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National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 7th (All times Eastern)
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (13-13-2) AT DALLAS STARS (13-9-5), 2 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers continue a six-game road trip on Saturday afternoon in Dallas, where they will try to avoid their first loss to the Stars in six years.
The Flyers have won each of their past six meetings with the Stars, having not lost to the club since Dec. 1, 2007 in Philadelphia. That streak includes three straight victories in Dallas.
Philly is 2-1 so far on a six-game swing, having rallied from two goals down to beat the Detroit Red Wings 6-3 on Wednesday. Sean Couturier paced the comeback with his first career four-point game, notching two goals and a pair of assists.
Matt Read, Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell also tallied during the Flyers' run of five straight goals scored and Steve Mason made 32 saves.
"We knew we had to come out flying and get pucks on the net," Read said of the team's comeback. "It was just a very gritty comeback win by us and something we can build off of."
Read and Hartnell added two assists each. Hartnell is scheduled to skate in his 900th career regular-season game tonight, while Read is tied with Vincent Lecavalier for the team lead in goals with nine.
Lecavalier has missed the past two games with back spasms and is not expected to play today either.
Mason, who has won three straight starts, is 4-3-1 with a 2.31 goals against average in his career versus the Stars.
Dallas has points in five straight, going 2-0-3 in that span. The Stars are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday despite registering a season-high 50 shots on net.
Shawn Horcoff had a goal and an assist and Erik Cole also scored for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen allowed all three goals on 24 shots.
Dallas lost not only the game but defenseman Trevor Daley to a lower-body injury when he crashed into the end boards during the second period and had to be helped off the ice.
"He's got an injury that looks like it's going to take some time," said Stars head coach Lindy Ruff. "It's going to be nothing that's going to be short- term."
Dallas is already without defender Stephane Robidas for the next 4-to-6 months due to a broken leg. Jamie Oleksiak and Kevin Connauton are in line to fill the void left by Robidas and Daley, with Connauton having picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Thursday.
If Ruff wants to find a good spot to rest Lehtonen, today may be the time. The netminder has never beaten the Flyers in his career, going 0-10-2 with a 3.50 GAA.
Backup Dan Ellis is 1-1-0 in three career starts against the Flyers, but with a 6.23 GAA.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (20-9-1) AT BOSTON BRUINS (18-8-2), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Thanks to the play of Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins don't need to rush Evgeni Malkin back from his current injury.
Malkin is expected to miss his second straight game on Saturday night when the streaking Penguins visit the Boston Bruins for the final time this season.
Most teams would be left scrambling when a player like Malkin went down late with an injury, but most teams don't have Crosby. The superstar forward leads the NHL with 41 points (Malkin is second with 37) and notched three assists in Thursday's 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
Chris Kunitz scored twice during a four-goal second period for the Pens and praised the play of Crosby afterwards.
"He did so many things, little things people don't always see," Kunitz said of Crosby. "He just dominated."
Malkin missed the game with a lower-body injury that caused him to leave the morning skate early. He is day-to-day, but did not travel to Boston.
In his absence, Crosby ran his assist total to 26 on the season in his 500th career game. It was a long-awaited milestone for the 26-year-old, who had dealt with injury during his career. That includes a right ankle ailment early in his career and serious concussion that caused him to miss the last 41 games of the 2010-11 campaign and limited him to just 22 contests the following season.
Still, Crosby has notched 253 goals and 453 assists for 706 points in his eight-plus seasons.
"Looking back I probably think about how many I've missed more than playing 500," Crosby said prior to the game. "But it's been great. It's gone by quick, that's for sure. But to get to 500 is definitely a nice number."
Crosby wasn't the only star of Thursday's game as Marc-Andre Fleury made a season-high 44 saves. Pascal Dupuis, Jayson Megna and Kris Letang also scored, though Dupuis suffered an undisclosed injury in the victory over one of the top teams of the Western Conference.
Andrew Ebbett has also been placed on injured reserve due to a broken ankle, so the Pens recalled forward Harry Zolnierczyk from the American Hockey League on Friday. He has notched a team-leading nine goals in 18 games with Wilkes- Barre/Scranton this season.
Pittsburgh has now won a season-high five straight games since an overtime loss to Boston on Nov. 25. The Bruins saw first-hand just how dangerous Crosby can be as he netted a game-tying goal with just 0.3 seconds left in the third period.
However, the Bruins rebounded on Torey Krug's tally 34 seconds into the bonus frame for a 4-3 win that snapped the Penguins' seven-game series winning streak.
Pittsburgh also lost for the first time in its last seven trips to Boston.
This is the third and final meeting of the regular season between the clubs. Fleury and Boston's Tuukka Rask have split the first two contests, with Fleury going 11-5-3 with a 2.28 goals against average in his career versus the Bruins.
Rask is 2-5-0 with a 2.74 GAA in his career against the Penguins. He made 25 saves in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Gregory Campbell scored the only goal for the Bruins, who were 6-1-1 in their previous eight games and fell a point behind the Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Already without defenseman Adam McQuaid due to a nagging lower-body issue, fellow blueliner Johnny Boychuk left the game early in the contest. He was hurt while battling at the left-corner boards with Montreal's Max Pacioretty, who pushed Boychuk into the boards head first.
Boychuk laid on the ice for several minutes with trainers attending to him. He was conscious the whole time and his whole body was immobilized before he was carted off the ice on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital.
Head coach Claude Julien said after the game that Boychuk was cleared to fly back to Boston with the team and did not know the severity of the injury.
He wouldn't blame the setback on the loss of the defenseman either.
"You've got to take the blame for what you did and didn't do," said Julien. "We didn't show up for the second period and allowed them to score two goals on us. That's the only place that cost us the game."
Boston begins a four-game road trip with a stop in Toronto on Sunday.
BUFFALO SABRES (6-21-2) AT MONTREAL CANADIENS (18-9-3), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After taking over first place in the Atlantic Division last time out, the Montreal Canadiens take aim at a season-high fifth straight victory on Saturday night as they play host to the Buffalo Sabres.
Montreal trailed division-leading Boston by a point in the standings ahead of Thursday's meeting at the Bell Centre, but jumped into first place after beating the Bruins 2-1 in regulation.
Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty had the goals, while Carey Price notched 32 saves and allowed less than three goals for a ninth straight outing.
Montreal is on its third four-game win streak of the season and is 8-0-1 in its last nine games, as well as 10-1-2 in the last 13.
"They came out strong, you have to give the Bruins credit for that," said Habs coach Michel Therrien. "But we adjusted really well. We played with desperation in the second period. We knew the importance of tonight's game and a lot of credit goes to my players. I think they left it on the ice and emptied the tank."
Pacioretty netted his team-leading 11th goal of the season, one more than Plekanec, and nine of those tallies have come in his last nine games. He managed to score the go-ahead goal late in the second period after shaking off a scary incident in the first period.
Boston lost defenseman Johnny Boychuk when he went into the left-corner boards to chase down a puck. He was pushed from behind by Pacioretty and hit the boards head first.
Boychuk laid on the ice for several minutes with trainers attending to him. He was conscious the whole time and his body was immobilized before he was carted off the ice on a stretcher.
Pacioretty was issued a boarding minor on the play at 4:28 and said the play shook him up a bit.
The 25-year-old, of course, was taken off the ice on a stretcher during an encounter with Boston on March 8, 2011 after the Bruins' Zdeno Chara drilled him into the stanchion at the end of the bench. Pacioretty suffered a concussion and fractured vertebrae as a result of the hit.
"I honestly had no intention of even really hitting somebody. I was making a play and battling in the corner," said Pacioretty, who hadn't seen a replay of the hit. "I can't comment on how the hit went because I honestly don't really know. It seemed like it was a battle play."
The Sabres will try to earn a victory tonight following Thursday's 3-1 setback to the New York Rangers. Buffalo did not get its lone goal in that loss until Tyler Ennis' tally with 2:06 left to play and fell to 1-6-1 in its last eight games.
"Same problems. Another day where we've got to search for the answers," said Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan. "There's no one going to ride in here and fix it for us. We have to fix it ourselves. We have to look in the mirror at what we can do to try to correct this thing to try to make it better."
Ryan Miller gave up three goals on 31 shots in his NHL-worst 16th setback of the season. He shouldered a bulk of the blame for the loss afterwards.
"It was a better hockey game than we've seen earlier in the year and it's my job to give them a chance to be in the game and I blew that part of it. Not a lot of room for error, so we got to make it count," said Miller, who criticized himself on two of the goals he allowed.
"There's a certain standard I have to play to and that's a one-goal game with the ability for this team to tie it late and get points out of it. That's the difference tonight. I thought the guys were better as the game went on."
These two clubs met for the first time this season on Nov. 27, with the Canadiens winning a 3-1 decision in Buffalo. Miller made 28 saves in the loss, while Price notched 24 saves to earn the win.
Montreal improved to 3-1-2 in the past six meetings overall, but the Sabres have won seven of the last eight at the Bell Centre.
Miller is 25-11-6 with a 2.35 goals against average in his career versus the Habs, while Price is 11-9-7 with a 2.00 GAA lifetime when facing the Sabres.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (15-11-3) AT OTTAWA SENATORS (11-14-4), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Maple Leafs look to make it two victories in a row on Saturday night as they hit the road to battle the struggling Ottawa Senators.
The Maple Leafs were 0-3-2 in their previous five games, their longest losing streak of the season, before gutting out a 3-2 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Trevor Smith redirected a shot by Jake Gardiner into the net with 42 seconds left in overtime and Jonathan Bernier made a career-high 48 saves.
The Maple Leafs allowed 50 shots and had just 24 of their own, marking the 10th straight game they were outshot, but it didn't matter thanks to Bernier.
"I'm pretty tired right now, but it feels amazing," Bernier said. "I thought last game we played pretty good and didn't get the result and tonight we found a way to score that big goal at the end."
Nazem Kadri scored a pair of goals in an emotional return to the lineup. He had missed the previous game to attend the funeral of his grandfather. He came into the contest with two goals and a pair of assists over his previous 10 games.
Kadri skated on the top line with James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel, who had two assists, due to an oblique strain to Tyler Bozak and responded with his first multi-goal game of the season.
"I wanted to have a big game for him," Kadri said of his grandfather. "Our team played pretty well for some skids. We had some zone time. I still think we can play better but I think tonight was one of our better ones."
The Senators are hoping to play better tonight after losing for the seventh time in 10 games on Thursday. They were bested 3-1 by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who got 33 saves from former Sens goaltender Ben Bishop.
Patrick Wiercioch potted Ottawa's lone goal, while Robin Lehner allowed three goals on 22 shots for the Senators.
Lehner had a simple answer when asked about the difference in the game.
"We couldn't get it past (Bishop) and they could get it past me."
The Maple Leafs have won four straight and seven of their last eight versus the Senators, winning the first of four meetings this season on a 5-4 shootout decision in Toronto on Oct. 5.
Kadri, van Riemsdyk, Mason Raymond and Joffrey Lupul all scored to help the Leafs rally from a 4-2 deficit before both Raymond and Bozak scored in the shootout.
Bernier stopped all 15 shots he faced in regulation and overtime and another two in the shootout after taking over midway through the second period for James Reimer, who allowed four goals on 21 shots.
Kyle Turris had a goal and two assists for the Sens while Cory Conacher, Jared Cowen and Jason Spezza each registered a goal in defeat. Craig Anderson stopped 38-of-42 shots.
Anderson is expected to start tonight and is 6-5-1 with a 2.73 goals against average lifetime versus the Maple Leafs.
Bernier could get the start tonight after his most recent effort. His relief appearance on Oct. 5 marked the first time he had ever faced the Senators.
Reimer had a rare hiccup against Ottawa and is still 8-1-1 against them with a 1.99 GAA and three shutouts.
Toronto has won four of five and eight of its past 11 in Ottawa.
FLORIDA PANTHERS (8-16-5) AT DETROIT RED WINGS (15-8-7), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The surging Detroit Red Wings will shoot for their sixth win in seven games when they host the Florida Panthers in Saturday's Atlantic Division battle at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings have won five of six outings and are 6-2-0 since a seven-game losing streak from Nov. 4-19.
Detroit won for the sixth time in eight tries Friday night at New Jersey, posting a 3-1 win over the Devils at Prudential Center. Jimmy Howard only needed to make 10 saves to earn the win against New Jersey, while Tomas Tatar posted a goal and an assist to lead the Detroit offense, which was again without star forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
Joakim Andersson and Johan Franzen also scored for the Red Wings, who are currently sitting third in the Atlantic with 37 points -- 16 more than seventh-place Florida.
"We've been playing really good lately," said Andersson. "Right now we're finding ways to win and that's what it's all about. You just don't want to lose three or four in a row."
Zetterberg has sat out the last two games with a herniated disc in his back and is expected to miss at least another week of action. Datsyuk will miss a seventh straight game tonight with a concussion, but he could be ready to return when Detroit visits Florida in its next game on Tuesday.
Zetterberg is leading Detroit in scoring this season with 30 points on 11 goals and 19 assists. Datsyuk, meanwhile, is first in goals (12) and tied for second in points (23).
The Panthers will try to win consecutive games for just the second time this season when they take the ice on Saturday.
Florida halted a three-game slide in its last outing, recording a 5-2 decision over Winnipeg in the finale of a five-game homestand on Thursday. The Panthers, who last won back-to-back games on Nov. 16 and 19, went 2-3-0 during the recent stay at BB&T Center.
Dylan Olsen, Erik Gudbranson and Tomas Fleischmann each had a goal and an assist to lead the way in Thursday's triumph over the Jets. Nick Bjugstad and Jimmy Hayes also lit the lamp for the Panthers, while Tim Thomas stopped 29- of-31 shots for the win.
Olsen, a first-round pick (28th overall) by Chicago in 2009, registered the first goal of his NHL career in his 33rd game.
"It's awesome. It's your first NHL goal," Olsen said. "It was obviously exciting, but it's even better to get the win and get off that three-game losing streak. That's what we're excited about, and we've got to keep rolling from here."
Rookie forward Aleksander Barkov left Thursday's game with a lower-body injury, but he could be ready to go for tonight's test. The 18-year-old Finn was the second overall pick at last summer's draft and has four goals and six assists in 29 games this season.
Beginning with tonight's test, Florida is playing two straight and six of its next eight games on the road where it has a sub-par 3-9-2 record this season. The Panthers are back in action tomorrow night in Chicago before returning to South Florida for a two-game homestand. The brief home stretch begins with Tuesday's game against Detroit.
The Red Wings have earned at least a point in 18 straight meetings with Florida, going 11-0-2 with five ties since a 4-2 regulation loss in the Motor City on Dec. 1, 1996.
Detroit is 6-1-1 with three ties in 11 all-time matchups with the Panthers at the Joe.
WINNIPEG JETS (13-13-4) AT TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (17-10-1), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Winnipeg Jets hope to close a six-game road trip on a positive note when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning for Saturday's clash in Central Florida.
The Jets have lost two of their last three games, but have a chance to finish over .500 on the trip with a victory in the finale. Winnipeg fell to 3-2-0 on the swing after Thursday's disappointing effort against the Florida Panthers, who notched an easy 5-2 triumph over the Jets at BB&T Center.
After scoring the first goal of the game on Thursday, Winnipeg allowed Florida to score four unanswered tallies to take control of the contest.
"The game wasn't very good," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "It wasn't really the score; obviously, the score is the area, but for me it was the way we played. We didn't have very many good players, we didn't play very intelligent."
Andrew Ladd and Olli Jokinen scored for Winnipeg, while Ondrej Pavelec turned aside 21-of-26 shots in the loss.
The Jets played without forwards Michael Frolik (flu) and Evander Kane (lower body) on Thursday. Kane has missed the last two games and is doubtful for Saturday, while Frolik also could sit out a second straight game due to his illness.
Both Kane and Frolik are tied for third on Winnipeg this season with seven goals apiece.
Winnipeg fell to 6-7-1 as the road team after Thursday's loss. Following tonight's outing, the club will return home for a three-game stay at MTS Centre. The homestand is set to begin with Tuesday's meeting against the St. Louis Blues.
The Lightning will aim for a second straight win after ending a scoring drought with Thursday's 3-1 victory over visiting Ottawa. Tampa had been shut out in two straight games heading into the recent tilt against the Senators, but Martin St. Louis scored twice to lift the Bolts to the home win at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Ondrej Palat assisted on both of St. Louis' goals and Valtteri Filppula also lit the lamp for the Lightning. Former Senator Ben Bishop backstopped the Tampa Bay triumph with 33 saves.
"We're not winning this game without Bishop," St. Louis said of his netminder.
It was the eighth win in the last nine home games for Tampa, which is 11-3-0 as the host this season compared to a 6-7-1 record on the road.
The Lightning are dealing with a rash of injuries at the moment and defensemen Victor Hedman and Keith Aulie are the latest to join the list. Hedman suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday's loss and expects to miss tonight, while Aulie is out indefinitely after breaking his hand against the Senators.
Of course, Tampa is still playing without star centerman Steven Stamkos, who is out indefinitely with a broken right tibia. Fellow forward Ryan Malone also is expected to miss the next 3-to-4 weeks with a broken ankle.
Winnipeg will try to win its fourth straight game in this series tonight and the Jets also have claimed six of the past nine encounters against the Bolts. However, the Lightning have taken nine of the past 11 meetings in Central Florida.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS (13-13-3) AT WASHINGTON CAPITALS (14-12-2), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators will try to avoid a fifth consecutive loss when they visit the Washington Capitals for Saturday's battle at the Verizon Center.
The Predators have matched a season-worst losing streak with their current 0-3-1 funk, tying the club's 0-4-0 skid from Nov. 8-15. Another setback on Saturday would give Nashville its worst losing streak since dropping eight straight from April 4-19 of last season.
Nashville's last two losses came in regulation and Barry Trotz's club was handed a 5-2 defeat by visiting Carolina on Thursday. Jeff Skinner scored his first career hat trick to lift the Hurricanes to the lopsided win at Bridgestone Arena.
The Preds led the contest 2-1 in the early stages of the second period, but couldn't finish off Carolina. The Hurricanes scored four unanswered goals to end the game, including three in under 13 minutes in the second period after the Predators had taken the 2-1 lead with two goals in the first 2:41 of the frame.
"Their top guys were good tonight, and we didn't have a match for them," Trotz said. "Some of our top guys weren't on today. I think our core wasn't as strong."
Mike Fisher and Viktor Stalberg scored for the Predators. Marek Mazanec allowed four goals on 13 shots in the first two periods and Carter Hutton made nine saves in the third.
Nashville played its third straight game without star defenseman Shea Weber, who has been out with an eye injury since getting hit with a puck on Nov. 28. Weber returned to practice on Friday and is making the trip to D.C. He is expected to be a game-time decision tonight.
The Predators went winless during their recent four-game homestand, but they can extend a three-game road winning streak on Saturday. Nashville, which will complete a brief two-game swing with Tuesday's test against the New York Rangers, is 7-7-1 on the road this season.
Washington will try to get back on track Saturday after having a two-game winning streak halted with Tuesday's 4-1 loss against the Hurricanes. Skinner had two goals and an assist in the win for Carolina.
Mike Green scored the lone goal for the Capitals, who lost for the fifth time in seven games. It was the first goal of the season for Green, a defenseman who once scored 31 goals for Washington during the 2008-09 campaign.
"You know as a smaller subplot it's obviously good for him," Capitals coach Adam Oates said of Green's goal. "It's obviously been something that we've talked about a lot. Now the zero is gone, so hopefully it leads to more."
Braden Holtby turned aside 19-of-23 shots over two periods before being pulled in favor of Philipp Grubauer, who made nine saves in the third frame. Neither Holtby nor Grubauer has ever faced the Predators.
The Caps played their third straight game without forward Brooks Laich, who is dealing with a groin injury at the moment. He is expected to sit out a fourth consecutive tilt on Saturday.
Washington is playing on back-to-back days this weekend and will visit the Rangers on Sunday.
The Capitals have taken six of the past seven meetings with the Predators, although four of Washington's victories during that span have come after regulation.
Nashville is 2-4-2 in its eight all-time trips to D.C.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS (11-13-6) AT NEW YORK RANGERS (15-14-0), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers hope to begin their longest home stretch of the season on a positive note when they welcome the struggling New Jersey Devils for Saturday's Metropolitan Division battle at Madison Square Garden.
The Blueshirts began the 2013-14 season on a nine-game road trip from Oct. 3-26 while the Garden was undergoing major renovations. New York went 3-6-0 on that swing, but hopes to do much better during this homestand of the same length. However, the Rangers are just 5-6-0 as the host this season compared to a 10-8-0 mark on the road.
This homestand will run through the Christmas break, as the Rangers aren't scheduled to play another road game until they visit Washington on Dec. 27.
The Devils have won both meetings against the Rangers this season, notching a 4-0 home win on Oct. 19 before recording a 3-2 regulation decision at MSG on Nov. 12. New York had won four in a row on home ice in this series before last month's loss to the Devils.
With 30 points, the Rangers are tied with Washington for third place in the Metro Division, while the Devils are two points behind in a tie with Philadelphia.
New York enters Saturday having won two of its last three games and the club is coming off Thursday's 3-1 win in Buffalo. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to help anchor the victory at First Niagara Center.
The Rangers No. 1 goalie almost turned in a shutout on Thursday, but a stickhandling miscue led to a late goal for the Sabres. Lundqvist, after agreeing to a seven-year contract extension on Wednesday, was working on his third shutout of the season when his failed clear led to a Tyler Ennis goal with 2:06 remaining in the third period.
Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello scored for the Rangers.
"There wasn't a lot of room," said Vigneault. "They play a really solid defensive game and we made them pay in the first period with a controlled breakout."
The Rangers, who will host Washington tomorrow evening, have lost four of their last five home games.
New Jersey will try to halt a three-game slide when it kicks off a three-game road trip on Saturday. The Devils were in action Friday night against visiting Detroit and dropped a 3-1 decision to lose for the sixth time in eight outings.
The Devils only managed to send 11 shots on net in last night's loss against the Red Wings and Jimmy Howard stopped 10 of them to hold New Jersey to one goal. It was the lowest shot total of the season for the Devils.
Andy Greene scored the only goal of the game for New Jersey, while Cory Schneider allowed all three goals on 21 shots.
"We did some good things moving the puck but we just couldn't get any shots through on net," said Schneider. "If we could have got that second one it would have been big, but they played tough."
Martin Brodeur will get the start in net for the Devils on Saturday. The future Hall of Famer is 48-30-5 with 15 ties and a superb 2.13 goals against average in 98 career games against the Rangers.
Lundqvist also has terrific career numbers against the Devils, going 28-14-5 with a 1.84 GAA in 47 lifetime tilts in this series.
ANAHEIM DUCKS (19-7-5) AT ST. LOUIS BLUES (19-5-3), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks will try to grab sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division on Saturday, when they visit the St. Louis Blues for a Western Conference showdown at Scottrade Center.
Anaheim picked up a shootout win Friday evening in Chicago, halting a two-game skid with the 3-2 decision at United Center. The win also moved the Ducks into a tie with San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division at 43 points apiece. The Sharks, who are idle on Saturday, lost a regulation decision at Carolina on Friday.
Friday's victory in the Windy City was just the second win in the last five trips to the ice for the Ducks. However, Anaheim has registered at least a point in four straight games (2-0-2) heading into Saturday's clash with the Blues.
The Ducks have won five of the last eight meetings against the Blues, but St. Louis ended a three-game series' skid with a 2-1 home overtime win on March 16 of last season.
The Blues are 6-0-1 in the last seven encounters between these clubs in the Gateway City.
Kyle Palmieri scored the winner in the shootout phase for the Ducks on Friday. In the second round, Palmieri faked to the backhand and lifted it over Antti Raanta. Patrick Kane then had his backhand stopped by Jonas Hiller to end the game and give Anaheim its fifth straight win over the Blackhawks.
"It was a little rough the past couple of shootouts so this is nice to get the extra point," said Hiller. "I got beat on the first one, but then was able to stop the next two and it feels good to help the team out."
Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist while Corey Perry also scored for the Ducks. Hiller made 23 stops through regulation and overtime.
Anaheim is completing a brief two-game road trip tonight. The Ducks are 9-7-3 as the visiting club in 2013-14 compared to a stellar 10-0-2 mark on home ice. Anaheim is set to open a three-game homestand when it welcomes the New York Islanders to the Honda Center on Monday.
The Blues ended a two-game slide in their last trip to the ice, as they slammed the visiting Islanders by a 5-1 score on Thursday. St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had a goal and an assist to help lead the way in the rout.
It was the fifth straight home win for the Blues, who are 12-1-2 at Scottrade Center this season. After Saturday's test, St. Louis will play three of its next four games on the road, beginning with Tuesday's tilt at Winnipeg.
Derek Roy, David Backes, Magnus Paajarvi and Brenden Morrow also scored for the Blues on Thursday while T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk both added a pair of assists. Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves for the win.
St. Louis recorded three goals on six opportunities with the man advantage on Thursday after going a combined 1-for-10 on the power play in its previous two outings.
"We were very effective on the power play," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We moved the puck, found shooting lanes. I thought all three goals, there was no chance for the goalie on any of the goals."
St. Louis has won six of its last eight games and is currently sitting second in the Central Division standings with 41 points.
CALGARY FLAMES (10-14-4) AT EDMONTON OILERS (10-18-2), 10 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Edmonton Oilers will try to continue their recent surge on Saturday when they welcome the Calgary Flames to Rexall Place for another edition of the Battle of Alberta.
The Oilers won for the sixth time in nine games in their last trip to the ice, setting a season-high in goals with the lopsided victory over visiting Colorado. Taylor Hall had a hat trick and added an assist to lead the way in Edmonton's 8-2 thrashing of the Avalanche on Thursday.
It was the fourth career hat trick for Hall, who now has 10 goals on the season.
Jordan Eberle, Mark Arcobello, David Perron and Ales Hemsky each registered a goal and an assist for the Oilers, while Devan Dubnyk posted 33 saves in the win.
Perron's goal was his team-leading 12th of the 2013-14 campaign. He had 10 goals in 48 games last season.
"He's turned into a great leader in our dressing room," Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins said of Perron. "He's one of those guys I can play anywhere."
Edmonton is continuing a five-game homestand tonight after splitting the first two games of the residency. The Oilers are just 4-9-0 at Rexall Place this season, but have won three of their last five home games.
The Oilers also have won three of four and five of the last seven meetings against Calgary. Edmonton notched a 4-2 road win against the Flames on Nov. 16. Dubnyk stopped 33-of-35 shots in that triumph and is 5-4-1 with a 2.52 goals against average in 11 career tilts against Calgary.
Calgary has taken five of seven and eight of the last 11 encounters at Rexall Place.
Edmonton is currently last in the Pacific Division with 22 points, but is only two points behind the Flames for sixth place.
The Flames will try to rebound from a loss tonight after having their second two-game win streak of the season snapped in Friday's 3-2 regulation setback against visiting Colorado. Maxime Talbot tallied a goal and an assist to lead the Avalanche past the Flames.
Calgary grabbed a 1-0 lead against the Avs just over seven minutes into Friday's game, but the Flames didn't score again until 1:55 left in the third period, when Matt Stajan tallied to cut the deficit to 3-2. Calgary was unable to notch the equalizer with goaltender Karri Ramo pulled for the extra attacker.
Kris Russell had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who were aiming for their first three-game winning streak since April 17-21 of last season. Ramo allowed all three goals on 25 shots.
"It's hockey. Mistakes cost goals. My overall game was all right, but those mistakes are what counts and I have to avoid those," said Ramo.
After Saturday's game, the Flames will play their next two games on home ice. Calgary is 5-8-1 on the road this season and 5-6-3 as the host.
New York Islanders (8-16-5) at Los Angeles Kings (18-7-4), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The free-falling New York Islanders will try to avoid a ninth straight loss when they visit the Los Angeles Kings for Saturday's battle at the Staples Center.
New York currently is suffering through an 0-6-2 slide and hasn't won since recording a home win on Nov. 16 against Detroit. The Islanders, who are sitting last in the Metropolitan Division with 21 points, have managed just two wins and six total points over the last 15 games (2-11-2).
The Isles did not get off to a promising start on a five-game road trip, losing the opener of the swing by a 5-1 score Thursday in St. Louis. New York tied the score at 1-1 early in the second period before allowing four unanswered goals to the Blues.
Andrew MacDonald tallied the lone goal for the Islanders, who are mired in their longest losing streak since a club-record 14-game slide (0-11-3) from Oct. 23-Nov. 24, 2010.
Anders Nilsson allowed all five goals on 26 shots in Thursday's loss.
New York has scored a total of five goals over its last four outings and has only managed to record more than two scores in a game once during its current slide. The Isles tallied three times in a 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Nov. 22.
"We're a club right now that's not scoring," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We had chances in the first, thought we dictated the play against a really good hockey team. Second period, all of a sudden, bang, bang, bang, and we can't respond.
"Again, we're not a team that's scoring many goals right now."
Kevin Poulin expects to get the start for New York on Saturday. His only career outing against the Kings came earlier this season when L.A. notched a 3-2 win at Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 14. That victory was the seventh for the Kings in their last nine meetings against the Islanders.
New York has lost three straight and five of its past seven games at the Staples Center.
The Kings enter Saturday's battle having won two straight to begin this month after going 1-1-3 in their final five games of November. L.A. recorded a 3-2 regulation win against visiting St. Louis on Monday and won by the same score the following night in a shootout victory at Anaheim.
Dwight King scored in the ninth round of the shootout to lead the Kings to the 3-2 win over the rival Ducks. The first 16 skaters failed to find the back of the net in the shootout before King buried a wrister past Jonas Hiller for the lead.
"Basically, a lot of guys shot glove, some guys hit iron," said King. "My look when I was going down was to try to surprise him with a quick shot."
Martin Jones, playing in his first NHL game, then stopped Mathieu Perreault's weak offering for the win.
Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter scored in regulation, while Jones made 26 stops for the Kings.
Ben Scrivens expects to start in net for the Kings on Saturday. He is 1-1-0 with a 4.02 goals against average in two career games against the Islanders.
After tonight's home test, the Kings will play their next four games on the road. L.A. has similar records at home and on the road this season, going 9-4-2 at the Staples Center and 9-3-2 everywhere else.
12/07 10:48:09 ET
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