NHL MORNING SKATE – JAN. 26, 2016

NHL MORNING SKATE – JAN. 26, 2016

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

NHL ANNOUNCES SKILLS COMPETITION FORMAT . . .

The NHL announced the details and format of the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition, which will take place on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena (6:00 p.m. CT / 7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
Six events will make up the competition: Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge, DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting, Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay, AMP Energy NHL Hardest Shot and Discover NHL Shootout.

Click here for complete details on each event.

. . . DETAILS OF LIVE IN MUSIC CITY

The League also announced the details of NHL All-Star Friday Night: Live in Music City, which will take place on Friday from the Honda Stage at Bridgestone Winter Park in downtown Nashville (7:00 p.m. CT / 8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN).

The one-hour primetime special will feature live roundtable discussions with NHL All-Stars, performances from top country music artists and a few surprises.

Click here for more information.

NHL AND NHLPA RENEW PARTNERSHIP WITH GoPRO

The NHL and NHLPA announced a renewal of their partnership with GoPro to deliver hockey fans a behind-the-scenes look at the game. The extension includes NHL After Dark, an 11-part series filmed and produced by GoPro that will give hockey fans an immersive look at what happens on the ice during after-hours training sessions.

Click here to learn more and watch a trailer of NHL After Dark.

MONDAY’S RESULTS

Home Team in Caps
Detroit 4, NY ISLANDERS 2
Boston 3, PHILADELPHIA 2
COLUMBUS 5, Montreal 2
NY RANGERS 6, Buffalo 3
DALLAS 2, Calgary 1
Arizona 2, MINNESOTA 1 (SO)

BRASSARD’S FIVE POINTS LIFT RANGERS OVER SABRES

Derick Brassard posted a career-high five points (2-3—5), including 2-2—4 in the third period, to propel the Rangers to their third victory in their last four games.

* At 27-17-5 (59 points), the Rangers moved three points ahead of the Islanders (25-16-6, 56 points) – who lost in regulation – for second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers own the ROW tiebreaker (NYR: 25, NYI: 22), but the Islanders hold two games in hand.
* The Rangers improved to 18-5-2 (38 points) this season at Madison Square Garden, including points in six consecutive home games (5-0-1). Their 38 home points are tied for second in the NHL, behind only the Blackhawks (21-5-1, 43 points).
* Brassard, who leads the team with 17-19—36 this season, became the first Rangers player to record a five-point game since March 6, 2011 vs. PHI (Ryan Callahan: 4-1—5). Elias adds that Brassard became the first Rangers player to collect four points in the third period of one game since Nov. 25, 1992 at PIT (Mark Messier: 1-3—4).
* The Rangers earned their eighth consecutive victory over the Sabres dating to April 19, 2013 (BUF: 0-8-0). The teams face off two more times this season: March 8 at BUF and April 2 at NYR.

ATKINSON’S HAT TRICK POWERS BLUE JACKETS PAST CANADIENS

Cam Atkinson recorded his third career hat trick to lead the Blue Jackets past the Canadiens in the first half of their back-to-back, home-and-home series.

* Atkinson, who has spent his entire career with the Blue Jackets, became the third player in franchise history to collect three hat tricks. The others: Rick Nash (5) and Tyler Wright (3).
* Atkinson is tied for second on the Blue Jackets with 16 goals this season (49 GP), six shy of his career high established in 2014-15 (78 GP). His other two career hat tricks: April 5, 2012 at COL (3-0—3) and March 27, 2015 at CHI (3-0—3).
* Brandon Saad (2-0—2) added his third multi-goal game of the season. He paces the Blue Jackets with 18 goals overall (49 GP), five shy of his career high set in 2014-15 (82 GP w/ CHI).
* Brandon Dubinsky and Boone Jenner both notched three assists. Dubinsky equaled a career high for assists in one game (5x total), while Jenner established a career high in that category.
* ICYMI: Atkinson helped a young fan win a puppy one night after Senators forward Bobby Ryan did the same at Canadian Tire Centre.

RED WINGS, BRUINS CLIMB ATLANTIC STANDINGS . . .

Both the Red Wings (25-16-8, 58 points) and Bruins (26-17-5, 57 points) won on Monday to keep pace in the Atlantic Division, where the top four teams are separated by just five points:

* Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser scored 71 seconds apart in the second period to break a 1-1 tie and help the Red Wings close January with a 7-1-0 road record. Via Elias, the team’s seven road wins equaled a franchise record for one calendar month, also achieved in April 1995 (7-3-0), March 2006 (7-0-0) and February 2011 (7-1-0). Petr Mrazek, who made 27 saves, won all seven of those games to improve to 18-9-4 overall this season (2.03 GAA, .932 SV%, 3 SO).
* Wayne Simmonds scored twice to help the Flyers erase a two-goal deficit, but Brett Connolly potted the winning tally with 1:54 remaining in regulation to lead the Bruins to their fifth victory in their last six games. Elias notes that Boston recorded its fourth tiebreaking goal in the final two minutes of regulation this season, tops in the NHL. The others: Nov. 27 vs. NYR (David Krejci – 18:17), Dec. 4 at CGY (Brad Marchand – 18:54) and Jan. 16 vs. TOR (Marchand – 19:13).

. . . STARS, COYOTES CONTINUE DIVISION PUSHES

The Stars and Coyotes also earned narrow wins to continue their climbs in their respective divisions:

* Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza scored 80 seconds apart in the second period to power the Stars to an 11-3-0 record in their last 14 games at American Airlines Center. At 31-14-5 (67 points), Dallas moved within three points of idle Chicago (33-15-4, 70 points) for first place in the Central Division. Benn registered his 28th goal of the campaign to tie Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin for second place in the NHL.
* Antoine Vermette scored the tying goal with 1:13 remaining in regulation – while shorthanded – and Anthony Duclair potted the lone tally in the shootout to lift the Coyotes to their second straight win on the heels of a four-game skid (0-3-1). At 24-19-5 (53 points), Arizona moved within one point of idle San Jose (25-18-4, 54 points) for second place in the Pacific Division, where teams Nos. 2-5 are separated by just five points.

MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS

* Coyotes captain Shane Doan played in his 1,433rd career game to move past Mike Gartner (1,432) and into sole possession of 25th place on the NHL’s all-time games played list.
* Sabres forward Evander Kane played in his 400th NHL game.
* Alain Vigneault (NYR) coached his 1,019th career game to tie Pat Burns for 19th place on the NHL’s all-time games coached list.

LOOSE PUCKS

MUST-SEE: Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban (1-1—2) scored from center ice. Subban, who ranks fourth among blueliners with 4-31—35 this season, has registered at least one point in 10 of his past 12 games (3-8—11) . . . Bruins forward Brad Marchand scored to extend his point streak to six games (5-1—6), including goals in a career-high five straight games. Marchand also reached the 20-goal milestone for the third consecutive season and fifth time in seven total NHL campaigns . . . Wild forward Charlie Coyle recorded his 13th goal of the season (49 GP) to eclipse his career high of 12 set in 2013-14 (70 GP). He also scored for the third straight game (3-0—3), equaling a career high set March 22-26, 2014 (3-1—4) . . . Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons (2-0—2) posted his fourth career multi-goal game and first since Jan. 17, 2015 vs. PHI (2-0—2) . . . Islanders forward Brock Nelson scored his 11th goal in his past 19 games and fifth in his past five outings . . . Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron (1-0—1) extended his point streak to five games (4-2—6) . . . ICYMI: The Panthers signed forward Aleksander Barkov to a six-year contract extension . . . The Blackhawks signed senior vice president and general manager Stan Bowman to a three-year contract extension . . . Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, Devils forward Lee Stempniak and Blues goaltender Brian Elliott were named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending Jan. 24 . . . The Flyers hosted You Can Play Night at Wells Fargo Center . . . The NHL and MLBAM unveiled details for three of their redesigned platforms: NHL.com, the NHL app and NHL.tv.

SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Anaheim @ Boston, 7:00 p.m., TVAS, SNO, SNW, FS-W, NESN
New Jersey @ Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m., MSG+, ROOT
Chicago @ Carolina, 7:30 p.m., NBCSN, SN1, CSN-CH
Columbus @ Montreal, 7:30 p.m., FS-O, SNE, RDS
Buffalo @ Ottawa, 7:30 p.m., MSG-B, BELL TV, TSN5, RDS2
Toronto @ Florida, 7:30 p.m., TSN4, FS-F
Arizona @ Winnipeg, 8:00 p.m., FS-A, TSN3
Nashville @ Vancouver, 10:00 p.m., FS-TN, SNP
Colorado @ San Jose, 10:00 p.m., NBCSN, SN1, SNE, SNO, SNW

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