Wild night in the East: Streaks, comebacks, Taylor Hall gets honest

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The East Division was the place to be on Tuesday night as all eight teams were in action, with seven of them earning at least one point in the standings (the New York Rangers were the lone exception by losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins). With so many three-point games it did not do much to clean up the playoff race, but it was a wild night that gave us a little bit of everything.

Let’s take a quick stroll around the chaos.

Islanders winning streak reaches six games

Let’s start with the team at the top. Their 2-1 shootout win was not the most exciting game of the night, but that is probably just the way the Islanders like it. That win extends their current winning streak to six games, keeps them two points ahead of the Washington Capitals, and improves them to 13-3-1 overall since the start of February.

What stands out the most about that record is that all four losses during that stretch have come against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

They are 12-0-0 against the rest of the division during that stretch. Granted, seven of those wins have been against Buffalo and New Jersey, but they are still 3-0 against Boston and outscored them 13-5.

Buffalo blows a pair of two-goal leads to extend losing streak and Taylor Hall gets honest

The Sabres had leads of 3-1 and 4-2 on Tuesday night and still managed to lose to Philadelphia in a shootout, 5-4, to extend their current losing streak to eight games.

They are now just 2-12-1 in their past 15 games, while five of their next six games are against the Penguins, Bruins, and Capitals. So things are not going to get easier.

On the subject of this latest game, forward Taylor Hall had an interesting assessment on how the team should be playing right now, especially when it comes to protecting a lead.

It has been a wild season in Buffalo.

Capitals blow big lead, but still get the win

While the Flyers were rallying against Buffalo, Washington was allowing a three-goal lead to slip away against the New Jersey Devils. For whatever reason the Capitals just seem to mail it in over the final 20 minutes of regulation and were probably lucky to even get to overtime as they were a Dmitry Kulikov shot off the post away from losing in regulation.

But once they got to overtime Jakub Vrana scored the winner (his second goal of the game) to help them get the all important second point in the standings.

Where things stand now

This race is going to be fascinating the rest of the way. Pittsburgh is trailing the top-four teams by points percentage, but they are playing much better of late and still have all 16 of their games against New Jersey and Buffalo ahead of them. The Flyers, Capitals, and Islanders meanwhile will spend most of their second half playing against and taking points away from each other.

Here are the current standings and, most importantly, the pace for each of the five teams.

 

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.

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

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.