Isles score four on vaunted Preds D, win second straight in Brooklyn

4 Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Slowly but surely, the New York Islanders are getting acclimated to their new home.

John Tavares and Nikolay Kulemin scored in the third period and the Islanders held on to beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 Thursday night.

Anders Lee and Kyle Okposo scored in the second period to tie the score for the Islanders after they fell behind, and Thomas Greiss finished with 44 saves. Tavares and Lee also had an assist and Mikhail Grabovski added two as New York won its second straight and improved to 2-0-1 in its new Brooklyn home.

“You’ve got to find ways to win,” Tavares said. “You won’t always have your best. We were able to beat one of the best teams in the West. You look at their team. It was a good way to battle back and find a way to win.

“Our crowd has been great. Fans have been great. They have brought energy and passion.”

Austin Watson, Filip Forsberg and James Neal scored for the Predators, who lost for the first time after opening the season 3-0-0. Pekka Rinne had 24 saves.

The game was Nashville’s first at Barclays Center, the Islanders’ new home after spending the franchise’s first 43 years at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

Tavares’ goal with 8:11 left in the third period gave the Islanders a 4-2 lead. It was his third in three games at home this season.

Neal pulled the Predators within one less than three minutes later, but they couldn’t get the tying goal past Greiss.

“It was our best game of the year by a mile,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “Worst result.”

Watson opened the scoring 2:14 into the game with an unintended assist from New York defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who redirected the Nashville left winger’s jam shot into the net.

The unassisted goal was the first of the season for Watson. It also highlighted a first period in which the Predators outshot the Islanders 17-7.

Forsberg doubled Nashville’s lead 4:22 into the second period with his second of the season. The sequence began with Neal carrying the puck into the offensive zone and taking a shot that Greiss stopped, but the puck bounced over the New York goalie and Forsberg poked it into the net.

“That’s probably the best game of the four,” Nashville captain Shea Weber said.

Lee made it 2-1 just 40 seconds later with a wrist shot that beat Rinne.

Okposo tied it with a 4-on-4 goal with 8:04 remaining in the second. He corralled a loose puck in the defensive zone and then skated up the ice and outwaited Rinne before whipping a shot into a semi-vacated net.

“It was a broken play,” Okposo said. “(The puck) hit a skate and I caught it. (I) tried to beat my guy up the ice (and) I just tried to make (Rinne) hesitate a little bit. There’s not a lot of room on the net to shoot at and I was able to get it past him.”

Kulemin stuffed a rebound of a shot by Brock Nelson past Rinne to put the Islanders up 3-2 at 6:42 of the third.

NOTES: Predators C Mike Fisher skated in his 950th NHL game. … New York D Thomas Hickey and G Jaroslav Halak missed their fourth straight game with upper body injuries. … The Islanders scratched F Steve Bernier. … Nashville scratched Anthony Bitetto, Viktor Arvidsson and Victor Bartley. … The announced attendance was 10,542, which included members of the Italian State Police.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

blackhawks
Harry How/Getty Images
13 Comments

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

Getty Images
3 Comments

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

tampa bay lightning
Scott Audette/Getty Images
2 Comments

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

Rasmus Sandin
Julian Avram/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.