NHL Notes: Bruins hope Horton plays in Game 2

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NHL Notes: Bruins hope Horton plays in Game 2

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton is day to day after leaving Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals because of an injury.

A part of Boston's top line, Horton was injured during Wednesday's 4-3 triple-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Game 2 is Saturday at the United Center, and coach Claude Julien said Thursday the Bruins are "keeping our fingers crossed" that he won't miss any time.

He said he's "not going there" when asked what Boston will do if Horton is unavailable because "that decision hasn't been made."

Horton got tangled with Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson with about seven minutes remaining in the first OT. He skated off the ice and headed to the locker room.

Losing Horton would be a big blow for the Bruins. He has seven goals and 11 assists in the playoffs and leads the league at plus-22 in the postseason. He also suffered a concussion during Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver and missed the rest of the series as the Bruins went on to win the championship.

"He's a guy that's been coming up big for us in the playoffs," defenseman Torey Krug said. "To not have him in the rest of that game definitely hurt us. But we have confidence in our guys" (see full story).

Penguins: Malkin signs $76 million extension
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins and reigning NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin have agreed to an eight-year contract extension.

The $76-million deal begins with the 2014-15 season and will carry an average salary cap hit of $9.5 million. The agreement comes one day after the Penguins signed coach Dan Bylsma to a two-year extension through 2016.

The 26-year-old Russian won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP a year ago after leading the league with 109 points. He struggled with a concussion and a shoulder injury during the lockout-shortened 2013 season, finishing with 31 points in 33 games.

The extension means Malkin and Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby will remain together through their primes and beyond. Crosby signed a 12-year extension last summer (see full story).

Stars: Prospect Winkler dies
DALLAS -- Dallas Stars prospect Scott Winkler has died in his home country of Norway after recently completing his senior season at Colorado College. He was 23.

School officials said in a news release that Winkler died unexpectedly Wednesday at his parents' home. The native of Asker, Norway, was a third-round pick by the Stars in 2008.

The school said Winkler graduated from Colorado College on May 20 with a bachelor's degree in economics.

Winkler came to the U.S. in 2007 and played for Cedar Rapids in the United States Hockey League the year he was drafted by Dallas. He later enrolled at Colorado College and compiled 63 points in 120 career games. He had career highs of 13 goals and 28 points last season.

Best of NHL: Last-place Islanders take down rival Rangers

Best of NHL: Last-place Islanders take down rival Rangers

NEW YORK -- Andrew Ladd scored in the second period and Jaroslav Halak stopped 36 shots to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the crosstown-rival Rangers on Tuesday night.

John Tavares, Jason Chimera and Scott Mayfield also scored at the Barclays Center to help the last-place Islanders improve to 4-0-1 in their last five games.

Jimmy Vesey and Marc Staal scored for the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 28 saves. The Rangers have alternated wins and losses in regulation in their last eight games.

Halak beat Lundqvist for the ninth time in their last 10 matchups. Halak had won eight straight -- including the last five after joining the Islanders before the 2014-15 season -- before Lundqvist ended the streak in the Rangers' 5-3 win in the season opener Oct. 13 at Madison Square Garden. Lundqvist is now 1-6-1 in his last eight against the Islanders (see full recap).

Schwartz lifts Blues over Canadiens in OT
ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz got his second goal of the game in overtime, leading the St. Louis Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Paul Stastny also scored for St. Louis, which has won four of five. The Blues rallied from a 2-0 deficit and have a point in their last 13 home games.

Tomas Plekanec and Paul Byron scored for Montreal, which completed a five-game trip 2-3.

Goalie Jake Allen made 28 saves to improve to 13-3-3.

Schwartz lifted a backhander past goalie Al Montoya with 1:22 left in overtime.

Stastny and Schwartz scored in a 2:51 span in the third period to tie it at 2 (see full recap).

Blackhawks blank Coyotes to snap modest skid
CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa had two goals, Scott Darling made 22 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0 on Tuesday night to snap a two-game slide.

Artem Anisimov and Dennis Rasmussen also scored to help Chicago maintain a three-point lead over St. Louis in the Central Division.

Darling made a handful of tough stops but wasn't heavily tested in his first shutout this season and third of his career. He started his third straight game in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, who had an appendectomy in Philadelphia on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Hossa scored his team-leading 13th and 14th goals in his 27th game -- surpassing his total of 13 last season in 64 contests (see full recap).

Confident Flyers extend winning streak to 6 straight games

Confident Flyers extend winning streak to 6 straight games

BOX SCORE

They’ll admit it was choppy, sloppy hockey much of the night.

They didn’t bring their “A” game. Or “B” for that matter.
 
What the Flyers did have, however, was the confidence of a winning streak. And a hot goaltender in Steve Mason.
 
That was all they needed Tuesday to nudge the injury-riddled Florida Panthers, 3-2, in overtime at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).
 
That’s six wins in succession for the Flyers, who moved to within two points of the Rangers and Penguins, both atop the Metropolitan Division. This equals the Flyers’ longest winning streak in five seasons, going back to December 2011.
 
“That's part of it, but the biggest thing was the saves we got,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “No doubt about that throughout the game. One of those nights where Mase was our best player.”
 
Mason had 42 saves, including a game-saver on Aaron Ekblad in overtime (see highlights).
 
Meanwhile, Wayne Simmonds continued his personal tear with another two-goal effort to give him 15 tallies on the season. One of the goals came on the power play as Simmonds now leads the NHL with eight power-play goals and 14 power-play points.
 
“I’m playing with great linemates and trying to give pucks up and get to the net,” Simmonds said. “It’s not all on me. It has a lot to do with my teammates.”
 
During the Flyers’ winning streak, Simmonds has seven points (five goals) as does Jakub Voracek, who nailed the game-winner with 8.6 seconds left in OT.
 
“Sometimes, it’s important for us if we don’t necessarily play great hockey, to win the game or get at least a point,” Voracek said. “That’s how you make it to the playoffs. Mase was outstanding with a lot of big saves. And we scored when we needed [to].”
 
Voracek notched the winner off a broken play from Claude Giroux.
 
“I was tired,” Voracek said. “It was a long hockey game. Three [games] in four [nights]. I lost the puck, G made the turnover happen and I knew if I turned around and shot it quick, he (goalie James Reimer) wouldn’t be able to get down.”
 
You’d never know this was a tired Panthers squad finishing up a six-game road trip given the way it out-skated and out-hustled the Flyers throughout the night.
 
“I think Florida played a great game. They played an outstanding game and they might have deserved better, but so many times this year we played teams and lost a game,” Voracek said. “So, it’s kind of good to get out of it [with a win].”
 
Florida outshot the Flyers, 14-3, at one point in the first period and led, 1-0, on Aleksander Barkov’s third goal in four games. He had a sweet give-and-go with Mark Pysyk across the high slot.
 
With less than three minutes remaining in the period, Reimer looked like a shortstop muffing a ground-ball hop as he fanned on Simmonds’ shot from 45 feet to tie the game. That was Simmonds’ first goal of the evening.
 
“I think the puck hit the top of their defenseman’s stick,” Simmonds said. “It was a lucky goal.”
 
Reimer made up for it during the second period with a sensational glove stab of Michael Raffl’s tip that was headed under the crossbar.
 
Yet he couldn’t do anything to stop Simmonds’ tip of Giroux’s shot from the high slot during a second-period power play.
 
Florida was energized for the third period while the Flyers tried to sit on that 2-1 lead. Mason stood on his head as he faced 17 shots.
 
“We have to change our mindset,” Simmonds said. “That’s the first time we’ve done that in a while.”
 
Mason had an incredible stop on Jussi Jokinen, but Jokinen got the tying goal nonetheless with 4:48 left in regulation to force overtime.
 
“It was a game where you had to come up with big saves,” Mason said. “Good game to come out with two points, but we all understand we have to be better.”
 
Speaking of better, rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov, evoking memories of Chris Therien, did a number on Jaromir Jagr to hold the all-time great without a point.
 
Also, that’s five games in a row now the Flyers haven’t allowed more than two goals. Don’t think that isn’t huge in their surge in the standings, as well as climbing out of their team goals-against hole.
 
“That’s unbelievable for us,” Simmonds said. “At the beginning of the year, to say we’d have five straight without giving up more than two would be a stretch.
 
“We’ve locked it down defensively and Mase has played unbelievable. We’ve been pretty good as five-man units.”