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NHL • Thursday Service Plays • 1/14/16

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    Preview: NY Rangers at NY Islanders

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 14, 2016
    Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

    New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson looks to ride the momentum of his first career hat trick into Thursday’s tilt against the visiting New York Rangers. The 24-year-old Nelson added an assist to his three-goal performance on Tuesday as the Islanders moved into a tie for second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    “Any division game is a big game for us,” Nelson told reporters of Thursday’s clash. “We want to separate ourselves from the other teams we’re in the standings with. This is a big game and a good opportunity to do that.” While the Islanders have won just two of their five contests in January, the Rangers have righted the ship by posting a 4-2-1 mark following a disastrous 2-6-2 stretch. Derick Brassard scored in the Rangers’ 2-1 victory over Boston on Monday to record his third point in as many games.

    TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG, MSG-Plus, TVA

    ABOUT THE RANGERS (23-14-5): Dan Girardi’s availability is in question after the defenseman’s thumb was lacerated during Monday’s game. “We’ll have to see how Dan feels (Thursday) and make a final decision,” coach Alain Vigneault told reporters. “At this time I’d have to say no more than yes, but you never know with Dan. He’s the type of guy that plays through so many things it’s unreal.” Should Girardi sit out on Thursday, fellow blue-liner Dylan McIlrath is set to step in after being a scratch for six straight games.

    ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (23-15-5): While coach Jack Capuano did not divulge the identity of his starting goaltender on Wednesday, it should be noted that Jaroslav Halak has won all seven career decisions when squaring off against the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist. Halak made 33 saves and denied all three attempts in the shootout of the Islanders’ 2-1 victory over the Rangers on Dec. 2. Captain John Tavares tallied in that contest, but has just one goal this month and three since Dec. 13.


    1. Nelson’s team-leading 17 goals are three shy of his total from last season, set in 82 games.

    2. The Rangers are 0-for-15 on the power play in their last six contests.

    3. The Islanders have killed off all 13 short-handed opportunities in the last three games.

    PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Islanders 3


    Preview: Vancouver at Washington

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 14, 2016
    Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District Of Columbia

    Captain Alex Ovechkin and red-hot Washington Capitals look to continue their respective torrid streaks on Thursday when the Vancouver Canucks begin their six-game road trip with a visit to the Verizon Center. The three-time Hart Trophy winner joined the 500-goal club in spectacular fashion on Sunday, netting a pair of tallies as Washington breezed to its fourth straight victory and 13th in 15 outings with a 7-1 rout of Ottawa.

    Ovechkin, who has five goals in his last three contests, netted the game-winning tally late in regulation in the Capitals’ 3-2 triumph versus Vancouver on Oct. 22. While the 30-year-old Russian once again etched his name in the record book, Washington will try to prevent Daniel Sedin from doing the same as the veteran moved within one of fellow Swede Markus Naslund (346) for the most goals in franchise history. “(Naslund) was an idol growing up,” Sedin told “He meant so much to (me and twin brother Henrik) coming into this league. He’s a better goal-scorer than me, no question about that.” Daniel Sedin, who scored twice as Vancouver ended Florida’s 12-game winning streak on Monday, is riding a six-game point streak (five goals, six assists) in the series with the Capitals.

    TV: 7 p.m. ET, RSN (Vancouver), CSMA (Washington)

    ABOUT THE CANUCKS (17-16-10): Veteran Ryan Miller is expected to return to the crease for the first time since suffering a groin injury on Dec. 20. “I’m very excited. I definitely didn’t expect to be out this long,” Miller told the team’s website. “I want to get back in and battle.” Captain Henrik Sedin, who had a pair of assists in the physical contest versus the Panthers, scored and set up a goal in the initial game against the Capitals to extend his point total to 13 (three goals, 10 assists) in 16 career encounters.

    ABOUT THE CAPITALS (32-7-3): Nicklas Backstrom, who had three assists versus the Senators, has scored three goals and set up six others during his six-game point streak. The first-time All-Star, however, has been limited to just five assists in 10 career meetings versus Vancouver. Evgeny Kuznetsov has cooled down a bit of late, notching just one assist since recording three multi-point performances during a four-game stretch.


    1. Washington will honor Ovechkin for becoming the fifth-fastest player in NHL history to reach the 500-goal plateau during a pregame ceremony on Thursday.

    2. Vancouver has scored one power-play goal in each of its last four contests after going 0-for-20 with the man advantage in the previous nine.

    3. Capitals C Marcus Johansson is eligible to return to the lineup after serving his two-game suspension for an illegal check.

    PREDICTION: Capitals 3, Canucks 1


    Preview: Chicago at Montreal

    When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, January 14, 2016
    Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec

    Joel Quenneville will look to move past Al Arbour and into second place on the NHL’s all-time list among coaches on Thursday when the streaking Chicago Blackhawks visit the Montreal Canadiens. Quenneville signed a three-year contract extension on Tuesday morning and picked up his 782nd coaching triumph later in the day as Chicago won its eighth straight with a 3-2 triumph over Nashville.

    “It’s been a fun time here and we’ve got a fun situation going on right now,” said Quenneville, who has a (long) way to go to catch Scotty Bowman (1,244). While the Blackhawks are beginning a stretch of nine of their next 11 on the road, the Canadiens are trying to get it together after alternating wins and losses over the last six contests. P.K. Subban collected his fifth point in six contests on Saturday and snapped a 33-game goal drought in Montreal’s 3-1 setback to Pittsburgh. The defenseman did find the net in the last meeting with Chicago, albeit in a 4-3 setback on Dec. 5, 2014.

    TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS, CSN Chicago, Sportsnet (Montreal)

    ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (28-13-4): Andrew Shaw followed his two-assist performance in Sunday’s 6-3 win over Colorado with two goals versus the Predators, but has yet to find the net in four career meetings with the Canadiens. Corey Crawford has enjoyed considerable success against his hometown team, however, posting a 3-0-2 career record versus Montreal with a 1.38 goals-against average. Crawford turned aside all 28 shots he faced in his last encounter with the Canadiens – a 5-0 win at the Bell Centre on Nov. 4, 2014.

    ABOUT THE CANADIENS (23-17-3): Alex Galchenyuk made a public apology on Wednesday after police reportedly arrested his girlfriend in an alleged incident of domestic violence over the weekend. “I feel bad for the incident because it became public and I feel bad for my teammates, the organization and the fans,” the 21-year-old Galchenyuk said. “It’s a lesson in life.” Rookie Mike Condon made 29 saves versus the Penguins and has stopped 75-of-79 shots in the last three games heading into his first career start versus Chicago.


    1. Chicago C Artem Anisimov did not accompany the team to Montreal and will sit out his second straight game due to illness.

    2. The Canadiens are just 2-for-22 on the power play in the last eight contests.

    3. The teams will meet again on Sunday, this time at the United Center.

    PREDICTION: Canadiens 2, Blackhawks 1


    Preview: Carolina at St. Louis

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 14, 2016
    Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

    The Carolina Hurricanes have crept into a contending spot in the crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture and look to keep their run going when they visit the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. The Hurricanes have won three straight – the last two in overtime – and gained points in eight of their last 10 contests (6-2-2) with improvement at both ends of the ice.

    “We’re right in the thick of things, and we’re playing better,” Carolina coach Bill Peters told reporters. “It’s a good group of people in that room and they want to make a push here.” Jeff Skinner’s power-play goal in overtime gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and the club will attempt to carry over the momentum and end St. Louis’ five-game point streak (2-0-3). The Blues started a four-game homestand with a solid 5-2 victory over New Jersey on Tuesday. “We played defense by spending all the time in the offensive zone,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters. “That’s what we’re built for and that’s the way we have to play to be successful.”

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Carolina), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

    ABOUT THE HURRICANES (19-18-7): Captain Eric Staal told reporters Tuesday that the team was competitive in every game early on this season but wasn’t getting the bounces. The Hurricanes have raised their level of play offensively thanks to contributions from more players – including former fifth-overall pick Elias Lindholm, who has notched six points in his last three games. Staal has recorded a point in three straight games and collected 28 overall – four behind defenseman Justin Faulk for the team lead – while his brother Jordan has registered three goals and three assists in his last four contests.

    ABOUT THE BLUES (25-14-7): St. Louis has received solid goaltending from Brian Elliott, who is 2-0-1 with five goals against in his last three games, since No.1 netminder Jake Allen went down with a knee injury. While Paul Stastny (upper body) might miss his third straight game and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (upper body) is out indefinitely, Patrik Berglund has provided a boost since his return from shoulder surgery. Berglund has recorded three goals – two on Tuesday – and an assist in six games this season, adding support to leading scorer Vladimir Tarasenko (24 goals, 44 points).


    1. Carolina RW Kris Versteeg has collected five points during his three-game streak and leads the team with 20 assists.

    2. The Blues won both matchups last season in a shootout.

    3. St. Louis D Colton Parayko leads all rookie blue-liners in points (17) and plus/minus rating (plus-15).

    PREDICTION: Blues 3, Hurricanes 2


    Preview: Nashville at Winnipeg

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 14, 2016
    Where: MTS Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba

    The Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets are bringing up the rear in the Central thanks in large part to their struggles within the division, but one of them is guaranteed to get two points when they meet in Manitoba on Thursday. Nashville and Winnipeg have won just four games apiece within the Central this season, with each team accumulating only nine points against their division rivals.

    “We’re not winning against any teams right now,” Nashville defenseman Roman Josi told the media after Tuesday’s 3-2 loss at Chicago – the Predators’ fourth consecutive defeat. That losing streak started with a 4-1 home loss on Jan. 5 to the Jets, who have earned just one point in losing their last three games. Winnipeg fell flat in Tuesday’s lackluster 4-1 home setback against San Jose, leading forward Blake Wheeler to vent his frustration to reporters following Wednesday’s practice. “I just don’t think that there’s enough of an investment from everyone to get to where we want to go,” Wheeler said.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), TSN3 (Winnipeg)

    ABOUT THE PREDATORS (19-17-7): Nashville had its chances against the Blackhawks, outshooting the defending Stanley Cup champions 43-23, but the pressure was not enough to keep it from falling to 4-9-1 against Central opponents. Pekka Rinne continues to struggle, dropping to 16-14-6 after allowing at least three goals for the fourth time in his last five games on Tuesday. Ryan Johansen recorded an assist versus Chicago for his third point in three games since being acquired from Columbus.

    ABOUT THE JETS (19-21-3): Winnipeg is on pace to finish with 78 points – 21 fewer than it recorded en route to a playoff appearance last season – and also has struggled in the division, going 4-10-1. Nikolaj Ehlers scored the Jets’ lone goal Tuesday, his second in the past 19 games, and fellow rookie Connor Hellebuyck held San Jose to two goals until surrendering a power-play tally with 4:01 remaining. Wheeler, who leads Winnipeg with 30 assists and 41 points, has notched only one point in his last four games.


    1. Winnipeg placed C Mark Scheifele on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 7, with a lower-body injury and recalled RW Matt Halischuk from Manitoba of the American Hockey League.

    2. Nashville LW Colin Wilson landed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury Wednesday and fellow LW Viktor Arvidsson was assigned to Milwaukee while LW Kevin Fiala and C Cody Bass fwere recalled from the AHL club.

    3. Winnipeg hosts Nashville again on Jan. 21.

    PREDICTION: Jets 4, Predators 3


    Preview: New Jersey at Colorado

    When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 14, 2016
    Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

    The New Jersey Devils attempt to end their recent struggles when they continue their four-game road trip against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. New Jersey dropped a 5-2 decision at St. Louis on Tuesday to fall to 1-1-0 on its trek and 1-4-0 over its last five overall contests.

    Despite their woes, the Devils are within four points of a tie for second place in the Metropolitan Division but also are only two ahead of seventh-place Carolina. Colorado looks to avoid a third straight defeat after being blanked 4-0 at home by Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The Avalanche are just 9-10-3 at Pepsi Center, where they have suffered three of their four shutout losses this season. Colorado is seeking a sweep of the two-game season series after escaping New Jersey with a 2-1 triumph on Dec. 1.

    TV: 9 p.m. ET, MSG Plus 2 (New Jersey), Altitude (Colorado)

    ABOUT THE DEVILS (21-18-5): Riddled with injuries, New Jersey could be without Jordin Tootoo as the right wing suffered an upper-body injury against St. Louis and is listed as questionable. It definitely will be missing Bobby Farnham, who received a four-game suspension from the league on Wednesday for interference against St. Louis’ Dmitrij Jaskin. Help is on the way, however, as defenseman John Moore (lower body) may return to the lineup versus the Blues and leading scorer Mike Cammalleri (upper body) could be back as soon as Saturday.

    ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (21-20-3): Colorado made a number of changes to its defense corps Wednesday, recalling Nikita Zadorov and Chris Bigras from San Antonio while assigning Brandon Gormley to the American Hockey League club. Nate Guenin was placed on waivers and Erik Johnson (knee) on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 4, but the latter is eligible to be activated. Meanwhile, Brad Stuart, who has not played since Nov. 10 due to a back injury, is skating on his own and could return soon.


    1. Devils RW Lee Stempniak is one point shy of 400 for his career.

    2. Colorado C Matt Duchene needs one goal to eclipse last season’s total of 21 and six to match his career high set in 2010-11.

    3. New Jersey is 0-for-12 on the power play over its last five games.

    PREDICTION: Avalanche 3, Devils 2


    Preview: Detroit at Arizona

    When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 14, 2016
    Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona

    The Arizona Coyotes have rattled off a season-high four consecutive victories and look to keep the run going when they play the third contest of a seven-game road trip against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. Since dropping seven of their first eight games in December, the Coyotes have gone 8-1-2 to vault into second place in the Pacific Division.

    Arizona defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his sixth game-winning goal at 4:51 of overtime after notching three assists in Tuesday’s 4-3 victory over Edmonton. “Every game is so important right now,” Ekman-Larsson said. “Hopefully, we can just keep it going and get some more points here at home.” The Red Wings were reeling entering their six-game road trip but have a chance to come away with five victories on the 13-day trek. Detroit, which had a four-game winning streak halted in a 4-2 loss at Los Angeles on Monday, rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Coyotes on Dec. 3.

    TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit Plus, FSN Arizona

    ABOUT THE RED WINGS (22-14-7): Petr Mrazek, who has surrendered only two goals over his last three appearances, will be back in net as he attempts to run his winning streak to five starts. Drew Miller, who was placed on long-term injured reserve after suffering a torn meniscus in his knee Sunday against Anaheim in his second game since returning from a broken jaw, will undergo surgery on Friday. The Red Wings were counting on Miller to fortify their penalty-killing unit, which has permitted two power-play goals in three of the last six games.

    ABOUT THE COYOTES (22-16-4): Rookie Max Domi, a first-round pick in the 2013 draft, was mired in a 15-game goalless drought before breaking out in a big way by recording his first career hat trick in the win over the Oilers. “It’s pretty cool. It comes in a win, that makes it really special,” Domi told reporters. “The team was winning and everyone was in a good mood, so not scoring for a while doesn’t matter as much. At the same time, it’s good to see that puck go in the net.” Louis Domingue, whose only regulation losses have come in relief appearances, is 7-0-2 in his nine starts.


    1. Arizona is 6-for-11 on the power play over its last four games.

    2. Red Wings LW Tomas Tatar has scored in back-to-back contests to tie rookie Dylan Larkin for the team lead with 14 goals.

    3. Ekman-Larsson has collected five goals and 12 points in his last nine games.

    PREDICTION: Coyotes 3, Red Wings 2


    Preview: Edmonton at San Jose

    When: 10:30 PM ET, Thursday, January 14, 2016
    Where: SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California

    Two Pacific Division rivals heading in opposite directions face off Thursday as the last-place Edmonton Oilers visit the San Jose Sharks. The clubs are separated by only six points, but Edmonton has earned only one in losing three straight contests (0-2-1).

    Being on the road does not instill confidence in the Oilers, who are a league-worst 5-14-3 away from home and have dropped six straight (0-4-2). San Jose enters with a three-game winning streak and tied with Vancouver for third in the Pacific with two games in hand. Defenseman Brent Burns has been a key contributor for the Sharks of late as he is riding an eight-game point streak and has notched eight goals and nine assists over his last 11 contests. Edmonton rallied for a 4-3 overtime victory at home in its first meeting with the Sharks this season on Dec. 9, and coach Todd McLellan hopes to earn another two points as he makes his first visit to San Jose since parting ways with the club last spring.

    TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Edmonton), CSN California (San Jose)

    ABOUT THE OILERS (17-23-4): Nail Yakupov hopes to return to the lineup Thursday after missing the last 21 games with an ankle injury. The 22-year-old Russian, who participated in Wednesday’s practice, has recorded only two goals and 10 assists in 22 contests this season. Zack Kassian, who was acquired from Montreal on Dec. 28 following a stint in the NHL’s substance abuse program, may make his Oilers debut against San Jose after being recalled from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

    ABOUT THE SHARKS (21-18-2): San Jose will be without Dainius Zubrus, who was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury after registering one goal and one assist in his first 17 games with the club. Raffi Torres was added to the roster and assigned to the Barracuda of the American Hockey League for conditioning after completing his 41-game suspension for a hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg during a preseason contest and recovering from right knee surgery Dec. 11. “We know Raffi can be a very effective player for our team, and this assignment will allow him to get back into game shape,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told reporters of Torres, who hasn’t appeared in a non-exhibition game since Game 7 of San Jose’s first-round playoff loss to Los Angeles on April 30, 2014.


    1. Sharks C Joe Thornton has landed on the scoresheet in 11 of his last 12 games, recording four multi-point performances in that span.

    2. Edmonton C Matt Hendricks continues to serve his three-game suspension for boarding Florida’s Aaron Ekblad on Sunday.

    3. San Jose captain Joe Pavelski, who leads the team in goals (22) and points (42), has registered two tallies and two assists during his three-game point streak.

    PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Oilers 2


    Hot teams
    — Washington won eight of last ten games. Canucks are 5-3 in their last eight games.
    — Blackhawks won their last eight games.
    — Carolina won last three games; four of its last six games went OT/SO. Blues won last two games after losing previous five.
    — Arizona won its last four games. Red Wings won four of their last five games.
    — Sharks won last three games, scoring 16 goals.

    Cold teams
    — Rangers lost four of their last five road games. Islanders are 2-3 in last five games.
    — Canadiens lost seven of their last ten games.
    — Predators lost last four games, outscored 16-6. Winnipeg lost four of last five games.
    — Devils lost four of their last five games. Colorado lost its last two games, 6-3/4-0.
    — Edmonton lost its last three games.

    Series records
    — Islanders won four of last six games with the Rangers.
    — Canucks won six of last eight games with Washington.
    — Blackhawks won four of last five games with Montreal.
    — Blues won three of last four games with Carolina.
    — Nashville-Winnipeg split their last ten games.
    — Detroit-Arizona split their last ten games.
    — Devils lost their last five games with Colorado.
    — Sharks won five of last eight games with Edmonton.

    — Six of last eight Ranger-Islander games stayed under.
    — Over is 5-1-1 in last seven Washington games.
    — Under is 5-2-1 in last eight Chicago-Montreal games.
    — Three of last four St Louis games went over total.
    — Under is 3-1-1 in last five Nashville games.
    — Under is 3-1 in last four games for both Detroit/Arizona.
    — Nine of last ten New Jersey-Colorado games stayed under.
    — Four of last five Edmonton-San Jose games went over.


    — None


    Grand Salami – January
    By VI News

    The Grand Salami in pro hockey is decided by adding up all the goals scored in every game scheduled for that particular day. You can wager on ‘over’ or ‘under’ the Grand Salami total. The total is set by adding up all listed ‘over/under’ odds for each game on that particular day.

    Note: The Grand Salami will have no action if any game is suspended or cancelled before the regulation time of three twenty minute periods. Also, regardless of the number of goals scored during the shoot out portion of the overtime, the final scored recorded for the game will give the winning team on more goal than its opponent based on the score at the end of regulation time.

    *The majority of sportsbooks do not put out a total on the Grand Salami when there is only one game on the card. For tracking purposes, we will continue to show the ‘over/under’ for goals and combined goals scored on days with just one game.


    Date No. of Games Total Goals Combined Goals Scored Result

    1/1 2 10.5 9 UNDER
    1/2 12 61.5 63 OVER
    1/3 4 21 22 OVER
    1/4 5 27 17 UNDER
    1/5 8 43.5 46 OVER
    1/6 5 26.5 23 UNDER
    1/7 7 38.5 29 UNDER
    1/8 6 31.5 34 OVER
    1/9 10 53 47 UNDER
    1/10 6 30 32 OVER
    1/11 4 20.5 22 OVER
    1/12 8 42.5 45 OVER
    1/13 4 21.5 20 UNDER
    1/14 8 –



    Hockey Crusher
    New York Islanders + New York Rangers – UNDER 5.5

    (System Record: 33-4, won last game and a push)
    Overall Record: 33-45-15

    Chicago Blackhawks + Montreal Canadiens – OVER 5

    Nashville Predators + Winnipeg Jets – UNDER 5.5

    Edmonton Oilers + San Jose Sharks – UNDER 5.5



    5 unit – New York Islanders -120



    Steam Rot#: 61 Team: Arizona -105

    Steam Rot#: 57 Team: Carolina +190

    Steam Rot#: 55 Team: Chicago -120



    New Jersey at Colorado – Thursday January 14, 2016
    The Devils head to Colorado tonight to face an Avalanche team that is 3-8 in its last 11 games versus Eastern Conference opponents. New Jersey is the pick (+110) according to Dunkel, which has the Devils favored by 1 1/2. Dunkel Pick: New Jersey (+110).



    3* Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks – UNDER -5.5

    2* Nashville Predators ML (-110)

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