Toronto Maple Leafs star Matthews sidelined for at least three weeks with knee sprain

Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a knee sprain, the team announced Friday.

The 25-year-old centre has 25 goals and 53 points in 47 contests this season.

Matthews missed two games earlier this month with an undisclosed injury and an illness.

Last season's Hart Trophy winner as NHL MVP was on the ice for Mitch Marner's overtime goal against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

The team said in a tweet the injury was suffered during that game.

“(He is) such a big part of our team and one of the best players in the world,” Toronto captain John Tavares said of Matthews. “Hopefully he gets back here as quick as possible. He’ll do everything that needs to be done to do that and be ready to play.”

Tavares skated between Marner and Michael Bunting at Friday's morning skate, while Pontus Holmberg centred William Nylander and Calle Jarnkrok.

“For us as a team, we have to come together and, not really try and fill the void, but just play to our team identity and what's made us successful,” Tavares added. “We’ve shown good depth throughout throughout the season.“

"(There is an) opportunity for other guys to step up.”

The injury will prevent Matthews from taking part in next week's NHL All-Star Game in Florida. The NHL announced Friday that Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov will replace Matthews on the Atlantic Division roster.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan, 27, 2023.


Vatrano's hat trick, big 3rd period help Ducks stun Avs 5-3

DENVER (AP) — Frank Vatrano scored three goals, Adam Henrique and Mason McTavish scored 24 seconds apart in the third period and the Anaheim Ducks rallied from a two-goal deficit to stun Colorado 5-3 on Thursday night and snap the Avalanche's six-game winning streak.

Trailing 3-1, Vatrano scored his second goal with 1:23 left in the second period.

The Ducks then dominated early in the third. Henrique tied it on a feed from Denver native Troy Terry at 9:42. And McTavish put the Ducks ahead when his shot trickled past Pavel Francouz.

The Avalanche had numerous chances late, twice hitting the post until Vatrano scored an empty-net goal with 50 seconds left. It's his third career hat trick and first since Jan. 20, 2020, against Chicago when he played for Florida.

“It feels great,” the 28-year-old winger said. “We're playing against the defending Stanley Cup champions, so we needed a full 60-minute effort."

John Gibson stopped 40 shots, including numerous big saves in the final few minutes. It allowed the Ducks, in last place in the Pacific Division, to finish a six-game trip 3-2-1.

“It was a one-goal game and we want to win,” Gibson said. “So I’ve got to do whatever I can.”

Mikko Rantanen scored twice, Samuel Girard added a goal and an assist and Cale Makar had an assist in his return from injury, but the Avs fell to fourth in the Central Division, a point behind Minnesota.

Francouz made 27 saves.

“Too much standing around. The urgency, intensity to our game disappeared,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said of the beginning of the third period. “We still had a chance to tie the game up, but we put ourselves in a bad spot.”

Makar had missed four games with an upper-body injury. His return coincided with Valeri Nichushkin (upper body) sitting out.

“We've got to take a hard look in the mirror,” Rantanen said. "What happened in the third, it can’t happen if we want to be successful.”

Nathan MacKinnon fed Girard 1:13 into the second period for his 40th assist to put the Avs ahead 2-1. Then with Colorado on the power play after Gibson was called for intentionally dislodging the net, Rantanen rocketed a one-timer for his 34th goal.

It took the Avs, who had not trailed during their win streak, just 3:56 to go ahead when Rantanen knocked Makar's rebound into an open net. It was Makar's 31st assist.

Despite being outshot 18-7 in the first, Vatrano tied it for the Ducks midway through the period when he converted his own fat rebound.

Vatrano scored again to give Anaheim momentum entering the third. His hat trick gave him five goals in five games.

“It's big,” Vatrano said of the comeback, “especially against them in their building. They're a great team.”


Matt Nieto received loud cheers when introduced, then skated on Colorado's fourth line a day after he was reacquired in a trade with San Jose.

“It's been a whirlwind of a day," Nieto said in a between periods TV interview, “but just to have the comfort level and familiarity is a good thing.”

Nieto had 34 goals and 47 assists in 251 games over three-plus seasons in Colorado through the 2019-20 season.

"He fits our system. He's a skater, a worker, a responsible checker," Bednar said. “He's a good addition."

NOTES: Bednar referred to Nichushkin as day-to-day. ... The Ducks were without D Kevin Shattenkirk (lower body), while D John Klingberg (illness) returned from a one-game absence. ... D Ryan Merkley, also acquired from the Sharks, was assigned to Colorado's AHL affiliate. ... Denis Malgin returned from injury and assisted on Rantanen's second goal.


Ducks: Host Arizona on Saturday night.

Avalanche: Host St. Louis on Saturday.


AP NHL: www.apnews.com/hub/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports

Rookie goalie Jaxson Stauber in form as Blackhawks dump Flames 5-1

CALGARY — Chicago Blackhawks rookie goalie Jaxson Stauber is playing like a veteran even though he's just two games into his NHL career. 

Stauber made 34 stops for his second straight win and 13 different players contributed a point as the Blackhawks beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 on Thursday.

"Looks really solid and calm in there,” said Chicago coach Luke Richardson. “They're a big team and they get to the net and they're trying to get secondary chances. He just makes a save and even if there's some scrambling going on, he doesn't look scrambly.”

With Alex Stalock (concussion) injured, Stauber and veteran Petr Mrazek are left to tend the net for Chicago. Stauber made his NHL debut on Saturday in a 5-3 win in St. Louis.

“He's had two really good showings here. Hopefully he just gets more comfortable as he goes,” said Richardson.

The undrafted 23-year-old is in his first pro season after signing with the Blackhawks as a free agent last March. He spent two years with Providence College in the NCAA and began this season with AHL Rockford.

"He was calm, cool, collected. He's been like that ever since he got called up,” said Chicago forward Colin Blackwell. “You can tell he's just locked in all the time. His routine from right when he gets on the bus, he's pretty dialed in.”

Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Chicago seized control in the second period with three unanswered goals.

Boris Katchouk's one-timer of a Luke Philp pass put the Blackhawks back into the lead.

The visitors made it a two-goal lead at 15:37 when both Flames defencemen Nikita Zadorov and MacKenzie Weeger went to Patrick Kane, leaving the middle of the ice open. Kane's pass sent Jason Dickinson in alone and he beat Jacob Markstrom over his shoulder.

Dickinson bumped up from third-line winger to first-line centre for the game due to captain Jonathan Toews (non-COVID illness) being unable to play. That meant centring Kane and Andreas Athanasiou.

"You've got to understand that (Kane) is going to be a lot more patient with the puck and poised and make some plays you probably wouldn't think were there,” Dickinson said. “He sees the ice extremely well and he makes some unbelievable passes. “

Just 32 seconds later, another defensive miscue from the Flames resulted in a two-on-one rush with Blackwell setting up Sam Lafferty for his eighth goal of the season.

Taylor Raddysh and Connor Murphy, into an empty net, also scored for Chicago (15-28-4), which entered the game last in the NHL's overall standings. Max Domi had an assist to extend his point streak to four games (one goal, three assists).

Jonathan Huberdeau had the lone goal for Calgary (23-17-9). The Flames sit outside of a playoff spot in the Western Conference after finishing atop the Pacific Division last season.

The Flames are back in action Friday night when they take on the division-leading Kraken in Seattle in their last game before the all-star break.

“It's a big game to start with and now it's an even bigger game for us,” said Flames centre Mikael Backlund. “We want to finish off well before the break and feel a little better about ourselves, especially after the way things went tonight.”

Markstrom had 24 stops for the Flames. His record fell to 13-13-5. On 10 occasions this season, Markstrom has received one or no goals for support.

“Obviously it's unacceptable,” said Huberdeau. “The way we came out and the way we played, too many odd-man rushes. They had so many chances. I feel bad for (Markstrom) because he's been playing (well) lately and we're not playing good in front of him.”

The scattered booing from disgruntled fans throughout the third period was at its loudest at the final buzzer as Calgary players left the ice.

“We made some glaring errors on the back end that cost us goals against,” said Flames coach Darryl Sutter. “You've got some defencemen that even though they're younger guys, they also have to take some leadership in it too in terms of direction and poise.”



Both teams were missing key players. Calgary defenceman Chris Tanev (upper body) was out. His spot was taken by Connor Mackey, a healthy scratch the last 16 games.

Philp was inserted into the lineup for Toews and recorded his first NHL point.



 Tyler Toffoli played in the 700th game of his career. He has played 86 games for the Flames.

Toffoli has also played for Los Angeles (515), Vancouver (10) and Montreal (89).



Blackhawks: Wrap up a three-game road trip on Saturday in Edmonton.

Flames: Are back in action Friday night in Seattle.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023. 

Schmaltz has hat trick to back Vejmelka in Coyotes' 5-0 win

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Nick Schmaltz had his first NHL hat trick, Karel Vejmelka made 33 saves for his third shutout of the season and the Arizona Coyotes beat the St. Louis Blues 5-0 on Thursday night.

Schmaltz scored twice in a three-minute span midway through the second period, and scored again 13 seconds into the third period when his shot slid past the red line as one of the Blues knocked the goal off its moorings in a scramble in front of the net. The goal was confirmed after a review.

“Pretty cool,” Schmaltz said. “I feel like our game as a line and the team has been trending in the right direction and got rewarded tonight. It's always fun when you can score and contribute in a big win like that. Lot of fun out there. Happy to get the first ‘hatty.’”

Travis Boyd and Barrett Hayton also scored in for the Coyotes in their third victory 15 games. Hayton has five goals in his last 11 games.

“It was kind of a weird play,” Schmaltz said anout his third goal. “I thought their guy pushed it (cage) off initially but I didn't really know, so I just tried to whack it. Lucky enough they buzzed it right before they were ready to drop the puck for a faceoff. Fortunate to get that bounce."

Vejmelka stopped a point-blank shot by Jordan Kyrou just before Schmaltz’s first goal, in what turned out to be the Blues' best scoring chance.

“He was rested. He was ready. He was confident,” Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said about Vejmelka, who had alternated with Connor Ingram for the last eight games. “It was rare that they had a shot tonight that I was worried. There were not many situations where I was, ‘Oh, what is going to happen here.’ He was in control."

Schmaltz scored his first goal 11 minutes into the second period when he tipped in cross-ice pass from Lawson Crouse for a 1-0 lead. Schmaltz picked up a loose puck along the boards three minutes later and skated in alone on Thomas Greiss, beating him high on the glove side. Greiss had 22 saves.

The Coyotes killed three power plays. St Louis had scored 14 power-play goals in its last 18 games, eighth in the league in that span. The Blues have lost three in a row and five of seven to fall back to .500 at 23-23-3.

“Those are three teams where you look at the schedule, and all due respect to to any team in this league, but those are the games you have to play better and grab points," said Blues forward Brayden Schenn, whose team lost to Chicago and Buffalo in the previous two. “To come away with zero points, it's obviously tough, and now you find yourself digging out of a hole again. Obviously not playing our best hockey right now.”

Defenseman Justin Faulk appeared to give the Blues a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game with a goal from the right circle, but the goal was disallowed when Robert Thomas was called for goaltender interference. Thomas skated through the crease moments before the shot went in, although the contact appeared negligible. Vejmelka said he was struck over the shoulder.

“Nothing crazy,” Vejmelka said of the contact, "but it's no goal. They (Blues) played a really good game the first two periods. We need more wins right now. We have to be strong in the last game before the break.”


Coyotes D Shayne Gostisbehere (upper body) is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks after being injured in the third period against Anaheim on Tuesday night. He has nine goals and 20 assists, second on the team in points to F Clayton Keller (42). … Thomas was removed from the game midway through the second period after taking a stick in the midsection and did not return. … Coyotes F Matias Maccelli returned after missing 16 games with a lower-body injury. Crouse returned after missing four games with an upper-body injury.


Blues: At Colorado on Saturday night.

Coyotes: At Anaheim on Saturday night.


AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://www.twitter.com/AP--NHL

Boldy, Zuccarello lead Wild past Flyers 3-2 in OT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Mats Zuccarello scored in overtime, Matt Boldy had two goals and the Minnesota Wild returned home with a 3-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves for Minnesota, which had lost three in a row and was 1-3 on a four-game road trip that slipped the Wild out of the top eight spots in the Western Conference wild-card standings.

Boldy, who assisted on Zuccarello’s winner, had his third multi-goal game of the season. The 21-year-old left wing has 16 goals in his second NHL season and has seven points during a four-game point streak.

“You want to get out of it as quick as you can,” Boldy said of the losing streak. “I think it was just kind of get to our game, play our style and not give them anything. I think we’re giving teams a little bit too much. We played really well tonight, really hard.”

With goalie Carter Hart pulled in the final minutes, Tony DeAngelo sent the game into overtime for the Flyers with his eighth goal of the season with 1:28 remaining in regulation. He wristed a shot high above Fleury’s shoulder that just found its way under the crossbar.

Noah Cates also scored for Philadelphia, which has lost five of seven. Hart stopped 20 shots.

“Happy we get a point, but it leaves you wanting more,” Flyers coach John Tortorella said.

While the teams are infrequent opponents in separate conferences, both appeared to be looking for an early spark. There were three matching fighting majors in the first 10 minutes, all coming within 16 seconds of each other.

Another fight came early in the second period and there was a big skirmish behind Minnesota’s net in the third.

“We lost three in a row,” said Wild forward Ryan Reaves, who started the series of fights against Nicolas Deslauriers. “They were outshooting us and in our zone a lot. Just a little sleepy start. I think it was time to try to build some energy. That’s my job.”

The Wild’s tough road trip included the benching of veteran defenseman Matt Dumba for two games. Veteran center Ryan Hartman, who scored 34 goals last season while part of Minnesota’s top line, was a healthy scratch Thursday, with coach Dean Evason lambasting Hartman’s penchant for taking penalties.

Cates, a Minnesota native, was credited with a goal to open the scoring just 5:14 into the first period. Rasmus Ristolainen’s point shot deflected off Cates and trickled past Fleury.

“Definitely super special, very happy with that,” Cates said. “Definitely have scored in other situations: high school and college, I think, I scored here as well, so definitely nice to get one in the NHL.”

Boldy, who signed a seven-year, $49 million contract extension on Jan. 16, scored his first of the game in the second, sending home a behind-the-net pass from Marcus Foligno that first went off a Flyers stick.

Boldy’s second goal came on the power play as Kirill Kaprizov sent a pass across the crease to Boldy, who was crashing the net.

“For him to help his team he needs to shoot the puck into the net because he has the ability to do that," Evason said. “Not everybody does. A lot of guys don’t have his gifts. His shot. His vision. His positioning. He has that. He needs to shoot it in the net and understand that he’s not being selfish. He’s being unselfish by helping his team win.”


The Flyers lost forwards Zack MacEwen (upper body) and Wade Allison (lower body) during the game. MacEwen was involved in one of the fights against Foligno. Allison, who also was in a fight with Mason Shaw, later left after blocking a shot.


Philadelphia fell to 1-9 in overtime this season.

“You've got to find a way to win some of these games in overtime,” DeAngelo said. “We’re doing a good job of staying in every game and giving ourselves a chance to win, but not finishing the job enough.”


Flyers: Play at Winnipeg on Saturday.

Wild: Host Buffalo on Saturday.


Duchene's goal, assist lead Predators to 6-4 win over Devils

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Matt Duchene scored a third-period goal and assisted on another to lead the Nashville Predators to a 6-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Cody Glass, Cole Smith, Mikael Granlund, Filip Forsberg and Tanner Jeannot also scored for Nashville, which has won three straight and five of six heading into the All-Star break. Juuse Saros stopped 36 shots and Juuso Parssinen added two assists.

“I felt like we were the better team from start to finish,” Duchene said. “The start of the second, they came out and we weren’t quite at our best. But the last three games, we’ve beaten teams. We haven’t hung on or we didn’t have to rely on our goaltenders to steal us one.”

Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist for the Devils, who lost in regulation for just the second time in January and fell to 7-1-1 in their last nine games.

“The first period wasn’t the way we wanted to play, but I thought the second period we were starting to hit our stride until we turned another puck over in our zone,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “And that has been an area of our strength — tonight it was a weakness.”

Jesper Bratt, Yegor Sharangovich and Dawson Mercer also scored for New Jersey. Mackenzie Blackwood made 35 saves and Dougie Hamilton had three assists.

“He gave us a chance to still win that game even though we gave so many chances up,” Devils captain Nico Hischier said of Blackwood. “He plays unbelievable for us.”

Hughes extended his point streak to seven games, picking up an assist on Bratt’s first-period goal and then scoring one of his own early in the second. Hughes has five goals and eight assists during his streak.

Blackwood was active in the first, stopping 20 of the 22 shots he faced — the most the Devils have allowed in a period this season. Likewise for Nashville, the shot total was its season high for a period.

“We played with the emotion and the passion you have to play with to give you a good chance to win,” Predators coach John Hynes said.

Hamilton and Hughes each have multiple points in three straight games. Hughes leads the Devils with 21 multipoint games this season, and Hamilton is second on the team with 14.


Nashville swept the two-game season series and has won six straight against New Jersey. Hynes, who coached the Devils prior to being hired in Nashville, is 5-0-0 against his former team.


Nashville’s power play has struggled all season and especially of late, scoring just twice in 28 opportunities over the past 10 games. The Predators began the day 29th in the NHL with a 16.2% success rate but went 1 for 2 with the man advantage, with Glass scoring at 12:24 of the first period by poking a rebound past Blackwood.


It took Smith 49 games to score his first NHL goal, but the Nashville forward now has goals in two of his last three games. Both came off deflections in front.


Predators: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 7.

Devils: Visit the Dallas Stars on Friday.


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Sabres hang on for 3-2 victory over Jets to extend win streak to five games

WINNIPEG — Alex Tuch was pretty confident he could set up Tage Thompson for a goal on Thursday. He was right.

The Buffalo Sabres forward skated toward the side of the net and then quickly passed the puck back to Thompson for a one-timer that beat Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.

Thompson's 34th goal of the season helped the Sabres beat the Jets 3-2 to extend their win streak to five games.

“He’s always ready for the puck, so when you can find him in an open area ... he’s going to bury it,” Tuch said.

Thompson had a goal and assist to stretch his point streak to six games, collecting three goals and seven assists in that span.

Owen Power and Victor Olofsson also scored for the Sabres (26-19-3). Jeff Skinner and Rasmus Dahlin each had a pair of assists.

Eric Comrie stopped 19 shots for Buffalo, which was playing its third game of a four-game road trip and is 5-0-1 in its last six outings. It’s the team’s second five-game win streak this season.

Nate Schmidt and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored late third-period goals for the Jets (31-18-1), who are 2-4-0 in their last six games.

“We didn’t really get out of our zone very well tonight,” Schmidt said. “I don’t think we had a lot of times where we had the puck on our stick and making the play to get out of the zone. Had a lot of times where we just weren’t confident with it.” 

Hellebuyck made 33 saves for Winnipeg, which began a three-game homestand.

Despite having a pair of power plays in the scoreless first period, the Jets were outshot 13-6 and lost 14 of the period’s 16 faceoffs.

Winnipeg did get a good opportunity four minutes into the second period on a three-on-one, but the Jets made too many passes and forward Nikolaj Ehlers could only manage a soft shot on net.

“When you start out trying to make those passes and they don’t work and you continue trying to do that, it’s not a good look,” Ehlers said. “And that’s when you’ve got to start trying to play a little simple.”

Power opened the scoring at 10:32 of the second with his third goal in as many games. He didn’t score in his first 42 games this season, but is now the first rookie defenceman to record a three-game goal streak with the Sabres.

Buffalo’s first pick and the first selection overall in the 2021 NHL draft, Power was praised by his teammates and head coach Don Granato.

“Owen is pretty amazing. Obviously, three goals in a row. I mean, it’s impressive at his age,” Granato said.

“The beauty of it is Dahlin sees him doing things that Dahlin can add to his game, and he’s sitting there watching (Dahlin) and he adds to his game right away.” 

Thompson made it 2-0 at 14:15.

Tuch’s assist on the goal gave him three goals and six assists over a seven-game point streak, the second-longest point run in his career.

Buffalo outshot Winnipeg 28-11 over two periods.

Olafsson boosted the visitors’ lead to 3-0 with a power-play goal at 10:30 of the third period.

Skinner assisted on the goals by Olafsson and Thompson, running his point streak to six games with two goals and six assists.

Schmidt helped his team avoid a shutout with a power-play goal that went under Comrie at 15:14.

Dubois halved the deficit with 42 seconds left when he notched his 22nd goal of the season. The Jets pulled Hellebuyck, but couldn’t send the game to overtime.

“We’ll get a lot more consistent with our play when we stop being so stubborn with the puck,” Jets head coach Rick Bowness said. "We’ll play a lot faster, and when you’re playing fast it’s a lot more fun and you’ll be a lot more consistent. 

"We’re slowing ourselves down and making it too easy for the opposition by our puck management.”


Dahlin’s pair of assists gave the blueliner a career-high 55 points in 47 games this season. He put up 53 points in 80 games last season.

Dahlin, who has 41 assists, also became the second Buffalo defenceman to reach the 40-assist mark in fewer than 50 games. John Van Boxmeer accomplished the feat in 38 games in 1981-82.

Thompson’s goal and his assist on Power’s marker tied his career best for points with 68.


Jets: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Sabres: Play the Wild in Minnesota on Saturday.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023. 

Alex Ovechkin scores 32nd, Capitals beat Penguins 3-2 in SO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored his 32nd goal of the season, Nicklas Backstrom had the shootout winner and the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on Thursday night.

The Capitals snapped a two-game skid and handed the Penguins a fifth loss in eight games. But Pittsburgh extended its pointw streak to six, trails Washington by just a single point in the standings and has three additional games left on its schedule.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Backstrom scored in the shootout long after Ovechkin reached 812 goals in his NHL career and Marcus Johansson put the Capitals ahead early in the third period. Darcy Kuemper ended it by denying Evgeni Malkin in the third round of the shootout.

The Penguins played past regulation for the fifth time in six games thanks to Bryan Rust’s tying goal with 7:08 left in the third period.

Casey DeSmith kept them in it with a sharp performance in place of injured No. 1 goaltender Tristan Jarry. DeSmith stopped 43 of the 45 shots he faced in regulation and overtime, including 20 saves in the first period alone.

Pittsburgh’s Danton Heinen also scored.


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Victor Hedman scored the go-ahead goal with 6:31 remaining and Tampa Bay beat Boston to tie a team record with its 11th straight home victory.

Brayden Point’s pass for Steven Stamkos on a 2-on-1 misfired, but the puck came right to Hedman. His shot from the left circle beat Linus Ullmark after the Boston goalie was run over by teammate Brandon Carlo, breaking a 2-all tie.

The Lightning matched the franchise mark for consecutive home wins, set in 2019-20. They ended Boston’s six-game winning streak and the Bruins’ run of seven road victories in a row.

Brandon Hagel and Nikita Kucherov also scored for Tampa Bay, amd Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves. Brad Marchand and Pavel Zacha scored for NHL-leading Boston. The Bruins fell to 38-6-4.


MONTREAL (AP) — Robby Fabbri scored at 2:36 of overtime to lift Detroit past Montreal.

Michael Rasmussen set up Fabbri with a pass through the crease.

Rasmussen, Jonatan Berggren and Oskar Sunqvist also scored, Moritz Seider had three assists, and Ville Husso made 20 saves.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored twice and had an assist for Montreal. Michael Pezzetta added a goal and an assist, and Jake Allen made 38 saves.


AP NHL: www.apnews.com/hub/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports

Hedman lifts Lightning over Bruins for 11th straight at home

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Victor Hedman scored the go-ahead goal with 6:31 remaining and the Tampa Bay Lightning tied a team record with their 11th straight home victory by defeating the NHL-best Boston Bruins 3-2 on Thursday night.

Brayden Point’s pass for Steven Stamkos on a 2-on-1 misfired, but the puck came right to Hedman. His shot from the left circle beat Linus Ullmark after the Boston goalie was run over by teammate Brandon Carlo, breaking a 2-all tie.

“I saw Linus went flying,” Hedman said, “I didn’t know if it was our guy or their guy (who ran over Ullmark), so I took a chance to shoot for the net.”

The Lightning matched the franchise mark for consecutive home wins, set in 2019-20. They ended Boston’s six-game winning streak and the Bruins’ run of seven road victories in a row.

“First and foremost, we had to avoid beating ourselves – manage the puck well,” Hedman said. “We had to play to our structure, and I think we did that for the better part of the game. We played pretty good hockey for most of the night, and we got rewarded with a win.”

Brandon Hagel and Nikita Kucherov also scored for Tampa Bay, which defeated the Bruins for the first time in three tries this season. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves.

“It was two good teams that played hard,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team defeated Minnesota 4-2 on Tuesday. “This whole week has been a test for us against playoff-caliber teams — heavy, skilled teams — and so far we’ve been doing very well on the test.”

Brad Marchand and Pavel Zacha had the goals for the Bruins, who fell to 38-6-4. Ullmark stopped 32 shots.

“It was back and forth all night,” Boston defenseman Connor Clifton said. “I thought we started a little slow, but I thought we were great in the second and third. Linus played great and kept us in it. Their goalie did the same thing.”

The Lightning needed just 30 seconds to capitalize on their first power play and take a 1-0 lead. Hagel was left alone in front, took a pass from Kucherov and beat Ullmark over the blocker at 10:42.

Vasilevskiy preserved the lead late in the period by robbing Zacha and David Pastrnak less than a minute apart.

The goalies continued to excel in the second. Vasilevskiy denied Hampus Lindholm, who was alone between the hashmarks, five minutes into the period. Eight minutes later, Ullmark stopped Point on a breakaway and Stamkos on a wide-open 15-footer from the slot.

“I thought he did great,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said of Ullmark, who fell to 25-3-1. “I thought he made a lot of saves look easy; he was in such good position. Vasilevskiy played great, too. He made a lot of high-quality saves. It was a playoff-type game.”

However, Marchand got the Bruins even at 1 when he beat Vasilevskiy with a low wrist shot from the left circle at 16:58.

The Lightning took a 2-1 lead 58 seconds into the third period when Stamkos won a faceoff to Kucherov, who whipped a shot past Ullmark. But the Bruins tied it at 2:24 on a goal by Zacha, who finished off a three-way passing play.


The Lightning are 19-4-1 at Amalie Arena, and 19-0-0 when they score first. The Bruins dropped to 9-2-0 when tied entering the third period.


The win was the 251st of Vasilevskiy’s career, but he’s 7-9-2 against Boston. Ullmark fell to 3-6-0 against Tampa Bay, but he's 51-13-3 overall since joining the Bruins last season.


Bruins: Continue a five-game trip at Florida on Saturday night.

Lightning: Complete a three-game homestand against Los Angeles on Saturday night.


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Fabbri scores winner as Red Wings top Canadiens 4-3 in overtime

MONTREAL — Detroit Red Wings netminder Ville Husso saved the best for last on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.

He robbed Montreal forward Mike Hoffman in the dying seconds of regulation with a glove save and stoned Rem Pitlick on a breakaway in overtime. Robby Fabbri scored on the ensuing rush to give Detroit a 4-3 victory.

"We owed him something, I think," Detroit defenceman Moritz Seider, who had three assists, said about Husso. “We never want to give up three goals against so it's definitely on us to get the W and we did.” 

Husso didn't have a favourite from his 20 saves on the night. 

“It’s a 3-3 game and it's just about trying to keep the focus for the next shot and go from there,” he said of his late-game approach.

Michael Rasmussen, Jonatan Berggren and Oskar Sundqvist also scored for Detroit (21-18-8). Playing in his 550th game, Dylan Larkin had one assist.

“That was a goalie win,” said Detroit coach Derek Lalonde. “I'd have to look back on all three goals, I don't think he loved all three of those goals but it was us as a team. 

“A ton of offence we’re giving up, easy offence. And then obviously, the end of the (third) period save and then the overtime save were game-savers.”

Montreal’s supporting cast received praise from Lalonde. Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored two goals and had an assist for the Canadiens (20-25-4).

Michael Pezzetta added a goal and one assist while Alex Belzile had two assists. 

“I knew nothing about their fourth line and this is an example of hockey,” Lalonde said. If you work and you compete, you can be a really good hockey player. That was the best line on the ice for a lot of the night.”

Harvey-Pinard was called up from the AHL on Jan. 17.

“I don't think they had a bad shift so obviously when you bring that, as a line, it’s tough not to send them out,” said Montreal coach Martin St. Louis. “We missed (Christian Dvorak) for a little and (Kirby) Dach fought so we had nine forwards for about five (or) six minutes.

"But they were really good and a big reason why we were in the game.”

It was Harvey-Pinard's first career multi-point game.

“When I was young, I dreamed of scoring goals at the Bell Centre," he said. "So right now hearing my name, it's special for me and I have to enjoy it and keep going.” 

Returning from injury, Jake Allen made 38 saves in his first game since Jan. 7.  

Detroit opened the scoring at 3:54 of the first period when Rasmussen used Chris Wideman as a screen to beat Allen with a wrist shot.

The Habs responded one minute later when Belzile pressured Pius Suter off the puck and Pezzetta jumped on it to net his third goal of the season.

The Red Wings regained their lead on the power play in the second period when Berggren hopped on a loose puck and scored the equalizer.

With Montreal on the penalty kill, Mike Matheson’s stick hit Detroit's Lucas Raymond in the face. There was no call on the play and the Swede retreated to the bench with a bloodied face.

Montreal levelled the game while short-handed seconds later. On a two-on-one rush, Dach sent a saucer pass to Harvey-Pinard, who beat Husso.

Referee Francis Charron skated over to the Wings’ bench and explained the non-call, which Lalonde and his side appreciated. 

“I think there's some grey area in the high-stick but the ref came over and explained it perfectly,” Lalonde said. “He’s got a piece of the puck on a backhand, moved it forward and it was a follow-through so it's probably the right non-call."

Detroit took its third lead of the night at 13:30 of the second period after Sundqvist redirected Dominik Kubalik’s shot from the point. 

Harvey-Pinard added his second goal by taking a centring pass from Pezzetta before beating Husso with a high backhand shot to make it 3-3.

Rasmussen was called for high-sticking with 1:04 remaining in the final period. Montreal attacked on a three-on-two rush but Husso robbed Hoffman to force overtime.

On the winner, Rasmussen made a nice pass through the crease to Fabbri, who scored his fourth goal of the season. 


Canadiens defenceman Joel Edmundson left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.


With his assist on Detroit’s third goal, Kubalik banked his 150th career point. Over his four-year career with the Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, the 27-year-old totalled 76 goals and 74 assists in 249 games.


The Canadiens head to Ottawa to take on the Senators on Saturday. The Red Wings visit the New York Islanders on Friday.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023. 

Ovechkin scores, Capitals beat Penguins 3-2 in shootout

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nicklas Backstrom was grumpier than his usual self the morning before he and the Washington Capitals faced the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“It happens sometimes when you’ve lost two in a row," he said.

By the end of the night, Backstrom flipped the mood by scoring the shootout winner in a 3-2 victory Thursday that ended the Capitals' two-game skid and kept them ahead of their archrivals in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

“It’s always good to get a chance to do the shootout and obviously nice to get a win, too," Backstrom said with a smile. "That’s all that matters. Yeah, keep grinding.”

Washington grinded out just a third win in eight games thanks to 35 saves in regulation and overtime by Darcy Kuemper and goals from Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson. Kuemper stopped Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the shootout to hand the Penguins a fifth loss in eight games.

The usually even-tempered goaltender who backstopped Colorado to the Stanley Cup last season pumped his arms in an emphatic celebration after turning aside Malkin's attempt.

“It was a huge two points for us: That’s not really a secret,” Kuemper said. “We knew how big this game was coming into it. It took us the stretch, but these games feel really good when you get the job done. We played super hard, and we earned it.”

With goals from Danton Heinen and Bryan Rust, the Penguins earned a point in a sixth consecutive game and trail Washington by just a single point in the standings. Pittsburgh also has three additional games left on its schedule, but that was little consolation after letting this one slip away.

“We’ve done a pretty good job of just fighting and battling," Crosby said. "It’s a nightly thing. We’ve got to make sure that we’re consistent, but we’ve been competing hard and finding ways and we’ve got to find another level here going into the stretch run.”

Casey DeSmith found another level in net, stopping 43 of 45 shots in regulation and OT in a start in place of injured No. 1 goaltender Tristan Jarry. DeSmith gave up six goals Tuesday against Florida and rebounded in a big way.

“I felt great," DeSmith said. "I felt like myself. I felt like I played my game, which I was really happy about. That was kind of my focus going in — just trusting my game, going out and playing it and thankfully I was able to do that.”

But so did the Capitals, who have Ovechkin and his trademark one-timer on the power play. Ovechkin's goal in the first period gave him 32 this season and 812 in his NHL career, 82 back of Wayne Gretzky's record.

Johansson gave Washington the lead early in the third period before Rust tied it with 7:08 left to keep the Penguins' point streak alive. But the Capitals thanks to shootout goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Backstrom left the building in a much happier state of mind.

“I feel like we had a good game,” Johansson said. "We want to get back to our winning ways here and rack up some wins."


Penguins: Return home to face the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night in their final game before their bye week and the NHL All-Star break.

Capitals: Visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday afternoon.


Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Maple Leafs captain John Tavares on the cusp of 1,000th NHL game

TORONTO — John Tavares was asked if there's more for him to give as he inched closer to a career milestone. 

"Absolutely," the Toronto Maple Leafs captain replied bluntly. "Absolutely." 

It's not hard to see why he's so convinced. 

Set to hit 1,000 regular-season NHL games this weekend, the 32-year-old remains a point-per-night player in his 14th season, thanks to a drive that started on the outdoor rinks of his childhood and continues to this day as Tavares pushes to adapt himself in a sport that's always changing.

"Hard to believe," the Oakville, Ont., product said of being on the cusp of becoming the 375th player to reach the 1,000-game signpost. "It's hard to take in. 

"Just a lot of gratitude for a lot of people that helped me get to this point."

Tavares has also helped himself — especially during the most recent off-season.

The first overall pick at the 2009 NHL draft's skating stride has never been a strength, but he appeared to be slowing down in 2021-22. 

The numbers were still good — 76 points in 79 games — and his grinding, relentless play below the faceoff dots remained largely unchanged. His speed in getting to the right spots, however, seemed to have taken a hit.

Tavares knew it and moved on from a private skating instructor he'd used since junior to the Leafs' in-house team.

"Fresh set of eyes," the veteran centre said. "We really need to reinforce certain habits and work on certain things, especially when you make some changes."

The focus included being more efficient in his stride.

"And a little bit lighter," Tavares said. "Use the strength and power that I do have — that I know that I have — to just continue to generate pace."

There's been a clear benefit so far in 2022-23.

Tavares is on course for 35 goals, which would be the fourth-most in his career, while the 80 points he's on track to accumulate would rank fifth on his stats page.

That's pretty good return from a player on the wrong side of 30 in a game that continues to get younger and faster.

"He's stayed true to himself and what's given him the chance to be successful," Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said. "But as he's gotten older, he's adapted to change. 

"That gives him an opportunity to grow."

Toronto defenceman Morgan Rielly, a teammate the last 4 1/2 seasons, said it comes to down mentality.

"I don't think he really thinks about the end or how much you have left," he said. "Just worries about what he can control right now."

Slated to play game No. 1,000 at home Sunday against Washington, Tavares started his NHL career with the New York Islanders and was named captain in 2013. He bolted for the team he grew up supporting, signing a seven-year, US$77-million contract with Toronto in the summer of 2018.

New York fans were gutted by the departure. The vitriol was fierce when he first returned wearing blue and white.

Tavares, for his part, has never uttered a disparaging word about Long Island.

"Two great organizations," he said. "It's been a lot of fun, a great journey. (Sunday) might be one of those times when you take a step back and reflect a little bit."

Apart from the work in the gym and on the practice rink, Tavares said the mental side of a high-pressure, demanding sport — especially in a Canadian market dreaming of a return to playoff glory — remains a work in progress.

"You never have it fully figured out," said Tavares, who suffered a devastating head injury in the 2021 playoffs, but had a clean bill of health at the start of last season. "That's just part of the journey and continuing to adapt and get better." 

Leafs defenceman Mark Giordano hit 1,000 games last season with Seattle after a long career in Calgary. He knew Tavares from summer skates, but connecting up close has been eye-opening on a roster that also boasts fellow stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

"He just puts the work in, I don't know how else you can explain it," said the 39-year-old Giordano. "A great example for all of us. I know I'm older than him, but you can look up to guys like that."

There's also an appreciation for what Tavares has done, and done consistently throughout his career, outside Toronto's locker room.

"Keeps getting better," New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said. "Guy's been around a long time — 1,000 games — and it seems like he played every game the same."

Toronto blue-liner Timothy Liljegren said young players like himself look up to Tavares.

"You realize what you have to do to be in the league for a long time," said the 23-year-old.

Giordano remembers the build-up to his 1,000th game.

"Not a huge list," he said. "It's a hard thing to do. It was a very proud moment. 

"He has it circled, for sure, on his calendar."

And teammates are convinced there are more milestones to come for Tavares as the pages of his career continue to turn.

"Loves playing hockey," Rielly said. "Loves the grind, loves the work. 

"I don't expect him to stop any time soon."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.


Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter.

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