Predators chase Leafs goalie Bernier


The Nashville Predators dominated the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period of Tuesday’s game and goaltender Jonathan Bernier paid the price. He was yanked from the contest after allowing three goals on 12 shots in the first period.

The Maple Leafs could have certainly done more to help Bernier tonight, but the netminder wasn’t completely blameless either. A good example was Taylor Beck’s opening goal just 1:52 minutes into the contest. Beck was given too much room to work with by Toronto’s defense, but his shot also looked stoppable.

Derek Roy netted his first goal of the season at 10:14 and Beck added his second goal of the night towards the end of the period.

The decision to pull Bernier might have ultimately had more to do with coach Randy Carlyle trying to spark his team than it did with Bernier’s play. Regardless, James Reimer is playing between the pipes in his place.

More D change in Dallas as Stars waive Connauton


Interesting times in Dallas.

On Monday, the club placed 24-year-old defenseman Kevin Connauton on waivers, less than a week after shipping Sergei Gonchar to Montreal in exchange for forward Travis Moen.

Connauton, acquired from Vancouver in the Derek Roy trade of ’13, appeared in eight games for Dallas this season, scoring two points while averaging 12:05 TOI per game. His role has been reduced after appearing in 36 regular season and four playoff games in ’13-14; Connauton’s been a healthy scratch on a number of occasions this year and has only played once this month, getting just 9:55 TOI (his second-lowest total of the year) in a 5-3 loss to San Jose on Nov. 8.

It seems as though Dallas GM Jim Nill is sticking with his plan of opening up opportunities for his young defensemen in AHL Texas.

Following the Gonchar trade, Nill said recent call-up John Klingberg has “earned the opportunity” to compete for a spot on the NHL team’s roster. He also named 18-year-old Julius Honka — the 14th overall pick in the 2014 draft — as well as Jyrki Jokipakka, 23, and Cameron Gaunce, 24, as potential call-up candidates.

The hope is that the group (which helped Texas win the Calder Cup last year) can find similar success at the NHL level. Dallas’ defense has been a problem spot all season long and the team is allowing 3.33 goals per game, third-worst in the league.

Five notable names who have yet to score a goal


Remember last season when Claude Giroux didn’t score his first goal until his 16th game?

Well, there isn’t a name quite as big as Giroux’s on the still-goalless list in 2014-15, but there are some notable ones nonetheless…

Matt Moulson: no goals in 14 games, with 24 shots.

“It becomes a mental battle,” Moulson said, per the Buffalo News. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t lose a couple of nights sleep over this past little while. You have to keep working. It’s amazing how a goal off your leg or your behind all of a sudden injects confidence into your game.”

At least Moulson’s misery has some company on the struggling Sabres. Teammate Brian Gionta has no goals on 21 shots.

— Ales Hemsky: no goals in 12 games, with 20 shots.

“It’s a new city, new surroundings, new coaches. That takes time,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said recently in Hemsky’s defense. “You go around the league and look at players that have switched teams. I can probably give you three or four right away, and you’ll say, ‘Man, that guy hasn’t scored yet.’ It’s not easy.”

— Alex Semin: no goals in nine games, with 12 shots.

Another unproductive night Tuesday versus Columbus for the man with the $7 million cap hit. He didn’t even register a shot against the Blue Jackets, after sitting three games as a healthy scratch.

— Nick Bjugstad: no goals in 10 games, with 28 shots.

Notable mostly because of all those shots. Among NHL forwards, he’s tied with Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg for the most shots without a goal.

“Nick has been a great player for us. He’s probably hit five or six goalposts, he’s played real well and it’s just some tough luck right now. You go through those things,” coach Gerard Gallant said, per the Sun Sentinel. “The good thing is we’re playing pretty good hockey and we know Nick is going to score, the other guys are going to score goals, it’s just a matter of time.”

— Olli Jokinen: no goals in 12 games, with 21 shots.

But the 35-year-old is clearly doing something right in the eyes of coach Peter Laviolette, given he played a season-high 16:32 Tuesday in Winnipeg.

“Olli Jokinen has been on the power play his whole life and we’ve asked him to come in here and kill penalties and play the wing and help out [center Calle Jarnkrok],” Laviolette said, per the Predators’ website. “That’s all he does every day. When that happens, your team evolves and becomes stronger.”

Honorable mentions: Derek Roy (19 shots), Ryan Strome (23), Darren Helm (18), Mathieu Perreault (22), Dominic Moore (21), Rene Bourque (18), Tomas Jurco (22),  Tomas Fleischmann (17), Jeremy Morin (21).

*Only forwards were considered for the above, but d-men Drew Doughty and Kevin Bieksa each have 31 shots with no goals.

Video: Preds’ Roy clears puck away at just the right in time

The Calgary Flames handed the Nashville Predators their first loss of the season (3-2 via a shootout), but Derek Roy deserves a lot of credit for Nashville earning a standings point on Tuesday.

Roy, 31, cleared what obviously would have been a goal away at the last possible moment when Calgary was up 2-1:

Here’s a freeze frame of that moment of truth:


Roy also provided a nice assist on Filip Forsberg’s 1-0 goal, even if Nashville’s lead only lasted about a minute and 15 seconds:

An afterthought of a $1 million free agent pickup this summer, it’s easy to forget that Roy has 81, 70 and 69-point seasons to his name. Things have been rough for him the past few years, but perhaps he’ll be a great bargain pickup for Nashville and turn his career around?

If nothing else, he made an impact last night.

With ‘waves of attack,’ the Preds are off to a perfect start


We wondered before the season had started if the Nashville Predators could be a surprise team in the tough Western Conference.

Well, two games in and they’re a perfect 2-0-0.

On Saturday, the Preds beat the Stars, 4-1. Two days prior, it was a 3-2 defeat of Ottawa. Both victories were of the convincing variety, with goalie Pekka Rinne having to make just 18 saves against the Sens and 17 against Dallas.

Nashville’s second line — a trio of newcomer Derek Roy between rookie Filip Forsberg and the underrated Craig Smith — has been particularly dangerous:

Also playing well? Veteran winger Eric Nystrom, who leads the team with two goals and two assists.

“Consistently, these (first) couple games we’ve just been doing the same thing over and over again,” Nystrom told the Nashville Post. “We have had waves of attack and (we’re) putting pucks at the net. It might not happen in the first period but you stick to it.”

The Preds are back at it tomorrow at home versus Calgary, before hitting the road for games in Winnipeg and Chicago.

Related: Poile likes Lavy’s ‘fun way to play’