***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
Friday, October 31
(All times Eastern)
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (4-4-1) AT COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (4-5-0), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The hobbled Columbus Blue Jackets will try to halt a
three-game skid when they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs for Friday's battle
at Nationwide Arena.
Columbus has been handed three straight regulation setbacks and lost each of
its last two outings by 5-2 margins. The Blue Jackets are 4-5-0 this season,
and the slow start has more than a little to with the club's inability to stay
The Blue Jackets have been beset by injuries in the first month of the season,
and two more names were added to the list on Wednesday as defenseman James
Wisniewski and center Mark Letestu were both placed on injured reserve.
Wisniewski is expected to be sidelined for 1-to-2 weeks with a broken finger
he suffered in Tuesday's game against Ottawa. Letestu could be out for a month
with a groin injury he sustained against the Senators.
Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is also out with a broken finger, while forwards
Artem Anisimov (head), Matt Calvert (upper body) and Nick Foligno (stinger)
have also been hurt since last weekend. Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton and
Boone Jenner have yet to play this season because of injuries.
Foligno, however, could play tonight after missing Tuesday's loss to Ottawa.
After losing 5-2 in Los Angeles on Sunday, Columbus returned home and fell to
the Senators by the same margin. The score was tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes,
but Ottawa scored three unanswered goals in the third to notch the victory.
"We just ran out of gas," Blue Jackets forward Adam Cracknell said. "We lost
some guys and made some mistakes."
David Savard and Cam Atkinson each netted goals in the loss, while Curtis
McElhinney made 29 saves in place of an injured Bobrovsky.
McElhinney expects to start again tonight with Anton Forsberg serving as the
The Maple Leafs hope to take advantage of the injury-riddled Blue Jackets
tonight after winning for the second time in three games by downing lowly
Buffalo on Tuesday.
Jonathan Bernier only needed to stop 10 shots to post a shutout against the
Sabres, while Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist en
route to a 4-0 home win. The 10 shots allowed set a Maple Leafs record for
fewest shots yielded in a game.
James van Riemsdyk and Jake Gardiner also scored and Morgan Rielly supplied
two helpers for the Maple Leafs, who will try to win consecutive games tonight
for the second time this season.
"Our expectation is to carry this on to the next one," Toronto head coach
Randy Carlyle said of the win. "Tonight, everything fell our way and we'll
take it because we were in drastic need of a performance at home."
While the Leafs have struggled to a 2-4-0 record at home, they are unbeaten in
regulation on the road, going 2-0-1 as the guest.
Columbus is 2-2-0 at home this season and has two wins in five all-time
meetings with Toronto at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets have taken three
in a row and four of the past five meetings overall.
LOS ANGELES KINGS (6-2-2) AT DETROIT RED WINGS (5-2-2), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings will be glad to leave Pennsylvania
behind when they continue their five-game road trip in Friday's meeting with
the Detroit Red Wings.
The Kings have dropped the first two tilts on their swing, losing a 3-2
overtime decision Tuesday in Philadelphia before falling to Pittsburgh 3-0 on
Thursday. The reigning Stanley Cup champions had won six straight before
suffering the recent defeats in the Keystone State.
Los Angeles also had an eight-game point streak snapped in the Steel City,
suffering its first regulation loss since opening the season with a 4-0 home
setback against San Jose.
The Kings fell behind 2-0 in the first period of Thursday's game and never
recovered. Pittsburgh recorded a pair of power-play tallies in the first and
went 2-for-6 with the man advantage. Marc-Andre Fleury also stopped 36 shots
for the shutout victory.
"We took way too many penalties and they're the best power play in the
league," Kings forward Dustin Brown said. "That was the story of the game."
Martin Jones made 20 stops in defeat for the Kings, who played once again
without star centerman Anze Kopitar.
Kopitar has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury and is
questionable for tonight along with fellow forwards Marian Gaborik and Trevor
Lewis, who are both dealing with upper-body injuries. The Kings also continue
to be without defenseman Slava Voynov, who is suspended indefinitely by the
league after being arrested earlier this month on domestic violence charges.
L.A. was able to use its emergency-roster exemption to recall winger David Van
der Gulik for Thursday's game after playing with just 11 forwards in
The Kings will return to No. 1 goaltender Jonathan Quick in net tonight, but
Quick is just 6-12-1 with a 3.06 goals against average in his career against
Detroit is at Joe Louis Arena for just one game before playing its next three
on the road. The Wings are 3-1-1 as the host and have won their last two in
the Motor City.
The Red Wings also have won three straight versus L.A. and have claimed four
of five and seven of the last nine encounters in this series. The Kings have
lost five straight in Motown since picking up their last win at the Joe on
March 9, 2011.
The Red Wings boast a 4-1-1 record over their last six games and are coming
off Wednesday's 4-2 road victory over Washington.
Detroit used a third-period comeback to down the Capitals at Verizon Center
and improve to 5-2-2 on the young season. The Wings trailed 2-1 at the end of
40 minutes before scoring three unanswered goals in the third period,
including two from Justin Abdelkader.
Abdelkader knotted the score at the 4:04 mark of the third and then gave
Detroit a 3-2 lead midway through the stanza. He also added an assist for a
The two-goal performance gave Abdelkader five markers on the season, tying him
with Gustav Nyquist for the team lead. Nyquist also scored on Wednesday, as he
opened the scoring by tallying off a feed from Abdelkader.
Pavel Datsyuk added a power-play tally late in the third to account for the
final margin, while Henrik Zetterberg notched two assists. Jimmy Howard
stopped 25-of-27 shots for the win, improving to 4-1-2 on the season.
"We showed some good character there falling behind in the second period and
then coming out and playing extremely well in the third," said Howard.
"They're world class players and they work well together; they've done it for
years. It's nice to see them team up here tonight for a couple [goals]."
Howard is expected to start tonight and he boasts a 9-6-0 record and 2.40 GAA
in 15 career tests against L.A.
ANAHEIM DUCKS (8-3-0) AT DALLAS STARS (4-2-3), 8:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks will try to get their struggling
offense on track Friday night as they visit a Dallas Stars club that has given
up its fair share of goals this season.
The Ducks have lost two of three since winning seven in a row, held to just
two goals over that span. They shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Tuesday,
but were then blanked 2-0 by the St. Louis Blues two nights later.
Jake Allen made 24 saves for the Blues, while John Gibson came up with 27
saves in the loss. Gibson was coming off a 38-save shutout effort versus the
"Our giveaways were immense out there," said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau.
"Unforced errors, that's the thing that bugs you."
The Ducks had averaged 3.43 goals per game over their winning streak and
tonight face a Stars club that ranks 27th out of 30 teams in yielding 3.56
goals per game.
Dallas has been idle since its own loss to the Blues on Tuesday, a 4-3
overtime setback. St. Louis got the winner on the power play as Tyler Seguin
was called for high-sticking just 14 seconds into the bonus frame.
Seguin and Trevor Daley both had a goal and an assist in regulation and
defenseman Jamie Oleksiak had a goal as well. His first career NHL tally came
at 13:10 of the first period, but the Blues countered just 35 seconds later to
start a back-and-forth affair.
"We had just scored," said Lindy Ruff. "We made it easy on them. We cut the
ice into about three-quarters and said, 'Here, we're going to give you a
little bit of an opportunity.'"
Lehtonen made 23 stops in Dallas' second straight loss, though the club does
have a point in seven of its first nine games (4-2-3).
Lehtonen is 4-0-3 with a 2.90 goals against average and .908 save percentage
this season, while backup Anders Lindback has started both regulation losses,
giving up nine goals on 60 shots.
Dallas will visit the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, so it is unknown if Lehtonen
or Lindback will start tonight. Lehtonen is 9-7-3 with a 2.41 GAA and .918
save percentage in 19 starts versus the Ducks, while Lindback is 1-1-0 with a
2.62 GAA and .920 save percentage in three meetings, including two starts.
Frederik Andersen figures to get the call tonight for the Ducks for the second
half of back-to-back games. He won his first six starts this season before a
loss to San Jose on Sunday, and has a 1.70 GAA and .940 save percentage on the
Andersen beat the Stars the only other time he faced them, stopping all 24
shots faced over 40 minutes of relief.
The Ducks have lost three of their last four to the Stars overall as well as
five of seven and nine of their last 13 in Dallas.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS (6-1-2) AT CALGARY FLAMES (5-4-2), 9 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Injuries have forced the Calgary Flames to turn to a
number of reinforcements ahead of Friday's homestand-closing matchup with the
The Flames hope the fresh bodies can get their offense on track before they
hit the road for five in a row.
Calgary has placed Mason Raymond (upper body), Matt Stajan (strained right
knee) and Mikael Backlund (abdominal) on injured reserve over the past few
days, while Joe Colborne, who leads the club with eight assists, also is
unlikely to play tonight due to an upper-body injury.
Both Colborne and Stajan were hurt in Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to the
Montreal Canadiens, while Raymond landed on IR prior to that game. Backlund,
meanwhile, has been battling his abdominal issue all season.
Following the rash of injuries, forwards Devin Setoguchi and Brian McGrattan
are expected to return to the lineup after serving as recent healthy
scratches, while Markus Granlund and Michael Ferland have been recalled from
the Adirondack Flames of the American Hockey League.
Ferland was leading Adirondack with nine points on four goals and five
assists, while Granlund had three goals and five points in eight games.
The fresh faces will try to spark the offense in the finale of this homestand,
one that has produced a 1-1-2 record. Calgary has scored just one goal in each
loss while picking up a 5-0 win over Carolina as well.
Defenseman Mark Giordano had the lone goal in Tuesday's shootout loss, while
Jonas Hiller made 18 saves through overtime.
"We won the puck. We just couldn't capitalize on a couple of good scoring
chances," said Flames coach Bob Hartley. "This was one of our fastest games
we've played all year. The pace was just unbelievable. From the bench I
thought it was a great game to watch."
Hiller will start over Karri Ramo tonight, marking the first time this season
either of the two will make back-to-back starts. Hiller has allowed just three
goals on 120 shots over his past four starts, but is only 4-9-4 lifetime
versus the Predators with a 2.91 goals against average and .910 save
Nashville resumes its six-game road trip tonight having opened the swing with
Wednesday's 4-1 triumph over Edmonton. Pekka Rinne made 26 saves and Craig
Smith scored a pair of goals.
Taylor Beck and Shea Weber added tallies and Roman Josi chipped in a pair of
assists in Nashville's third victory in four games.
"That's a hot team. They had won four in a row. We knew we had to be ready,"
Weber said of the Oilers.
Rinne has gotten off to a 6-1-1 start this season, posting a 1.71 GAA and .936
save percentage through eight starts. He is 5-5-3 lifetime versus the Flames
with a 2.77 GAA and .903 save percentage.
Rinne made 26 saves and Smith had two assists in a 3-2 shootout loss to the
visiting Flames on Oct. 14. Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro had the goals.
Colborne had the shootout winner, while Giordano and fellow defenseman T.J.
Brodie scored in regulation. Ramo posted 19 saves.
The Predators are 6-1-2 in their past nine versus the Flames, but have lost
five of their last seven trips to Calgary.
10/31 10:57:21 ET