Filip Forsberg scored just 14 seconds into overtime to lift the Nashville Predators to their sixth consecutive win, 3-2 over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

Michael McCarron scored twice in the first period and Juuse Saros stopped 29 shots for Nashville, which followed a four-game losing streak with wins in six straight.

Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust had goals for the Penguins, who dropped to 2-4-1 in their last seven.

Gustav Nyquist assisted on McCarron’s first goal to extend his point streak to nine games. He has two goals and nine assists during that stretch.

Pittsburgh went scoreless on both power-play opportunities and is 0 for 20 over the last eight games.

Wild stop slide in Hynes’ debut

Joel Eriksson Ek and Frederick Gaudreau scored first-period goals and the Minnesota Wild snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues in John Hynes’ debut as coach.

Matt Boldy added a goal in the third period and Filip Gustavsson stopped 23 shots for Minnesota, playing its first game under Hynes after the Wild fired Dean Evason on Monday.

Colton Parayko scored for the Blues, who dropped to 3-4-0 in their past seven games.

Devils score 3 in third period to rally past Islanders

Curtis Lazar scored with 23 seconds left to cap a three-goal third period and rally the New Jersey Devils to a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders.

New York took a 4-2 lead into the third period, but Jack Hughes scored at 5:08 and Nico Hischier netted the equaliser on a 4-on-3 power play with 8:50 remaining.

Michael McLeod and Dawson Mercer also scored for the Devils, who have won two straight after losing six of seven.

Mathew Barzal had a goal and two assists for the Islanders, who had a six-game point streak snapped (3-1-3).

The Edmonton Oilers struck for three third-period goals to come through with a 4-1 victory over the slumping New York Islanders on Monday to win Kris Knoublach's first game as head coach.

Knoublach was hired Sunday after Edmonton dismissed Jay Woodcroft following a 3-9-1 start for a team that had won a playoff series in each of the previous two seasons.

The Oilers moved ahead on a pair of power-play goals that came nearly two minutes apart in the third. Zach Hyman put Edmonton up 2-1 with 7:35 elapsed in the period, and Connor McDavid scored off a feed from Leon Draisaitl soon afterward to extend the margin to 3-1.

Draisaitl finished with a goal and three assists to back 32 saves from Stuart Skinner, while Evander Kane had the Oilers' final goal with an empty-net tally with 2:27 left.

The Islanders' lone goal came just 40 seconds in when Mathew Barzal scored off an Edmonton giveaway. Draisaitl would tie it later in the first period with his sixth goal of the season.

Ilya Sorokin stopped 28 of 31 shots for New York, which has lost four straight games in regulation and is 0-4-1 in its last five.


Avalanche rout Kraken for Bednar's 300th win

Mikko Rantanen and Cale Maker each had a goal and an assist as the Colorado Avalanche pulled away for a 5-1 win over the Seattle Kraken to give head coach Jared Bednar his 300th career victory.

Ross Colton, Jonathan Drouin and Valeri Nichushkin also had goals for Colorado, which scored three times during a dominant third period in which it outshot Seattle by a 12-1 margin. Nathan MacKinnon recorded three assists to help the Avalanche snap a two-game losing streak.

Colorado trailed 1-0 before Rantanen and Colton scored just over two minutes apart in the second period, and Makar increased the lead to 3-1 with just over four minutes elapsed in the third.

Brandon Tanev scored 6:13 into the contest for Seattle's lone goal. Joey Daccord made 26 saves in the Kraken's fourth loss in five games.

Alexander Georgiev finished with 18 saves for Colorado.

The Pittsburgh Penguins saw their 16-season run of appearances in the playoffs end as the New York Islanders put a halt to the longest such streak in the NHL.

Losing 5-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday took the Penguins' fate out of their own hands, and the Islanders squeezed in as the last team to book a playoffs spot when they beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 a day later.

Coach Mike Sullivan's Penguins team have a 40-31-10 record for the season, and they will round off their campaign against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Beau Bennett spent four years on the Pittsburgh team and was a Stanley Cup winner with the Penguins in 2016, the second of three NHL championships the team won during their remarkable 16-year run.

With the team's fate sealed, Bennett wrote on Twitter: "I mean people will probably be negative but think about how sick that run was. Most orgs will be lucky to have that success in 50 years."

Superstar center Sidney Crosby continues to hit the heights, managing 33 goals and 58 assists in 81 games, while Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang have maintained their own high standards. Pittsburgh's 'Big Three' have famously featured throughout the 16-year run.

It was put to Bennett that the Penguins could have gone on achieving, given their top players continued to perform.

He replied: "True but 16 years of consistency, having 3 of the best players the whole time, interchanging everyone else including coaches and management. Sometimes we take greatness for granted."

Bennett said there had been "definitely some suspect moves", with general manager Ron Hextall's rush of trades before the deadline having come in for scrutiny.

Bringing in the likes of Nick Bonino, Dmitry Kulikov and Mikael Granlund, while moving others out of the franchise, has not had the desired effect.

After those trades, Hextall said: "I think that we made our team better. I think there are a lot of teams capable of winning the Stanley Cup, and we're one."

Not this season.

As Bennett sees it, Pittsburgh's elimination now spares them hurt later along the line.

"Let's be real here," he added, "how far are they getting if they get in? All good things come to an end."

Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery heaped praise on Patrice Bergeron but says he will undergo X-rays after copping a puck to the face in Wednesday's 4-1 win over the New York Islanders.

Bergeron headed down the tunnel early in the third period after a deflected slap shot from David Pastrnak missed his visor and hit him in the face.

The Bruins captain was in apparent pain, having medical attention, but would emerge back on the bench later in the period, helping his side round out a third straight win.

Despite returning to the ice, Montgomery revealed Bergeron had not been cleared by medical staff yet.

"How much respect I have for him coming back after, I know the puck got deflected, but it hits him up high and in the face," Montgomery told NESN.

"The admiration I have and everybody has for him coming back to try to help the team win after that is immense.

"We're hoping that all the X-rays come back good."

The Islanders had taken a first-period lead from Zach Parise but Bruins defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Derek Forbort responded with goals 4:12 apart in the second period to claim the advantage.

Brad Marchand and Trent Frederic added third-period goals for Boston with Charlie Coyle having two assists, while goal-tender Linus Ullmark made 25 saves in his 100th career win.

"I couldn't be more happy, it's been overwhelming," Ullmark said. "I have a lot of gratitude playing with the boys who work so hard every night."

The Bruins are the NHL's only 30-win team, improving their record to 35-5-4.

Nashville Predators goaltender Kevin Lankinen collected a career-high 48 saves to propel his side to a 4-1 win against the New York Islanders on Friday.

The Predators took the lead six minutes into the contest, when Filip Forsberg got on the end of a move from Matt Duchene and Roman Josi to capitalise on an early power play.

That power play unit struck again in the second period, this time with Forsberg and Duchene setting up Josi for the game's second goal. They converted in two of their three total power play opportunities.

Lankinen kept the Islanders scoreless through the first two periods, but it was his third, where he conceded his only goal, that drew the most praise from his teammates.

"He's the first star of the game by far," said Duchene. "The first two periods were pretty even, they had a few more shots because of power plays, but it was pretty even, there was no room out there. 

"Then in the third they threw the kitchen sink at us, and Lankinen stood tall, and we were able to recover on second pucks and rebounds for him. So he was outstanding, and he was our MVP today."

Forsberg echoed those sentiments, crediting Lankinen with the win.

"It's the only reason we're having this interview happy," he said. "Obviously, he was unbelievable for us, especially in the third, but even through the whole game. 

"I don't know how many saves he had in the third, but it was probably 20 almost just in the third period. I mean, we have the two best goalies in the league."

Lankinen had 21 of his 48 saves in the third period, with head coach John Hynes adding: "Kevin was great – he was really good down the stretch. It's great to see him get rewarded."

With the win, the Predators improved their record to 12-9-2, while the Islanders are still in a strong position at 15-10-0.

The New York Islanders have fired Barry Trotz as head coach after a disappointing 2021-22 season.

Trotz spent four years in New York, and reached the playoffs in each of his first three, but the Islanders have struggled this season, ending in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 37-35-10.

A statement on the organisation's website on Monday simply read: "New York Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello announced today that Barry Trotz has been relieved of his duties as Head Coach."

Trotz was brought in by the Islanders in 2018 having just won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals, but he was unable to repeat the feat in New York.

They were eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the playoffs in 2018-19, though Trotz won the Jack Adams Award for the second time in his career that year, having also won it with the Capitals in 2016.

The Islanders were beaten by the Tampa Bay Lightning in each of the next two seasons, who went on to win the Stanley Cup on both occasions.

NHL legend Mike Bossy has died at the age of 65, the New York Islanders said on Friday.

Canadian right-winger Bossy was a four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Islanders and spent his entire NHL career with the franchise, from 1977 until his retirement in 1988.

In that time, Bossy scored 573 goals, which remains the most by any player in Islanders history, and added 553 assists for a combined 1,126 points in 752 games.

He achieved an NHL record of scoring 50 or more goals in nine consecutive seasons, posting 60 or more in five of those campaigns.

Of all players in league history, only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux reached 500 goals in fewer games than Bossy, the Islanders said.

Bossy and the Islanders won the Stanley Cup in four straight seasons from 1980 to 1983, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

In a statement, his former team said they were "deeply saddened" by news of Bossy's death, describing him as "the greatest pure goal scorer".

Bossy announced last October he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello added: "The New York Islanders organisation mourns the loss of Mike Bossy, an icon not only on Long Island but across the entire hockey world.

"His drive to be the best every time he stepped on the ice was second to none. Along with his teammates, he helped win four straight Stanley Cup championships, shaping the history of this franchise forever. On behalf of the entire organisation, we send our deepest condolences to the entire Bossy family and all those who grieve this tragic loss."

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said: "The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Mike Bossy, the dynamic winger whose goal-scoring prowess during a remarkable 10-year career ranks, by almost any measure, as one of the greatest in NHL history and propelled the New York Islanders to four straight Stanley Cups."

Bettman documented Bossy's feats in his tribute.

"Bossy scored 573 goals in 752 games – a .76 goals-per-game average that is the highest in the league's history. He is the only player ever to record nine straight 50-goal seasons and his five 60-goal seasons are matched only by Wayne Gretzky," Bettman said.

"One of only eight players in NHL history to have scored 50 goals in his first 50 games of a season, he was similarly dominating in the Stanley Cup playoffs, during which he scored 85 goals in 129 games."

Andrei Vasilevskiy was labelled the "best in the world" after guiding NHL champions the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup Final.

Lightning goaltender Vasilevskiy starred after stopping all 18 shots he faced as the Lightning outlasted the New York Islanders 1-0 in Game 7 of the semi-finals on Friday.

Vasilevskiy produced his second shutout in three games, while Yanni Gourde scored shorthanded in the second period for the Lightning – who will face the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos hailed Vasilevskiy after the Islanders – who were trying to reach the Cup Final for the first time since 1984 – were shut out in a Game 7 for the firs time.

"I don't think we can say anything more about him," Stamkos said. "He's the best in the world for a reason. He's the steady rock that allows us to play with pace, play with confidence and play with a lead."

Canadiens star Carey Price and Vasilevskiy will be the first former Vezina winners to face each other in the Stanley Cup Final since Ed Belfour (Dallas Stars) and Dominik Hasek (Buffalo Sabres) in 1999, according to Stats Perform.

Tampa Bay's Brayden Point fell short of an NHL record after failing to score a goal in a 10th straight Stanley Cup playoff game.

Point was unable to match Philadelphia Flyers forward Reggie Leach, who scored a goal in 10 successive postseason games in 1976.

"We've come such a long way; I've been with this group for a while," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. " … It's so [darn] hard to win in this League, but last year, I just found we could win in different ways, but in the end, just the warrior mentality this group had, and it was prevalent tonight.

"After a really tough loss the other night [in Game 6], you just can't count them out. They've just learned how to defend, and again another masterful performance in the defensive zone to win a huge Game 7 for us."

The Lightning will host the Canadiens – featuring in the showpiece for the first time since 1993 – in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday.

Anthony Beauvillier says the New York Islanders had no doubt they would overturn a two-goal deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning and force a Game 7 decider in their Stanley Cup semifinal series.

Things were looking cosy for the Lightning as Brayden Point scored for an impressive ninth straight game, while Anthony Cirelli registered an assist and a goal – the only blot to that point being the loss of playoff-scoring leader Nikita Kucherov to injury in the first period.

Staring down the barrel of defeat, Jordan Eberle started New York's recovery late in the second period and Scott Mayfield levelled it up with eight minutes and 44 seconds remaining in the third with an effort that went in off the crossbar.

Beauvillier was then the hero with a first career overtime goal that proved enough for the Islanders to force a deciding game, producing an impressive response to an 8-0 loss in Game 5.

"We knew we were going to bounce back," Beauvillier said. 

"Even going down 2-0, I thought we were still on top of our game. We were having good shifts and we just stuck with it. Obviously a huge character win."

Islanders' star center Mathew Barzal said the team was relaxed despite the perilous situation.

"We knew we had a lot of time on the clock still," he added. 

"Just stuck with it and fortunate enough to get two goals and tie it up, and obviously win in overtime."

The Islanders are set to move to a new venue at UBS Arena next season and with this potentially their last at Nassau Coliseum, spectators celebrated by launching beer cans and bottles onto the rink.

"I've never seen anything like that. A little dangerous, but you don't see that too often, so we embraced it," Barzal said.

"That's the Islanders faithful – they're passionate, they get excited, and it was good stuff."

The two sides will lock horns one last time in the series in Friday's decider in Tampa.

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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