MORE AF­TER­NOON GAMES COULD BOOST NHL POP­U­LAR­ITY IN EUROPE

The Modesto Bee (Sunday) - - Sports -

Alek­sander Barkov is quick to point out the NHL is so pop­u­lar in Fin­land that tick­ets to two games in Helsinki sold out in less than five min­utes.

“It shows how much they love the game,” the Florida Pan­thers cap­tain said. “There’s good rea­son to do that every year.”

The NHL plans just that af­ter Com­mis­sioner Gary Bettman an­nounced ini­tial plans for a 2019 sea­son opener in Prague, two reg­u­lar-sea­son games in Stock­holm and ex­hi­bi­tions in Ger­many and Switzer­land. The Pan­thers and Win­nipeg Jets played the 24th and 25th reg­u­larsea­son games out­side North Amer­ica on Thurs­day and Fri­day at packed Hart­wall Arena in the Fin­nish cap­i­tal. Goalie signs $10 mil­lion deal: The Nashville Preda­tors signed goal­tender Pekka Rinne to a two-year con­tract ex­ten­sion worth $10 mil­lion, keep­ing the Vez­ina Tro­phy win­ner un­der con­tract through 2020-21.

HIGH­LIGHTS

Sabres 9, Sen­a­tors 2: Jeff Skin­ner and Ja­son Pom­inville each had two goals and an as­sist to lead host Buf­falo over Ot­tawa. Conor Sheary, Casey Mit­tlestadt, Pa­trik Ber­glund and Zem­gus Gir­gen­sons had a goal and an as­sist apiece, Jack Eichel had three as­sists and Li­nus Ull­mark made 27 saves for the Sabres, who snapped a three-game los­ing streak. Maple Leafs 5, Pen­guins 0: Fred­erik An­der­sen made 31 saves for his first shutout of the sea­son and 16th over­all and vis­it­ing Toronto routed high­scor­ing Pitts­burgh. Mor­gan Rielly scored twice to help Toronto im­prove to 6-0 on the road.

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