Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/13/14 at 09:39 AM ET
AVALANCHE OVERTAKE BLACKHAWKS IN CENTRAL
Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves to help the Avalanche (43-18-5, 91 points) improve to 6-1-0 in their past seven games and leapfrog the Blackhawks (38-14-14, 90 points) for second place in the Central Division.
* The Avalanche went 4-1-0 in their five-game season series versus the Blackhawks, including a 2-0-0 mark at Pepsi Center. Varlamov posted a 4-0-0 record with a 1.59 goals-against average and .960 save percentage in those meetings.
* At 43-18-5 (91 points), the Avalanche own the second-best record in franchise history through 66 games. Only the 2000-01 squad had a better mark through 66 contests (42-12-12, 96 points).
* Varlamov recorded his 100th NHL victory, becoming the fourth Russian-born goaltender (and third active) to do so. The others: Evgeni Nabokov (347), Nikolai Khabibulin (333) and Ilya Bryzgalov (213).
* Varlamov improved to 33-12-5 with a 2.44 goals-against average, .926 save percentage and one shutout in 52 appearances this season. He ranks second in the League in wins – one behind Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (34-14-3) – and fifth in save percentage.
* Matt Duchene posted 1-1—2 to extend his career-long point streak to nine games (5-9—14). He leads the Avalanche with 40 assists and 62 points in 63 games this season.
* Ryan O’Reilly scored what proved to be the game-winning goal and added an assist to earn the team’s player of the game helmet (photo courtesy of @Avalanche). O’Reilly has six game-winners in 64 contests this season; he had five in 265 career games entering 2013-14.
BRUINS END SKID AGAINST CANADIENS, MAKE IT SIX STRAIGHT
Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins end their five-game losing streak to the Canadiens, in the process extending the team’s winning streak to a season-high six games.
* With the victory, the Bruins (43-17-5, 91 points) moved within one point of the Penguins (44-17-4, 92 points) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
* The Bruins improved to 14-2-3 in their last 19 games, including a 9-1-2 mark in their past 12. They have recorded at least one point in each of their last 11 road games (8-0-3), their longest such streak since an equal run Jan. 20-Feb. 24, 2004 (6-0-5).
* Rask improved to 29-14-4 with a 2.12 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and six shutouts in 48 appearances this season. He leads the League in shutouts, is tied for fourth in wins and ranks fourth in save percentage.
* Milan Lucic reached the 20-goal mark for the third time in his seven-year NHL career.
* Zdeno Chara scored his 15th goal of the season, which ranks fourth among defensemen.
FLAMES SCORE SEASON-HIGH SEVEN GOALS IN WIN
The Flames scored a season-high seven goals to pick up their third win in their past five outings. They also improved to 8-2-0 in their last 10 games at Scotiabank Saddledome dating to Jan. 22.
* Five Flames recorded multiple points, highlighted by 2-1—3 from Mikael Backlund.
* The Flames scored a pair of shorthanded goals and now lead the NHL with 11 shorthanded markers this season, one ahead of the Hurricanes.
* Backlund potted one of the team’s shorthanded tallies. He now has four this season (65 GP), tied for the most in the League with Bruins forward Brad Marchand and Lightning forward Tyler Johnson. Backlund had zero shorthanded goals in 170 career games prior to 2013-14.
* Corban Knight scored his first NHL goal in his fifth career game.
BURROWS, HIGGINS LEAD CANUCKS PAST JETS
Alexandre Burrows scored his first two goals of the season and Chris Higgins potted the lone marker in the shootout to lead the Canucks to their second win in their last three games.
* With the victory, the Canucks (30-28-10, 70 points) leapfrogged the Jets (30-28-9, 69 points) in the Western Conference race for the Wild Card.
* Henrik Sedin played in his 1,000th NHL game, becoming the fourth player – and second this week – to reach the milestone in 2013-14 (Robyn Regehr, Martin St. Louis, Matt Cooke). He also became the 10th Swedish-born player to reach the 1,000-game milestone.
* Sedin is the first player to appear in 1,000 games in a Canucks sweater. The No. 3 overall selection in the 1999 NHL Draft, he holds the franchise records for assists (641), points (833) and consecutive games played (679).
Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek collected an assist in his home debut . . . Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his seven-year NHL career . . . Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp posted an assist to extend his point streak to five games (1-5—6) . . . Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk played in his 100th career game . . . Avalanche forward Paul Carey made his NHL debut.
SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Phoenix @ Boston, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, RDS2, FS-A, NESN
Buffalo @ Carolina, 7:00 p.m., MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-CR
San Jose @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., CSN-CA, FS-O
Florida @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., FS-F, SUN
Edmonton @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., TSN, FS-MW
NY Rangers @ Minnesota, 8:00 p.m., MSG, FS-N, FS-WI
Toronto @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., TSN, FS-W
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