Blackhawks ease past Avalanche; Penguins rout Panthers
Blackhawks ease past Avalanche; Penguins rout Panthers
Patrick Kane scored his team-leading 32nd goal and Marcus Kruger added an empty-netter for Chicago, which won for the 17th time in its last 20 games to pull seven points ahead of second-place Minnesota in the Central Division. The Wild dropped their fifth straight, 5-4 to Winnipeg on Sunday.
With Chicago trailing 3-1, Toews tipped in Kane’s bouncing shot at 10:17 of the third period to cut it to 3-2. The goal withstood a video review that showed Toews may have been offside. Panik rifled in a loose puck from the slot 17 seconds later to tie it at 3. Panarin put Chicago ahead 4-3 just 17 seconds after that.
Chicago backup Scott Darling stopped 22 shots to extend his winning streak to six games.
Mikhail Grigorenko scored twice and Sven Andrighetto had a goal for the last-place Avalanche.
PENGUINS 4, PANTHERS 0: Sidney Crosby again picked up the slack with Evgeni Malkin out, getting his 10th career hat trick and leading the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Florida Panthers.
Crosby’s natural hat trick came in a span of 11 minutes between the second and the third period, pushing his goal total to an NHL-high 40 and moving him into a tie with Edmonton’s Conner McDavid for the league scoring lead with 80 points. Linemates Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel assisted on all three of Crosby’s goals.
Patric Hornqvist added his 18th of the season for Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21 shots for his 44th career shutout. The Penguins remained one point behind Columbus for second place in the Metropolitan Division behind Washington.
Florida’s Jaromir Jagr joined Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Ron Francis as only players in NHL history to play in 1,700 games but the Panthers saw their fading playoff hopes take another hit. Reimer finished with 24 saves but received little help from those in front of him.
FLAMES 5, KINGS 2: Linemates Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan had a goal and two assists each to lead Calgary over Los Angeles.
Michael Stone, Mark Giordano and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Flames, and Brian Elliott made 19 saves for his 11th straight win to tie a club record set by Mike Vernon in the 1988-89 season.
The Flames moved into third in the Pacific Division past the Edmonton Oilers, who will host Los Angeles on Monday. Calgary got its second straight win and 12th in its past 13 games.
Anze Kopitar and Nic Dowd scored for the Kings, who remain six points behind the Nashville Predators for the final Western Conference wild card.
Goalie Jonathan Quick started for the Kings but was replaced by Ben Bishop at 11:36 of the first period after giving up two goals on seven shots. Bishop stopped 14 of 16 shots.
BLUE JACKETS 4, DEVILS 1: Lukas Sedlak and Brandon Dubinsky scored on penalty shots and the Columbus Blue Jackets clinched their third playoff berth in franchise history with a victory over the New Jersey Devils.
This was only the third time in NHL history that a team scored twice in a game on penalty shots. Thomas Gradin and Ivan Hlinka of Vancouver did it against Detroit in 1982, and Ryane Clowe and Joe Thornton of San Jose converted against Washington in 2009.
The win was the fourth straight for the Blue Jackets, gave them their first 100-point season and moved them into a tie with Washington for the NHL’s best record with 11 games left. Columbus, which joined the league in 2000, last made the playoffs in 2014.
Boone Jenner added two goals, one short-handed and the other into an empty net. Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves for Columbus, which is 12-3-1 in its last 16 games.
Adam Henrique scored for the Devils, whose season is all but over after falling to 1-10-2 in its last 13.
JETS 5, WILD 4: Josh Morrissey one-timed in a goal with 7:17 left to end Minnesota’s rally from four goals down and give the Winnipeg Jets a chaotic victory over the Wild.
It was Minnesota’s fifth straight loss and they only have two wins in their last 10 games.
Winnipeg led 4-0 early in the second period after scoring on four of its first eight shots but the Wild rallied with four straight goals in the second period.
Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry scored on Winnipeg’s first and third shots, respectively, and Ben Chiarot and Dustin Byfuglien also found the back of the net. Mathieu Perreault and Blake Wheeler each had a pair of assists, with Wheeler getting to 500 career points.
Chris Stewart scored twice and Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund also had goals for the Wild.
FLYERS 4, HURRICANES 3, OT: Travis Konecny tied it with 42.9 seconds left in the third period and Brayden Schenn scored 38 seconds into overtime to lift the Philadelphia Flyers over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jordan Staal scored a power-play goal with 8:11 left in the third to put Carolina ahead 3-2 but Konecny scored with Flyers goalie Steve Mason on the bench for an extra attacker, then Schenn ended it by finishing a rebound from close range.
Ivan Provorov had a goal and two assists and Dale Weise also scored for Philadelphia, which pulled within five points of idle Toronto for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia, which has 11 games remaining, would have to pass three teams for a postseason bid.
Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm also scored for Carolina, which is six points out of the playoffs.
CANADIENS 4, SENATORS 1: Carey Price made 30 saves for his 33rd win of the season as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators to sweep the home-and-home series.
Tomas Plekanec, Jordie Benn, Paul Byron and Nathan Beaulieu scored for the Canadiens, who lead the Atlantic Division by four points over the Senators, who still have one game in hand.
Tom Pyatt scored a first-period goal for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 33 shots.
The Canadiens also beat the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday, winning 4-3 in a shootout.
Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal
- The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
- After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.
Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #Wenger Out believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.