NHL: Panthers shut out Sabres for 10th straight road win

By Sports Desk February 16, 2024

Anthony Stolarz stopped 45 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Florida Panthers extended their franchise record road winning streak to 10 games with a 4-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

Carter Verhaeghe scored twice for the Panthers, who became the 11th NHL team to win 10 consecutive road games.  Their run is two short of matching the record held by Detroit (2005-06) and Minnesota (2014-15).

Florida improved to 19-7-2 on the road, where it hasn’t lost since a 3-1 defeat at Calgary on Dec. 18. The Panthers are 17-3-2 in their past 22 games overall and moved into a tie with Boston atop the Eastern Conference.

The Sabres failed to build off a 7-0 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday after announcing prior to the game that goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen would be out with a lower-body injury.

Eric Comrie stopped 27 shots in his place and dropped his sixth straight start.


Kreider leads Rangers to sixth win in row

Chris Kreider notched his first hat trick of the season and Adam Fox had four assists to propel the New York Rangers to their sixth consecutive victory, 7-4 over the Montreal Canadiens.

Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists and Artemi Panarin added three assists as the Rangers pulled within one point of Boston and Florida for the Eastern Conference lead.

Jonathan Quick, 38, stopped 31 shots for his fourth straight win. He is the oldest goaltender in Rangers history with a four-game winning streak and is three victories away from tying Ryan Miller for most among American-born goalies at 391.

Cole Caufield scored twice for Montreal, which has lost three of four.


Matthews scores 3 more in Leafs’ OT win

Auston Matthews increased his league-leading goal total to 45 with his fifth hat trick of the season and William Nylander scored in overtime to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Matthews completed his 12th career hat trick in a 7:49 span in the second period. He’s on a 71-goal pace through 51 games, seeking to become the first player to hit 70 since Teemu Selanne and Alexander Mogilny each had 76 in 1992-93.

Matthews tied the franchise record for hat tricks in a season, matching Reg Noble (1917-18), Babe Dye (1924-25) and Darryl Sittler (1980-81).

Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist as the Flyers battled back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to move to 4-0-1 in their past five games.

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    Connor Brown, Zach Hyman and Corey Perry also scored for the Oilers, who staved off elimination again to send the series back to Edmonton for Game 6 on Friday.

    The Oilers scored the game’s first three goals but had to hold off the Panthers down the stretch and could finally breathe when McDavid scored into an empty net with 19 seconds remaining.

    Matthew Tkachuk and Evan Rodrigues had a goal and an assist apiece for Florida, which will see its 30-years-and-counting wait for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title last at least three more days.

    Four more points increased McDavid’s playoff total to 42, the fourth-most in a single postseason in NHL history. The only players ahead of him are Wayne Gretzky (47 in 1985), Mario Lemieux (44 in 1991) and Gretzky (43 in 1988).

    This game started just as Game 4 did, with the Oilers scoring short-handed for a 1-0 lead. Brown tallied this time after assisting on Nike Mikkola’s tally on Saturday night.

    Hyman doubled the advantage on the power play at 1:58 of the middle period and McDavid made it 3-0 just over three minutes later.

    Tkachuk got Florida on the board 1:53 later, but Perry restored the three-goal cushion on a power play with 8:06 left in the second. Rodrigues cut the deficit to 4-2 14 seconds later.

    The Panthers were unable to get the equaliser as Stuart Skinner finished with 29 saves.

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    Dylan Holloway scored twice with an assist and Adam Henrique, Mattias Janmark, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Darnell Nurse and Ryan McLeod also had goals for the Oilers, who busted out in a big way after they were held to four goals in the first three games of the series.

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    Stuart Skinner had his best game of the Cup final with 32 saves.

    Bobrovsky was replaced by Anthony Stolarz after Nurse’s goal at 4:59 of the second period made it 5-1. He allowed five goals on 16 shots after yielding four goals on 86 shots in Games 1, 2 and 3.

    The Panthers can clinch the franchise’s first Stanley Cup at home in Game 5 on Tuesday night.

    Edmonton is bidding to become the first team since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs to erase a 3-0 series deficit at this stage of the playoffs.

    Janmark got the Oilers going with a short-handed goal 3:11 into the game and Henrique’s tally 3 1/2 minutes later upped the advantage.

    Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal put the Panthers on the board, but Holloway restored the two-goal lead with 5:12 left in the opening period.

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    Florida carried a 4-1 lead into the third period, but Philip Broberg scored at 6:02 and Ryan McLeod made it a one-goal game with 5:17 remaining.

    The Oilers, however, could not beat Sergei Bobrovsky again and now face the daunting task of trying to win four straight games to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada for the first time since 1993 – months before the Panthers’ inaugural season.

    Only four teams in league playoff history (1975 New York Islanders, 2010 Philadelphia Flyers and 2014 Los Angeles Kings) have won a series after losing the first three games and only once in the final (1942 Toronto Maple Leafs).

    Bobrovsky finished with 32 saves to win his sixth straight start. He allowed more than two goals for the first time during that span.

    The Panthers showed no ill effects from waiting to fly from South Florida to Alberta, a decision that was questioned when their plane was delayed by storms and got in a few hours late Wednesday – less than 24 hours before puck drop.

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