Oct 23, 2018NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Pelicans will attempt to continue to ride their league-leading offense when they seek to remain unbeaten Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.Both teams are off to surprisingly strong starts, which in each case includes a win over Houston, the team that led the Western Conference in wins last season.The Pelicans (2-0) overpowered the Rockets in Houston 131-112 on opening night behind double-double performances by Anthony Davis (32 points, 16 rebounds) and Nikola Mirotic (30 points, 10 rebounds).The Clippers (2-1), meanwhile, took a defensive approach to save a 115-112 home win over the Rockets on Sunday night, denying James Harden on Houston's final possession to preserve a three-point win.The Clippers managed a split at New Orleans last season, winning in January behind a combined 39 points and 31 rebounds from Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.Neither is still with Los Angeles, with Griffin having been dealt to Detroit the day after the win at New Orleans, while Jordan left as a free agent over the summer.Another player who will not be on hand Tuesday night -- center DeMarcus Cousins -- was a difference-maker in the Pelicans' one home win over the Clippers last season. He had 35 points and 15 rebounds in the November game.Cousins, who ruptured his Achilles and missed the final three meetings with Los Angeles last season, has since moved on to Golden State as a free agent.Helping pick up the slack in New Orleans has been guard Elfrid Payton, a free-agent signing who made his Pelicans debut with a triple-double at Houston.He has since contributed 11 points to Friday's win over Sacramento.Payton credits his fast start in New Orleans to the presence of Mirotic, who has totaled 66 points in the two wins despite drawing much of the defensive attention"A lot of it is open shots and a lot of it has to do with Niko," Payton unselfishly said of his success. "Niko, he can't miss right now. A big part of that is him not missing, but along with that is our spacing. Coach (Alvin Gentry) is confident in us taking those shots. He wants us to take those shots. I think that goes a long way. We hope to keep that up throughout the year." The Clippers have opened with three straight at home, all against projected Western playoff contenders -- Denver, Oklahoma City and Houston.They've managed a winning record despite getting little offensively from guard Avery Bradley, who has totaled just 15 points in the three games, shooting just 7-for-23 (30.4 percent) overall and 1-for-8 (12.5 percent) on 3-pointers.But Bradley has been a big factor defensively, helping the Clippers limit high-powered opposing guards Jamal Murray, Dennis Schroder and Harden to a combined 16-for-53 shooting (30.2 percent)."Where we struggled was defensively last year," noted Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who has replaced his son Austin at the point with Patrick Beverley. "So that's our target." The Pelicans shot 47.1 percent in winning three of four, including both games in Los Angeles, against the Clippers last season.
Oct 23, 2018Beating the Phoenix Suns in their home opener was predictable, but defeating the reigning NBA champs less than 24 hours later was even more rewarding for the Denver Nuggets.They'll take that momentum and an unbeaten record into Tuesday night when they host the Sacramento Kings. The Nuggets (3-0) are trying to win their first four games for the first time since going 5-0 in the 2009-10 season.Denver's fast start is due in big part to its defense. No opponent has eclipsed the 100-point plateau, including Golden State. The Warriors scored 98 and were denied the century mark on an unlikely block by reserve forward Juancho Hernangomez in the final seconds Sunday night."If we defend, we can pretty much outscore everyone in this league," forward Torrey Craig said after Sunday's win. "Defense is really our main focus this year." That 100-98 win also topped a big opening week for center Nikola Jokic, who was named the Western Conference player of the week on Monday. Jokic joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players in NBA history to post a 30-plus point triple-double and be perfect from the field, which he accomplished Saturday night.Jokic 23, averaged 26.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.67 steals and 1.00 blocks in Denver's three wins while shooting .632 from the field and .500 from 3-point range. He became the first player ever to record a 30-plus point triple-double on 11 or fewer field-goal attempts.His big week, and plenty of help from Gary Harris, helped the Nuggets overcome the loss of swingman Will Barton. Barton suffered a hip/core muscle strain Saturday, which was diagnosed after an MRI was performed Sunday. The Denver Post reported Monday he will have surgery on Tuesday and be out until December.Craig started in place of Barton against the Warriors and will stay in that role against the Kings.Stopping Sacramento's offense will be a challenge. The Kings (1-2) are averaging 125.7 points a game and are coming off a 131-120 win at Oklahoma City on Sunday night. They hope they're No. 2 offense can keep it up in Denver."You know with the youth that we have, with the athleticism that we have, we're going to push the pace," guard De'Aaron Fox told The Sacramento Bee after Sunday's win. "So they're asking a lot from me to play like that for such a long time, but I want to do that. I want to be able to do that." Scoring is up around the NBA, with every team averaging more than 102 points after Sunday's schedule. Sacramento's early results are striking because it finished last in the league in 2017-18 at 98.8 points a game.The Kings could struggle to hit that total against Denver. The Nuggets are allowing just 95.7 points a game and have been stingy in the fourth quarter. In their opener, they clamped down in Los Angeles to beat the Clippers with a late defensive surge.Then Hernangomez came up with a big block on Damian Jones to keep the Warriors from reaching 100 points."This is the defense I dream about, ever since I got here," Nuggets coach Mike Malone said after Sunday's game. "I firmly believe in defense being the corner piece to being a championship-level team. We've preached it, talked about and haven't gotten it done. That's on me as a head coach. But the players deserve the credit."
Sox, Dodgers gear up for what should be epic World Series 2h ago 4 min read BOSTON -- It was 14 years ago that pinch runner Dave Roberts pulled off what has to be the biggest stolen base in the long history of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.Tuesday night, Roberts, now a manager, brings his Los Angeles Dodgers, seeking the franchise's first title since 1988, into Fenway for the 2018 World Series.Boston's Chris Sale faces LA ace Clayton Kershaw in Game 1.The Red Sox, winners of a franchise-record 108 games during the regular series, cruised to their fourth Series in 15 years (they won the first three, the last in 2013). They needed just nine games to dispose of the New York Yankees and the champion Houston Astros to continue what has been a yellow brick road.The Dodgers, on the other hand, have survived what has been a gauntlet that started when they were 16-26 back in May. They were in third place in the National League West in September, won a 163rd game to advance to the playoffs and then beat the winners of the East (Atlanta) and Central (Milwaukee) winners to reach the promised land.They won Game 7 on the road at Milwaukee Saturday night and will again be without home field advantage for their second straight World Series.This is a matchup of the first- (Boston) and third-highest payrolls in baseball.Both are deep teams and Roberts has gotten it done by playing his entire roster -- even sitting veterans like Matt Kemp, who made the All-Star team by carrying the team in the first half."Honestly, we have no choice but to buy into it," Matt Kemp said with a laugh during the NLDS. "We got guys on the bench that could go somewhere and play every single day and make an impact. But we're trying to win a championship, and every guy is on the same page." "We just got so many dangerous guys in our lineup and even on the bench. So it's pretty cool to see that." Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig homered and Kershaw closed out the deciding game in Milwaukee.The Red Sox, who have won four in a row and gone 7-2 in the postseason, haven't played since last Thursday after completing a three-game sweep in Houston.They won those three games without Sale, who started Game 1 (four innings, too many pitches) but missed his Game 5 start due to a stay in the hospital with a stomach ailment he joked (we think) was the result of a belly button ring infection. He was to have started Game 6."Just had a stomach thing," said Sale, who earned his first postseason win in the ALDS. "It's not fun. It's definitely not fun watching your team. Got to do what you got to do, though. It happened, we dealt with it, and we're here now. We keep rolling." While Kershaw has never faced the Red Sox, Sale does own two career appearances -- one start -- against the Dodgers, but they were back in 2011 and '12. He allowed nine hits and seven runs and walked five in six innings.Kershaw, who has had his postseason struggles (9-8, 4.09 ERA, lifetime), will be working on short rest but only pitched one inning (15 pitches) Saturday on his throw day. There was some speculation former Red Sox left-hander Rich Hill would start Game 1, but Kershaw makes his first Fenway start."I don't really think about that stuff," Kershaw said. "I appreciate the history and everything that goes along with Fenway Park. But I came here, I don't know how long ago, 2000-something, and got to at least see it, got to be here, got to appreciate the stadium and things like that." As far as his team's journey, the left-hander said, "It doesn't matter how you get there. But to get to go back after last year is unbelievable. Where we came from this year, it's a testament to these guys, man. It's a great group. We're excited, we're gonna celebrate tonight, but we don't want to lose again, so we'll be ready to go." Manny Machado, who quickly became a villain in the NLCS with a questionable slide at second and then a kick at the ankle of Jesus Aguilar, has also had his moments against Boston -- his 2017 slide on Dustin Pedroia injuring the second baseman's knee. It's an injury that's not fully healed as Pedroia missed all but three games this season.Machado played nine games against the Red Sox this season before being traded to the Dodgers, batting .278 with a homer and seven RBIs. Seven of those games were at Fenway, where he hit .310 with the homer and RBIs in seven games.In his career, he has played 95 games against Boston, batting .277 with 16 homers, 52 RBIs and a .796 OPS -- .278 with 8/32/.783 in 49 games at Fenway.Machado is 6-for-19 (.316) with a homer against Sale, while former Minnesota Twin is 12-for-47 (.255) with three home runs against the skinny left-hander.J. D. Martinez is 3-for-8 (.375) with a homer against Kershaw, but Eduardo Nunez is 2-for-12 (.167).When the series shifts to Los Angles for Games 3, 4 and 5, the Red Sox will add Martinez, their DH, to the lineup in right field. That will move Betts to either centerfield -- or second base. The latter is the spot he was playing as a prospect and he has been working out there in recent days and is ready to go when called.The Series features the first matchup of minority managers -- and Cora and Roberts are also the first managers in MLB history who both played for both World Series teams.Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright, who has been out with knee surgery, could be activated for the Series.This is the second World Series matchup between these two old franchises -- the Red Sox defeating the Brooklyn Robins 102 years ago.
Time: 7:00 PM EDT Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York, N. Y., 10001 / NEW YORK -- The NHL season is less than a month old, but the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers will be looking to escape some not-so-select company Tuesday night, when the Rangers host the Panthers at Madison Square Garden. Both teams lost their most recent games. The Rangers dropped a 4-1 decision to the visiting Calgary Flames on Sunday night. The host Panthers fell to the Detroit Red Wings, 4-3, in overtime on Saturday night. The defeats continued frustrating months for the Rangers (2-5-1), who have one regulation/overtime win, and Panthers (1-2-3), who have yet to win outside of the shootout. Only two other teams -- the rebuilding Red Wings and the Arizona Coyotes, who have missed the playoffs the last six seasons -- have one regulation/overtime win or fewer. The loss to the Flames was only the second one this season in which the Rangers fell by more than one goal, but dropping a game that they controlled offensively is nothing new for New York, which outshot Calgary 45-26 and is outshooting opponents 275-266 thus far." I feel like these types of games are starting to add up, unfortunately," Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said Sunday night. "We are playing good enough to win games, but we are not finding ways to win games. It's obviously something we need to change fast." The Panthers have gotten off to an even more agonizing start. All of Florida's losses have been by one goal. In hopes of changing up his team's fortunes, head coach Bob Boughner tinkered with his back end at practice Monday, when he partnered Keith Yandle with Alexander Petrovic and Aaron Ekblad with Mike Matheson. The Panthers have allowed 25 goals, which was tied for ninth most in the NHL entering play Monday night." We're just trying different things," Boughner told reporters following practice. "We could have four or five wins and have been to overtime five times. Those are fine lines in having a better record than it is. At this point of the season, I'm still looking for that extra level of protecting leads, playing a complete 60 (minutes). I want to see us respond." Michael Hutchinson, who has been splitting time in net for the Panthers with James Reimer while starter Roberto Luongo recovers from a knee injury, will start at goalie Tuesday night. Hutchinson took the loss Saturday night, when he stopped 27 shots against the Red Wings. The Rangers are likely to counter with Lundqvist, who has started seven of eight games this season, including the last five in a row. Lundqvist was saddled with the loss Sunday night after recording 22 saves against the Flames. Hutchinson is 1-1-0 in three career appearances against the Rangers. Lundqvist is 24-10-3 in 38 games against the Panthers. The game Tuesday concludes a brief two-game homestand for the Rangers and starts a multi-country road trip for the Panthers, who visit the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils on Wednesday and Saturday before playing a pair of games against the Winnipeg Jets in Finland on Nov. 1-2.
Time: 7:00 PM EDT Venue: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio, 43215 / COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The sting of a home loss during the weekend became a little more tolerable when the Columbus Blue Jackets learned that all-star Seth Jones will be available to play in Tuesday night's game against the Arizona Coyotes at Nationwide Arena. Jones suffered a second-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during a Sept. 25 preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres and missed the first seven games of the regular season. He was activated from injured reserve on Monday. The 24-year-old defenseman's projected recovery was four to six weeks, but he will return to the ice less than a month after the injury." Obviously, (he's) a big part of what we do," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said Monday, according to the team's website. "He's worked hard to get back as quickly as he's been able to. I'm happy he's back in." He does everything for us. He sets the tempo of the game, penalty killing, power play. I just can't pick on one thing he helps us with. He's just a complete player." Jones' teammates certainly will welcome him back on the ice. Last season, he contributed 16 goals and 41 assists for 57 points with a plus-10 rating in 78 regular-season games. He tied a franchise record, also set by teammate Zach Werenski, for most goals in a season by a defenseman. Jones will rejoin Werenski to form the Blue Jackets' top defensive pairing. Werenski has two goals this season playing alongside David Savard." We read off each other and know what the other is going to do," Werenski said of Jones. "We have the same mindset offensively. If he's up in the play, I'm going to read off him. If I'm up he's going to read off me. We just work well together." Savard will move to the second or third pairing while Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara remain paired together. Candidates to join Savard include Adam Clendening, Scott Harrington and Dean Kukan." Savvy's not going to lose ice time. He'll play," Tortorella said. "He's a big part of our back end." The Blue Jackets (4-3-0) and the Coyotes (2-5-0) enter the matchup after losses on Saturday. Columbus was beaten 4-1 at home by the Chicago Blackhawks. Arizona fell 5-3 on the road to the Winnipeg Jets. Each team has something in common -- a struggling power play. The Coyotes have converted just 2 of 19 chances this season with a man advantage. That ranks 29th in the NHL. In Saturday's loss, they failed on a power-play opportunity with 5:38 remaining to tie the score, finishing 0 of 4 against the Jets. The Blue Jackets were similarly frustrated by their power play against the Blackhawks, also going 0 of 4. Overall, their power play is slightly better than the Coyotes, ranking 23rd in the league (4 of 29). But at home, Columbus is just 1 of 15." We just couldn't find a way to score" against Chicago, Tortorella said. Arizona's Clayton Keller scored two of his team-leading three goals against the Jets. He also leads the team with five points. During Monday's practice at Nationwide Arena, Keller was joined on the top line by center Alex Galchenyuk, who has yet to play this season because of a lower-body injury. Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said Galchenyuk has been cleared to play and will be a game-time decision. Galchenyuk came to Arizona during the summer in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens." I don't want him to think that he has to carry this team," Tocchet said, according to the team's website. "I don't want him to play too fancy. That's just going to defeat the purpose. He's just got to be Alex Galchenyuk -- play smart, go hard and shoot when you can." He's got a great shot. We need that shot in the lineup." The Coyotes need an infusion on offense. Their 10 goals in seven games rank last in the NHL." He can score. He can create a lot of offense," teammate Alex Goligoski said. "We've kind of been missing a little bit of that scoring touch so maybe it's a good time for him to jump back in there."
Time: 7:30 PM EDT Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, PQ, Canada, H3B 5E8 / The Montreal Canadiens are off to an unexpectedly good start this season with a 4-1-2 record, but are facing their first bit of adversity when they host the Calgary Flames at Bell Centre on Tuesday. The Canadiens twice blew two-goal leads and ultimately lost 4-3 in overtime Saturday to the Ottawa Senators, another early-season surprise. It will be interesting to see how the Canadiens bounce back against the Flames." You have to learn from losses," Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher told montrealcanadiens.com after practice Monday. "You learn more from a loss than you do from a win. We made some mistakes. We understand the errors we made." After our previous losses, we've done a pretty good job of responding. This is a little bit of a different situation, where we let a lead slip away," Gallagher said. "Now we have to react the appropriate way, come back strong with a good effort and learn how to play in those situations." Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who gave up four goals on 34 shots against the Senators, will be under the microscope. He gave up a weak goal on a shot along the goal line by Ottawa's Mikkael Boedker that cut the Canadiens lead to 3-2 on Saturday. Price, who is in the first year of an eight-year, $84 million contract that pays him $15 million this season, ranks 34th in the NHL in save percentage (.904) and 25th in save percentage (2.57). The Canadiens are expected to go with the same lineup, which means forwards Charles Hudon (healthy scratch) and Tomas Plekanec (back) and defenseman Victor Mete (hand) could be out. There's a possibility Mete could play, which could result in Karl Alzner, who had a rough night against Ottawa, being scratched. The Canadiens must improve in the faceoff circle. They are ranked last in the NHL with a 42.6 winning percentage. They lost both faceoffs in overtime against the Senators, when possession is critical in a 3-on-3 situation, before losing the game." At the end of the day, I think there's a lot of things that go into being a good faceoff guy," Canadiens coach Claude Julien told The Montreal Gazette. "For certain guys, it's the experience of going through the league at least once, knowing the centermen they're taking them against. You learn to see the tendencies. You also understand that there's some experience that comes into play." There's also guys that have a real good eye-hand coordination that's unbelievable. Some of it is determination. There's so many things that come into play as far as being a centerman. So you keep working on that stuff, repetition and talking about it before our games. Even guys are watching the team that we're playing taking faceoffs (on video) and how they take them. So we try and help them as best we can in all areas, whether it's practice, whether it's video. We understand we need to get better." It could be a long night for the Canadiens given the Flames are ranked eighth in the NHL in faceoff winning percentage at 52.3 percent. The Flames are coming off a 4-1 win against the Rangers in New York on Sunday. Elias Lindholm, 23, whom the Flames acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes along with Noah Hanifan for Dougie Hamilton in June, is tied for the team lead in goals with five. He has been playing on Calgary's top line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan." We built some chemistry pretty early in the season," Gaudreau told the team's website. "He's a great teammate and a great player, a smart player, so it makes it easier to (transition) when you're playing with that good of a guy and that skilled of a player. Hopefully we can keep building off of it because I know all three of us have five, six years left on our contracts in Calgary. Hopefully we can keep building off of it and get a pretty solid line together." Calgary coach Bill Peters, who also joined the Flames from the Hurricanes, coached Lindholm in Carolina after the Hurricanes selected him with the No. 5 pick in the 2013 NHL draft." Lindy has been a good player for a long time," Peters said on calgaryflames.com. "He probably came into the league a little bit early. He played right after he got drafted and then got hurt and went down to the American League and back up, so I'm very familiar with his path. But he's a very smart player, a very reliable player who can play center and wing, real good on faceoffs. He's a good player and that's why he got drafted where he got drafted and we're excited to have him. He's going to bring a lot to our organization over time." Montreal forward Andrew Shaw said the Canadiens will be ready for the Flames speed." They're young, they're skilled, they're quick," he told the team website. "The goalie (Mike Smith) can handle the puck pretty well so we have to be sure on our dumps. They are a team that's not going to go away shy. When they compete with the skill and speed they have, they are a very dangerous team."
Time: 7:30 PM EDT Venue: Canadian Tire Centre, Kanata, ON, Canada, K2V 1AS / OTTAWA --The Ottawa Senators will put a three-game winning streak on the table when they host the Boston Bruins at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday night. The Bruins are currently going the other way. After an embarrassing, 7-0 season opening loss to the Washington Capitals, the Bruins (4-2-2) rebounded by winning four in a row, a stretch in which they outscored opponents 22-6. From there, they hit the road. And the bumps. First they were swept in Alberta, with 5-2 and 3-2 (overtime) losses to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, respectively. Then came a 2-1 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, a game in which the Bruins held a 31-22 shots advantage but had difficulty solving Jacob Markstrom." When you are in overtime and your goalie doesn't stand on his head to get you there, then usually you have played well enough," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game, per NHL.com. "I thought their goalie was really good, made some big saves for them. Our power play finally generated some stuff that we couldn't get behind him, so I give him a lot of credit. It easily could have gone our way." Injuries have hit the Bruins hard during their tour of Canada. Already without defenseman Torey Krug (ankle) since training camp, they have lost defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Kevan Miller, plus winger David Backes during the road trip. Yet the players, like their coach, feel the results could have been different." It's just frustrating," winger David Pastrnak said, per NHL.com. "Definitely, it doesn't go the way we wanted on this trip, but we lost back-to-back in overtime, and that can go either way." Senators goalie Craig Anderson will aim for his fourth consecutive victory on Tuesday. Coming off a 4-3 overtime win over Montreal in which they kept the opponents under 30 shots for the first time this season, the Senators (4-2-1) know they are facing a very dangerous team, led by the line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. That Boston trio combined for 11 points when the Bruins beat the Senators 6-3 in Boston on Oct. 8." We have to prepare something against the Bergeron line," Senators coach Guy Boucher told reporters after Monday's practice. "They are outstanding, plain and simple. As dominant a line as you can get in hockey." While the Bruins injury list is growing, the Senators are getting players back from their infirmary. Rookie winger Alex Formenton is expected to be in the lineup after missing three games with a concussion. The Senators could also be welcoming back defenseman Cody Ceci, who has missed the last three games with an upper body injury. In either case, Boucher is leaning towards going with the 11-forward, seven defensemen alignment he has favored since the winning streak began." They've been playing great ... makes it that much easier," Ceci said about his teammates. "It's painful when you're out of the lineup and you wish you could help. But they've been doing a great job without me." Winger Mark Stone feels the Senators just have to keep doing what they've been doing while losing only once in a five-game homestand that concludes against the Bruins." Play simple, play fast and execute plays when they're there," said Stone, who had two goals, including the OT winner, against Montreal. "We've got to find a way to limit their best players. I think that line really beat us that (Oct. 8) night. We've got to limit their time and space a little bit better than we had done, not just that game, but every game we've played against them. I know we're not the only team that's had that issue, but if you're going to beat the Boston Bruins you've got to shut down their top guys." A difficult chore, to be sure." I think the way Bergeron plays the game, helps those star players play," said Stone. "He's kind of their safety valve. Marchand and Pastrnak both skate so well, they both have such tremendous skill sets, that it allows them to freelance a little bit. That line, they kind of have a little bit of everything, for sure."
Time: 8:00 PM EDT Venue: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN, 37203 / Once described as a professional sourpuss, Nashville Predators coach Peter Laviolette does have a well-hidden sense of humor. It came out minutes after Nashville polished off a 3-0 shutout Saturday night in Edmonton for a sweep of its weekend road trip through Alberta. When he emerged from the locker room for his post-game scrum with the media, Laviolette did so with a bull's head over his cranium, paying off a bet he made with his players." Good on him to hold up his end of the bet," Predators defenseman P. K. Subban said. "For us as a team, it's an 82-game season and it can be a long season. When you're coming on the road with a back-to-back and a 5-1-0 record, it's a little extra motivation and we're having some fun, but good on him." While it's pretty unlikely that Laviolette will appear behind the bench for Tuesday night's home game with the San Jose Sharks with a bull's head over his suit and tie, it's clear that he knows how to get through to his talented team. Nashville (7-1-0) has picked up where it left off last season, when it won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in franchise history. The Predators have won five straight, outscoring their opponents 20-7. They presently have the best record and goal differential (+12) in the NHL. The win in Edmonton was just another example of what makes Nashville so difficult to beat. Playing a back-to-back against a team with perhaps the best player in the league in Connor McDavid, the Predators put on a puck possession clinic for two periods and then hunkered down in the third period to protect a two-goal lead." We knew before the game that they have lots of talent," Nashville goalie Juuse Saros said. "We tried to be solid in the defensive zone. We were, and our penalty kill was great, too." Playing in place of the injured Pekka Rinne (knee), Saros (4-0-0) stopped 31 shots for his fifth career shutout. With Rinne on injured reserve through Thursday night's game in New Jersey, Saros will get the call for San Jose's only visit of the season. The Sharks are off to a 4-3-1 start, dumping the New York Islanders 4-1 Saturday night as Brent Burns scored his first goal of the season while Tomas Hertl supplied three assists. San Jose dominated statistically, outshooting New York 41-25." I liked how we played," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think we've played some pretty good hockey all year. We didn't get rewarded on the road to start the season, but I knew it was a matter of time if we kept playing that way. We got home here, we started to score, we feel a little bit confident." San Jose's confidence will be tested in perhaps its biggest jinx building in the league. The Sharks have emerged from Bridgestone Arena with just one win in their last 12 attempts, dating back to 2012. Their only win in that span came on April 2, 2016 in a shootout.
Time: 8:30 PM EDT Venue: United Center, Chicago, Ill., 60612 / CHICAGO - The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks have become all too familiar with what can happen when defensive breakdowns put too much pressure on their respective goalies. As they prepare to face one another on Tuesday at the United Center, the Blackhawks and Ducks each find themselves attempting to rebound from lackluster efforts in which the mere number of shots they allowed in their last game led to lopsided losses. The Ducks enter Tuesday's game having allowed 89 shots in their last two games- both losses. After Anaheim goalie John Gibson saw 44 shots in a loss the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, back-up Ryan Miller was forced to defend 45 shots in a 4-2 loss to Buffalo on Sunday in which the Ducks took a 2-0 lead only to surrender four goals in the final 24 minutes. The heavy shot total comes at a time when the Ducks have struggled to get their offense rolling, which has led to the back-to-back losses. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Ducks have only out-shot their opponent once in eight games - a trend they will attempt to change Tuesday against the Blackhawks." We've got to get back to doing things properly, doing things the way we want to do them on a shift-by-shift basis, not just kind of when we feel like it," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf told reporters following Sunday's loss, according to the Times. "Some (play) on the offensive side, my play personally (Sunday) was embarrassing... We have young players in the lineup and some of our veteran players aren't leading the way properly." After a loss in which there was plenty of blame to go around, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said that fundamentally, things have to be better." The discipline issue crept into our game (Sunday)," Carlyle told reporters, according to NHL.com. "We took three straight penalties and a row and allowed (Buffalo) the momentum. Any time you do that in a hockey game, the other team senses an opportunity and (Buffalo) seized the opportunity." Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are trying to recover from a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay in which Chicago surrendered a modern-day NHL record 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. For the game, the Blackhawks' second straight setback - the Lightning out-shot the Blackhawks 55-36 and Cam Ward made 49 saves. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville referred to the second period as a "tough, tough period" and Quenneville said the lack of defensive effort put entirely too much pressure on Ward." I don't even know what to say to say to be honest," Ward told reporters on Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune. "We know that we need to be better, especially in our home building and play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight." Ward has played in a back-up role as starter Corey Crawford only returned from dealing with a concussion that kept him out of action since last December. On Monday, the Blackhawks placed back-up Anton Forsberg on waivers. Forsberg, who was obtained from Columbus in 2017, has not played this season. Forsberg made 30 starts last season while Crawford was sidelined, but inconsistent play led Chicago to sign Ward to a one-year deal in the offseason.
Time: 9:00 PM EDT Venue: Rogers Place, Edmonton, Canada / The Edmonton Oilers didn't have wait long to face the Pittsburgh Penguins' duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. And Edmonton coach Todd McLellan believes he has a pair of players just as formidable in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers look for a rare win over the Penguins as they continue a homestand against top-tier teams on Tuesday night. Edmonton hasn't beaten Pittsburgh in regulation since Jan. 10, 2014, going 1-5-2. And since McDavid's rookie season in 2015-16, the Oilers have dropped three one-goal decisions to the Penguins in Western Canada." We got to try and get a big win against a team that knows how to win games," McDavid said after practice on Monday. Crosby -- now in his 14th season -- has taken home more than his share of hardware including two MVP titles, two scoring championships and three Stanley Cups. But McDavid could not point to one facet of No. 87's game that stands out." It's his full 200-foot game," Edmonton's captain said hours after being named the league's second star of the week. "He's dominant in the faceoff circle. Solid defensively and, obviously, his offense speaks for itself." He's a guy that's kind of that perfect mix of everything. He's got that flash, but he's also got a grind to him that is hard to play against." It's hard to perceive Crosby as struggling offensively, but he's logged just five assists through six games. In seven career games versus the Oilers in Edmonton, Crosby has one goal and seven helpers. Pittsburgh (3-1-2) opened a four-game Canadian road trip Saturday with a 3-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs behind two goals and an assist from Malkin. Malkin is the Pens' top producer this season with three three-point games. He's alsocollected three goals and nine assists on the season. A two-time scoring champion, Malkin has five goals and an assist in a five-game points streak against the Oilers. Pittsburgh has never lost in regulation -- 9-0-2 -- to Edmonton when Malkin notches at least one point. McDavid (four goals, seven assists in six games) is an MVP and the reigning two-time scoring champion. He's also posted two goals and five assists in four career games versus the Pens." He's a great player. He's done an amazing job since he's gotten into the league," Crosby told the team's official website. "He's off to another great start." He's always a challenge to play against. You've got to make sure you're ready to go." Pittsburgh will also have to watch out for Draisaitl, who has just two goals and four assists in six games, but is always dangerous." (Pittsburgh) sounds like our team with Connor and Leon when they're playing well," McLellan noted Monday. "We should be a tough matchup for them. They should be talking about what it's like with 97 and 29." Tuesday's tilt at Rogers Place is the Oilers' fourth of six straight against teams that recorded at least 100 points last season. Edmonton (3-3-0) faces the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Thursday before traveling for a rematch with the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The Oilers' three-game winning streak ended with a 3-0 loss to Nashville last Saturday.