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National Hockey League

 
      ***** National Hockey League Previews from The Sports Network *****
                              Friday, February 27
                              (All times Eastern)
 
 BOSTON BRUINS (29-22-9) AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS (25-27-9), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The floundering Boston Bruins will try reverse their
 recent losing trend when they visit the New Jersey Devils for Friday's battle
 at Prudential Center.
 
 Boston has posted just one win over its last eight games (1-5-2) and the
 February swoon has allowed Florida to creep within two points of the Bruins
 for the last wild card spot in the East.
 
 Making matters worse, the Bruins recently have been beset by injury problems.
 The biggest blow involves David Krejci, Boston's top-line centerman, who
 suffered a partially torn MCL last Friday in a loss against St. Louis. On
 Monday, it was announced Krejci would be sidelined for the next 4-to-6 weeks,
 and that news came only a few days after Boston learned defenseman Kevan
 Miller would need season-ending surgery to repair his injured shoulder.
 
 The club also will be without forward Gregory Campbell tonight. Campbell
 suffered an upper-body injury in Sunday's win at Chicago, and is expected to
 miss at least a week.
 
 After Boston slammed the Blackhawks, 6-2, the club fell in regulation in
 Tuesday's home test against Vancouver.
 
 The Bruins were very active offensively in the 2-1 setback, but Canucks
 goaltender Eddie Lack turned aside 40 shots to help put Boston back in the
 loss column after snapping a six-game skid on Sunday.
 
 Daniel Paille had Boston's only goal of the game, scoring just 65 seconds into
 the game. Tuukka Rask gave up both goals on 28 shots in the loss.
 
 "We had lots of shots and scoring chances, but the inability to finish is the
 only reason that we're sitting here tonight with a loss," said Boston head
 coach Claude Julien.
 
 Boston will be on the road for just one game before kicking off a four-game
 stay at TD Garden tomorrow evening against Arizona.
 
 The Devils, who are eight points behind the Bruins, had won four in a row to
 begin a six-game homestand before losing 3-1 to the Calgary Flames on
 Wednesday.
 
 New Jersey decided to deal Jaromir Jagr to Florida on Thursday for a pair of
 draft picks and the trade is a good indication the club doesn't like its
 chances of making the playoffs.
 
 Jagr had 11 goals and 18 assists in 57 games this season for the Devils,
 placing him third on the team in points. Jersey received a second-round draft
 pick in 2015 and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2016 from the
 Panthers for the 43-year-old winger.
 
 The Devils lost Wednesday after Sean Monahan scored the game-winning goal
 early in the third period, It was New Jersey's fifth setback in nine
 games and dropped the Devils to 15-9-7 as the host,
 
 Mike Cammalleri provided New Jersey's lone marker and Cory Schneider stopped
 23-of-25 shots in the loss.
 
 "It's tough to lose that one," said Schneider. "We can't let this one sit with
 us."
 
 Schneider is expected to start tonight for the Devils, who will visit Columbus
 on Saturday. New Jersey's No. 1 netminder is 1-2-0 with a 3.08 GAA in three
 lifetime starts versus Boston.
 
 The Bruins have dominated the Devils in recent years, claiming 14 of the past
 17 encounters. Boston has taken two straight and three of four from New
 Jersey, but the Devils did halt a four-game home slide in the series when it
 won a 3-2 regulation decision on April 13 of last season.
 
 Rask is expected to start tonight for Boston and is 4-2-2 with a 1.51 goals
 against average in his career against New Jersey.
 
 CALGARY FLAMES (33-24-4) AT NEW YORK ISLANDERS (40-20-2), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames will try to build off a much needed
 victory when they visit the New York Islanders for Friday's encounter at
 Nassau Coliseum.
 
 The Flames are locked in a battle for the final playoff spot in the Western
 Conference, but a recent 0-2-1 slide wasn't helping their case. However,
 Calgary was able to halt the three-game skid on Wednesday, when it posted a
 3-1 victory in New Jersey.
 
 The win over the Devils briefly put Calgary in the second wild card spot, but
 the Minnesota Wild moved a point ahead of the Flames after beating Nashville
 on Thursday.
 
 The Islanders, meanwhile, are locked at 82 points with the New York Rangers
 for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Blueshirts hold the current
 tiebreaker due to having played two fewer games, but the Isles could move
 ahead of idle Rangers on Friday.
 
 Sean Monahan scored the game-winning goal early in the third period to lift
 the Flames to the victory in New Jersey. He gave the Flames a 2-1 lead with a
 power-play goal 35 seconds into the third period. Mark Giordano jumped up to
 the right circle and Monahan was in front to direct the puck into the net.
 
 The score remained that way until T.J. Brodie notched an empty-net tally in
 the final minute.
 
 Curtis Glencross also lit the lamp and Karri Ramo made 26 saves for the win.
 
 "We scored that big goal early in the third and shut them down in the end with
 our penalty kill," Calgary head coach Bob Hartley said.
 
 The Flames improved to 16-12-1 as the guest this season with Wednesday's win,
 Tonight's contest marks the third stop on a seven-game trip.
 
 Ramo will start again tonight for Calgary. He is 1-2-0 with a 3.21 goals
 against average in three lifetime outings against the Islanders.
 
 New York halted a two-game slide in its last trip to the ice, as it used an
 offensive explosion in the third period to cruise past the visiting Arizona
 Coyotes, 5-1.
 
 The score was tied at 1-1 after 40 minutes but the Isles tallied four times in
 the first half of the third period to take control of the contest. Matt Martin
 snapped the tie at the 3:18 mark and Johnny Boychuk made it a two-goal game
 less than a minute later.
 
 Kael Mouillierat and Brock Nelson also scored in the third period, while
 Anders Lee opened the scoring for the Isles just 37 seconds into the second
 stanza.
 
 Mouillierat's goal was his first NHL tally. It came in the 27-year-old
 forward's third career game.
 
 "It's an unbelievable feeling," Mouillierat said. "You play so long and
 especially at my age to get my first crack at the NHL, there are times in the
 minors you think it's never going to happen and when it does, it's a pretty
 incredible feeling."
 
 Chad Johnson made 27 saves for the victory. Regular No. 1 goaltender Jaroslav
 Halak is expected to get the start tonight.
 
 The Isles are 22-8-0 as the host this season and are scheduled to complete a
 four-game homestand tomorrow against Carolina.
 
 New York has won four of the last six meetings against the Flames, including a
 2-1 regulation decision in Calgary on Jan. 2. Halak made 22 saves for the
 victory, while John Tavares scored both goals for the Islanders.
 
 The Flames halted a three-game road skid versus the Isles on Feb. 6 of last
 season, giving them seven wins in the past 10 meetings at Nassau Coliseum.
 
 WASHINGTON CAPITALS (33-19-10) AT CAROLINA HURRICANES (22-30-7), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals hope to avoid a third straight
 setback when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes for Friday's battle at
 PNC Arena.
 
 The Capitals, who hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference,
 have followed up a four-game winning streak from Feb. 15-21 with consecutive
 regulation losses.
 
 After dropping a 3-2 decision Sunday in Philadelphia, the Capitals were handed
 a 4-3 setback Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. The loss extended the Penguins'
 lead over Washington for third place in the Metropolitan Division to three
 points.
 
 The Caps were aiming for a season series sweep of the Pens on Wednesday, but
 fell behind 2-0 in the first period and were never able to get closer than one
 goal of the lead after that.
 
 John Carlson, Troy Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin tallied for the Capitals, who had
 outscored their rivals by a 10-1 count in winning the first three games
 between the clubs.
 
 Jason Chimera picked up a pair of assists, while Braden Holtby came up with 22
 saves in the losing effort.
 
 "I thought we took all bad penalties, unnecessary penalties. I mean you can
 get momentum off the penalty kill, but we'd get momentum off a penalty kill
 and then we'd take another penalty," said Caps head coach Barry Trotz. "Those
 are just unacceptable for me."
 
 Holtby is expected to start again tonight and owns a 6-3-0 mark and 2.08 goals
 against average in nine lifetime games against the Hurricanes.
 
 Carolina is second from the bottom in the East standings, but the club was
 able to play spoiler with Tuesday's win over playoff-hopeful Philadelphia and
 hopes to repeat that success tonight.
 
 Justin Faulk tallied a goal and an assist to power the Hurricanes to their 4-1
 victory over the visiting Flyers. Jordan Staal, Jay McClement and Jeff Skinner
 all scored, and Alexander Semin supplied two assists for the Hurricanes, who
 have won two of their last three games.
 
 Cam Ward stopped 23-of-24 shots in his 500th NHL game.
 
 "It was clear that our guys wanted to put in a really strong effort tonight,"
 said Ward.
 
 Anton Khudobin will get the call in net tonight for Carolina. He is 3-2-1 with
 a 2.81 GAA in six career starts versus the Capitals.
 
 Washington has won five straight and nine of 11 on the road in this series.
 The Caps have won three in a row overall when facing the Hurricanes.
 
 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (37-20-5) AT TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (37-19-6), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks aim to sweep a two-game swing
 through Florida and record a third victory in a row on Friday night when they
 visit the Tampa Bay Lightning.
 
 The Blackhawks began this quick stay in the Sunshine State without Patrick
 Kane, who was lost for 12 weeks due to a broken collarbone suffered in a 3-2
 shootout win over the visiting Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
 
 Even without the star forward, Chicago was able to sweep the home-and-home set
 with Florida, picking up a 3-0 victory last night behind Corey Crawford's 20-
 save shutout.
 
 Crawford recorded his second shutout of the season and 12th of his career,
 while Teuvo Teravainen, Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews all had goals.
 
 The 20-year-old Teravainen scored just over three minutes into Thursday's game
 to give the Blackhawks the only goal they needed.
 
 "I know I need to step up a little bit and provide some offense but I think
 everyone has to step up," said Teravainen, who had two goals and two assists
 in 15 games for the Blackhawks in a previous call-up this season.
 
 Goaltending also will need to step up in Kane's absence and Crawford did that
 by snapping a personal three-game slide. He had yielded four goals in each of
 his previous two starts prior to last night and is 1-1-2 lifetime versus the
 Lightning with a 1.89 goals against average and .908 save percentage in four
 meetings.
 
 Backup Scott Darling, who made 34 saves in Tuesday's win in what was his eight
 career NHL game, has never faced Tampa Bay.
 
 The third-place Blackhawks are three points behind the St. Louis Blues in the
 Central Division, while the Lightning sit second in the Atlantic Division.
 Tampa Bay is five points behind the first-place Montreal Canadiens and just
 one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings.
 
 The Lightning have been idle since Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Colorado
 Avalanche, with netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy yielding all five goals on 18
 shots in defeat.
 
 Tampa Bay was coming off a 4-2 victory at Arizona the previous night and went
 3-2-0 on a five-game road trip.
 
 "Those back-to-back games were tough, but we showed a lot of effort tonight,"
 Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "We just have to be better with the
 puck."
 
 Tyler Johnson tallied a goal and two assists, Nikita Kucherov finished with a
 goal and a helper and Brett Connolly and Ondrej Palat each lit the lamp as
 Tampa Bay's two-game game winning streak came to an end.
 
 The Lightning will play four of their next five at home and are likely to
 start Bishop, who is 2-1-1 with a 3.49 GAA and .907 save percentage in four
 games versus the Blackhawks.
 
 Tampa Bay had a five-game series winning streak versus the Blackhawks snapped
 with a 3-2 shootout loss at Chicago on Nov. 11. Kane had the lone tally of the
 tiebreaker and Crawford made 25 saves.
 
 Bishop made 37 stops for the Lightning, who are 4-1-1 in their past six at
 home versus the Blackhawks with a victory in three straight.
 
 COLORADO AVALANCHE (26-24-11) AT DALLAS STARS (27-25-9), 8:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Colorado will attempt to sweep a season series with the
 Dallas Stars for the first time in Avalanche history on Friday night as the
 two clubs clash at American Airlines Center.
 
 The Avalanche have taken the first four of five meetings between the teams
 this season, giving them a victory in five straight and eight of the last nine
 encounters.
 
 Colorado has never swept a season series with Dallas since relocating from
 Quebec, though they did sweep a pair of sets as the Nordiques in 1993-94
 (2-0-0) and 1984-85 (3-0-0).
 
 Matt Duchene, Alex Tanguay and Gabriel Landeskog have each netted a pair of
 goals with three assists in the four earlier meetings with the Stars.
 
 Nathan MacKinnon could be the one the Stars need to keep an eye on tonight,
 however. The young forward picked up his first career hat trick in a victory
 over Tampa Bay last weekend and then notched a goal in Tuesday's 5-2 setback
 to the Nashville Predators.
 
 John Mitchell had a power-play goal in defeat and Semyon Varlamov, in his 17th
 straight start, gave up four goals on 29 shots before getting lifted early in
 the third period. Reto Berra made 11 saves in relief.
 
 "They put a lot of pressure on our defense," Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy
 said. "They were the best team on the ice tonight."
 
 Colorado lost for just the second time in six games and is even with Dallas in
 the Central Division with 63 points. That has the two clubs at the bottom of
 the standings and eight points back of a wild card spot.
 
 The Avalanche will host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday and Varlamov could get
 a night off in one of these games. He is 8-3-2 with a 2.93 goals against
 average and .909 save percentage in 13 meetings with the Stars.
 
 Berra, who has not started since Nov. 25, lost his only career start versus
 the Stars, giving up four goals on 17 shots in 29 minutes of action.
 
 The struggling Stars are looking to avoid a fifth loss in a row tonight, one
 that would mark the club's longest skid since dropping a season-worst seven
 straight (0-5-2) from Oct. 25-Nov. 8.
 
 Dallas was downed 4-2 by the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, getting goals from Erik
 Cole and Jason Demers. Jhonas Enroth made 21 saves in his second straight
 start.
 
 "It's the same story. We dominated play and we hit four to five goal posts,"
 Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.
 
 Kari Lehtonen could get the call in net for the Stars tonight and is 8-6-3
 lifetime versus the Avs with a 2.85 GAA and .907 save percentage.
 
 Dallas' Jamie Benn has four assists in four meetings with the Avalanche this
 season and 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) in his last 12 against them.
 
 LOS ANGELES KINGS (29-19-12) AT ANAHEIM DUCKS (38-17-7), 10 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks aim to rebound from a shutout loss
 last time out as they take on the rival Los Angeles Kings on Friday night at
 Honda Center.
 
 The Ducks had a three-game winning streak halted with Wednesday's 3-0 setback
 to the Ottawa Senators, who got 25 saves from Andrew Hammond in his first
 career shutout.
 
 John Gibson stopped 31-of-33 shots for the Ducks, giving up a goal in both the
 first and second period.
 
 "We had chances. It's frustrating. We stopped playing our game and they
 started to get to us in the second period again," said Ducks forward Corey
 Perry. "We have to play better in the second period. You can't come back from
 2-0 the rest of the night."
 
 Ducks forward Jiri Sekac, who was acquired from Montreal on Tuesday in
 exchange for Devante Smith-Pelly, logged 14 minutes and 35 seconds of playing
 time in his debut, registering one shot and a minus-1 rating.
 
 Despite the loss, the Ducks still have a 10-point edge over the Vancouver
 Canucks for first place in the Pacific Division. The Kings are three points
 behind the Canucks and are tied with the Calgary Flames for third place in the
 standings, but own the current tiebreaker with one game in hand.
 
 Los Angeles was also cooled off by Hammond and the Senators, getting dealt a
 1-0 loss by visiting Ottawa on Thursday night. Hammond made 35 saves to keep
 the Kings off the board.
 
 "He played real well tonight," said Kings forward Tyler Toffoli.
 
 Jonathan Quick, who was coming off his own shutout victory over Detroit on
 Tuesday, made 27 saves and allowed the game's only goal 1:40 into the third
 period.
 
 The offense couldn't come up with the equalizer and the Kings' saw their
 eight-game winning streak come to an end, one shy of matching the club record.
 
 Los Angeles lost for the first time since Feb. 5 and begins a three-game road
 trip tonight.
 
 The Ducks have won six of their past seven games versus the Kings and are
 4-0-1 in the past five encounters at home.
 
 
 
 02/27 10:53:24 ET

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