Florida Panthers

Best of NHL: Andrei Vasilevskiy wins 9th straight as Lightning top Panthers

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Best of NHL: Andrei Vasilevskiy wins 9th straight as Lightning top Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Andrei Vasilevskiy won his ninth straight start and Steven Stamkos scored twice to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Florida Panthers 8-5 on Monday night.

Vasilevskiy made 18 saves and shares the longest win streak by a goalie in franchise history with John Grahame, who won nine in a row from Nov. 14 to Dec. 10, 2005.

Ondrej Palat scored the go-ahead goal and had an assist. Nikita Kucherov added his NHL-leading 13th goal and an assist, while Brayden Point and Yanni Gourde each had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. Vladislav Namestnikov and Anton Stralman also scored.

Aleksander Barkov had a goal and three assists to lead the Panthers. Evgeni Dadanov, Jamie McGinn, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad also scored for Florida.

James Reimer allowed five goals on 19 shots before being replaced by Antti Niemi at 10:22 of the second. Niemi stopped 16 shots (see full recap).

Blue Jackets top Bruins in shootout
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Artemi Panarin and Oliver Bjorkstrand scored in the shootout, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Monday night after squandering a two-goal lead in the third period.

Columbus has won eight of its first 12 games, a franchise record for October.

Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had an assist -- the eighth of his career and first this season. Bobrovsky made 27 saves for his sixth win.

Tuukka Rask stopped 29 shots for the Bruins, who lost their second in a row and dropped to 4-4-2.

The Blue Jackets had been plagued by slow starts but got on the board just 1:59 into the game when David Savard threw the puck toward the net and it wiggled past Rask off a deflection. Alexander Wennberg and Matt Calvert assisted on Savard's second goal of the season.

After a pair of unsuccessful power plays, Columbus found the back of the net again with less than three minutes left in the first period. Boone Jenner, playing in just his fifth game after returning from injury, scratched and clawed at Markus Nutivaara's rebound until he put it past Rask at 17:08. Josh Anderson was also credited with an assist on Jenner's first goal of the season.

The Blue Jackets' third goal of the night came at 8:27 of the second period when Nutivaara took a handoff from Bobrovsky and sent it nearly the length of the ice to a driving Tyler Motte, who put the puck in the net (see full recap).

Tavares helps Islanders cool off Golden Knights
NEW YORK -- John Tavares kept up his scoring surge with two more goals and the New York Islanders handed the expansion Vegas Golden Knights their second loss of the season, 6-3 on Monday night.

Andrew Ladd, Mathew Barzal, Cal Clutterbuck and Nikolay Kulemin also scored, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots to help New York win for the fifth time in six games. Tavares has eight goals in the last four games.

William Karlsson, Alex Tuch and Colin Miller scored for Vegas, which snapped a five-game winning streak and lost another goalie to an injury. With starter Marc-Andre Fleury and backup Malcolm Subban already sidelined, Oscar Dansk left after Tavares scored the tying goal late in the second period with an apparent leg injury.

Dansk, who came in 3-0 with an NHL-best 1.34 goals-against average, made 17 saves. Maxime Lagace, the fourth goalie Vegas has used in its inaugural season, came on for his NHL debut and gave up four goals on 11 shots.

Vegas led 2-1 after one period and the teams played more deliberate hockey for the first 10 minutes of the second. Dansk made two nice stops on Tavares, who had two hat tricks in the previous three games, in close with about eight minutes to go.

However, Tavares tied the score with his 10th goal with 5:10 left, deflecting a shot by Nick Leddy past Dansk, who was injured on the play. The Golden Knights challenged for goalie interference, but the goal stood after a review (see full recap).

Flyers Weekly Observations: Claude Giroux's redemption tour beats on

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Flyers Weekly Observations: Claude Giroux's redemption tour beats on

It was a busy week on the ice for the team that calls South Philadelphia home.

And that busy week ended with plenty of positive vibes for the Flyers after a 2-1-0 showing.

They kicked things off with a commanding 5-1 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers on Tuesday night, followed that up with a tough 1-0 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday evening and wrapped up the week with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday afternoon as the five-game homestand rolled on.

There’s plenty to get to, so, now that the ink is dry, let’s dive right into the week that was for the Flyers.

• In the days and weeks leading up to this season, there were a plethora of questions surrounding the Flyers, and to some extent, there still are as the season is still in its infancy, just eight games in. But the captain is already answering all the questions about him, and there were a lot of them. Claude Giroux played a key role again this week for the Flyers, scoring two goals — a breakaway snipe Tuesday past Roberto Luongo and a power-play slam dunk past Cam Talbot to open the scoring Saturday.

Giroux's tally against the Oilers was his fifth of the season. For comparison’s sake, Giroux didn’t record his fifth goal last season until Nov. 29, the 24th game of the season. Two things are noticeable when it comes to Giroux. Yes, the move to left wing alongside Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek is paying dividends and providing energy, not just for Giroux, but also as a whole for the line, which continues to produce. Couturier scored his fourth of the season Tuesday and Voracek, while still scoreless, is tied for third in the league with 10 assists.

But much more importantly for Giroux, he’s clearly healthy again, which wasn’t the case most of the last season as the effects from hip surgery lingered and anchored him. The fact of the matter is, in many ways, Giroux is still the engine of the Flyers’ offense and the cog that makes it go. The puck is still on his stick a ton and opposing teams still key in on him. It comes as no surprise a healthy, producing Giroux is igniting a Flyers offense that is averaging 3.50 goals. As the captain goes, so do the Flyers. So far, better than so good.

• You can say what you want about Andrew MacDonald and his play and his contract. But that’s a different conversation for a different day. There’s no doubting MacDonald is one tough hombre after blocking a debilitating slap shot off the knee Saturday and fighting through it to continue killing a penalty in the third period. If you’re still wondering why MacDonald wears an “A” on his sweater during road games, wonder no more. He’s a tough, valued veteran who has the respect of the locker room thanks to plays like that. The Flyers announced Sunday he will miss four to six weeks with a lower-body injury, presumably from that play. If you’re one of the ones behind a keyboard celebrating his injury on Twitter, grow up.

• There’s really not much shame in the loss to Nashville on Thursday. The defending Western Conference champion Predators, just as good as they were last year when they came within two wins of the Stanley Cup, just smothered the Flyers. And when the Flyers did have chances, Pekka Rinne was there between the pipes to snuff them out. His third-period pad save on Couturier, who had just pulled off a nifty maneuver in the slot, was a dandy that kept the Preds on top. A loss is a loss and it’s frustrating, but the Flyers hung with one of the most complete teams in the league twice in the span of nine days.

• Wayne Simmonds just continues to do Wayne Simmonds things. On Thursday against the Preds, Simmonds took an errant stick to the mouth as he was observing the action on the bench. He left but later returned to the game. Of course, he was right back in the lineup Saturday afternoon, albeit with a mouth protector attached to his helmet.

And of course, he scored Saturday’s game-winner with 2:15 left in regulation off a lovely feed from Valtteri Filppula. Simmonds admitted afterward he was losing pucks in his feet because of the impaired vision from the mouth protector, and he would have to get some dead teeth extracted soon. That last part sounds just awful, by the way.

But as far as toughness and results on the ice from Simmonds, it’s gotten to the point where we expect nothing less. No surprise, but he now leads the Flyers with six goals on the young season.

• It was the best and worst this week for prized rookie Nolan Patrick. On Tuesday, he wowed the Panthers, his Flyers teammates and the entire Wells Fargo Center with a dazzling, through-the-legs drop pass to Dale Weise, who then promptly deposited the Flyers’ fourth goal of the evening in the victory over the Panthers (see video). Seriously, what an unreal pass that was. That was uncanny awareness and hockey sense and incredible skill. And remember, he’s just 19 years old.

We got a reminder Saturday afternoon that he is just 19 and the lumps will come along with the highlight reel plays. During the second period against Edmonton, Patrick found himself with the puck in the corner in the defensive zone. He hesitated, perhaps mesmerized by the broken stick on the ice in front of him, and was quickly surrounded by the Oilers’ Patrick Maroon, who picked the rook’s pocket, drove toward the net and beat Brian Elliott to knot the game at 1-1.

A tough learning experience for Patrick, but the teenager will learn from it and get better. It’s the kind of thing you just naturally have to expect from a 19-year-old just eight games into his NHL career.

Coming up this week: Tuesday vs. Anaheim (7 p.m./NBCSP), Thursday at Ottawa (7:30 p.m./NBCSP), Saturday at Toronto (7 p.m./NBCSP+).

Best of NHL: Ovechkin wins it for Caps in OT over Red Wings

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Best of NHL: Ovechkin wins it for Caps in OT over Red Wings

DETROIT — Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal at 1:56 of overtime gave the Washington Capitals a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

T.J. Oshie forced the extra session for the Capitals, tying it with 1:01 left in regulation with a power-play goal of his own. Ovechkin drew a tripping penalty on Trevor Daley in overtime, then won it with his 10th goal of the season - a familiar slap shot from the left circle that beat Petr Mrazek to the glove side.

Tomas Tatar scored twice in the third period for Detroit. His second goal came on the power play after John Carlson was called for delay of game. But Dylan Larkin was whistled for the same penalty toward the end of the period, and Oshie was able to tie it at 3 with Caps goalie Braden Holtby pulled.

Darren Helm scored a short-handed goal for the Red Wings in the second. Andre Burakovsky tied it for the Capitals in the final minute of that period, and Jay Beagle added a short-handed goal of his own in the third for Washington (see full recap). 

Conor Sheary lifts Penguins past Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. — Conor Sheary scored a power-play goal with 2:53 left to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

Sheary backhanded the puck past James Reimer.

Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, and Sidney Crosby and Carter Rowney also scored for the Penguins. Matthew Murray stopped 28 shots, and Phil Kessell had two assists.

MacKenzie Weegar scored his first NHL goal and Aleksander Barkov and Jamie McGinn also scored for the Panthers. Reimer, who came in to relieve an injured Robert Luongo with 15:14 left in the third, made 11 stops.

Luongo made 33 saves before he left with a hand injury. He was hurt when Sheary backed into him, forcing his right hand hard against the post.

The Panthers tied it at 3 on Weegar's goal with 10:41 left. Weegar shot from the point and beat Murray (see full recap). 

Martin Jones makes 28 saves, Sharks beat Devils 3-0
NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Jones made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th overall in the San Jose Sharks' 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi scored and Justin Braun  had two assists to help the Sharks open a five-game East Coast trip.

Keith Kinkaid, the top goalie for New Jersey with Cory Schneider on injured reserve, stopped 30 shots as the Devils' three-game winning streak came to an end.

The Devils couldn't muster a strong push in the later stages against the rested Sharks. It was New Jersey's second game two nights following a 5-4 overtime victory in Ottawa. And it showed against the Sharks, who played a solid road game, pressed their advantage and solidly supported Jones.

Karlsson scored the lone goal of the opening period at 14:11 on a close-in shot following a slick behind-the-net setup pass from Tomas Hertl (see full recap).