Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

NHL Short Notes

LUNDQVIST, RANGERS OUTLAST PENGUINS
Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves and denied two of three attempts in the shootout to help the Rangers improve to 5-1-0 in their last six games entering the Olympic break.

* Lundqvist, who will represent Sweden in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, extended his personal winning streak to five games. He has a 1.77 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in that span, and now sits two victories shy of 300 in his NHL career.

* Mats Zuccarello, who will represent Norway in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, posted an assist and scored in the shootout to extend his career-long point streak to six games (2-6—8). He has at least one helper in each of his past five outings and leads the team with 28 assists and 43 points this season.

* Derick Brassard also collected an assist to stretch his point streak to six games (3-5—8).

* Benoit Pouliot (2-0—2) registered his first multi-goal game since Feb. 16, 2013.

* The Rangers improved to 16-6-1 in their past 23 games dating to Dec. 22, including an 11-4-0 mark in their last 15.

* The team also has won six straight on the road and 16 of its past 20 as visitors. Their 18 road victories are tied for the most in the NHL this season (with the Ducks).

MERRILL LIFTS DEVILS
Rookie defenseman Jon Merrill scored his first NHL goal at 2:34 of overtime to lift the Devils to their second victory in their last four outings (2-0-2). The team also has earned points in 12 of its past 15 games dating to Jan. 7 (7-3-5).

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Merrill is the first player in Devils history to score his first career goal in overtime. He also is the second player this season to register his first NHL goal in overtime, joining Senators defenseman Cody Ceci (Dec. 16).

* Fellow rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas also scored an overtime goal for the Devils this season (Dec. 7), though it was not his first career goal. Elias says the only other team in NHL history to have two rookie defensemen score overtime goals in the same season was the 2005-06 Coyotes (Keith Ballard and Zbynek Michalek).

* Merrill, the 38th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft and a native of Oklahoma City, had 0-4—4 in 30 career games prior to Friday.

SMITH STONEWALLS BLACKHAWKS
Mike Smith, who will represent Canada in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, made 30 saves to record his second shutout of the season and the 26th of his NHL career, helping the Coyotes improve to 4-2-1 in their last seven games. With the win, Phoenix (27-20-10, 64 points) leapfrogged Vancouver (27-23-9, 63 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.

* Radim Vrbata scored his 14th goal of the season. The Coyotes improved to 9-0-2 when he finds the back of the net.

* Antoine Vermette posted an assist to extend his career-long point streak to nine games (8-4—12).

KHUDOBIN, HURRICANES STAY HOT
Five different players scored and Anton Khudobin made 34 saves to lead the Hurricanes to their sixth win in their last eight games.

* Khudobin improved to 13-5-0 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in 19 games this season. He has allowed two or fewer goals in 14 of his 19 appearances.

* Alexander Semin scored his eighth goal in his past 10 games; he had just six goals in his first 34 contests this season. Semin also has 11-8—19 in his last 20 games, including 8-3—11 in his past 10.

* Eric Staal recorded four shots on goal to pass Ron Francis for the most in franchise history (2,542). He also added an assist and has 5-10—15 in his last 14 games.

* The Hurricanes improved to 30-7-4 at home versus the Panthers since moving into PNC Arena at the start of the 1999-00 season.

WINGELS (AGAIN) LEADS SHARKS
Tommy Wingels scored what proved to be the game-winning goal for the second consecutive game, helping the Sharks to their third victory in their last four outings.

* Wingels has five game-winning goals in 54 games this season; he had zero in his first 80 NHL games. Wingels also has set career highs in goals (12), assists (18) and points (30) this season.

* John McCarthy scored his third career goal and first since Nov. 6, 2010.

* Todd McLellan coached his 435th game with the Sharks, passing Darryl Sutter for the most in franchise history. McLellan also holds the club record for victories, picking up his 257th win Friday.

LOOSE PUCKS
The Penguins suffered their first shootout loss since Feb. 7, 2012, ending a nine-game winning streak in the tiebreaker . . . The Blackhawks were shut out in the regular season for the first time since Feb. 25, 2012, breaking a streak of 126 consecutive games . . . Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made a season-high 44 saves . . . Penguins forward James Neal (sixth time in six NHL seasons) and Oilers forward Taylor Hall (third time in four NHL seasons) both reached the 20-goal mark . . . Neal also extended his point streak to five games (3-3—6) . . . Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen posted 1-1—2 to stretch his point streak to five games (5-3—8). He has 24-22—46 in 58 games this season, more than double his production in any other season . . . Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin scored his 18th goal of the season to push his point streak to five games (4-3—7) . . . Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu, played in his 600th NHL game . . . The Department of Player Safety fined Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin $5,000 for butt-ending Canucks forward Pascal Pelletier Thursday in Montreal.

SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Calgary @ Philadelphia, 1:00 p.m., SNET-W, CSN-PH
Winnipeg @ St. Louis, 2:00 p.m., TSN-JETS, FS-MW
Ottawa @ Boston, 3:00 p.m., CBC, RDS, NESN
Vancouver @ Toronto, 6:00 p.m., CBC
Montreal @ Carolina, 6:00 p.m., CBC, RDS, FS-CR
Detroit @ Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m., NHLN-US, FS-D+, SUN
Colorado @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., ALT2, MSG PLUS
New Jersey @ Washington, 8:00 p.m., MSG, CSN-DC
Anaheim @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., PRIME, FS-TN
Phoenix @ Dallas, 8:00 p.m., FS-A PLUS, TXA 21

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

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.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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