DuBois' 1st shootout goal lifts Blue Jackets over Flyers 2-1

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DuBois' 1st shootout goal lifts Blue Jackets over Flyers 2-1

Postby aliciahuang » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:13 am

DuBois scored his first shootout goal on his first attempt, lifting the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

It was Columbus' 11th consecutive home victory over Philadelphia dating to 2008. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots for his 20th win.

The Flyers dropped their second in a row and third in the past four games. Brian Elliott made 35 saves.

Columbus jumped in front on Seth Jones' seventh goal of the season at 17:08 of the first period. Philadelphia was whistled for too many men on the ice and Jones sent a shot through traffic for the power-play score.

The Flyers tied it in the second. Defenseman Ivan Provorov trailed the rush and scored off a shot from above the left circle at 3:56 for his fifth on the year.

Philadelphia dominated puck possession in the second, and Jakub Voracek appeared to put the Flyers ahead 2-1 with 1:39 left. But the goal was waved off for a high stick.

"It was a hardworking game for us," Provorov said. "We competed for 65 minutes. We had scoring chances. Just couldn't put the puck in the net."

DuBois beat Elliott on the goaltender's stickside in the tiebreaker.

"I went out there with no plan," DuBois said. "I was just going to read what the goalie does. I didn't plan it. It just went in."

Columbus coach John Tortorella said knew of DuBois' history, but he had no qualms going with the rookie.

"He has accepted everything I have thrown at him and has succeeded,adidas Connor Hellebuyck jersey," Tortorella said. "I wanted to give him an opportunity."

Ken Hitchcock became the third coach in NHL history to reach 800 career wins in the Dallas Stars' 4-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

After the game, he was quickly congratulated by Chicago counterpart Joel Quenneville, who ranks second on the career list with 868 coaching wins. Scotty Bowman is the all-time leader with 1,244 wins.

"Congratulations from Joel means more than anything,adidas Wayne Simmonds jersey,'' Hitchcock said. "We've had so much mutual respect from each other and helped each other along the way when we were both kind of in the down and outs. Coming from him, it means more than the number.''

"[Hitchcock] has coached so many games, you want to do good for him,'' Stars winger Antoine Roussel said, "and you want to pick up as many things as you can from him. The details and the preparation from the game make us better.''

Hitchcock this season returned to the bench in Dallas,adidas Claude Giroux jersey, where he was coach from 1995 to 2002. In addition to the Stars, he has coached the Philadelphia Flyers, and Columbus Blue Jackets. In his first stint with the Stars, St. Louis Blues, he led them to consecutive Stanley Cup finals appearances,Authentic Sidney Crosby jersey, winning it all in 1999.

The Sharks hope to close out a recent stretch of games against Pacific Division teams on a positive note Thursday when they play the Calgary Flames in one of their last dates at SAP Center between now and the first week of February.

Thursday’s game is the Sharks’ sixth straight against a division rival, as they went 3-1-1 in their last five to help give themselves a tad more breathing room in terms of being in a playoff position before the calendar turns to 2018.

Before the Sharks played in Calgary on Dec. 14, San Jose was in third place in the Pacific Division with 35 points. Minnesota, Chicago and the Flames also had 35 points — a three-way tie for the Western Conference’s second wild card spot — so it wasn’t going to take much to fall out.

By earning seven of a possible 10 points against Pacific teams, though, the Sharks stayed in third place and moved two points up on Anaheim and three up on Calgary.

“We definitely know the significance of the division games. They’re all four point games,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said. “The teams we’re playing, whether it’s Edmonton or Calgary or Anaheim or L.A., we know they’re all going to go on runs at different points here in the second half. That makes these games even more important to give yourself some breathing room.”

Thursday’s game is one of only five the Sharks will play at home between now and Feb. 6. In between are two five game road trips, one three-game trip, a bye week and a single road game in Anaheim on Jan. 21.

Of course, the Sharks don’t have to think that far back to what was one of their most complete games in December — a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

“We had four lines that were effective, Authentic Connor Hellebuyck jersey,which is something that we hadn’t had for a while and I think it fed off of that,” DeBoer said. “I think our defensive game was always there. But when we can’t play four lines or we don’t feel comfortable playing four lines and we start overusing guys, we get in trouble.”

2. No lineup changes: The Sharks are staying with the same lineup they had for their win over the Kings. Logan Couture is improving. So is Barclay Goodrow. Neither are ready to play.

On defense, Dylan DeMelo and Joakim Ryan will make up the Sharks’ third defense pair, with Paul Martin and Tim Heed taking a seat in the press box. At least for the time being, the Sharks are keeping eight defensemen, bringing some internal competition for ice time.

Ryan played just 10:13 against the Kings in his first NHL game in two weeks. Part of the lack of ice time had to do with the amount of special teams work the Sharks did in the first period. Still, with Martin and Heed itching to get back in, Ryan wants to seize on this opportunity to play.

“Competition like this is healthy. Everyone wants to play,” Ryan said. “You’ve got to make sure that when you’re in there, you’re having a good game. You’ve got to give them reasons to not take you out of the lineup.”

3. Timo’s progress. The last time the Sharks played the Flames, Timo Meier, on a line with Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, had a goal and an assist in San Jose’s 3-2 win The three remain together and are coming off another strong effort against Los Angeles.

Meier has three goals and two assists in 11 games this month. But the ice time received over that same period — just once below 13 minutes — is a pretty good indication of the increased trust he’s earned from DeBoer and the Sharks’ coaching staff.

“I felt I was improving, that I was getting better before the break,adidas Shayne Gostisbehere jersey,” Meier said. “Just sticking to the game. Don’t think too much. Just go out there, play hard, have fun and help the team win.”

We'd like to end 2017 on a positive note. Perhaps the year didn't finish the way you had hoped for your favorite hockey team, and you need something to look forward to. Or maybe things are going great and you're wondering if this good fortune is sustainable. For this week's Power Rankings -- voted on, as always, by ESPN's panel of experts -- we identified a reason for optimism in 2018 for each of the 31 franchises. That is, if all goes according to plan.

How we rank: We use a panel of voters, and these rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams are favored over lower-ranked teams. A run of wins doesn't guarantee a jump, and a couple of losses doesn't guarantee a fall.

That positioned the Leafs two points ahead of the Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division, but the Leafs have also played three additional games. And the way things are going for Boston right now, with only two regulation losses in 11 games in December, maybe we have to accept something that seemed a little unrealistic at the start of the season: This Bruins team might be pretty damn good.

That might be a bit difficult to accept for a lot of reasons. On paper, their defense is pretty underwhelming even if it has a few bright spots. On paper,Authentic Shayne Gostisbehere jersey, their forward group has like five guys who look to be difference-makers (even if you rightly believe that first line is among the best in hockey). On paper, Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin might not seem like anything resembling a great goaltending tandem any more.

And on paper, when they started out 6-7-4 due largely to a raft of injuries to important players, so that’s hockey.,Authentic Wayne Simmonds jersey, you would have been well within your rights to take a pass on the Bruins’ playoff chances. They’re 12-3-1 since that time, though, and while that has obviously required some serious luck (their PDO is 102.7 in that time, fourth-highest in the league) they’ve been very good foundationally as well. Their possession numbers over the last 16 games rank fifth in the NHL. Their numbers have,Authentic Claude Giroux jersey, in fact, been very good all season — they were also fourth in possession over their first 17 games, but had a 98.6 PDO

It’s hard to overstate how important that top line is, though. Injuries and other issues forced Bruce Cassidy — who by the way has now coached the Bruins for 61 games and has 80 points and some really good underlying numbers since he took over behind the bench — to separate the incredible trio of Brad Marchand,adidas Nolan Patrick jersey, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak for a good chunk of the season, and while those guys were all still good apart, together they’ve been dynamite.

How about this: The Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line has now played almost 200 minutes together at 5-on-5 and haven’t been on the ice for a goal against. They’ve also scored 10 times, which isn’t a huge number given the TOI,adidas Sidney Crosby jersey, but it’s at least respectable, and the result of an on-ice shooting percentage of just 8.1. Maybe you’d expect a higher that standard they’ve been a little lucky this season.

But even when those guys — with their 60-plus Corsi, shot, there’s something good going on. When they’re all north of 55? That’s incredible., and expected-goal shares — are off the ice, the Bruins are still very good (though that obviously ignores the fact that they were being sprinkled throughout the lineup earlier in the year). But let’s take, for instance, David Backes, who might be out for quite a while still, and looked Very Done last year and early in this season as well. Despite looking like he was going to be a huge drag on the Bruins all year, his underlying numbers are elite just about any way you want to look at them. And that’s with the majority of his minutes being played with the basically no-name duo of mediocre veteran Riley Nash and promising-but-not-highly-touted rookie Danton Heinen. When you can get anyone to get David Backes’s underlying numbers to look respectable

A lot of the credit has to go to Cassidy: He was handed the keys to a franchise with too many older, both the power play and penalty kill are better than league average as well.,Authentic Nolan Patrick jersey, broken-down, overpaid players and too many guys on ELCs. There were elite contributors throughout the lineup, but seemingly not enough to get things turned around. Not only does he have the Bruins playing at a roughly 108-point pace since he took over, but every number is great at 5-on-5; third in xGF and goals, first in Corsi, and all with a manageable PDO. And this season

But so too must we credit a lot of the lower-pair contributors. Heinen has 22 points in 30 games thanks in large part to an unsustainable shooting percentage, but his underlyings are phenomenal as well. Frank Vatrano is having another good season. Anders Bjork was good until he wasn’t. Jake DeBrusk has been pretty good as well. And obviously the crown jewel in the Bruins’ stable of youngsters is Charlie McAvoy, whose performance has been above and beyond anything anyone had any right to expect this season. He has 19 points, which is a good total for any defenseman (tied for 26th in the league), but his performance at 5-on-5 is Chara-in-his-prime good in terms of the underlying numbers.

Obviously McAvoy doesn’t have the all-encompassing presence his pairing partner once did and to some extent still does, getting No. 1, but he’s making everyone he’s on the ice with look better to an extent that no one could have anticipated, no matter how high on him they might have been. If this kid, playing his first full season of pro hockey, tough-assignment minutes, as a teenager, hits 40ish points this year and has possession of 55ish percent at year’s end, then it’s as easy a Calder decision as we’ve had in recent years.

And Chara is still playing very good hockey, by the way. So is Torey Krug (despite the occasional grumble from locals in Boston). These were the three guys the Bruins needed to have going all year to be competitive, and they’re all doing it. But here’s how well things are going for the Bruins right now: Kevan Miller is having a dynamite season with positive relative numbers at 5-on-5 pretty much across the board.

If the D can keep this up — i.e. if McAvoy can avoid hitting the wall Brandon Carlo did last season — then there’s no reason to think the Bruins will slow down.

While they probably were never as bad as they were to start the year, they also aren’t as good as they’ve been in recent weeks. But the middle ground there is, of course, what puts them comfortably in contention for the second playoff spot in the division, and given both the way things have gone and the quality of the team in first, that feels just about right.
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