NHL MORNING SKATE – DEC. 1, 2015
Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
2016 NHL ALL-STAR FAN VOTE OPENS TODAY
The 2016 NHL All-Star Fan Vote opens worldwide today at 12:00 p.m. ET via NHL.com/Vote and mobile balloting.
As part of the new format for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game, fans will cast votes for one player from each division, without regard to position. The top vote-getter from each division will be named an All-Star and team captain, with the remaining 40 All-Stars selected by the NHL’s Hockey Operations Department.
This year’s ballot includes enhanced interactive features, all designed to simplify the player search options. Fans will be permitted to select as few as one player and a maximum of four players per ballot. The maximum number of ballots cast per day for each user is 10.
Voting concludes on Friday, Jan. 1.
Click here for complete details.
Home Team in Caps
NY ISLANDERS 5, Colorado 3
NY RANGERS 4, Carolina 3
TORONTO 3, Edmonton 0
ANAHEIM 4, Vancouver 0
SPARKS SHINES FOR MAPLE LEAFS IN NHL DEBUT . . .
Garret Sparks stopped all 24 shots he faced to record a shutout in his NHL debut and help the Maple Leafs snap a three-game skid (0-2-1).
* Via Elias, Sparks became the 25th goaltender in NHL history to post a shutout in his League debut – and the first to do so with the Maple Leafs. The last goaltender to achieve that feat: San Jose’s Troy Grosenick on Nov. 16, 2014 at CAR (45 SV in 2-0 W).
* Sparks, a seventh-round selection (190th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, spent the majority of the past two seasons with the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL). He also compiled an 8-2-1 record (1.90 GAA, .938 SV%, 2 SO) in 11 appearances this season with the Toronto Marlies (AHL) prior to his recall last week.
* “It all went according to plan,” joked Sparks, a 22-year-old native of Elmhurst, Ill. “After I came out of the first period unscathed, I wanted to have a good second and I got a couple of lucky posts there. Going into the third period, [the shutout] was definitely on my mind, and I just wanted to be sure that if they are going to beat me, they really had to beat me. The guys in front of me kept everything to the outside and kept everything manageable. I really have them to thank for this.”
* ICYMI: Sparks conducted an emotional interview after being named the game’s “First Star.”
. . . GIBSON, DUCKS CLOSE NOVEMBER ON HIGH NOTE
John Gibson turned aside all 25 shots he faced to earn his third career shutout (first this season) and help the Ducks close November with an 8-4-3 record following a 1-7-2 start to the campaign.
* Gibson also picked up a shutout in his only other appearance against the Canucks, in his NHL debut on April 7, 2014 at VAN (18 SV).
* Gibson, a second-round selection (39th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, improved to 18-9-1 in 30 career appearances (2.36 GAA, .921 SV%, 3 SO). That includes a 2-1-1 record in four outings this season (1.82 GAA, .936 SV%, 1 SO).
* The Ducks improved to 10-1-2 in their last 13 games against the Canucks dating to April 25, 2013 (VAN: 3-7-3).
RANGERS HALT SKID WITH WIN AGAINST HURRICANES
Derick Brassard registered 1-1—2, including what stood as the game-winning goal, to help the Rangers snap their three-game skid (0-3-0).
* The Rangers improved to 18-1-0 in their last 19 games against the Hurricanes dating to Feb. 22, 2011, including eight consecutive victories (CAR: 1-12-6).
* The Rangers also won their 11th consecutive home game against the Hurricanes dating to Jan. 5, 2011 (CAR: 0-8-3) – that is tied for the longest home winning streak against one opponent in franchise history (also Jan. 14, 1990 – Nov. 4, 1992 vs. PHI).
* Three other Rangers players scored, including Mats Zuccarello, who has an 11-game point streak against the Hurricanes dating to Nov. 2, 2013 (1-12—13).
DID YOU KNOW?
Per Elias, the Rangers’ 11-game winning streak against the Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden is the fifth-longest active home winning streak by an NHL team against one opponent (in the regular season):
Longest Active Home Winning Streaks vs. One Opponent
21 – Ducks vs. CGY (April 4, 2004 – Nov. 24, 2015)^
14 – Penguins vs. WPG/ATL (March 24, 2007 – Jan. 27, 2015)
13 – Sharks vs. COL (March 22, 2009 – April 1, 2015)
12 – Flyers vs. CHI (March 31, 1998 – Oct. 14, 2015)
11 – Rangers vs. CAR (Jan. 5, 2011 – Nov. 30, 2015)
^ Tied for the second-longest such streak in NHL history
ISLANDERS EXTEND STREAKS VERSUS AVALANCHE
Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas each scored in the opening 10 minutes of the third period to break a 2-2 tie and help the Islanders extend their point streak to four contests (3-0-1).
* The Islanders also improved to 8-1-0 in their last nine home games against the Avalanche dating to Oct. 10, 1999 (COL: 1-8-0).
* Overall, the Islanders improved to 9-2-1 (19 points) against Western Conference opponents this season, the top such record of any Eastern Conference team.
* Thomas Greiss made 25 saves to improve to 7-3-2 in his first 12 appearances with the Islanders (2.30 GAA, .925 SV%). He also upped his record to 5-1-0 in six career outings vs. COL (2.01 GAA, .939 SV%, 1 SO).
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (33 SV) earned his 352nd career win (all w/ NYR) to surpass Terry Sawchuk (351 w/ DET) for the third-most victories in NHL history by a goaltender with one franchise. The only two with more: Martin Brodeur (688 w/ NJD) and Tony Esposito (418 w/ CHI).
* Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla scored his 597th career goal to move within three of becoming the 19th player in NHL history to reach the 600-goal milestone. Iginla also played in his 1,416th career game to tie Al MacInnis for 29th place on the NHL’s all-time games played list.
* Islanders forward Josh Bailey, the ninth overall selection in the 2008 NHL Draft, played in his 500th career game. Only three other members of Bailey’s draft class have reached the milestone: Drew Doughty (547), Steven Stamkos (517) and Luke Schenn (514).
Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov (2-0—2) registered his third career multi-goal game and second of the season (also Oct. 16 at CBJ: 2-0—2). He paces the club with 10 goals (24 GP), two more than his previous career high of eight set last season (62 GP) . . . Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm collected one assist to extend his point streak to five games (1-4—5), equaling a career high set Nov. 1-8, 2014 (5-2—7) . . . Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk posted three assists/points, equaling career highs last achieved March 28 vs. OTT (0-3—3) . . . Avalanche forward Blake Comeau, a second-round selection (47th overall) by the Islanders in the 2004 NHL Draft, scored his second goal against his former club (2-0—2 in 10 GP) . . . ICYMI: Stars captain Jamie Benn, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk were named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Nov. 29 . . . The NHL announced its plans for the 2016 NHL Winter Classic Spectator Plaza, a two-day free fan festival in advance of the New Year’s Day game between the Bruins and Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Colorado @ New Jersey, 7:00 p.m., ALT, MSG+
Columbus @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., FS-O, SNE, RDS
Philadelphia @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m., TCN-PH, TSN5, RDS2
Buffalo @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m., TVAS, SNO, SNP, MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-D
Florida @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., FS-F, FS-MW
Arizona @ Nashville, 8:00 p.m., FS-A+, FS-TN
Minnesota @ Chicago, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, CSN-CH
Dallas @ Calgary, 9:00 p.m., FS-SW+, SNW
Vancouver @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., SNP, FS-W
Pittsburgh @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, ROOT
NBCSN DOUBLEHEADER HIGHLIGHTS TUESDAY’S SLATE
NBCSN airs a doubleheader as part of Tuesday’s 10-game schedule. First, the Wild visit the Blackhawks at United Center in a preview of the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, which will be contested on Sunday, Feb. 21, at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Minnesota won the first of five meetings this season between these clubs, a 5-4 victory on Oct. 30 at Xcel Energy Center clinched by Nino Niederreiter’s tiebreaking goal early in the third period. The Penguins then face the Sharks at SAP Center in the second half of the doubleheader. These teams met 10 days ago, with San Jose picking up a 3-1 win on Nov. 21 at CONSOL Energy Center en route to becoming the sixth team in NHL history to complete a perfect six-game road trip.
REMINDER: SIGNING DEADLINE FOR FREE AGENTS
Today is the signing deadline for Group 2 free agents (5:00 p.m. ET).