Playing in empty arena, Canadiens top Flyers 3-2 in shootout

December 17, 2021 GMT
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Montreal Canadiens players and coaching staff look on from the bench against a backdrop of empty seats during during second-period NHL hockey game action against the Philadelphia Flyers in Montreal, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Montreal Canadiens players and coaching staff look on from the bench against a backdrop of empty seats during during second-period NHL hockey game action against the Philadelphia Flyers in Montreal, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

MONTREAL (AP) — Jonathan Drouin was the only scorer in the shootout, and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Thursday night in a mostly empty Bell Centre because of the rise of COVID-19 cases.

Quebec public health officials asked the Canadiens to play without fans in their home arena earlier Thursday to help slow the spread of the virus. The Canadiens agreed to the provincial government’s request, making the game the first at Bell Centre without spectators since Game 4 of the 2021 North Division semifinal against the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 25.

Artturi Lehkonen and Laurent Dauphin scored in regulation for Montreal. Cayden Primeau, son of former Philadelphia player Keith Primeau, allowed two goals on 38 shots. He saved every shootout attempt.

Max Willman and Jackson Cates scored for the Flyers. Carter Hart stopped 38 of 40 shots.


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Andrei Vasilevskiy set an NHL record for wins in a calendar year, Steven Stamkos picked up his 900th career point and Tampa Bay beat Ottawa.

Vasilevskiy made 25 saves to get his 63rd win in 2021 regular-season and playoff games. He broke the record of 62, established by Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in 2009.

Stamkos and Martin St. Louis (953) are the only Tampa Bay players to reach 900 points. The star center is the 118th NHL player to accomplish the feat.

Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist, and Alex Killorn also scored for the Lightning, who lost 4-0 at Ottawa last Saturday. Tampa Bay is 7-1-1 over the last nine games.

The Senators, who had won five of six, got a goal from Thomas Chabot. Anton Forsberg stopped 25 shots.

Stamkos reached the milestone when he assisted on Hedman’s power-play goal that put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1 late in the second period.


SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown scored in the second period and Jonathan Quick made 41 saves to help Los Angeles defeat short-handed Florida.

Olli Maatta scored for the first time in 75 games and Arthur Kaliyev added a third-period goal for the Kings, who improved to 3-0-1 in their last four games.

Matt Kiersted scored his first NHL goal and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 27 shots for the Panthers, who played with only 16 skaters, instead of the usual 18, because of a virus outbreak and injuries.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Nino Niederreiter broke a tie with his second goal of the game 18 seconds into the third period to send depleted Carolina past Detroit.

Tony DeAngelo and Jack Drury, who made his NHL debut, joined Niederreiter with first-period goals, and Vincent Trocheck added an empty-netter for the Hurricanes, who played with 16 skaters due to COVID-19 protocols.

Frederik Andersen made 23 saves. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Teuvo Teravainen and Martin Necas each had two assists for Carolina.

Sam Gagner, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi scored for the Red Wings. Former Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 29 shots.

Carolina was without leading scorer Sebastian Aho, second-leading scorer Andrei Svechnikov, captain Jordan Staal, Ian Cole, Seth Jarvis and Steven Lorentz.


NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Nicolas Roy scored the last of Vegas’ four straight goals, Robin Lehner made 23 saves and the Golden Knights beat New Jersey for their third straight win.

Dylan Coghlan, William Carrier and William Karlsson also scored for the Golden Knights, who have won six of seven and are 5-1-1 all-time against the Devils. Jonathan Marchessault added an empty-net goal with 1:07 left.

The Devils lost their fourth in a row and fell to 2-8-2 in their last 12 games. Jack Hughes, Tomas Tatar and Jimmy Vesey scored for New Jersey. Mackenzie Blackwood made 25 saves.


NEW YORK (AP) — Cal Clutterbuck scored twice and Semyon Varlamov stopped 40 shots for his first win of the season as New York topped depleted Boston.

Anthony Beauvillier also scored to help the Islanders get their second straight win at home after opening 0-5-2 at new UBS Arena. New York is 3-3-3 over the last nine games.

Mike Reilly scored and Linus Ullmark had 25 saves for the Bruins, who have lost consecutive games in regulation after a 3-0-2 stretch. Boston was without seven players in COVID-19 protocol — including leading scorers Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron — and played a man down with 11 forwards and six defensemen.

Varlamov came into the game 0-5-1 with a 3.29 goals-against average this season, but had eight saves in the first period, 21 in the second and 11 in the third.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Filip Forsberg had two goals and an assist to lead Nashville over Colorado in a game between rosters wrecked by COVID-19 outbreaks.

Tanner Jeannot added a goal and an assist, and Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm also scored. Juuse Saros made 24 saves for the Predators, who extended their season-best winning streak to six games. Colton Sissons had three assists.

Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist, and Valeri Nichushkin also scored for Colorado. Pavel Francouz made 30 saves for the Avalanche, who had won five straight.

Both teams were missing players placed in the league’s COVID-19 protocol. Colorado lost Cale Makar shortly before faceoff and used just 16 skaters. The Avs also dressed an emergency backup goaltender. Nashville had seven players sidelined by protocols.


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Tage Thompson scored the only goal in a shootout, lifting Buffalo over Minnesota.

After the first five shooters came up empty, Thompson ended the game when he beat Minnesota goalie Cam Talbot with a forehand.

Dylan Cozens and Mark Pysyk scored for the Sabres in regulation. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 30 saves and stoned the Wild in the tiebreaker.

Kirill Kaprizov and defenseman Jon Merrill scored for Minnesota, and Talbot made 38 saves.

Minnesota, the top team in the Western Conference, lost its third straight following an eight-game winning streak that ended Saturday.


EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Jesse Puljujarvi had two goals and an assist, and Edmonton snapped a six-game skid with a win over Columbus.

Derek Ryan, Brendan Perlini and Warren Foegele also scored for the Oilers, who ended a five-game losing streak at home. Stuart Skinner stopped 36 shots.

Gustav Nyquist and Justin Danforth scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost eight of 10. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 25 of 29 shots, and Joonas Korpisalo stopped all 15 he faced.


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Brock Boeser scored twice and Vancouver won its sixth straight game since coach Bruce Boudreau took over, beating San Jose.

Boeser opened the scoring in the first period and added an insurance goal late in the second. Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller and Jason Dickinson also scored as the Canucks extended their resurgence since Boudreau replaced the fired Travis Green less than two weeks ago.

Thatcher Demko made 34 saves for Vancouver.

Timo Meier scored his 100th career goal and Andrew Cogliano also scored but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Sharks from dropping to 2-3 on their seven-game homestand.


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