Empty Netter Assists - 03-24-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-Only six players - including two former Hart Trophy winners - have scored more game-winning goals in their first season with the Penguins than Brandon Sutter.

-How will the their current winning streak impact how the Penguins approach the trade deadline?

-How will the shortened schedule impact how the Penguins approach the trade deadline?

-"The first five or so games I was nervous to do anything out of the ordinary. I was just trying to stay the course and be responsible. Going forward I think I've gotten a little more confidence with the puck on my stick and trying to make plays, and still trying to maintain that responsibility in my own zone." - Beau Bennett (above) on adjusting to the NHL.

-After a scoring change, Simon Despres was given the secondary assist on the great Joe Vitale's goal against the Islanders Friday (PG+). The goal in question:

-Thinking Out Loud: How exactly does Despres get an assist on that? He loses the puck. The puck briefly ends up on the stick of New York's Colin McDonald who then loses it to Craig Adams who then sets up Vitale.

-Brad Thiessen made 19 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 4-1 home loss to the Norfolk Admirals.

-"Since the lockout's ended, we've played him in major roles," coach John Hynes said. "His workload has increased. There are times where he needs to play better in those situations. The statistics are accurate, but on the development side of it, he's been thrown in the deep end and has done a nice job of keeping his head above water and learning and growing." - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach John Hynes on the development of defenseman Brian Dumoulin.

-Zack Torquato had a goal and an assist for the Wheeling Nailers in a 7-2 road loss to the Trenton Titans.

-Former Penguins goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin has re-signed with HC Pustertal Wölfe of Italy's Serie A league.

-Happy 33rd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Andrew Hutchinson. A free agent signing in the 2010 season, Hutchinson's Penguins career amounted to five games and one assist in 2010-11. One of two Penguins players born in Illinois (Ed Olczyk was the other), Hutchinson left as a free agent during the 2011 offseason and joined Barys Astana of Russia's KHL.

-Happy 33rd birthday to former Penguins forward Ramzi Abid (right). Acquired at the 2003 trade deadline from the Coyotes along with Dan Focht and Guillaume Lefebvre in exchange for Jan Hrdina and Francois Leroux, Abid, the first NHL player of Middle Eastern descent, spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He finished 2002-03 by playing in three games for the Penguins and failing to record a point. During 2003-04, injuries limited him to 16 games and five points. After spending the 2004-05 lockout with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Abid joined the Thrashers as a free agent. Abid, the first player on the franchise's all-time roster in alphabetical order, appeared in 19 games for the team and scored five points. He is currently a member of JYP in Finland's SM-liiga.

-Happy 58th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Pat Price. Acquired at the 1981 trade deadline from the Oilers in exchange for Pat Hughes, Price spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1980-81 by playing in 13 games for the Penguins and recording 10 assists. In five postseason games that spring, he scored two points. Price's only full season in Pittsburgh was 1981-82. He saw action in 77 games and scored 38 points. He appeared in five playoff games that season and failed to record a point. After 38 games and 12 points in 1982-83, Price was claimed off waivers by the Noridques.  In 128 regular season games with the Penguins, he scored 60 points and recorded 459 penalty minutes.

-Happy 40th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Philippe Boucher. Acquired early in the 2008-09 season in a trade which sent defenseman Darryl Sydor to the Stars, Boucher's Penguins career amounted to 25 games and six points that regular season. In nine postseason games that spring, he scored four points and even netted the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, a 3-2 home win against the Hurricanes. After winning a Stanley Cup title with the Penguins, he retired in the 2009 offseason.

-After the Jump: New Jersey's Martin Brodeur hits a dubious career mark and the Lightning fire head coach Guy Boucher.

Atlantic Division

-Martin Brodeur made 17 saves for the Devils in a 2-1 defeat of the Panthers. It was Brodeur's ... 666th ... career win. Travis Zajac recorded two assists for New Jersey.

-Stupid Play of the Night: Florida's Colby Robak cross-checked New Jersey's Tim Sestito into the boards on this play:

-Robak will not face discipline for the play. According to Devils head coach Peter DeBoer, Sestito will "be fine."

-New Jersey's Andrei Loktionov went stick on puck here against Florida's Filip Kuba:

-Cool Photo of the Day: Florida rookie Jonathan Huberdeau warming up with his shadow:

-Brodeur flashed the glove here:

-Saluting times for Brodeur:

-“My brother is really excited about it. He already put in the call. He wants the stick and everything. I guess he’s the real devil maybe.” - Brodeur on the unique win total.

-Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk will be sidelined two to four weeks due to a right shoulder injury.

-Flyers forward Daniel Briere is sidelined due to an "upper-body" injury.

-With forward J.T. Miller, a native of East Palestine, Ohio, dealing with a wrist injury, the Rangers recalled forward Kris Newbury from Connecticut of the AHL.

-The Rangers placed defenseman Stu Bickel on waivers.

Northeast Division

-Captain Daniel Alfredsson scored two goals for the Senators in a 5-3 win against the Lightning. Jacob Silfverberg added a goal and an assist for Ottawa while teammates Marc Methot and Kyle Turris each recorded two assists. Robin Lehner made 29 saves in the victory. Rookie Tyler Johnson had two goals for Tampa Bay.

-Effort Goal of the Day: After stripping Tampa Bay's Sami Salo of the puck, Ottawa's Guillaume Latendressed was able to stick with this puck and score a goal off a rebound:

-Thomas Vanek scored both of the Sabres' goal in a 2-1 defeat of the Canadiens. Ryan Miller made 38 saves in the victory.

-Check out the slick passing which led to Vanek's second goal:

-James Reimer made 31 saves for the Maple Leafs in a 3-2 win against the Bruins. Toronto snapped an eight-game losing streak to Boston.

-Check out this nifty little pass by Toronto's Clarke MacArthur to set up Nazem Kadri for a goal:

-Fight of the Night: Toronto's Colton Orr versus Boston's Shawn Thornton:

-Maple Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles left the game in the second period due to a sprained ankle.

-The Bruins assigned forward Ryan Spooner to Providence of the AHL.

-The Canadiens claimed forward Jeff Halpern off waivers from the Rangers.

Southeast Division

-The Lightning fired head coach Guy Boucher. Assistant coaches Dan Lacroix and Marty Raymond will serve as interim co-coaches until a replacement is named. In parts of three seasons with Tampa Bay, Boucher had a 84-62-19 record and one playoff appearance. The Lightning is currently 13-17-1 this season and sits in 14th place in the Eastern Conference with 27 points.

-EN Says: The Lightning has underachieved badly this season even if you account for injuries. And by many accounts, there has been a lack of urgency on the team as the season has wore on. Regardless if Boucher (right) had lost his team, this strikes us as a move needed to kick start it in order to save its dying playoff hopes. It might not be fair, but it was needed.

-The Lightning signed forward Nate Thompson to a four-year contract extension worth a total of $6.4 million. In the final year of a contract with a salary cap hit of $900,000, Thompson's new deal will have a cap hit of $1.6 million. Thompson, 28, has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 31 games this season.

-EN Says: Thompson is a strong third- or fourth-line center who can win faceoffs and kill penalties. He won't make or break any roster, but he's a solid role player who can  help you win. This is a fair contract for a player who has not yet hit 30.

-Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom is expected to return to the lineup after missing 19 games due to an "upper-body" injury. Enstrom was injured in a 3-1 loss to the Penguins Feb. 15.

-After he cleared waivers, the Capitals assigned forward Joey Crabb to Hershey of the AHL.

-With forward Jack Skille dealing with an undsiclosed injury, the Panthers recalled forward Greg Rallo from San Antonio of the AHL.

Central Division

-Rookie Taylor Beck had a goal and an assist for Nashville in a 5-2 defeat of the rival Blue Jackets. Gabriel Bourque, Bobby Butler and Martin Erat each recorded two assists for Nashville while teammate Pekka Rinne made 21 saves.

-Nashville's Hal Gill + Brandon Yip > Columbus' Matt Calvert:

-Columbus' Jack Johnson didn't get a lot of support here from Nashville fans:

-Determined Photo of the Night: Nashville's Matt Halischuk pushing the puck up ice:

-Rinne didn't seem to care for the presence of Columbus' Colton Gilles in front of his crease:

-Jaroslav Halak made 19 saves for the Blues in a 3-0 shutout of the Oilers. Alex Steen had a goal and an assist for St. Louis.

-Embarrassing Dive of the Night: Check out the air time St. Louis' David Perron got here on this hooking penalty against Oilers defenseman and former Penguin Ryan Whitney:

-Goal of the Night: Check out this nifty forehand/backhand move for a goal by St. Louis' T.J. Oshie:

-The Blues activated Oshie from injured reserve after he missed three games due to sore ribs.

-Gill, a former Penguin, returned to the lineup after missing 12 games due to a "lower-body" injury.

Northwest Division

-Niklas Backstrom made 33 saves for the Wild in a 2-0 shutout of the Sharks. It was his 27th career shutout. Captain Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter each recorded two assists for Minnesota.

-Check out this nifty feed from Koivu to set up Zach Parise for a power-play goal:

-Check out this rocket of a power-play goal by Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon:

-Backstrom had a moment with teammate Clayton Stoner:

-Cory Schneider made 20 saves for the Canucks in a 1-0 shutout of the Kings. It was his sixth career shutout. Vancouver won despite being limited to 13 shots.

-Check out this stretch pass by Vancouver rookie Jordan Schroeder to spring Mason Raymond loose on a breakaway goal:

-Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick flashed his butterfly here:

-Everyone had issues here:

-Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin returned to the linup after being sidelined since Feb. 25 due to a groin injury.

Pacific Division

-Eric Nystrom, former Penguins captain Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy each had a goal and an assist for the Stars in a 5-2 win against the Avalanche. Jamie Benn recorded three assists for Dallas while teammate Kari Lehtonen made 33 saves. Paul Stastny led Colorado with a goal and an assist.

-Check out this play by Dallas' Loui Eriksson where draws in two defenders then deals a backhanded pass to Roy in the slot for a wide-open goal:

-The Stars recalled goaltender Richard Bachman from Texas of the AHL and assigned goaltender Jack Campbell to Texas.

-With goaltender Mike Smith day-to-day due to an undisclosed injury, the Coyotes recalled former Penguins goaltending prospect Chad Johnson from Portland of the AHL.

-The Ducks signed unrestricted free agent Radek Dvorak to a one-year contract worth a total of $675,000 (prorated). In 73 games with the Stars last season, he scored 21 points (four goals, 17 assists). After playing for Davos of Switzerland's NLA this season, he must clear waivers before he is allowed to join the Ducks.

-EN Says: Assuming Dvorak (right) clears waivers, this is a nice late-season addition for Anaheim. Even at age 36, Dvorak is still a good skater who will help the penalty kill as a short-handed scoring threat. In an otherwise strong season, the Ducks' penalty kill is one of the NHL's worst at 77.4 percent.

Norris Division

-Nick Jones had a goal and an assist for the Mercyhurst men's team in a 7-2 loss to Canisius in the American Hockey Association championship game. Mercyhurst finished its season with 19-17-5 record.

-Jeff Bergh had a goal and an assist for the Johnstown Tomahawks in a 3-2 win against the Kalamazoo Junior Wings.

(Photos: Bennett-Claus Andersen/Getty Images; Abid-Getty Images; Panthers/Devils-Julio Cortez/Associated Press and Jim McIsaac/Getty Images; Boucher-Elsa/Getty Images; Predators/Blue Jackets-Frederick Breedon/Getty Images and Mark Humphrey/Associated Press; Sharks/Wild-Jim Mone/Associated Press; Canucks/Kings-Victor Decolongon/Getty Images and Jae C. Hong/Associated Press; Dvorak-Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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