Couture's Team Alfredsson falls 12-9 in NHL All-Star game

655790.jpg

Couture's Team Alfredsson falls 12-9 in NHL All-Star game

BOX SCORE
OTTAWA (APCSN) Marian Gaborik made New York Rangers teammate Henrik Lundqvist pay for not selecting him to play for Daniel Alfredsson's team in the NHL All-Star game.Gaborik beat Lundqvist twice in the first period, finished with three goals and an assist, and earned MVP honors in leading Team Chara to a 12-9 win over Team Alfredsson on Sunday.
Logan Couture, the Sharks' lone representative in the game, had an assist and four shots in just over 13 minutes of ice time.

Tim Thomas made 18 saves in the final period, and extended his record by winning his fourth All-Star game.Chara, with the eventual winning goal, Marian Hossa and Corey Perry broke the game open by scoring three times in a span of 1:22 that put their club ahead 11-8 with 6:34 remaining.Despite the loss, Alfredsson rewarded his hometown fans by leading his team with two goals and an assist. The Senators captain also hinted afterward that he is considering coming back for one more season.In an interview broadcast on the arena's scoreboard, Alfredsson was asked about his future.With a smile on his face, and fans cheering his name, Alfredsson said: "Fifty percent yes, and my wife's going to have to decide the other 50."Henrik Sedin had a goal and two assists for Team Alfredsson.Gaborik became the 16th player to score at least three goals - one short of matching the record - in the All-Star game, and first since Rick Nash had three in 2008.The outcome was decided in the final period, in which Team Chara outscored Team Alfredsson 6-3.Hossa broke an 8-8 tie by scoring on a partial breakaway after being set up by Pavel Datsyuk with 7:56 left. Settling the puck, Hossa stopped in front and then backhanded a shot past Brian Elliott.Chara gave his club a 10-8 lead when Gaborik fed him a perfect pass into the middle for a snap shot past Elliott.For Team Chara, Hossa and Jarome Iginla had a goal and two assists, and Joffrey Lupul scored twice.Daniel Sedin, John Tavares, Jason Pominville and Milan Michalek had a goal and assist each for Team Alfredsson.Team Chara got off to a fast start, building a 3-0 lead on Gaborik's second goal 9:51 in. The club was so dominant that it was leading 2-0 before Alfredsson's team got off its first shot.Gaborik certainly enjoyed getting the best of Lundqvist. After scoring his first goal on a give-and-go with Datsyuk, Gaborik circled the net dropped to one knee and pointed his stick at Lundqvist while pumping his fist.Lundqvist jokingly lamented about being beaten three times on eight shots, including twice by his Rangers teammate."There's been a lot of trash talk, but it feels like it's game over already," said Lundqvist, who was wearing a microphone during the opening period.Lundqvist was Alfredsson's assistant captain, and had a hand in the team's drafting philosophy on Thursday.Team Alfredsson rallied to tie the game at 3 before the first period was over. But they didn't get their first - and only lead - until Alfredsson scored twice during a 1:31 span to put his team up 6-5 with just under four minutes left in the second.His first goal came on a great individual effort in which Alfredsson, dragging the puck behind him, split defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Ryan Suter, and flipped a shot that sneaked inside the right post to beat goalie Carey Price.Alfredsson's second goal came on a wonderful passing play courtesy of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, whom Alfredsson was looking forward to play with when he drafted the twins. Henrik Sedin drove up the left wing, fed a pass through the crease to his twin brother, who then redirected to the high slot, where Alfredsson slapped it home.Price allowed three goals on 14 shots, and had lamented the All-Star game's lack of defense during the first intermission."I feel like being a lamb getting led to slaughter," Price said. "I'm must be holding on for the ride today and hope I don't get lit up too bad."Alfredsson nearly had a third goal nine minutes into third period, when he one-timed a shot off the left postThe game was missing the NHL's most high-profile stars in Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. Crosby has been limited to playing just eight games this season as a result of a concussion, and has also been diagnosed with a neck injury, making it unclear when or if he will play at all this season.Ovechkin backed out last week after the NHL suspended him three games for an illegal hit.The game featured 17 first-time All-Stars, 10 playing on Team Alfredsson. Team Chara's roster had the edge over Team Alfredsson in combined games played (10,227-8,425, not including goalies), career goals (2,850-2,286) and career points (7,394-6,164).Steven Stamkos was awarded a penalty shot with 3:27 left in the first period after he was tripped up by Dion Phaneuf.On the penalty shot, Stamkos - who leads the NHL with 32 goals - attempted the same spin-around move he used to beat Price in the skills competition on Saturday night. Howard didn't bite on Sunday, holding his ground and hugging the post to stop Stamkos' attempt.It was the second penalty shot taken in an All-Star game. The other was last year in at Raleigh, N.C., when Colorado's Matt Duchene was stopped by Lundqvist.

Barracuda power play leads the way in Game 2 win over Grand Rapids

heed-us.jpg
USATSI

Barracuda power play leads the way in Game 2 win over Grand Rapids

SAN JOSE – The Barracuda struck for three power play goals, including the game-winner in the second period by Joakim Ryan, in overcoming the Grand Rapids Griffins at SAP Center on Sunday night, 4-2.

San Jose’s victory evens the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series at one game apiece.

Grand Rapids erased a 2-0 hole to tie the game in the middle frame, but less than a minute after Matt Ford knotted the score at 2-2 with a rocket from the circle on a Griffins power play, Ryan’s blast from just inside the blue line at 15:28 staked the Barracuda a lead they would keep for the rest of the night. 

The Barracuda finished 3-for-5 on the power play, after going 0-for-6 in a Game 1 loss on Saturday.

“The power play was a lot better tonight,” Ryan said. “We got set up more. We were able to get shots through from the point.”

One of those shots came early, when defenseman Julius Berman beat goalie Jared Coreau from long range just 3:35 into the game with San Jose on a man advantage. Later in the first, on another power play, Ryan Carpenter found open ice in the slot and redirected a Tim Heed pass at 10:44 for his team-leading eighth of the playoffs.

“Coming out, we wanted to get the first goal tonight,” Carpenter said. “For Bergman to get that first goal was huge for us.”

Ryan and Carpenter both attributed the power play success to winning faceoffs, which is something coach Roy Sommer wanted the club to focus on after it dropped the series opener, 3-1.

Winning faceoffs often is an indication of a team’s compete level, and that, too, was lacking for the Barracuda in an opener in which Sommer said his team played “dumb and slow.” 

Sunday was a much better performance.

“Whenever we’ve had a bad start, or a bad game, the next day these guys have responded,” said Sommer, whose club is the top seed in the Western Conference. “They’ve done it all year.”

The series now shifts to Grand Rapids for the next three games, with Game 3 going Wednesday. The primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, the Griffins posted a 25-11-2 record in their own building in the regular season.

The Barracuda, though, should be a confident group on the road. Against San Diego in the second round, San Jose won all three games in Southern California after splitting the first two at home.

“It’s going to be a hell of a series,” Sommer said. “It’s probably going to go the duration, I imagine. Both teams are kind of feeling each other out and kind of have a pretty good idea of what the other guys are doing now.”

Ryan said: “Honestly, I think they are the team in the league that plays the most like us. I felt like last night they did a better job of taking the game to us. I thought we came out better tonight, and we battled harder, competed more, won more pucks. They’re a really good team, it’s going to be a battle the rest of the series, for sure. They’re not going to lay down.”

Barclay Goodrow’s empty netter with 1:06 left in regulation was the only goal in the third period.

The Barracuda outshot the Griffins, 40-35, including a 20-11 advantage in the first period.

Sharks GM Wilson confirms shoulder surgery for Joel Ward

joel-ward-sharks.jpg
USATSI

Sharks GM Wilson confirms shoulder surgery for Joel Ward

Sharks forward Joel Ward recently had surgery on his shoulder, general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement on Friday.

"Joel was dealing with a minor shoulder injury last season and, once the season ended, had a choice to either rehab the injury or to have a surgical procedure,” Wilson said. “Joel opted to proceed with the surgical procedure, which was completed successfully, and he is expected to be ready for the start of the 2017 season."

Ward was seen at the Oakland A’s game on Thursday night with his right arm in a sling.

In 78 games last season, Ward had 29 points (10g, 19a). He added one goal and three assists in six games in the playoffs.

The 36-year-old has one year remaining on his contract with San Jose, carrying a $3.275 million salary cap hit.