NHL MORNING SKATE – DEC. 31, 2014
 
 
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PRACTICES AT NATIONALS PARK
Both the Capitals (11:30 a.m. ET) and Blackhawks (2:30 p.m. ET) will practice today at Nationals Park in advance of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
 
The latest look at the rink build for the New Year’s Day game:
 
 
 
REMINDER: NBCSN MARATHON OF ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC
NBCSN will air the first three episodes of Road to the NHL Winter Classic in the U.S. tonight starting at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT and 7:00 p.m. CT.
 
ICYMI: Click here for a recap of the third episode of the series, which premiered yesterday. Fans who missed the episode also can watch it on demand here.
 
CRAWFORD, RAANTA REVEAL WINTER CLASSIC MASKS
Blackhawks goaltenders Corey Crawford and Antti Raanta revealed their custom masks for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
 
Crawford’s design (on the left) matches the team’s special white jerseys for the game, while Raanta’s (on the right) features the Chicago skyline, wintry details and a monochrome logo.
 
 
 
WINTER CLASSIC QUICK HITS
* The Winter Classic debuted on Jan. 1, 2008, at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., where the Penguins defeated the Sabres 2-1 in a shootout.
 
* The first regular-season outdoor game in NHL history took place on Nov. 22, 2003, when the Canadiens defeated the Oilers 4-3 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton in the 2003 Molson Canadian NHL Heritage Classic.
 
* Fourteen players on the Capitals roster have skated in a regular-season outdoor NHL game. Of those 14, two have participated in more than one such game: Jason Chimera (2003 HC, 2011 WC) and Brooks Orpik (2008 WC, 2011 WC, 2014 SS).
 
* Nineteen players on the Blackhawks roster have participated in a regular-season outdoor NHL game. That includes 17 of their 20 players who appeared in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Soldier Field.

* Capitals forward Jay Beagle posted his second blog in advance of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
 
* The NHL announced the performers and entertainment for the New Year’s Day game, including a tribute to the United States Armed Forces.
 
* The two-day forecast for Nationals Park, courtesy of the Weather Channel:
 
 
 
BLACKHAWKS CONTINUE TO DOMINATE ALL-STAR FAN VOTE
The Blackhawks continue to close in on top vote-getter, Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons (1,466,077), after six weeks of balloting in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by SiriusXM.
 
Forwards Patrick Kane (1,075,304) and Jonathan Toews (1,061,691) as well as defenseman Duncan Keith (1,044,124) all have crossed the 1 million vote mark, narrowing Girgensons’ overall lead as the Blackhawks prepare to take part in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (955,385) and defenseman Brent Seabrook (875,686) round out the top six vote-getters.
 
Through six weeks of balloting, more than 31 million votes have been collected. Voting concludes at 11:59 p.m. ET tomorrow, with the top six vote-getters by position – three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender – set to take part in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game.
 
Click here for the complete results through six weeks of voting. The real-time leaderboard of the top vote-getters is available at NHL.com/vote.
 
2014 CALENDAR YEAR LEADERS
The top individual and team performances in the calendar year (through games of Tuesday, Dec. 30):
 
GOALS
t-1. Rick Nash (NYR): 42
t-1. Joe Pavelski (SJS): 42
t-1. Tyler Seguin (DAL): 42
t-4. Gustav Nyquist (DET): 38
t-4. Alex Ovechkin (WSH): 38
 
ASSISTS
1. Claude Giroux (PHI): 62
2. Ryan Getzlaf (ANA): 59
3. Sidney Crosby (PIT): 58
t-4. Nicklas Backstrom (WSH): 53
t-4. Jakub Voracek (PHI): 53
 
POINTS
1. Claude Giroux (PHI): 29-62—91
2. Tyler Seguin (DAL): 42-46—88
3. Sidney Crosby (PIT): 25-58—83
4. Phil Kessel (TOR): 34-48—82
5. Ryan Getzlaf (ANA): 23-59—82
 
POWER-PLAY GOALS
t-1. Alex Ovechkin (WSH): 19
t-1. Joe Pavelski (SJS): 19
3. Wayne Simmonds (PHI): 17
4. Gustav Nyquist (DET): 14
5. Tyler Seguin (DAL): 13
 
SHORTHANDED GOALS
t-1. Rick Nash (NYR): 5
t-1. Tyler Johnson (TBL): 5
t-3. Andrew Cogliano (ANA): 4
t-3. Tomas Plekanec (MTL): 4
t-3. Brandon Sutter (PIT): 4
t-3. Tyler Toffoli (LAK): 4
 
GAME-WINNING GOALS
t-1. Rick Nash (NYR): 10
t-1. Alex Ovechkin (WSH): 10
3. Mike Cammalleri (CGY/NJD): 9
t-4. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARI): 8
t-4. Max Pacioretty (MTL): 8
t-4. Tyler Seguin (DAL): 8
 
WINS (GOALTENDER)
1. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR): 37
t-2. Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT): 36
t-2. Carey Price (MTL): 36
t-4. Ben Bishop (TBL): 35
t-4. Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ): 35
 
SHUTOUTS
t-1. Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT): 8
t-1. Henrik Lundqvist (NYR): 8
t-1. Jonathan Quick (LAK): 8
t-4. Jaroslav Halak (STL/WSH/NYI): 6
t-4. Braden Holtby (WSH): 6
t-4. Kari Lehtonen (DAL): 6
t-4. Carey Price (MTL): 6
 
TEAM POINTS PERCENTAGE
1. Anaheim Ducks: .686 (49-20-9)
2. Boston Bruins: .658 (47-22-10)
3. Pittsburgh Penguins: .651 (44-21-11)
4. Montreal Canadiens: .641 (47-25-6)
5. New York Rangers: .640 (44-23-8)
 
TUESDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Montreal 2, FLORIDA 1 (SO)
NASHVILLE 3, St. Louis 2
EDMONTON 3, Los Angeles 2 (SO)
Vancouver 3, SAN JOSE 1
 
CANADIENS EDGE PANTHERS, MOVE INTO FIRST IN EAST
The Canadiens yielded the tying goal to Nick Bjugstad with 1:49 remaining in regulation, but Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau potted the lone marker in the shootout to lift the club to its fourth consecutive victory.
 
* With the win, the Canadiens (24-11-2, 50 points) leapfrogged the idle Lightning (23-11-4, 50 points) for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Canadiens have played one fewer game, but the Lightning own the ROW tiebreaker (TBL: 22, MTL: 19).
 
* Parenteau improved to 4-for-6 (66.7%) in shootouts this season; all four of his goals have been decisive markers, tops in the NHL.
 
* Overall, Parenteau is 15-for-30 (50.0%), with eight game-deciding goals, in his shootout career. His 50.0% success rate in tiebreakers ranks third among active skaters with a minimum of 30 attempts.
 
* Making his first start since Nov. 29, Dustin Tokarski recorded a season-high 36 saves – and denied all three shootout attempts he faced – to improve to 4-2-1 with a 2.23 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in eight appearances. That includes a 3-1 mark in shootouts.
 
* Brendan Gallagher scored the club’s lone goal in regulation. He has five tallies in his past 10 outings and ranks second on the team with 11 goals this season.
 
* The Canadiens improved to 6-2-0 in their last eight meetings with the Panthers dating to Jan. 22, 2013.
 
WEBER POWERS PREDATORS PAST BLUES
Knotted at 2-2 midway through the third period, Shea Weber (2-0—2) scored while shorthanded to power the Predators to a 5-1-1 record in their past seven games.
 
* With the victory, the Predators (24-9-3, 51 points) moved within one point of the idle Blackhawks (25-10-2, 52 points) for the top spot in the Central Division.
 
* The Predators also moved four points ahead of the Blues (22-12-3, 47 points) in the division; they have won three of their four meetings this season, with their final head-to-head matchup Jan. 29 at STL.
 
* At 14-2-1 this season at Bridgestone Arena, the Predators are tied for the most home wins in the Western Conference (also t-2nd in NHL). Their 29 home points also rank second in the conference, behind the Kings (14-4-2, 30 points).
 
* Weber recorded his 13th career multi-goal game and first since March 27 vs. BUF. Per Elias, his 13 multi-goal performances rank third among active defensemen, behind Sergei Gonchar (22) and Mike Green (16).
 
* Weber scored his fifth career shorthanded goal and first since Jan. 19, 2012 at CBJ. He also posted his 22nd career game-winning goal and first of the season; he matched a career high with four such tallies in 2013-14.
 
* Gabriel Bourque (1-1—2) and Olli Jokinen (0-2—2) added multi-point games. The line of Bourque (+2), Jokinen (+2) and Paul Gaustad (+3) combined for a +7 rating.
 
* Pekka Rinne made 26 saves to pick up his League-leading 24th win of the season. He also ranks second in goals-against average (1.88), save percentage (.934) and saves (859).
 
* The Predators improved to 12-0-0 in games this season following a loss (of any kind).
 
MILLER BACKSTOPS CANUCKS OVER SHARKS
Ryan Miller made 31 saves to backstop the Canucks to a 3-0-1 mark in their last four games as well as 3-0-1 record in their last four meetings with the Sharks dating to Nov. 7, 2013.
 
* At 21-11-3 (45 points), the Canucks maintained second place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the Kings (18-12-8, 44 points) and two points ahead of the Sharks (19-13-5, 43 points) and Flames (20-15-3, 43 points).
 
* Miller improved to 9-1-1 with a 2.05 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and two shutouts in 11 career appearances against the Sharks. That includes seven straight wins dating to Feb. 13, 2010.
 
* Jannik Hansen scored his 14th career game-winning goal and second of the season (also Nov. 23 vs. CHI: 3-0—3).
 
* Radim Vrbata added his team-leading 14th marker of the season. Daniel Sedin (8-23—31) and Henrik Sedin (6-24—30) assisted on the goal; they rank first and second, respectively, on the club in points.
 
DID YOU KNOW?
The Sharks were awarded two penalty shots in one game for the second time in franchise history – and it came exactly five years after the first instance (Dec. 30, 2009 vs. WSH).
 
* On Tuesday, Joe Thornton converted against Ryan Miller, while Joe Pavelski failed on his attempt.
 
* Five years ago, Thornton also converted (against Michal Neuvirth) – the last successful penalty shot by a Sharks player. Ryane Clowe was denied on the team’s other attempt.
 
OILERS OUTLAST KINGS, HALT SKID
The Oilers conceded a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes of regulation, but Ben Scrivens stopped all four shootout attempts he faced and David Perron potted the lone marker in the tiebreaker to help the club snap its nine-game skid (0-7-2).
 
* Making his 100th NHL appearance, Scrivens denied 37 shots to defeat his former club for the first time. Scrivens played 19 games for the Kings last season, compiling a 7-5-4 record.
 
* Perron improved to 10-for-35 (28.6%), with six game-deciding goals, in his shootout career.
 
* Ryan Nugent-Hopkins registered his team-leading 11th goal and 24th point of the season.
 
* Todd Nelson earned his first NHL victory since taking over behind the bench on Dec. 15.
 
LOOSE PUCKS
Despite the shootout loss, the Panthers extended their home point streak to eight games (6-0-2), matching a franchise record set Nov. 5-26, 1995 (7-0-1) . . . The Sharks suffered their first home loss since Nov. 26, snapping an eight-game winning streak at SAP Center . . . Despite falling in the shootout, the Kings extended their point streak at Rexall Place to 13 games dating to Nov. 26, 2008 (11-0-2) . . . Blues goaltender Brian Elliott made a season-high 44 saves in his first appearance since Nov. 25 . . . Kings forward Marian Gaborik posted one assist. He has points in seven straight appearances dating to Dec. 14 (7-4—11) . . . Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad collected one assist (5-15—20 in 34 GP), moving within one point of tying the franchise record for points by a rookie defenseman (Ed Jovanovski: 10-11—21 in 70 GP in 1995-96) . . . Blues captain David Backes (0-2—2) recorded his third multi-point game of the season . . . The Panthers played their League-leading 15th game that required extra time (6-9), including their League-leading 10th shootout contest (5-5) . . . Blues forward T.J. Oshie found the back of the net while skating in his 400th NHL game (97-173—270) . . . ICYMI: The 14-year-old sister of Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau performed the Canadian national anthem prior to the Canadiens-Panthers game.
 
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
NY Islanders @ Winnipeg, 5:00 p.m., MSG+, TSN3
Tampa Bay @ Buffalo, 6:00 p.m., SUN, MSG-B, BELL TV
NY Rangers @ Florida, 6:00 p.m., MSG 2, FS-F
Toronto @ Boston, 7:00 p.m., SN, TVA, NESN
Carolina @ Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m., FS-CR, ROOT
Minnesota @ Columbus, 7:00 p.m., FS-N, FS-O
New Jersey @ Detroit, 7:30 p.m., MSG+, MSG+ 2, FS-D
San Jose @ Anaheim, 8:00 p.m., CSN-CA, FS-W
Arizona @ Dallas, 8:00 p.m., FS-A+, FS-SW
Philadelphia @ Colorado, 9:00 p.m., CSN-PH, ALT
Edmonton @ Calgary, 9:30 p.m., SN, SN1
NBCSN Channel Finder
Sportsnet Channel Finder
 
RIVALRIES HIGHLIGHT NEW YEAR’S EVE GAMES
The NHL closes the calendar year with an 11-game slate, highlighted by a trio of rivalry games:
 
* The Bruins face the Maple Leafs at TD Garden in the third of four meetings between the clubs in 2014-15. The teams have split their first two matchups, with Boston earning a 4-1 victory on Oct. 25 and Toronto posting a 6-1 win on Nov. 12 – both at Air Canada Centre. Overall, the Bruins have won three of their past four outings, while the Maple Leafs have lost five of their last six.
 
* The Sharks visit the Ducks at Honda Center in the fourth of five meetings this season between the intrastate rivals. San Jose won their first two matchups (4-1 on Oct. 26 and 6-4 on Nov. 29), while Anaheim earned a 3-2 victory in their most recent meeting on Dec. 22 courtesy of a Ryan Kesler overtime goal. Overall, the Sharks have dropped three straight (0-2-1) following a five-game winning streak, while the League-leading Ducks are 10-2-1 in their past 13 outings.
 
* The Flames and Oilers stage the third edition of the Battle of Alberta this season when they meet at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary has won the first two matchups, posting a 5-2 victory on Oct. 9 and a 4-1 triumph on Saturday, and also has recorded four straight wins in the head-to-head series dating to March 1. Overall, the Flames have won three consecutive games, while the Oilers broke a nine-game skid a shootout victory over the Kings on Tuesday.
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