NHL MORNING SKATE – JAN. 1, 2016

NHL MORNING SKATE – JAN. 1, 2016

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

SNEAK PEEK AT FRIDAY’S ACTION

All Times Eastern
Montreal @ Boston, 1:00 p.m., NBC, SN, TVAS
Anaheim @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., PRIME, FS-SD, SNP

BRUINS FACE CANADIENS IN 2016 BRIDGESTONE NHL WINTER CLASSIC

The Bruins (20-12-4, 44 points) face the Canadiens (21-15-3, 45 points) in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

This marks the 910th all-time meeting between these Original Six franchises (regular season and playoffs) – the most in NHL history. Their 732 regular-season games, 177 postseason contests and 34 playoff series also lead all opponents in League history, while their nine head-to-head Game 7s top all rivals in North American major professional sports (includes MLB, NBA and NHL).

The Bruins currently trail the Canadiens by one point in the Atlantic Division, where the top six teams are separated by six points – the winner of today’s game will move into first place.

The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic marks the fourth of five meetings between these clubs in 2015-16; Montreal has won 12 of their last 14 regular-season contests dating to March 3, 2013 (BOS: 2-10-2). Boston, however, earned a 3-1 victory in their most recent matchup (Dec. 9 at Bell Centre) to snap a seven-game skid in the head-to-head series.

WINTER CLASSIC QUICK HITS

* The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic marks the first time that one team will serve as a repeat host of the New Year’s Day game. In 2010, the Bruins faced the Flyers at Fenway Park in Boston (a 2-1 OT W).
* While the Bruins will be playing in their second regular-season outdoor NHL game, the Canadiens will be contesting their third such contest. They also faced the Oilers in the 2003 Molson Canadian NHL Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium (a 4-3 W) and the Flames in the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium (a 4-0 L).
* The Bruins and Canadiens have met four times previously on New Year’s Day, in 1936, 1958, 1961 and 1964. All four games were played in Boston.
* A total of 112 skaters, goaltenders and head coaches have competed for both the Bruins and Canadiens. Only one of the 112 – forward Michael Ryder – has appeared in at least 200 games with both franchises.
* Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who began his NHL head-coaching career with the Canadiens (2002-06), is the only active player/head coach who has served with both franchises.
* Four Massachusetts-born players are represented in today’s lineups: Bruins forwards Jimmy Hayes (Boston) and Frank Vatrano (East Longmeadow) and Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon (Holliston) and forward Brian Flynn (Lynnfield).
* A look at today’s hourly forecast for Foxborough, Mass., courtesy of the Weather Channel:

REMINDER: OUTDOOR GAME GUIDE

The NHL Outdoor Game Interactive Information Guide is available for download via the League’s Media site.

The guide features various information about the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, including notes about the historic Bruins-Canadiens rivalry. It also includes a list of records, a complete register and a full history of outdoor games.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

* Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and Canadiens goaltender Ben Scrivens unveiled their masks for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
* New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick tested the ice at Gillette Stadium.
* Bruins forward Landon Ferraro and Canadiens forward Brian Flynn posted player blogs on NHL.com in advance of today’s game.
* Players from the Bruins and Canadiens practiced on Thursday at Gillette Stadium:

FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 31: (L-R) David Krejci #46, Patrice Bergeron #37, Chris Kelly #23 and Dennis Seidenberg #44 of the Boston Bruins take the ice for a team photo prior to team practice as part of the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will take place on New Year’s Day with the Montreal Canadiens playing the Boston Bruins. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

TODAY’S FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
All Times Eastern
Media Credential Distribution
8:00 a.m. – End of 1st Period
Gillette Stadium – Lot 6
Media Access to 2016 NHL Winter Classic Spectator Plaza
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Gillette Stadium – Lot 22
Media Meal
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Gillette Stadium – Press Box (Red Level Press)
2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic
1:00 p.m.
Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins
Gillette Stadium
NBC, SN, TVAS

BOURQUE LIFTS BRUINS TO ALUMNI GAME VICTORY

Ray Bourque scored in the fourth round of the shootout to power the Bruins to a 5-4 comeback victory in the 2016 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game presented by Molson Canadian.

Click here for a complete recap.

FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 31: Ray Bourque #77 of the Boston Bruins and Guy Carbonneau #21 of the Montreal Canadiens enter the field before playing in the Alumni Game as part of the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Classic at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will take place on New Year’s Day with the Montreal Canadiens playing the Boston Bruins. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

REMINDER: ALL-STAR GAME VOTING CLOSES TODAY

Voting for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game closes tonight 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.

2015 CALENDAR YEAR LEADERS

A look at the top team and individual performances of 2015 (courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau):

POINTS PERCENTAGE
1. Washington Capitals (55-22-6, 116 points): .699
2. New York Rangers (54-24-7, 115 points): .676
t-3. Dallas Stars (52-25-8, 112 points): .659
t-3. St. Louis Blues (52-25-8, 112 points): .659
5. Minnesota Wild (49-24-10, 108 points): .651
GOALS
1. Alex Ovechkin (81 GP): 57
2. Jamie Benn (85 GP): 48
3. Steven Stamkos (81 GP): 39
4. Joe Pavelski (80 GP): 38
5. Max Pacioretty (82 GP): 38
ASSISTS
1. Erik Karlsson (84 GP): 59
2. Jamie Benn (85 GP): 59
3. Nicklas Backstrom (80 GP): 56
4. Henrik Sedin (83 GP): 55
5. P.K. Subban (84 GP): 55
POINTS
1. Jamie Benn (85 GP): 48-59—107
2. Alex Ovechkin (81 GP): 57-28—85
3. Tyler Seguin (74 GP): 35-48—83
4. John Tavares (80 GP): 37-45—82
5. Daniel Sedin (85 GP): 28-54—82
6. Erik Karlsson (84 GP): 23-59—82
POINTS PER GAME (Minimum: 60 GP)
1. Patrick Kane (80 PTS in 63 GP): 1.27
2. Jamie Benn (107 PTS in 85 GP): 1.26
3. Tyler Seguin (83 PTS in 74 GP): 1.12
4. Alex Ovechkin (85 PTS in 81 GP): 1.05
5. John Tavares (82 PTS in 80 GP): 1.03
POWER-PLAY GOALS
1. Alex Ovechkin (81 GP): 25
2. Justin Faulk (83 GP): 17
3. Steven Stamkos (81 GP): 16
4. Jamie Benn (85 GP): 16
5. Joe Pavelski (80 GP): 15
SHORTHANDED GOALS
1. Jean-Gabriel Pageau (82 GP): 6
2. Brad Marchand (76 GP): 5
3. Blake Wheeler (78 GP): 4
4. Max Pacioretty (82 GP): 4
5. Jamie Benn (85 GP): 4
GAME-WINNING GOALS
1. Max Pacioretty (82 GP): 12
2. Jonathan Toews (83 GP): 11
3. John Tavares (80 GP): 10
4. Alex Ovechkin (81 GP): 10
5. Joe Pavelski (80 GP): 9
SHOTS ON GOAL
1. Alex Ovechkin (81 GP): 400
2. Max Pacioretty (82 GP): 331
3. Brent Burns (80 GP): 296
4. Tyler Seguin (74 GP): 289
5. Rick Nash (80 GP): 288
PLUS/MINUS
1. Tyler Toffoli (75 GP): 31
2. Kevin Klein (58 GP): 26
3. Tobias Enstrom (75 GP): 27
4. Marc Methot (78 GP): 27
5. Jamie Benn (85 GP): 27
WINS
1. Braden Holtby (72 GP): 49
2. Devan Dubnyk (69 GP): 43
3. Jonathan Quick (72 GP): 42
4. Ben Bishop (65 GP): 37
5. Corey Crawford (66 GP): 37
GOALS-AGAINST AVERAGE (Minimum: 25 GP)
1. Carey Price (48 GP): 1.85
2. Andrew Hammond (31 GP): 1.93
3. Jake Allen (48 GP): 1.97
4. Devan Dubnyk (69 GP): 2.02
5. Braden Holtby (72 GP): 2.04
SAVE PERCENTAGE (Minimum: 25 GP)
1. Carey Price (48 GP): .937
2. Andrew Hammond (31 GP): .936
3. Cory Schneider (65 GP): .930
4. Braden Holtby (72 GP): .929
5. Devan Dubnyk (69 GP): .928
6. Jake Allen (48 GP): .928
SHUTOUTS
1. Carey Price (48 GP): 9
2. Devan Dubnyk (69 GP): 9
3. Braden Holtby (72 GP): 8
4. Jake Allen (48 GP): 7
t-5. Five Goaltenders: 6
SHOTS AGAINST
1. Braden Holtby (72 GP): 2,038
2. Corey Crawford (66 GP): 1,992
3. Tuukka Rask (66 GP): 1,933
4. Semyon Varlamov (64 GP): 1,928
5. Mike Smith (61 GP): 1,913
MINUTES PLAYED
1. Braden Holtby (72 GP): 4,234
2. Jonathan Quick (72 GP): 4,177
3. Devan Dubnyk (69 GP): 4,035
4. Tuukka Rask (66 GP): 3,862
5. Corey Crawford (66 GP): 3,857

THURSDAY’S RESULTS

Home Team in Caps
NY Islanders 2, BUFFALO 1
Pittsburgh 5, DETROIT 2
CAROLINA 4, Washington 2
Minnesota 3, ST. LOUIS 1
Chicago 4, COLORADO 3 (OT)
DALLAS 5, Nashville 1
Los Angeles 4, CALGARY 1
Anaheim 1, EDMONTON 0
ARIZONA 4, Winnipeg 2

AROUND THE RINKS

* Shane Doan scored twice to power the Coyotes to a 4-1-1 record in their last six games. In doing so, Doan (381) – who has spent his entire NHL career with the Coyotes/Jets – surpassed Dale Hawerchuk (379) for the most goals in franchise history.
* Jonathan Toews scored at 3:29 of overtime to lift the Blackhawks to their ninth win in their last 13 games. Toews, who posted his League-leading fourth overtime goal of the season (39 GP), also set a single-season franchise record in that category.
* Jeff Skinner registered the tiebreaking goal early in the third period to lead the Hurricanes to an 8-4-1 record in their last 13 games and snap the Capitals’ winning streak at nine contests. Skinner paces the club with 15 goals this season (38 GP).
* The Stars scored five unanswered goals – including a pair from Tyler Seguin – to improve to 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Seguin shares second with 23 goals and ranks third with 50 points this season (39 GP).
* The Penguins also posted five unanswered goals – highlighted by three-point performances from Kris Letang (2-1—3), Patric Hornqvist (1-2—3) and Evgeni Malkin (1-2—3) – to improve to 3-1-1 in their past five outings.
* John Gibson stopped all 21 shots he faced to lead the Ducks to their second straight 1-0 win and third consecutive victory overall. Gibson, who also earned the shutout on Tuesday at CGY (14 SV), recorded his fourth blank sheet of the season (14 GP).
* Jonathan Quick made 23 saves to backstop the Kings to a sweep of their four-game road trip. Quick earned his 21st win of the season (31 GP) – second in the NHL – including an 11-3-1 record as a visitor (2.01 GAA, .934 SV%, 2 SO).
* The Wild scored three unanswered goals – led by two points apiece from Erik Haula (1-1—2) and Nino Niederreiter (1-1—2) – to pick up their third victory in their past four contests overall and improve to 3-1-2 in their last six road games.
* Thomas Greiss made 42 saves to lift the Islanders to their third win in their last four games. Greiss, who ranks second in the NHL with a .936 save percentage, also set a career high with his 11th victory of the season (18 GP).

MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS

* Predators captain Shea Weber played in his 723rd NHL game (all w/ NSH) to tie Martin Erat for second place on the franchise’s all-time games played list, behind David Legwand (956).
* Blackhawks forward Artem Anisimov scored his 100th NHL goal.

LOOSE PUCKS

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his 21st goal of the season to move into sole possession of fifth place in the NHL (36 GP). He sits four goals shy of 500 in his career (796 GP) . . . Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane posted 1-2—3, his 15th multi-point performance of the season. He continues to pace the NHL with 23-33—56 overall (39 GP) . . . Jets forward Adam Lowry (2-0—2) recorded his second career multi-goal game and first since Dec. 9, 2014 at DAL (2-0—2) . . . Stars teammates Jamie Benn (4-7—11) and Patrick Sharp (4-6—10) both extended their point streaks to seven games . . . Kings forward Tyler Toffoli collected one assist to extend his point streak to five games (6-2—8) . . . ICYMI: The NHL fined Canucks forward Jannik Hansen $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment) . . . The Panthers signed general manager Dale Tallon to a multi-year contract extension . . . Kraft Heinz – along with the NHL, NHLPA, NBC Sports Group and USA Hockey – announced the details of Kraft Hockeyville USA 2016.

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