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Lundqvist says Rangers’ play is ‘impressive to see,’ after win over Flames

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CALGARY, Alberta (AP) The New York Rangers have been a perfect fit for the speedy Michael Grabner.

Grabner and Derek Stepan scored in the first period, Henrik Lundqvist stopped 35 shots, and the high-scoring Rangers beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 Saturday night.

Grabner’s team-leading eighth goal 6:32 in the first period gave New York a 1-0 lead. It came on an innocent-looking 2-on-1 rush when his 40-foot wrister beat Brian Elliott on the glove side. In just 15 games, Grabner – who signed with the Rangers in the offseason – is just one goal shy of his total in 80 games with Toronto last year.

“Got off to a good start, got some confidence going and that makes life a little bit easier,” the 29-year-old Austrian said. “It’s been working in my favor the systems here. A lot of guys that can skate here, we’re trying to keep the game fast and that’s obviously my kind of style.”

Jimmy Vesey and Pavel Buchnevich also scored for New York, which has won six of seven. The Rangers lead the NHL with 62 goals.

“It’s impressive to see how we create chances every game,” Lundqvist said. “Sometimes it’s tough against different lineups, different systems, but we’ve been able to create a lot of scoring chances. Even the games we haven’t scored a lot we’ve had a lot of chances to do so.”

Asked if he thought the Rangers were the better team despite being outshot 36-28, New York coach Alain Vigneault said.: “In the first two periods there was no doubt. We were able to create a couple turnovers, counter attack quickly, and we were able to capitalize on our opportunities.”

Micheal Ferland spoiled Lundqvist’s shutout bid with 8:48 remaining and Elliott finished with 24 saves for Calgary, which has lost four straight and six of seven.

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan believes the game started to unravel as soon as his club fell behind on Grabner’s goal.

“We’re fragile right now and to see that go in and spot them one right there when we thought we got off to a good start and had some energy in front of our home fans, it’s deflating,” Gulutzan said. “This is a really good club and we didn’t play near the game that we needed to play and that’s on us. That’s on us, that’s on the coaching staff and myself.”

The Flames have been particularly poor at home, having lost five of their last six at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Stepan’s wrister doubled the Rangers’ lead with 8:01 left in the opening period.

Vesey made it 3-0 at 9:26 of the second as he steered a pass from Ryan McDonagh through Elliott’s pad. Buchnevich then finished off a lengthy passing sequence with 5:38 remaining in the period, scoring for the fourth straight game.

The boos from the home crowd began and the Flames were also booed as they left the ice at the end of the game.

“Not a good game,” Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. “They came out, they had a team that we knew had a lot of speed and a lot of fire power up front. We weren’t hard enough, bottom line. They made us pay.”

Ferland got the Flames on the board in the third, ending their 0-for-28 drought on the power play at home.

NOTES: Elliott fell to 3-8-0, matching his loss total from last season – when he was 23-8-6 with St. Louis. … New York is 4-0-1 in its last five against Calgary and 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings. … Flames D Dennis Wideman was back in the lineup after being scratched the last four games. …. Calgary rookie LW Matthew Tkachuk (wrist) skated this morning, prior to practice. He’s considered day-to-day… Flames C Matt Stajan was moved to left wing on the line with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. … Buchnevich, the Rangers’ 21-year-old Russian rookie, had 16 goals in the KHL last season. … Kevin Hayes and Brad Skjei each had their six-game point streaks snapped for the Rangers.

UP NEXT

Rangers: At Edmonton on Sunday in the second game of a four-game trip. The Rangers won 5-3 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 3.

Flames: At Minnesota on Tuesday night.

Looking back at the Blackhawks’ Scott Foster game

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With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to take an occasional look back at some notable “this day in hockey history” moments. Today, Scott Foster gets to play a game for the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Before there was David Ayres with the Carolina Hurricanes, there was Scott Foster with the Chicago Blackhawks.

It was two years ago Sunday that Foster, an accountant by day, was forced into action as the emergency goalie against the Winnipeg Jets.

He stopped all seven shots he faced in 14 minutes of ice-time to help the Blackhawks hold on for a 6-2 win. You can see the highlights of his performance in the video above.

At the time of Foster’s appearance the entire thing was pretty unheard of because the NHL hadn’t really seen an appearance like this — a non-professional player forced into a game — in the modern era.

It all happened because of a series of goaltending injuries that left the Blackhawks shorthanded at the position. Chicago signed Foster to an amateur tryout contract the night before the game due to injuries to Corey Crawford and Anton Forsberg. He was supposed to serve as the backup to rookie Collin Delia as he made his NHL debut. Everything was going as planned until Delia was also injured early in the the third period, forcing Foster into the game.

His performance earned him No. 1 star honors for the game.

Because the Blackhawks were already comfortably ahead when he entered the game he did not get credit for the win. It was probably the biggest highlight of the season for the Blackhawks as they missed the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.

At the time Foster’s appearance and performance was mostly celebrated and treated as the feel-good story that it was.

But when Ayres had to enter a game for the Hurricanes this season — and ended up being the winning goalie against the Toronto Maple Leafs — there was a very vocal minority that thought it was an embarrassment for the league and that, maybe, the emergency goalie protocol needed to be changed. It was eventually decided that no change needed to be made. Even with two instances in the past couple of years it is still a very rare occurrence that needs a very specific set of circumstances to actually happen.

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.

Olympic hockey on NBC: 2018 women’s gold medal game

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Hockey Week in America continues Sunday with the unforgettable Olympic women’s gold medal game in 2018.

NBC will present the women’s gold medal game at the 2018 Olympics between Team USA and Canada, won by the Americans in a 3-2 shootout in PyeongChang. With the victory, the women’s ice hockey team claimed its second ever Olympic gold medal and ended the Canadians streak of four straight gold medals.

Kenny Albert, AJ Mleczko and Pierre McGuire called the gold medal game in PyeongChang.

You can catch a replay of the 2018 women’s Olympics gold medal game Sunday on NBC at 1 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SUNDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Maple Leafs vs. Bruins (Game 7, Round 1, 2013 playoffs) – 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Golden Knights vs. Sharks (Game 7, Round 1, 2019 playoffs) – 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Kings vs. Blackhawks (Game 7, Western Conference Final, 2014 playoffs) – 12 a.m. ET on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Capitals vs. Penguins on NBCSN: Kuznetsov’s overtime series clincher

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

In 2018, the Capitals and Penguins met in Round 2 for the third straight postseason. Pittsburgh won the previous two series en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles. But this time Washington would have its revenge. Evgeny Kuznetsov would score in overtime of Game 6 to help the Capitals advance as they went on to win their first championship in franchise history.

You can catch Game 6 of the 2018 Penguins vs. Capitals playoff game Saturday night on NBCSN beginning at 12:30 a.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Capitals vs. Penguins on NBCSN: Bonino Bonino Bonino!

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

The Capitals needed a win to force Game 7 in Round 2 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Facing the Penguins yet again, the clawed back from a 3-1 third period deficit to force overtime. It was there, however, that Pittsburgh once again topped their Metro Division rivals. This time it was Nick Bonino breaking their hearts to put the Penguins on a path to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup title.

You can catch Game 6 of the 2016 Penguins vs. Capitals playoff game Saturday on NBCSN beginning at 10 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2016 playoffs) – 10 p.m. on NBCSN
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.