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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — After more than 100 career starts, Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom finally has his first NHL shutout.

Markstrom made 30 saves and the Canucks blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Tuesday night for their third straight win.

Vancouver defenseman Derrick Pouliot had a goal and two assists. Nikolay Goldobin and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Canucks (14-10-4).

In his ninth NHL season, Markstrom had gone 129 career games and 115 starts without a shutout. He came close on Saturday night in a 2-1 victory over Toronto, but the Maple Leafs spoiled the party by scoring with just under three minutes left.

This time, the 27-year-old Swedish netminder would not be denied, and his Vancouver teammates swarmed him after the buzzer.

“I guess they were really happy about that win,” joked Markstrom. “We have a good group here. We battle together and we win and lose together. It’s a good group of guys and it’s nice when stuff like this happens.

“It’s nice to be able to contribute. If you don’t let in any goals, that’s a good way to do it.”

The Hurricanes (11-10-5) dropped the opener of a six-game road trip, their longest of the season. They have lost 10 consecutive games at Rogers Arena (0-7-3), where they last won in October 1999.

Scott Darling stopped 19 shots for Carolina, which carried the play in the first period.

“We are trying to find a way to continue that play we had in the first period and carry it into the second and not get disappointed that we didn’t score, that we didn’t get a lead,” defenseman Justin Faulk said.

The Hurricanes, who entered leading the league in shots on goal per game, outshot Vancouver 12-3 in the first. Darling didn’t have much to do at the other end, even though the Canucks had a power-play opportunity.

That all changed quickly in the second, though. Canucks wing Bo Horvat missed on a breakaway chance in the first minute and then Pouliot scored the first goal at 2:58. Pouliot carried the puck into the slot, made a nice deke to fake out Darling and snapped it over the goalie’s shoulder.

“I’m starting to add things to my game,” said Pouliot, who had a breakout offensive performance. “So if I’m playing well defensively that’s where it starts and I can add the offensive stuff after that. For me, it’s a confidence thing. I feel better each night.”

Vanek scored on a power play to make it 2-0 at 13:50. Sam Gagner fired from the top of the faceoff circle and Vanek, parked in front of Darling, tipped the puck into the top corner of the net. Pouliot also got an assist on the goal.

Justin Williams had the Hurricanes’ best chance in the second with five minutes left on a point-blank shot from the slot that Markstrom just got a glove on.

Carolina came out firing against Markstrom in the third, but Vancouver extended its lead at 6:26. Goldobin took a pass from Horvat in the slot, hit the post, collected his rebounded and scored his first of the season to make it 3-0. Pouliot added his second assist of the night on the goal.

“Without a doubt his best game, especially offensively,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “He did a lot of good things. He moved the puck up well when he needed to, and he’s a young D-man that is slowly feeling good about himself and finding his game.”

Game notes
Horvat left in the third period and did not return. There was no update on his status after the game. … The Canucks were without defenseman Erik Gudbranson (upper body) and forward Brandon Sutter (lower body). … The teams meet once more this season, Feb. 9 in North Carolina.


Hurricanes: Thursday night at San Jose.

Canucks: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

More NHL hockey:
Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press

This story is from’s automated news wire. Wire index

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ARLINGTON, Va. — Brian MacLellan has the power to completely remake the Washington Capitals in the wake of another early playoff exit and he faces a salary-cap crunch that would justify it.

The general manager doesn’t expect anything so drastic. He said Tuesday that he expects to tweak and retool on the fly rather than overhauling the roster of a team that won the Presidents’ Trophy in back-to-back seasons but hasn’t made it past the second round in the Alex Ovechkin era.

“I don’t think it makes sense in my mind just to blow it up or make a major change,” MacLellan said. “It’s a lot easier to make this team worse than it is better.”

Trade Ovechkin or All-Star center Nicklas Backstrom? Not in the cards right now. Fire Barry Trotz? Maybe check back next season for the coach with one year left on his contract.

Changes are coming to the Capitals by default because wingers T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams and defensemen Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk are unrestricted free agents, and young players Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Andre Burakovsky and Nate Schmidt are the priority as restricted free agents with raises coming. All that, plus a salary cap that isn’t likely to rise much from $73 million, means it will be impossible to keep this band together after an inexplicably flat Game 7 loss in the second round to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I think we’re going to be a good team still,” MacLellan said. “I don’t know that we’ll be at this level. We’ll be competitive. I’m not sure what happens.”

MacLellan acknowledged the Capitals “spent three years building up to that Game 7″ and talked openly about a two-year Stanley Cup window that might’ve slammed shut in the aftermath of the season-ending shutout loss at home to Pittsburgh earlier this month. Washington still has a Vezina Trophy-caliber goaltender in Braden Holtby, even though his playoffs were disappointing, and the talent to make the playoffs.

Now the question is how to get over the hump in the playoffs. MacLellan didn’t exactly give Trotz a ringing endorsement for his postseason moves and wants to see organizational improvements moving forward.

“Some stuff has come up that I obviously I need to hold people accountable for and make changes going forward both on the players side and on the coaching side,” MacLellan said. “I think it’s easy in hindsight for me to be critical, but the coaches make coaching decisions as they go and they have to be held accountable for their results also.”

MacLellan wouldn’t expand on what he means, though he didn’t seem inclined to strip Ovechkin of the team captaincy. After a “down year” in which he had the fewest goals of his career in an 82-game season with 33, the Russian superstar is “going to have to think of ways he can evolve into a player that still has a major impact on the game” by training to get faster as he turns 32, MacLellan said.

Ovechkin might not be a top-line player anymore, and while MacLellan didn’t close the door on trading the face of the franchise, it’s not likely — especially given that there are four years left on his contract at an almost-unmovable $9.5 million cap hit.

“He’s been a big part of where we’re at as an organization and just to casually say, ‘Let’s trade him for what for who,’ I don’t think it makes sense from an organizational point of view,” MacLellan said. “Maybe at some point if there’s a legitimate hockey deal that came available, but I don’t know that that’s where we’re at right now.”
There’s lingering uncertainty about whether the Capitals can afford to re-sign Oshie, who tied for the team lead with 33 goals, depending on what the salary cap is. And MacLellan could be managing for his own job moving forward, too.

Because of the cap and the likely departures of Williams, Alzner, Shattenkirk and Daniel Winnik and the loss of a player to Vegas in the expansion draft — maybe backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer — MacLellan may have a younger team next season. He may end up counting on prospects to fill the holes. It’s now up to him to make sure the team remains a contender.

“It’s a good team, and there’s issues, too,” MacLellan said. “There’s some issues, and they need to be addressed internally.”

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WASHINGTON — T.J. Oshie is leading the Washington Capitals in goals, but Alex Ovechkin is again leading them into the playoffs.

Ovechkin had a goal and two assists as the NHL-leading Capitals beat the surging Calgary Flames 4-2 Tuesday night and snapped goaltender Brian Elliott’s franchise-record winning streak at 11 games.

While Oshie reaching 30 goals in a season for the first time in a contract year led Ovechkin to proclaim, “Ka-ching,” the Russian superstar was the best player on the ice with 11 shots in one of his most dominant performances in recent months.

“If he’s got 11 shots every game, at least one is going to go in,” said linemate Nicklas Backstrom, whose three assists tied him with Connor McDavid for the league lead with 57. “When he’s forechecking like he is right now and he’s hitting guys, it makes a big difference for the whole team.”

In addition to a season-high 11 shots and a perfect setup on Oshie’s goal, Ovechkin drew a tripping penalty and was feeling the puck all night. It took the top line skating circles around the Flames and generating quality scoring chances to beat Elliott, who kept his team in the game by stopping 36 shots.

“That’s how you have to wear him down is with shots. It’s with net presence,” said former St. Louis Blues teammate Kevin Shattenkirk, who scored his first goal with the Capitals on the power play with 2.9 seconds left in the second period. “We had many moments there where we could’ve just put our heads down and felt sorry for ourselves, but we just kept coming at him.”

Playing his 300th career game, counterpart Braden Holtby celebrated his bobblehead night by making 29 saves for Washington, which reached 102 points and remained one ahead of the Metropolitan Division-rival Pittsburgh Penguins, who clinched a playoff spot by winning in Buffalo.

Sean Monahan and Troy Brouwer — whom the Capitals traded to the Blues for Oshie two summers ago — scored for the Flames in just their fifth loss in 22 games. The defeat certainly doesn’t hang on Elliott, who tied Mike Vernon for the longest winning streak in franchise history before Washington was too much to handle.

“Moose kept us in and we had a chance right at the end to get points out of that game,” Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. “That’s what’s most disappointing, I think.”

While the Flames continue their three-game road trip trying to move into one of the top three spots in the Pacific Division, the Capitals are trying to fend off the Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets for home-ice advantage and first place in the Metropolitan. More performances like this one from the top line of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie will help that cause.

“We try to do our best to be on the same page, our line, and you can see Backy feeling it, Osh feeling it,” said Ovechkin, who scored his 29th of the season and is on the verge of becoming the third player in NHL history with 30 or more goals in each of his first 12 seasons. “I just have fun to play there.”

Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored for the Capitals, who improved to 39-7-5 when scoring first — and also scored last thanks to Ovechkin’s power-play goal with 2:51 remaining. Ovechkin has led Washington in goals every season of his career.
“This guy can score a lot of goals,” Oshie said. “Not really my focus to lead the team in goals. My goal is to play good hockey and get wins. I wouldn’t doubt him scoring every game for the rest of the season. ”

Game notes
Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk served the first half of his two-game suspension for elbowing Kings D Drew Doughty in the face Sunday. … Only Hall of Famer Ken Dryden has more wins (193) in his first 300 games than Holtby (186). … Brouwer’s goal was his first point in six games against the Capitals.


Flames: Look to get back on track when they visit the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Capitals: Host the Blue Jackets on Thursday in a matchup between two of the top three teams in the NHL.

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Michael Leighton is back in the NHL. Gerrard Gallant is out.
Leighton but made 31 saves for the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night in 3-2 victory over Florida that turned out to be coach Gerrard Gallant’s last with the Panthers.
Florida fired coach Gallant after the game, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. Tom Rowe, who was promoted to general manager before the season, will assume the coaching duties, said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t announced the moves.
Leighton hadn’t been in an NHL net in four years and hadn’t won in six. He shrugged off a two-goal deficit as his teammates scored three goals in the second period, stopping 31 shots.
Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist to spark the rally, which stopped a two-game losing streak and a six-game slide in the series.
Viktor Stalberg and Derek Ryan also scored for Carolina, with Ryan getting his first of the season.
“Leighton was outstanding,” said Carolina coach Bill Peters said, whose team has won five straight home games. “Once it was 3-2 he made four or five good saves. He made a great glove save on (Alexsander) Barkov coming across the middle, made a save on a penalty kill on (Aaron) Ekblad coming around the back door. He made some great saves.”
Cam Ward had started the previous nine games in goal for Carolina. Regular backup goalie Eddie Lack has been on injured reserve under concussion protocol for six days, with Leighton called up from Charlotte of the American Hockey League to serve as backup.
Jonathan Marchessault and Ekblad scored for Florida, and Barkov had two assists.
“I’m happy to be back and happy to get a win,” Leighton said. “I felt better as the game went on. The first two goals were kind of fluky. As a team we knew we had to play better in the second period. We came out flying and that made my job a little easier.”
Florida goalie James Reimer had 24 saves.
Florida’s Jaromir Jagr played in his 1,651st NHL game, tying him with Chris Chelios for fifth in NHL history. The 44-year-old Jagr had a first-period assist.
Jagr is a game behind former Pittsburgh teammate and former Hurricane Mark Recchi for fourth place. The Czech star has 1,127 assists and is eight behind former Hurricane Paul Coffey for fifth on that list.
“For five minutes we let them come back in the game,” Gallant said in his final interview as Florida coach. “They scored three goals, and that was disappointing because we played 55 good minutes tonight, but it wasn’t good enough.”
Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal sustained an upper-body injury in the first period and did not return.
Florida took a 2-0 lead in the first period, outshooting the Hurricanes 16-9.
Marchessault scored at 5:41 on a power play, picking up his 10th of the season when he followed Jagr’s shot to beat Leighton. The goal broke Carolina’s NHL-best streak of 25 consecutive penalties killed.
Ekblad followed at 9:51, with Barkov earning an assist.
Stalberg cut the lead in half at 5:21 of the second, beating Reimer glove-side.
At 7:12, Skinner tied it on a breakaway, taking a lead pass from Rask and roofing the puck past Reimer glove side. And then at 8:49, Ryan scored his first goal of the season, a power-play marker with the assist from Skinner after Ryan won a faceoff.
“It’s a big win,” Skinner said. “The last couple of games we’ve been right there and haven’t really found the way to get the result. Tonight after the first period we had a good response. We found a way to dig deep and get the result.”
NOTES: Florida alternate captain Jussi Jokinen played in 288 games for the Hurricanes from 2008-13. … Carolina D Noah Hanifin played in his 100th NHL game. … Hurricanes LW Brock McGinn (upper body) missed his second straight game, and D Klas Dahlbeck and D Ryan Murphy were healthy scratches. . Florida LW Shawn Thornton and D Dylan McIlrath were healthy extras. … The teams will play twice more this season, both in Florida on Feb. 28 and March 21.

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Getting a win at home against one of the hottest teams in the NHL was big for the Montreal Canadiens before they head out on a five-game western road trip.
Max Pacioretty’s goal 14 seconds into the third period broke a tie and lifted the Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over Carolina on Thursday night, ending the close-checking Hurricanes’ five-game winning streak.
“We played solid defensively against a hot Hurricanes team,” said forward Andrew Shaw, who scored in the first period to give Montreal (15-4-2) only its second win in six games. “Everyone was contributing at both ends.
“They’d won five in a row and we knew they’d be flying.”
The Canadiens avenged a 3-2 loss last week in Carolina with backup Al Montoya in goal. This time, Carey Price made 31 saves to improve his record to 12-1-1 with a 1.71 goals-against average and .945 saves percentage.
“We were up against a team that’s playing really well,” said Montreal coach Michel Therrien. “It wasn’t by luck that they won five in a row.”
Montreal sits first overall in the 30-team NHL, but the biggest test so far comes as they travel to Detroit on Saturday and then move on to Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
“This trip comes at a good time,” said Therrien. “It’s a big challenge against good teams.
“I’m anxious to see how we play. We’re playing with confidence, which is important.”
Elias Lindholm scored for Carolina (8-7-4), which had won its previous five games by a 14-5 margin. Cam Ward made 20 saves.
The quick, young Hurricanes checked the Canadiens relentlessly, and there was not a lot of end-to-end action for the full house at the Bell Centre to get excited about.
“You’re not going to win every game,” said Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner. “Some games you get the bounces and others you don’t, but we have to believe in the system. There’s a lot of positive things in our game.”
Carolina had chances to tie it with two power plays in the last 10 minutes of the game, but managed only one shot on goal.
“That’s not enough,” said coach Bill Peters.
The Hurricanes struck first at 10:32 of the opening period after a bounce put Lindholm in alone on the right side for a perfect wrist shot to the top corner. It was his second of the year, with both coming in the last three games.
Shaw tied it at 12:08 as he fought off a check to jam in a feed from behind the net by Charles Hudon. Hudon has yet to score a goal but has four assists in six NHL games over two seasons.
Pacioretty put Montreal ahead early the third frame when he took the rebound of a Tomas Plekanec shot off the end boards and banked it in off Ward. Peters challenged that Plekanec was offside on the play but the goal stood up to video review.
The Hurricanes, who lead the NHL in penalty killing, stopped both Montreal power plays and have not allowed a short-handed goal in 11 straight games (0-for-24).
The Canadiens announced that defenceman Nathan Beaulieu, who was hit in the neck by a puck in a game Tuesday against Ottawa, will not be on the road trip. Neither will forward Brian Flynn, who has missed seven games with an upper-body injury. Rookie Artturi Lehkonen, who has missed nine games, will make the trip.
Defenceman Zach Redmond, an off-season signing who has yet to play, was assigned to St. John’s of the AHL. He’ll play two games there, then rejoin the Canadiens on the west coast.

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Aleksander Barkov emptied out his bag of tricks trying to beat Henrik Lundqvist in a shootout.
Barkov tapped the puck off his skate, made a big deke to his forehand and then tried to reach way back with one arm for a backhand shot.
He got the winner, but only by a matter of luck — and about an inch.
Barkov and Vincent Trochek scored in the shootout, lifting the Florida Panthers over the New York Rangers 3-2 on Sunday night.
Barkov took his unconventional approach at Lundqvist knowing a goal would win the game. Lundqvist got his stick on the puck while Barkov tried going to the backhand, but it skipped over the paddle and trickled toward the goal line.
Lundqvist dove desperately as the puck approached the line, but his glove didn’t swat it away until after it had fully entered the cage.
The Panthers trailed twice but came back behind goals from Keith Yandle and Aaron Ekblad. The win gives Florida a 3-1 record on this four-game trip, and the Panthers also got their first victory at Madison Square Garden since April 18, 2013.
“We’re a pretty happy team with the wins we are stringing together,” Ekblad said. “We look to play tight games and limit chances.”
James Reimer played a big role in the win, making 33 saves and stopping two more shots during the shootout. Reimer is 3-3-1 on the season.
“He had a great bounce-back game for him,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. “I’m real happy for him. The team worked hard … but he had a huge effort tonight. That gave us the two points.”
It gets worse for New York. Mika Zibanejad left during overtime after falling hard into the end boards, and the team said he has a broken leg that will keep him out six to eight weeks.
Lundqvist made 28 saves in his 700th start for the Rangers. He is only the fifth goalie in NHL history to play 700 games with one franchise.
New York’s Chris Kreider opened the scoring with 6:45 left in the first period on his fourth goal of the season. Derek Stepan skated through the neutral zone untouched and into the Panthers zone. He dished the puck off to Kreider, and he buried a shot from atop the faceoff circle for his 10th point in 13 games.
Yandle tied it in the second period with a shot from the point while the Panthers were on the power play. It was his first trip back to New York since the Rangers traded him to Florida on June 20.
The 30-year-old defenceman signed a seven-year, $44.45 million contract three days after the deal. Yandle spent one full season with the Rangers and part of another after they acquired him from the Coyotes on March 1, 2015.
“It’s special for sure,” Yandle said. “Such a fun building to play in.”
The Rangers briefly retook the lead early in the third when Mats Zuccarello bounced a shot off Zibanejad’s body at 1:45. The goal was Zibanejad’s fifth of the season, but the Panthers eliminated the deficit when Ekblad scored his fifth with 7:54 left.
Sunday was the first time the Rangers lost back-to-back games this season, but they remain two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins for first place in the Eastern Conference. They play a home-and-home with Pittsburgh this week.
“They had a couple opportunities in tight where Hank (Lundqvist) had to make some big saves,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “But that’s the type of game right now that seems to be played throughout the league, tight. We were pretty even on both sides and lost in the shootout.”
NOTES: Prior to the game, Rangers broadcaster Sam Rosen was honoured for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Rosen was joined on the ice by members of his family and broadcast partner Joe Micheletti, and former partner John Davidson. … The Rangers scratched D Adam Clendening and C Oscar Lindberg. … Zibanejad appeared in his 300th game and is three assists away from 100 for his career. … The Panthers scratched C Seth Griffith, C Jared McCain and D Dylan McIlrath, who was making his first visit to New York since he was traded by the Rangers on Nov. 8.