No. 1 Star: Curtis McElhinney, Columbus Blue Jackets
With a 20-save night during a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Wild, McElhinney earned his first shutout since Nov. 5, 2011. Nick Foligno, R.J. Umberger and Ryan Johansen helped out by each chipping in two points as the Blue Jackets won their second straight game for the first time since late-October. It was McElhinney's third career NHL shutout.
No. 2 Star: Elias Lindholm, Carolina Hurricanes
A night after getting five hung on them by the Pittsburgh Penguins, the San Jose Sharks allowed five more in a 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes. The rookie Lindholm broke a 3-3 tie with six minutes left in the third period and assisted on two other goals as Carolina won their third in a row. Riley Nash, Jay Harrison and Jordan Staal each recorded two points.
No. 3 Star: Chris Higgins, Vancouver Canucks
The pride of Smithown, New York put home the winner 3:41 into overtime to give the Canucks a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. The goal was his first in eight games and the 21st game winner of his career. Roberto Luongo made 37 saves.
Honorable mention: Joe Thornton's assist extended his points streak to eight games ... Manny Malhotra went 10-for-13 in the dot. He's now 115-for-182 (61.3%) on the season, good for second-best in NHL ... Johan Franzen's goal with 7:20 left in the third period broke a 1-1 tie and helped give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Franzen added an assist and Tomas Tatar, who put home the insurance marker with 1:03 left, also had two assists. Jonas Gustavsson, who made a wild save in the second period , finished with 10 saves to improve to 8-0-1 ... Kyle Palmieri and Nick Bonino scored in the shootout to give the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks and drop the defending champs to a third straight loss ... Colorado scored three unanswered goals and hung on for a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Nathan MacKinnon's sixth of the season early in the third period would end up the game winner. Max Talbot scored a goal and assisted on another as the Avalanche scored twice in a 54-second span in the second period ... Nice leg save here by Alex Stalock:
Did You Know? Columbus is 35-0-0 when leading after two periods under Todd Richards. (AP)
Dishonorable mention: The Red Wings scored five seconds after Cory Schneider was wrongly whistled for playing the puck outside the trapezoid ... Chicago's three-game losing streak is their first since Feb. 2012 ... The Ducks had a clear goal in overtime waived off for goaltender interference. Replays showed Duncan Keith checked Saku Koivu into Antti Raanta ... Does J.S. Giguere have a case for goaltender interference here on Lee Stempniak?
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Here is the Puck Daddy Viewing Guide: Spotlighting five things to watch for during tonight's slate of games. Make sure to stop back here for the nightly Three Stars when the games are finished.
Create-a-Caption : "Kevin Bieksa of the Vancouver Canucks is handed a stick by team mascot Fin at BC Place..."
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Preview: Detroit Red Wings at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: San Jose Sharks at Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Minnesota Wild at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. ET
Preview: Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks, 8 p.m. ET
Preview: Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames, 9 p.m. ET
Preview: Phoenix Coyotes at Vancouver Canucks, 10 p.m. ET
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Five things to know about tonight's NHL games ...
1. No Brunner versus former mates. Damien Brunner spent last season with the Red Wings before signing with the Devils over the summer. Struggling this year in New Jersey, Brunner will be a healthy scratch Friday night, with head coach Peter DeBoer saying he needs to do "a little more."
2. Flames trying to go streaking. A win tonight over the Avalanche would mean the first three-game win streak for the Flames since last April.
3. Stan Bowman waiting and seeing on salary cap RE: Toews, Kane extensions. From ESPN Chicago : "Because there’s a new television deal, I’m not going to assume it’s going to be $80 million. I don’t operate that way. If you base your assumptions on predictions and you’re wrong, I can’t say, ‘They said it was going to be $80 million.’ I’m going to wait to see where it goes. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to go up. It’s think it’s a little bit irresponsible to say where it’s going to be unless you have intricate knowledge of the cap.”
4. Help Dale Weise. Poor Dale Weise can't find his helmet, as this trailer for NBCSN's "NHL Revealed" shows. Also, upset Torts!
5. Edler sidlined. Alex Edler's out with a knee injury. It's the first injury any Canuck defenseman has suffered all season. Andrew Alberts will draw in for Edler .
Bold Prediction : Sharks rebound and Logan Couture leads the way with two goals.
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The idea that Garth Snow would fire head coach Jack Capuano seems a bit outrageous at this point in the season, because it would require the New York Islanders general manager to make a proactive, season-saving move and Snow seems incapable of doing that.
When Snow made the Matt Moulson for Thomas Vanek trade – a deal that looks redundant and shortsighted just over a month later – the Islanders were 4-4-3 and second in the Metroterrible Dvision. Since then, they’ve gone 4-12-2, they sit at the bottom of the division and there’s talk Capuano could be spiked in favor of Peter Laviolette , who himself was fired by the Philadelphia Flyers at the start of the season.
But before we get to a potential new coach, let’s discuss the current general manager.
I like Snow. I think he’s made the most of a terrible situation, with a losing team playing in an asbestos-filled tomb with an owner whose ring tone is likely carnival music. He retained his core players in an attempt at stability, and made the playoffs for the first time in ages last season. Talk to agents, and they’ll tell you he’s a straight shooter they like to work with.
Yes, it’s great that Jonas Hiller or Ryan Miller might be on the trade radar now . Hey, maybe he’ll eventually demand that the lineup get a shot of adrenaline from young players – Brock Nelson in the NHL, Ryan Strome in the AHL – that haven’t gotten a fair shot from Capuano. Maybe this team rallies when Evgeni Nabokov and Lubo Visnovsky come back.
But his inaction during this 2-11-2 skid may have torpedoed the season. The Islanders are 12 points out of the final wild card spot, and nine points behind the Rangers for the final seed in the Metro.
Would Laviolette make a difference? Absolutely, if not in a rescue attempt for this season. I’ve always viewed Capuano as the coach that gets a team to a certain place, and then someone more accomplished – say, Laviolette has a ring – takes over to bring the team to the next level.
So Chris Botta’s right: Bring him back before someone else hires him.
He’s learned a lot since the Islanders gave him his first head coaching gig, and he’ll have a GM that isn’t bat [excrement] crazy like Mike Milbury to fire him two years later.
When Milbury fired him, he said "the lack of having fun was noted.”
Well, the lack of fun this season for the Islanders is duly noted. And it’s time to bring Lavvy back to turn things around.
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