NHL MORNING SKATE – JAN. 14, 2016
Welcome to the “NHL Morning Skate,” a daily collection of the latest news and notes from around the League.
NHL ANNOUNCES ALL-STAR GAME PERFORMERS
The NHL announced that Grammy-award winning artists Vince Gill and Jennifer Nettles, CMA- and ACM-winning artist Lee Brice, and music duo and real-life sisters Lennon & Maisy will lead the entertainment for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Sunday, Jan. 31 (4:00 p.m. CT / 5:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).
Click here for more information.
SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Rangers @ NY Islanders, 7:00 p.m., TVAS, MSG, MSG+
Vancouver @ Washington, 7:00 p.m., SN360, CSN-DC
Chicago @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, CSN-CH, SNE, RDS
Carolina @ St. Louis, 8:00 p.m., FS-SE, FS-MW
Nashville @ Winnipeg, 8:00 p.m., FS-TN, TSN3
New Jersey @ Colorado, 9:00 p.m., MSG+ 2, ALT
Detroit @ Arizona, 9:00 p.m., FS-D+, FS-A
Edmonton @ San Jose, 10:30 p.m., SNW, CSN-CA
BLACKHAWKS AIM FOR NINTH CONSECUTIVE VICTORY
The Blackhawks (28-13-4, 60 points), who have won a season-high eight consecutive games to climb within two points of first place in the Central Division, look to continue that run when they visit the Canadiens (23-17-3, 49 points) at Bell Centre.
This marks the first of two meetings in four days between these Original Six rivals; they also will face off on Sunday at United Center. Chicago has collected at least one point in seven consecutive head-to-head matchups dating to Oct. 30, 2009 (5-0-2), including three straight wins.
BATTLE OF NEW YORK HEATS UP IN TIGHT DIVISION RACE
Crucial points are on the line when the Rangers (23-14-5, 51 points) play the Islanders (23-15-5, 51 points) at Barclays Center in the second of four meetings this season.
These clubs are tied – in terms of points – for second place in the Metropolitan Division, but the Rangers have played one fewer game and own the ROW tiebreaker (NYR: 22, NYI: 20).
The Islanders claimed their first matchup of the season – and first meeting ever in Brooklyn – with a 2-1 shootout victory on Dec. 2 at Barclays Center.
McLELLAN MAKES FIRST TRIP BACK TO SAN JOSE
Edmonton head coach Todd McLellan returns to San Jose for the first time when the Oilers (17-23-4, 38 points) visit the Sharks (21-18-2, 44 points) at SAP Center.
McLellan spent the past seven seasons in San Jose, where he compiled a 311-163-66 record and led the Sharks to six playoff appearances, four 40-plus win seasons, three division titles and one Presidents’ Trophy (2008-09).
The Oilers picked up a 4-3 victory in the first meeting between these teams this season, on Dec. 9 at Rexall Place, courtesy of an overtime goal by Taylor Hall.
Home Team in Caps
Columbus 3, TORONTO 1
PHILADELPHIA 3, Boston 2
CALGARY 6, Florida 0
ANAHEIM 4, Ottawa 1
BENNETT’S FOUR GOALS LIFT FLAMES OVER PANTHERS . . .
Sam Bennett scored four goals, including his first career hat trick (at the 17:01 mark of the first period), to power the Flames to their third win in their last five contests and snap the Panthers’ franchise-record point streak at 13 games (12-0-1).
* At 20-20-2 (42 points), the Flames moved within two points of the idle Sharks (21-18-2, 44 points) for third place in the Pacific Division. They also climbed within three points of the idle Predators (19-17-7, 45 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
* Bennett, the fourth overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, registered his first career multi-goal game (42 GP). He has scored five times in his past two outings (5-0—5), equaling his goal total from his first 40 NHL appearances (5-10—15).
* “It’s a great feeling,” Bennett said. “I think it’s big for my confidence. I knew I felt confident playing in this league and now I think I took another step in the right direction. It’ll just keep building on my confidence.”
. . . INSIDE THE NUMBERS
A statistical look at Sam Bennett’s four-goal performance, courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau:
* At 19 years, 207 days, Bennett became the third-youngest player in NHL history to record a four-goal game. The only younger players to do so: Maple Leafs forward Jack Hamilton (18 years, 185 days; Dec. 4, 1943 vs. NYR) and Capitals forward Bobby Carpenter (18 years, 227 days; Feb. 25, 1982 vs. STL).
* Bennett also became the third-youngest player in NHL history to post a first-period hat trick. The only younger players to do so: Maple Leafs forward Ted ‘Teeder’ Kennedy (19 years, 28 days; Jan. 9, 1945 vs. NYR) and Sabres forward John Tucker (19 years, 185 days; April 1, 1984 vs. TOR).
* Bennett became the first Flames player to register a four-goal game since Jarome Iginla did so on Feb. 23, 2003 at PHX. He also became the third rookie in franchise history to notch a four-goal game. The others: Joe Nieuwendyk (2x; Nov. 19, 1987 vs. QUE and Dec. 13, 1987 at BUF) and Jiri Hrdina (Nov. 7, 1988 vs. HFD).
* Bennett became the first rookie to post a four-goal game for any team since Sharks forward Tomas Hertl did so on Oct. 8, 2013 vs. NYR.
* Bennett became the youngest player in Flames history to collect a hat trick. Jim Peplinski previously held that record, doing so at 21 years, 24 days on Nov. 17, 1981 vs. WPG.
* Bennett became the first player from any team to score three goals in the first period of a game since Lightning forward Martin St. Louis did so on Jan. 18, 2014 vs. SJS. Only three other players have accomplished that feat for the Flames: Paul Reinhart (Nov. 24, 1986 vs. EDM), Brian MacLellan (Jan. 14, 1990 at CHI) and Nieuwendyk (Dec. 14, 1993 vs. VAN).
DID YOU KNOW?
Sam Bennett became the fifth rookie to record a hat trick this season – and the third to do so in the past week. The others: Coyotes forward Anthony Duclair (Oct. 14 at ANA), Bruins forward Frank Vatrano (Dec. 18 at PIT), Sabres forward Sam Reinhart (Jan. 10 at WPG) and Coyotes forward Max Domi (Jan. 12 vs. EDM).
FLYERS, DUCKS INCH CLOSER TO PLAYOFF SPOTS
Both the Flyers and Ducks picked up wins to inch closer to playoff spots in their respective conferences:
* Jakub Voracek (1-2—3) and Claude Giroux (0-3—3) both collected three points to propel the Flyers to their fourth consecutive victory overall as well as their sixth straight win at Wells Fargo Center. At 19-15-7 (45 points), Philadelphia moved within two points of Boston (21-16-5, 47 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, where teams Nos. 3-13 are separated by just six points.
* The Ducks scored three unanswered goals in the final five minutes of regulation – including the tiebreaker by Shea Theodore (his first NHL goal) – to pick up points for the eighth time in their last 10 games (6-2-2). At 18-17-7 (43 points), Anaheim moved within one point of San Jose (21-18-2, 44 points) for third place in the Pacific Division and within two points of Nashville (19-17-7, 45 points) for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Flyers defenseman Nick Schultz played in his 1,000th NHL game. Ducks forward Chris Stewart (500) also played in a milestone game.
* Defenseman Seth Jones (0-1—1) recorded his first point with the Blue Jackets (4 GP).
Goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made a career-high 41 saves, including 31 over the final two periods, to help the Blue Jackets snap a four-game skid (0-3-1) . . . Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller stopped all 15 shots he faced to record a shutout in his first appearance since Dec. 12 . . . Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner (1-1—2) scored his 15th goal of the season (45 GP), one shy of equaling his career high established in 2013-14 (72 GP) . . . Flames captain Mark Giordano (0-1—1) extended his point streak to six games (1-6—7), including assists in five straight contests . . . The Department of Player Safety suspended Devils forward Bobby Farnham for four games for interference against Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin . . . The Department of Player Safety also fined Jets defenseman Tyler Myers $5,000 for cross-checking Sharks forward Tommy Wingels . . . ICYMI: Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and Willie O’Ree attended the U.S. premiere of Soul on Ice: Past, Present & Future in support of the NHL’s Hockey Is for Everyone initiative.