***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
Friday, March 7th
(All times Eastern)
NEW YORK RANGERS (33-26-4) AT CAROLINA HURRICANES (27-26-9), 7 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers will try to halt a three-game slide
and earn their first victory since acquiring Martin St. Louis when they visit
the Carolina Hurricanes for Friday's clash at PNC Arena.
The Rangers landed St. Louis hours before Wednesday's trade deadline and the
former Tampa Bay Lightning captain was able to join New York for its home game
against Toronto later that evening. However, the club's new acquisition failed
to pick up a point in his Rangers debut as the Blueshirts fell 3-2 in overtime
against the Maple Leafs.
St. Louis was picked up from the Lightning in exchange for Rangers captain
Ryan Callahan, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional second-round
choice in 2014.
The 38-year-old St. Louis joined the Lightning as a free agent in July 2000
after spending his first two seasons in Calgary. He helped Tampa Bay to its
lone Stanley Cup title in the spring of 2004, when he was also the Hart Trophy
winner as the league MVP. The trade reunited him with former Lightning
teammate Brad Richards in New York.
"It was a tough day for my family, but we are all excited to be here," St.
Louis said of being traded to New York. "This is an opportunity for me to play
with a big market team, and it's going to be a challenge obviously."
New York is 0-2-1 so far in March, but the club is still holding on to the
third of the Metropolitan Division's three automatic bids to the playoffs. The
Rangers are one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for that distinction.
The Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit in the third period to force overtime
against the Leafs, but Tyler Bozak won the game for Toronto in the extra
Bozak, who opened the scoring with a successful penalty shot in the second,
accepted a blind backhand feed from Phil Kessel behind the net and elevated
the disc over Henrik Lundqvist from the doorstep to send the Leafs to the
St. Louis finished with three shots in just over 20 minutes of ice time in his
Broadway debut, while Ryan McDonagh and Dominic Moore each registered a short-
handed goal for New York.
Lundqvist allowed all three goals on 29 shots in defeat. He is 0-2-1 since
returning from the Sochi Olympics, where he helped Team Sweden pick up a
silver medal. Lundqvist has allowed a total of 13 goals during that stretch,
but he will get another start tonight.
New York's No. 1 netminder is 15-8-1 with a 2.21 goals against average and
.922 save percentage in 24 career games against Carolina.
The Hurricanes are seven points behind New York in the Metro standings and six
points out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Carolina was able to help its postseason chances the last time out, as it
ended an 0-5-0 stretch with Tuesday's overtime win at San Jose. It was the
only victory for the Hurricanes during a five-game road trip that began back
before the Olympic break.
Jay Harrison scored with 42 seconds to play in OT to lead the Hurricanes to
the much needed win over the Sharks. Andrej Sekera fired a shot on net from
the left point that was stopped, but Elias Lindholm was there to pass the
rebound over to the right where Harrison slammed it into the open net for the
"In the overtime we had some sustained pressure, we were moving the puck low
to high, the D were involved," Harrison said. "If you watch the play again
you'll see the D moving a lot up and down. That creates a little bit of havoc
and causes the defense to have to turn. It was a real heads up play made by
Lindholm to put it in the open space where I was and I had a pretty easy task
of just banging it in."
Lindholm and Jiri Tlusty also scored for the Hurricanes, who snapped a season-
high tying losing streak.
Carolina goaltender Anton Khudobin celebrated his new contact with a 35-save
performance. He reached an agreement on a two-year, $4.5 million deal earlier
in the day.
Khudobin has never faced the Rangers before, but expects to get the start on
The Rangers and Hurricanes will meet three times from now until the end of the
regular season. New York posted a 5-1 home win over Carolina back on Nov. 2,
giving the Rangers nine straight wins in this series. The Blueshirts also have
claimed victory in five straight and seven of their past eight trips to
New York is 18-11-0 as the visiting team this season and the 'Canes are
15-12-5 at home.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS (27-23-13) AT DETROIT RED WINGS (28-21-13), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Jersey Devils will try to earn their second
straight win over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night and further tighten
the race for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
New Jersey recorded a 4-3 regulation victory over a visiting Detroit club on
Tuesday, as Stephen Gionta scored with 36.6 seconds remaining in the third
period to lift the Devils.
That victory gave the Devils 67 points, putting them two back of Detroit and
the Columbus Blue Jackets for the league's second wild card spot. The
Washington Capitals are also in the mix at one point off the pace.
Heading into Tuesday's game, it appeared the contest could be goaltender
Martin Brodeur's last game in a Devils' sweater but the future Hall of Famer
was not traded before Wednesday's trade deadline as some had suspected.
The 41-year-old Brodeur, who recently has been relegated to a part-time role
behind Cory Schneider, stopped 20-of-23 shots to pick up the win and push his
NHL-record total to 684 victories.
However, Schneider will be back between the pipes on Friday. The 27-year-old
is 1-2-0 with a 1.85 goals against average and .938 save percentage in four
career games versus the Red Wings.
Marek Zidlicky, Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique all scored for New Jersey
before Gionta won the tilt in the final minute of regulation.
Beginning with Friday's tilt the Devils are playing four of their next five
games on the road, where Jersey is 12-15-6 this season.
The Devils and Red Wings have split a pair of meetings so far in 2013-14, with
Detroit earning a road victory back on Dec. 6. The Red Wings have taken seven
of the past 10 encounters in this series overall and 10 of its past 12 tilts
in the Motor City.
Detroit followed up Tuesday's game versus New Jersey with a second straight
loss, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Colorado Avalanche Thursday on a night
the Red Wings retired the No. 5 jersey of former defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.
Niklas Kronwall and Tomas Jurco scored for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard made 22
"I thought we did a lot of great things here tonight," said Howard. "It's
important to remember we still got a point. It keeps us in the race here. It
doesn't matter, every single night we've got to find a way to get points."
It is unknown if Howard will get the start on back-to-back nights or if Jonas
Gustavsson will get the call in net.
Howard is 1-2-0 with a 2.36 GAA in his career versus the Devils, while
Gustavsson is 4-1-1 with a 2.60 GAA in seven previous meetings.
BUFFALO SABRES (19-35-8) AT FLORIDA PANTHERS (23-32-7), 7:30 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - A homecoming many years in the making will unfold in
Sunrise on Friday evening when Roberto Luongo begins his second stint as a
member of the Florida Panthers in a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres.
The rebuilding Panthers pulled off a big move on Tuesday one day before the
league's trade deadline, sending young netminder Jacob Markstrom and forward
Shawn Matthias to the Vancouver Canucks for Luongo and forward prospect Steven
Hours later, the Panthers lost for the fifth time in six games when they fell
4-1 to the Boston Bruins, but are hoping to turn things around in the near
future under Luongo.
The 34-year-old was the fourth overall pick of the 1997 draft by the New York
Islanders before getting dealt to the Panthers on June 24, 2000. Luongo played
five seasons in Florida, becoming the franchise's all-time leader in wins
(108), shutouts (26) and games played (317) while also holding a number of
A three-time All-Star, Luongo went 19-16-6 with a 2.38 goals against average
and .917 save percentage in 42 games this season with the Canucks, but also
found himself sharing time in net for a second campaign in a row. Last season,
Luongo began to lose starts to Cory Schneider, who Vancouver surprisingly
traded to the New Jersey Devils during the most recent draft.
This season, Eddie Lack had taken some starts from Luongo, including one
during last weekend's Heritage Classic.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon called Luongo one of the elite players in
the world and was thankful to be able to make this type of move for the
"We got great support from ownership. We said that talk is cheap, actions
speak louder than words. This is the beginning of something special for this
Florida Panthers organization, having Roberto back in the fold and back here
in Florida where he belongs," added Tallon on Wednesday. "The franchise is
excited about it. We're going to grow together and win many championships,
Despite Tallon's words, the playoffs don't even seem to be a possibility this
season. Florida's 53 points are ahead of only the Sabres' 44 in the Eastern
However, Luongo is signed through 2021-22 and didn't return to Florida for the
"Obviously, a lot of people think I want to come here and ride into the
sunset, but that's not what it's all about," he said. "I'm here to win. I want
to bring this team back into the playoffs and I think with new ownership and
the promises they made it's a good start. Hopefully we can bring some guys in
and help the young guys move along and be a contender."
The acquisition of Luongo briefly made him and Tim Thomas teammates. The two
went head-to-head in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, when Thomas' Bruins got the
better of Luongo and the Canucks in seven games, but Thomas was dealt to the
Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
Florida received netminder Dan Ellis in exchange to serve as Luongo's backup.
The Panthers will play three straight and five of their next six at home
starting tonight versus the Sabres, who Luongo is 9-6-2 against lifetime with
a 2.04 GAA.
The Sabres are a week removed from their own shakeup in net, having traded
Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues last Friday. One of the players they got in
return was netminder Jaroslav Halak, but he was flipped to the Washington
Capitals prior to Wednesday's trade deadline for defenseman Rostislav Klesla
and goalie Michal Neuvirth.
Neuvirth is expected to make his Buffalo debut tonight and is 3-3-1 with a
2.77 GAA in his career versus the Panthers.
Jhonas Enroth had handled the workload in net since Miller departed and came
up with 43 saves in last night's 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Marcus Foligno, Tyler Myers and Cody Hodgson all scored and had an assist in
the Sabres' fourth victory in five games.
"When we get good goaltending, we have a chance to win," Buffalo interim head
coach Ted Nolan said.
Nolan's club did lose a pair of forwards to injury in the game. Zemgus
Girgensons did not return for the third period due to a lower-body injury,
while Chris Stewart, recently acquired from the Blues, exited in the final
frame after colliding with Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback.
Nolan will have the option of inserting forward Cory Conacher into the lineup.
He joined the club on Thursday, one day after being acquired off waivers from
the Ottawa Senators.
This is the fourth and final regular-season meeting of the year between the
Sabres and Panthers. Florida has won the last two and five of the past seven
NEW YORK ISLANDERS (24-32-9) AT CALGARY FLAMES (24-31-7), 9 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames are giving their future a chance to
perform and had to like what they saw last time out.
The Flames take aim at a second straight victory on Friday night as they
welcome the New York Islanders to town.
Not expected to contend for a playoff spot down the stretch, the Flames are
giving a number of inexperienced players a chance at the NHL level. That
includes goaltender Joni Ortio, who picked up his first career victory in his
second NHL start with Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
The 22-year-old made 30 saves and had a shutout bid spoiled when he allowed a
goal with 9:36 remaining. Still, he figures to get a solid workload in the
near future after Calgary traded 27-year-old netminder Reto Berra to the
Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday for a second-round pick in the 2014 draft.
Fellow netminder Karri Ramo remains out with a sprained right MCL and the
Flames recalled journeyman Joey MacDonald from the minors to serve as the
Ortio was aided on Wednesday by a number of skaters he spent time this season
with in the American Hockey League. Markus Granlund scored his first NHL goal
in his fourth career game and both Corban Knight and Max Reinhart found their
way into the lineup. Knight made his NHL debut and Reinhart had an assist for
his fourth career point in 16 NHL games.
"The way the younger guys played tonight is amazing. It's a joy to watch them
do as well as they did. They've been working hard and playing really hard down
there," said Ortio, who was then asked if he was thinking about a shutout.
"I was trying to get there. I tried to block it out, but now that I didn't get
it at least I have something to wait for in the future."
Joe Colborne and Mike Cammalleri, who the Flames did not trade prior to
Wednesday's deadline, also had goals, while rookie Sean Monahan and captain
Mark Giordano notched two assists each.
The Flames, who had lost four of six coming in, also traded veteran winger Lee
Stempniak to Pittsburgh before the game and then lost center Jiri Hudler
during the game with an upper-body injury.
The Flames snapped a three-game slide to the Islanders by winning the first of
two meetings this season by a 4-2 score in New York on Feb. 6. Calgary,
though, has lost three of its past four at home to the Isles.
The Islanders are in action for a second night in a row, having dropped a 3-2
decision in overtime to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. New York yielded the
final three goals after taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, with the winner
coming 2:29 into the extra frame.
Frans Nielsen and Anders Lee scored for the Islanders, who were coming off an
overtime win against Winnipeg but lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Evgeni Nabokov surrendered three goals on 29 shots.
"At some point, they're going to have to realize those little things, the
moment you stop moving your feet or get out of position it's going to cost
you," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said.
New York will conclude a four-game road trip on Monday in Vancouver and hope
that Lee can continue his surge. The 23-year-old has scored in back-to-back
games and has four goals and an assist in five contests this season.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (41-17-4) AT ANAHEIM DUCKS (43-14-6), 10 P.M.
(SportsNetwork.com) - It hasn't been the best of road trips for the Pittsburgh
Penguins and things won't get easier on Friday night when they visit the
Anaheim Ducks in a matchup between the two conference leaders in the NHL.
The Penguins kicked off a five-game swing with a trip to Soldier Field in
Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. They lost that outdoor game 5-1 on Feb. 1
before rebounding to best the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
The Pens resumed their trip last night looking to win for the first time in
San Jose since 1997, but saw the Sharks score four times in the third period
en route to a 5-3 setback.
Rookie Olli Maatta had two goals for the Penguins, who are 0-9-1 with a tie in
their past 11 games in San Jose. Pittsburgh backup Jeff Zatkoff was tested
often by the Sharks and finished with 42 saves on 46 shots.
However, Zatkoff fanned with the glove on Joe Thornton's tie-breaking goal.
Thornton let a rather innocuous looking wrister go from just inside the blue
line at the left point that eluded the netminder with 5:39 remaining.
"We did a good job in the first half of the game and then made it easy for
them in the second half of the game," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said.
Pittsburgh has lost four of its past five overall, but still leads the
Metropolitan Division by 14 points over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Penguins, with 86 points, are one ahead of the Boston Bruins for the most
in the Eastern Conference and trail the NHL and Western Conference-leading
Ducks by six points.
San Jose's win over Pittsburgh pulled the Sharks to within five points of the
Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division as Anaheim had a three-game win
streak halted with Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Tim Jackman, Francois Beauchemin, and Daniel Winnik scored for the Ducks,
while Jonas Hiller posted 28 saves in defeat.
"We came out a little slow and had to start catching up," said Hiller. "We
weren't focused enough, starting from me all the way up front."
Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne missed the game with the flu.
The Ducks had won two in a row over the Penguins before a 3-1 setback in
Pittsburgh on Nov. 18. It was the Pens' fifth victory in the past seven
meetings overall, though they have lost six of their last seven in Anaheim.
Hiller is 2-2-0 with a 3.02 goals against average in his career versus the
Penguins, though he did not face them back in November.
Pittsburgh starter Marc-Andre Fleury did get the start on that day and made 27
saves. He improved to 5-2-0 with a 2.30 GAA lifetime versus the Ducks.
03/07 10:55:21 ET