NHL MORNING SKATE – DEC. 30, 2015

NHL MORNING SKATE – DEC. 30, 2015

Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.

GILLETTE STADIUM MAKES FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR WINTER CLASSIC

Lines and logos are on the ice as Gillette Stadium makes its final preparations for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Friday (1:00 p.m. ET, NBC, SN, TVAS).

FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 28 : Workers prepare the field for the 2016 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium on December 28, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

TODAY’S SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

All Times Eastern

Media Credential Distribution
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Gillette Stadium – Lot 6
Boston Bruins Media Availability (Select Players)
Approximately 12:30 p.m.
Gillette Stadium
Media Skate Activity (Weather Permitting)
1:30 p.m.
Gillette Stadium

^ 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic credential required
^^ Reservation required to Jeff Day (jday@nhl.com)
^^^ No TV cameras allowed on the ice

Media Reception
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Patriot Place (Near Gillette Stadium)

* A look at the three-day forecast for Foxborough, Mass., courtesy of the Weather Channel:

EPISODE THREE OF ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC

The third episode of Road to the NHL Winter Classic, a four-part series chronicling the Bruins and Canadiens as they prepare for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, debuts tonight in both the United States and Canada.

Viewers in the United States can watch the episode at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT and 9:00 p.m. CT via EPIX, EPIX.com, NHL.com and BostonBruins.com.

Viewers in Canada can catch the episode following the conclusion of Sportsnet’s Maple Leafs-Penguins broadcast (7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT). It also will air on RDS tomorrow – Thursday, Dec. 31 – at 7:00 p.m. ET / 4:00 p.m. PT.

Click on the following links for complete broadcast details in the United States and Canada (SN / RDS).

REMINDER: ALL-STAR GAME VOTING CLOSES ON FRIDAY

Voting for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game closes on Friday at 11:59 p.m. ET.

As part of the new format for the game, fans can 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.

Fans are 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.

Click here to vote.

TUESDAY’S RESULTS

Home Team in Caps
BOSTON 7, Ottawa 3
NY Islanders 6, TORONTO 3
NEW JERSEY 3, Carolina 2
COLUMBUS 6, Dallas 3
FLORIDA 3, Montreal 1
ST. LOUIS 4, Nashville 3 (OT)
WINNIPEG 4, Detroit 1
Anaheim 1, CALGARY 0
Los Angeles 5, EDMONTON 2
Chicago 7, ARIZONA 5

HAYES POWERS BRUINS IN FINAL GAME BEFORE WINTER CLASSIC . . .

Three players registered multi-goal performances – led by Jimmy Hayesfirst career hat trick – to help the Bruins snap a three-game skid, earn a split of their home-and-home series with the Senators and win their final game before the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

* Hayes (Boston, Mass.), who scored his third goal with 0.2 seconds remaining in regulation, became the second Massachusetts-born player to record a hat trick for the Bruins this season; Frank Vatrano (East Longmeadow, Mass.) achieved that feat 11 days prior, on Dec. 18 at PIT.
* “It’s a dream come true and a pretty cool feeling,” said Hayes. “It’s always fun to score a hat trick in any league and to do in the NHL for your hometown team is great.”
* Per Elias, this marks the second time – in the franchise’s 91-year history – that two or more Massachusetts-born players have posted hat tricks for the Bruins in the same season. The other such campaign: 1989-90, when Andy Brickley (Melrose, Mass.), Bob Carpenter (Beverly, Mass.) and Bob Sweeney (Concord, Mass.) all did so.
* Matt Beleskey and Patrice Bergeron also scored twice. Elias notes that the last time three Bruins players registered multiple goals in the same game was on Dec. 28, 2001 at FLA, when Bill Guerin, Mike Knuble and Glen Murray had two apiece.
* The Bruins (4-for-7) recorded four power-play goals in one game for the first time since Oct. 3, 2009 vs. CAR (4-for-8). They lead the NHL in power-play goals (30) and efficiency (29.4%) this season.

. . . PANTHERS KNOCK OFF CANADIENS, MATCH FRANCHISE RECORDS

Aleksander Barkov collected 2-1—3 to lead the Panthers past the Canadiens and to their seventh consecutive victory, equaling a franchise record last achieved March 2-16, 2008.

* The Panthers (21-12-4, 46 points), who also matched a club mark with their fifth straight home win (last achieved March 4-17, 2012), leapfrogged the Canadiens (21-15-3, 45 points) to move back into first place in the Atlantic Division.
* The Panthers, who went 11-3-0 (22 points) in December, also established franchise records for wins and points in one calendar month.
* Barkov posted his second consecutive multi-goal game, following 2-0—2 on Sunday vs. CBJ. He has 5-5—10 during the team’s seven-game winning streak, including a pair of three-point performances (also Dec. 15 at NYI: 1-2—3); Barkov had two such efforts in his first 145 career games prior to this run.

CALIFORNIA CLUBS SPOIL ALBERTA HOME STREAKS

The Ducks and Kings both earned wins on Tuesday to snap the home winning streaks of the Flames (11) and Oilers (7), respectively:

* John Gibson stopped all 14 shots he faced and Shawn Horcoff supplied the lone goal to propel the Ducks to their second straight victory and halt the Flames’ home winning streak at a franchise-record 11 games, the longest such run by any team since 2013-14 (PIT: 13-0-0 at CONSOL Energy Center). Gibson posted his fifth career shutout (third this season), while Horcoff notched his 16th career goal vs. CGY, tied for his highest total against any opponent (w/ COL).
* Jonathan Quick made 42 saves to lead the Kings to an 11-3-2 record in their last 16 outings and snap the Oilers’ home winning streak at seven games, one shy of tying the franchise record. Los Angeles has earned at least one point in 29 of its last 31 meetings with Edmonton dating to Nov. 26, 2008 (22-2-7), including a 13-1-3 clip at Rexall Place. Quick improved to 17-1-5 in 23 career appearances vs. EDM (1.66 GAA, .937 SV%, 1 SO), including a 10-0-3 record at Rexall Place.

CENTRAL TEAMS GAIN GROUND ON STARS

The Blues (23-12-4, 50 points) and Blackhawks (21-13-4, 46 points) – the Nos. 2 and 3 teams in the Central Division, respectively – both collected victories on Tuesday to gain ground on the Stars (27-8-3, 57 points), who lost in regulation:

* The Predators erased a two-goal deficit in the final four minutes of regulation, but Alexander Steen scored at 4:01 of overtime to power the Blues to their sixth win in their past eight games, including four straight victories at Scottrade Center. Jake Allen made 30 saves, including 17 in the second period, to improve to 4-0-0 in five career appearances vs. NSH (1.97 GAA, .935 SV%, 1 SO).
* Five different players posted multiple points – led by 1-2—3 from both Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith – to lift the Blackhawks to their eighth win in their last 12 contests. Kane, who recorded his 14th multi-point performance of the season, continues to pace the NHL with 22-31—53. He has notched at least one point in 33 of 38 appearances, including five three-point efforts.

AROUND THE RINKS

* Six different players scored – including 1-1—2 from John Tavares, Frans Nielsen and Anders Lee – to lead the Islanders to a split of their home-and-home series with the Maple Leafs. Tavares (Mississauga, Ont.) has 11-13—24 in 22 career games vs. TOR, including 7-12—19 in 12 visits to Air Canada Centre.
* Four players registered multiple points – Bryan Little (0-3—3), Jacob Trouba (2-0—2), Drew Stafford (0-2—2) and Blake Wheeler (0-2—2) – to power the Jets to their sixth victory in their last seven games at MTS Centre. Little, who has 14-18—32 this season (36 GP), recorded his 12th career three-point game (and third in 2015-16).
* Kyle Palmieri and David Schlemko each scored in the third period to help the Devils overcome a 2-1 deficit and improve to 9-2-1 in their past 12 meetings with the Hurricanes dating to Oct. 17, 2009 (CAR: 3-8-1). Schlemko picked up his second game-winning goal of the season (31 GP); he had zero such tallies in his first 231 career outings.
* Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno both notched three assists to help the Blue Jackets snap a three-game skid. Per Elias, it marked the third in franchise history that a pair of Blue Jackets players collected three assists in the same game, also Jan. 11, 2008 vs. STL (Adam Foote, David Vyborny) and March 26, 2009 vs. CGY (Kristian Huselius, Rick Nash).

MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS

* Coyotes captain Shane Doan recorded his second career hat trick – and first since Jan. 7, 2012 vs. NYI. In doing so, he tied Dale Hawerchuk for the most goals in Coyotes/Jets history (379). Doan, who registered two of his goals via the power play, also inched closer to matching Hawerchuk for a pair of other franchise records: points (Hawerchuk: 929, Doan: 915) and power-play goals (Hawerchuk: 122 PPG, Doan 119 PPG).
* Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr scored his 733rd goal to move within eight of tying Brett Hull (741) for third place in NHL history. Jagr also extended his NHL record with his 131st career game-winning goal.
* Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo (27 SV) earned his 417th career victory to move within six of tying Tony Esposito (423) for seventh place on the NHL’s all-time wins list among goaltenders.
* Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno recorded his 300th NHL point (121-180—301). Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner (23-77—100) and Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (29-71—100) posted their 100th NHL points.
* Kings forward Michael Mersch, a fourth-round selection (110th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft, scored his first career goal (9 GP).
* Ducks defenseman Shea Theodore, the 26th overall selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, and Coyotes forward Laurent Dauphin, a second-round pick (39th overall) that year, both made their League debuts.
* Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec (800) and Predators forward Colin Wilson (400) both played in milestone games.

LOOSE PUCKS

Stars captain Jamie Benn collected one assist to reach the 50-point milestone (23-27—50 in 38 GP) and extend his assist/point streak to six contests (3-6—9). Via Elias, he became the first Stars/North Stars player to record 50 or more points in the team’s opening 38 games of a season since 1987-88 (Dino Ciccarelli: 38 GP) . . . Senators captain Erik Karlsson posted one assist to extend his point streak to seven games (3-6—9). He leads all players with 32 assists this season and ranks fourth overall with 41 points (37 GP) . . . Blue Jackets forward Brandon Saad (4-5—9) and Stars forward Patrick Sharp (4-5—9) both extended their point streaks to six games . . . Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk notched one assist to extend his point streak to five games (2-3—5) . . . Coyotes teammates Oliver Ekman-Larsson (0-3—3) and Tobias Rieder (0-3—3) both established career highs for assists in one game . . . Hurricanes captain Eric Staal (2-0—2) registered his first multi-goal game since Jan. 19 at TOR (2-0—2) . . . Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins (2-0—2) posted his third career multi-goal game . . . Goaltender Ben Scrivens made 27 saves in his Canadiens debut.

SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION

All Times Eastern
Toronto @ Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m., SN, ROOT
Buffalo @ Washington, 7:00 p.m., MSG-B, BELL TV, CSN-DC
New Jersey @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m., TVAS, MSG+, TSN5
NY Rangers @ Tampa Bay, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN
Philadelphia @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., NBCSN, CSN-PH

LIGHTNING FACE RANGERS ON NBCSN’S WEDNESDAY NIGHT RIVALRY

The Lightning (18-15-4, 40 points) and Rangers (20-13-4, 44 points), opponents in the 2015 Eastern Conference Final, meet for the second time this season when they face off at Amalie Arena on NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry.

Tampa Bay, who eliminated New York in seven games to reach the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, has won five consecutive regular-season contests against the Rangers dating to Jan. 14, 2014 (NYR: 0-5-0). That includes a 2-1 victory on Nov. 19 that snapped New York’s nine-game winning streak and 13-game point streak (11-0-2). Ben Bishop, who made 20 saves in the teams’ first matchup of the season, owns a 9-0-0 record in nine career regular-season appearances vs. NYR (1.43 GAA, .947 SV%, 2 SO), including a 6-0-0 clip since joining the Lightning in 2012-13.

These clubs will not meet again until the final week of the season, on April 5 at Madison Square Garden.

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