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The Panthers have won five straight

Posted by elaine95 
The Panthers have won five straight
November 07, 2018 07:50PM
EL SEGUNDO Authentic Shea Weber Jersey , Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Kings believe they are still Stanley Cup contenders, even after being swept by the upstart Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. How close they are to that goal might be reflected in how negotiations go with defenseman Drew Doughty this summer.General manager Rob Blake said Friday that working out a contract extension with Doughty is the team’s top priority. The Kings and Doughty can begin holding talks on July 1, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the 2018-19 season.”I always wanted to be an LA King and I want to stay an LA King,” Doughty said.Doughty is one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy presented to the league’s top defenseman after winning it in 2016. He had 10 goals and 50 assists in his most productive NHL season yet, but Doughty believes he can still improve his scoring output.”I wasn’t too happy with my goal totals this year,” Doughty said. ”I think I only maybe scored one or two one-timer goals, which in my career probably half of my goals are one-timer goals, so I was pretty disappointed about that this year. I can definitely improve on that and have an even better season and hopefully set some new career-highs.”The Kings scored just three goals in four games against the Golden Knights. Developing a more reliable offense is the one glaring weakness that needs be addressed, and lifting the Stanley Cup for the third time is a reasonable goal provided it gets solved going into next season.”Everybody is still here that was here in ’14 and almost in ’12 for that matter, too, so we’re not that far off,” center Anze Kopitar said. ”It’s going to take a lot of work, yes, but we’re not far off.”CAREER YEARSKopitar set personal bests with 35 goals and 57 assists while averaging a career-high 22:05 of playing time. His 92 points represented a 40-point improvement over his lackluster 2016-17, leading Kopitar to joke he is ”aging like wine.” Dustin Brown had 61 points to top his previous high of 60 set in 2007-08, his fourth season in the league. Doughty broke free with 60 points after reaching the 50-point plateau once in the previous seven seasons. Doughty’s usual defensive partner, Jake Muzzin, had 42 points. Even depth forward Trevor Lewis got into the act with 26 points and 14 goals in his most productive campaign.FORWARD THINKINGRookie Adrian Kempe was fourth on the team with 16 goals despite not finding the back of the net in the final 29 games of the regular season. Stepping in at center when Jeff Carter missed 55 games following surgery to repair a cut tendon in his ankle, Kempe showed a surprising toughness to go along with his natural quickness. If Kempe can continue to develop, he could decrease the reliance on Kopitar, who will be 31 when next season starts, and the 33-year-old Carter.”I’m pretty sure he’ll be the first one to tell you he can offer more, and that’s a learning process,” Kopitar said. ”That’s his first full year in the league. Speaking from experience, it takes a little bit of time to figure out your routines and what’s working for you and what’s not.”LOOKING FOR DEPTHShort of dealing in the offseason, the Kings should return essentially the same roster next season. Speedy forward Tobias Rieder is a restricted free agent, and Torrey Mitchell is an unrestricted free agent. The 25-year-old Rieder showed some chemistry with Carter, posting four goals and two assists in 20 games. Defensemen Christian Folin and Kevin Gravel are both unrestricted free agents.HOME IMPROVEMENT NEEDEDThe Kings went 23-15-3 at home, the second-fewest wins by a playoff team. It seemed like they were getting better as the season went on, going 9-4-0 down the stretch, only to lose both home playoff games and fall to 0-5 at Staples Center in their last two postseasons. Their 118 goals at home in the regular season was tied for 21st in the NHL. The power play contributed 25 percent of that output, underscoring the need for 5-on-5 improvement.COMING ATTRACTIONClearly in need of more contributors on offense, center Gabriel Vilardi could be an option for the Kings next season. Selected No. 11 overall in the 2017 draft, Vilardi has been a force in the OHL playoffs with 11 goals and nine assists in his first 12 postseason games. Vilardi also has the size and 200-foot game that fit a Kings team that still emphasizes defense.— CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Henrik Lundqvist became the first goalie to stop 50 or more shots in consecutive victories since the NHL began tracking saves in 1955, lifting New York over the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Friday night.Lundqvist tied a career high with 50 stops on his 36th birthday. He is only the third NHL goalie to post consecutive 50-save games, joining the Rangers’ Gump Worsley on Jan. 27 and 30, 1963, and Chicago’s Al Rollins on Oct. 9 and 15, 1955. Worsley lost both his 50-save games Victor Mete Jersey , and Rollins split his.No Rangers goalie had made 50 saves in a win since Mike Richter in 1996 before Lundqvist beat Vancouver 6-5 in overtime Wednesday night.Recently acquired center Ryan Spooner led New York with a goal and an assist. The 26-year-old has one goal and six assists in three games since he was part of a package traded to the Rangers from Boston for Rick Nash. Spooner is the first in franchise history with six assists in his first three games with the team, and also the first Ranger with multipoint efforts in his first three games with the club, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.Kevin Hayes and Pavel Buchnevich also scored for New York.JETS 4, RED WINGS 3WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) – Patrik Laine scored his 32rd and 33rd goals of the season to help Winnipeg beat Detroit.Dustin Byfuglien and Ben Chiarot also scored and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for his 33rd victory of the season. Winnipeg has won six of its last eight games to improve to 38-17-9.Niklas Kronwall, Anthony Mantha and Trevor Daley scored for Detroit, and Jimmy Howard stopped 38 shots.AVALANCHE 7, WILD 1DENVER (AP) – Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and three assists, Mikko Rantanen had a goal and three assists and Colorado beat Minnesota.The five points were a career high for MacKinnon, who also set personal bests in goals (31) and assists (45) for the season. He reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his five-year career.Tyson Barrie had a goal and an assist, and Gabriel Landeskog, Carl Soderberg and Matt Nieto also scored to help Colorado gain ground in the Western Conference playoff race with its 13 win in 14 home games.SENATORS 5, GOLDEN KNIGHTS 4LAS VEGAS (AP) – Alexandre Burrows scored with 8:51 left to lift Ottawa over Vegas.Burrows redirected Erik Karlsson’s slap shot from the point shortly after a pair of Vegas goals tied it at 4. Bobby Ryan had a goal and two assists, and Karlsson added three assists for Ottawa.Vegas has lost three straight and fallen to second in the Western Conference behind Nashville after briefly sitting atop the NHL standings.Ottawa also got goals from Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Craig Anderson notched his 18th win by stopping 25 shots. Marc-Andre Fleury had 33 saves for Vegas.DUCKS 4, BLUE JACKETS 2ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Andrew Cogliano and Josh Manson scored 1:27 apart in the second period and Anaheim defeated Columbus.John Gibson made 34 saves after missing three games with a lower-body injury. Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler also scored for the Ducks, who are 5-1-1 in their last seven games.Sonny Milano and Zach Werenski scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost three in a row on the road. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots.Anaheim holds the second wild card in the Western Conference and is one point behind Los Angeles for third place in the Pacific Division.HURRICANES 3, DEVILS 1RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Teuvo Teravainen and Justin Williams scored in the third period and Carolina overcame yet another goal by New Jersey’s Taylor Hall.Teravainen’s redirection at 9:37 of the third period made it 2-1, and Williams added an empty-net goal with 21 seconds remaining. Derek Ryan also scored and Cam Ward stopped 25 shots to help Carolina to its second straight win since dropping six straight.The Hurricanes temporarily pulled into a tie with Columbus for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. The Blue Jackets were set to play Anaheim later Friday.Hall’s second-period goal extended his point streak to 24 games. He has scored in six of his last seven games, and 17 of his 29 goals have come since Jan. 1.PREDATORS 4, CANUCKS 3, OTVANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – Mike Fisher scored in his first game since coming out of retirement and Calle Jarnkrok won it 43 seconds into overtime as Nashville beat Vancouver for its seventh consecutive victory.Kevin Fiala and Ryan Ellis also had goals for the Predators (41-14-9), who matched their longest winning streak since November 2009. The defending Western Conference champions lead the West by four points over expansion Vegas.Backup goalie Juuse Saros made 24 saves for Nashville, which holds the top spot in the Central Division.The 37-year-old Fisher, who retired barely six months ago, decided to return for his eighth season with the Predators.PANTHERS 4, SABRES 1SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Aleksander Barkov scored his 24th goal of the season, James Reimer made 24 saves in his first start in six games and surging Florida beat Buffalo.The Panthers have won five straight and are 12-3-0 in their past 15. They began the night three points behind Columbus for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.Colton Sceviour, Aaron Ekblad and Mike Matheson also scored for the Panthers, and Evgenii Dadanov had two assists.Sam Reinhart scored for the Sabres, and Robin Lehner made 26 saves.CANADIENS 6, ISLANDERS 3NEW YORK (AP) – Alex Galchenyuk completed his hat trick shortly after Paul Byron and Noah Juulsen scored 1:43 apart in the third period, lifting Montreal over New York.Galchenyuk scored his third goal into an empty net with 49 seconds left and also had an assist. Brendan Gallagher also scored for Montreal, which improved to 24-29-10 with its second straight win.Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury.Montreal’s Charlie Lindgren stopped 32 shots.—
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