***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
Thursday, March 5
(All times Eastern)
CALGARY FLAMES (34-25-4) AT BOSTON BRUINS (31-22-9), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins will aim for their longest winning
streak since the middle of January when they host the Calgary Flames in
Thursday's clash at TD Garden.
The Bruins ended February with two straight wins, marking the club's first set
of consecutive victories since Jan. 29-31. The club hasn't won three in a row
since a five-game run from Jan. 7-15.
Boston needs every win it can get at this stage of the season. The Bruins are
holding the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and are two points
ahead of the Florida Panthers, who host the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Calgary, meanwhile, also is locked in a tight playoff battle out West. The
Flames, Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks each have 72 points, tying them
for the last of three automatic postseason bids in the Pacific Division, but
Calgary currently holds tiebreakers over both clubs. The Kings and Sharks are
also three points in back of Minnesota for the last wild card berth in the
Los Angeles hosts Montreal this evening, but the Sharks are idle.
Boston last played on Saturday when it won for the third time in four outings
with a 4-1 decision over the visiting Arizona Coyotes.
Tuukka Rask stopped 31 shots to anchor the victory, while Milan Lucic, Zdeno
Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand all scored for the Bruins.
"Now we just have to continue to play like we did the last four or five
games," said Chara. "We're getting towards the playoffs and if we want to get
in we need to get some points."
Saturday's triumph began a four-game homestand for the B's and pushed their
record in Beantown to 18-10-4. Rask also is expected to start the second part
of the residency and Boston's No. 1 netminder owns a 3-0-1 record and 1.22
goals against average in four career outings versus the Flames.
Boston could have one of its recent trade acquisitions in the lineup tonight,
while another suffered an injury a day before he was slated to make his Bruins
Forwards Brett Connolly and Max Talbot were both acquired Monday before the
trade deadline, but Connolly broke his right index finger Wednesday while
practicing with his new team. The 22-year-old winger is expected to miss six
weeks. Connolly, who came over from Tampa Bay for a second-round draft pick,
had 12 goals and three assists in 50 games this season with the Lightning
Talbot, a veteran centerman, also was picked up Monday in a deal with Colorado
and is expected to play in tonight's game.
The Flames enter Thursday having split the first four tests of a seven-game
road trip and the last two tilts have come without captain and All-Star
defenseman Mark Giordano, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season
with a torn biceps.
Calgary won for the second time in three games with Tuesday's overtime victory
in Philadelphia. The Flames coughed up a 2-0 lead in the third period, but
Jiri Hudler scored at 1:23 of OT to give the visitors a 3-2 victory.
The Flames entered the third period with a two-goal cushion thanks to markers
from Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund, but the Flyers evened things with
tallies from Sean Couturier and Mark Streit.
In overtime, Johnny Gaudreau fed a streaking T.J. Brodie up the left wing, and
his pass into the slot hit Hudler, who sent the puck trickling through Steve
Mason's pads to end the contest.
"We just find a way and we believe in each other and we try to get as many
pucks on the net as we can," said Monahan, who notched his 22nd of the season,
matching his total from his rookie season in 2013-14.
Calgary improved to 17-13-1 on the road this season. The Flames will visit
Detroit tomorrow before capping their swing Sunday in Ottawa.
The Flames halted a five-game skid in the series against Boston with a 4-3 OT
victory in Calgary on Feb. 16, when Brodie scored the game-winner with just
fractions of a second left in the extra session.
The Bruins still have won four in a row as the host in this matchup and
Calgary hasn't earned a victory in Boston since Dec. 18, 2003.
ST. LOUIS BLUES (40-18-5) AT PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (27-25-12), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Flyers try to end a three-game
homestand with a much-needed victory, as the playoff-hopeful club welcomes the
St. Louis Blues for Thursday's tilt at Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers have lost three of four, but have earned points in both tests on
their current residency, beating the New York Rangers on Saturday before
losing 3-2 in overtime Tuesday against Calgary.
With only 18 games remaining in its schedule, Philadelphia is running out of
time to prove itself worthy of a postseason spot. The Flyers are five points
behind Boston for the last wild card berth in the Eastern Conference. The
Bruins, who hold two games in hand over Philadelphia, host the Flames on
Philadelphia trailed Calgary 2-0 after two periods, but the home club rallied
in the third. Sean Couturier and Mark Streit scored for the Flyers, while Nick
Schultz also appeared to pot a third-period marker for Philly until the goal
was disallowed following a brief conference between the officials.
The Flyers ultimately lost the contest after Jiri Hudler beat Steve Mason
between the pads to end the game at 1:23 of overtime. Mason stopped 23 shots
in the loss.
After Couturier cut the deficit to 2-1 less than a minute into the third, the
Flyers believed they had the tying goal at the 4:58 mark. Schultz crashed the
net and his own rebound deflected off his knee and past Flames goaltender
Despite a good goal call on the ice, the officials ultimately determined that
the play could not be reviewed since Schultz pushed Ramo into the net and the
score was disallowed.
"Called it a goal originally on the ice, but they huddled because ... I don't
know," said Flyers head coach Craig Berube. "A linesman might have said
something different, and they huddled. In their huddle they decided that there
was incidental contact with the goalie."
Streit would later tie the game for Philly when he scored on a rebound from in
The Flyers fell to 18-8-6 as the host. After capping the homestand tonight,
they will play three of their next four on the road, beginning with Saturday's
test in Boston.
St. Louis, which sits four points behind NHL-leading Nashville for first place
in the Central Division, plays tonight for the first time since losing
Sunday's game in Vancouver, 6-5, in a shootout.
The Blues rallied to earn the point at Rogers Arena, storming back from a 5-2
deficit in the third period before Canucks forward Chris Higgins delivered the
decisive goal in the third round of the shootout.
Ryan Reaves, Alex Pietrangelo, Dmitrij Jaskin, Petteri Lindbohm and David
Backes lit the lamp for the Blues, while T.J. Oshie recorded three assists.
Jaskin began the St. Louis comeback by notching a power-play goal at 8:18 of
the third period, just over two minutes after Nick Bonino handed the hosts a
5-2 cushion. Lindbohm cut the deficit to one goal with 5:41 left in regulation
before Backes evened the score just 72 seconds later.
Jake Allen surrendered four goals on 25 shots through most of regulation, but
was beaten three times in the contest's final segment in defeat. Brian Elliott
gave up one goal on six shots during a brief appearance at the outset of the
Elliott is expected to get the start tonight and owns a 5-2-0 record and a
2.48 goals against average in his career versus Philadelphia.
The Blues fell to 2-0-1 on their current six-game road trip and is 18-10-3 as
the guest this season. St. Louis will have some new faces in the lineup when
it continues the swing in Philly, as defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and centerman
Olli Jokinen expect to play for their new team after being picked up at
Monday's trade deadline.
St. Louis landed Bortuzzo and a seventh-round draft pick in 2016 by sending
defenseman Ian Cole to Pittsburgh. The Blues acquired Jokinen from Toronto in
exchange for forward Joakim Lindstrom and a sixth-round selection.
The Blues also received defenseman Zbynek Michalek and a third-round pick for
forward prospect Maxim Letunov, but Michalek is currently on the shelf with a
concussion and isn't expected to play tonight.
Tonight's test is the first of two between the Flyers and Blues this season
and St. Louis has claimed three of the last four encounters. Philly has won
three of four and seven of the past nine meetings in the City of Brotherly
The clubs will complete their 2014-15 series next Thursday in St. Louis.
MINNESOTA WILD (34-22-7) AT WASHINGTON CAPITALS (35-20-10), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild hope to continue a superb second half
of the season when they visit the Washington Capitals for Thursday's battle at
The Wild began their surge into a playoff spot in January and the club boasts
a 16-3-2 record over the last 21 trips to the ice.
As a result of the terrific stretch, Minnesota is leading Los Angeles and San
Jose by three points for the final playoff spot in the West and also is just
one point behind Winnipeg for the first of the conference's two wild card
berths. The Kings are hosting Montreal tonight, but the Jets and Sharks are
both idle on Thursday.
Minnesota enters the start of a two-game road trip riding a three-game winning
streak and hopes to keep it going tonight in D.C. before capping the brief
trek Friday night at Carolina.
The Wild recorded a home shootout win Tuesday against Ottawa. Matt Dumba
scored both goals for Minnesota in regulation and Charlie Coyle netted the
"It was a good win tonight," said Dumba. "It was really fun to play in."
Devan Dubnyk, who has been a big part of Minnesota's turnaround since coming
over in a trade with Arizona in January, made a franchise record 21st
consecutive start. The reigning NHL player of the month turned aside 31 shots
for the win.
It's unclear if Dubnyk will start both games over the next two nights, or if
backup Darcy Kuemper will get a shot in net. Kuemper, who was injured when
Dubnyk was acquired, hasn't started since Jan. 6 and his last appearance came
in relief of Dubnyk on Jan. 20 in Detroit.
Dubnyk is 16-3-1 with a 1.65 goals against average with the Wild this season.
Washington is kicking off a five-game homestand tonight and will try to begin
the stay in D.C. by posting a third consecutive victory.
The Capitals beat Toronto and Columbus to begin March and registered nine
goals over the two victories. Alex Ovechkin scored twice for Washington in
Tuesday's win over the Blue Jackets, helping the Caps hold off Columbus for a
5-3 decision at Nationwide Arena.
Ovechkin has 10 goals in his last 10 games and is leading the NHL with 43
tallies. He also is tied with teammate Nicklas Backstrom for the league lead
in points with 67.
Eric Fehr, Tom Wilson and Marcus Johansson also lit the lamp in the road win.
Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera each tallied two assists and Braden Holtby
made 27 saves for the Capitals, who jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first and
never allowed Columbus to get closer than one goal of the lead after that.
"I liked our start," Washington head coach Barry Trotz said. "We got some big
saves from (Holtby)."
Holtby is 2-1-0 with a 2.29 GAA in three career starts against Minnesota and
is expected to start tonight.
The Wild own a 2-1-1 record over their last four games against the Capitals,
but Washington has claimed four straight in D.C. Minnesota last won in the
nation's capitals on Nov. 21, 2002.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (26-33-5) AT TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (39-20-6), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning added to their defense ahead of
the trade deadline and had to like the effort from their first game following
The Lightning try to build off a shutout victory on Thursday night when they
take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the middle contest of a three-game
Tampa Bay picked up veteran blueliner Braydon Coburn from the Philadelphia
Flyers on Monday and he made his debut the following day in a 3-0 win over the
Buffalo Sabres. Coburn looked to win over his teammates and new fans by
engaging in a second-period fight with the Sabres' Marcus Foligno and logged
16 minutes and 29 seconds of ice time.
Of course, the fact that the Lightning were playing the league's last-place
team probably helped the defensive effort, which helped earn Andrei
Vasilevskiy his first career shutout. He made 28 saves despite being named the
late starter as Ben Bishop suffered an injury to his midsection after getting
hit by a puck during practice.
Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan and Victor Hedman scored to keep the pressure
off Vasilevskiy and get Tampa Bay its fourth victory in six games.
"I'm really happy the way Vasilevskiy played," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper
said. "It was nice to be up by three (goals) heading into the third."
It is unknown if Bishop will be able to start this game or if the rookie
Vasilevskiy will face the Leafs for the first time. Bishop is 4-5-0 versus
Toronto with a 3.02 goals against average and .888 save percentage.
Stamkos potted his 36th goal of the season, third most in the NHL, while
Callahan reached the 20-goal mark for the fourth time in his career.
The Lightning sit second in the Atlantic Division with 84 points, three back
of the first-place Montreal Canadiens and one ahead of the Detroit Red
Toronto has 27 fewer points than Tampa Bay, but will conclude a four-game
swing tonight having snapped a franchise-worst 16-game road slide (0-14-2)
with Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers.
The Leafs got third-period goals from Nazem Kadri and Peter Holland in the
win, while Tyler Bozak also scored and Jonathan Bernier came up with 40 saves.
Toronto won on the road for the first time since Dec. 31 and bounced back from
consecutive 4-0 defeats in Montreal and Washington to open the swing.
"The guys feel good. They should feel proud of themselves," said Toronto
interim head coach Peter Horachek. "They battled pretty hard."
Bernier could get the call again tonight and has won all three of his previous
encounters with the Lightning, posting a 1.67 GAA and a .952 save percentage.
The Leafs and Bolts have split two meetings this season, with each club
picking up a victory as the host. The Lightning won 3-2 in Tampa on Dec. 29
and have won four of the past five encounters at home.
Stamkos and Callahan both scored and Bishop posted 21 saves, while the Maple
Leafs got 38 saves from netminder James Reimer.
DALLAS STARS (28-26-10) AT FLORIDA PANTHERS (28-23-13), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Florida Panthers will attempt to bounce back from a
tough-luck loss last time out as they play host to the Dallas Stars on
Little went right for the Panthers in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs,
one that left them two points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild
card spot in the Eastern Conference with now two more games played.
Boston also is in action tonight, hosting the Calgary Flames.
Not only did the Panthers have a two-game win streak halted, but they saw both
of their goaltenders injured in a bizarre game that left them scrambling for
help between the pipes.
Roberto Luongo started the game and did not return for the start of the second
period, eventually coming back to the bench in street clothes as he took a
shot off his right shoulder. Backup Al Montoya then suffered a groin injury 22
seconds into the third period on Toronto's game-tying goal.
Montoya stayed in the game for an extended period of time despite his injury
before finally being relieved by a returning Luongo with 9:08 remaining in the
Amid all the uncertainty, Panthers goaltending coach Rob Tallas put on a
uniform and took a seat on the bench under NHL Rule 5.3, which allows teams to
dress any eligible player in a goaltender emergency.
"Obviously, we were really concerned," Florida head coach Gerard Gallant said.
"We were playing a pretty good game and all of a sudden you lose two goalies
Brandon Pirri and Aaron Ekblad scored for the Panthers, who have lost five of
their past seven while splitting the first four of a seven-game homestand.
Ekblad's goal was his 11th of the season, surpassing the previous franchise
mark for a rookie defenseman set by Ed Jovanovski in 1995-96.
The Panthers recalled both Dan Ellis from the American Hockey League and Sam
Brittain from the ECHL. Ellis, a former member of the Stars, is expected to
start tonight with Luongo day-to-day.
The Stars picked up a big 3-2 overtime victory versus the New York Islanders
last time out, but it came with a cost as defenseman Trevor Daley sustained a
lower-body injury early in the game after getting kneed by the Isles' Matt
Head coach Lindy Ruff said after the win on Tuesday, one that snapped a six-
game slide (0-4-2), that Daley would be out for weeks with the injury.
Daley is among the NHL leaders for goals by a defenseman with 16 and his
injury comes less than a month after star forward Tyler Seguin suffered a
sprained right knee on a questionable hit by Florida's Dmitry Kulikov on Feb.
13. Seguin is expected to miss 3-to-6 weeks with that ailment.
Dallas is nine points out of the second wild card spot in the Western
Conference as it rebounded on Tuesday after giving up a game-tying goal with
1.7 seconds left in regulation. Cody Eakin secured the extra point for the
Stars, finishing off a 2-on-1 rush by snapping home a feed from Jamie Benn at
2:18 of overtime.
"That was hard," Ruff said. "To bounce back and come down the ice and score
the goal we scored was something our fans needed."
Brett Ritchie and Vernon Fiddler also lit the lamp and Kari Lehtonen made 35
saves for the Stars.
Lehtonen may have earned another start tonight as Dallas begins a five-game
road trip. He is 14-8-4 with a 2.46 goals against average, .925 save
percentage and four shutouts in 27 career meetings (26 starts) versus the
The Stars, who have won six of their past 10 in Florida, snapped a three-game
slide to the Panthers with a 2-0 home victory on Feb. 13. Lehtonen posted a
37-save shutout, while Benn and Jason Spezza had goals.
Montoya made 26 saves in defeat.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (41-21-3) AT NASHVILLE PREDATORS (41-17-7), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - With the Nashville Predators on their longest losing
streak of the season, now seems like a good time for a visit from the New York
The Preds look to snap a four-game slide on Thursday night and extend their
home dominance over the Islanders.
Nashville, which is leading the Central Division by four points, has shown
some signs of slowing down as of late, losing four in a row in regulation to
fall two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the most in the NHL. The
Islanders are tied for the lead in the Metropolitan Division with 85 points.
The Predators hadn't lost back-to-back games in regulation all season prior to
this current slide that was extended with Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the New Jersey
Mike Fisher had the only goal of the game for the Predators and Carter Hutton
allowed two goals on 23 shots in the loss as the club lost four in a row for
the first time since March 1-8, 2014.
"I think it's like the last nine games we haven't scored first," said Fisher.
"We can't keep playing catch-up and I don't know why we've been coming out
flat so often."
The Preds, who lost forward Eric Nystrom to a lower-body injury early in
Tuesday's loss, haven't lost five in a row since Dec. 17-27, 2013 and figure
to start Pekka Rinne in net tonight. He is 3-1-1 lifetime versus the Islanders
with a 2.17 goals against average and .926 save percentage.
Though the Isles have won two in a row versus the Predators, Nashville has
taken eight of the last 11 meetings overall and is 7-2-0 all-time at home
versus New York, winning six straight as the host.
The Islanders did record a 5-2 victory over the Predators on Long Island back
on Feb. 19, getting a goal and two assists from Nick Leddy and a goal and one
assist from both John Tavares and Johnny Boychuk.
Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves in the win and improved to 11-3-4 lifetime versus
Nashville with a 1.78 GAA, .930 save percentage and four shutouts in 19 games.
Rinne yielded all five goals on 40 shots faced.
The Islanders don't figure to be as easy an opponent as years past tonight
either given their tie with the New York Rangers for first place in the
New York is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. The
Islanders forced overtime on Anders Lee's shot that hit off a skate and into
Dallas' net with 1.7 seconds left in regulation, though the Stars won it at
the 2:18 mark of overtime on Cody Eakin's tally.
Josh Bailey provided New York's other goal, while Halak stopped 32-of-35 shots
in defeat. It was the Islanders' second loss in a row and fourth in six games
"We had our chances," Tavares said. "It's just nice that we were able to
Tuesday's setback came in the opener of a four-game road trip.
Winger Matt Martin will miss tonight's game to serve a one-game suspension
issued after he picked up a kneeing major and game misconduct 1:28 into the
loss for a hit on Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley, who was hurt on the play.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS (36-24-3) AT ARIZONA COYOTES (20-37-7), 9 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Arizona Coyotes look to finally play the role of
spoiler by snapping a club record-tying losing streak on Thursday evening when
they take on the Vancouver Canucks.
The Coyotes are winless since Feb. 9 in Chicago, losing 10 straight games in
regulation. That is the longest losing streak since the club relocated from
Winnipeg and matches 10-game slides by the Jets that were posted in 1993-94
The first 10-game slide in franchise history actually came as part of a 30-
game winless span for the Jets, who lost 23 games with another seven ties over
a run posted during the club's second season in existence.
Arizona was dealt a 4-1 loss by the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, with Tobias
Rieder scoring and Mike Smith making 31 saves in the Coyotes' first game since
making several moves ahead of Monday's trade deadline.
"It has been a little different with the new guys in the room, but we'll try
to do our best and finish the season strong," said Rieder.
Tuesday's setback came in the opener of a six-game homestand and was the
Coyotes' ninth in a row as the host. They have not won in Arizona since Jan.
The Coyotes look to snap that home slide and deal the Canucks a second loss in
a row. Vancouver is coming off a 6-2 defeat to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
Henrik Sedin posted two goals, both off assists by Daniel Sedin, for the
Canucks, who had won three of four coming into the game. Henrik Sedin's two
tallies put him past 900 career points.
Jacob Markstrom's first start of the year was short-lived as he gave up three
goals on four shots in just under eight minutes of work. Eddie Lack stopped
23-of-24 shots in relief, with the Sharks scoring twice into an empty-net.
"I felt great coming in and getting a start like that is a bit of a
nightmare," said Markstrom. "I want all three (goals) back."
The loss has the second-place Canucks only three points ahead of Calgary, Los
Angeles and San Jose in the Pacific Division.
Lack had made three straight starts since Ryan Miller went down with a right
knee injury and will likely start tonight looking to shake off some tough luck
versus the Coyotes. He is 0-2-0 against them in two starts despite yielding
only two goals on 55 shots.
The Coyotes and Canucks have split the first two contests of their five-game
season series -- both in Vancouver. Arizona notched a 5-0 win on Nov. 14, but
Vancouver countered with a 7-1 victory on Dec. 22.
Arizona has won three in a row at home in this series, including back-to-back
Smith is 6-4-2 versus the Canucks with a 2.45 goals against average, .923 save
percentage and two shutouts in 13 games.
MONTREAL CANADIENS (41-18-5) AT LOS ANGELES KINGS (30-21-12), 10:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Montreal Canadiens attempt to avoid a third loss in
a row on Thursday night when they resume their road trip against the Los
The Canadiens had won four in a row before opening up their swing out west
with a 4-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Monday. They were nearly shut out
again two nights later, falling 3-1 to the Anaheim Ducks.
Alex Galchenyuk scored a late power-play goal and Carey Price made 30 saves,
outdueled by Anaheim's John Gibson and his 37 stops.
"I don't think we played a bad game, I thought we did some things well," said
Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban. "We had some opportunities to score some
goals in this game. You have to give their goaltender credit, he made some big
saves at the right times. I thought we did a good job of putting pucks to the
net. You look at the shots, we had enough to win this game. We had enough
opportunities to win but just they didn't go in for us."
Center Brian Flynn and winger Torrey Mitchell both made their Montreal debuts
after being acquired from Buffalo on Monday.
The Habs play the third contest of a four-game swing and lead the Tampa Bay
Lightning by three points for first place in the Atlantic Division.
The Kings, meanwhile, are locked in a tie with the Calgary Flames and Sharks
for third place in the Pacific Division with 72 points. That also is just
three points back of second place.
Los Angeles snapped a three-game slide with a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers
on Tuesday, with Anze Kopitar and Trevor Lewis notching a goal and two assists
each. Jeff Carter added a short-handed tally and Matt Greene also scored.
"It was a big win," said Lewis. "Overall, we played pretty well tonight."
Jonathan Quick made 21 saves for the Kings.
Los Angeles has lost eight of its past 10 versus Montreal, including a 6-2
road loss on Dec. 12. The Habs have won four of their past five in L.A.
Price made 44 saves in the home win over the Kings, while Subban and David
Desharnais had a goal and an assist each.
Drew Doughty had a goal for the Kings and backup netminder Martin Jones
allowed all six goals on 20 shots faced.
03/05 10:07:41 ET