Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

NHL Short Notes

03/19/2015 at 10:48am EDT

DUCKS STAGE (ANOTHER) FREEWAY FACE-OFF RALLY, CLIMB INTO FIRST
Justin Williams scored the tying goal with 4:14 remaining in regulation, but Ryan Kesler potted the decisive tally 45 seconds into overtime to power the Ducks to their third consecutive victory overall and a 4-0-1 mark in their season series with the Kings (LAK: 1-1-3).

* At 45-20-7 (97 points), the Ducks moved into sole possession of first place in the NHL standings, two points ahead of the Rangers (44-18-7, 95 points), Blues (45-20-5, 95 points) and Canadiens (44-20-7, 95 points).

* Down 1-0 after 40 minutes, the Ducks rallied for their League-leading 12th victory of the season – and second straight – when trailing after two periods (12-20-0). The Flames are the only other team with at least 10 such wins this season (10-19-3). The Ducks also pace the NHL with a .375 winning percentage in that scenario (DET ranks second at .346).

* The Ducks overcame a third-period deficit in all four of their wins against the Kings this season, including their most recent meeting on Feb. 27. In that contest, the Ducks trailed 2-0 after 40 minutes but scored four unanswered goals in the final frame for a 4-2 victory.

* The Ducks also picked up their League-leading 28th win in one-goal games this season. They pace the NHL with a .778 winning percentage in those contests as well (28-1-7).

* Kesler recorded his second overtime goal of the season (72 GP), with the other on Dec. 22 vs. SJS. He had three such goals in 655 career games prior to this season.

* The goal stood as the 200th of Kesler’s career, making him the 11th active U.S.-born player to reach the milestone. Kesler led all players with 5-2—7 in the five games vs. LAK this season (and also scored the GDG on Nov. 12).

* Patrick Maroon and Jakob Silfverberg provided the goals in regulation. John Gibson made 29 saves to pick up his third straight win and improve to 9-2-0 in his past 11 appearances.

* The Ducks improved to 8-0-2 in their last 10 regular-season meetings with the Kings dating to Dec. 2, 2013.

RICHARDS LIFTS BLACKHAWKS PAST RANGERS IN GARDEN RETURN
Making his first trip back to Madison Square Garden, Brad Richards scored the lone goal at 7:19 of the third period to lift the Blackhawks to their fourth consecutive victory and seventh straight game with at least one point (6-0-1).

* At 43-21-6 (92 points), the Blackhawks moved within two points of the idle Predators (43-21-8, 94 points) for second place in the Central Division. Chicago holds two games in hand, but Nashville owns the ROW tiebreaker (NSH: 37, CHI: 34).

* Richards, who totaled 56-95—151 while playing the last three seasons for the Rangers (210 GP), received an ovation from the crowd when a video montage of him was played during the second period. “That’s why you love playing here, because you never know what you’re going to get,” he explained. “That’s what makes it special. These are great fans, they’re passionate. I wouldn’t expect anything different.”

* Richards recorded his third game-winning goal of the season and second in his past four outings (also March 12 at ARI). He has 11-24—35 overall.

* Scott Darling made 25 saves, including 10 in the third period, to earn his first career shutout. He improved to 7-3-0 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in 10 career appearances.

* “I’m just thrilled; it’s an amazing stage to [get a shutout] at Madison Square Garden,” said Darling, who made his first start since Feb. 27. “It feels great to just get back in the net and do my job. This is one of the most famous arenas in the world against one of the most iconic jerseys there is. An ‘Original Six’ matchup on the NBC Sports Network; you really can’t ask for much more.”

* Per Elias, Darling became the fifth rookie in Blackhawks history to record a 1-0 road shutout. The others: Mike Karakas (1935-36 at NYR), Dave Dryden (1967-68 at OAK), Tony Esposito (1969-70 at BOS and DET) and Ed Belfour (1990-91 at VAN).

* The Blackhawks shut out the Rangers for the first time since Oct. 22, 1997, when Chris Terreri posted 31 saves and Eric Daze scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory at NYR.

BLUE JACKETS EDGE OILERS TO SNAP SKID IN EDMONTON
Mark Letestu notched the tying goal with 9:51 remaining in regulation and Alexander Wennberg scored the decisive marker in the third round of the shootout to propel the Blue Jackets to their first victory in Edmonton since Jan. 7, 2010, snapping a six-game skid.

* The Blue Jackets improved to 4-1-0 in their past five outings, including a 5-4 shootout victory over the Oilers last Friday. Wennberg also recorded the decisive goal in the tiebreaker of that win.

* Curtis McElhinney made a career-high 44 saves, including 19 in the third period/overtime, to halt a six-game personal skid (0-5-1). He also improved to 5-0-0 in eight career appearances vs. EDM (2.46 GAA, .924 SV%).

* Letestu snapped an 18-game drought with his first goal since Feb. 7 at OTT. Ryan Johansen and David Savard also scored in regulation; Savard’s 11 goals are tied for the second-most by a Blue Jackets defenseman in one season, only one behind the record set by Bryan Berard in 2005-06.

* Scott Hartnell collected one assist to extend his point streak to five games (5-1—6), his second such run of the season (also Feb. 3-19: 4-7—11 in 8 GP).

* The home team improved to 15-3-1 in the last 19 meetings between the Blue Jackets and Oilers dating to Oct. 22, 2009 (CBJ: 8-2-0, EDM: 7-1-1).

LOOSE PUCKS
Although they lost in overtime, the Kings (34-22-14, 82 points) moved one point ahead of the idle Flames (38-27-5, 81 points) for third place in the Pacific Division . . . The Rangers suffered their second regulation loss in their past 19 games (14-2-3), but allowed no more than one goal in regulation for the eighth consecutive contest – a first in franchise history. The last time any team accomplished that feat was in 2000-01, when the Stars did so from March 13-28 (8 GP) . . . Oilers forward Jordan Eberle registered one assist to extend his point streak to six games (4-8—12), matching a career high last achieved Dec. 15-29, 2011 (5-3—8) . . . Teammate Nail Yakupov notched 1-1—2 to stretch his point streak to five contests (3-3—6) . . . Kings forward Anze Kopitar posted one assist. He has 21-31—52 in 50 career regular-season appearances vs. ANA, including 3-3—6 in five games this season . . . Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot made 30 saves. He has a 1.00 goals-against average, .967 save percentage and one shutout in his past seven outings (5-1-1) . . . Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins reached the 20-goal milestone for the first time in his career. He also hit 50 points for the third time in his four NHL seasons . . . Kings forward Jeff Carter scored his team-leading 25th goal (and 53rd point – tied w/ Kopitar) . . . Blue Jackets forward Artem Anisimov played in his 400th NHL game . . . ICYMI: The Department of Player Safety suspended Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri for four games for an illegal check to head against Oilers forward Matt Fraser . . . Blackhawks teammates Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews showed off their skills while wearing GoPro cameras.

SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
San Jose @ Toronto, 7:30 p.m., TVA, CSN-CA, TSN4
Carolina @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., FS-CR, SNE, RDS
Boston @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m., NESN, TSN5, RDS2
Detroit @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., NHLN-US, FS-D, FS-F
Washington @ Minnesota, 8:00 p.m., CSN-DC, FS-N, FS-WI
St. Louis @ Winnipeg, 8:00 p.m., FS-MW, TSN3
Pittsburgh @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m., SN360, ROOT, FS-SW
Philadelphia @ Calgary, 9:00 p.m., CSN-PH, SNW
Columbus @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., FS-O, SNP
Colorado @ Arizona, 10:00 p.m., ALT2, FS-A+
NBCSN Channel Finder
Sportsnet Channel Finder

SENATORS FACE BRUINS IN WILD CARD SHOWDOWN
The Senators (34-24-11, 79 points) – the first team on the outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference – try to gain ground on the rival Bruins (36-23-11, 83 points) when they face off at Canadian Tire Centre in their fifth and final meeting of the season. Boston is 2-0-2 in the season series (OTT: 2-2-0), including a 3-1 victory in their most recent matchup on March 10 in Ottawa. The Bruins hold a four-point advantage in the race for the final Wild Card spot in the conference and also own the ROW tiebreaker (BOS: 33, OTT: 29), but the Senators have one game in hand. Overall, Boston is 7-1-2 in its past 10 games, while Ottawa is 12-1-1 in its last 14.

“It seems like all these games for us we just have to treat like playoff games, because that’s what we’re fighting for,” said Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, who is 11-0-1 in his first 12 NHL starts. “The fact that it’s against Boston, a team we’re chasing, maybe it does raise the stakes a little bit, but I don’t think we can worry about that too much. We’ve just got to focus on playing our own game.”


MORE GAMES WITH PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS
Several other games feature teams jockeying for playoff positioning: the Panthers (31-25-14, 76 points) try to stay in the postseason hunt when they play host to the Red Wings (38-19-11, 87 points) at BB&T Center; Wild Card teams from separate conferences face off when the Capitals (38-23-10, 86 points) visit the Wild (39-24-7, 85 points) at Xcel Energy Center; the Central Division-leading Blues (45-20-5, 95 points) look for their fourth consecutive win at MTS Centre when they take on the Jets (35-23-12, 82 points); the Stars (32-28-10, 74 points) try to keep their playoff hopes alive when they meet the Penguins (39-21-10, 88 points) at American Airlines Center; and both the Flames (38-27-5, 81 points) and Flyers (29-28-15, 73 points) look to improve their postseason chances when they drop the puck at Scotiabank Saddledome.

the above information was provided by the NHL PR department

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