Morning Skate for December 28


* Antti Raanta backstopped the Hurricanes to their ninth straight win – matching a franchise record – and 15th straight game with a point, tying the Maple Leafs for the longest such run in 2022-23.

* A trio of Pacific Division players posted notable performances as Connor McDavid, Bo Horvat and Erik Karlsson added to their strong season totals.

* Wednesday’s slate features a TNT and TVA Sports doubleheader with the Bruins visiting the Devils followed by the Kraken hosting the Flames.

 

HURRICANES STAY HOT, MATCH FRANCHISE RECORD WITH NINTH STRAIGHT WIN

Antti Raanta (24 saves) blanked his former club to help the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes (23-6-6, 52 points) extend their point and winning streak to 15 and nine games, respectively. Carolina (13-0-2 dating to Nov. 25) tied Toronto (12-0-3 from Nov. 12-Dec. 13) for the longest point streak in the NHL this season.

* Raanta, who manned the Blackhawks’ crease during each of his first two campaigns from 2013-14 to 2014-15, recorded the 16th shutout of his NHL career and third with Carolina.

 

TRIO OF PACIFIC DIVISION PLAYERS SHINE
Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Canucks captain Bo Horvat and Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson continued to roll Tuesday:

* McDavid (15-17-32 in 16 GP) scored his 10th career game-winning goal against Calgary during the regular season and extended his point streak to 16 contests, which marks the longest active run in the NHL and is one back of his career high. He moved past Mike Gartner (9) for sole possession of the most game-winning goals versus the Flames franchise in League history.

* Horvat (2-2-4) had four points for the second time in as many games (also 2-2-4 on Dec. 23), which included scoring his team-leading 25th and 26th goals of the season. Horvat became the first Canucks player to record four points in consecutive contests since Feb. 23-25, 2003, when Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison each did so.

* Karlsson (2-14-16 in 10 GP) collected two assists to extend his point streak to a career-high 10 games, doing so while wearing the Sharks’ Reverse Retro jersey which is inspired by the classic look of the 1974-75 California Golden Seals. Karlsson’s point streak marks the lengthiest by a defenseman in franchise history.

 

GOALTENDERS HELP ISLANDERS, CAPITALS KEEP PACE WITH HURRICANES
Ilya Sorokin and Darcy Kuemper helped the Islanders (20-14-2, 42 points) and Capitals (20-13-4, 44 points) keep pace with the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes (23-6-6, 52 points):

* Sorokin (20 saves) recorded his 51st career win in his 100th NHL appearance and Anders Lee tallied twice to climb one of the franchise’s all-time lists as New York defeated Pittsburgh at UBS Arena. Sorokin has the fifth-most wins by an Islanders goaltender through 100 games with the franchise.

* Kuemper (32 saves) outdueled Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (26 saves) to record his third shutout since joining the Capitals and Erik Gustafsson (1-1-2) scored his fifth goal since Dec. 17 as Washington passed Pittsburgh (19-10-5, 43 points) for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Tuesday marked the fifth instance in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) where a goaltender who won the Stanley Cup during the previous season recorded a shutout against a reigning Vezina Trophy winner.

 

STARS, WILD EARN WINS AGAINST CENTRAL DIVISION RIVALS
Dallas (21-9-6, 48 points) maintained its lead atop the Central Division standings Tuesday, while Minnesota (20-12-2, 42 points) climbed past Colorado (19-12-2, 40 points) with a win in Winnipeg:

* Jamie Benn scored and collected an assist to help Dallas best Nashville at Bridgestone Arena. Benn (343) surpassed Brian Bellows (342) for sole possession of second place on theStars/North Stars franchise’s all-time goals list, trailing only Mike Modano (557).

* Mats Zuccarello (1-1-2) factored on two of his team’s four goals as Minnesota defeated division-rival Winnipeg at Canada Life Centre. Zuccarello, who became the 10th player in franchise history to post 50 career multi-point games with the Wild, boosted his totals since Dec. 1 to 9-10-19 (13 GP), trailing only Connor McDavid (13-13-26), Tage Thompson (12-9-21) and Leon Draisaitl (6-15-21) for the most points in the NHL this month – Minnesota has two games remaining in December.

 

NYLANDER NOTCHING OVERTIME WINNER FEATURED IN #NHLSTATS: LIVE UPDATES
Tuesday’s edition of #NHLStats: Live Updates featured more notes from the 11-game slate, including William Nylander taking the puck from Vladimir Tarasenko and netting the winner at 4:03 of overtime as the Maple Leafs edged the Blues at Enterprise Center. Toronto (22-7-6, 50 points) occupies second place in the Atlantic Division and moved within seven points of League-leading Boston (27-4-3, 57 points), which fell to Ottawa in a shootout.

 

NOT ONE PATH: BRANDON & CHRIS TANEV
The Tanev brothers, Chris and Brandon, are the most recent players to be featured in the Not One Path series, highlighting unconventional roads to the NHL, ahead of their 12th head-to-head set to take place Wednesday in Seattle. Both Chris and Brandon stepped away from hockey while in high school, during formative years when most players are skating in junior leagues across North America and Europe. The tenacious brothers did not allow multi-year hiatuses or going undrafted stop them from becoming mainstays on NHL rosters.

 

QUICK CLICKS

* Tuesday’s Buffalo at Columbus game postponed
* Nicklas Backstrom writes for NHL.com: Alex Ovechkin‘s march to 802 goals surreal
* Alex Ovechkin set to begin final step, new goal of breaking Gretzky’s record
* Johnny Gaudreau homecoming, Winter Classic among storylines after holiday break
* Winter Classic great chance to experience best of Boston, Matt Grzelcyk says

 

NATIONAL BROADCASTS IN CANADA AND U.S. ACCOUNT FOR 3 OF 5 GAMES WEDNESDAY
The final Wednesday of 2022 features national telecasts in both Canada and the U.S. as the Canadiens and Lightning return from the holiday break with a showdown on Sportsnet, followed by a doubleheader on both TNT and TVA Sports. The doubleheader begins in New Jersey, where the Bruins and Devils will meet for the second time this season – the clubs have occupied first place in their respective divisions for a combined 131 days this season (BOS: 82; NJD: 49).

 

RINK BUILD CONTINUES FOR WINTER CLASSIC AT FENWAY PARK
As preparations continue at Fenway Park, the Bruins and Penguins each will be in action Wednesday for one of their two remaining contests before they go head-to-head outdoors on Jan. 2. TNT, TVA Sports, Sportsnet and CBC will carry the 36th regular-season outdoor game in League history in less than one week as each club maintains a strong hold in the standings.

* Boston will enter its outdoor game showdown as the No. 1-ranked team in the NHL, marking the first time a club has done so for the Winter Classic. The only other outdoor game to feature the League’s top team entering play was the 2014 Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium – the top-ranked Ducks shut out the Kings (who entered as the No. 9-ranked club).

* The Penguins (19-10-5, 43 points) currently sit in ninth place in the League standings. The 2023 Winter Classic could mark the eighth NHL outdoor game – and second straight Winter Classic – to feature two of the NHL’s top 10 clubs entering play. The last was Jan. 1, 2022, when the Blues (No. 8 in NHL) defeated the Wild (No. 10 in NHL) at Target Field in Minneapolis.

 

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