National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network|
Friday, December 19
(All times Eastern)
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (20-10-3) AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS (11-16-6), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning turned to a 20-year-old rookie
in net to avoid starting their road trip with three straight losses.
The Lightning now look to even up their record on this swing Friday night as
they visit the struggling New Jersey Devils.
Tampa Bay began a five-game trip with losses in Washington and Pittsburgh. The
Bolts also saw starting netminder Ben Bishop exit Monday's loss to the
Penguins with a lower-body injury, causing backup Evgeni Nabokov to play just
over 37 minutes of relief.
With the Lightning back in action the next night, they opted to recall 20-
year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy from Syracuse of the American Hockey League and
Jon Cooper quickly gave him his first career start that night versus the
It was a successful debut for Vasilevskiy, the 19th overall pick of the 2012
draft, as he made 23 saves in a 3-1 victory.
"It was one of those things coming in. We've been going through a little bit
of a tough stretch here," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. "We played him
because he's a talented kid, but we thought he might be able to give us a
spark and clearly he did."
Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson and Valtteri Filppula lit the lamp for the
Bolts, while Ryan Callahan added two assists. The win has Tampa Bay a point
ahead of both Detroit and Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Though Bishop's injury isn't believed to be serious, it appears unlikely he
will play tonight or in Saturday's finale of this road trip versus the New
York Islanders. Cooper could decide to give both Vasilevskiy and Nabokov a
start over the two-day span, though it is unknown who will go versus the
Nabokov is 6-11-0 with a 3.03 goals against average and .887 save percentage
in 17 career meetings with the Devils.
Forward Ondrej Palat and defenseman Radko Gudas could both be back in the
lineup tonight for the Lightning as well. Palat has missed four straight due
to a lower-body injury, while a stomach virus has held Gudas out of the past
However, Johnson was unable to practice on Thursday due to illness, perhaps
the only thing that can slow him down right now. He has 12 points in his last
11 games with 10 goals and 33 points in 33 games this season.
The Devils hope to get their offense going tonight as they have lost a season
high-tying five in a row (0-3-2) and were shut out for the third time in 12
games with Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
The Devils outshot the Sens 34-16, but Cory Schneider made just 14 saves and
Ottawa's Craig Anderson posted his third shutout of the season.
"I don't think we played a bad game," Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas said. "We
dominated the entire game. I think we played well. They got an early power-
play goal and that was the game-winner right there. It's just a matter of
The Devils suffered a loss in the opener of a four-game homestand, one that
resumes on Saturday versus Washington. Schneider and Keith Kinkaid could split
the two starts.
Schneider is 2-0-1 with a 3.23 GAA and .877 save percentage in three outings
versus the Bolts, while Kinkaid made his NHL debut and lone appearance of last
season versus Tampa Bay on March 5. He gave up a goal on 13 shots in 26
minutes of relief.
Though New Jersey saw forward Patrik Elias return on Wednesday from a groin
injury that forced him to miss the previous five games, the Devils announced
on Thursday that rookie defenseman Damon Severson is expected to be out 4-to-5
weeks with a hairline fracture in his ankle.
Severson was a last-minute scratch versus the Senators and has 12 points in 32
However, the Devils may get Adam Larsson back into the lineup. The blueliner
has not played since Dec. 2 due to the mumps, but is over the illness.
New Jersey won the first of three meetings with Tampa Bay this season, picking
up a 2-1 road win on Oct. 14. It was the Devils' third victory in the past
Schneider made 26 saves, while Nabokov posted 23 stops in his Lightning debut.
The Devils have won 11 of their last 14 at home versus the Bolts.
ANAHEIM DUCKS (22-7-5) AT OTTAWA SENATORS (13-12-6), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks dodged a second straight loss on
On Friday, they'll try to avoid their first loss in Ottawa in nearly 12 years
as they visit the Senators and Canadian Tire Centre.
The Ducks have not lost consecutive games since losing to Chicago and San Jose
on back-to-back nights to finish off their November schedule. They then won
their first seven games of December, but had that run snapped with a 6-2 loss
to Toronto on Tuesday.
Anaheim was able to bounce back with last night's 2-1 decision over the
Montreal Canadiens, with Frederik Andersen making 23 saves in his 20th
straight start and Matt Beleskey netting his team-high 15th goal of the
Hampus Lindholm also scored for the Ducks.
"Good teams never want to lose two in a row," said Beleskey. "That's a big
goal of ours. We came out tonight. (Andersen) played great tonight and we
played a sound game all night. We got two good points."
The Ducks will conclude a five-game road trip tonight and it is unknown if
Andersen will again be in net or if Ilya Bryzgalov will make his first start
of the 2014-15 season.
Bryzgalov, recently signed to the club, made his season debut on Tuesday
versus the Maple Leafs and allowed two goals on seven shots in 15 minutes of
relief. He is 3-4-0 with a 3.11 goals against average and .901 save percentage
in eight games (7 starts) versus the Senators.
Andersen has faced Ottawa once before and got the win, stopping 26-of-27 shots
Whoever gets the call in net will try to help the Ducks avoid their first loss
in Ottawa since Jan. 16, 2003. They have won their past four trips since.
Anaheim also is 7-0-1 in its past eight versus Ottawa overall, including four
The Senators return home after going 2-0-1 on a three-game road trip, capping
the swing with Wednesday's 2-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. Craig Anderson
made 34 saves for his third shutout of the season and 29th of his career.
Anderson also nearly scored into an empty-net with 51.8 seconds to go, but his
clear down the ice bounced and veered to the right of the net.
Kyle Turris had both goals for the Senators, one into an empty-net in the
closing moments, as Ottawa won despite getting outshot 34-16.
"We can leave here with five out of six (points) on this road trip and feel
good about what we accomplished, but we need to straighten up some things, get
better in some areas," Anderson said. "You cannot expect to win hockey games
1-0 getting outshot. It's just not good quality hockey. I think we all know
that and we're all going to be better, and we know it."
The Senators will hit the road for another two games following tonight's clash
with the Ducks, starting on Saturday in Montreal.
Anderson is expected to start tonight, but is just 2-8-0 in his career against
Anaheim with a 3.40 GAA and .898 save percentage.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (21-10-0) AT DETROIT RED WINGS (17-7-8), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Even during some of their recent lean years the New York
Islanders had a knack for beating the Detroit Red Wings.
The new and improved Islanders hope to continue the trend Friday when they
visit the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
New York has only made the playoffs once in the previous seven seasons, but is
currently sitting second in the Metropolitan Division with 42 points, the same
number as Detroit, which is tied for second in the Atlantic.
The Red Wings, however, entered 2014-15 having made the postseason 23 straight
times dating back to 1989-90. That consistency hasn't counted for much against
the Islanders in the recent history between the clubs.
New York enters the first of three scheduled meetings with the Red Wings this
season having won six of the last seven encounters in this series. That
includes a 3-0 victory in Detroit when the clubs last met on Dec. 23 of last
season, a triumph that pushed the Isles' road winning streak against the Red
Wings to four games.
The last time Detroit recorded a home victory over the Islanders was in a 6-0
blowout on Nov. 28, 2003.
In addition to the series history, the Red Wings also will have to get over
their own poor play of late when they take the ice on Friday. Detroit has lost
four straight, and three of those losses came in the shootout. It's the Red
Wings' first four-game losing streak since a six-game slide from Dec. 7-17
last year in which they went 0-4-2.
Detroit fell to 1-6 in shootout decisions this season after losing 1-0 in
Columbus on Tuesday.
Sergei Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets remained unbeaten in December
with another tight win. Pavel Datsyuk scored in the tiebreaker for the Red
Wings, but Jimmy Howard yielded goals to Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner as
Detroit lost in the final phase.
Datsyuk was the only player to beat Sergei Bobrovsky all night, fooling his
fellow Russian with a backhand to open the shootout. Bobrovsky made 30 saves
through regulation and overtime to earn the shutout victory, while Howard
ended with 29 saves before allowing Johansen and Jenner to beat him in the
Howard also picked up his second shutout of the season, though it came in a
losing effort. Detroit's No. 1 netminder saw his personal record in shootouts
this season fall to 0-6.
"The thing I don't like about it is Howard stood on his head and leaves the
rink feeling like he didn't win," said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock.
Considering the Isles own a 6-0 record in shootouts this season, Detroit will
certainly try to pick up two points tonight before it gets to the tiebreaker.
Despite his shootout woes, Howard will get the start tonight for the Wings. He
is 1-2-1 with a 2.55 goals against average in four career games against the
New York has won two straight on the heels of three-game losing streak and the
club's most recent triumph came in Monday's shootout win over the visiting New
Jersey Devils. The Isles charged back from an early 2-0 deficit before
eventually taking a 3-2 decision on Josh Bailey's tally in the fifth round of
Bailey was able to sneak a low shot between the pads of Keith Kinkaid, and
Jacob Josefson missed the net on New Jersey's last chance.
"They're fun and you have to go out there and enjoy it," said Bailey about
shootouts. "You can't be nervous when you go out there so you just have to
embrace the moment and enjoy it."
Bailey and Matt Martin each had a goal, while Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 shots
for the Islanders, who have won five of their last eight.
With New York also scheduled to play Saturday against visiting Tampa Bay, it's
unclear if Halak will get the call or if backup Chad Johnson will make his
10th start of the season. Johnson has a win in his only career game against
Detroit, while the veteran Halak is 4-4-1 with a 3.47 GAA in this matchup.
Johnny Boychuk could return to the blue line for New York tonight after
sitting out the last nine games due to an upper-body injury. Boychuk is second
among Isles defensemen this season with 14 points on two goals and 12 assists.
Detroit also could get winger Johan Franzen back tonight after he sat out
Tuesday's game with an illness. Franzen has six goals and 13 assists in 25
BOSTON BRUINS (16-13-3) AT WINNIPEG JETS (16-10-6), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins will try to record consecutive
victories for the first time in nearly a month when they visit the Winnipeg
Jets for Friday's battle at MTS Centre.
The Bruins snapped a three-game slide and won for just the third time in 11
games after beating the Minnesota Wild in overtime on Wednesday. The current
3-5-3 stretch comes on the heels of Boston's last winning streak -- a three-
game run from Nov. 15-21.
After edging the Wild 3-2, Boston hopes to close a three-game road trip with
another victory. The Bruins boast a 4-1-1 mark in the last six meetings with
the Jets, but Boston has lost four of the five meetings at MTS Centre since
Winnipeg relocated from Atlanta.
Boston has dropped six of seven on the road in this series dating back to the
days of the Atlanta Thrashers.
The Bruins earned Wednesday's win thanks to Loui Eriksson's game-winning
marker 90 seconds into the extra session. Zdeno Chara flung the puck around
the boards off a faceoff win, Carl Soderberg tracked it down and Eriksson
deposited Soderberg's cross-crease pass into a wide-open net for the deciding
Soderberg finished with a goal and an assist, Patrice Bergeron also lit the
lamp and Niklas Svedberg made 35 saves for the Bruins.
"It was nice to see our team in overtime there take charge and find a way to
win a hockey game with some real good determination," said Bruins head coach
Bruins forward David Krejci made his return to the lineup after missing 11
straight games and 17 of the last 19 with a groin injury. He registered one
shot in 18:22 of ice time.
Tuukka Rask could be back between the pipes for the Bruins tonight. The club's
No. 1 netminder is 9-4-0 with a 1.90 goals against average in 13 career
outings against the Thrashers/Jets.
Winnipeg halted a two-game slide its last time out while also gaining at least
a point for the ninth time in 10 games (6-1-3).
The Jets slammed the visiting Buffalo Sabres by a 5-1 count on Tuesday, as
Mark Scheifele led the way with two goals and an assist.
Evander Kane and Michael Frolik each posted a goal and an assist while Chris
Thorburn also scored for the Jets. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 27 shots in the win.
"I thought we did a pretty good job of helping the D out and I thought the D
played off each other pretty well and moved the puck pretty efficiently," said
Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice.
The Jets improved their home record to 7-6-2 in the second test of a four-game
homestand. The residency is set to end Sunday against Philadelphia.
Boston is 7-7-1 as the visiting team in 2014-15. The Bruins will host Buffalo
on Sunday to begin a stretch of five home dates over six games.
It's uncertain if Pavelec or Michael Hutchinson will get the start tonight.
Pavelec is 5-7-2 with a 3.02 GAA versus the Bruins in his career, while
Winnipeg's backup is 1-0-1 lifetime with a 1.40 GAA in this matchup.
The Jets acquired defenseman Jay Harrison from the Carolina Hurricanes on
Thursday for a sixth-round draft pick. Winnipeg's blue line has been decimated
by injury lately, with Zach Bogosian, Toby Enstrom, Mark Stuart and Jacob
Trouba all currently on the shelf.
Harrison, a nine-year NHL veteran, had one goal and three assists in 20 games
for Carolina this season. The Jets are attempting to get Harrison in the
lineup for tonight's game.
DALLAS STARS (12-13-5) AT CALGARY FLAMES (17-14-2), 9 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Western Conference teams heading in the
opposite directions will meet Friday at the Saddledome, as the struggling
Calgary Flames host the Dallas Stars.
The Flames enter tonight on an 0-6-0 slide that has effectively brought the
rebuilding club back to earth. Calgary was one of the biggest surprises of the
season, jumping out to a 17-8-2 mark before falling on hard times over the
last two weeks.
Dallas, meanwhile, was one of the Western Conference's biggest disappointments
through the first two months of 2014-15, but with two straight wins and
victories in three of its last four, things are looking up for the Stars.
The Stars will try to match a season high in consecutive wins this evening.
Dallas won three in a row once earlier this season, beating Arizona, Los
Angeles and Edmonton from Nov. 20-25.
Dallas hopes to keep heading down the right path tonight when it shoots for a
fourth win in the last five meetings with the Flames. Calgary did pick up a
4-3 shootout win in Dallas when the clubs last met on March 14 of last season,
ending a three-game skid in the series.
Calgary has won four of the last six encounters with the Stars on home ice.
The Stars rode Kari Lehtonen to a win Wednesday in Vancouver, as the club's
No. 1 netminder turned away all 27 shots he faced for his second shutout of
the season in a 2-0 decision over the Canucks.
"He (Lehtonen) gave us a fighting chance in the first period to win a hockey
game, and the second period we answered the bell by going after them pretty
good," said Dallas coach Lindy Ruff.
Colton Sceviour and Antoine Roussel provided the offense for the Stars.
Sceviour opened the scoring early in the second period, while Roussel sealed
the victory with an empty-netter in the final minute of regulation.
Lehtonen will get the start again for the Stars. He is 8-3-2 with a 2.72 goals
against average in 13 career games against Calgary.
Dallas is playing the middle test of a three-game road trip that will end
Sunday in Edmonton. The Stars are 6-7-0 as the guest this season.
Calgary has been outscored by a 21-10 margin during its six-game slide and was
handed a 5-2 loss Tuesday by the visiting New York Rangers. The Rangers scored
the game's first four goals en route to the easy victory.
Jiri Hudler and Curtis Glencross tallied for the Flames. Karri Ramo took the
loss after yielding four goals on 13 shots in half of regulation time. Jonas
Hiller stopped all nine shots he faced for the remainder.
"I think our focus has to be better. It's at the right place, but some details
of our game are being forgotten because we want to do too well," Flames head
coach Bob Hartley said.
Hiller expects to get the start tonight. He is 5-11-1 with a 2.81 GAA in his
career against Dallas.
Calgary is on its longest skid since an 0-5-1 slide from Nov. 5-16 of last
season. The Flames haven't dropped seven in a row since an 0-6-3 skid from
Jan. 11-28, 2010.
The Flames are 8-5-2 as the host and are wrapping a brief two-game homestand
12/19 11:00:06 ET