Minnesota Wild

Granlund's 3 goals do the trick in Wild win over Preds

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Granlund's 3 goals do the trick in Wild win over Preds

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Mikael Granlund had the second three-goal game of his career and Devan Dubnyk made 41 saves in his first start since Dec. 12 to help the Minnesota Wild beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba had a goal and assist for Minnesota, which has won two in a row coming out of the league's holiday break. Dumba scored the go-ahead goal, his seventh of the season, midway through the second period in the first game of a back-to-back, home-and-home series between the two teams.

Pekka Rinne made 34 saves, but Nashville lost for the fourth time in five games. P.K. Subban and Kyle Turris scored for the Predators.

Dubnyk made his return after missing six games with a lower-body injury. He wasn't tested much early as Nashville went the first 7:57 without a shot.

The Wild had the first 11 shots and Granlund scored 7:34 into the game to give Minnesota the early lead. Turris made a quick play to save a loose puck behind Rinne. But the errant pass went out to Dumba, who fed Granlund for a one-timer.

Rinne made several big saves to keep the game close before Subban tied the game with his eighth goal of the year in the first. Granlund added his 10th goal of the season less than a minute later on the power play for his third multi-goal game of the season.

Granlund scored an empty-net goal with 50.3 seconds for the hat trick (see full recap).

Hurricanes beat Penguins for 4th straight win
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Sebastian Aho scored the go-ahead goal with 1:55 left in the second period and the Carolina Hurricanes earned their season-best fourth straight win by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Friday night.

Derek Ryan had a goal earlier in the second for Carolina, which improved to 7-0-1 in its last eight games.

Brian Dumoulin scored for the short-handed Penguins, who were down a season-high five injured players -- including top goalie Matt Murray and defenseman Kris Letang.

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions have lost six of nine to slip to seventh place in the Metropolitan Division. They have just one regulation victory since Dec. 2.

Backup Tristan Jarry made 31 saves for the Penguins, who had won their previous seven meetings with the Hurricanes.

Cam Ward stopped 27 shots in his fourth straight start for Carolina, which entered tied with Pittsburgh for sixth place in the division race (see full recap).

Compher, Avalanche knock off Maple Leafs in OT
DENVER -- J.T. Compher scored a power-play goal 3:25 into overtime to give the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists, Alexander Kerfoot and Mikko Rantanen also scored for Colorado.

Semyon Varlamov had 31 saves for the Avalanche, who bounced back from losing to Arizona on Wednesday to beat another Eastern Conference power. Colorado swept two-time reigning champion Pittsburgh and split the season series with Washington.

Matt Martin, Roman Polak and James Van Riemsdyk had goals and Calvin Pickard stopped 24 shots for Toronto.

The Avalanche got a break in overtime when Connor Brown was given a minor for interference. Colorado had several chances, including MacKinnon hitting a post, before Compher beat Pickard with 9 seconds left on the power play (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Jets score 7 unanswered goals to torch Wild

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Best of NHL: Jets score 7 unanswered goals to torch Wild

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Linemates Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor each had a goal and two assists, and the Winnipeg Jets scored seven straight goals to beat the Minnesota Wild 7-2 on Monday night.

Joel Armia, Jacob Trouba, Mathieu Perreault and Bryan Little also scored for the Jets. Armia added an assist.

Connor Hellebuyck made 17 saves for the Winnipeg, which has won four straight and seven of eight at home.

Jason Zucker and Chris Stewart scored for Minnesota. The Wild left Alex Stalock in the entire game, and he stopped 21 shots.

The Jets have won 15 of 24 games this season, the quickest to 15 wins in franchise history.

Minnesota jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period, but then Winnipeg's barrage began with two goals in the final six minutes of the opening frame (see full recap).

DeBrincat, Blackhawks dominate Ducks
CHICAGO -- Alex DeBrincat had three goals and an assist, Patrick Sharp stopped a 16-game scoring drought and the surging Chicago Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 7-3 on Monday night.

Nick Schmaltz had a goal and two assists and Artem Anisimov scored his team-high 11th goal as Chicago won for the fourth time in five games. Brandon Saad also scored and Patrick Kane collected three assists, extending his season-high point streak to seven games.

DeBrincat, who turns 20 on Dec. 18, became the second-youngest player in franchise history to record a hat trick, trailing Jeremy Roenick by four days. The rookie has nine goals and three assists in 11 November games.

The banged-up Ducks dropped their fourth consecutive game. Ryan Kesler, Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Eaves remain out with long-term injuries, Rickard Rakell missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury and defenseman Brandon Montour left midway through the third, favoring his right side as he skated off the ice.

Chris Wagner had two goals for Anaheim, and Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist. John Gibson made 18 saves on 22 shots before he was replaced by Ryan Miller in the second period (see full recap).

Price, Canadiens snap Blue Jackets’ streak
MONTREAL -- Carey Price made 37 saves, Brendan Gallagher got his 10th goal and the Montreal Canadiens ended the Columbus Blue Jackets' six-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory Monday night.

Jonathan Drouin scored in the first period and Andrew Shaw had an empty-net goal for Montreal in Price's second straight victory since returning from injury.

Rookie Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for the Blue Jackets, who lost for the first time since Nov. 10. Sergei Bobrovsky had allowed just six goals on Columbus' winning streak but gave up two on 27 shots.

It was the second regulation loss for the Blue Jackets in 10 games against Atlantic Division opponents this season.

Coming off a 3-0 win against Buffalo on Saturday, the Canadiens picked up where they left off (see full recap).

Flyers Weekly Observations: Radko Gudas in spotlight for wrong reason … again

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Flyers Weekly Observations: Radko Gudas in spotlight for wrong reason … again

And so the losing and frustration slog on for the Flyers.

Yet another week of no real progress is in the books as the Flyers endured another shutout loss, blew a two-goal lead in painful fashion and then let another one slip away through their fingers two days later.

The Flyers were shut out yet again by the Minnesota Wild, 3-0, Tuesday, dropped a 3-2 shootout decision Thursday to the Winnipeg Jets and then suffered a 5-4 OT defeat Saturday afternoon to the Calgary Flames.

We’ve got plenty to chat about here, gang, so let’s hop right into it.

And, of course, we’re starting with the most-talked moment of the week, not just with the Flyers, but around the league.

• Ah, Radko Gudas … the guy just can’t seem to keep his name out of the disciplinary spin cycle, can he? The repeat offender found himself in the spotlight for the wrong reason again Thursday in Winnipeg when he viciously chopped Jets forward Mathieu Perrault in the back of the head with his stick.

Gudas was originally given a two-minute minor on the play, but after officials saw the play on the video board high above the ice (that’s another argument for another day), he was rightfully handed a game misconduct. It was just a completely reckless play that was incredibly dangerous in nature and could have been way more dangerous in action.

Gudas is a vet who’s been through this before, he knows a target is on his back and that mercy, if any, will be slight from both the officials on the ice and those who dole out punishments in the league office. Do I think it was a totally intentional play? I don’t, but Gudas has to be smarter than that for both himself and his team. His first-period actions put the Flyers in a five-man defensive hole for a game that went 65 minutes.

The reality is, Gudas put himself in this situation and now the league has rightfully thrown the book at him with a 10 game suspension. There’s no place for that sort of play in the league and the league has to start coming down harder on things like this and this is now Exhibit A. An example was set at Gudas' expense, unfortunately for the Flyers.

• Yes, Brian Elliott gave up five goals Saturday afternoon to the Flames, but he still had a solid week in net for the Flyers and, in my eyes, continued to cement his grip on the No. 1 goalie job.

While he had only 17 saves, he was superb Tuesday against the Wild and gave the Flyers a chance to win, but, alas, no help. He then backed his claim to the top job up again with 31 saves in a hard-luck loss at Winnipeg on Thursday when he had to take on prolific snipers Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine in the shootout (that didn’t end well).

Everybody could have been better against Calgary, including Elliott, who stopped 26 of 31 shots but also had to face 10 power-play shots as the Flyers couldn’t stop heading to the penalty box.

What the Flyers need right now is stability in all phases, not just from the top line (more on that shortly). Elliott is giving the Flyers a chance to win on a nightly basis and they’re not producing in front of him. The last thing they need right now is to be playing the goalie flip-flop game in net. Elliott is giving them chances to win and that’s what matters right now. But knowing how Dave Hakstol is so fickle with his netminders, don’t be surprised to see Michal Neuvirth in net Tuesday vs. Vancouver after a five-goal game.

• I could sit here and write this point over and over again week after week after week because until it changes, it will dramatically plague the Flyers — players not named Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek need to score and score consistently. Couturier (two) and Voracek (one) scored three of the Flyers’ seven goals this week.

No need to keep harping on, it’s got to change, plain and simple.

What could help? The return of Nolan Patrick certainly is a boost. Patrick returned to the ice in his native Winnipeg on Thursday. And while he eased his way back into the swing of things that night with just over seven minutes of ice time, he made a major impact against the Flames in his over 13 minutes as he fired four shots on goal and collected his second tally of his young career, a nifty backhander past Calgary netminder Mike Smith off a rebound. The return of the talented 19-year-old is no doubt a lift.

• My colleague John Boruk soundly encompassed the Flyers’ frustrations with themselves Saturday after their undisciplined play, specifically that of Shayne Gostisbehere, in the second period was a major turning point in the eventual OT loss to the Flames.

The postgame quotes say it all. And Hakstol, usually as steady and collected as can be, was as visibly and verbally frustrated as I’ve seen him in his three seasons here in Philadelphia — “It pisses you off,” he said no-so-politely after the game.

It’s those kinds of self-inflicted wounds that just cost the Flyers way too much. So the frustration from the coach is more than understandable.

• Dear NHL, no more Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, please and thank you. With love, the Flyers.

Coming up this week: Tuesday vs. Vancouver (7:00 p.m./NBCSP), Wednesday at New York Islanders (7:00 p.m./NBCSP+), Friday vs. New York Islanders (4:00 p.m./NBCSP).