NHL News

Bruins cruise past Leafs, snap 3-game skid

Bruins cruise past Leafs, snap 3-game skid

Pavel Zacha scored two third-period goals, and the visiting Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 Wednesday night.

Derek Forbort, Brandon Carlo and A.J. Greer also scored for the Bruins, who ended a three-game losing streak. Charlie Coyle added two assists and Linus Ullmark made 33 saves.

Mitchell Marner and Calle Jarnkrok scored for the Maple Leafs, who completed a 3-2-0 homestand.

Ilya Samsonov, making his seventh straight start, stopped 24 shots for the Maple Leafs.

Toronto had a 14-13 advantage in shots on goal after the first period, which ended scoreless. Samsonov made a handful of difficult saves through the first 20 minutes of action, including one on David Pastrnak late in the period. He also stopped Connor Clifton on a breakaway.

Forbort scored his fourth goal of the season at 6:57 of the second period while Boston was short-handed. Trent Frederic kept the puck in the Toronto zone before Coyle made a backhand pass into the slot to Forbort for game's first marker.

The Maple Leafs took advantage of their next power play when Marner scored his 19th goal of the season at 9:25 of the second. Samsonov caught the Boston penalty killers on a change with a long pass to Marner. It was the goaltender's second assist of the season. Matt Grzelcyk was off for elbowing.

Boston regained the lead at 12:33 of the second on Carlo's second goal of the season. Hampus Lindholm and Coyle recorded assists on the play.

Toronto led 23-21 in shots on goal after two periods.

Greer scored from the left circle at 2:13 of the third period for his fifth goal of the season, getting an assist from Jakub Lauko.

Immediately after the faceoff following the goal, Toronto's Wayne Simmonds fought Greer with each receiving a major penalty.

Jarnkrok scored his 12th goal at 8:38 of the third, shooting from the slot.

Zacha scored 30 seconds later on a 32-foot wrist shot before tacking on his 11th goal of the season with 7:41 left to play.

Hurricanes thrash Sabres, enter break on 7-game win streak

Hurricanes thrash Sabres, enter break on 7-game win streak

Sebastian Aho scored in his sixth consecutive game to begin Carolina's three-goal first period and the Hurricanes went on to beat the host Buffalo Sabres 5-1 on Wednesday night.

Stefan Noesen, Brent Burns, Derek Stepan and Jordan Martinook also scored for the Hurricanes, who have a seven-game winning streak and a 10-game points streak (9-0-1). Martinook's goal was a short-handed tally into an empty net.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jalen Chatfield each had two assists, Noesen also had two points and Antti Raanta stopped 29 shots for Carolina, which leads the Metropolitan Division by eight points. The Hurricanes have 17 wins at home and 17 wins on the road.

It was the last game for each team prior to the All-Star break.

Alex Tuch scored in the first period for the Sabres, who saw their seven-game points streak (5-0-2) come to an end. The past five regulation defeats for Buffalo have come in home games. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 29 saves.

It turned out to be a remarkable weeklong stretch for the Hurricanes, who overcame a two-goal deficit in third period to beat the San Jose Sharks and then escaped a three-goal hole in the third period en route to a victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

In between those two overtime wins, Carolina knocked off the Boston Bruins, who are the only team in the NHL with more points than the Hurricanes.

Aho scored on a power play 2:35 into the game. He ended the Tuesday night game with an overtime power-play goal against the Los Angeles Kings.

Aho, who has nine goals across the past six games, increased his team-leading total to 23 on the season. This goal streak matches his career longest, which was established from Jan. 31-Feb. 11, 2020.

The Hurricanes produced three goals in the first 13 minutes, with Noesen and Burns also scoring in the opening stretch off assists from Kotkaniemi.

Burns has 10 goals, matching his 82-game total last season with the Sharks.

Tuch posted his 24th goal at 14:45 of the first period to cut the Hurricanes' lead to 3-1.

After a scoreless second period, Stepan restored Carolina's three-goal advantage at 10:30 of the third period.

Devils assistant Andrew Brunette arrested for DUI

Devils assistant Andrew Brunette arrested for DUI

New Jersey Devils assistant coach Andrew Brunette was arrested Wednesday in South Florida and charged with driving under the influence among other offenses.

Brunette went 51-18-6 as interim head coach of the Florida Panthers in 2021-22.

WPLG, citing a police report, reported Brunette ran two stop signs in a golf cart in Deerfield Beach, Fla. In addition to the DUI, he was also charged with two counts of disobeying a stop or yield sign.

Brunette, 49, posted $500 bond and was expected to be released later Wednesday.

The Devils said in a statement they were aware of Brunette's arrest. Brunette is in his first season as associate coach to Lindy Ruff.

Brunette is ostensibly in South Florida for the NHL All-Star festivities in Sunrise, Fla., home of the Panthers.

Brunette was named interim head coach of the Panthers after Joel Quenneville resigned Oct. 28, 2021, in the aftermath of a Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse investigation. Under Brunette, the Panthers set franchise records for wins (58) and points (122) in 2021-22.

However, he wasn't retained by the Panthers, who hired Paul Maurice to replace Brunette.

Brunette tallied 733 points (268 goals, 465 assists) over a 16-year career with six different teams, including the Minnesota Wild (2001-04, 2008-12). He retired in 2012 after spending one year with Chicago.

Brunette, who has also been an assistant coach with the Wild (2015-16), runs the Devils' power play.

Brunette also pled guilty in May of 2022 for going 58 mph in a 40 mph zone in Deerfield Beach. He paid a $260 fine, according to WPLG.

Jackets F Gustav Nyquist (shoulder) expected to miss rest of season

Jackets F Gustav Nyquist (shoulder) expected to miss rest of season

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist is expected to miss the rest of the regular season due to a shoulder injury, the team announced Wednesday.

The 33-year-old veteran was hurt during a 3-2 overtime road win against the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 25. He was placed on injured reserve three days later.

The team said Nyquist will not require surgery.

Nyquist, who is a pending unrestricted free agent, posted 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 48 games this season.

He was one of two Columbus players, joining Andrew Peeke, to appear in all 82 games last season. Nyquist missed all of 2020-21 with a shoulder injury.

Nyquist has 423 points (174 goals, 249 assists) in 700 career games with the Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks and Blue Jackets.

Sabres, Hurricanes look to carry streaks into break

Sabres, Hurricanes look to carry streaks into break

As the NHL wraps up its unofficial first half of the season and heads toward the All-Star break, it may seem strange to hear the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres in the same conversation when it comes to the postseason.

But that's just what an Eastern Conference playoff discussion might involve.

The teams meet Tuesday night in Buffalo, where the Sabres will try to continue their push toward a playoff spot, and the Hurricanes attempt to strengthen their hold on the No. 2 spot in the conference.

Buffalo enters the game one point out of the final wild-card spot in the East.

"That's kind of our M.O. Let's keep finding out how much better we can be," Sabres coach Don Granato said. "The next game is going to give us another indicator."

The Sabres have won five of their last six games and have points in seven straight, despite coming off a four-game road stretch.

But Buffalo also has had three straight days off. Carolina has played twice since the Sabres' last game, including Tuesday night's 5-4 comeback victory against the Los Angeles Kings that ended with Sebastian Aho's overtime winner.

The game Wednesday will be the final one before the break for both teams.

But the Sabres aren't just playing out the string prior to the layoff; they're gearing up to make another statement.

"The position we're in, that's going to be talk (regarding playoff possibilities)," Granato said. "That's OK, that's great, that's even better. We're comfortable with that and we're excited that we're even mentioned in that. But what doesn't change is what's at the core. They just love the next challenge."

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin released a letter to Buffalo fans this week. It read in part: "Now we're almost at the All-Star break, and we're in the race. We all know where we are in the standings and what these games mean. But the only way we can reach our goal is by keeping the same mindset. Just keep getting better, one day at a time."

The Hurricanes will arrive on their own high, having won six straight and riding a nine-game point streak.

"It's going to be a tough one," Aho said of playing the Sabres. "Buffalo is a super-fast, skilled team."

The Hurricanes had to rally from a 4-1 deficit in the third period Tuesday night to keep those streaks going.

"It's all about confidence, just working hard out there," Carolina winger Teuvo Teravainen said.

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour altered the lines for the third period against Los Angeles and the move paid off. If nothing else, it jump-started Carolina's seventh comeback victory from a third-period deficit this season.

"Sometimes you get different looks, get some fresh looks," Teravainen said.

Brind'Amour said he likes how the team responded to the changes after what he said might have been the team's poorest period of the season when the Kings outscored Carolina 4-0 in the second.

"We just tried something that I'd thought about for a while," Brind'Amour said. "We threw it together. I don't know if it had anything to do with the comeback necessarily. Just as a group, in general, we started to play the way we were designed to do things."

NHL roundup: Hurricanes storm back, edge Kings in OT

NHL roundup: Hurricanes storm back, edge Kings in OT

Sebastian Aho scored on a power play with 53.8 seconds left in overtime as the Carolina Hurricanes completed a rally from three goals down to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 on Tuesday night in Raleigh, N.C.

Brent Burns opened the scoring for Carolina with the game's only first-period goal. After the Kings outscored the hosts 4-0 in the second, Paul Stastny and Jordan Staal scored in the first 10 minutes of the third, and Teuvo Teravainen tied it with 7:29 remaining.

The Hurricanes earned their sixth straight win while extending their point streak to nine games (8-0-1). The Kings appeared to take control in the second period; instead they wrapped up January with a 7-5-1 record.

Adrian Kempe scored Los Angeles' first and third goals. Anze Kopitar added a goal and two assists, Kevin Fiala also scored and Drew Doughty logged two assists. Pheonix Copley stopped 25 shots.

Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT)

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored 26 seconds into overtime and Washington overcame blowing the lead in the third period to defeat host Columbus in the final game before the All-Star break for both teams.

Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who played his 500th NHL game earlier this season, had his first career two-goal game for the Capitals. Erik Gustafsson had two assists and Charlie Lindgren made 31 saves for Washington, which had lost three of its previous four games.

Johnny Gaudreau scored his 14th goal of the season for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four of their past five. Joonas Korpisalo made 30 saves in the loss.

Senators 5, Canadiens 4

Brady Tkachuk scored the game-winning goal with 1:18 remaining in regulation and Tim Stutzle matched a career high with four points as visiting Ottawa earned a victory over Montreal.

Corralling the puck ahead of the blue line, Stutzle stormed into the Montreal zone, then got the puck to Tkachuk, who sent it low and past Jake Allen (24 saves). Stutzle posted two goals to go with his two assists, Tkachuk also recorded an assist and Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat also scored for the Senators, who enter the All-Star break on a four-game winning streak.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard had two goals and Mike Hoffman posted a goal with an assist for Montreal. Down 3-2, the Canadiens tied it when Josh Anderson sent the puck to Nick Suzuki, who found Harvey-Pinard with 8:58 left in regulation. Both Anderson and Suzuki recorded assists. The Senators, though, regained the lead just over a minute later on Stutzle's power-play strike by a screened Allen before Harvey-Pinard struck again.

Evgeny Kuznetsov strikes in OT as Capitals clip Jackets

Evgeny Kuznetsov strikes in OT as Capitals clip Jackets

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored 26 seconds into overtime, and the visiting Washington Capitals defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Tuesday night in the final game before the All-Star break for both teams.

Kuznetsov took a drop pass from Marcus Johansson and beat Joonas Korpisalo with a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle as Washington won after surrendering a 3-2 third-period lead.

Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who played his 500th NHL game earlier this season, had his first career two-goal game for the Capitals. Erik Gustafsson had two assists, and Charlie Lindgren made 31 saves for Washington, which had lost three of its past four games.

Johnny Gaudreau scored his 14th goal of the season for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four of their past five. Korpisalo made 30 saves.

Gaudreau tied it 3-3 at 12:44 of the third period when he took a stretch pass from Gavin Bayreuther, entered the zone on a two-on-one, kept the puck and beat Lindgren.

Garnet Hathaway gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 5:06 of the first period when he deflected Lars Eller's shot from the top of the right faceoff circle past Korpisalo.

Washington's lead was 2-0 after van Riemsdyk's slap shot from the point through traffic off a pass from Nicolas Aube-Kubel found the net at 14:28.

Columbus responded just 12 seconds later, as Andrew Peeke's shot from the point deflected off van Riemsdyk and past Lindgren.

Kuznetsov set up Washington's third goal when he circled the offensive zone, went behind the net and passed behind his back in front to van Riemsdyk, who knocked it in at 8:26 of the second period. It was Kuznetsov's 36th assist of the season.

Eric Robinson pulled the Blue Jackets within 3-2 when he converted a pass from Mathieu Olivier on a two-on-one break.

Lindgren stopped Patrik Laine on a one-timer from the slot midway through the third period to maintain the 3-2 lead, and Korpisalo answered moments later with a sliding save on Martin Fehervary.

Brady Tkachuk lifts Sens in high-scoring duel with Habs

Brady Tkachuk lifts Sens in high-scoring duel with Habs

Brady Tkachuk scored the game-winning goal with 1:18 remaining in regulation and Tim Stutzle matched a career high with four points as the visiting Ottawa Senators earned a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Corralling the puck ahead of the blue line, Stutzle stormed into the Montreal zone, then got the puck to Tkachuk, who sent it low and past Jake Allen (24 saves). Stutzle posted two goals to go with his two assists, Tkachuk also recorded an assist, and Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat also scored for the Senators, who enter the All-Star break on a four-game winning streak.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard had two goals and Mike Hoffman posted a goal with an assist for Montreal, which was much more competitive three days after falling 5-0 at Ottawa. Nonetheless, the Canadiens have dropped four straight and five in a row to Ottawa.

Down 3-2, Montreal tied it when Josh Anderson sent the puck to Nick Suzuki, who found Harvey-Pinard with 8:58 left in regulation. Both Anderson and Suzuki recorded two assists.

The Senators, though, regained the lead a little more than a minute later on Stutzle's power-play strike by a screened Allen.

Harvey-Pinard scored again, however, this time from up close to tie it with 5:44 remaining in regulation. The Quebec native has five goals in seven games this season.

Ottawa scored just 2:57 into the game when Nikita Zaitsev's drive was deflected in by Giroux for his 20th goal -- the 10th time in his 16-year career he hit that mark. Just 52 seconds later, Stutzle took a spin pass from Mathieu Joseph (two assists) to beat Allen.

Montreal came through with 6:40 remaining in the opening frame. Amid a scramble in front of Montreal's Anton Forsberg (28 saves), Kirby Dach converted the Canadiens' second power-play score in the last seven games.

The Senators regained the two-goal edge with a power-play goal of their own with 3:37 remaining in the second. A Thomas Chabot shot fake turned into a dish to Stutzle, who served a cross-slot pass for DeBrincat to bury. It was one of three assists for Chabot.

Montreal scored its second power-play goal of the game, off the stick of Hoffman, with five seconds left in the second to make it 3-2.

Hurricanes escape 3-goal hole, stun Kings in OT

Hurricanes escape 3-goal hole, stun Kings in OT

Sebastian Aho scored on a power play with 53.8 seconds left in overtime as the Carolina Hurricanes completed a rally from three goals down to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 on Tuesday night in Raleigh, N.C.

Brent Burns opened the scoring for Carolina with the game's only first-period goal. Paul Stastny and Jordan Staal scored in the first 10 minutes of the third, and Teuvo Teravianen tied it with 7:29 remaining.

Andrei Svechnikov had two assists and Burns also finished with two points for the Hurricanes. Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen made 17 saves.

The Hurricanes earned their sixth straight win while extending their points streak to nine games (8-0-1).

The Kings scored four goals in the second period to appear to take control, but they wrapped up January with a 7-5-1 record.

Adrian Kempe scored Los Angeles' first and third goals. Anze Kopitar added a goal and two assists, Kevin Fiala also scored and Drew Doughty logged two assists. Pheonix Copley stopped 25 shots.

The Kings, who won't play again until after the All-Star break, finished their six-game road trip with a 3-2-1 record.

Burns skated in from the right side and put the puck past Copley at 11:27 of the first period.

Kempe's first goal of the game came 1:51 into the second period. He was there for a backdoor tap in off Kopitar's pass.

Fiala's goal at 11:34 of the second period gave the Kings the lead for the first time.

Then Kempe was back at it. He was the first to retrieve the puck when Doughty blasted it off the boards, and he beat Andersen with a shot at 14:21.

Kempe produced four goals on the road trip, pushing his season total to 22.

Kopitar's goal came six seconds into a power play at 15:21, giving the Kings four goals in a 14-minute span.

Stastny got the Hurricanes' third-period rally started at 3:27, and Staal sliced the deficit to one at 9:54. Teravianen's second shot from behind the right circle in a matter of seconds on a power play leveled the score.

Skidding Bruins renew rivalry with Maple Leafs before All-Star break

Skidding Bruins renew rivalry with Maple Leafs before All-Star break

The Boston Bruins will be out to end their season-long three-game losing streak Wednesday night when they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Bruins, who have set a torrid pace this season, looked tired on Sunday in losing 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Bruins are 1-2-1 so far in a five-game road trip that started with a victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron feels that fatigue has been an issue for the Bruins, who were playing their third game in four days on Sunday.

"You can't deny that," Bergeron said. "That being said, you have to be pros and make sure you bring it every night. Back-to-back on the road, lots of hockey, that's part of it. But it's nothing that other teams are not seeing, right? It's part of the schedule that we all have. We have to be better.

"We talked about facing adversity at some point in the year, and here we are. We have to face that as a team together, roll up our sleeves and learn from what hasn't been there the last few games."

Wednesday's game will be the final one for both teams before the All-Star break.

The Maple Leafs defeated the visiting Washington Capitals 5-1 on Sunday and have split their first two games without Auston Matthews (knee).

The Bruins and Maple Leafs each have won at home in the first two meetings between the teams this season.

"(The Bruins have) been the most consistent in the NHL because they believe in what they're doing and just go back out and do it again," Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. "The results haven't been there for them recently, but that won't change their mindset. It's a great challenge for us because you want to go into the break feeling good. ... There's lots of excitement for that game. Our job is to keep pace, apply pressure."

The Bruins lead the Atlantic Division by 11 points over the second-place Maple Leafs.

"They're on an incredible pace and they'll be hard to catch, but that's what we're going to try and do," said Toronto's William Nylander, who scored his 28th goal of the season on Sunday.

But from the Bruins' perspective, the Leafs were already too close for comfort.

"They're just behind us in the standings," Bruins center Charlie Coyle said on Tuesday. "We know what it means. From here on out, every point matters. We want to keep our distance as best we can. Keep playing the right way. Playoff time is going to come right around the corner."

Boston's power play continued its recent struggles, going 0-for-6 on Sunday.

"We just need a little bit of rest," Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. "I'm not worried about our power play. Our players are too talented and competitive."

Boston recalled forwards Jakub Lauko and Vinni Lettieri from AHL affiliate Providence on Tuesday. Lettieri, however, will not travel to Toronto after suffering a lower-body injury in practice.

For Toronto, Ilya Samsonov is scheduled to make his seventh straight start Wednesday. With Matt Murray (ankle) out, Joseph Woll will be the backup goaltender.

Jets surge past Blues with 4 goals in third period

Jets surge past Blues with 4 goals in third period

Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele each scored twice as the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 4-2 victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues on Monday.

Saku Maenalanen and Kyle Connor had two assists each for the Jets, who erased a 2-0 deficit in the third period to snap their three-game losing streak.

Connor Hellebuyck made 24 saves to earn the victory.

Jake Neighbours scored a goal and added an assist for the Blues, who lost their fifth straight game. Nikita Alexandrov also scored and Jordan Binnington made 35 saves.

Binnington had to make two difficult stops to keep the first period scoreless. He stretched to his right to deny Pierre-Luc Dubois' walk-in, and he slid to his left to stop Maenalanen off a 2-on-1 break.

Winnipeg outshot the Blues 19-7 in the second period, but St. Louis escaped with a 1-0 lead.

The Jets peppered Binnington with six shots early in the period, then Sam Gagner hit the crossbar. Connor got an open look from the right faceoff dot on a power play, but Binnington made a right pad save.

The Blues broke the scoreless tie with 5:24 left in the second period. During a power-play line change, Torey Krug made a home-run pass to Neighbours, who scored with a move to his backhand.

The Blues doubled their lead to 2-0 at 2:02 of the third period. Josh Leivo raced up the right wing and slid the puck to Alexandrov coming down the middle to score.

But Morrissey cut Winnipeg's deficit to 2-1 just 40 seconds later with a blast off left wing on a 2-on-2 rush.

Scheifele tied the game at 9:32 of the period. Connor stole the puck and fed Nikolaj Ehlers, who set up Scheifele in the slot.

Then 21 seconds later, Morrissey put the Jets up 3-2 by firing a pass toward Dubois that deflected into the net off Blues forward Brayden Schenn.

Scheifele's empty-net goal with 24 seconds left iced the game.

Injured Kraken rookie Matty Beniers out of All-Star Game

Injured Kraken rookie Matty Beniers out of All-Star Game

The Seattle Kraken will not be represented at NHL All-Star Weekend this Saturday after star rookie Matty Beniers was ruled out with an upper-body injury.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Chandler Stephenson was named as Beniers' replacement on the Pacific Division roster Monday.

Beniers, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and the first draft selection in Kraken franchise history, had 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) through 47 games of his first full NHL season.

But Beniers was hurt last Wednesday when Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers leveled Beniers while both were away from the puck. Beniers has missed two games since.

Seattle radio station KJR reported that, per Kraken general manager Ron Francis, another Kraken player was offered Beniers' spot in the All-Star Game but turned it down.

Stephenson will make his first career All-Star appearance. He leads the Golden Knights in assists (33) and points (44).

The All-Star Game will be played this Saturday in Sunrise, Fla.

Canucks trade captain Bo Horvat to Islanders

Canucks trade captain Bo Horvat to Islanders

The New York Islanders acquired center Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night in exchange for forwards Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Raty and a conditional first-round draft pick in 2023.

Horvat spent his first 8 1/2 NHL seasons with the Canucks and has served as their captain since 2019.

The 27-year-old led Vancouver with 31 goals and was second on the team with 54 points. In 621 career games, Horvat tallied 420 points (201 goals, 219 points).

But the Canucks are a longshot to factor into the Western Conference playoff race and recently fired coach Bruce Boudreau, signaling a willingness to be sellers ahead of the trade deadline.

The Islanders are in the middle of a tight playoff race in the Eastern Conference. At 55 points, they are just three and two points out of the two wild-card spots occupied by the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Beauvillier, 25, had spent his first 6 1/2 NHL seasons with New York and recorded 209 points (102 goals, 107 assists) in 457 appearances. He had 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 49 games this season.

The Islanders drafted Raty in the second round of the 2021 draft after he had been considered one of the top prospects available that year. He scored a goal in his NHL debut on Dec. 23 and played in 12 total games for the Isles, who recently returned him to their AHL affiliate.

The first-round pick in the deal is top-12 protected in 2023, multiple reports said. If the Islanders end up with a top-12 selection this summer, Vancouver will receive their 2024 first-rounder instead.

The NHL trade deadline is March 3.

Capitals, Blue Jackets meet to close out rough January

Capitals, Blue Jackets meet to close out rough January

Two teams in need of some down time will meet Tuesday night when the Washington Capitals visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It is the final game before the All-Star break for both teams and their last game in January, a month each club will be happy to put behind them.

Washington blazed through December but is 5-7-1 in January and has not won two straight since a five-game run from Dec. 17-27. On Sunday, the Capitals surrendered four second-period goals in a 5-1 loss at Toronto, which followed an impressive overtime win against the Penguins.

"Obviously the standings are getting tight this time of year and you want to keep climbing as much as you can," forward Conor Sheary said. "But losing after a (win) is something we have to avoid and start stringing together some wins."

Nicklas Backstrom scored his first goal of the season for Washington, which is 1-3 over its past four games. Darcy Kuemper allowed four goals on 20 shots before being pulled. Charlie Lindgren made six saves in relief and could get the start in the first-half finale.

The Capitals hold the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference but there are four teams close behind after Washington wasn't able to build on a 1-0 lead against the Maple Leafs.

"It doesn't feel good, that's for sure. We played a good game against Pittsburgh, 60 minutes, and obviously, we didn't tonight," Backstrom said. "At the end of the day, we have to regroup here going to Columbus for the next one and finish off strong before the (All-Star) break."

Washington will be without forward Tom Wilson, who remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Blue Jackets are not among the teams chasing Washington for a wild-card spot. Columbus has lost three of four and is 4-10-1 in January, a stretch that has left them with the fewest points in the NHL.

Columbus finished a 1-2-1 road trip with a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Saturday. Kent Johnson scored and Elvis Merzlikins made 28 saves for the Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets fell behind 2-0 and got to within 2-1 late in the second period but couldn't get the equalizer.

"We're all playing 82 games, we're all in the middle of the season and we all go through those stretches where we're playing a lot of hockey on the road," forward Johnny Gaudreau said. "So, we've got to come prepared a little bit better."

Rookie Kirill Marchenko saw his three-game goal streak snapped against Seattle, but his play continues to impress coach Brad Larsen.

"I like his passion, his enthusiasm. I love that he's finding different ways to score ... power play, 5-on-5 and in different ways even within those power-play goals," Larsen said. "So, at the end of the day, he's been a real positive and bright spot for goal-scoring, which hasn't come easy for us."

The Blue Jackets were without defenseman Adam Boqvist against Seattle after he left with an upper-body injury Friday versus Vancouver. He is day-to-day.

The Capitals have won the first two meetings between the teams -- 6-2 in Columbus on Jan. 5, and 1-0 in Washington three days later behind 38 saves from Kuemper.

Surging Senators face fading Canadiens again

Surging Senators face fading Canadiens again

The Ottawa Senators have another opportunity to continue their recent success in advance of the All-Star break, while adding to the current frustration of the Montreal Canadiens.

While the visiting Senators aim for a fourth straight victory, the Canadiens will try to avoid losing their fourth in a row on Tuesday night.

Ottawa has outscored its opponents 13-3 during a three-game winning streak that has followed a 2-6-0 rut. After winning 6-2 at surging Toronto on Friday, the Senators kept the offense coming in Saturday's 5-0 home rout of the Canadiens in the first game of the current two-game set.

Ottawa's Claude Giroux had two goals with an assist and Anton Forsberg made 28 saves for his second shutout of the month, as the Senators ran their winning streak over Montreal to four games.

"We're playing fast, we're supporting each other and we're kind of building our game," said Giroux, who has four goals and four assists in the last four games.

"Guys are playing with confidence. We're finding ways to win."

According to NHL.com, Giroux's 15 multi-point games in 2022-23 are the most by a player in his first season as a Senator since Clarke MacArthur recorded the same amount in 2013-14.

Forsberg has stopped 80 of 83 shots while starting each game during Ottawa's current winning streak. With the All-Star break beginning this week, Forsberg could again be in goal as the Senators try to win a season-high four in a row for the third time.

Montreal, which dropped a season-high seven straight from Dec. 21-Jan. 5, has totaled five goals during its 0-2-1 slide. The club is trying to generate some consistent offense while dealing with various injuries to nine forwards.

Notably, young star Cole Caufield (team-leading 26 goals) opted to be shut down to undergo shoulder surgery with his team essentially out of playoff contention. The Canadiens will enter Tuesday's game with just 44 points.

The Canadiens, who have been shut out four times this season, managed just four shots in the third period against the Senators.

"I liked all of our game (Saturday), for the most part, except maybe for the third, we had some challenges getting to the net," Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said. "The intentions were right, but I would have liked to have seen us have more shots in the third."

The Canadiens excited their fans Saturday with the debut of touted prospect Owen Beck, who logged 10 minutes of ice time against the Senators. However, Beck, who turns 19 this week, was sent back to the Ontario Hockey League following the contest.

Montreal star Nick Suzuki has a team-leading 38 points, but only one over a six-game stretch -- and none in the last three. He has just one point during the Canadiens' four-game skid versus Ottawa.

Sam Montembeault stopped 31 of 35 shots for Montreal on Saturday and has a 3.88 goals-against average during his current 1-3-0 starting stretch. Teammate Jake Allen has a 4.10 goals-against average while going 1-6-2 in his last nine starts.

With a goal Saturday, Ottawa's Alex DeBrincat has four points in two games against the Canadiens this season. He has recorded 11 points in nine career contests versus Montreal.

Hurricanes soaring as test from Kings awaits

Hurricanes soaring as test from Kings awaits

The Carolina Hurricanes have drawn from various sources on their latest winning streak, with nothing more impressive than Sebastian Aho's scoring burst and the contributions from a number of goalies.

The Hurricanes' latest chance to unveil their winning formula will come Tuesday when they wrap up a three-game homestand against the visiting Los Angeles Kings in Raleigh, N.C.

Aho has scored a goal in four consecutive games, racking up seven total goals during that stretch.

"He's emerging, I think, this whole year," Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "He's playing at a high level, that's for sure."

Aho and Martin Necas share the team lead with 21 goals apiece, two more than All-Star selection Andrei Svechnikov. Those three players all had one goal in the first meeting this season with Los Angeles, a 4-2 Hurricanes road victory on Dec. 3.

The Hurricanes are coming off Sunday's 4-1 victory against the Boston Bruins in a matchup of the teams with the best records in the NHL.

"All our guys played great," Brind'Amour said of the victory over the Bruins, who sit atop the NHL with 81 points. "We deserved that one."

Carolina has won five games in a row, owns an eight-game points streak and now has a convincing victory over the Bruins to keep them confident for the road ahead.

"It's always a good barometer to see how you stack up against them," Carolina defenseman Brent Burns said.

Through just 49 games, Carolina already has become the 14th team in NHL history to have three goalies with double-digit victories.

Frederik Andersen, who has missed chunks of time with injuries, became the latest to reach that mark against Boston. Andersen's record is 10-3-0, while Antti Raanta is 12-2-3 and Pyotr Kochetkov is 10-4-5.

The Kings are contending for the top spot in the Pacific Division thanks to five victories in their last seven road games.

Going from facing the Lighting to the Hurricanes means another big task for the Kings.

"There are a few teams in the league that are good teams and favorites, if you will," Kings captain Anze Kopitar said. "We always get good challenges from them along the way."

For the Kings, the game at Carolina will be the close of a six-game road trip and it will be their last game prior to the All-Star break. Los Angeles is 3-2-0 on the trip after falling 5-2 on Saturday at Tampa Bay.

"Carolina plays a bit of a different game, and we have to adjust to what they're doing," Kings coach Todd McLellan said. "(This trip is) getting long and just try and prepare mentally for a team that plays a lot of pace and fires a lot of pucks."

Kings left winger Kevin Fiala added to his All-Star credentials with one goal and four assists over the past four games to reach 17 goals and 35 assists on the season.

Los Angeles is 1-for-9 on power plays across the last three games. Yet the Kings were 10-for-10 on penalty kills with two short-handed goals during those games. The Hurricanes killed off all six Boston power plays, with special teams in the spotlight Tuesday.

Hall of Famer Bobby 'The Golden Jet' Hull dies at 84

Hall of Famer Bobby 'The Golden Jet' Hull dies at 84

Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby "The Golden Jet" Hull has died at 84, the NHL Alumni Association announced Monday.

A 12-time All-Star and two-time Hart Trophy winner, Hull played the first 15 seasons of his 23-year pro career with Chicago and helped the Blackhawks capture the 1961 Stanley Cup.

He is Chicago's all-time leader in goals (604) and ranks third in points (1,153) after longtime teammate Stan Mikita (1,467) and active forward Patrick Kane (1,214).

Hull, who earned his nickname due to his blond hair and his speed, was also known for his ferocious slap shot that was once reportedly clocked at 118 mph.

He led the NHL in scoring three times and earned back-to-back Hart trophies as the league's MVP in 1964-65 and 1965-66.

In 1972 he left Chicago to join the World Hockey Association's Winnipeg Jets as a player/coach, signing the first $1 million contract in the history of the sport.

Hull was a two-time Gordie Howe Trophy (MVP) winner in the WHA and helped the Jets win the Avco Cup in 1976 and 1978.

The Ontario native retired after the 1979-80 season with a combined 1,808 points (913 goals, 895 assists) in 1,474 games with Chicago (1957-72), Winnipeg (1972-80) and the Hartford Whalers (1980). He scored 129 points in 119 Stanley Cup playoff games and scored 80 points in 60 career WHA playoff games.

Hull's No. 9 is retired by the Blackhawks and the Jets. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983, where he was joined by his son, Brett, in 2009.

Maple Leafs G Matt Murray (ankle) out until All-Star break

Maple Leafs G Matt Murray (ankle) out until All-Star break

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray will be sidelined through the NHL All-Star break with an ankle injury, coach Sheldon Keefe said Sunday.

Murray's injury isn't of the long-term variety, according to Keefe. But the 28-year-old was scratched from his scheduled start prior to Friday's 6-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Murray reportedly injured the ankle during warmups, necessitating the late change to Ilya Samsonov.

"There's something there that's going to require some time for sure," Keefe said of Murray's injury. "The length of time we won't quite know really until we come back from the break. We'll have a better idea of exactly where that's at."

Toronto resumes play after the break on Feb. 10 against the host Columbus Blue Jackets. The Maple Leafs host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday in their last game before the time off.

Murray hasn't played in the Maple Leafs' last six games with Samsonov being the netminder in each, including Sunday's 5-1 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals.

Murray was pulled from his last start -- a 5-4 overtime win over the Florida Panthers on Jan. 17 -- early in the second period.

Murray, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, is 11-5-2 with a 2.73 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 19 games (all starts) this season. He is in his first season with Toronto after playing for Pittsburgh (2015-20) for five seasons and the Ottawa Senators (2020-22) for two campaigns.

Samsonov, 25, is 17-5-2 with a 2.31 GAA and .917 save percentage in 24 games (23 starts) this season, also his first with the Maple Leafs after three seasons with the Capitals.

Toronto also formally placed star forward Auston Matthews (knee) on injured reserve and activated defenseman TJ Brodie (rib) off the same list.

Four-goal second period vaults Leafs past Caps

Four-goal second period vaults Leafs past Caps

Michael Bunting had a goal and assist, John Tavares added two assists in his 1,000th NHL game and the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the visiting Washington Capitals 5-1 Sunday.

Morgan Rielly, William Nylander, Pierre Engvall and Zach Aston-Reese also scored for the Maple Leafs, who are 3-1-0 on their five-game homestand.

Former Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov, making his sixth consecutive start for the Leafs, stopped 23 shots.

It was Toronto's second game without star center Auston Matthews (knee), who is on injured reserve and will be out for at least three weeks.

Nicklas Backstrom scored for the Capitals, who have lost four of their past six.

Darcy Kuemper allowed four goals on 20 shots before being replaced in the second period by Charlie Lindgren, who stopped six of seven shots.

Backstrom scored his first goal of the season on a power play at 17:17 of the first period, a 33-foot shot from the right faceoff circle through a screen. Marcus Johansson made the pass and Conor Sheary also earned an assist. Alexander Kerfoot was serving a tripping penalty.

Toronto scored four unanswered goals in the second period.

Bunting scored his 15th goal of the season on a rebound at 1:29 during a power play. Tavares and Mitchell Marner earned assists with Nicolas Aube-Kubel off for holding.

Rielly's first goal of the season came on a 22-foot shot at 7:00 on a 22-foot shot, with assists from Bunting and Tavares.

Nylander knocked in a rebound for his 28th goal of the season at 10:45 with an assist from Calle Jarnkrok.

Engvall scored his 10th goal of the year at 14:20 on a 31-foot shot. TJ Brodie, who returned from a rib injury, and David Kampf assisted.

Lindgren replaced Kuemper after Engvall's goal.

Aston-Reese scored his fifth goal of the campaign at 16:47 of the third on assists from Pontus Holmberg and Mark Giordano.

Tavares was honored with a video tribute before the game.

With Matt Murray (ankle) out, Toronto recalled goaltender Joseph Woll from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League and loaned forward Bobby McMann to the Marlies.

Hurricanes down Bruins, stretch winning streak to five

Hurricanes down Bruins, stretch winning streak to five

Frederik Andersen made 24 saves to help the Carolina Hurricanes hand the visiting Boston Bruins their third consecutive loss by skating to a 4-1 victory Sunday night.

Sebastian Aho, Paul Stastny, Seth Jarvis and Jordan Staal scored for Carolina, which extended its winning streak to five games. Aho's goal was his seventh in the last four games.

Taylor Hall had Boston's goal.

Martin Necas and Brent Burns were credited with assists on Stastny's goal. Necas and Aho each have a team-high 21 goals. Necas leads the Hurricanes in assists (24) and points (45).

Carolina led 1-0 after one period and 2-0 entering the third. Andersen raised his record to 10-3-0.

Aho opened the scoring with a breakaway goal at 10:52 of the first period. Stastny doubled Carolina's lead when he scored during a Carolina power play at 12:05 of the second period, and Jarvis made it 3-0 when he took the puck away from Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo and beat Linus Ullmark 1:57 into the third period.

Ullmark made 32 saves in the loss.

The Bruins got on the scoreboard when Hall made it 3-1 with a deflection of Pavel Zacha's shot at 3:22 of the third, but Carolina regained a three-goal lead when Staal scored a short-handed goal into an empty net with 4:20 to play.

The Bruins were coming off back-to-back losses to Tampa Bay and Florida -- the first time Boston had lost consecutive games this season. The Bruins were 0-for-4 on the power play against Florida, scoreless in two power play opportunities against Tampa Bay and failed to score in six power play chances in the loss to Carolina.

Boston center Trent Frederic returned to action after leaving Saturday's loss to Florida after he was hit in the foot by the puck while he blocked a shot in the first period.

It was the second of three games between Carolina and Boston this season. The Bruins beat the Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime in Boston on Nov. 25.

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