Anze Kopitar scored two of Los Angeles' four first-period goals as the Kings rolled to a 5-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday to boost their playoff hopes.

Cam Talbot notched his third shutout of the season by stopping all 28 shots he faced from a Chicago team that had scored seven goals in each of its previous two games, both victories.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, Alex Laferriere and Jordan Spence each contributed a goal and an assist to help the Kings move two points clear of the Vegas Golden Knights for third place in the Pacific Divison.

The Kings dominated the first two periods and wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, as Dubois rocketed a rebound past Chicago goaltender Arvid Soderblom on a power play just 3:10 in.

Laferriere redirected a shot from teammate Matt Roy into the net a mere 2:23 later for a 2-0 lead, and Kopitar added his 19th and 20th goals of the season to cause the Blackhawks to pull Soderblom for Petr Mrazek after a little over 14 minutes.

Spence made it 5-0 with his first goal of 2023-24, a shot that trickled by a screened Mrazek 2:31 into the second period.

Soderblom stopped just 10 of 14 shots before being removed, while Mrazek finished with 22 saves.

Toffoli, Brossoit lead Jets' blowout of Ducks

The Winnipeg Jets, meanwhile, created a three-way tie atop the Central Division by cruising to a 6-0 rout of the floundering Anaheim Ducks.

Tyler Toffoli scored two goals to back a 21-save shutout for Laurent Brossoit as Winnipeg joined Colorado and Dallas in first place in the Central. All three teams have 89 points, though the Jets hold a game in hand on the Avalanche and two on the Stars.

Dylan DeMelo added a goal and an assist and Josh Morrissey recorded three assists as the Jets bounced back from Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.

The Ducks were shut out for a second straight game and now have lost five straight, all in regulation.

Kyle Connor got the Jets on the board with 3:40 left in the first period and Nate Schmidt extended the lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal in the second.

Winnipeg then put the game out of reach with a four-goal third, with DeMelo starting the barrage 4:59 into the period.

Toffoli, playing his third game since being acquired by the Jets from the New Jersey Devils at last week's trade deadline, then netted his first two goals with his new team within a span of less than three minutes to increase the margin to 5-0.

Mason Appleton closed out the scoring with a power-play goal with 5.5 seconds left.

John Gibson made 32 saves for Anaheim, which was outshot by a 38-21 margin.


The red-hot New York Islanders scored three first-period goals en route to a 6-1 rout of the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday that extended their season-high winning streak to six games.

Bo Horvat and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist in the victory, which moved New York into a tie with the Detroit Red Wings for the Eastern Conference's final wild card spot. Both teams have 72 points with the Islanders holding a game in hand.

New York built a 3-0 lead despite producing only six shots on goal in the first period. Casey Cizikas' one-timer off a SImon Holmstrom feed opened the scoring 5:11 in, and Kyle Palmieri beat Anaheim netminder Lukas Dostal on a breakaway just 2:17 later before Nelson's power-play goal extended the margin with 5:32 left in the period.

Alex Killorn scored just 24 seconds into the second to get the Ducks on the board, but the Islanders struck three more times in the third to put the game out of reach.

Horvat extended his goal streak to three games only 34 seconds into the period before Pierre Engvall and Cal Clutterbuck each found the back of the net later on.

New York also received 22 saves from Semyon Varlamov, while Dostal stopped just 13 of 19 shots in the Ducks' second straight loss.


McDavid, Pickard help Oilers extend Penguins' slump

Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists to back a sharp 41-save effort from Calvin Pickard as the Edmonton Oilers extended the Pittsburgh Penguins' struggles by cruising to a 4-0 win.

Darnell Nurse added a pair of third-period goals in support of Pickard's spotless performance, though the goaltender did spend the final 1:16 of the second period on the bench after a collision with the Penguins' Bryan Rust. 

Pickard returned to make 16 saves in the third to help deal Pittsburgh its sixth loss in regulation in its last seven games and end Edmonton's two-game losing streak.

McDavid provided all the offence necessary when he scored off a Pittsburgh giveaway in its own end just 68 seconds after the opening face-off. The reigning NHL MVP then helped set up Mattias Ekholm's goal 8:53 into the first period that extended the margin to 2-0.

Nurse registered his seventh and eighth goals of the season just over five minutes apart, with the last coming with 4:02 left to play.

Tristan Jarry finished with 38 saves for the Penguins, who have been outscored by a 15-1 margin while losing their last three contests.


Wild top Predators in overtime after pulling goaltender

A gutsy call from Minnesota Wild head coach John Hynes led to Matt Boldy's goal with 1:10 left in overtime and a 4-3 victory over the still-surging Nashville Predators.

Hynes had goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury skate to the bench for an extra attacker with time winding down in overtime, a move that paid off when Boldy one-timed a pass from Mats Zuccarello past Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros to end the contest.

Boldy had two assists in regulation, while Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist to help move the Wild to 3-0-1 over their last four games.

Nashville had a two-game winning streak snapped, but still managed to pick up at least one point for a 12th consecutive outing when Ryan O'Reilly scored on a power play with 2:02 left in regulation to tie the game at 3-3.

The Predators are 10-0-2 over their point streak and have climbed into the Western Conference's first wild card spot with the run. 

After Minnesota's Jonas Brodin and Nashville's Mark Jankowski traded first-period goals, Luke Evangelista put the Predators ahead 3:36 into the second before Kaprizov tied it with a power-play score late in the period.

The Wild grabbed a 3-2 edge when Ryan Hartman scored on a breakaway following a Nashville turnover with 7:32 left in the third period.



Valeri Nichushkin scored in overtime in his first game in nearly two months to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

Nichushkin tallied on a power play at 2:32 of overtime in his first game since Jan. 10, five days before he entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

Artturi Lehkonen also scored and Nathan MacKinnon had a pair of assists as Colorado won its third straight and fifth in six games.

Alexander Georgiev stopped 29 shots and denied Mats Zuccarello on a penalty shot with 5:55 remaining in regulation.

MacKinnon extended his home point streak to 32 games, tied with Guy Lafleur (1978-79) for the third-longest home point run in NHL history.

Rookie Brock Faber scored for Minnesota, which is 2-0-1 in its last three games as it tries to make up ground in the playoff race.

Stars start fast in win over Ducks

Roope Hintz scored one goal and set up another during Dallas’ three-goal first period and the Stars defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 6-2, for their fourth straight win.

Jamie Benn and Joe Pavelski each had a goal and an assist for the first-place Stars, who have points in six of seven (5-1-1) to maintain a two-point lead over Winnipeg and Colorado in the Central Division.

Dallas scored three times on the power play and is 6 for 12 with the man advantage in its last three games.

Ryan Strome had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who had won three of four.

Ingram denies slumping Red Wings

Connor Ingram made 28 saves for his sixth shutout of the season and the Arizona Coyotes snapped a seven-game home losing streak with a 4-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings.

Ingram stopped six shots in the first period, 17 in the second and five more in the third to tie Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry for the league lead in shutouts.

Nick Bjugstad had a goal and an assist and Alex Kerfoot, Logan Cooley and Jack McBain also scored for the Coyotes, who have won three of five following a 14-game skid.

The Red Wings have scored five goals during four consecutive losses after winning six straight.


Alex Ovechkin ignited a run of five unanswered goals and the Washington Capitals picked up a key 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

Ovechkin’s 17th goal of the season and 839th of his career at 4:34 of the second period cut Philadelphia’s lead to 2-1 before Sonny Milano and John Carlson scored later in the period to put Washington ahead for good.

Anthony Mantha and Dylan Strome added third-period goals for the Capitals, who have won five of seven to pull within four points of the third-place Flyers in the Metropolitan Division.

Bobby Brink and Owen Tippett scored for Philadelphia, which has dropped five of seven. The Flyers played their fourth straight game without All-Star forward Travis Konecny, who could return next week.

Coyotes snap 14-game losing streak

Dylan Guenther snapped a tie in the third period and the Arizona Coyotes held on for a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators to end a 14-game losing streak.

Michael Carcone, J.J. Moser, Nick Schmaltz and Matias Maccelli had the other goals to help Arizona stop a 0-12-2 slide with its first win since Jan. 22.

Karel Vejmelka made 34 saves to earn his first win since Dec. 27 after going 0-8-0 in 10 appearances since.

Ottawa lost its third straight game and both meetings this season against Arizona.

Dostal stars in Ducks’ win

Lukas Dostal stopped 52 shots and Jack Hughes’ penalty shot with 2.1 seconds remaining to lift the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Frank Vatrano scored twice and Adam Henrique and Max Jones had the other goals as the Ducks won back-to-back games after a three-game skid.

Hughes had a goal and two assists but failed to convert a late penalty shot, awarded when Vatrano deliberately knocked the net off its moorings following a scramble around Dostal.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves after he was honoured for a milestone victory and Kirill Kaprizov scored the tiebreaking goal to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

Fleury, who earned his 553rd career win, was honoured in a pregame ceremony nearly a month after passing Patrick Roy (551) for second place in NHL history.

Fleury beat his former team in his return after missing five games due to an upper-body injury.

Matt Boldy and Jonas Brodin scored for Minnesota before Kaprizov banged home a rebound at 9:34 of the third period to put the Wild ahead 3-2.

Reilly Smith and Sidney Crosby scored for the Penguins, who dropped to 0-3-1 in their last four road games.

Oilers rally for 17th win in 18 games

Evander Kane had a hat trick and Connor McDavid set up three third-period goals as the Edmonton Oilers rallied for their 17th win in 18 games, 5-3 over the Anaheim Ducks.

Leon Draisaitl added a goal and an assist and Zach Hyman also scored as the Oilers rebounded after their 16-game winning streak – tied for the second-longest in NHL history – was snapped Tuesday at Vegas.

The Ducks had a four-game point streak halted despite getting two goals from Ryan Strome.

Rangers win in overtime after blowing lead

Mika Zibanejad scored at 2:36 of overtime and the New York Rangers topped the league-worst Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 after squandering a two-goal lead.

Chris Kreider, Alexis Lafreniere and Jonny Brodzinski had the other goals for the Rangers, who have won four straight.

Zibanejad’s goal was his franchise-record eighth in OT, breaking a tie with Brian Leetch, Cecil Dillon and Butch Keeling.

Alex Vlasic scored in the first period and Nick Foligno and Jason Dickinson had third-period goals as Chicago’s winless streak reached six games (0-5-1).

Lukas Dostal stopped a career-high 55 shots before Auston Matthews scored his league-leading 30th goal in overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

Dostal protected a 1-0 lead until John Tavares banged home a rebound on a power play with 5:43 left in regulation.

Frank Vatrano scored in the second period for the Ducks, who lost their third straight and dropped to 1-5-0 on a season-high eight-game homestand.

Toronto extended its streak of not being shut out to 181 games, a run that started in November 2021.

Hischier leads Devils over Capitals

Nico Hischier scored two goals and set up another on the eve of his 25th birthday to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals.

Dawson Mercer and Michael McLeod also scored twice for the Devils, who squandered a two-goal lead before recovering to win for the fourth time in five games.

Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist for Washington to end a 10-game point drought. The Capitals dropped to 1-3-2 in their last six games.

Max Pacioretty went pointless in his Capitals debut, playing his first NHL game in nearly a year after tearing his right Achilles tendon.

John Tavares set up two goals and scored one of his own with 5:33 remaining to complete the Toronto Maple Leafs’ comeback in a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday at the NHL’s Global Series in Sweden.

Toronto entered the third period down 2-0 but Tyler Bertuzzi scored at 3:50 and William Nylander netted the equalizer with 6:57 left before Tavares’ seventh goal of the season 1:24 later gave the Maple Leafs their first lead of the game.

Nylander also had a goal and two assists to extend his franchise-record season-opening point streak to 16 games.

Ilya Samsonov made 27 saves as Toronto won its third straight and fourth in five games.

Daniel Sprong scored on a penalty shot and Lucas Raymond had the other goal for Detroit, which dropped to 1-2-2 in its last five.

The game was the second of four over five days at Avicii Arena in Stockholm. Ottawa beat Detroit on Thursday, and Minnesota will play the Senators on Saturday and the Maple Leafs on Sunday in the first four-team series outside North America.

Perfetti scores again as Jets win

Cole Perfetti scored in a fifth straight game and the Winnipeg Jets held off the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2.

Mason Appleton and Nikolaj Ehlers had the other goals and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 25 shots as Winnipeg notched its fifth win in six games.

Alex Tuch and JJ Peterka scored for the Sabres, who have lost three in a row.

Eric Comrie made 15 saves in his first action since suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 27.

Stolarz the difference in Panthers’ win

Anthony Stolarz stopped 33 shots to make two first-period goals hold up as the Florida Panthers held on for a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Stolarz allowed only Frank Vatrano’s power-play goal in the second period before turning away all 16 Anaheim shots in the third period.

Jakob Silfverberg thought he scored the tying goal midway through the third period, but there was no conclusive evidence to show that the puck crossed the goal line.

Anton Lundell set up goals by Eetu Luostarinen and Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the first period as Florida rebounded from Thursday’s loss to Los Angeles and won for the sixth time in seven games.

Like everything else over the past year, the hockey world has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic. The 2019-20 season was completed with teams playing in bubble locations in Toronto and Edmonton and the 2020 campaign will open without fans as part of a condensed 56-game season, among a slew of other changes. 

With the previous season extending several months past the normal ending date, the league had little choice but to delay the start of 2021 and to find a way to make a shortened season work. The new plan is for the regular season to end on May 8, with the Stanley Cup awarded no later than July 9. 

Of course, nothing is set in stone anymore and the NBA and NFL have had to deal with countless COVID-19 issues, so the NHL expects similar problems to arise with the pandemic experiencing another surge. The league knows it may have to adapt and games will very likely need to be rescheduled. 

The NHL has already dealt with this, as the start of the season for the Dallas Stars had to be pushed back to January 19 after six players and two staffers tested positive for coronavirus. While the completion of last season in the bubble locations was virtually flawless, teams are playing in home arenas this season, increasing the chances of players becoming infected. 

To combat this, teams will be allowed to carry taxi squads of four to six extra players who will practice and be prepared to step in when needed. 

While there is less hockey to enjoy, there are some tweaks to the upcoming season that fans will enjoy. 

The four divisions have been realigned and they include an all-Canada division of seven teams, made necessary by border restrictions. The other three divisions are mostly based on geography, but St Louis and Minnesota were shuffled into a division with the three California teams, Vegas, Arizona and Colorado. 

The Chicago-Detroit rivalry gets renewed with the Red Wings moving into the Central Division, and Tampa Bay and Dallas – last season's Stanley Cup Final participants – are now together in the Central.  

There should be no shortage of intensity this season with teams scheduled to play mostly back-to-back sets solely against teams in their own division. So, the Flyers and Penguins will meet eight times, as will the Islanders and Rangers and Kings and Ducks. The teams in the all-Canada division will face each other nine or 10 times.  

The first two playoff rounds will be played within the division, meaning the bad blood that started in the regular season could grow even deeper. The division winners will then advance to the semifinals but seeding will be based on points rather than geography.  

The new setup raises the possibility of a Stanley Cup Final between traditional East teams like the Capitals and Penguins or Canadian rivals Montreal and Toronto.   

To recoup some of the money lost by having no fans or limited fans at the start of the season in some cities, the NHL is allowing teams to include a sponsor name on their helmets and each division will also include the name of a corporate sponsor. 

The condensed season was preceded by an abbreviated training camp without exhibition games and there is concern that the start of the season will be marred by sloppy play. This could be especially true for the seven teams that have not played a game since March after they did not qualify for the expanded playoffs.  

As in any offseason, several big-name players changed teams. It will be jarring to see 43-year-old Zdeno Chara in a Capitals uniform and Joe Thornton playing for the Maple Leafs after 14 seasons in San Jose. Henrik Lundqvist would have looked strange as a member of the Capitals following an 887-game run with the Rangers, but he decided not to play this season due to a heart condition. 

Injuries will also keep some marquee players off the ice for a while. Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov – the 2018-19 scoring leader – will miss the entire regular season due to hip surgery and the Stars could be without top forward Tyler Sequin (hip) and goaltender Ben Bishop (knee) until at least March.  

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is out indefinitely with an unknown illness and there is no word on whether the 12-time 20-goal scorer will play this season. 

While this season is full of unknowns and will be like no other before it, the potential is there for it to be one of the most exciting in recent memory.

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