Thursday, December 31, 2015

{allcanada} QMJHL: Fontaine nets winner as Huskies edge Voltigeurs


ROUYN-NORANDA, Que. - Gabriel Fontaine scored 3:05 into overtime to lift the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to a 2-1 victory over the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Thursday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.

Louis-Filip Cote opened the scoring for Rouyn-Noranda (29-5-4) early in the second period.

The Voltigeurs (18-20-1) tied the game midway through the third period on Michael Carcone's 28th goal of the season.

Huskies goaltender Chase Marchand made 17 saves for the win. Drummondville's Anthony Dumont-Bouchard kicked out 31 shots in defeat.

Neither team scored on the power play. The Voltigeurs were 0 for 4 while Rouyn-Noranda went 0 for 2.



MONCTON, N.B. — Daniil Miromanov and Christophe Boivin scored in the shootout as Acadie-Bathurst edged the Wildcats.

Vladimir Kuznetsov scored twice and assisted on another for the Titan (15-19-4), and Nicholas Blanchard and Mark Trickett rounded out the attack.

Stephen Johnson struck twice, including the tying goal with two seconds left in regulation, and Cameron Askew and Manuel Wiederer also scored for Moncton (26-10-5). Conor Garland had three assists.



RIMOUSKI, Que. — Samuel Laberge set up the first goal then added the winner 2:28 into overtime as the Oceanic slipped past Quebec.

Dylan Montcalm gave Rimouski (22-11-4) a 1-0 lead with his goal midway through the first period.

Ross MacDougall had the lone goal for the Remparts (22-13-4).



SHAWINIGAN, Que. — Alexis D'Aoust and Gabriel Slight had a goal and two assists apiece to help power the Cataractes over Sherbrooke.

Gabriel Sylvestre, Dennis Yan, Mathieu Olivier and Samuel Girard had a goal and an assist each for Shawinigan (23-11-3) and Giovanni Fiore had three helpers. Alex Pawelczyk added the other.

Kevin Gilbert, Guillaume Gauthier, Nicolas Poulin and Skylar Strumas scored for the Phoenix (15-18-5).



VICTORIAVILLE, Que. — Nicolas Meloche scored 15 seconds into overtime to lead Gatineau over the Tigres.

Vitalii Abramov had a goal and three assists for the Olympiques (24-11-2) while Alex Dostie chipped in with four helpers. Guillaume McSween, Yan Pavel Laplante, Joey Richard and Yakov Trenin also scored.

Alexandre Goulet struck twice for Victoriaville (16-14-7). Carl Marois, Mathieu Ayotte and Mario Huber had the others.



VAL-D'OR, Que. — Etienne Montpetit was perfect on all 21 shots he faced as the Foreurs blanked Blainville-Boisbriand.

Shawn Ouellette-St-Amant and Mathieu Nadeau had a goal and an assist apiece for Val-d'Or (28-8-3) and Carl Tremblay and Francois Beauchemin also scored.

Mark Grametbauer made 21 saves for the Armada (13-20-6).



BAIE-COMEAU, Que. — Jake Smith scored twice in regulation, then added the deciding goal in the shootout as Chicoutimi got past the Drakkar.

Dmitry Zhukenov also scored in the tiebreaker for the Sagueneens (18-16-4). Marc-Andre Gauvreau added a goal and an assist in regulation.

Fabrizio Ricci had a goal and a helper for Baie-Comeau (5-27-3). Joly D'Artagnan and Eric Leger also scored.



HALIFAX — Otto Somppi scored his second of the game on a power play 1:18 into overtime to lift the Mooseheads over Cape Breton.

Jean-Sebastien Taillefer, Taylor Ford and Jocktan Chainey also scored for Halifax (13-20-5).

Anthony Sorrentino had two goals for the Screaming Eagles (20-16-4). Phelix Martineau and Clark Bishop supplied the rest of the offence.



SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Matt Murphy's power-play goal 16:24 into the second period stood as the winner as the Sea Dogs topped Charlottetown.

Mathieu Joseph and Spencer Smallman scored first-period goals for Saint John (22-13-3).

Daniel Sprong and Mitchell Balmas supplied the offence for the Islanders (14-20-4).

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{allcanada} OHL: Spitfires top Greyhounds in shootout


WINDSOR, Ont. - Logan Brown and Gabriel Vilardi scored in the shootout to lift the Windsor Spitfires to a 3-2 victory over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Thursday in Ontario Hockey League action.

Brendan Lemieux and Hayden McCool scored in regulation for Windsor (21-10-5).

Colton White and Keifan Goetz had goals for the Greyhounds (16-15-4).

Michael DiPietro stopped 32 shots for the win. Joseph Raaymakers made 38 saves in the losing effort.

The Spitfires were 1 for 4 on the power play while Sault Ste. Marie failed to score on three chances with the man advantage.



NORTH BAY, Ont. — Mike Amadio scored twice, including a short-handed empty-netter with 34 seconds remaining, and set up another goal as the Battalion doubled up Mississauga.

Cam Dineen and Mathew Santos had a goal and three assists for North Bay (18-13-3). Kyle Wood and Kyle Potts also scored.

Daniel Muzito-Bagenda, Owen Tippett and Daniel De Sousa replied for the Steelheads (18-16-4) with a goal and a helper apiece.



LONDON, Ont. — Max Jones found the back of the net 1:55 into overtime to give the Knights a victory over Sarnia.

J.J. Piccinich led London (26-6-3) with a goal and two assists. Nicolas Mattinen and Owen MacDonald also scored.

Matt Misele had a goal and a helper for the Sting (19-11-4) while Patrick White and Nikita Korostelev added the other Sarnia goals.


OTTERS 6 67'S 4

ERIE, Pa. — Kyle Pettit scored two goals to help power the Otters over Ottawa.

Christain Girhiny had a goal and an assist for Erie (30-4-1), and Kyle Maksimovich, Brett Neumann and Darren Raddysh, into an empty net, rounded out the attack.

Connor Graham, Nevin Guy, Connor Warnholtz and Dante Salituro replied for the 67's (18-17-1).



ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Connor Bunnaman struck twice and added an assist for a three-point night in Kitchener's win over the IceDogs.

Brian Brosnan, Nick Magyar and Jeremy Bracco also found the back of the net for the Rangers (25-5-4).

Graham Knott supplied all the offence for Niagara (17-13-5), including one power-play goal 19:14 into the third period.



PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — Liam Stevens scored twice and Luke Burghardt had a goal and two helpers as Guelph upset the Petes.

Brock Philips, James McEwan and Givani Smith also scored for the Storm (4-27-3).

Eric Cornel had two goals and a helper for Peterborough (17-15-5). Steven Lorentz and Hunter Garlent added a goal and an assist apiece.



BARRIE, Ont. — David Ovsjannikov made 43 saves and six different Colts skaters found the back of the net en route to victory over Sudbury.

Kevin Labanc and Roy Radke led the barrage with a goal and an assist for Barrie (21-12-1), which scored four straight goals over the first and second periods to take a commanding 4-1 lead. Giordano Finoro, Aidan Brown, Andrew Mangianpane and Anthony Stefano had the other goals while Lucas Chiodo tacked on three assists.

Alan Lyszczarczyk scored one and set up another for the Wolves (8-26-3). Danny Desrochers and Dmitry Sokolov also scored and Zack Bowman stopped 39 shots in the losing effort.

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{allcanada} Lucic, Quick help Kings handle Flames


CALGARY -- Milan Lucic scored, and Jonathan Quick made 23 saves to help the Los Angeles Kings defeat the Calgary Flames 4-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

Marian Gaborik, Andy Andreoff and Tanner Pearson also had goals for the Kings (24-11-2), who swept a four-game road trip against Pacific Division opponents. Los Angeles plays five of its next six games at home.

"You look at this road trip being a tough road trip," Lucic said. "It's all divisional teams. Now with the way the standings go, the divisional games, there's a lot more emphasis on them in getting those two points. To be able to come out this with eight out of eight points is something that we really needed to do to keep moving ourselves up the standings and pushing the teams down below us."

Defenseman Mark Giordano scored for the Flames (17-18-2). After setting a record with 11 consecutive wins at home, Calgary has lost back-to-back games at the Saddledome for the first time since Oct. 17 and Oct. 20. The Flames visit the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday before starting a four-game homestand.

"Those are the kinds of games you've got to expect down the stretch," Giordano said. "They're going to clog everything up, they're going to play really well defensively. Anaheim did it to us. [Los Angeles] did it to us. We've got to manage the game better. We got down three goals, and it's too good of a team. I know we've done it before and we've come back and we can. We've done it, but it's not going to happen every time and you saw tonight, we just couldn't find a way to get that second one."

Gaborik scored 11:04 into the first period to put the Kings up 1-0. Off the rush, Gaborik cut into the slot and sent a quick shot along the ice that beat Calgary goaltender Karri Ramo to the far side.

"I just tried to cut in front," Gaborik said. "I saw there was traffic so I just tried to shoot blocker-side. I was kind of fortunate. I don't think he saw much. I think [Drew Shore] was driving the net and creating traffic so he didn't see much."

Quick made an outstretched toe save 33 seconds into the game to keep the Flames from an early lead. Sam Bennett had a breakaway on the opening shift but couldn't beat the Quick with a deke.

Los Angeles stretched the lead to 3-0 early in the second period.

Tyler Toffoli's initial shot and rebound attempt by Anze Kopitar were stopped by Ramo, but Lucic poked the puck over the goal line on the Kings' third try 1:46 into the period. The goal ended a 10-game scoreless drought for Lucic.

"We were able to get a 2-on-1 in front of the net and just kind of power it in," Lucic said. "We were able to get a change in the [offensive] zone and get some tired guys and we made the most of it."

Andreoff ended his 10-game drought 1:18 later, one-timing a pass by Michael Mersch from below the goal line between Ramo's legs.

"Being able to get that first goal, and jumping on that and getting that second goal and third goal and extending the lead … you look at the last three games in Western Canada, we were able to get goals in bunches and get the momentum and sustain it after that," Lucic said.

With room to Quick's left, TJ Brodie one-timed a pass from David Jones, but Lucic got his stick in the way to deflect the puck wide with 2:36 remaining in the period to keep Calgary scoreless.

"I was joking [it was] my first save of my career," Lucic said. "It was just a good stick in a good area. [Quick] was appreciative of it. Obviously he bails us out all the time, so it was nice to bail him out there. If it's 3-1 going into the third period it could be a completely different game. A lucky play that ends up being a big play in the game … just fortunate to help him out."

Giordano scored 3:36 into the third period when his shot from the point deflected off the stick of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and over Quick's glove to make it 3-1. The goal was Calgary's first in 105:36; the Flames were shut out 1-0 by the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

Quick stopped Dougie Hamilton cutting into the slot at 8:04 and made a glove save off Micheal Ferland's wrist shot from the slot at 8:46. Joe Colborne hit the post on a power play at 14:35.

"You look at the goals against, I think Quick was our best player on this four-game road trip," Lucic said. "He gives us a chance to win every night. Tonight he stepped up big especially in the third period when we needed him the most."

Pearson scored into an empty net with 43.9 seconds remaining.

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{allcanada} Coyotes top Jets; Doan passes Hawerchuk


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Shane Doan became the franchise's all-time leading goal-scorer, and Oliver-Ekman Larsson scored the game-winner with 7:25 left in the Arizona Coyotes' 4-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets at Gila River Arena on Thursday.

Viktor Tikhonov also scored for the Coyotes (18-16-3), who are in second place in the Pacific Division.

Adam Lowry scored each Winnipeg goal.

Two of Arizona's three third-period goals came on the power play. With Tyler Myers in the box for delivering a punch to Tobias Rieder, Ekman-Larsson used a Doan screen in front to beat Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck on the stick side.

It was Ekman-Larsson's 10th goal and his fifth game-winner.

Arizona goalie Louis Domingue made 35 saves for his third win in four starts this season. He made big saves on Blake Wheeler in the second and third period and against Drew Stafford in tight in the final minute.

The Coyotes won for the eighth time in their past 12 home games (8-2-2).

Hellebuyck made 17 saves for the Jets (17-18-2), who have lost 12 of their past 13 road games, 11 of them in regulation.

Doan tied the game 1-1 and passed Dale Hawerchuk for the most goals in Winnipeg Jets/Coyotes franchise history with the 380th goal of his NHL career, all with Winnipeg/Arizona, at 9:28 of the first period.

He scored goal No. 381, his 13th of the season and fifth in the past two games into an empty net with 15.7 seconds left

Doan passed Hawerchuk in his 1,422 NHL game, which is 29th on the League's all-time list.

Winnipeg got on the board first with a good second effort.

Domingue made a save on a long shot from Dustin Byfuglien and stopped a rebound try by Alexander Burmistrov. Domingue thought he had the puck pinned under his pad, but play continued, and Lowry whacked the puck free and into the net for his second goal of the season at 3:31.

Almost six minutes later, Nicklas Grossmann sent Doan and Max Domi down the ice 2-on-1 against Byfuglien. Doan passed the puck by a sprawling Byfuglein, but Domi passed up the shot and gave Doan half a net to shoot at in beating Hellebuyck.

"I got it to Max and I thought he should have shot it," Doan told Fox Sports Arizona between periods. "Then he passed it back, and I figured out what he was doing and I figured I'd better bury it."

Doan's record goal tied him with Mikkel Boedker for the Coyotes lead this season. It was his sixth in the past five games and his eighth in his past 10. Doan enjoys playing against Winnipeg: He has four goals and nine points in his past five games and eight goals and 20 points in 22 career games against the second iteration of the Jets.

Doan passed Hawerchuk for the franchise record on the Coyotes' second shot of the game; they had six more over the next 24 minutes. Rieder missed half an empty net with a rebound try just before the first-period buzzer, and they didn't have another good chance until Hellebuyck stopped Rieder in tight with 3:30 left in the second period.

The Jets outshot the Coyotes 29-11 through two periods, but Domingue kept Arizona in the game with a string of steady saves and two strong ones, stopping Wheeler on a shorthanded breakaway with eight minutes left.

But the Jets gave the Coyotes a golden opportunity in the final seconds of the period. Behind the play with the clock winding down, Andrew Ladd put a two-handed crosscheck into Ekman-Larsson's back, giving Arizona a power play to open the third.

Connor Murphy set up Michael Stone for a shot from the point that hit Tikhonov in the slot and dropped at his feet. Tikhonov put a shot off the glove of Hellebuyck and in at 1:18 for his second goal of the season.

A miscue by Domingue allowed Winnipeg to tie it at 7:45. Stopping a dump-in with his glove, Domingue tried to send the puck up the middle of the ice and instead put it on the stick of Lowry in the high slot. Lowry beat Domingue over the glove.

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{allcanada} Coyotes captain Doan sets franchise record for goals


Shane Doan set a record for goals for the Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise when he scored No. 380 in the first period Thursday at Gila River Arena.

Doan, the Coyotes captain, scored 9:28 into the period against the second iteration of the Jets to break a tie with Dale Hawerchuk.

"It's a special thing because of who Dale Hawerchuk is and what kind of player he was," Doan said this week. "But let's be honest: He got his 379 in half as many games (713). It took me a lot longer to catch up to him."

Doan played his 1,422nd game Thursday, all with Winnipeg/Arizona. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 7, 1995, with Winnipeg, playing one season there before the franchise moved and became the Phoenix Coyotes.

Doan scored No. 381 into an empty net with 15.7 seconds remaining in Arizona's 4-2 win.

Hawerchuk last played for Winnipeg in the 1989-90 season (his ninth) and finished his NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Philadelphia Flyers. He scored 518 goals in 1,188 games.

"When you play the game, you play hard, you compete and you want to win every night," Hawerchuk said. "If there are some records along the way, that's great, but it's not why you're there.

"Now that it's come to fruition for him, I'm so happy for Shane because he's such a great guy and he has been a part of that franchise for so long."

Fans who didn't have a chance to celebrate Doan's hat trick Tuesday (completed with 20 seconds left in a 7-5 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks) threw hundreds of hats on the ice at the end of warmups Thursday.

Doan, as usual, was the last one on the ice; he thanked the crowd, picked up a cowboy hat and wore it off the ice.

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{allcanada} Winter Classic matchup heats up rivalry between Bruins and Canadiens


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – You don't need a public relations staff to spin the idea that a Montreal Canadens vs. Boston Bruins Winter Classic game Friday (1 p.m, NBC) is a rivalry worth watching.

Bruins vs. Canadiens is always must-see television.

"Not only do we get to play outside on a national stage," said Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, "but we get to make our mark and add another chapter to this historical rivalry."

The Boston vs. Montreal feud is the NHL's answer to the Hatfields vs. McCoys. It's easy to come up with a long list of reasons why players on these teams have hated each other for years. Historians point back to Bruin Leo Labine knocking out Maurice "Rocket" Richard in Game 7 of a 1952 playoff series and Richard coming back to score the game-winner as an early indication of the feud. But there is evidence to suggest it started way before then.

Today's fans probably see the feud in terms of the too-many-men-on-the-ice call against the Bruins in 1979 or the bloody 186-penalty minute game in 2011 or Montreal's Max Pacioretty suffering a fractured vertebra when he was checked by Boston's Zdeno Chara a month after that.

This is the eighth Winter Classic, and it seems clear that this is the best matchup that the event has known.

Putting a Bruins vs. Canadiens game outdoors in front of almost 69,000 fans in Gillette Stadium is like super-sizing many years of animosity between the two teams. They have been playing against each other for 91 years.

"Playing on a stage like this is something you will remember the rest of your life," said Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban.

Pacioretty, from Connecticut, said it is overwhelming to think about what it will be like to play in this setting in an outdoor game where wind conditions, glare and temperature are a factor.

"Obviously, this is the biggest stage I've played on," he said. "Whenever the Winter Classic is on, you watch it."

No one appreciates playing in the home of the New England Patriots more than Montreal goalie Mike Condon who is from Holliston, Mass.

"Usually when I'm at Gillette Stadium, I'm in the last row of the nosebleeds," Condon said.

Presuming he plays for the Canadiens, he would have one of the best seat of the house for Friday's meeting.

Condon's father, a state police officer, led the police escort for the Canadiens coming to Gillette Stadium for practice on Thursday. Condon has a Patriots-themed mask design, with Bill Belichick's photo on it.

The added spice of Montreal-Boston outdoor game is that both teams are battling for a playoff spot in the hotly contested Atlantic Division. They are separated by just one point in the standings, and each could move into first place with a regulation win.

Both teams have to guard against getting caught up in the spectacle of the outdoor game. This is far from an exhibition event.

"Our division is tight that you can't ever play loose," said Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "You lose a couple of games and you are out of a playoff spot."

Boston coach Claude Julien believes the players won't get caught up in enjoying the wonder of the event. The Bruins played at the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park.

"I can assure you from my past experience that when the puck is dropped, both teams will be focused on what they have to do here," Julien said. "We all know how tight the standings are and where we stand with each other, and that game has great meaning to it."

Coming into the game, the Canadiens received good news when injured Brendan Gallagher was cleared to play and the Bruins received bad news when Brad Marchand was suspended three-games for an illegal hit against Ottawa Senators Mark Borowiecki.

Marchand apologized to his teammates and to fans for taking himself out of the game, especially given that the Bruins are already playing without injured David Krejci.

Everything matters when the Bruins play the Canadiens, and Marchand (15 goals) is the team's leading goal scorer. His loss seems bigger than usual.

"Anytime we play Montreal, it's a big game," Chara said "This seems like it's a bigger game."

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{allcanada} CANADIENS (21-15-3) at BRUINS (20-12-4)

Friday, January 1, 2016
1:00 PM ET

CANADIENS (21-15-3) at BRUINS (20-12-4)

2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

TV: NBC, TVA Sports, Sportsnet

Season series: Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 33 saves in a 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 9. Prior to that, the Bruins had lost twice to the Canadiens this season and seven straight times in the regular season (0-6-1). Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson each have two goals for Boston; Alex Galchenyuk has five assists for Montreal and Lars Eller has three goals.

Canadiens team scope: Forward Brendan Gallagher, who has missed 17 games with a hand injury, will return to the lineup, playing his first game since Nov. 22. Montreal went 5-11-1 without him. "Like I said from the start, I wouldn't come back if I didn't feel like I could help the team," Gallagher said after practice Thursday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. "I didn't want to come back for selfish reasons. The doctors helped me to come back and play, and now hopefully I can contribute." Gallagher has nine goals and 19 points in 22 games. Forward Sven Andrighetto was sent to St. John's of the American Hockey League to make room for Gallagher. "The fact that [Gallagher is in the lineup], we could go back almost with the combinations during the season where we had success," coach Michel Therrien said. Goalie Mike Condon, who grew up in Holliston, Mass., about 30 miles from Boston, will start in net. "It's an honor for me to go out there, but at the end of the day, it's just another game, another two points," Condon said. Montreal continues a season-high eight game road trip. The Canadiens are 1-5-0 so far following a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. A win would give the Canadiens 47 points and vault them one point ahead of the idle Panthers, who don't play until Saturday, and into first place in the Atlantic Division.

Bruins team scope: Forward Brad Marchand will not play; he will be serving the first game of a three-game suspension for clipping defenseman Mark Borowiecki of the Ottawa Senators in a 7-3 win Tuesday. "I just wanted to acknowledge the situation that I've put my team in for being undisciplined, affecting the game for them, taking away from the excitement for the fans of being part of this rivalry, and taking that away from them," Marchand said Thursday. Forward Alex Khokhlachev has been called up from Providence of the AHL; defenseman Colin Miler has been sent down. The Bruins altered their top three lines: Eriksson, Bergeron and Seth Griffith were the top line, Matt Beleskey, Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly the second line, and Frank Vatrano, Landon Ferraro and Khokhlachev were the third line. Rask will start in net. "I know that we're enjoying the moment right now from the skate yesterday with the family to the practice today to everything that's going on," coach Claude Julien said after practice Thursday. "But I can assure you from my past experience that when the puck is dropped, both teams will be focused on what they have to do here. We all know how tight the standings are and where we stand with each other, and that game has great meaning to it tomorrow." The Bruins enter one point behind the Canadiens and two behind the Panthers in the Atlantic.

Team Stats
GP Record Home Road L10 G/GP GA/GP PP% PK% PIM/GP S/GP SA/GP FO%
39 21-15-3 11-6-2 10-9-1 2-8-0 2.80 2.49 19.4 84.5 8.8 31.4 27.7 50.8
36 20-12-4 9-9-2 11-3-2 6-3-1 3.14 2.67 29.4 81.9 13.4 31.3 29.1 51.2

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{allcanada} Oilers activate Klinkhammer, Davidson from IR, send Nikitin to AHL


EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers activated winger Rob Klinkhammer and defenceman Brandon Davidson from injured reserve on Thursday.

Klinkhammer, 29, has one goal in eight games with the Oilers this season.

Davidson, 24, has two goals and three assists through 23 appearances this year.

The Oilers also assigned defenceman Nikita Nikitin to the American Hockey League's Bakersfield Condors.

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{allcanada} Oilers' McDavid 'working hard, smiling,' McLellan says


EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers rookie center Connor McDavid continues to skate as he recovers from a fractured clavicle, but there is no timeline regarding his return to the lineup.

McDavid was on the ice Thursday prior to the Oilers participating in an optional morning skate for their game against the Anaheim Ducks (9 p.m. ET; KCOP-13, SNW).

McDavid, 18, skated along with Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, who is recovering from an ankle sprain.

McDavid has been skating on his own for over two weeks. The No. 1 selection in the 2015 NHL Draft sustained the injury crashing into the end boards Nov. 3, against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"There's nothing that I can share with you," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said when questioned on a possible return date for McDavid. "He's working hard and smiling most days and that's a real positive thing."

McDavid had five goals and seven assists in 13 games for Edmonton prior to the injury. Shortly after sustaining the injury, Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said McDavid would be out for months.

"We miss him, there is no doubt about it," McLellan said. "It's exciting to see him back in the locker room, skating and getting ready to play again. But it's hard to talk about an 18-year-old that has played 12, 13 games and justify missing him that much. But he was that dynamic and provides that much speed. He makes your power play better and he's a point-a-game guy. When you lose that, it affects anybody's team."

Edmonton was 5-8-0 with McDavid in the lineup and is 10-12-3 without him going into the game against Anaheim.

"His spirit that he brought to the team, the energy that he brought around, we miss," McLellan said. "Hopefully, he continues on the path that he's on right now and he gets back soon."

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{allcanada} Massachusetts native Condon gets start for Canadiens


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The last time Mike Condon was at Gillette Stadium, he was sitting in the 300 level watching his favorite football team, the New England Patriots.

On Friday, the Massachusetts native will be a lot closer to the field when he is in net for the Montreal Canadiens against the Boston Bruins in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS).

"Usually when I'm at Gillette Stadium, in in the last row of the nosebleeds, but it's kind of nice to be back on the main level," Condon said after the Canadiens practiced Thursday. "You're up there and now you're down here, so it puts things in perspective."

Condon is from Holliston, Mass., and went to Belmont Hill High School, which is about 30 miles from Gillette Stadium.

"All of my family and friends will be wearing the bleu, blanc and rouge for sure," he said. "I think the maximum number of tickets you could get was 14 so I maxed that out. Other than that, there's a lot of friends outside the close group that are still coming."

Condon's father is a State Policeman in the area, but will be in attendance to see his son play Friday.

"[Friday] he definitely has a day off so he is going to be tailgating," Condon said. "He had the opportunity to escort the bus today. ... It's always good to have that family support here. He's had a big impact in my life and I am really happy to have him there."

Condon, 25, who made his NHL debut earlier this season, found out Thursday morning before practice that he would start. He's played in 25 games and is 10-9-3 with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage

"It's an honor for me to go out there, but at the end of the day, it's just another game, another two points," he said.

Coach Michel Therrien has confidence in his rookie goalie.

"[Condon] deserves to play. He played well in the past few games and considering the fact that he is from here. ... but the most important thing is he deserved to play," Therrien said.

The big stage hasn't gotten to Condon, who has taken over for an injured Carey Price.

"It's just basically been laying low, not doing too much, not going out, not looking at your phone too much, just trying to be as normal as possible and concentrating on your work every day and taking care of what you can," Condon said.

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{allcanada} Canadiens' Scrivens looks to savor second chance


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- On Monday, Ben Scrivens was in in the American Hockey League with the Edmonton Oilers' affiliate in Bakersfield, Calif., hoping for another chance in the NHL.

On Thursday, he was on the ice at Gillette Stadium, one day before the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS) against the Boston Bruins, preparing to perhaps play in his second outdoor hockey game of the season.

Scrivens, who was acquired by the Montreal Canadiens from the Edmonton Oilers for forward Zack Kassian on Monday, had been in the AHL all season and played outdoors with Bakersfield at Raley Field in Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 19 in front of a crowd of 9,357 people. He made 35 saves in a 3-2 loss to Stockton.

"It's been a bit of a mill-run, starting in Edmonton, flying down to Bakersfield, hanging around there for a couple of days," said Scrivens, who was 2-6-1 with a 3.47 goals-against average and a save percentage of .893 in 10 games in Bakersfield. "Found out I was traded to Montreal and took a red-eye, met the team in Tampa [Monday], we had back-to-back games, so I've kind of done all four corners of the continent already but it's been a welcome change. Definitely just excited to be here."

With No. 1 goalie Carey Price out for with a lower-body injury, the Canadiens traded for Scrivens to add goaltending depth. He made 27 saves in a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Mike Condon has made the bulk of the starts in Price's absence, and will start Friday with Scrivens servinjg as the backup goalie. Dustin Tokarski, who has played in four games with the Canadiens, was sent to St. John's of the AHL when Scrivens was acquired.

Scrivens, 29, has played in 130 games in five seasons with the Canadiens, Oilers, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs. Last season, he played in 57 games for the Oilers, going 15-26-11 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .890 save percentage. He said he didn't know if he'd get another chance in the NHL.

"You always want to play. Everybody is in the same boat; everybody wants to play every game so all you can do is be ready when the coach calls your name," Scrivens said. "I thought I had been playing well in Bakersfield the last few weeks. It was nice to kind of be able to carry that over [in a 3-1 loss to the Panthers]. I thought I played well and gave the team a chance for the most part."

Scrivens didn't even realize he would be taking part in the Winter Classic until a Canadiens employee mentioned their schedule to him.

"Even when I found out I got traded, I looked ahead at the schedule and saw Montreal had a back-to-back coming but it didn't even click until I was already here and with the team that one of the trainers mentioned about the outdoor game," he said. "It's been a whirlwind."

Scrivens said he has gotten used to the outdoor games as he was the winning goalie with the Toronto Marlies in 2012, making 19 saves in a 7-2 win against Hamilton in an AHL outdoor game.

"I was fortunate. [This season's game in the AHL] was my second outdoor game. I played in another one in the minors, when I was with Toronto. We played Hamilton in Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario, so this will be my third outdoor game. Every time it's a great experience. It's a cool time to be with your family. You definitely consider yourself lucky each time you get the opportunity."

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{allcanada} Classic a first-place showdown for Bruins, Canadiens


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Claude Julien and Bill Belichick laced 'em up and took to the ice Thursday morning, a hockey coach in his element and a football coach in his stadium, two adopted New Englanders turned champions.

Julien, the coach of the Boston Bruins, has developed a friendship, a special kinship, with Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots. Belichick had Julien out to Patriots practice on Wednesday, so Julien returned the favor the day before the Bruins were scheduled to play the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium on New Year's (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

"I asked him if he wanted to skate, and he said he'd love to," Julien said. "Not just an enjoyable skate, but an enjoyable moment with him. In my book, it's unique and a lot of fun."

However, by the time Belichick presumably had his skates off and was heading to Miami to put final preparations in for his next game, Julien was putting his team through a workout on the very same ice.

Already a veteran -- and winner -- of two outdoor games (2003 Heritage Classic, 2010 Winter Classic), Julien doesn't need to be told that unique and fun take a backseat to preparation and focus in these events, particularly a game that's big in regular-season terms regardless of venue.

One point separates the Canadiens (45) from the Bruins (44) in the Atlantic Division standings. The winner will leap the Florida Panthers (46 points) for first place in the division.

"First place really is on the line," Bruins forward Max Talbot said.

True, in a micro sense. There is a lot more at stake in a macro sense.

The Bruins have survived and thrived this season despite plugging holes in their lineup that result from injuries and even suspensions.

Boston won't have two of its most important players on Friday because center David Krejci is injured and left wing Brad Marchand is suspended.

But under the direction of Julien, a potential Jack Adams Award candidate at this point, the Bruins have gone 14-6-3 since starting the season 6-6-1. They have the League's No. 1 power play (29.4 percent) and goalie Tuukka Rask has found his game after a rough start.

They're coming off of a 7-3 win against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, a game that showed the Bruins can and should win with a combination of offense and snarl, two characteristics Boston fans crave out of their hockey team.

They can't lose their grip on all that's gone well in the Winter Classic, on a stage that makes a regular-season game feel bigger than any other, in an event that, because of its magnitude, makes winning feel sweeter and losing feel more devastating than it normally does.

"I remember my game in Philadelphia [the 2012 Winter Classic between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers], it was kind of the same thing, divisional rivals and we were battling, but I think in that game maybe our focus wasn't 100 percent," Talbot said. "You lose the game and you're like stunned. This experience, the Winter Classic, will be as fun as getting the two points. You don't want to have a sour taste in your mouth."

The Canadiens have had a sour taste for too long.

They entered December with a 10-point lead in the Atlantic Division; their 39 points were the most in the NHL. They enter January chasing in the division, having lost 11 of 14 games in December, all in regulation.

"We're so desperate right now for wins," Montreal forward Dale Weise said. "You see where the standings are, we had such a big lead and we're sliding down, so we're desperate for some points."

Weise suggested the Winter Classic couldn't have come at a better time for the Canadiens. He thinks the fun practice they had Thursday could be a prelude to an important win on the big stage Friday, especially with forward Brendan Gallagher scheduled to return to the lineup after missing 17 games and watching his team go 5-11-1 without him.

"It couldn't have come at a better time for us," Weise said. "A lot of guys were having fun out there [Thursday], like when we were younger and out on the pond playing with our buddies. That's the perfect mindset for us now. When you lose nine, 10 in a row, coming to the dressing room is not much fun, so it was good to lighten the atmosphere."

He wasn't the only one thinking along those lines.

"I think that this is perfect for us," Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban said. "A stage like this, where everybody can get up for and is refreshed, right? Your family and friends there and everybody watching. So you want to be at your best. I think when we're at our best, there are not too many teams in the League that can compete with us."

But to be that team on Friday, to be that team on the big stage, in front of what should be more than three times the amount of fans they normally have surrounding them at Bell Centre or TD Garden, focus and preparation are key, even when unique and fun are expected.

This game is as important as it is special. First place is literally on the line, but so is momentum, both a chance to build on some (Boston) and another opportunity to stop a spiral down the standings (Montreal).

"We all know how tight the standings are and where we stand with each other," Julien said. "The game has great meaning to it."

Sounds like something Belichick would say.

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