Ovechkin scores twice, red-hot Capitals shut out Devils 4-0
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) celebrates his goal with the bench during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Friday, March 26, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)WASHINGTON – Alex Ovechkin scored twice, Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves and the Washington Capitals rode their best players to a 4-0 victory Friday night and two-game sweep of the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin has scored 10 times in his past 10 games and has a team-best 17 goals this season. Nicklas Backstrom scored his 13th goal of the season, while Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson each had two assists. With Ovechkin rolling, the Capitals have won nine of their past 10 games and are back atop the East Division.
Barzal shines as Islanders beat Sabres for 4th straight win
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Mathew Barzal and Scott Mayfield each had a goal and an assist and the New York Islanders beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 on Saturday for their fourth straight victory. New York beat Buffalo for the fifth straight time this season, outscoring the Islanders 19-7 in those five meetings. Cal Clutterbuck extended the lead at 8:45, sending a wrist shot past Hutton for his second goal this season. AdMayfield made it 4-1 with his second goal of the season at 15:29, firing another high shot past Hutton. IRON MENThe Islanders have three players with consecutive game streaks of last 250 games: Lee 292, Brock Nelson 269 and Barzal 256.
'Sloppy' hockey is the name of the game early in NHL season
San Jose's Erik Karlsson (65) handles the puck against Minnesota Wild's Nick Bjugstad (27) in the third period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. San Jose won 5-3. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)With an outbreak delaying the Dallas Stars' opener, Rick Bowness got to watch a lot of hockey in the first couple of nights of the NHL season. “It was entertaining hockey, but it was a little sloppy,” Bowness said. “We’re staying in 5-star hotels, get to play hockey, so I can’t complain,” defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. Ad___Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno___More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Unique circumstances give NHLs its first Final Four
Welcome to the NHL's first Final Four.Because of the unique circumstances of the Stanley Cup playoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Eastern and Western Conference finals are taking place in the same city, giving it a feel like college basketball's signature event, even though games are being played in an empty arena. The end goal of winning a title is the same, but the Lightning, Golden Knights, Stars and New York Islanders will always be able to say they made hockey's 2020 final four. When we started this, we said lets play one series at a time and lets see if we can get to Edmonton, Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. You have to celebrate the moments because those moments don't come by very much. Its nice to see it live when you can, Stars coach Rick Bowness said.
Familiarity breeds respect among NHL East playoff teams
TORONTO, ONT Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper took exception to the Columbus Blue Jackets being referred to as a blue-collar team. Is that a positive or a negative? Cooper said Monday, a day before his Eastern Conference second-seeded Lightning open the first round of the NHL playoffs against the seventh-seeded Blue Jackets. Thats in the history books forever, Cooper said, noting how both teams have made various changes to their lineups. Id call them a really good team.Familiarity is breeding respect among the East opponents entering the first round. The Islanders hold a 5-2 playoff series edge over Washington.
2016 World Cup of Hockey provides lessons for NHL restart
FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2016 file photo, Canada's Sidney Crosby hoists the trophy following his team's victory over Europe in the World Cup of Hockey finals, in Toronto. The closest comparison to the NHL's summer restart is the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. You kind of have a short, abbreviated training camp and then youre right into it. It was early September 2016, and the Pittsburgh Penguins captain stepped on the ice in Ottawa for Canadas training camp ahead of the World Cup of Hockey. New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz, who was an assistant when Canada won the World Cup, considers that tournament the closest comparison because he anticipates the same frantic shifts of momentum.
NHL's older coaches debate wearing masks, taking precautions
In this photo provided by the Dallas Stars NHL hockey team, interim head coach Rick Bowness watches practice in Frisco, Texas, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. You get out there and you miss it, the Dallas Stars coach said. You realize how much you enjoy being out there.The NHLs oldest head coach still worries about COVID-19 but not enough to stop doing his job. Im going to have to adjust to it, there is no question. The average age of the 24 head coaches in the playoffs is just under 54, the second-oldest behind the NBA among North Americas four major professional sports leagues.
Illness and injury uncertainty abound as NHL camps open
Voluntary player workouts have been going on for more than a month, but full NHL teams will be together Monday for the first time since March. (Its about) trying to make sure that when you come back your hips and groins are all right, Copp said. Its a two-week sprint from home cities to Toronto for Eastern teams and Edmonton, Alberta, for their Western counterparts. The NHL is prohibiting teams from revealing injury or illness information as a way to project player privacy with the novel coronavirus. But I think everyone is just kind of amped and ready to go.___For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports