Today is Friday, February 23, 2018.
|Friday, February 23, 2018|
|National Hockey League|
|Wild||vs.||Rangers||7:00 (EST) Preview|
Wild to face semblance of Rangers
Friday, February 23 at 12:32 AM (EST)
NEW YORK -- The Minnesota Wild are going for their third straight victory but will encounter some unfamiliar names wearing sweaters for the New York Rangers.
The Wild will discover who is sitting out for the Rangers on Friday night when they attempt to complete a three-game road sweep of the NHL's New York-area teams at Madison Square Garden.
Minnesota has opened its trip by getting a pair of two-goal wins thanks to two flurries in the second period. The Wild scored three times in a span 4:12 in the middle period in Monday's 5-3 victory over the New York Islanders and followed it up three more tallies in a span of 5:36 on Thursday, when they rallied from a two-goal deficit and posted a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
"I see some enthusiasm like when we're down tonight and the previous game," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters. "It wasn't like 'oh here we go again', let's go out and get after them and once we got the one same as (against the Islanders), we got two and three right quickly. The enthusiasm and energy was there. It's a great thing if you can keep it going."
Chris Stewart wound up with the game-winning goal in his third game after being a healthy scratch in seven of the previous nine contests. Defenseman Mike Reilly netted the tying goal after sitting the previous four contests and Joel Eriksson Ek scored for the second straight game after going 50 games without a goal.
"We got a lot of guys playing the same way, so there's no reason sometimes that one guy sits out for another guy because you're a team of 22," Boudreau told reporters of his lineup changes. "We play it as a team of 22 right now. That's what happens."
Backup Alex Stalock delivered a sterling 38-save performance, but Devan Dubnyk will start Friday. Dubnyk made 32 saves in Minnesota's 3-2 home victory over the New York Rangers on Feb. 13 and is 9-2-3 in his last 14 starts since allowing six goals at Colorado on Jan. 6.
John Gilmour and Kevin Hayes scored power-play goals for the Rangers in the first meeting at Minnesota on Feb. 13. They are among two players who will suit up for the Rangers, but Rick Nash and Michael Grabner will not after sitting out Thursday's 3-1 loss at Montreal.
Grabner was dealt to New Jersey after Thursday's 3-1 loss while Nash is expected to be moved before Monday after spending the last 5 1/2 seasons with the Rangers.
Nash, who has 18 goals and 28 points, sat as a precaution to avoid injury before any possible trade. His next point will be his 800th but it likely will be for another team.
"That's the way it is," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told reporters. "At the end of the day you got to focus on what you need to do to go out on the ice and play a good game and that's what 20 skaters that we have in every night that's what they need to focus on."
The Rangers played Thursday with three rookie defensemen (Gilmour, Rob O'Gara and Neil Pionk) for the first time in more than eight years and will likely do so again Friday. That trio is among 17 players to play their first game with the Rangers this season.
New York enters Friday with a five-game losing streak and two home games before the trade deadline. The Rangers dealt defenseman Nick Holden on Wednesday and others besides Nash and Grabner could be dealt, including Ryan McDonagh, who has not played since a 6-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Feb. 7.
Beside the five-game losing streak, the Rangers are 3-12 in their last 15 games since consecutive wins over Philadelphia and Buffalo on Jan 16-18. The Rangers are also 2-5 in seven games since announcing to season ticket holders they were going to start rebuilding the team.
One player who will suit up is Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist owns a career-worst 2.89 goals-against average after allowing 12 goals in his last two appearances last weekend against Ottawa and Philadelphia. He has lost four straight regulation games and is 2-8-1 with a 4.24 GAA and a .881 save percentage in his last 10 games.
The Rangers are 6-4 in the last 10 meetings with Minnesota.
|Penguins||vs.||Hurricanes||7:30 (EST) Preview|
Streaking Pens head to Carolina
Thursday, February 22 at 8:43 PM (EST)
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes can both claim to have had strong recent stretches with some of their performances.
But the Penguins have more to show for it, putting the Hurricanes in a more challenging situation entering Friday night's matchup at PNC Arena.
The Hurricanes have lost three games in a row.
Both teams have been off since Sunday, so they should be fresh and ready to go.
"It's an unusual part of the schedule," Carolina center Jordan Staal said.
The Penguins are riding a five-game winning streak -- and things could be getting even better.
A couple of injured players have worked their way back and could be ready to rejoin the Pittsburgh lineup.
Right winger Patric Hornqvist, who missed eight games since he last played Feb. 2, had a strong practice Thursday.
"All signs look positive at this point," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "We thought he looked good in the practice."
Right winger Tom Kuhnhackl, who has been out for six games with a lower-body injury, also will be on the weekend trip.
When and if they're ready to play, that will create some decisions.
"Obviously, when we're completely healthy the coaching staff has some very difficult decisions," Sullivan said.
With games on back-to-back nights, there could be a chance to ease the workload for some players. The Penguins visit the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
"We have to prepare ourselves to be the best we can be each and every night," Sullivan said. "I always think back-to-backs start with a mindset. ... Obviously, the stakes are high this time of year. Every game is so critically important to help us get where we want to go."
The Hurricanes are 15-10-6 at home, but their next three after Pittsburgh's visit will be on the road.
This will be the 10th and final February home game for Carolina.
"We didn't make as much hay as we would have liked, not as many points as we would have liked," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "We're right there in every game."
Carolina has posted 40 or more shots in three of its past four games. Those chances haven't translated to huge offensive numbers otherwise.
"You see the result if you don't execute," Peters said.
So the Hurricanes are aiming to get some of their mojo back.
"It's maybe a little more frustrating for some guys," said Staal, a former Penguin. "They're hard-working games and we've worked hard. We're right there."
Penguins right winger Phil Kessel is riding a bit of a high after the big role his sister, Amanda Kessel, had in the U.S. Olympic women's team's gold medal victory. He also could be worn out a bit as he stayed up until the wee hours to watch the shootout win against Canada.
"It's a special accomplishment," said Phil Kessel, who has been part of two Stanley Cup championship teams. "It has been a good run (for the family)."
On Thursday, the Hurricanes recalled right winger Josh Jooris from the American Hockey League's Charlotte Checkers. He has played in 30 games for the Hurricanes this season.
This will be the last of four meetings between the Metropolitan Division rivals. Carolina is 2-1-0 in the first three, which were played in a span of less than four weeks.
|Jets||vs.||Blues||8:00 (EST) Preview|
Slipping Blues host soaring Jets
Thursday, February 22 at 8:55 PM (EST)
ST. LOUIS -- It was back to business as usual for the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, one day after practice was abruptly called off in favor of a closed-door meeting.
The Blues are 0-3-1 and in the midst of a season-long losing streak that has the team slipping in the Western Conference playoff race. Wednesday's meeting came after a 3-2 loss to San Jose on Tuesday night.
"Practice is one thing, but this late in the season, two days in a row, you're probably not going to practice very hard anyways," defenseman Jay Bouwmeester told NHL.com. "It was good. We're kind of a crossroads in our season. Our start really carried us, but now we're having a little bit of a tough time. We're not necessarily playing the worst hockey we've been playing all year, but we're running into good teams and it's just finding ways to win."
The Blues (32-23-4, 72 points) have slipped to the first wild-card spot and are just a point away from being out of the playoffs entirely.
The schedule isn't letting up as the Blues will host the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night, followed by a trip to Nashville on Sunday. Winnipeg (79 points) and Nashville (81 points) are the top two teams in the Central Division.
"What matters right now is everybody understands the situation that we're in, there's certainly clarity to that; that's easy," Blues coach Mike Yeo told NHL.com. "Now it's about us making sure that we come together as a group and rebuilding the trust in our game and understanding that they we go out and do things the right way shift after shift, man after man, that we're going to get the results that we're looking for."
Forward Nikita Soshnikov, acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 15, could arrive in St. Louis as early as Friday. The Blues have been waiting for his visa paperwork to be completed.
"What you like is we think he's a guy that can add to our group, not only this year but in the future as well," Yeo told NHL.com. "I think the quicker we get him in, the quicker he'll get up to speed with our group."
Friday's meeting is the fourth and final of the season against Winnipeg. The Blues have gone 2-1 against the Jets, including a 5-2 win on Feb. 9 in Winnipeg.
The Jets are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
"Some untimely penalties, our penalty kill is leaking oil right now," Jets forward Blake Wheeler told NHL.com. "So just wrong penalties at the wrong time."
Jets goalies Michael Hutchinson and Steve Mason have been cleared to play after missing six and 16 games, respectively, to concussions.
Hutchinson will back up Connor Hellebuyck against the Blues.
"The last few days, getting out with the guys and facing some real shots has been good to get the timing back," Hutchinson told NHL.com. "You feel like you haven't missed any time at all."
|Sharks||vs.||Blackhawks||8:30 (EST) Preview|
Spoiler alert: Blackhawks host Sharks
Thursday, February 22 at 11:59 PM (EST)
CHICAGO -- The San Jose Sharks will try to avoid two losses in as many nights when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night at the United Center.
San Jose (33-20-8) is coming off a 7-1 loss on the road against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. Despite the setback, the Sharks remain in second place in the Western Conference's Pacific Division behind the Vegas Golden Knights.
Chicago (26-27-8) is searching for its second win in a row after outlasting the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout Wednesday night. The Blackhawks have not won back-to-back games since January.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told his players to embrace the spoiler role, even if it is unfamiliar to them after so many years of success. Chicago has not missed the playoffs since the 2007-08 season, winning three Stanley Cup titles since.
"I don't know if I've ever been in this role," Quenneville said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's nothing to get excited about, but I still think as a staff and as a team, let's play the right way, and have fun playing competitive hockey. Be successful and enjoy it."
While goaltender Corey Crawford remains sidelined because of an undisclosed upper-body injury, Quenneville plans to give one start apiece to goaltenders Anton Forsberg and Jean-Francois Berube during back-to-back games Friday against San Jose and Saturday against Columbus. However, Quenneville has not said which goaltender will draw the first assignment.
Forsberg, 25, is 7-12-3 with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He never has faced the Sharks.
Berube, 26, is 0-0-0 with a 2.73 GAA and .857 save percentage in one appearance this season. He also has not faced San Jose in his career, which included two seasons with the New York Islanders before he signed with Chicago during the offseason.
The Sharks likely will counter with veteran goaltender Martin Jones one night after teammate Aaron Dell allowed seven goals on 46 shots against Nashville. Jones, 28, is 19-15-5 with a 2.53 GAA and .916 save percentage in 41 games this season. In seven career contests against Chicago, he is 3-3-1 with a 2.00 GAA and a .931 save percentage.
Sharks center Eric Fehr is expected to play in his second game since the team acquired him from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft. The 32-year-old did not record a point in 12:03 of ice time on Thursday.
"I was hoping to get another opportunity," Fehr told the San Jose Mercury News after the trade. "I would love to make a deep playoff run -- that's why I play hockey. I want to win the Stanley Cup. This team is loaded up and ready to go, so this is a really exciting time for me."
Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov has two goals in his last three games. Teammate Vinnie Hinostroza has four assists in his last four contests, and defenseman Erik Gustafsson has a pair of assists in his last three games.
|Canucks||vs.||Golden Knights||10:30 (EST) Preview|
Knights host Canucks in only game that matters
Thursday, February 22 at 11:29 PM (EST)
LAS VEGAS -- The Vegas Golden Knights garnered a couple more records for an NHL expansion team with Wednesday night's 7-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.
But for a team that has followed coach Gerard Gallant's "one game at a time" mantra, there wasn't a lot of celebrating afterward.
The loudest cheers, in fact, were reserved for the Canada-USA women's gold medal game on the TV in the locker room afterward.
"That's a great accomplishment so far," Gallant said when asked about breaking NHL records for most points in a season (84) and home wins (23) by an expansion team. "We're real happy and we're playing well, but, to be honest with you, we don't talk about expansion anymore. We really don't."
No, the Golden Knights (40-16-4), who lead the Western Conference and conclude a seven-game homestand Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks at T-Mobile Arena, aren't satisfied with a 10-point lead in the Pacific Division with six weeks to go until the Stanley Cup playoffs begin. And barring a massive collapse, it's fair to say Vegas will be making more history when it takes it spot in those playoffs.
"We know it's our first year and that," Gallant said. "We're talking about playing well and getting points. We've got six weeks to play. That's what the goal is. Paddle hard and get as many points as we can and see what happens on April 7th."
That means not taking the sixth-place Canucks (23-30-7), who have lost 23 of their last 32 games (9-20-3) and are biting their fingernails as Monday's trade deadline approaches, lightly.
"I watched their game against Boston the other night and they had a great game," Gallant said referring to a 6-1 victory over the Bruins Saturday night at Rogers Arena. "They go hard to the net and they have some great young players."
Gallant didn't mention that was just one of two wins in the last nine games for Vancouver, who are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to Colorado on Tuesday, a game the Canucks allowed five, count 'em, five power-play goals, including one to Nathan Mackinnon in OT.
"When you give up five penalty-kill goals, it's something I've never seen before," center Brandon Sutter, who had a goal and an assist in the loss, said. "It was frustrating to lose in that fashion. I liked our game otherwise."
Here's the scary part for the Canucks: Colorado ranks 15th in the NHL in power-play (20.3). Vegas is seventh (21.3) and also ranks second in goals per game (3.5).
Somewhat overlooked in the win over Calgary was the fact Reilly Smith became the fifth Vegas player to hit the 20-goal mark this season. The Golden Knights had seven goal scorers in the contest, including center William Karlsson who notched his Western Conference leading 31st, and right winger Alex Tuch, who had the first "Gordie Howe hat trick" in team history with a goal, assist and fight.
Left wing David Perron also had two assists to give him a team-high 41 for the season. And goalie Marc-Andre Fleury registered his 20th win of the season (20-7-2, 2.10 goals-against average, .930 save percentage), the 10th time in his career he has hit the 20-win mark in a season. Fleury ranks 13th in NHL history with 395 wins.
"It's unbelievable, obviously," Perron said of breaking the expansion record for points in a season. "Early on it was cool to look at records. I think at this point we're just trying to push teams down (the standings). We just want to keep getting better, and that's what we've been doing."
|Thursday, February 22, 2018|
|National Hockey League|
Patrick, Mrazek lift streaking Flyers over Blue Jackets 2-1
By AARON BRACY - Associated Press
Friday, February 23 at 12:08 AM (EST)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Petr Mrazek showed just why the Flyers traded for him.
Mrazek made 19 saves in his Philadelphia debut and Nolan Patrick scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, leading the streaking Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist and Shayne Gostisbehere added two assists for the Flyers, who won their fourth straight game while improving to 8-0-2 in the last 10. The Flyers (32-19-10) began play comfortably in a playoff position and moved within a point of Washington, which lost 3-2 at Florida, for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
''He was outstanding,'' Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of Mrazek. ''When they had their push, he made probably a good half-dozen excellent saves at key times.''
Mrazek was acquired in a trade with Detroit on Monday night. Philadelphia needed a goalie after backup Michal Neuvirth went down with a lower-body injury on Sunday that will keep him out four to six weeks. Regular starter Brian Elliott already was out with a lower-body injury that will sideline him for five more weeks.
''It was awesome, a huge two points,'' Mrazek said. ''I was excited for this game. The day was so long I felt like I was playing at midnight.''
Mrazek won 72 games in six seasons with the Red Wings. He made a good shoulder save on David Savard three minutes in and three excellent stops in the second period, including short-handed chances by Alexander Wennberg and Matt Calvert. Mrazek wore red-and-white pads as he waited for new ones to arrive with Flyers colors, and he sported an all-white goalie mask without any design.
With or without the matching equipment, the Flyers loved what they saw from their new goalie.
''The hard saves he made look easy,'' Giroux said. ''We're really happy for him.''
Artemi Panarin scored for Columbus (30-26-5), which dropped into a tie with the New York Islanders for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
''I thought we played good tonight,'' Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. ''We needed to kill another (penalty) and we didn't. That's what cost us the game.''
Patrick scored on a power play with 10:11 remaining. It was his second straight game with a man-advantage goal since replacing injured Wayne Simmonds on the Flyers' top line. Gostisbehere took the initial shot from the point and Patrick backhanded it home after goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped the drive from the point. Giroux also assisted on the goal, and it was Brandon Dubinsky's trip of Giroux that led to the power play.
Patrick said he's been an eager study from the bench all season.
''I watch (Simmonds) every game,'' Patrick said. ''He's unbelievable. You just learn from just watching every day.''
Giroux tied the game 1-all 2:34 into the third period when his wrist shot from the slot got past Bobrovsky on his glove side. The Flyers were fortunate on the play as Sean Couturier's pass toward the center of the ice went off Panarin's skate and right to a wide-open Giroux.
Panarin opened the scoring with 7:09 left in the second after surprising the Flyers' defense, getting in alone on Mrazek and beating the goalie on the blocker side to up his team-leading point total to 50. Panarin was serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice, and Philadelphia defenseman Andrew MacDonald was unaware of Panarin's presence when trying to receive a pass from Ivan Provorov at the Columbus blue line. Panarin snuck behind MacDonald and stole the puck on his way to scoring.
Gostisbehere upped his point total in February to 16 (one goal, 15 assists), which is tops among NHL defensemen.
NOTES: Simmonds (upper body) missed his second straight game in what is expected to be a two-to-three-week absence, while forward Travis Konecny sat out after getting hit in the left foot by a shot in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime win against Montreal. Their absence means a combined 71 points is missing from the lineup. ... After going three straight games without allowing a power play, the Flyers finally went on the penalty kill when Jordan Weal was whistled for interference with 5:19 left in the first period. ... Bobrovsky fell to 9-3-1 against Philadelphia.
Blue Jackets: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
Flyers: At the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Matthews ties it, leaves with injury; Leafs top Isles in SO
Friday, February 23 at 2:53 AM (EST)
TORONTO (AP) Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock acknowledged his team didn't play very well Thursday night, and his players know things could become much more difficult if they have to deal with another injury absence for Auston Matthews.
Tyler Bozak scored the shootout winner in the first round and Toronto squeezed out a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders after Matthews left the game. He tipped in Jake Gardiner's shot to tie it 3-all with 3:29 remaining in the third period, but exited with 1:06 to go in regulation favoring his right shoulder after being sandwiched by Adam Pelech and Cal Clutterbuck.
Matthews did not return. The 20-year-old Toronto star missed six games in December with a concussion as the Maple Leafs went 2-4 without him. He sat out four games in November with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
''Clearly he's a big part of our team and going down the stretch we're going to need him, so hopefully it's not too bad,'' teammate Nazem Kadri said.
Babcock didn't give much of an update and said the club would know more about Matthews' status on Friday at practice.
Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly had the other Maple Leafs goals, and Frederik Andersen made 32 saves. Toronto (38-20-5) has won eight straight at home for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
''Obviously, we weren't very good,'' Babcock said. ''Anybody who watches us regularly knows that we weren't that good. Saw it coming yesterday in practice, talked about it then and our preparation wasn't good enough.''
Bozak beat Jaroslav Halak high blocker side for his third game-deciding shootout goal of the season. Bozak is tied for the NHL lead in shootout winners.
''He is unbelievable at it. I mean, he always talks and jokes about it, how good he was back in the day, and he still hasn't lost that touch,'' Marner said. ''He's been great for us in that category, but I mean, I think we've got to stop going that route. Thankfully we have him or else we might be in trouble.''
Ryan Pulock, Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle scored for the Islanders (29-26-7), and Halak turned aside 28 shots. New York, tied with Columbus for the second Eastern Conference wild card, dropped to 4-6-2 since the All-Star break and 13-15-3 on the road this season.
With his three points, Barzal has a team-leading 65 and a 14-point lead over Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL's rookie scoring race.
Barzal has eight games with three or more points this season, one shy of Bryan Trottier's franchise rookie record.
''It's unfortunate we couldn't score (in overtime). It's unfortunate to lose that extra point,'' Barzal said.
''We weren't shy to push the pace early. (Clutterbuck) and (Casey Cizikas) finishing checks early kind of set the tone for the rest of us. I thought we played a pretty good game.''
Pulock opened the scoring at 8:39 of the first period, one-timing Thomas Hickey's feed past Andersen, who appeared out of position on the play after Eberle bumped into him. Barzal picked up the secondary assist.
The Islanders' rookie then doubled New York's lead, backhanding the rebound of Anthony Beauvillier's shot past Andersen for his 13th goal at 11:48.
Marner got the Maple Leafs on the board at 17:39. After picking up a feed from Kadri, he showed patience while waiting for Halak to make the first move and then beat the goaltender between the pads for his 15th of the season. The goal gave Marner 10 in his last 16 games.
Moments after the Islanders hit the post twice, Rielly tied it at 2 after taking Connor Brown's pass and beating Halak high on the glove side for his sixth of the season at 1:28 of the third.
New York responded 99 seconds later as Eberle's centering pass redirected off Nikita Zaitsev's skate and past Andersen. Barzal got the primary assist on Eberle's 21st of the season.
NOTES: Kadri's first-period assist was the 300th point of his NHL career. He became the 35th player in Maple Leafs history to reach 300 points with the club.
Islanders: At the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
Maple Leafs: Conclude their three-game homestand against Boston on Saturday.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Wild score 3 in 2nd period to overcome 2-0 deficit vs Devils
By TOM CANAVAN - AP Sports Writer
Friday, February 23 at 12:14 AM (EST)
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't patting himself on the back after putting Mike Reilly, Chris Stewart and backup goaltender Alex Stalock into the lineup against the New Jersey Devils.
The three deserved a chance to play after sitting out a while. They made the most of it.
Joel Eriksson Ek and Stewart scored in a 39-second span during Minnesota's three-goal second period that Reilly ignited, and Stalock made 38 saves as the Wild rallied from two down to beat the Devils 4-2 on Thursday night.
''We have a lot of guys playing the same way,'' Boudreau said about his moves. ''There is no reason why some guy sits out for another guy because you are a team of 22. We are playing as a team right now, so that is what happened.''
The win was the 11th in 17 games for the Wild (11-3-3) and it moved them into third place in the Central Division.
Eric Staal iced the game with an empty-net goal, his 900th NHL point.
''I still feel like I have a lot of hockey left in my career, but nonetheless it's a nice even number,'' Stall said of the milestone, which came on his team-high 27th goal. ''It's been a lot of fun. A ton of credit to the guys I've played with over my career so far and I'm hoping for a lot more the rest of my time playing.''
Taylor Hall and Stefan Noesen scored for the Devils, who have lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak. Eddie Lack made 21 saves.
Hall's 13-game point streak is the longest in NHL this season, one more than David Pastrnak of Boston.
''A couple of miscues, a couple of errors on our part ... giving up odd-man rushes, giving up easy tap-ins backdoor,'' Hall said. ''That's something we review and you've got to take care of. ''
Reilly, who had sat out the last four games, got Minnesota on the board with a little luck. His shot from the point was stopped by Lack, but the rebound ricocheted off defenseman John Moore into the net at 7:28 of the second period. It came six seconds after a Minnesota power play ended.
Eriksson Ek, who snapped a 50-game goal drought on Tuesday, poked a great, one-handed, cross-ice pass by Daniel Winnik past Lack at 12:25 to tie the game.
Stewart, who had played in only one of the last seven games, capped the outburst with a shot from the left circle that Lack probably should have stopped. It was Stewart's first goal since Dec. 19.
''We were in control for most of the game,'' Lack said. ''Guys played well enough in front of me. It's unfortunate that Stalock outplayed me. But you know what? I've got to have that third one. He found the five-hole. It was a good move by him but I've got to be better there.''
Stalock made the lead stand up in the final period, stopping 16 shots - including excellent saves on Hall, Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri.
The Devils seemed to be in control early in the second period when Noesen scored in close to make it 2-0.
Hall had given New Jersey the lead midway through the first with a power-play goal on a shot from the right circle. He has scored in three straight games and has 26 goals this season.
NOTES: After the game, the Devils acquired speedy forward Michael Grabner from the Rangers in the first trade between the cross-river rivals. New Jersey sent a 2018 second-round draft pick and 20-year-old defensive prospect Yegor Rykov to New York. ... One of the biggest cheers of the night was for the United States women's hockey team. Highlights of the gold-medal win over Canada were shown in the first period. ... Devils forward Miles Wood was back in the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for boarding. ... Minnesota's bus ride from New York City in the rain - roughly 13 miles - took 90 minutes. ... Patrik Elias, whose jersey will be retired Saturday by the Devils, dropped the puck for a ceremonial opening faceoff.
Wild: Finish a New York City-area swing at the Rangers on Friday night.
Devils: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
After tribute to shooting victims, Luongo stops Capitals
By PAUL GEREFFI - Associated Press
Friday, February 23 at 2:10 AM (EST)
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Roberto Luongo spoke eloquently on the ice and then played brilliantly in net.
On a night when the Florida Panthers honored the victims of last week's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, their veteran goalie delivered a stirring speech to the crowd during a somber pregame tribute.
Once the puck was dropped Thursday, he made 33 saves in his third game since returning from a groin injury to lead the Panthers to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.
''The first 10 minutes of the game was very difficult. I was not in a zone, that's a good way to put it. Emotions were still running high from the ceremony,'' said Luongo, who lives in Parkland, where the shooting occurred.
Vincent Trocheck scored the winning goal with 19.1 seconds left for Florida. With the score tied at 2, he redirected a shot by Jonathan Huberdeau past goaltender Braden Holtby during a power play.
Nick Bjugstad scored the tying goal for the Panthers late in the third period, and Maxim Mamin got his first NHL goal.
It was the first home game for the Panthers since the tragedy. They had been on a road trip in Canada for the past 11 days.
''We had little angels helping us tonight to help us pull out a big win here,'' Luongo said.
Trocheck celebrated his go-ahead goal by encouraging fellow players to sign his stick. He plans on donating it to the students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
''It was very emotional,'' Trocheck said. ''It was a powerful game. Powerful speech before the game by Lou. Powerful meaning behind the game. Team played great in the third period, showed a lot of character and to be able to put that in the net at the end of the game, it was exciting.''
Andre Burakovsky had a goal and an assist, and Lars Eller also scored for the Capitals. Holtby stopped 30 shots but lost his fifth straight.
Before the game, the arena video screen showed the names and faces of each of the 17 students who were killed on Valentine's Day in nearby Parkland. The darkened ice was then illuminated with 17 circles of light, with a student's name inside each one.
Players from both teams stood for the ceremony, some wiping tears from their eyes.
Luongo followed with an emotional address about how he has lived in Parkland for 12 years with his wife and children, and how much he loves the town. He lauded the bravery of those who lost their lives trying to save others and spoke about how inspiring the students have been in coping with the tragedy.
''Usually, sporting events start with a lot of fanfare and a lot of noise, and it wasn't that,'' Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. ''It had some meaning to the people in this region, it had some meaning to the players on the other side, and it had some meaning to us. After he (Luongo) got through the first period, it settled into a hockey game.''
Florida players will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas logos on their helmets and MSD uniform patches for the remainder of the season.
''I thought Louie did a heck of a job with his speech and to get in net and to throw a performance out like that after, it was one of the most impressive things I've seen in a long time,'' Panthers coach Bob Boughner said.
Bjugstad tied the game at 2 when he took a pass from Aleksander Barkov in front and poked in the puck with 3:42 left.
''The second goal they got a little fortunate on,'' Holtby said. ''I think he misplaced his pass and it went off his back foot. You just move on from those.''
Burakovsky's power-play goal gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead at 9:56 of the second. Alex Ovechkin fed the puck to Burakovsky in the slot, where he lined it up and fired a shot past Luongo.
Mamin gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 4:50 of the first period when he poked in the rebound of a shot by Ian McCoshen. Mamin's goal was his first point in eight NHL games.
The Capitals tied it on Eller's goal. Burakovsky took a shot from the high slot that glanced off Eller's stick and in with 1:05 left in the first.
NOTES: Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny, acquired from Chicago late Monday night, made his Washington debut. ... The Panthers acquired forward Frank Vatrano from Boston for a third-round pick in this year's draft. ... RW Radim Vrbata was a healthy scratch for the eighth time in 11 games.
Capitals: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
Panthers: Host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Kucherov reaches 80-point mark, Lightning down Senators 4-3
Friday, February 23 at 3:27 AM (EST)
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning are back atop the NHL.
Kucherov had two assists to reach 80 points this season and Tampa Bay defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Thursday night.
Tyler Johnson, Victor Hedman, Vladislav Namestnikov and Brayden Point scored for the Lightning (41-17-3), who leapfrogged expansion Vegas to regain the top spot in the overall standings with 85 points. Louis Domingue earned his third win by stopping 33 shots.
Kucherov, the NHL's leading scorer, has 32 goals and 48 assists in 61 games.
Ryan Dzingel, Mark Borowiecki and Derick Brassard scored for the Senators (21-29-10), who are 0-2-1 in their last three games. Craig Anderson made 20 saves.
The loss snapped the Senators' five-game winning streak on home ice. And with Monday afternoon's trade deadline quickly approaching, Ottawa players are finding it difficult to stay focused.
''There's definitely a little bit of anxiety in here,'' Borowiecki said.
''You'd be foolish to say that it's not playing a bit of a role. I've been here four years now and this is the most rumors I've seen for a lot of guys, a lot of core guys in here, and you really do your best to cut it out, but we're all humans. At some point it's going to creep in a little bit.''
Brassard made it a one-goal game by scoring on the power play with just more than two minutes remaining, but the Senators were unable to complete the comeback.
Brassard is one of a handful of Ottawa players who has been mentioned in trade speculation and he said it's hard to ignore the talk.
''We have a couple of days before the deadline, but we have to play, we have to do our job and we have to play for each other and the rest will take care of itself,'' Brassard said.
''We all have phones and social media, and even on TV. It's part of the business. I've been there before and there's nothing you can do. You try to block it and try to play. We're still trying to get better as a team and still trying to push. We just have to come here and basically play and whatever is going to happen Monday is going to happen and you just move on after.''
Ottawa made it 4-2 midway through the third as Borowiecki, with his third of the season, had a wide-open net after catching Domingue out of position. The goal was initially waved off due to goaltender interference, but the Senators challenged and upon review it was ruled a good goal.
The Lightning took a 3-1 lead three minutes into the second as Kucherov fed Namestnikov, who was able to break in alone and beat Anderson.
Ottawa had a number of chances to try and close the gap, but couldn't beat Domingue.
Tampa Bay made it 4-1 with less than a second left in the second period when Point was left all alone in front and scored his 24th of the season.
The Lightning opened the scoring midway through the period as Johnson beat Anderson high from long range. Chris Kunitz got his 600th career point with an assist.
Ottawa tied the game at the 14-minute mark as Dzingel showed off some sweet stick work and tucked a puck in behind Domingue for his 16th of the season.
Less than two minutes later, the Lightning regained the lead as they hemmed the Senators in their own end and Hedman beat Anderson through the legs from in close.
Bobby Ryan returned to the Senators' lineup after missing 10 games with a hand injury.
NOTES: LW Max McCormick and D Fredrik Claesson were healthy scratches for the Senators. ... Tampa Bay D Andrej Sustr and C Cory Conacher were healthy scratches.
Lightning: Saturday night at Montreal.
Senators: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Niemi, Canadiens defeat Rangers 3-1 to snap 6-game skid
Friday, February 23 at 3:13 AM (EST)
MONTREAL (AP) After weeks without a win, the Montreal Canadiens finally found a team they could beat in the struggling New York Rangers.
Antti Niemi made 31 saves and the Canadiens topped the Rangers 3-1 on Thursday night to snap their six-game losing streak.
Tomas Plekanec, Jeff Petry and Phillip Danault scored for Montreal (23-29-8), which won for the first time since Feb. 4 and avoided matching its longest skid of the season.
''Regardless of what happens all year, this is the feeling you play for,'' said Brendan Gallagher, who got his team-leading 36th point with an assist. ''The more we can do this, the happier we'll be. It's rewarding. A lot of guys played a really good hockey game tonight and we got what we deserved.
''For the crowd, it's been a while since we've been able to put smiles on their faces.''
The Canadiens have the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference and are 11 points out of a playoff spot.
''It's been a frustrating year for everyone,'' said Petry, who scored the game-winner in the second period. ''It's about playing a strong game. We have a lot to prove still, whether it be personally or as a team. Nobody wants to give up in here. We want to fight until the end.''
Niemi got the start in place of injured Carey Price.
Before the game, Montreal announced Price will be sidelined indefinitely with a concussion. The goalie took a shot to the mask in Tuesday's loss to Philadelphia.
Earlier on Thursday, the Canadiens also announced Shea Weber will miss the rest of the season because he needs surgery for a torn tendon in his left foot. The 32-year-old defenseman, likely injured on opening night in early October, has not played since Dec. 16.
''Those are big losses for us,'' Danault said. ''We have to learn to play without them. It's part of the game.''
Kevin Hayes scored for the Rangers (27-29-5), who have lost five in a row. Alexandar Georgiev, making his NHL debut, stopped 38 of 40 shots.
''I felt great about my game today,'' said the 22-year-old Georgiev, who was solid throughout. ''The guys played really great in front of me and blocked a lot of shots. It really helped me. I just played my game and it was very fun from the first second of warmups.''
Hayes spoiled Niemi's shutout bid with exactly three minutes remaining. The Rangers' forward appeared to have kicked the puck straight into the net, but instead deflected the puck with his stick before it crossed the line.
With Price and Weber out of the lineup, another veteran stepped up for Montreal.
Plekanec made it 1-0 at 6:59 of the first period with his sixth goal of the season. The 35-year-old beat defenseman Rob O'Gara to the puck and buried a no-look feed from Paul Byron.
In the second period, Charles Hudon connected with Petry on a 2-on-1 for Montreal's second of the game at 3:50. Hudon's saucer pass narrowly avoided Brady Skjei's slide and landed right on Petry's stick at the side of the net. Petry has scored 10 goals for the first time in his career.
The play got started with a big hit by Nicolas Deslauriers in the neutral zone.
Danault scored into an empty net from deep in his own zone with 1:17 left.
NOTES: After the game, the Rangers traded speedy winger Michael Grabner to the Devils in the first trade between the cross-river rivals. New Jersey sent a 2018 second-round draft pick and 20-year-old defensive prospect Yegor Rykov to New York. ... Grabner and Rick Nash were healthy scratches for New York, likely to avoid any injuries before Monday's trade deadline. Two weeks ago, the Rangers organization, in a letter to fans, strongly suggested a roster overhaul was imminent. ... Montreal's Noah Juulsen made his NHL debut. He finished with two shots, one blocked shot and four hits in 17:14 of ice time.
Rangers: Host the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
Canadiens: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Scandella scores in OT to give Sabres 3-2 win over Red Wings
By LARRY LAGE - AP Sports Writer
Friday, February 23 at 12:50 AM (EST)
DETROIT (AP) Evander Kane showed his skill, scoring a wraparound goal under the watchful eye of many NHL teams evaluating him in person.
Kane had a go-ahead goal late in the second period and Marco Scandella scored with a second left in overtime, lifting the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
About a dozen scouts were at the game checking out Kane as a player to possibly acquire and they had a great view of his 20th goal, which was scored directly in front of them in the press box. Kane told reporters earlier this week he expects to be traded before Monday's deadline.
He was glad the Sabres didn't scratch him to protect against injury.
''I understand the business so I can see why some teams choose to do that, but that's not what I want,'' Kane said. ''I want to be on the ice with my team, no matter what is going to happen. I don't want to watch.''
Some teams already out of the playoff race, including Buffalo and Detroit, are trying to trade players with expiring contracts for draft picks to potentially bolster the future of their franchises.
Kane is definitely a candidate to get dealt and perhaps one of the best players available.
The 26-year-old forward is expendable at least in part because he's in the last season of his deal with a rebuilding team led by first-year general manager Jason Botterill. The Sabres have not appeared to express an interest in re-signing Kane, who could command a lot of money as a free agent in July.
Kane, drafted No. 4 overall by Atlanta in 2009, was acquired by Buffalo from Winnipeg in 2015 a few weeks before the trade deadline in a deal that sent a first-round pick that year to the Jets. He has 20 goals this season, ranking second on the team, and 177 in his career.
''Talented player,'' Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. ''Real fast.''
Blashill was quick to bash the league's goaltender interference rule, which he said wasn't properly applied during a challenge of Kane's goal.
''We have a rule as grey as grey can be,'' he said.
The Red Wings scratched veteran defenseman Mike Green for a fourth straight game with an upper-body injury, but he might play Saturday at home against Carolina.
''If he's healthy to play, he'll play,'' Blashill said. ''There's risk in playing and there's risk in not playing. There might be teams that want to see him.''
Rasmus Ristolainen scored early in the game to put the Sabres ahead and Robin Lehner finished with 35 saves, including some key ones in the extra period.
''I know the fans love overtime, but that's a lot of stress for the coaches,'' Sabres coach Phil Housley said. ''I think we were probably taking too much risk in overtime, but Robin bailed us out with a couple huge saves.''
Jimmy Howard stopped 27 shots for the Red Wings.
Detroit's Jonathan Ericsson tied the game at 1 early in the second period. Justin Abdelkader pulled the Red Wings into a 2-all tie with 1:25 remaining in the third. They had a chance to win early in overtime, but Tomas Tatar failed to get a shot off on a breakaway.
''We've got to make sure we've got to keep our fight,'' Blashill said. ''When that (Kane) goal went it, it took our fight away and we can't let that happen.''
NOTES: Nashville, New Jersey, Chicago, San Jose, Colorado, Philadelphia, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, the New York Islanders, Washington and Los Angeles had scouts assigned to seats in the press box. ... The Sabres acquired forward Scott Wilson from Detroit in December for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft. After 10 pointless games with the Red Wings, he began the game with five goals and five assists in 27 games with Buffalo.
Sabres: Play at Washington on Saturday night.
Red Wings: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
More NHL hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at https://twitter.com/larrylage
Rinne earns 300th win as Predators rout Sharks 7-1
By JIM DIAMOND - Associated Press
Friday, February 23 at 2:34 AM (EST)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) For a guy who was drafted 258th overall in 2004, Pekka Rinne has put together quite a career.
Rinne made 33 saves in his 300th NHL win and the Nashville Predators routed the San Jose Sharks 7-1 on Thursday night.
After being selected the game's first star, Rinne was overcome with emotion as Nashville fans saluted him on the bench.
''I didn't want to cry, to be honest with you,'' Rinne said. ''In those moments, you take a look back. You know your parents are watching the game. It's pretty cool.''
Nick Bonino, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson each had a goal and an assist, and Scott Hartnell, Kevin Fiala and Mattias Ekholm also scored for Nashville, which has won three straight. The Predators moved within one point of expansion Vegas for the Western Conference lead.
Nashville defensemen Roman Josi and P.K. Subban each had two assists.
All of Rinne's wins have come with Nashville. He tied former Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun for 33rd place in NHL history.
''His whole career, he's just been fantastic. Not only tonight, not only this year, but his whole career he's just been incredible for this organization the way he's backstopped it for so many years with so much consistency,'' Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. ''What you see on the ice is incredible. The person that he is is even better than that, so we're fortunate to have a guy like that here.''
Logan Couture had the San Jose goal. The loss snapped the Sharks' three-game winning streak.
''It didn't feel like a 7-1 game,'' coach Peter DeBoer said. ''Obviously, we own it, that's what it ended up being. 3-1 going into the third, we're on the power play, I thought we were playing a pretty decent road game.''
Bonino scored the game's first goal at 1:55 of the opening period.
Josi's shot from the left point hit traffic in front and Bonino beat Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo to the puck near the left post. Bonino took it around the net and beat goalie Aaron Dell to the right post with a wraparound for his ninth of the season.
Hartnell made it 2-0 with 42.5 seconds remaining in the first.
From the right boards, Bonino made a no-look backhand pass to Hartnell, who was skating through the slot and tipped it by Dell.
Dell finished with 39 saves.
Couture shaved the Nashville lead in half at 8:39 of the second.
After skating the puck below the goal line on the right side, Couture lifted a seemingly harmless backhand toward the Nashville net and the puck somehow squeezed between Rinne and the near post for Couture's team-leading 25th of the season.
Nashville regained a two-goal lead at 15:57.
Fiala carried the puck into the San Jose zone on the right side on a 2-on-1 with Craig Smith against DeMelo. Fiala attempted a forehand-to-backhand move, but lost control. The puck's momentum carried it forward and it slipped between Dell's pads.
''Obviously these games, they feel awful. They're not fun to be a part of,'' San Jose defenseman Brent Burns said. ''It was like one of those just nightmare nights that's no fun to play.''
Arvidsson scored a power-play goal at 3:49 of the third, his fourth goal in three games. Johansen scored 2:40 later from the slot. Ekholm made it 6-1 at 11:00 of the third and Jarnkrok concluded the scoring at 17:51.
Rinne's teammates were thrilled to see him reach 300 wins.
''Ever since I got here, he's been the backbone of this team and he does it night-in and night-out,'' Ekholm said. ''It's a huge accomplishment and big congrats to him.''
NOTES: Smith had one assist, extending his point streak to six games. ... Arvidsson played in his 200th NHL game. ... San Jose went 0 for 5 on the power play. The Sharks have not scored with the man advantage in their last seven games. ... The Sharks are 4-5-2 against Central Division teams this season.
Sharks: Visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.
Predators: Host the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
McDavid scores winner in overtime, Oilers beat Avalanche 3-2
Friday, February 23 at 3:41 AM (EST)
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) The Edmonton Oilers weren't about to let another 2-0 lead slip away.
Connor McDavid scored at 2:19 of overtime and had an assist to lead Edmonton past the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Thursday night, two days after the Oilers blew a two-goal advantage in the third period of a 3-2 loss to Boston.
''Going into the third, we didn't want to repeat the result we had from the previous game,'' defenseman Adam Larsson said. ''They made a push, but I thought we answered it today. I thought we did a lot of good things. Even when they scored, we still felt like we had some momentum and we didn't lose that, we just kept battling and it paid off.''
Leon Draisaitl had a goal and set up McDavid's winner. Zack Kassian also scored for the Oilers, who won for just the second time in their last nine games.
''From an offensive perspective, he was a force,'' Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said about Draisaitl, who has 54 points in 56 games this season. ''He used his body very well and accelerated out of protecting the puck where he could push off and create space for himself. Really on both goals, that was nice to see. I thought that line started slow and got going as the night went on and Leon was a big part of it.''
Samuel Girard and Colin Wilson scored for the Avalanche, who have lost three of four.
''It wasn't a great game by us,'' coach Jared Bednar said. ''I think they had a good game - I don't think we did. For me, I think we're lucky to get a point out of that. I don't think it was a great team effort by us.''
The Oilers certainly had the bulk of the pressure in the scoreless first period, putting 19 shots on Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov to seven by the Avalanche on Edmonton starter Cam Talbot.
Edmonton broke the deadlock three minutes into the second as Draisaitl put on a clinic, faking out Mikko Rantanen before beating Varlamov up high with a backhander for his 18th of the season.
A few minutes later, Varlamov was able to stop McDavid on a clear breakaway and later in the period did the same against Edmonton forward Anton Slepyshev.
Edmonton made it 2-0 with 5 1/2 minutes to play in the second when Mark Letestu hooked a shot in front to help Kassian score his seventh.
Colorado got a goal back with 19 seconds remaining in the period when Girard's point shot hit the post and caromed in.
The Avalanche tied the game 50 seconds into the third when a pass deflected off an Oilers defender to Wilson, who scored his sixth of the season.
NOTES: Edmonton won the season series 2-1, including a 4-2 victory on Sunday when McDavid had a hat trick. ... Out of the lineup for the Oilers were Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (upper body), Andrej Sekera (head), Patrick Maroon (lower body) and Drake Caggiula (illness). ... Absent for the Avalanche were Vladislav Kamenev (arm), Mark Barberio (lower body), Jonathan Bernier (concussion), Erik Johnson (upper body), Sven Andrighetto (leg) and Anton Lindholm (upper body).
Avalanche: Conclude a three-game road trip Saturday in Calgary.
Oilers: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Jon Gillies makes 35 saves, Flames beat Coyotes 5-2
By JOHN NICHOLSON - AP Sports Writer
Friday, February 23 at 1:20 AM (EST)
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Jon Gillies looked a bit foolish when he lost sight of the puck at his feet and turned the wrong way as Derek Stepan tucked in a first-minute goal.
''I don't think you say, `Oh, boy,''' the Calgary rookie said. ''I didn't know where it went and it ended up on his stick. Just a bad bounce.''
Gillies rebounded to make 35 saves in his first NHL start of the season to help the Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2 on Thursday night.
''Little bit of rust to shake off,'' he said.
Called up from Stockton of the AHL with former Coyotes goalie Mike Smith sidelined by a lower-body injury, Gillies made his third appearance of the season and fourth overall in the NHL. The 6-foot-6 former Providence College goalie started and won his NHL debut last April against Los Angeles.
''He was a little nervous in the beginning, but he settled right in,'' Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. ''What I like about him is he's a big guy that's not afraid to challenge, but he's not overly aggressive in his movements. He doesn't slide out of the net, he's real controlled. A great big body that plays big.''
Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and two assists, Sean Monahan added a goal and an assist, and Sam Bennett, Mark Jankowski and Matthew Tkachuk also scored.
Coming off a 7-3 loss Wednesday night at Vegas with David Rittich in goal, Calgary snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 9-3-1 in its last 13 road games.
''I liked our compete level tonight,'' Monahan said. ''We were hungry and we weren't happy with how we performed last night.''
Stepan and Kevin Connauton scored for Arizona. Off since beating Edmonton 1-0 in a Saturday matinee at Gila River Arena, the NHL-worst Coyotes had won four straight and were 5-0-1 in their last six.
''We didn't have it tonight and it's going to be tough to play in this league against teams battling for a playoff spot,'' Stepan said. ''You got to come right in and play every single night. That's what pros do.''
Bennett and Gaudreau gave the Flames a 2-1 lead with goals 2:16 apart midway through the first period. Bennett deflected Gaudreau's pass past goalie Antti Raanta, and Gaudreau came down the open left side and fired a wrist shot that squeezed under the goalie's right leg pad for his 20th of the season.
''Had a good start and two blown coverages,'' Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said.
Monahan made it 3-1 midway through the second with his team-leading 28th goal, deflecting Dougie Hamilton's centering pass past Raanta. Jankowski scored a short-handed goal early in the third, and Tkachuk added his 24th of the season midway through the period. Connauton scored with 2:30 left.
Arizona's Zac Rinaldo hammered Matt Stajan with a shoulder check early in the first, and the Flames' Micheal Ferland retaliated by fighting Rinaldo the next time the Arizona forward hit the ice. Stajan returned to the game for his next shift.
''Our guys got physical and we scored right after that,'' Gulutzan said. ''Our guys rallied around that hit.''
NEW GOALIE, NEW DEAL
Arizona signed Darcy Kuemper to a two-year contract extension, a day after acquiring the 27-year-old goalie from Los Angeles for speedy forward Tobias Rieder and goalie Scott Wedgewood. The 6-foot-5 Kuemper was 10-1-3 with a 2.10 goals-against average and three shutouts in 19 games for the Kings this season. He backed up Raanta against the Flames.
NOTES: Smith missed a chance to make his first start in Arizona since an offseason trade to the Flames. Smith spent the previous six seasons with the Coyotes. In Calgary on Nov. 30, he beat Arizona 3-0. He was injured Feb. 11 in the final seconds of a victory at the New York Islanders. ... Hamilton and Mark Giordano each had two assists for Calgary.
Flames: Host Colorado on Saturday.
Coyotes: Host Anaheim on Saturday night.
For more NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey
Seguin snaps scoreless tie in 3rd, Stars beat Kings 2-0
Friday, February 23 at 4:00 AM (EST)
LOS ANGELES (AP) Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock could see the improved play in his Stars, but positive results had been elusive.
The Stars had lost consecutive games, been shut out in two of their last four and late Thursday night against the Kings were stuck in a scoreless game.
But then Tyler Seguin finally broke through with a goal with 8:27 remaining and Dallas beat Los Angeles 2-0 in a matchup of teams fighting for a Western Conference playoff spot.
Hitchcock's belief had been rewarded.
''It's tough to get the players to believe if you don't win,'' Hitchcock said. ''After a while, they start wondering. That's why tonight's win is really important.''
Seguin tipped in Greg Pateryn's slap shot for his 30th goal, reaching the mark for the fourth time in five years.
Backup goalie Kari Lehtonen made 18 saves for his first shutout of the season in his 21st game. Alexander Radulov added an empty-net goal with a minute to play.
The Kings had their three-game winning streak snapped. Despite facing a Dallas team that lost 2-0 the previous night in Anaheim, the Kings were outshot 28-18.
''We've got to score some goals,'' Jake Muzzin said. ''We created some chances. I think we got a little cute in the second. Our puck management wasn't that great.''
Los Angeles dominated the first period, holding the Stars to two shots on goal.
But the second period brought a quick reversal, with Dallas putting constant pressure on goalie Jonathan Quick as Los Angeles' offense all but disappeared.
Still, the game was scoreless as Seguin prepared to take a faceoff in the Kings end a little more than midway through the third.
''Right before the faceoff, Seguin came back to me and said, `Look for my stick if I get it to you,''' Pateryn said. ''He got it back to me and I basically looked him right in the eyes and shot it right for his stick.''
Pateryn's drive whistled by, nicking Seguin and going high into the net.
The Kings were unable to get rolling, and Lehtonen thwarted their late attempts to tie it.
''In the second period, we took the game over,'' Lehtonen said. ''We were the team that seemed to have more legs and more will at the end there.''
Quick made several outstanding stops and finished with 26 saves. But with Dallas controlling the puck after the first period, Los Angeles could never find any offensive rhythm.
''Not only did we spend a little too much time in our zone, we couldn't generate enough offensively,'' coach John Stevens said.
The day began with five teams all within three points of each other in the Western Conference playoff race, including the Stars and Kings.
''We played so well the last two nights, we needed to get rewarded,'' Hitchcock said. ''As well as we played tonight, we probably played better (Wednesday) night.
''At this time of the year, with so many teams involved in the West in the playoff race, every shift matters, every period matters, every game matters.''
NOTES: Tobias Rieder, making his first appearance with the Kings after arriving from Arizona in a trade Wednesday, played on Los Angeles' third line. . After three power plays in the first period, there were none in the final two periods. . Lehtonen said it felt like a playoff game: ''It's going to be like this the next 20 games. It's exciting for the players and the fans.''
Stars: Return home to play Winnipeg on Saturday.
Kings: Remain home Saturday to face Edmonton.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey