Capitals home-ice dominance continues with OT win over Flyers

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WASHINGTON (AP) Nicklas Backstrom scored a power-play goal in overtime to lift the Washington Capitals over the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on Saturday night and extend their franchise-record home winning streak to 15.

Backstrom ended the Capitals’ power-play frustrations by beating Steve Mason 3:25 into overtime for his 20th goal of the season. It came with Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto in the penalty box for holding, the 12th minor penalty of the game.

Dmitry Orlov also scored for NHL-leading Washington, which got 30 saves from Braden Holtby. Mason stopped 22 of 24 shots, while Sean Couturier snapped out of his offensive slump to score Philadelphia’s goal.

The Flyers went 0 for 6 on the power play and are 0 for 15 this season against the Capitals.

The teams’ playoff series last spring and two contentious recent meetings turned up the intensity from the drop of the puck. Not surprisingly, Capitals disturber extraordinaire Tom Wilson and big Flyers wing Tom Wilson were part of some pushing and shoving in the first minute.

Justin Williams, feisty in facing the team he began his career with, got into it with Philadelphia’s Nick Cousins a couple of shifts later. There were plenty of big hits, extra taps and hard feelings, and Wilson and Simmonds even spent a commercial break jawing at each other on the benches.

When they calmed down with the antics and played hockey, the Capitals and Flyers traded offensive chances at even strength even as they played two periods without a goal.

Philadelphia finally cracked Holtby 1:19 into the third period when Couturier redirected a pass from Matt Read into the net for his first goal since Feb. 2. The lead lasted just 81 seconds until Orlov busted in over the blue line and fired a long-range shot that beat Mason clean at 2:40 of the third.

Mason made a series of jaw-dropping saves over the course of the game, including one with his mask in overtime. But there wasn’t much he could do on Backstrom’s 4-on-3 winner, when the Swedish center snapped a shot from near the right faceoff dot.

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.