VIA NHL PR…
NHL RELEASES MID-SEASON RANKINGS FOR 2014 DRAFT
Center Samuel Bennett of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs has been named the top draft-eligible skater from North America as the NHL Central Scouting Bureau today released its mid-season rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft.
Joining Bennett among the top North American skaters are: No. 2 Leon Draisaitl, a center with the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL); No. 3 Aaron Ekblad, a defenseman with the Barrie Colts (OHL); No. 4 Sam Reinhart, a center with the Kootenay Ice (WHL); and No. 5 Michael Dal Colle, a center/left wing with the Oshawa Generals (OHL).
Right wing Kasperi Kapanen (Kuopio, Finland) and center/right wing William Nylander (Calgary, Alta.) are the No. 1- and 2-ranked skaters from Europe, respectively.
Top-rated North American goaltender Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.), a freshman at Boston College (Hockey East), aims to become the highest-drafted, California-born netminder.
Click here for the full rankings.
A SCOUT’S LIFE
The third episode of “NHL Life,” featuring former NHLer and current League scout B.J. MacDonald, premiered today at NHLLife.NHL.com. The episode provides a look at what it takes to assemble a list of future hockey stars in conjunction with this morning’s release of NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Season Rankings.
JETS HIRE MAURICE AS HEAD COACH
The Jets on Sunday hired Paul Maurice as their new head coach following the dismissals of Claude Noel and assistant coach Perry Pearn. Maurice, 46, has more than 1,000 games of NHL head-coaching experience, compiling a 460-457-167 career record in 14 seasons behind the bench for the Hurricanes/Whalers and Maple Leafs.
“[Maurice] has coached a lot of different types of teams,” said Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. “He has had experience with both veteran players and young players, and has had success with both. He has experienced success; he has experienced failure. He’s battle-hardened, and he is energetic and chomping at the bit to get back into the NHL.”
Buffalo 2, Washington 1 (SO)
NY Islanders 4, Dallas 2
Toronto 3, New Jersey 2 (SO)
NY Rangers 4, Philadelphia 1
Chicago 5, Edmonton 3
Minnesota 4, Nashville 0
Anaheim 1, Detroit 0
STADIUM SERIES CLUBS STAY HOT
Five of the seven teams participating in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series played Sunday, with those clubs securing nine of a possible 10 points:
* Jonas Hiller made 22 saves to record his 19th career shutout and third this season in leading the Ducks to their seventh consecutive victory. The Ducks improved to 19-0-2 this season at Honda Center, becoming the fifth team in the last 40 NHL seasons to record points in each of their first 21 home games. Anaheim has won 17 of its past 18 games overall, becoming the fifth team in League history to record 17 or more victories over an 18-game span.
* The Islanders scored four unanswered goals, including three in the final 4:16 of regulation, to overcome a two-goal deficit and pick up their seventh consecutive road victory, their longest such streak since a franchise-record, eight-game run Feb. 27-March 29, 1981. The team also improved to 7-1-0 in its last eight outings overall, including four straight wins.
* Daniel Carcillo and Rick Nash tallied 28 seconds apart in the opening minutes of the first period to power the Rangers their third consecutive victory and sixth win in their last eight contests (6-1-1). The team also has at least one point in seven of its past eight at Madison Square Garden (5-1-2).
* The Blackhawks scored five-plus goals for the 19th time this season to snap a three-game slide (0-1-2). Rookie Antti Raanta made 18 saves to improve to 12-1-3 with a 2.25 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and one shutout in 17 appearances, including points in nine straight (7-0-2).
* The Devils overcame a pair of one-goal deficits to force overtime before ultimately falling in a shootout. New Jersey has picked up points in 11 of its past 14 outings (7-3-4), including four straight (2-0-2).
ICE TRUCK SET TO ARRIVE IN LOS ANGELES
The incomparable Wayne Gretzky, whose arrival in Los Angeles 25 years ago catalyzed an explosion of hockey in California still being felt today, will be at Dodger Stadium this afternoon (2:00 p.m. PT / 5:00 p.m. ET) when the rink build formally begins for the Jan. 25 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the Kings and Ducks. “The Great One” will be joined on-site by Luc Robitaille and Bruce Boudreau, as well as NHL executives, when the League’s ice truck arrives at Chavez Ravine. The 53-foot trailer has made a cross-country journey from cold and snowy Ann Arbor, Mich., passing through eight U.S. states to arrive in Southern California.
HILLER, DUCKS FLY TOGETHER
The League-leading Ducks improved to 35-8-5 (75 points), their best record ever through the first 48 games of a season (previously, 2006-07: 30-10-8, 68 points).
* According to STATS LLC, the Ducks are the fifth team in NHL history to win 17 or more games over an 18-game span, joining the 1967-68 Canadiens, 1981-82 Islanders, 1992-93 Penguins and 2009-10 Capitals, who also were coached by Bruce Boudreau.
* The Ducks are the fifth team in the past 40 NHL seasons to record points in each of their first 21 or more home games of a season:
LONGEST HOME POINT STREAKS TO START A SEASON, SINCE 1973-74
1979-80 Flyers: 26† (19-0-7)
1978-79 Islanders: 23 (19-0-4)
2008-09 Sharks: 22 (20-0-2)
2013-14 Ducks: 21 (19-0-2)
1973-74 Bruins: 21 (19-0-2)
† NHL record
* The Ducks also recorded their seventh consecutive victory overall, their third such stretch this season (Oct. 5-20: 7-0-0, Dec. 6-28: 10-0-0). The last team to post three separate winning streaks of seven or more games in a single season was the 2007-08 Red Wings.
* Hiller extended his club-record and career-best winning streak to 14 games, tied for the second-longest single-season stretch in NHL history:
CONSECUTIVE WINNING DECISIONS, SINGLE SEASON (Elias Sports Bureau)
Gilles Gilbert (BOS): 17 – Dec. 26, 1975-Feb. 29, 1976
Jonas Hiller (ANA): 14 – Dec. 6, 2013-present
Tom Barrasso (PIT): 14 – March 9-April 9, 1993
Don Beaupre (MIN): 14 – Feb. 6-March 19, 1986
Ross Brooks (BOS): 14 – Oct. 31, 1973-Feb. 28, 1974
Tiny Thompson (BOS): 14 – Dec. 3, 1929-Jan. 9, 1930
ISLANDERS CONTINUE TO FIGHT BACK
The Islanders won their seventh consecutive road game, with the team overcoming at least a one-goal deficit in each of the last five. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Islanders are just the sixth team in NHL history to win five straight road games despite trailing in each contest, joining the 1929-30 Bruins, 1995-96 Whalers, 2006-07 Lightning, 2008-09 Penguins and 2011-12 Avalanche.
DID YOU SEE THAT?
* Ryan Miller made 28 saves, including a paddle stop on Mikhail Grabovski in the final minutes of regulation, to lead the Sabres to their second victory in their past three games (2-0-1).
* The Blackhawks scored an own-goal when they pulled their goaltender on a delayed penalty and Patrick Kane sent an errant pass that traveled the full length of the ice and into their empty net.
Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves to record his first NHL shutout . . . Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa celebrated his 35th birthday by posting 1-1—2 . . . Rangers forward Rick Nash scored the game-winning goal for the second straight game . . . Blackhawks teammates Patrick Sharp (3-5—8) and Jonathan Toews (2-5—7) each extended their point streaks to six games . . . Rangers forward Brad Richards collected an assist to stretch his point streak to five games (2-5—7) . . . Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier recorded his 500th career assist . . . Ducks forward Mathieu Perreault played in his 200th NHL game . . . Eight-year-old Braden Nienaber dropped the ceremonial first puck at the Capitals-Sabres game, tossing Sabres captain Steve Ott from the face-off circle. Nienaber, who suffers from a rare blood disease, spent the weekend with the Capitals thanks to the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada (video courtesy of CSN Washington).
SNEAK PEEK AT MONDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Calgary @ Carolina, 7:00 p.m., SNET-W, FS-CR
Tampa Bay @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., RDS, SUN, FS-O
Phoenix @ Winnipeg, 8:00 p.m., FS-A PLUS, TSN-JETS
Vancouver @ Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m., SNET-P, FS-W
MAURICE COACHES FIRST GAME BEHIND WINNIPEG BENCH
Paul Maurice coaches his first game behind the Winnipeg bench, leading the Jets (19-23-5, 43 points) against the Coyotes (21-14-9, 51 points) at MTS Centre. Maurice last coached in the NHL during the 2011-12 season, when he was in his second stint with the Hurricanes. He most recently spent the 2012-13 campaign as the head coach of Magnitogorsk Metallurg (KHL), guiding the team to a 27-13-12 record.