***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
Thursday, October 23
(All times Eastern)
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (4-2-0) AT BOSTON BRUINS (4-4-0), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins have picked up the pace after a slow
start to the season. The New York Islanders, meanwhile, have lost two straight
since beginning 2014-15 with a surprising 4-0 mark.
New York will try to end its slide and prevent the Bruins from winning a third
consecutive tilt when the clubs meet Thursday at Boston's TD Garden.
The Islanders matched the best start in club history with four consecutive
wins to open the season, but after suffering Saturday's 3-1 defeat in
Pittsburgh, the Isles returned home and dropped a 5-2 decision against
Toronto. New York held leads in both setbacks before letting the opposition
turn the tables.
The Isles led 2-1 after 20 minutes on Tuesday, but the Maple Leafs took
control with a four-goal outburst in the second period
John Tavares and Nick Leddy scored for the Islanders, who were handed their
first loss in three home games this season. Jaroslav Halak gave up five goals
in 23 shots and was replaced in the third period by Chad Johnson, who made
"We'll point out some things we need to work on, but there were some good
things tonight," said Islanders coach Jack Capuano.
New York already has encountered injury problems, as the club is currently
playing without key players like forwards Michael Grabner and Mikhail
Grabovski and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky. Grabovski, however, was back at
practice Wednesday and could return from his concussion-like symptoms soon,
although he isn't eligible to come off injured reserve until Friday.
Isles defenseman Thomas Hickey also left Tuesday's game with a facial
laceration after getting cut by the skate blade of Maple Leafs forward Mike
Santorelli, Hickey was at practice Wednesday and expects to play tonight while
wearing a face shield.
"I've been playing hockey without a cage since I was 16, so in nine years it
happens once," Hickey told the Islanders website. "That's a lot of games, so
your odds are pretty good."
Former Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk will face his old club for the first
time since getting dealt to the Islanders on Oct. 4. Boychuk has two goals and
four assists in his first six games with New York.
The Bruins started the season 1-3-0, but have won three of their last four
games and enter Thursday on their first winning streak of 2014-15.
Boston recorded a 4-0 win at Buffalo on Saturday and followed with Tuesday's
5-3 comeback victory over the visiting San Jose Sharks. The Bruins trailed the
Sharks 3-2 after 40 minutes, but responded with three unanswered goals in the
After Seth Griffith tied the game with his first career goal less than five
minutes into the third, Gregory Campbell notched the deciding goal at the
10:42 mark. David Krejci added a short-handed empty-net tally with 25 seconds
left to seal the victory.
Torey Krug also lit the lamp for Boston and Milan Lucic contributed three
assists. Tuukka Rask made 31 saves to even his record at 3-3-0.
Griffith, a 21-year-old rookie, has been playing on Boston's top line along
with David Krejci and Milan Lucic and Bruins coach Claude Julien practiced
them on the same unit at Wednesday's practice.
"We're starting to gain a little chemistry going so that's good to see,"
Griffith told Boston.com on Tuesday. "But, you know, it's not too hard playing
with two great players."
Boston defenseman Kevan Miller will miss a second straight game after
dislocating his right shoulder on Saturday. The Bruins announced Monday that
Miller is out indefinitely.
Rask expects to start tonight and the Finnish netminder is 6-3-0 with a 2.51
goals against average in his career against the Islanders. Halak, meanwhile,
boasts an 8-3-0 record and a 1.86 GAA in 11 lifetime tests versus the Bruins.
The Isles had won three in a row against Boston before losing a 6-3 home tilt
on Jan. 27. It was the 10th win for the Bruins in the last 15 overall
meetings, but New York has claimed two in a row and three of the past four
encounters in Boston.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (3-2-0) AT DETROIT RED WINGS (3-1-2), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins aim to bounce
back from their second loss in three games when they visit the Detroit Red
Wings in Thursday's encounter at Joe Louis Arena.
The Penguins hosted rival Philadelphia on Wednesday and dropped a 5-3 decision
as the Flyers used three third-period goals to skate away with the victory.
The setback gave Pittsburgh a 1-2-0 mark on a three-game homestand, but the
club hopes to stay unbeaten on the road tonight after posting a 5-2 decision
in Toronto on Oct. 11.
Nick Spaling picked up a goal and assist in Wednesday's setback. Marcel Goc
and Pascal Dupuis also scored for the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury took the
loss after stopping 28-of-32 shots.
"We're playing a team playing in back-to-back games and playing at home, we
should take advantage of that opportunity," Crosby said.
Crosby and linemate Patric Hornqvist both were held without a point by
Philadelphia, marking the first time the duo was kept off the scoresheet this
season. Pittsburgh's captain has four goals and five assists through five
games, while Hornqvist has eight points on four goals and four helpers.
Backup goaltender Thomas Greiss is expected to make his Penguins debut
tonight, spelling Fleury, who has started every game for his club this season.
Greiss, who spent last season with the Coyotes, signed a one-year deal with
Pittsburgh over the summer. The German netminder has played in 69 NHL games,
but has never faced the Red Wings.
Detroit hopes to get back in the win column Thursday after getting
dealt an overtime loss Tuesday in Montreal. Detroit had won two straight by
posting a home-and-home sweep of Toronto before dropping the 2-1 decision
against the Canadiens.
Detroit scored the game's first goal with 6:19 left in the second period, but
Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk sent the tilt to OT by scoring 3:09 before the end
of regulation. David Desharnais then won it for the Habs by scoring 56 seconds
into the extra session.
Henrik Zetterberg netted Detroit's lone goal and Jimmy Howard turned aside 34-
of-36 shots in the loss. Montreal outshot the Red Wings by a 15-5 margin in
the third period and OT.
"I thought they were better than us in the third period," Red Wings head coach
Mike Babcock said. "Price helped them by playing the puck and it's harder to
get to him."
Pavel Datsyuk, who missed the first five games of the season with a separated
right shoulder, tallied an assist in his season debut and appeared to put the
Red Wings up 2-0 with just over eight minutes to play in the third.
Datsyuk entered the zone up the right side, skated through the slot and sent a
backhander over the shoulder of Carey Price, but the goal was waved off due to
Justin Abdelkader's incidental contact with the Montreal netminder.
Red Wings forward Johan Franzen could play Thursday after missing the last
two games with a lower-body injury.
Howard will get the start tonight and he boasts a 3-0-1 record and a 2.33 GAA
in his career against Pittsburgh.
The Pens have won two of three and four of the last six meetings with Detroit
and have claimed three of the past five encounters at Joe Louis Arena.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS (3-2-0) AT ST. LOUIS BLUES (2-2-1), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Miller was not the answer to the St. Louis Blues'
Stanley Cup dreams last spring, but he hopes to lead the Vancouver Canucks to
a victory when they visit Scottrade Center on Thursday.
The Blues attempted to solidify a deep playoff run last season by getting
Miller from Buffalo at the trade deadline, but it didn't pay off and Miller
left in the summer to sign a three-year, $18 million deal with Vancouver.
Miller went 7-0-1 over his first eight games with the Blues last season, but
wound up with a 10-8-1 mark in 19 regular-season tests with the club. The
former Vezina Trophy winner then sported a 2.70 goals against average and .897
save percentage in the playoffs, as St. Louis lost in six games to Chicago in
the opening round.
Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins is expected to go with Miller in net
tonight. However, the former longtime Sabres netminder is 1-4-0 with a 3.22
GAA in five career tests against the Blues.
Miller and the Canucks were slammed in their most recent trip to the ice,
losing 6-3 in Dallas on Tuesday at the start of a three-game road trip. The
Stars scored the game's first five goals to chase Miller from the game early
in the second period. Miller made eight saves on 13 shots and was replaced by
Eddie Lack, who stopped 14-of-15 shots.
"We got a couple of tough breaks early on that put us behind," said Miller.
"It's just a tough night, just a couple of tough situations."
Vancouver is hoping to end a two-game slide tonight before capping its road
trip tomorrow at Colorado. The Canucks began the season 3-0 before losing to
Tampa Bay and Dallas.
The Blues also hope to rebound on Thursday after getting shut out in Sunday's
game at Anaheim. The 3-0 setback dropped the Blues to 1-1-1 on their three-
game road trip, but the club now gets to play two straight and four of its
next five games on home ice.
Brian Elliott made 22 saves for the Blues, who had netted six goals in
Saturday's win against the Arizona Coyotes.
"We took two-thirds of the game to get going and by then it is too late,"
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I wasn't happy with the way we played,
Jake Allen will make only his second start of the season tonight. The 24-year-
old goaltender won his season debut Saturday in Arizona after stopping 24-
of-25 shots. Allen is 1-1-0 with a 2.90 GAA in two career games against the
The Blues have several players battling flu-like symptoms, including forward
Alexander Steen, who could miss tonight's tilt. However, centerman Jori
Lehtera, who missed Sunday's game in Anaheim with the flu, skated Wednesday
and could be ready to go tonight.
St. Louis centerman Paul Stastny also is week-to-week with an upper-body
injury suffered against the Coyotes.
Vancouver won all three meetings against the Blues last season and has won
four of five and six of eight in the series overall. The Canucks also have won
two of their last three tests in St. Louis.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (4-0-1) AT NASHVILLE PREDATORS (4-0-2), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Central Division foes will battle for first
place on Thursday when the Nashville Predators host the Chicago Blackhawks at
Neither Nashville nor Chicago has suffered a regulation loss this season, but
Peter Laviolette's Predators hold the early lead in the division with 10
points off a 4-0-2 record. The Blackhawks are one point behind with a 4-0-1
The Blackhawks already have a leg up in this season series, posting a 2-1
overtime win against the visiting Predators on Saturday. Chicago captain
Jonathan Toews scored the decisive goal on a short-handed tally at 3:26 of the
The victory snapped a three-game skid in the series for Chicago. Nashville has
won four of six overall against the Blackhawks and two of the past three
encounters in Music City.
Chicago recorded a second straight win on Tuesday, ending a four-game
homestand with an easy 4-0 win over Philadelphia. Patrick Kane scored a pair
of power-play goals and Antti Raanta stopped all 32 shots to post a shutout in
his first start of the season.
The Blackhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening period by scoring three
times in the span of 2 minutes, 6 seconds late in the stanza. The score stayed
that way until Kane notched his third marker of the season in the third
"I thought the power play was pretty good tonight," Kane said. "It was good to
get a couple."
Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell also lit the lamp for the Blackhawks. Patrick
Sharp added two assists for the hosts.
Raanta notched his second career shutout and improved his overall record to
14-5-4 in 26 lifetime appearances. He expects to get the start again tonight
as regular No. 1 Corey Crawford will not join the team for its two-game road
trip to Nashville and St. Louis due to an upper-body injury.
The Blackhawks recalled Scott Darling from their AHL affiliate in Rockford to
back up Raanta while Crawford is sidelined.
Nashville is playing the middle test of a three-game homestand tonight after
beginning the residency with Tuesday's 4-3 shootout victory over Arizona. Ryan
Ellis had a goal and two assists in regulation for the Preds and scored the
winner in a shootout.
Mike Ribeiro and James Neal also scored for the Predators, with Neal's goal in
the third period tying the game at 3-3. Neal tallied a mere 21 seconds after
former Predator Martin Erat's power-play goal gave the Coyotes a brief 3-2
"We're going to need those points at the end of the year," Neal said. "It was
a big two points for us."
Pekka Rinne made 33 saves and stopped Erat in the fourth round of the shootout
to seal the win.
The Predators are without a regulation loss through six games for the first
time since going eight straight with a point to begin the 2010-11 campaign.
Nashville will complete its homestand on Saturday when Neal's former team, the
Pittsburgh Penguins, visit Bridgestone Arena.
ARIZONA COYOTES (2-2-1) AT MINNESOTA WILD (2-2-0), 8 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild will both be
aiming to avoid a third straight loss on Thursday night when the two clubs
clash at Xcel Energy Center.
The Coyotes split a four-game homestand to begin the season, losing the finale
by a 6-1 score to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. They then hit the road for
Tuesday's meeting with Nashville and fell 4-3 in a shootout to the Predators.
Martin Erat's power-play goal at 7:42 of the third period put Arizona in
front, but Nashville tied the game just 21 seconds later and won it on Ryan
Ellis' fourth-round shootout tally.
Keith Yandle also scored on the power play, Rob Klinkhammer tallied at even
strength and Devan Dubnyk made 23 saves in his second start of the season.
"Our whole team competed," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "We had
opportunities to get a win but unfortunately we didn't."
Tippett will go back to the struggling Mike Smith in net tonight. Smith is
1-2-0 with a 5.34 goals against average and .822 save percentage in three
starts this season, and 4-6-1 lifetime versus the Wild with a 2.13 GAA, .912
save percentage and two shutouts in 11 meetings with nine starts.
Arizona center Martin Hanzal did not play on Tuesday due to a lower-body
injury and will sit out tonight as well.
Though the Coyotes have lost four of their last five to the Wild overall, they
are 6-0-2 in their last eight trips to Minnesota.
The Wild look to reverse that trend tonight in just their second home game of
the season and fifth contest overall. They have been out of action since
wrapping a three-game swing with Sunday's 2-1 setback to the Los Angeles
Making his first start since January, Niklas Backstrom made 14 saves on 16
shots faced, while Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick came up with 40 saves.
"We played well, but (Quick) just had one of those games again where he kind
of shut it down," said Wild forward Zach Parise.
Matt Cooke recorded the lone goal for the Wild, who suffered their second
straight 2-1 loss after outscoring Colorado 8-0 over a pair of shutout wins to
begin the campaign. That included a 5-0 victory at home on Oct. 9 in the
Darcy Kuemper expects to start tonight for the Wild and has never before faced
the Coyotes, but comes in with a lifetime record of 9-3-2 at Xcel Energy
Center with a 1.80 GAA and .933 save percentage.
Wild center Charlie Coyle hits the ice tonight for the first time since inking
a five-year contract extension on Wednesday. The 22-year-old had 12 goals and
30 points in 70 games last season and has posted a pair of points over four
games this campaign.
CAROLINA HURRICANES (0-3-2) AT CALGARY FLAMES (4-3-1), 9 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Calgary doesn't seem the ideal place for the Carolina
Hurricanes to pick up their first win of the season.
Nonetheless, the 'Canes look to beat the Flames as the visiting team for the
first time in nearly 12 years on Thursday night as the clubs clash at the
Carolina has gone winless through its first five games of the season for the
first time since going 0-5-0 in 1987-88 when the franchise was known as the
Hartford Whalers. The Hurricanes are 0-3-2, following up a pair of shootout
losses with a 3-1 setback to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.
Jiri Tlusty scored on the power play in the first period, but that came after
the Hurricanes allowed two goals in the game's first three minutes.
"The start obviously wasn't what we were looking for at all," said Carolina
first-year head coach Bill Peters after his club dipped to 0-3-2 on the year.
Anton Khudobin stopped 23 shots in his second straight start.
Carolina did see the return of forward Jeff Skinner to the lineup after he
missed the first four games with a concussion. However, both Jordan and Eric
Staal remain out with injury, though Eric Staal could return from his upper-
body injury next week.
The Hurricanes play the third contest of a five-game road trip tonight and
will visit Edmonton on Friday.
First, they'll try to earn their first victory in Calgary since Dec. 12, 2002.
They have lost five straight trips since while losing three straight and seven
of the last nine meetings overall.
With Carolina also in action Friday night, it seems likely that both Khudobin
and Cam Ward will get starts. It is unknown which of the two will get the call
tonight as Ward is 2-2-0 with a 3.87 goals against average and .869 save
percentage in five previous meetings.
Khudobin has lost his only career start versus Calgary, but gave up just two
goals on 29 shots.
The Flames come in having lost the opener of a five-game homestand on Tuesday,
2-1 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning. That setback came on the heels of
a 4-2-0 road trip.
Karri Ramo made 20 saves, but gave up the game-tying goal with 2:16 to go in
regulation and the winner three minutes into overtime.
Defenseman Dennis Wideman scored his third goal in four games off a nice setup
from Johnny Gaudreau, who knifed through the middle of the ice before dishing
to the defender while on the power play.
"Johnny basically drew everyone in the rink to him," Wideman said.
Ramo is 3-2-0 with a 2.20 GAA and .933 save percentage in five previous
meetings with the Hurricanes, including four starts. Fellow Flames netminder
Jonas Hiller is 3-1-0 with a 1.97 GAA and .940 save percentage in four prior
BUFFALO SABRES (1-6-0) AT LOS ANGELES KINGS (4-1-1), 10:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Kings will try to shake off some recent
off-the-ice issues involving one of their players and remain unbeaten on their
homestand as they take on the lowly Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
After beginning the season with consecutive losses -- one in a shootout -- the
Kings have won the first four of a six-game stay at Staples Center. They won
their fourth in a row on Sunday, topping the Minnesota Wild 2-1.
Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist, while Tanner Pearson also lit the lamp
for the Kings to keep their line hot. The trio of Toffoli, Pearson and Jeff
Carter have accounted for 11 of Los Angeles' 14 goals this season.
Jonathan Quick stood tall in net with 40 saves just a few days after stopping
43 shots in a 1-0 shootout win over St. Louis last Thursday.
"I think our special teams won us the game," said Kings head coach Darryl
Sutter. "The two penalty kills were big."
Defenseman Slava Voynov was part of the units that held the Wild scoreless on
five power-play chances. He logged just over five minutes of ice time on the
penalty kill and added an assist in the game.
However, Voynov will not be available to the Kings for at least the near
future as he was suspended indefinitely on Monday following an arrest on
charges of domestic violence. He will continue to be paid during his absence.
"These developments are of great concern to our organization," the Kings said
in a statement. "We support the NHL's decision to suspend Slava Voynov
indefinitely during this process, and we will continue to take appropriate
action as the legal proceedings and the investigation by the NHL take their
On the ice, the Kings will welcome back defenseman Jake Muzzin at just the
right time. Muzzin, who signed a five-year contract extension earlier this
month, has yet to play this regular season due to an upper-body injury.
However, forward Marian Gaborik has missed the past three with his own upper-
Buffalo comes to town having lost three straight and six of seven to begin the
season. They opened a four-game road trip on Wednesday night in Anaheim and
lost 4-1 as the Ducks' Corey Perry notched his second hat trick of the young
Perry's efforts in one game by far surpassed the Sabres' efforts over their
three-game slide. They came into the contest having been shut out in back-to-
back games by Florida and Boston and did not get on the board versus the Ducks
until Tyler Ennis' tally with 5:06 to play in the third.
Ennis, though, saw some positives in the loss.
"We came out hard and matched them physically," Ennis said. "We played hard,
we played well."
Michal Neuvirth made 30 saves on 33 shots for the Sabres, who went scoreless
on two chances on the power play and are 0-for-24 on the man advantage this
With Neuvirth having gotten the start last night, Jhonas Enroth figures to be
in net for the Sabres against the Kings, who has had faced just once before
while giving up two goals on 28 shots in a loss.
Quick is unbeaten versus the Sabres, going 3-0-0 with a 1.81 goals against
average and .911 save percentage in five games with four starts.
The Sabres have won three of four and seven of their last 10 encounters with
the Kings, splitting the two meetings last season. A 2-0 setback on the road
was Buffalo's third straight defeat in Los Angeles however.
Tonight's game will mark the first time that Kings forward Jordan Nolan will
play against a team coached by his father, Ted Nolan. The elder Nolan took
over bench duties for the Sabres on an interim basis on Nov. 13 of last
season, one day after Buffalo beat a visiting L.A. team.
Ted Nolan took over head coaching duties full time in March.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (3-2-0) AT SAN JOSE SHARKS (4-2-1), 10:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets hope to avoid a third loss in
four games on Thursday evening as they head out west to take on the San Jose
Columbus won three of four to begin the season, but opened up a four-game
swing on Saturday with a 3-2 setback in Ottawa. The Blue Jackets will visit
Anaheim on Friday and Los Angeles on Sunday to finish off the trip.
The Blue Jackets got 40 shots on net in Saturday's loss, but Senators
goaltender Robin Lehner stopped 38 of them. Only Nick Foligno and David Savard
managed to beat the netminder, with Foligno also having an assist.
"That's the way we have to play, but Robin Lehner was really good tonight,"
Foligno said. "They made a lot of nice plays to get the lead. We probably
could have had a little bit better of a start."
Curtis McElhinney turned aside 16-of-18 shots before leaving with an upper-
body injury. Sergei Bobrovsky served up the deciding tally, making 17 saves in
McElhinney was placed on injured reserve on Sunday, with Anton Forsberg
recalled to back up Bobrovsky, who could make the start both tonight and on
Friday. The former Vezina Trophy winner is 2-1-2 lifetime versus the Sharks
with a 2.53 goals against average and .924 save percentage.
The Sharks are coming home following a 2-2-1 road trip that concluded with a
5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins. Antti Niemi made 28 saves, while Logan Couture
tallied twice and Joe Thornton once. Patrick Marleau added a pair of assists.
"I thought Logan had his best game of the season. He had eight or 10 shots on
goal and was dangerous," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said.
Couture has three goals and six points through seven games, while Thornton has
logged two goals and five assists.
Niemi is 5-2-0 in his career versus the Blue Jackets with a stingy 1.70 GAA
and .930 save percentage.
The Sharks lost all three of their meetings with the Blue Jackets in 2012-13,
but swept the two-game series last season.
San Jose's 3-2 victory at home over Columbus in February marked the 14th time
in the last 16 meetings it has bested the club as the hosting team.
10/23 11:06:53 ET