Chicago Blackhawks

AP Images

DeBrincat scores twice as U.S. routs Denmark 7-1 at worlds

KOSICE, Slovakia (AP) — Alex DeBrincat had two goals and an assist to help the United States rout Denmark 7-1 on Saturday for the Americans’ fourth straight victory during preliminary play at the world championships.

Jeff Blashill became the winningest U.S. coach in world championship history in the top division with his 18th career victory in 23 games.

Patrick Kane added three assists; Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist; and Frank Vatrano, Clayton Keller, Chris Kreider and Dylan Larkin scored a goal apiece. Goalie Cory Schneider made 21 saves for his third victory this tournament.

”Schneids made a couple of big saves early, and I thought overall we got better as the game went on and picked up an important three points,” said Blashill, also the coach of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings. ”We can still tighten up a little defensively, but overall I thought we made some good strides today.”

The U.S. is 3-1-0-1 in Group A and plays Germany on Sunday when Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin is to join the team.

Russia beat Latvia 3-1 in Bratislava and leads Group B with a 5-0-0-0 record. Canada beat Germany 8-1 for its fourth straight win, and Norway beat Italy 7-1. In late games, Sweden edged Switzerland 4-3, and Slovakia scored three goals in the first 11 minutes in beating Britain 7-1.

The Americans improved to 6-0-1-1 against Denmark, jumping to a 4-0 lead after the first period.

Vatrano scored the first goal off a breakaway with Derek Ryan. DeBrincat scored 29 seconds later on a power play, putting the puck under goalie Simon Nielsen’s glove. Keller made it 3-0 when James van Riemsdyk deflected a shot by Ryan Suter off Keller’s back. Kreider made it 4-0 late in the first.

Nick Olesen scored at 4:50 of the second to pull Denmark within 4-1. DeBrincat padded the lead at 11:55 with tap-in goal, and Larkin made it 6-1 at 13:17. Eichel scored his first goal of this tournament at 11:19 of the third for the final score.

Mark Stone scored three of Canada’s first four goals, Anthony Matha added two and Dylan Strome and Jonathan Marchessault each had three assists. Canada is tied with Germany for second in Group A behind Finland (13) with 12 points apiece. The U.S. is fourth with 11 points.

Norway avoided relegation with a second win in as many days with Mathias Trettenes’ goal 1:47 into the third the winner.

Italy ended a scoring drought of 447 minutes, 42 seconds at the worlds dating to 2017 when Angelo Miceli scored at 2:03 of the third off a shot by Armin Helfer. The goal was reviewed for a possible kicking motion after going of Miceli’s skate only to be upheld to pull Italy within 2-1. Norway answered with five straight goals.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored at 11:47 of the third to lift Sweden to the win just 1:20 after Switzerland had tied it at 3 on a goal by Gaetan Haas.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Patrick Kane sets U.S.-scoring record at world championship

Getty Images

KOSICE, Slovakia (AP) — Patrick Kane scored a goal and had two assists to become the United States’ all-time leading scorer at the world hockey championship in 6-3 win over Britain on Wednesday.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Olympian finished the game with 36 points, surpassing the 33 points U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Johnson had in the tournament. Johnson led the Americans with 11 goals when they won Olympic gold in 1980.

”It’s special when you think of all the great American players, all the kids that grow up in the USA, dreaming of playing hockey, dreaming of playing for their country,” Kane said. ”I’ve really enjoyed this tournament. This is my third time over here. It would be really nice to win it more than anything. The personal achievements and accolades are pretty nice, too.”

The Americans won bronze last year at the world championship in Denmark, where Kane had a tournament-high 20 points and was named MVP. Kane’s first appeared at the world championship in 2008, when the U.S. was eliminated in the quarterfinals with a loss to Finland.

Kane has helped the U.S. win three straight games in Group A since opening with a loss to the host Slovaks. The Americans have preliminary-round games remaining against Denmark, Germany and Canada.

The British team, which returned to the top division for the first time in 25 years, had a relatively strong showing after losing to Germany by two goals and getting routed by Canada and Denmark. Mike Hammond scored late in the first period to pull Britain into a 1-all tie. The British team scored in each of the three periods against the U.S. after having only one goal and giving up 20 goals in the previous three games.

Switzerland stayed undefeated in Group B as Andreas Ambuhl scored twice in a 4-1 win over Norway. The Swiss will likely be tested as they close the preliminary round against Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic.

Germany scored twice over the final 1:52 against Slovakia, rallying to win 3-2 to remain the only unbeaten team in Group A.

Leon Draisaitl scored the game-winning game with 27.4 seconds left after Markus Eisenschmid pulled the Germans into a 2-all tie late in the third period.

Alex Ovechkin put the Russians ahead by four goals in the first period against Italy and they went on to win 10-0 in Bratislava, extending a first-place tie with Switzerland in Group B.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Kane, Kucherov, McDavid are 2019 Ted Lindsay Award finalists

Getty Images
2 Comments

The National Hockey League Players’ Association has announced its finalists for the 2019 Ted Lindsay Award, which is given “to the most outstanding player in the NHL,” as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA.

The 2019 nominees are Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. McDavid has won the award the last two years.

Formerly known as the Lester B. Pearson Award, the TLA will be presented less than four months after the passing of its namesake and NHLPA pioneer, Ted Lindsay.

The winner will be announced on June 19 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN) at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

The Case For Patrick Kane: He led the Blackhawks in goals (44), assists (66) and points (110), and tied Kucherov for the second-most even-strength points (80) in the NHL. This past season was the second time Kane has topped each of the 40-goal, 60-assist and 100-point marks. The last time he did that was the 2015-16, which saw him win the Lindsay that year, making him the only player in franchise history to receive the award.

The Case For Nikita Kucherov: Kucherov helped the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning tie a league-best record of 62 wins, while capturing his first Art Ross Trophy. He scored a career-high 128 points to set a new single-season scoring record for the most by a Russian-born player, topping Alexander Mogilny’s 127 points from 1992-93. His 87 assists also led the NHL and tied the single-season record for the most by a winger (Jaromir Jagr, 1995-96). Kucherov could become the first Lightning player to receive the award since Martin St. Louis (2003-04).

The Case For Connor McDavid: McDavid led the Oilers (116 points), setting a career high in the process. He tied his goal total (41) from 2017-18 to finish sixth in the NHL. His 75 assists ranked second in the league and set a new career-high. If he wins the award, McDavid will become the first three-time recipient before the age of 23, and the first player to be deemed most outstanding by his peers in three consecutive seasons since Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10).

MORE 2019 NHL AWARD FINALISTS:
• Selke Trophy
Lady Bing Trophy
Masteron Trophy
Norris Trophy

————

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.

NHL Draft Lottery: What Blackhawks, Rangers gained; what Kings, Avalanche lost

9 Comments

On Tuesday night 15 NHL teams had a significant part of their future come down to a couple of ping pong balls.

In the end, it was the New Jersey Devils getting the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft for the second time in three years, going from the third spot in the lottery up to the top spot. It is there that they will have the opportunity to select prized prospect Jack Hughes and add him to their core alongside Nico Hischier (the No. 1 overall pick two years ago) and, hopefully, Taylor Hall assuming they can work out a long-term contract extension.

It was a great night for the Devils and their fans, but they were not the only team to win big.

Others, however, lost big.

It’s not an earth-shattering revelation to point out that there is a significant difference between picking first versus picking fourth, or picking third instead of 12th. You can find good players at any pick in any round, and there are always good players available, it’s just that your odds drop dramatically with each spot.

Obviously the higher you pick in the draft, the better chance you have to land an impact player that can change the long-term outlook of your franchise.

You expect to get, at the bare minimum, a consistent All-Star with the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick. You might get a good first-or second-liner with the 10th pick. You hope to just find someone that will make the NHL and have a nice career as you get toward the bottom half of the first round and beyond.

[Related: Devils win draft lottery, will get No. 1 overall pick]

But what exactly does that look like from a numbers and production perspective, and how does that impact the big winners and losers from Tuesday night?

The Colorado Avalanche were big losers

The Avalanche entered the night with the best odds of winning the No. 1 overall pick (18.3 percent) due to the fact they have the Ottawa Senators’ top pick as a result of the 2017-18 Matt Duchene trade. It could have been a PR disaster for the Senators, especially after they passed on the opportunity to send their 2018 pick to Colorado and hang on to this pick to complete the trade. Had the Avalanche won there would have been a ton of second guessing going on in Ottawa.

But the Avalanche not only did not win the top pick, they fell as far as they could have possibly fallen and ended up with the No. 4 overall pick. That is still a great position for a playoff to be in, but it is probably not going to be as franchise-changing as it could have been.

The table below shows the past 20 players to go No. 1 and No. 4 overall, their career totals, and the average games played and total production from each slot.

Obviously this is not the most scientific way to do this, but it does at least give us a little bit of a baseline of what to expect from each spot.

Look at how big the drop off is, not only in terms of the star power each side has, but also in the overall careers. There are some outstanding players on the right side (Andrew Ladd, Ryan Johansen, Evander Kane, Seth Jones, Mitch Marner, Alex Pietrangelo) and a likely Hall of Famer (Nicklas Backstrom). There are also quite a few busts, or players that did not quite fulfill expectations.

Then look at over the left side. You have two clear busts in Patrik Stefan and Nail Yakupov, a couple of really players in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Aaron Ekblad, and Erik Johnson, an injury ravaged career in Rick Dipietro … and then every other player is either a superstar or has the potential to be one day be one. There is a massive difference in value, and we are only talking about three spots in draft position, while they are both considered prime draft picks.

This is a tough break for the Avalanche.

The Los Angeles Kings were even bigger losers, while the New York Rangers were huge winners

At least if you are an Avalanche fan you have a playoff team to watch this season, while you still have your own first-round draft pick to go with a top-four pick. That is a huge bonus and can still land you a really good young player to add to your core. Not getting the No. 1 overall pick might stink, but your team is still in a great position.

The Kings, however, had some rotten luck because this is not the way they wanted their rebuild to start.

Entering the night with the second-best odds to win the top pick, the Kings fell all the way back to the No. 5 overall pick. And if you thought the gap from No. 1 to No. 4 was big, the gap from No. 2 to No. 5 might be even bigger.

The No. 5 spot has produced some legitimately great players (Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, Carey Price, Thomas VanekElias Pettersson is certainly trending in that direction) and some really good ones, but other than Ryan Murray, whose career has been sabotaged by injuries, and probably Kari Lehtonen, just about every player at the No. 2 spot has had an impact career as either a top-liner or franchise player.

At No. 2 the Kings probably would have been guaranteed to get a star in either Hughes or Kaapo Kakko. They could still get a star, or at least a really good player, at No. 5, but history suggests their odds of doing so dramatically drop.

Their fall down the draft board coincided with the Rangers going from the sixth spot to the No. 2 spot, where their rebuild now gets accelerated as they will be the ones getting the opportunity to select Hughes or Kakko.

It is a huge win for them, and it all happened because of Ryan Strome‘s overtime goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the regular season finale. If the Rangers do not win that game, it is the Edmonton Oilers in the lottery spot that would have moved to the second pick. The Oilers, of course, traded Strome to the Rangers mid-season for Ryan Spooner.

Luck is a funny thing sometimes.

The Blackhawks were HUGE winners

The Devils were the biggest winner of the night simply because they received the No. 1 overall pick. But the Chicago Blackhawks were not far behind them, and if you wanted you could probably build a convincing argument the Blackhawks were the biggest winners just because of how much they stand to gain by going from the No. 12 pick all the way up to the No. 3 overall pick.

That is a massive jump in games, goals, points, production … everything. It should — should — help the Blackhawks land another young building block, and maybe even a potential star, to go with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, and their core of veterans that are still around. The ping pong balls falling the way they did may have helped keep the Blackhawks’ championship window open a little bit longer in the near future.

The 2019 NHL Draft will take place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The first round will be held Friday, June 21. Rounds 2-7 will take place Saturday, June 22.

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.

 

Devils win 2019 NHL Draft Lottery, will select No. 1 overall

33 Comments

For the second time in three years, the New Jersey Devils have won the NHL Draft Lottery. With the third-best odds heading into Tuesday night, the Devils will now select No. 1 overall in June’s entry draft and have the opportunity to select either Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko. Two years ago they grabbed Nico Hischier with the top pick.

There was plenty of drama in the lottery, with the Rangers and Blackhawks jumping ahead and finishing in the top three with New Jersey.

Here’s how the rest of the top 15 picks landed:

1. New Jersey Devils
2. New York Rangers
3. Chicago Blackhawks
4. Colorado Avalanche (originally owned by Ottawa)
5. Los Angeles Kings
6. Detroit Red Wings
7. Buffalo Sabres
8. Edmonton Oilers
9. Anaheim Ducks
10. Vancouver Canucks
11. Philadelphia Flyers
12. Minnesota Wild
13. Florida Panthers
14. Arizona Coyotes
15. Montreal Canadiens

Three draws were held: The first drawing determined the team picking first overall, the second drawing determined the team picking second overall and the third drawing determined the team picking third overall. Once a team was assigned a pick, it was ineligible for further participation in subsequent drawings.

The remaining positions are determined by the results of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Devils general manager Ray Shero said this week he wants to add more talent to his roster. Getting the top pick in the draft is a good start in accomplishing that. It also helped that he employs a special lucky charm.

Per Sportsnet, here’s a look at some of the top prospects who could land early in the first round:

1. Jack Hughes, C, USNTDP, 5-foot-10, 168 lbs.
2. Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Liiga), 6-foot-2, 194 lbs.
3. Vasily Podkolzin, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (MHL), 6-foot-1, 190 lbs.
4. Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL), 6-foot-3, 181 lbs.
5. Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver Giants (WHL), 6-foot, 194 lbs.
6. Alex Turcotte, C, USNTDP, 5-foot-11, 189 lbs.
7. Trevor Zegras, C, USNTDP, 6-foot, 166 lbs.
8. Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon Blades (WHL), 6-foot-3, 199 lbs.
9. Matthew Boldy, LW, USNTDP, 6-foot-1, 187 lbs.
10. Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL), 5-foot-11, 180 lbs.

The Avalanche are preparing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs but owned the Senators’ 2019 first-round pick through the Matt Duchene trade last season. GM Joe Sakic is certainly happy to add No. 4 overall with wherever Colorado lands with their own pick in the final 16 selections in Round 1.

The 2019 NHL Draft will take place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The first round will be held Friday, June 21. Rounds 2-7 will take place Saturday, June 22.

————

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.