Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/07/14 at 10:33 AM ET
BOBROVSKY, BLUE JACKETS BLANK ISLANDERS . . .
Sergei Bobrovsky (31 saves) recorded his career-high fifth shutout of the season to help the Blue Jackets improve to 3-1-1 in their last five games.
* With the win, the Blue Jackets (40-31-7, 87 points) moved three points ahead of the idle Devils (34-28-16, 84 points) and Maple Leafs (38-33-8, 84 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. They also moved within one point of the idle Red Wings (37-27-14, 88 points) for the first Wild Card berth in the East.
* The Blue Jackets reached the 40-win milestone for the second time in franchise history, last accomplished in 2008-09 (41-31-10, 92 points).
* Bobrovsky also set a career high with his 29th victory of the season, surpassing his previous best established in 2010-11, his rookie campaign (28-13-8). He improved to 2-1-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average, .948 save percentage and two shutouts in his past four outings.
* Three Blue Jackets posted multi-point games: Boone Jenner (1-1—2), Mark Letestu (1-1—2) and Brandon Dubinsky (0-2—2).
* James Wisniewski collected an assist and now has 1-8—9 in his past seven games.
* The Blue Jackets improved to 12-2-4 all-time against the Islanders, including an 8-0-2 mark at Nationwide Arena.
. . . FLYERS DROP SABRES, MAINTAIN LEAD IN METROPOLITAN
The Flyers scored four consecutive goals to snap a four-game skid and sweep their season series with the Sabres for the third time in the last six campaigns (3-0-0).
* With the win, the Flyers (40-29-9, 89 points) maintained a two-point lead over the Blue Jackets (40-31-7, 87 points) for the No. 3 seed in the Metropolitan Division. They also moved within two points of the idle Rangers (43-31-5, 91 points) for the second seed in the division, with one game in hand.
* Steve Mason made 17 saves to pick up his 32nd win of the season, one shy of his career high set in 2008-09, his rookie campaign (33-20-7).
* Brayden Schenn scored twice, including the game-winner, to reach the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his NHL career. He is tied for the team lead (with Claude Giroux) with six game-winning goals this season.
* The Flyers now have a League-high six players who have scored 20-plus goals this season: Wayne Simmonds (26), Giroux (25), Matt Read (21), Jakub Voracek (21), Scott Hartnell (20) and Schenn (20).
* Mark Streit registered 0-3—3 for his 10th career three-point game and first since Jan. 10, 2012.
BLACKHAWKS EDGE BLUES, GAIN GROUND IN CENTRAL . . .
Down 1-0 after 20 minutes, the Blackhawks scored three consecutive goals to record their third straight victory, their longest winning streak since Dec. 8-11 (3-0-0).
* With the win, the Blackhawks (45-19-15, 105 points) moved within two points of the Avalanche (50-21-7, 107 points), who lost in a shootout, for the No. 2 seed in the Central Division. Colorado, however, holds one game in hand and leads in ROW (COL: 45, CHI: 39).
* Patrick Sharp scored his team-leading 33rd goal of the season and now has 3-2—5 in his past five games. He is tied for eighth in the NHL with a career-high 76 points this season.
* Jeremy Morin recorded 1-1—2 for his first career multi-point game. He now has 2-2—4 during a three-game point streak.
* Ben Smith potted an empty-net goal and has now scored in three consecutive contests for the first time in his NHL career (3-0—3).
. . . SUTTER, FLEURY LEAD PENGUINS PAST AVALANCHE
Brandon Sutter (2-0—2) posted his first multi-goal game since April 17, 2013, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 39 saves, plus another three in the shootout, to lead the Penguins to their fourth victory in their past six games.
* Fleury improved to 4-1-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in his last five games. He also improved to 6-2-0 with a 2.26 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in nine career games versus the Avalanche.
* Jussi Jokinen scored the lone goal in the shootout. He now is 32-for-74 (43.2%), with 11 game-deciding goals, all-time in tiebreakers.
STARS LOSE TO PANTHERS, FAIL TO CREATE SPACE FOR WILD CARD
Trailing 2-0 early in the second period, the Panthers scored three unanswered goals to defeat the Stars and snap a five-game losing streak.
* With the loss, the Stars (38-29-11, 87 points) remained one point ahead of the idle Coyotes (36-28-14, 86 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, with four games remaining for each club. They will face off in the final game of the 2013-14 regular season Sunday at Jobing.com Arena.
* Brandon Pirri posted 1-1—2 to extend his point streak to four games (3-2—5).
* Sean Bergenheim scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:31 remaining in regulation. He now has three game-winners in 59 outings this season, equaling his total from his last 211 games prior to 2013-14.
RINALDO HEARING SET FOR TODAY
Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety today for a hit on Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel Sunday at Wells Fargo Center.
At 4:29 of the third period, Rinaldo was assessed a match penalty for hitting Ruhwedel near the blue line in the Philadelphia defensive zone. Ruhwedel left the game and did not return.
The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: illegal check to the head. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.
Taylor Hall (1-2—3) recorded his sixth game of three or more points this season to lead the Oilers to their second consecutive win. He now has 2-7—9 during a four-game point streak . . . Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin both scored in the same game for the 13th time this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is tied for the League-high with Ducks teammates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry . . . Blues captain David Backes reached the 30-assist milestone for the fourth time in his NHL career. With 27-30—57 in 73 games this season, he now is five points shy of his career high, set in 2010-11 (31-31—62 in 82 GP) . . . Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth made a season-high 34 saves to defeat his old team for the first time . . . Ducks forward Corey Perry scored his 42nd goal of the season, second in the NHL to Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (49) . . . Penguins forward Adam Payerl and Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield made their NHL debuts.
LESS THAN ONE WEEK REMAINING IN 2013-14 SEASON
With less than one week remaining in the 2013-14 regular season, six playoff berths, two division titles and the Presidents’ Trophy remain up for grabs. A closer look:
* Three teams – the Devils (84 points), Maple Leafs (84) and Capitals (83) – are within five points of the Red Wings (88) and Blue Jackets (87) for the two Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference.
* The Stars (87 points) lead the Coyotes (86) by one point for the final Wild Card berth in the Western Conference. These teams will face off in the final game of the 2013-14 regular season Sunday at Jobing.com Arena.
* The Rangers (91 points), Flyers (89) and Blue Jackets (87) are separated by four points in the race for the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the Metropolitan Division.
* The Avalanche (107 points) lead the Blackhawks (105) by two points for the No. 2 seed in the Central Division. They also trail the Blues (111) by four points for the top spot in the division.
* The Ducks (108 points) lead the Sharks (107) by one point for first place in the Pacific Division. These teams will face off for the fifth and final time this season on NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” telecast.
* The Canadiens (97 points) lead the Lightning (93) by four points for the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division.
* Four teams – the Bruins (113 points), Blues (111), Ducks (108) and Avalanche (107) – are separated by six points in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.
SNEAK PEEK AT MONDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Calgary @ New Jersey, 7:00 p.m., RDS2, SNET-W, MSG PLUS
Minnesota @ Winnipeg, 8:00 p.m., FS-N, TSN-JETS
Anaheim @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., PRIME, SNET-P
DEVILS TRY TO GAIN GROUND IN WILD CARD RACE
The Devils (34-28-16, 84 points) will try to gain ground in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race when they play host to the Flames (33-38-7, 73 points) at Prudential Center. New Jersey currently trails Columbus (40-31-7, 87 points) by three points for the final Wild Card berth in the East, but is riding a season-high, seven-game point streak dating to March 23 (4-0-3). The Flames, meanwhile, have won two straight and also defeated the Devils in their only other matchup of 2013-14 – a 3-2 decision Oct. 11 at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Information above via the NHL PR department
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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