NHL Wrap: Blackhawks make history with win

slideshow-022213-blackhawks-team-uspresswire.jpg

NHL Wrap: Blackhawks make history with win

Ilya Bryzgalov said he's feeling "exhausted," but made it clear he doesn't need any break (see story).

Meanwhile, with Matt Read now sidelined for the next six weeks, rookie Tye McGinn is excited to be back in the lineup (see story).

Now, here's what happened Friday night around the NHL:

Blackhawks continue historic start
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks set an NHL record for the best start to a season, beating the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Friday night to give them at least one point in their first 17 games.

Blackhawks rookie Brandon Saad scored a short-handed goal early in the third period to snap a 1-all tie. Chicago (14-0-3) won its fourth straight game to break a mark set by the 2006-07 Anaheim Ducks, who earned points in their first 16 games.

The Blackhawks equaled that run Tuesday with a shootout win over Vancouver.

Saad closed in on left wing one-on-one with San Jose defenseman Brent Burns. After a quick fake, Saad fired a shot from the circle that beat San Jose's Antti Niemi just under the glove 2:24 into the period (see full recap).

Penguins win despite Malkin injury
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame the loss of one of their top stars and found a way to beat the Florida Panthers.

Matt Niskanen and Dustin Jeffrey scored third-period goals to send the Penguins to a 3-1 victory on Friday.

But center Evgeni Malkin was injured and missed the last 15 minutes of the game.

Chris Kunitz also scored for the Penguins, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves in his first start in five days.

Malkin was injured with 15:09 left in the third period. Pittsburgh's second-leading scorer was driving to the net down the left side and was off-balance after releasing the puck when Erik Gudbranson checked him (see full recap).


Canucks blank the Predators
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Dale Weise broke a scoreless tie at 9:14 of the third period and Roberto Luongo made 23 saves for the shutout and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Nashville Predators 1-0 Friday.

The Canucks have won consecutive games on their four-game road trip after losing three straight.

Nashville has lost three of its past four.

With the game still scoreless in the third period, Maxim Lapierre had the puck behind the Nashville goal line and carried it up to the right circle (see full recap).

2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

NEW ORLEANS -- The weeks and months have quickly piled up. Nerlens Noel has not played an NBA regular-season game since last season ended for the Sixers on April 13. Nearly eight months later, Noel is nearing the return he has been eyeing for quite some time now. 

“It’s always an excitement to be able to play basketball after this amount of time, including the summer, not being able to play organized basketball at a competitive level,” Noel said Thursday. “I’ve been really looking forward to this. I think I’ve gained some momentum coming back from this minor surgery, and I think I’m in a really good place and I’m feeling good with my body. Everything is on point.”

Noel has been sidelined since undergoing elective left knee surgery in October to address an inflamed plica. He traveled to New Orleans on Wednesday to join the Sixers ahead of their 99-88 win over the Pelicans (see game recap). Noel continued his rehab Thursday while the team prepped for the game. 

“I’ve been able do five-on-five, full contact,” Noel said. “I’ve tried to maximize my opportunities of that with the team being gone on the road. I came down here and went through most of shootaround and it went well. Now these next couple of days, [I will be] going through practice, still working on my wind. I do like where I’m at now.”

The Sixers’ next game is Sunday against the Pistons in Detroit. Brett Brown had given Noel’s availability for that game a “maybe” (see story)

“I’m not sure,” Noel said of playing Sunday. “I’m ready to go with these next couple of days and see how my wind feels and how my body feels, which I have been feeling good. So it’s a possibility.”

When Noel does return, there is a scenario in which he could be paired with center Joel Embiid. Last year, the Sixers struggled finding the best way to utilize Noel and Jahlil Okafor, also a center, at the same time playing the four and five positions. As Okafor has said of playing with Embiid, Noel also believes his off-the-court friendship with the towering rookie would translate onto the court. 

“I think it would be something that’s experimented,” Noel said. “It’d definitely be interesting.”

Noel candidly expressed his opinion of the Sixers’ logjammed frontcourt at the start of the season. Since speaking to the media after his surgery, Noel has mentioned he is in a good mental place (see story). For him, that means being out on the court again. 

“I love myself and I love the game of basketball,” Noel said. “When I step out here to come and play, it just brings a lot of enjoyment and excitement to me. Regardless of what the details of it are, I just love the game and I’m happy to just be playing.”

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dougie Hamilton scored 1:09 into overtime, Chad Johnson stopped 27 shots and the Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday night.

Mark Giordano scored for the Flames in a chippy game filled with big hits and multiple fights.

Hamilton capped a fast-paced overtime by deking Arizona's Mike Smith with a forehand before flipping in a backhander. Calgary has won five straight and eight of 11 (8-2-1).

Max Domi scored before leaving with an upper-body injury and Smith stopped 33 shots for the Coyotes, who have lost six straight and 11 of 14 (3-7-4).

Arizona captain Shane Doan became Arizona's all-time assist leader and is the fifth player in NHL history to own his team's records for games played, goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and power-play goals (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins roll over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby got his 18th goal and added an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Florida Panthers 5-1 on Thursday night.

Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, Matt Cullen and Carl Hagelin also scored for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray made 28 saves.

The Penguins have won four straight and five of their past six.

Jaromir Jagr scored his 755th career goal, and Roberto Luongo stopped 25 shots for the Panthers. Luongo allowed three goals on Pittsburgh's first five shots.

Panthers coach Tom Rowe, who replaced Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, made his home debut. The Panthers have lost five of six under Rowe, but managed a point in three of those losses (see full recap).

Price loses cool as Habs beat Devils
MONTREAL -- Carey Price lost his temper after being bumped twice in his crease and made 19 saves to help the Montreal Canadiens beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Thursday night.

Torrey Mitchell scored twice and Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen and Max Pacioretty also had goals for the Canadiens in their return from a five-game trip.

Adam Henrique scored a goal and set up one by Taylor Hall for New Jersey, which ended a two-game winning streak.

Montreal had a season-high 49 shots on Cory Schneider.

A wild first period included three goals, four goal reviews and Price's meltdown (see full recap).