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Sunday, December 17, 2017

{allcanada} Giordano, Bennett lead Flames to 6-1 win over Canucks

 

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Mark Giordano scored twice, Sam Bennett had a goal and three assists, and the Calgary Flames beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-1 Sunday.

Mark Jankowski had a goal and two assists, and Matthew Tkachuk and Micheal Ferland also scored to help Calgary snap a three-game skid. Dougie Hamilton had two assists and backup goalie David Rittich made 16 saves to pick up his third win in four appearances.

Markus Granlund scored for Vancouver. Jacob Markstrom allowed five goals on 19 shots in a forgettable outing before getting replaced by Anders Nilsson to start the third period. Nilsson made 18 saves in relief as the Canucks lost in regulation for the fifth time in six games.

The Flames opened the scoring at 5:45 of the first period when Bennett shook Jake Virtanen's check in the corner before feeding a pass in front to Jankowski, who beat Markstrom low to the far post for his sixth of the season.

Thomas Vanek had an opportunity with seven minutes left in the opening period for Vancouver, but he couldn't control a bouncing puck at the side of the net on a play that resulted in Rittich - making just his fifth NHL appearance - getting penalized for throwing his stick.

Coming off a spirited 4-3 overtime victory over San Jose on Friday night, the injury-riddle Canucks were never in this one.

Things got worse early in the second period when Brock Boeser, who leads the Canucks in goals (17) and points (30), took a shot from Giordano off his left foot and did not return. The rookie scoring leader crawled in agony to the bench, and didn't put any weight on his left leg as he exited to the locker-room at a hushed Rogers Arena.

Giordano scored his first of the night, and fifth of the year, at 3:56 of the second with the teams playing 4-on-4 when he skated around Ben Hutton and beat Markstrom.

The Flames, who improved to 9-4-3 on the road, then put the game out of reach during a four-minute span.

Tkachuk made it 3-0 with his seventh with 4:13 remaining in the second, Giordano got his second of the night exactly three minutes later, and Bennett got his fifth another minute later to make it 5-0.

Granlund broke Rittich's bid for his first career shutout at 6:48 of the third when he got his own rebound off the crossbar and scored his seventh, and third in two games, on a power play.

Ferland made it 6-1 on a Flames power play at 11:09 to snap an 0-for-23 drought.

NOTES: Calgary won the season series 3-1-0. ... Tkachuk had three goals and two assists in the Flames' four games against Vancouver in 2017-18, and nine points (three goals, six assists) in an eight-game point streak against the Canucks. ... Vancouver was already without two of its top forwards in Bo Horvat (fractured foot) and Sven Baertschi (broken jaw), defensemen Christopher Tanev (groin strain) and Erik Gudbranson (upper body), and center Brandon Sutter (upper body).

UP NEXT

Flames: Host St. Louis on Wednesday night.

Canucks: Host Montreal on Tuesday night to close a four-game homestand.

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{allcanada} Dec. 18: Richard scores 400th goal

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Dec. 18

1954: Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadiens becomes the first player in NHL history to score 400 goals during a 4-2 road victory against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Richard reaches the milestone when he beats goaltender Al Rollins at 4:05 of the third period. It's his 16th goal of the season and proves to be the game-winner.

Richard retires after the 1959-60 season with an NHL-record 544 goals.

 

MORE MOMENTS

1928: Goaltender George Hainsworth sets an NHL record with his fifth consecutive road shutout when the Canadiens defeat the Blackhawks 5-0. Howie Morenz scores two goals and has an assist for Montreal.

 

1952: Rookie Jean Beliveau scores three goals for his first NHL hat trick, and Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion also scores three (for his second NHL hat trick), in the Canadiens' 6-2 win against the New York Rangers. Each player scores in the first period. Beliveau completes his hat trick with two goals in the second period and Geoffrion gets his by scoring twice in the third.

 

1955: The Detroit Red Wings defeat Montreal 2-0 at Olympia Stadium for their third consecutive shutout. Glenn Hall makes 26 saves for the Red Wings. Hall, the winner in all three games, gets plenty of help from his teammates; he faces 56 shots on goal during the shutout streak.

 

1965: There's a hat trick of hat tricks in the Toronto Maple Leafs' 8-4 victory against the Rangers at Maple Leaf Gardens. Toronto's Dave Keon gets his first NHL hat trick and Bob Pulford completes his second by beating Ed Giacomin late in the third period. New York forward Earl Ingarfield also scores three times.

Dave Keon of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

 

1977: The Canadiens begin a 28-game undefeated streak by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 at the Spectrum. Goaltender Ken Dryden makes 22 saves for his 39th NHL shutout. It's the start of a stretch that sees the Canadiens go 23-0-5. Their next loss comes against the Rangers on Feb. 25.

 

1983: Wayne Gretzky reaches 100 points in the Edmonton Oilers' 34th game of the season by scoring two goals and contributing two assists in a 7-5 win against the Winnipeg Jets. Gretzky gets to 100 points faster than any player in NHL history and finishes the season with 205.

 

2007: Jacques Lemaire is the first to coach 1,000 NHL games after playing in more than 800 during his career. Lemaire coaches the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 victory against the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center after trailing 2-0 in the third period.

SAINT PAUL, MN - NOVEMBER 1: Coach Jacques Lemaire of the Minnesota Wild instructs his players in the game against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center on November 1, 2007 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

 

2016: John Tortorella becomes the first NHL coach born in the United States to reach 500 victories when Seth Jones scores 46 seconds into overtime to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. He's the 24th coach in League history with 500 wins.

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{allcanada} Karlsson seems to be finding rhythm for Senators

 

OTTAWA -- Erik Karlsson wasn't sure what to call it. The Frostbite Frenzy? The Wintry Waltz? The Bitter Cold Bop?

Try as he might, the Ottawa Senators defenseman could not come up with a name for the impromptu dance he was doing on the bench midway through the third period of the 2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic at Lansdowne Park on Saturday.

"I saw him doing that," said forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who scored the winning goal in the Senators' 3-0 victory against the Montreal Canadiens. "I thought maybe he was just bopping around to keep warm."

Indeed, on a bone-chilling night and with a temperature of 12.5 degrees Fahrenheit at game time, it would be logical to think Karlsson would do whatever he could to keep his tootsies toasty.

But that wasn't the case.

"No, nothing like that. I was just having fun, man," the Senators captain said with a grin. "I was just going along with the music and making the most of the moment.

"The entire experience was awesome."

So was Karlsson's game.

He set NHL regular-season outdoor game records for ice time (32:55) and blocked shots (eight), many of which he said left him with a stinging sensation in the frigid conditions.

Karlsson also was the architect of the key play. His pass from the point was deflected by Pageau past Carey Price at 14:55 of the second period to make it 1-0.

"It was a planned play," Karlsson said. "I actually was aiming for [Zack Smith] but [Pageau] got his stick on it. It ended up working out well."

With the Senators nursing that precarious 1-0 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining in the third period, Ottawa coach Guy Boucher looked down his bench and broke into a big grin at the sight of Karlsson. There was his captain grooving to the music blaring over the PA system, tapping his hands on his knees as if he were playing the drums, then pointing at his teammates beside him and at the fans beyond the glass.

"When our captain has his swagger going like that, we feed off of it," Boucher said. "He was just so in tune with everything that was going on, both on and off the ice."

Goals by Bobby Ryan and Nate Thompson in the final 2:58 sealed the game for the Senators. Then, as the Ottawa players stood at center ice and saluted the 33,959 fans who had braved the weather to form the backdrop of a magnificent spectacle, Karlsson was announced as the First Star of the game.

And rightly so.

Six months ago, half of Karlsson's left ankle bone was removed during surgery to repair torn tendons in his foot. He missed all of training camp recovering, a process that has lasted almost three months into the season.

Boucher said last week that Karlsson was not back at full strength. The coach had a different take after the game Saturday.

"That was Erik Karlsson at 100 percent," Boucher said. "When he plays defense like that, his offense just comes naturally.

"People just figured he would come back from his surgery and pick up where he left off like he was Superman. But he's not. These things take time.

"But man, he was the Erik Karlsson we've been accustomed to seeing out there tonight, wasn't he?"

In the Senators dressing room, Karlsson took time to reflect on everything that has happened in the past six months. His surgery. A slow start by the Senators, who entered the game with 27 points in 30 games (10-13-7). And speculation about his pending free agency in 2019.

None of this appeared to be bothering him. The Senators have won two in a row and he seems to be rediscovering his game (he has three assists in the past six games).

"How could you not enjoy yourself?" said Karlsson, who has 20 points (one goal, 19 assists) in 26 games. "It was great. The turnout was better than we expected, the fans stayed from before warmup to the end of the game, and we appreciate that a lot. I think that made us more excited.

"During commercial breaks, you just wanted to absorb the experience. We love playing in the city. Why wouldn't you? You'd look up in the stands and the fans were dancing and having a great time."

Just like Karlsson.

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{allcanada} Jets expect heated division race until April

 

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets get strong marks for getting into the Central Division race this season.

Staying in the race is going to require more of two things from the Jets: a measure of consistency they're starting to discover, and quick bounce-backs when things go off track.

The Jets displayed each in a 4-0 win against the St. Louis Blues at Bell MTS Place on Sunday.

Winnipeg (19-10-5) has 43 points, three fewer than the Blues (22-11-2), who share the top spot in the division with the Nashville Predators (21-7-4).

The Jets rebounded Sunday after losing 2-0 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Saturday. Winnipeg had enough chances to win that game, outshooting the Blues 48-30.

The Jets had a 46-24 edge in shots on Sunday, making the aggregate of the two games 94-54.

"The teams that make the playoffs every year and the teams that have success when they're in the playoffs are teams that are OK doing that over and over again, even when it's hard or (they) may not feel well or (are) not scoring goals," Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. "You just stick with it, so credit goes to every guy for staying in the fight, saying the right things and staying engaged.

"It's a good division. I like our team just as much as I did when we were winning nine of 10. I think that throughout the course of a season, you're going to hit bumps in the road and it's the teams that stay in the fight, stay with it consistently all year long that succeed."

Between Nov. 11 and Dec. 3, the Jets were 9-2-1. In their six games prior to Sunday, they were 1-4-1 with a particularly flat outing at home this past Thursday, a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

"You have to be ready against every team in this division because it's a very good division," said Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey, who had a goal and an assist, was plus-3 and was named First Star of the game Sunday. "For our team specifically, we saw a bounce-back. We went to St. Louis and into a tough building against a team that's been playing very well and we played a game that gave us a chance to win.

"We didn't bury on a few chances and they got a couple on the power play, but we were able to come back here tonight and basically duplicate that performance. I think that showed a lot about the courage on this team, and our resiliency, and we talk about going through tough stretches as a team and how you respond, that's cutting it off quickly."

Winnipeg's speed and attack were out of sync for some of the past 12 days, Wheeler said. He said he noticed it after the Jets shut out the Ottawa Senators in a 5-0 win on Dec. 3.

"There are no off nights in our division," Wheeler said. "I think that's the way you want it because when push comes to shove and you're in the games that really mean something, then you're groomed for it and used to it. I think our last game, we felt that way was against Ottawa and we were off our game for a few games after that. We had to fight to get back into it."

Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov also said he felt some of the misfiring.

"I felt like before the Chicago game (on Thursday), we were a little on a down slide and we were trying to find a way to play better, and these last two games against St. Louis, even though we lost the first one, I think we dominated," Kulikov said. "We outshot them, we played with the puck for most of the game, and right now I think we're on the rise again, feeling good about our game. We feel like we fixed what we needed to fix and feeling good about it."

Winnipeg is 6-3-1 against Central Division teams this season. The Blues are 6-2-1 and the Predators are 8-1-1.

Kulikov played his first eight NHL seasons in the Eastern Conference, seven of them with the Florida Panthers and one with the Buffalo Sabres. He said his move to the Central Division and Western Conference this season has surprised him.

"I started noticing right at the beginning of the season how much heavier the games are," Kulikov said. "By heavy, I mean that everybody's finishing checks and everybody's always on you and have good sticks and you don't have any easy nights in the Western Conference. The Central has some good teams and is very tight right now."

The Jets will find that out again Tuesday when they visit the Predators at Bridgestone Arena (8 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-TN, NHL.TV). That starts a three-game road trip, after which Winnipeg will have played 16 home games and 21 on the road.

Coach Paul Maurice believes the Jets will be through the most demanding phase of their schedule by the end of December, factoring in a 15-game month with the home-road imbalance.

Maurice believes the Central Division race is just getting started.

"I think we have a good understanding, maybe better than the people around us, that this is going to be real tight and right to the wire," he said. "This division is just too good. (I think) five spots for the playoffs are going to Central Division teams, and it's going to be a real fight for those spots and it's not going away. It's going to take us right to April."

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