NHL MORNING SKATE – DEC. 22, 2015
Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
ICE TRUCK ARRIVES AT GILLETTE STADIUM . . .
The NHL began its transformation of Gillette Stadium with Monday’s arrival of the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Ice Plant presented by York. The custom-built 53-foot, 300-ton capacity truck – which houses the world’s largest mobile rink refrigeration unit – departed from the Hockey Hall of Fame last Tuesday, Dec. 15.
ICYMI: Click here to watch a live webcam of the rink build at Gillette Stadium.
. . . NHL ANNOUNCES WINTER CLASSIC PERFORMERS
The NHL announced its lineup of featured performers for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, including Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Nate Ruess, alternative rock band American Authors, The Voice Season 9 winner Jordan Smith and musicians from the Boston Pops.
Click here for complete details.
SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
St. Louis @ Boston, 7:00 p.m., FS-MW, NESN
Anaheim @ NY Rangers, 7:00 p.m., SN1, SNO, PRIME, FS-SD, MSG
New Jersey @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m., MSG+, FS-D+
Vancouver @ Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., TVAS, SNP, SUN
Ottawa @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., TSN5, RDS2, FS-F
Montreal @ Minnesota, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN, SNE, RDS
Chicago @ Dallas, 8:30 p.m., CSN-CH, FS-SW+
Winnipeg @ Calgary, 9:00 p.m., TSN3, SNW
Toronto @ Arizona, 9:00 p.m., TSN4, FS-A
San Jose @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, SN
10 GAMES HIGHLIGHT FINAL DAY BEFORE HOLIDAY BREAK
Ten games dot the schedule on the final day before the NHL takes its holiday break: NBCSN hosts a doubleheader, with the Canadiens (20-12-3, 43 points) looking to snap a four-game skid against the Wild (17-9-6, 40 points) and the Kings (20-10-2, 42 points) battling the intrastate rival Sharks (16-15-2, 34 points); the Panthers (18-12-4, 40 points), winners of four straight and 10 of their last 13, try to stay hot when they play the Senators (17-12-5, 39 points); former Chicago teammates Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya face their old club for the first time when the Stars (25-7-2, 52 points) meet the Blackhawks (20-11-4, 44 points); and the Ducks (12-15-5, 29 points) complete the second half of back-to-back games in New York when they visit the Rangers (19-12-4, 42 points).
REMINDER: The NHL’s holiday break runs from Wednesday, Dec. 23 – Friday, Dec. 25. There are no scheduled practices during that time. Dressing rooms also are closed.
Home Team in Caps
NY ISLANDERS 5, Anaheim 2
PHILADELPHIA 4, St. Louis 3
PITTSBURGH 5, Columbus 2
Washington 2, CAROLINA 1
NASHVILLE 5, Montreal 1
Dallas 6, MINNESOTA 3
Toronto 7, COLORADO 4
EDMONTON 3, Winnipeg 1
CAPITALS, STARS KEEP PACE ATOP NHL STANDINGS
Both the Capitals (25-6-2, 52 points) and Stars (25-7-2, 52 points) – the top two teams in the NHL – earned wins on Monday to continue their franchise-best starts to the season and keep pace atop the League standings:
* Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves, including 12 in both the first and third periods, to backstop the Capitals to their sixth consecutive victory and a 13-1-1 record in their last 15 contests – a stretch that includes a pair of six-game winning streaks (also Nov. 21 – Dec. 3: 6-0-0). Washington last posted multiple winning streaks of six or more games in the same season in 2010-11 (Oct. 30 – Nov. 11: 6-0-0 and Feb. 26 – March 15: 9-0-0).
* The Stars scored four straight goals, including two in the final 90 seconds of the middle frame, to overcome a 2-0 deficit en route to their fifth victory in their past seven outings. Dallas has won each of its first three games against Minnesota this season, including one other in which they overcame a multi-goal deficit – on Nov. 28, the Stars erased a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Wild, 4-3 in overtime (also at MIN).
OILERS OUST JETS, EXTEND HOME WINNING STREAK TO SEVEN
The line of Teddy Purcell (2-1—3), Taylor Hall (0-3—3) and Leon Draisaitl (0-2—2) combined for 2-6—8 to power the Oilers to their seventh consecutive victory at Rexall Place, their longest home winning streak since Feb. 4 – March 2, 2008 (also 7-0-0).
* The Oilers’ seven-game home winning streak is one shy of equaling the franchise record, established Jan. 19 – Feb. 22, 1985 (8-0-0) and matched Feb. 24 – April 2, 1986 (8-0-0).
* Purcell registered his second three-point performance of the season (also Dec. 11 vs. NYR: 1-2—3) and first multi-goal game since March 20, 2014 at OTT (2-0—2 w/ TBL).
* Hall, who ranks fourth in the NHL with 15-24—39 this season (35 GP), recorded his 300th NHL point (121-181—302 in 334 GP). Only one other player from the 2010 NHL Draft has eclipsed 300 career points: Tyler Seguin (149-179—328 in 388 GP), who was drafted second overall (by BOS) behind Hall.
* Draisaitl raised his totals to 9-21—30 in 25 games this season. His average of 1.20 points per game ranks fourth in the League, behind Patrick Kane (1.43), Seguin (1.35) and Jamie Benn (1.32).
DID YOU KNOW?
The Oilers became the fourth team to post a home winning streak of seven or more games this season. Four clubs hold active home winning streaks of at least six games:
Longest Home Winning Streaks, 2015-16 Season
9 – Calgary Flames (Nov. 5 – Dec. 12)^
9 – New York Rangers (Oct. 19 – Nov. 23)
7 – Edmonton Oilers (Nov. 20 – Dec. 21)^
7 – Washington Capitals (Nov. 21 – Dec. 18)^
6 – Chicago Blackhawks (Oct. 10 – Nov. 2)
6 – Los Angeles Kings (Nov. 12 – Dec. 6)^
FLYERS OVERCOME 3-0 DEFICIT TO CONTINUE CLIMB
The Blues raced to a 3-0 lead early in the second period, but the Flyers scored four unanswered goals – including the tiebreaker by Evgeny Medvedev with 3:13 remaining in regulation – to improve to 8-2-2 in their last 12 games.
* At 15-12-7 (37 points), the Flyers moved within two points of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference:
* Via Elias, the Flyers posted the ninth three-goal comeback win of the season. They last achieved that feat on Dec. 19, 2013, when Claude Giroux collected 2-2—4 to rally the club from 3-0 and 4-2 deficits en route to a 5-4 victory vs. CBJ.
* Four players – Wayne Simmonds (2-0—2), Chris VandeVelde (1-1—2), Shayne Gostisbehere (0-2—2) and Jakub Voracek (0-2—2) – registered multiple points. Voracek, who had 1-14—15 in his first 29 outings of the season, has 2-6—8 during a five-game point streak.
Four other clubs joined the Stars with five or more goals in Monday wins:
* Jake Gardiner (0-4—4), Tyler Bozak (3-0—3), Leo Komarov (2-1—3) and James van Riemsdyk (1-2—3) combined for 6-7—13 to help the Maple Leafs extend their point streak to six games (4-0-2) and halt the Avalanche’s winning streak at five contests. Gardiner, who established career highs for assists and points in one game, became the first Maple Leafs defenseman to record four or more points in one contest since Jan. 7, 2011 at ATL (Tomas Kaberle: 0-4—4). Bozak posted his second career hat trick (also March 28 vs. OTT: 3-1—4), while Komarov registered his second consecutive three-point performance (also Saturday vs. LAK: 2-1—3).
* Four players – Shea Weber (1-2—3), Colin Wilson (1-2—3), Calle Jarnkrok (1-1—2) and Roman Josi (1-1—2) – picked up multiple points to lead the Predators to their second straight win overall as well as a 5-0-3 record in their past eight meetings with the Canadiens dating to Nov. 14, 2009 (MTL: 3-4-1). Weber, who ranks seventh among defensemen with 10-15—25 this season (34 GP), paces all skaters with 4-11—15 since the start of December (11 GP).
* Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin each scored twice and Nick Bonino and David Perron both collected two assists to help the Penguins snap a five-game skid (0-4-1). Pittsburgh posted its second five-goal game of the season (33 GP; also Dec. 1 at SJS: 5-1 W); the club had 12 such performances in 2014-15 (12-0-0 in those contests).
* The Islanders scored three straight goals in the first period – including two in the final minute of the frame – to overcome an early 1-0 deficit and snap a three-game skid (0-3-0). New York picked up its 11th victory of the season against Western Conference opponents (11-4-1); no other Eastern Conference team has a double-digit win total in that category.
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Mike Sullivan earned his first win as head coach of the Penguins (5 GP).
* Penguins goaltender Matthew Murray, who made his League debut on Saturday vs. CAR, stopped 22 shots for his first NHL win (2 GP).
* Defenseman David Warsofsky scored his first goal with the Penguins (10 GP).
* Jets defenseman Mark Stuart (600) and Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (400) both played in milestone games.
ICYMI: Hurricanes forward Kris Versteeg scored a highlight-reel, between-the-legs goal . . . Stars forward Tyler Seguin (1-1—2) registered his League-leading 14th multi-point game of the season (34 GP). He ranks second in the NHL with 19-27—46 overall, four points behind Patrick Kane (21-29—50 in 35 GP) . . . Capitals defenseman John Carlson collected one assist to extend his point streak to a career-high seven games (2-6—8). He shares fourth among defensemen with 6-21—27 overall (33 GP) . . . Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko saw his goal streak end at five games, but posted one assist to extend his point streak to six contests (5-5—10). He shares fifth in the NHL with 21-16—37 overall (34 GP) . . . Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made 35 saves to improve to 5-1-1 in seven career appearances vs. MTL (1.28 GAA, .952 SV%, 2 SO) . . . Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon recorded his fifth goal of the season hours after agreeing to a four-year contract extension . . . The Department of Player Safety suspended Bruins forward Max Talbot for two games for interference against Devils forward Jiri Tlusty . . . Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie and Wild captain Mikko Koivu were named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Dec. 20 . . . Minnesota native and former North Stars forward Neal Broten unveiled the jerseys the combined Wild and North Stars team will wear for the 2016 NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game that will be played at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 20.