‘Hawks beat Wings for the second time in four days

Associated Press
11 Comments

CHICAGO (AP) The special teams were quite special once again. Patrick Kane got the Chicago Blackhawks off to a fast start, and Corey Crawford stepped up when they struggled in the second period.

Not a bad little tuneup for a crucial two-game trip.

Kane scored his 38th goal on the first shot of the game and Crawford made 33 saves, helping the Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Sunday.

“That was another fast game against them,” Crawford said. “They’ve got a lot of speed. I thought we got better as the game went on. A big kill to start the third, and some big insurance goals after that.”

Artem Anisimov and Duncan Keith each had a power-play goal as Chicago won for the third time in four games, including a 5-2 victory at Detroit on Wednesday. The Blackhawks went 2 for 3 with the man advantage and have at least one power-play goal in each of their last four games.

Next up for the Stanley Cup champions is St. Louis on Wednesday night, and then a visit to Dallas on Friday night. The Blackhawks (41-21-5) and Stars are on top of the Western Conference with 87 points apiece, and the Blues also are in the mix for the Central Division title.

“We’ve got a lot of division games coming up,” said captain Jonathan Toews, who tacked on his 24th goal in the third. “Those aren’t going to be easy ones. It’ll be good preparation for the end of the year. We don’t want to look too far ahead.”

The season-high crowd of 22,247 had just started its usual derisive Detroit chant when Kane skated up the right side and beat Petr Mrazek with a wrist shot under the goaltender’s glove just 21 seconds into the game. Kane’s eighth goal in his last 13 games ran his NHL-best point total to a career-high 89.

The Red Wings (32-22-11) played without center Pavel Datsyuk, who was scratched due to an illness. Datsyuk has 13 goals and 23 assists in 49 games.

Mrazek also allowed Keith’s ninth goal before he was replaced by Jimmy Howard at 6:19 of the first. Howard finished with 19 saves.

“I didn’t think the first goal was one that should have went in,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s one that Petr normally has and so then you’re kind of down right away. The second goal was one that might have been unfortunate a little bit, but it went in nonetheless. Then the next thing you know you’re down 2-0 right away.

“You have to change momentum in the game and that’s why we made that decision.

The goaltender change sparked Detroit for a while. Gustav Nyquist‘s 16th goal trimmed Chicago’s lead to 2-1 at 8:34 of the opening period, and the Red Wings outshot the Blackhawks 13-3 in the second.

With Toews in the box for slashing, Crawford made a terrific kick save on rookie Dylan Larkin early in the third. The Red Wings went 0 for 3 on the power play.

“I think it really comes down to special teams,” Nyquist said. “They scored two and we don’t score any, so that’s the game right there.”

Crawford also made a great stop on Tomas Tatar at 3:53 before the Blackhawks put it away. Anisimov was parked in front when he tipped Artemi Panarin‘s shot past Howard for his 19th goal. Toews added another goalmouth tip-in for a 4-1 lead at 12:23.

NOTES: Blackhawks F Marian Hossa (lower body) is expected to travel with the team for Wednesday’s game at St. Louis. Hossa has been out since he was hit on his lower left leg in the second period of an overtime loss to Anaheim on Feb. 13. … Red Wings C Brad Richards got a standing ovation when he was recognized on the overhead videoboard during the first period in his return to Chicago after helping the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup last season. He acknowledged the cheers with a wave. … Blackhawks F Brandon Mashinter was scratched due to an illness. … Musician and actress Lady Gaga and her fiance, actor Taylor Kinney, got a big ovation when they smooched when they were shown on the videoboard during the “Kiss Cam” segment in the second period.

 

Golden Knights captain Mark Stone undergoes back surgery

mark stone surgery
Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery in Denver, the club announced Wednesday.

The Knights termed the procedure Tuesday as successful and that Stone “is expected to make a full recovery.”

This is the second time in less than a year that Stone has had back surgery. He also had a procedure May 19, 2022, and Stone said in December this was the best he had felt in some time.

But he was injured Jan. 12 against the Florida Panthers, and his absence has had a noticeable effect on the Knights. They have gone 1-5-2 without Stone, dropping out of first place in the Pacific Division into third.

Stone is second on the team in goals with 17 and in points with 38.

Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette charged with DUI

brunette dui
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
0 Comments

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — New Jersey Devils associate coach and former Florida Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette was arrested early Wednesday morning in South Florida while driving home from a bar in his golf cart, authorities said.

Brunette, 49, was pulled over just blocks from the ocean in the Deerfield Beach area, north of Fort Lauderdale, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report. He was charged with one count of driving under the influence and two counts of disobeying a stop or yield sign. Brunette was released later Wednesday on $500 bond.

The Devils said in a statement that the team was aware of Brunette’s arrest and gathering additional information.

According to the arrest report, a deputy was in the process of giving Brunette’s illegally parked golf cart a ticket around midnight when Brunette walked out of a nearby bar and told the deputy he was about to leave. The deputy said Brunette seemed unsteady on his feet and slurred his speech, and when he was joined by his wife, the deputy said he overheard the wife tell Brunette not to drive while the deputy was there.

The deputy remained in the area and reported watching the couple drive away about 17 minutes later, according to the report. The deputy said he watched the golf cart run two stop signs before pulling Brunette over on a residential street about a mile away from his home. According to the report, Brunette had difficulty following instructions during a field sobriety test before eventually quitting and asking for an attorney. He also declined to take a breathe test to measure his blood-alcohol level, officials said.

Online jail and court records didn’t list an attorney for Brunette.

Brunette is in his first season as associate coach of the Devils. He was interim coach of the Florida Panthers last season after taking over when Joel Quenneville resigned for his connection to a 2010 Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal.

The Panthers fired Brunette after they lost in the second round of the playoffs last spring despite him leading them to the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top team during the regular season.

The Sudbury, Ontario, native played 1,159 NHL games for Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago from 1995-2012. He was a Wild assistant in 2015-16 and worked on Florida’s staff from 2019-2022.

Stars aligned with new coach DeBoer, Nill-constructed roster

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

DALLAS — General manager Jim Nill sensed things were coming together for the Dallas Stars even before the season started with new coach Pete DeBoer and a roster mixed with proven veterans, up-and-coming young players, and even a teenaged center.

At the NHL’s All-Star break, after 51 games together, these Stars are leading the Western Conference.

“Every year you start, you put a team together, and there’s always going to be question marks,” said Nill, in his 10th season as the Stars GM. “You have ideas how you think you’re going to come together, but there’s always the unknown. . This year has been one of those years where right from the start, you could just see everything was kind of jelling.”

The Stars (28-13-10, 66 points) have their trio of 2017 draft picks that just keep getting better: All-Star winger Jason Robertson, goaltender Jake Oettinger and defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The seemingly ageless Joe Pavelski, at 38 and already re-signed for next season, is on the high-scoring top line with Robertson and point-a-game winger Roope Hintz. Wyatt Johnston, their first-round pick in 2021 and half Pavelski’s age, has 13 goals.

There is also the resurgence of six-time All-Star forward Tyler Seguin two years after hip surgery and 33-year-old captain Jamie Benn, who already has more goals (19) than he did playing all 82 games last season.

The Stars have a plus-40 goal differential, which is second-best in the NHL. They are averaging 3.37 goals per game, more than a half-goal better than last season when they were the only team to make the playoffs after being outscored in the regular season. They are also allowing fewer goals, and have improved on power plays and penalty kills.

“Where we sit at this break, I think guys are happy with that,” Seguin said, before being asked the keys to the Stars leading the West and on pace for a 100-point season with their new coach.

“Our style, our team speed, our puck speed, being predictable. All the clichés, knowing where the puck’s going. Really how we play the five-man unit,” he said. “Our pace this year, it’s been a lot quicker. There’s been some solid depth scoring this year while we’ve got one of the best lines in hockey.”

The Stars went into the break on their only three-game losing streak of the season, all 3-2 overtime losses at home.

“Those aren’t real losses,” said DeBoer, who twice has gone to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season with a new team. “I’m happy where we’re at. I like how we’re playing.”

Plus, Dallas won’t have to worry in the playoffs about 3-on-3 hockey, which has been the only real stain on their season so far. Only one team has more than its 10 losses after regulation.

“We’ve played a lot of good hockey. We’ve made a lot of good strides in our game,” DeBoer said. “We still have another level we have to get to when we get back, but there are a lot of good things that have happened. They’ve worked to have us where we are right now in the standings. Good spot to be in.”

The Stars have 31 games left in the regular season. The first four after the break at home, like the last four before their week-long hiatus.

Robertson’s 33 goals rank sixth in the NHL, and the 23-year-old has the same number of assists while averaging 1.29 points a game even after he missed most of training camp before signing a four-year, $31 million contract. Pavelski has 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists) while playing every game, and Hintz 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in only 43 games.

Oettinger, who is 21-7 in regulation, has a .923 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average since signing his three-year, $12 million contract. That deal came after 223 saves in a seven-game playoff series against Calgary last May, capped by 64 in the series finale that went to overtime.

Nill said Robertson’s production has improved even with the league adjusting to the high-scoring forward, and that Oettinger is proving to be one of the league’s best goalies. But they are just part of what has been a tremendous team effort.

“They kind of had that mojo right from the start, and it was kind of this team’s got the right mix,” Nill said. “It’s come together well, and it’s shown in the standings. It’s been good to watch.”

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.