Blue Jackets beat Canadiens 2-1 for 12th straight win
Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on Friday night for their 12th straight win. Columbus improved to 23-5-4, the best start in franchise history. It has not lost since Nov. 26. Montreal, which outshot Columbus 37-24, fell to 21-9-4. It was Bobrovsky’s NHL-best 20th win. He kept Columbus in the game despite an apathetic third period in which the Blue Jackets took just five shots. Sam Gagner put Columbus on the board at 17:50 of the first period, 16 seconds into a Canadiens bench minor for too many men on the ice. It was his 15th goal on the season. Brandon Saad made it 2-0 with his 13th goal of the season just 1:22 into the second. Montreal controlled much of the third, and Jeff Petry scored at 9:08.
WILD 7, RANGERS 4
Mikko Koivu, Nino Niederreiter and Marco Scandella scored in a strong burst early in the second period, and Minnesota earned its franchise-record 10th straight win. Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Matt Dumba and Charlie Coyle also scored for the Wild (21-8-4), who chased Henrik Lundqvist with four goals on 13 shots. Coyle added three assists, while Koivu and Zucker had three points apiece. Eric Staal (two assists) and Granlund both finished with two points. Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper made 31 saves in his seventh start of the season. Chris Kreider had two goals for the Rangers, and Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan also scored.
PENGUINS 4, DEVILS 1
Sidney Crosby scored his NHL-leading 24th goal and the Penguins rebounded nicely from their worst performance of the season. Chad Ruhwedel got the first goal of his career for Pittsburgh. Eric Fehr and Patric Hornqvist also scored for the Penguins, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves. The Penguins improved to 8-0-1 in their last nine home games while offering an immediate response after getting crushed 7-1 in Columbus on Thursday. Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils, who lost for the eighth time in nine games. Cory Schneider stopped 35 shots.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, COYOTES 1
Arizona captain Shane Doan scored his 400th goal in his 1,500th game, and Toronto rookie Auston Matthews had an assist in his first NHL game in his hometown in the Maple Leafs’ victory over the Coyotes. Leo Komarov scored twice, and Connor Brown and William Nylander also scored for Toronto. Frederik Andersen made 31 saves. The Maple Leafs have won three of four, while the Coyotes have lost four straight.
CAPITALS 4, LIGHTNING 0
John Carlson scored two goals, Alex Ovechkin also scored and Braden Holtby stopped 23 shots for his third shutout of the season, leading Washington to the win against short-handed Tampa Bay. Carlson beat Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy 55 seconds into the game, and scored again at 15:42 of the first. The defenseman has three goals on the season. Ovechkin scored his 15th goal midway through the second period. The Lightning dressed just 11 forwards and seven defensemen because of injuries, and then lost left wing Jonathan Drouin and defenseman Braydon Coburn in the second period.
SHARKS 3, OILERS 2, OT
Kevin Labanc scored his second goal of the night 3:24 into overtime and San Jose beat Edmonton for its sixth victory in seven games. Joe Pavelski also scored to send the Sharks into the Christmas break in first place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the second-place Oilers. Martin Jones made 16 saves. The Sharks prevailed when Logan Couture got the puck below the goal line and fed Labanc, who skated in and beat Cam Talbot on the short side for his sixth of the season. Connor McDavid and Patrick Maroon each scored a tying goal in the third period for the Oilers, but they never managed to take the lead as their three-game winning streak was snapped. Talbot made 28 saves.
STARS 3, KINGS 2, OT
Esa Lindell scored 1:07 into overtime, sending Dallas to the win. Lindell skated in for a 2-on-1 on Kings goalie Jeff Zatkoff. Stars captain Jamie Benn eased a pass from the right side to the rookie defenseman at the left faceoff circle for his third goal this season. Los Angeles fell to 6-1 in overtime. Dallas is 2-7. Jeff Carter scored both Kings goals on rebounds. He connected on the power play in the first period and tied it at 2 at 10:51 of the third.Tyler Seguin and Radek Faksa scored the first two goals for Dallas. Kari Lehtonen made 29 saves.
AVALANCHE 2, BLACKHAWKS 1, OT
Nathan MacKinnon scored 25 seconds into overtime to lift Colorado to the road win. Cruising in with Tyson Barrie on a 2-on-1 break, MacKinnon beat Corey Crawford with a high shot that ticked off the post and ended the Avalanche’s five-game losing streak. Mikko Rantanen scored on a deflection at 5:42 of the third period for the Avalanche’s first goal in 167 minutes and 43 seconds of play. Colorado was shut out in its previous two games, including a 6-0 loss to the Maple Leafs on Thursday. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews stopped a 13-game drought with his fifth goal of the season. Crawford had 32 stops in his return from an appendectomy.
RED WINGS 4, PANTHERS 3, SO
Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen scored in the shootout, and helping the Red Wings rally for the win. Anthony Mantha, Drew Miller and Nielsen scored for Detroit (15-15-4) in regulation. Jared Coreau made 31 saves for his first career win in his second start. Florida lost for the fourth time in six games, including a 3-1 loss to Boston on Thursday night. Reilly Smith, Jason Demers and Derek MacKenzie scored for the Panthers (15-146), and Roberto Luongo made 36 saves.
HURRICANES 3, BRUINS 2, OT
Teuvo Teravainen scored 3:01 into overtime and Carolina won for the ninth time in its last 10 home games. Justin Faulk and Jordan Staal also scored for the Hurricanes, now 9-0-1 in their past 10 at home. Staal scored his 15th career shorthanded goal in the second period. Ryan Spooner and Brad Marchand scored for the Bruins, who squandered a two-goal lead.
ISLANDERS 5, SABRES 1
Ryan Strome had a goal and an assist, Thomas Greiss made 28 saves and the New York Islanders beat Buffalo. John Tavares had a power-play goal for New York, and Andrew Ladd, Anthony Beauvillier and Calvin de Haan also scored. Defenseman Travis Hamonic had two assists as the Islanders snapped a three-game home losing streak. Greiss was in line for a shutout before Zemgus Girgensons scored with 1:03 left, and the goaltender improved to 6-2 in his last eight games. Anders Nilsson made 27 saves in his 10th start of the season for Buffalo. The Islanders honored Kyle Okposo with a video tribute during a stoppage in the opening period. It was Okposo’s first game against New York since he left the team for a $42 million, sevenyear deal with Buffalo in the offseason. Okposo played the first 529 games of his career with New York, compiling 139 goals and 230 assists in nine seasons.
FLAMES 4, CANUCKS 1
Flames defenseman Mark Giordano scored two goals less than 10 minutes apart in the second period. Mikael Backlund also scored for the Flames, and Matthew Tkachuk had an empty-net goal that sent Calgary (18-16-2) into the Christmas break 8-3-0 in its last 11 games. Backlund added two assists. Nikita Tryamkin scored his first of the season for the Canucks (1418-3), who limped into the holidays 2-5-1 in their last eight games. — AP
COLUMBUS: Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets makes a save as David Savard #58 of the Columbus Blue Jackets checks Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens during the first period on Friday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Montreal 2-1 to earn their 12th consecutive win. — AFP
SAN JOSE: Milan Lucic #27 of the Edmonton Oilers tries to score on Martin Jones #31 of the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Friday in San Jose, California.— AFP