• Egor Shrangovich's OT goal gives Devils 2-1 win over Bruins
    The Canadian Press

    Egor Shrangovich's OT goal gives Devils 2-1 win over Bruins

    NEWARK, N.J. — Egor Sharangovich scored his first NHL goal in the final seconds of overtime to propel the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday. MacKenzie Blackwood made 27 saves and picked up his first victory of the season. Miles Wood also scored for the second consecutive game for New Jersey. Boston's Patrice Bergeron scored and Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves, including two critical stops in the final minutes of the third period to force the extra session. Devils defenceman Damon Severson made a nifty backhand pass at the edge of the offensive zone to set up the 22-year-old Sharangovich with 1.7 seconds remaining in overtime. Bergeron evened the score with a shorthanded goal at 17:16 of the second period. Brad Marchand won a puck battle against Devils forward Kyle Palmieri before setting up the new captain of the Bruins. Boston appeared to tie the game shortly before Bergeron’s strike, but the game officials ruled Blackwood was unable to make a save due to incidental contact. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy unsuccessfully challenged the play, which led to the bench minor. Wood opened the scoring with a redirection at 16:15 of the first period. Jack Hughes maintained possession of the puck while the rest of his teammates completed a change before Ty Smith’s shot from the point was tipped past Halak. Wood netted his first of the season in a shootout loss Thursday. He was also penalized twice for goaltender interference in the contest, which preceded a fight with Bruins defenceman Kevin Miller 19 seconds into the game on Saturday. Craig Smith made his debut with Boston after signing a three-year, $9.3 million contract this off-season. He missed the opener due to a lower-body injury. The 31-year-old forward played the prior nine seasons with the Nashville Predators HELMET DECALS The Bruins are honouring the life and legacy of Travis Roy with a commemorative TR 24 emblem on their helmets this season. Roy was paralyzed from the neck down 11 seconds into his first shift with Boston University in 1995 and created the Travis Roy Foundation to support spinal cord injury survivors in 2012. Roy passed away in October at the age of 45. SMITH EXTENDS POINT STREAK Rookie defenceman Ty Smith recorded his first NHL assist on Wood’s goal in the first period. The first-round pick from the 2018 NHL draft also notched his first goal in the Devils' season-opening loss. HISCHIER SIDELINED Nico Hischier missed his second straight game with a leg injury. The 22-year-old centre sustained the injury while training in Switzerland in December but did not require surgery. The Devils selected Hischier with the first overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. MATINEE GAMES Saturday marked the first of 11 afternoon games for the Devils this season, seven of which are scheduled to be played at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. UP NEXT Devils: Visit New York Rangers Tuesday Bruins: Conclude three-game road trip Monday against the New York Islanders ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press

  • Tkachuk, Senators down Maple Leafs 5-3 in 1st game in 10 months
    The Canadian Press

    Tkachuk, Senators down Maple Leafs 5-3 in 1st game in 10 months

    OTTAWA — Brady Tkachuk didn't want to call it a statement win. But he made it clear the Ottawa Senators — only just emerging from the darkest days of their rebuild — won't be an easy out in 2021. And the rest of North Division should probably take notice after Friday. Tkachuk had a goal and two assists, Matt Murray made 20 saves in his Ottawa debut, and the Senators defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3 in their first game in more than 10 months. "That's going to be the way we play," said Tkachuk, an alternate captain at 21 years of age. "We have a couple other levels to get to." Thomas Chabot, Austin Watson, Derek Stepan and Chris Tierney also scored for Ottawa. Josh Norris, with his first NHL points, Drake Batherson and Nikita Zaitsev added two assists each in the first of nine meetings between the Ontario rivals in a pandemic-shortened season. John Tavares, with a goal and an assist, Zach Hyman and Alexander Kerfoot replied for the Leafs. Frederik Andersen stopped 19 shots for Toronto, which will look to rebound when the teams play the rematch Saturday back inside an empty Canadian Tire Centre because of COVID-19 restrictions. "With the way the schedule's set up, you gotta have a short-term memory," Stepan said. "We got a good win, but we've got to put our work boots back on." The Leafs, widely viewed as Stanley Cup contenders and the betting favourite to win the division, have now given up nine goals through six periods to start the schedule. "We were just playing a little bit too loose," said Toronto centre Auston Matthews, whose team led 1-0 and 2-1 before Ottawa exploded with four straight goals. "That's a team that works hard. They're not going to go away. That's on all of us. "We've got to make sure we put our foot on the gas and (have) no mercy." Friday's tilt marked the Senators' first game in 310 days after they unknowingly took part in the final contest of the 2019-20 regular season March 11 in Los Angeles against the Kings. The league suspended its schedule the following day because of the widening coronavirus pandemic, and 30th-ranked Ottawa wasn't included in the 24-team summer restart. "Amazing feeling," Tkachuk said. "You miss those winning ways." Playing their first home date since March 5 — a stretch of 316 days — the Senators unveiled an off-season roster remake that includes No. 3 overall pick Tim Stutzle, who celebrated both his NHL debut and 19th birthday, Murray, defencemen Erik Gudbranson, Josh Brown and Braydon Coburn, as well as Stepan, Watson, Evgenii Dadonov and Cedric Paquette up front. The Leafs, Senators and Canada's other five NHL franchises have been grouped together in the one-time-only North Division for the abbreviated 56-game 2020-21 campaign to avoid cross-border travel into the U.S. Given where the franchise stands in the genesis of its rebuild, the Senators aren't expected to challenge for one of the division's four post-season spots, but showed what's possible when they compete at a high-level and play with structure. "The team did a heck of a job keeping them to the outside," Murray said. "I really liked our effort all the way up and down." Picked third in October's NHL draft, Stutzle is the most-hyped prospect in the nation's capital since Ottawa drafted Jason Spezza — now in the twilight of his career with the Leafs — second overall back in 2001. Nicknamed "Jimmy" by roommates Tkachuk and Norris, the German forward finished with just over 12 minutes of ice time and one shot. "Jimmy played well," Tkachuk said. "He looked really good. Great speed. You can just clearly tell he's going to be a stud — not only on our team, but throughout the whole league. "He's an unbelievable player." Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, the Leafs went ahead at 9:15 of the second when Kerfoot fired a shot through traffic past Murray, who was playing his first game with Ottawa after an off-season trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But the Senators got back even 1:13 later when Tkachuk outmuscled T.J. Brodie to deflect Zaitsev's effort. Watson then got in on the action at 12:32, ripping a shot in off the crossbar to give Ottawa its first lead. Tierney then made it 4-2 at 15:03 when he swatted at a loose puck that glanced in off Brodie as the Leafs, who beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in overtime Wednesday in their opener, were once again soft in front of Andersen. Brodie's miserable night continued when he gave the puck away behind the Toronto net to Stepan in the third. Batherson's stick broke on his shot, but the puck dribbled to Stepan, who swept Ottawa's 5-2 goal past Andersen at 6:15. The Leafs got a power play not long after that, and Tavares snapped his second of the season in off the post just 52 seconds later for Toronto's second power-play goal of the night and fourth already in 2021, but the visitors were unable to get any closer. Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe lamented his team's inability to press after Kerfoot's goal made it 2-1. "We lost three or four shifts in a row coming off of that goal," he said. "If we're a team that wants to accomplish anything, the game should be over from there. We should be able to take care of the lead and then build on the lead. "We showed that we're not there yet." Toronto opened the scoring at 9:59 of the first when Hyman batted a puck out of midair on a man advantage after Murray made the initial save as the Leafs dominated for long stretches in the opening stages. But wearing rebranded black jerseys featuring a return to the two-dimensional centurion logo used by the franchise from 1992 through 2007, the Senators equalized on a 5-on-3 man advantage when Chabot blasted a one-timer with 43.5 seconds left in the period. "We battled to stay in the game," Ottawa head coach D.J. Smith said. "We had a real tough time breaking out early. They had us hemmed in, but we did a pretty good job letting the goalie see the puck. "We got some timely goals and we found a way to finish it off." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. ___ Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter The Canadian Press

  • Saskatchewan gives $4M to junior hockey after extending ban on team sports
    The Canadian Press

    Saskatchewan gives $4M to junior hockey after extending ban on team sports

    REGINA — The Saskatchewan government is giving $4 million to help junior hockey leagues and teams that have had their play interrupted by provincial health restrictions. It says it will send $1 million to support the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and $600,000 will go to each of the province's five Western Hockey League teams. Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison says the existing support programs put in place for small businesses and the tourism sector wouldn't have provided enough dollars for these leagues, which depend on gate admissions for revenue. He said officials have been talking to the leagues for more than two months and had hoped they would be able to return to play, which has been ruled out for the "immediate future." "People, I think, have a high degree of understanding as to the reason why there is not the ability to have sports right now," Harrsion said Friday. "Nobody likes it. It's not ideal." Another 382 new infections were reported in Saskatchewan Friday. Health officials said four residents who were 60 or older also died, while 210 people remain in hospital. Of those, 35 people were in intensive care. Under the province's public health order, athletes who are 18 and younger can practise or train in small groups, but team sports are banned. The SJHL suspended its season in late November after the ban was announced. On Friday, the Junior A league issued a statement saying officials tasked with helping businesses respond to the pandemic announced the government wouldn't consider allowing games to proceed for at least four weeks. "We are grateful that our season has not been shut down completely," said the league. The WHL has said it is committed to playing a 2020-21 season, but potential start dates were undecided. Harrsion said the government wants to ensure junior hockey in the province survives the pandemic because of how important teams are to communities. "Think of the Humboldt Broncos," said Harrison, referring to the SJHL team that was in a devastating bus crash in 2018. The Saskatchewan Party government said it's working with both leagues on options for a safe return to play. The public-health restrictions are to expire Jan. 29. Earlier this week, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer raised the possibility that harsher restrictions could be on the way if the province doesn't lower its daily COVID-19 case count. Dr. Saqib Shahab said the current average of more than 300 new daily infections is too high, and top Saskatchewan Health Authority officials also warned that the health system is at its most fragile yet in the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

  • Capitals beat Sabres 6-4; Laviolette wins Washington debut
    The Canadian Press

    Capitals beat Sabres 6-4; Laviolette wins Washington debut

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — T.J. Oshie had a goal and two assists and Washington made a winner of coach Peter Laviolette in his Capitals' debut, beating the Buffalo Sabres 6-4 on Thursday night. Jakub Vrana stripped Eric Staal of the puck in front of Buffalo’s net and scored 46 seconds into the third period to preserve the win after the Capitals were in jeopardy of squandering a 4-1 lead. Vrana’s goal came 26 seconds after defenceman Jake McCabe cut Buffalo’s deficit to 4-3 by scoring on a shot from the right point. John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and assist each and Brenden Dillon also scored for the Capitals. Alex Ovechkin set up the first two goals. Ilya Samsonov stopped 22 shots in his first game as the Capitals’ starter following Braden Holtby’s off-season departure. ISLANDERS 4, RANGERS 0 NEW YORK (AP) — Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal scored in the opening period and the Islanders beat the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Semyon Varlamov stopped 24 shots for his 28th career shutout and third with the Islanders. Defenceman Nick Leddy added two assists. Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves as the Rangers fell in the first of eight games between the rivals. Alexis Lafreniere, the first overall selection of the 2020 NHL draft, made his debut and recorded one shot in 15:27 minutes of ice time. BRUINS 3, DEVILS 2, SO NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist, then scored the only goal in the shootout as Boston beat New Jersey, spoiling Lindy Ruff’s debut as Devils coach. Marchand scored a power-play goal and set up another by Nick Ritchie for the Bruins, who won the Presidents’ Trophy for having the best record in the NHL during the 2019-20 regular season. Tuukka Rask made 20 saves, including two on breakaways in overtime, and added two stops in the shootout. Miles Wood and rookie defenceman Ty Smith scored for New Jersey, which missed the playoffs last year. Mackenzie Blackwood was outstanding in making 35 saves. He also stopped Charlie Coyle and Ondrej Kase in the shootout. HURRICANES 3, RED WINGS 0 DETROIT (AP) — Nino Niederreiter scored early in the first period and Petr Mrazek made 14 saves for a shutout, helping Carolina beat Detroit. Ryan Ddzingel scored on a power play with 2:34 left and Andrei Svechnikov added an empty-net goal. Detroit goalie Thomas Greiss made only one save before he gave up a goal, but he stopped 40 shots to give his offensively challenged team a chance for two-plus periods. The Red Wings, who were easily the NHL’s worst team last season, played for the first time since they lost to Carolina at home on March 10, 2020. ___ https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press