the injured player’s team has secured control of the puck. If the player’s team is in control of the puck at the time of injury, play shall be stopped immediately unless his team is in a scoring position.

In the case where it is obvious that a player has sustained a serious injury, the referee and/or linesman may stop the play immediately.

The Avalanche never regained position of the puck during that sequence so play was allowed to continue. The last part of the rule is what is most relevant to this situation because it brings up a very important question: If a player bleeding from their head isn’t enough to be considered a serious injury to immediately stop play, what is?

The Avalanche were understandably angry, with defenseman Erik Johnson having the harshest words, via The Athletic’s Ryan S. Clark.

“It’s a [expletive] joke. You want to protect a guy? Guy’s got a family at home, he’s laying there bleeding out of his head and you don’t blow the whistle? It’s a complete joke. An absolute joke. They should be ashamed of themselves.”

Said head coach Jared Bednar: “That’s the second time in two weeks a guy takes a puck to the face and is bleeding all over the ice. Sometimes it’s a tough call to make, but in that situation, you should’ve blown it dead.”

During an appearance on Sportsnet with Scott Oake after the game MacKinnon took it in a different direction and played the “What if it was LeBron James?” card.

“I can only imagine if that was LeBron James, his head was bleeding and they let the other team take a three-pointer to tie the game,” said MacKinnon. “I know it’s not the ref’s fault, it’s the league rule, but I think you need to look and who’s laying on the ice.”

The rule is what it is (and one that probably needs to be re-examined, especially if you are serious about player safety), but there is still that segment of it that does give the referees the option to stop play. That brings it back to the question mentioned above — what sort of injury is considered serious enough to warrant a whistle?

This is not the first time something like this has happened. During the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Pittsburgh Penguins scored a game-tying goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets after Zach Werenski was struck in the face by a puck and remained down on the ice bleeding. Play was not stopped, resulting in a Bryan Rust goal.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

The Buzzer: Eichel scores 4; Milestones for Stamkos, Coach Q

Getty
2 Comments

Three Stars

1. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres. Entering play on Saturday the Sabres had lost seven of eight, were riding a six-game losing streak, and needed something to go their way to get things back on track. Their captain came to the rescue in a big way. Eichel scored four goals and provided all of the offense for the Sabres in a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. It was the 10th four-goal game in Sabres franchise history and the first since Thomas Vanek did it during the 2009-10 season. It is already the the fourth four-goal game in the NHL this season, joining David Pastrnak, Anthony Mantha, and James Neal.

2. Derek Grant, Anaheim Ducks. Sometimes you need an unlikely hero to step up and the Ducks got that on Saturday when Grant scored three goals for his first career hat trick in a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The win snapped what had been a nine-game point streak for the Blues, as well as a five-game losing streak for the Ducks. Entering Saturday Grant had scored just two goals on the season and only 18 in 228 career games.

3. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. The absence of linemates Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog has not slowed down MacKinnon one bit. He took over on Saturday night with two goals — including the overtime winner — and an assist in a 5-4 win for the Avalanche. His overtime goal was a highlight reel tally that helped the Avalanche secure the two points after allowing a two-goal lead to disappear in the final three minutes of regulation. He is now up to 29 points in his first 20 games this season and has three three-point games over the past five. Rookie defenseman Cale Makar also deserves some attention for his four-point game.

Two big milestones

Stamkos scores 400th goal. It came in a losing effort, but Steven Stamkos scored the 400th goal of his career on Saturday. It is a great accomplishment for one of the best goal-scorers of this era, and it also produces a pretty big “what if” question — how many goals would he have today had he not missed so many games in his peak seasons to significant injuries and a lockout? The only active player to hit the 400 goal mark in fewer games than Stamkos is Alex Ovechkin.

Quenneville wins 900th regular season game. Thanks to the Florida Panthers’ 4-3 win over the New York Rangers, Joel Quenneville became only the second coach in NHL history to record 900 regular season wins. Scotty Bowman is the only other coach to hit that number.

Other notable performances from Saturday

  • The Pittsburgh Penguins extended the Toronto Maple Leafs’ losing streak to five games in a dominant win. Evgeni Malkin and Dominik Kahun were the offensive stars for the Penguins as they dominated a Maple Leafs team that continues to look completely lost. Read all about this game here.
  • The Dallas Stars received big contributions from Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn as they overcame a two-goal third period deficit to beat the Edmonton Oilers in overtime. Read about how Seguin and Benn were difference-makers here.
  • Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper stopped all 38 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. He also nearly sparked a goalie fight by slamming Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk to the ice. Read all about that game right here.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks no doubt remembered Pekka Rinne talking about what an “easy” game he had the first time he faced them this season. His night on Saturday was even easier because he only made it through half the game before being benched in a 7-2 rout. Alex Nylander scored two goals for the Blackhawks in the win.
  • Evgenii Dadonov scored two goals for the Panthers in their 4-3 win over the Rangers.
  • Andrei Svechnikov continued his strong sophomore season with an overtime winner for the Carolina Hurricanes. He is now up to nine goals this season.
  • Big win for the Winnipeg Jets against the Tampa Bay Lightning to improve to 8-3-1 in their past 12 games and remain surprisingly competitive in the NHL’s Central Division.
  • Here come the Sharks. Their 4-3 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings improved their winning streak to six games.

Highlights of the Night

The New York Islanders’ point streak hit 14 games on Saturday (13-0-1) thanks to an incredible rally that saw them overcome a 3-0 deficit against the Philadelphia Flyers. Mathew Barzal scored the shootout winner and it was an absolute beauty of a goal.

The best shootout goal of the night, though, belonged to Washington Capitals forward Jakub Vrana for this Datsyuk-ian dangle to beat Jaroslav Halak in the fifth round of the shootout against the Boston Bruins. The Capitals won to improve to 14-3-4 on the season. That is the best record in the NHL.

We told you MacKinnon’s overtime winner was incredible, and here it is.

Blooper of the Night

It probably has to be that bizarre disallowed goal in Montreal where Phillip Danault, capping off a chaotic scramble around the goal line. Read all about it here.

Factoids

  • Jonathan Huberdeau now has more assists than any player in Panthers history. [NHL PR]
  • Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are the third set of teammates in the past 30 years to have at least 40 points through their team’s first 22 games of the season. [NHL PR]
  • Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter skated in his 1,000th career game on Saturday, making him the 11th player from the 2003 draft class to reach that milestone. The only other draft class with that many was the 1979 draft class. The Kings were 4-3 winners over the Vegas Golden Knights on Carter’s big day. [NHL PR]

Scores

Carolina Hurricanes 4, Minnesota Wild 3 (OT)
Los Angeles Kings 4, Vegas Golden Knights 3
Dallas Star 5, Edmonton Oilers 4 (OT)
Arizona Coyotes 3, Calgary Flames 0
Winnipeg Jets 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
Washington Capitals 3, Boston Bruins 2 (SO)
Buffalo Sabres 4, Ottawa Senators 2
New Jersey Devils 4, Montreal Canadiens 3 (OT)
Florida Panthers 4, New York Rangers 3
New York Islanders, Philadelphia 3 (SO)
Pittsburgh Penguins 6, Toronto Maple Leafs 1
Anaheim Ducks 4, St. Louis Blues 1
Chicago Blackhawks 7, Nashville Predators 2
Colorado Avalanche 5, Vancouver Canucks 4 (OT)
San Jose Sharks 4, Detroit Red Wings 3 (SO)

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Canadiens have strangest disallowed goal of season (Video)

2 Comments

The final minute of the third period in Saturday’s Montreal-New Jersey game devolved into weirdness when the Canadiens thought they had scored a late goal to gain the upper hand on the Devils.

It was not to be after a review because it was determined that Canadiens forward Phillip Danault had “kicked” the puck into the net with his … leg? … Knee? … Hip? Whatever it was, it was a body part that he wasn’t allowed to use to guide the puck into the net. That ruling sent the game to overtime where Kyle Palmieri scored on the power play to give the Devils a 4-3 win after overcoming a two-goal deficit.

They have now won three out of four games.

But let’s get back to that bizarre non-goal for the Canadiens because there was a lot going on in that sequence. Including…

  • It all started with Shea Weber trying to blast a one-timer from the blue line only to have his stick shatter upon making contact with the puck.
  • The puck slowly rolled to Brendan Gallagher who was in perfect position to get a point-blank shot at the net, only to have Mackenzie Blackwood get a piece of it.
  • From there, the puck trickled along the goal crease where Devils forward Nico Hischier appeared to cover the puck which should have resulted in a penalty shot. The referees either did not see that or did not feel it was worthy of being called. There was also a trip in there, just for good measure.
  • It was at that point that Danault saw the puck sitting on the goal line and attempted to — for lack of a better word — thrust it over the line. “A” for effort, high marks for creativity and doing whatever it takes, but that is against the rules.

From NHL Rule 78.1:

A goal cannot be scored when the puck has been deliberately batted with any part of the attacking player’s body into the net.

So there you go.

You can see the entire sequence in the video above.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Maple Leafs get embarrassed as losing streak reaches 5 games

Getty
9 Comments

The Toronto Maple Leafs opened an extremely important six-game road trip in Pittsburgh on Saturday night and turned to 26-year-old rookie goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo to try and snap their current losing streak.

It did not go well for him in his NHL debut as he gave up six goals on 38 shots.

That was the bad news for Toronto. The even worse news for Toronto was that even with those numbers he was by far — BY FAR! — their best player in an ugly 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that extended their losing streak to five games.

With that loss the Maple Leafs are now an extremely disappointing 9-9-4 on the season, have just four wins in their past 15 games, and have allowed at least four goals in each of their past four games.

This one might have been the ugliest of the bunch as they were never competitive.

If you wanted to you could try to look for some excuses for such a lackluster effort, and you wouldn’t have to look very far.

They played the night before and had to travel from Toronto to Pittsburgh. They are without two key forwards in Mitch Marner and Alexander Kerfoot. They started a 26-year-old rookie in goal making his NHL debut.

All true. All worth noting. But it takes about a half-second to poke holes in all of them when you consider the Penguins also played on Friday night and had to travel (from New Jersey to Pittsburgh), and were playing without Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Nick Bjugstad, and Patric Hornqvist, and were also using their backup goalie (Tristan Jarry) in net.

They still controlled the game from the opening face-off.

When asked how to fix this current mess, coach Mike Babcock went back to the same well he always goes to when things are going poorly and talked about needing to play harder.

“The number one thing is, we have to play harder, and for longer,” said Babcock (via TSN’s Kristen Shilton). And as soon as something goes bad, we can’t stop playing. Push through it. Every one of us in our life, things go bad. Dig in.”

Forget playing harder, they need to play better.

As if the pressure wasn’t already through the roof for this team things are probably about to get a whole lot worse. This is still one of the league’s worst defensive teams and has shown no real improvement in that area. If they do not get elite, All-Star level goaltending the whole thing seems to just collapse around them. In recent years Frederik Andersen was able to give them that level of play in net and mask many of their defensive flaws. This year he has not been able to do that as often, and the unsettled backup situation behind him only makes things worse (they are now 0-5-1 when Andersen does not start).

You have to feel for Kaskisuo on Saturday. He waited years for this moment and was completely abandoned by the team in front of him as the Penguins had players skating wide open throughout the neutral and offensive zones. Odd-man rushes, uncontested forwards driving down the middle of the ice, and chance after chance after chance. The play of Kaskisuo is the only reason the Penguins did not score eight or nine in this one.

At some point the temperature under Babcock’s seat is going to start increasing dramatically, and if this thing does not get turned around soon you have to wonder how much longer management will along things to continue like this. They are now 3-6-0 on the road this season (with their only road wins coming against Columbus, Detroit, and Philadelphia) and play 11 of their next 14 outside of Toronto. Their next three are in Vegas, Arizona and Colorado so things are not going to get any easier this week.

Related: Maple Leafs, Sharks, Golden Knights entering potentially make-or-break stretches

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.