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In the Habs Room: He shoots … he scores! – Montreal Gazette

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“Again, when he shoots the puck … we saw last year he’s capable of scoring goals,” Claude Julien says after Max Domi scores winner in OT.

CALGARY — It was Wayne Gretzky who once said: “You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.”

The Great One knew a thing or two about scoring goals with an NHL record 894 during his Hall of Fame career.

The Canadiens fired 43 shots at Calgary goaltender David Rittich, including the overtime winner by Max Domi, in a 4-3 victory over the Flames Thursday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. For Domi, it was his first goal in 12 games and only his seventh of the season. Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia and Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens in regulation time.

“Again, when he shoots the puck … we saw last year he’s capable of scoring goals,” coach Claude Julien said about Domi, who scored a career-high 28 last season. “But you know, he’s gotten better, I think, on this trip. He’s played two pretty good games so far, so I think he’s finding his groove again.”

Domi had two assists in Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over the Canucks in Vancouver and now has 1-4-5 totals in the last four games.

In overtime against the Flames, Domi cruised over the blue line, wound up and took a slapshot on what looked like an innocent play that was basically a one-on-two. But the puck went in.

What was that Gretzky said again?

“I was absolutely out of gas, to be honest,” Domi said after the game. “The shift before that we were dancing around pretty good and didn’t score. They had a chance, Pricey (Carey Price) made a save and he just kind of kicked it out to me and I went down. I know Gio (Flames defenceman Mark Giordano) a little bit from back home. I know how good he is. I’m a big fan of him. He’s one of the best defenders in the entire league. So I knew I wasn’t going to beat him at the end of a shift like that. I just figured I’d shoot it through him and got lucky with the shot.”

You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.

Apart from Gretzky, nobody knows that better than Gallagher, who scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season on a shot that never should have gone in from an impossible angle against the boards on the goal line to Rittich’s right.

“I think Gally scores a bunch of those,” Price said. “Just getting pucks on net. Gretzky said it. We’re finding ways to score in that sense. We put up 40-some shots tonight and we were able to get four. It seems like a good recipe.”

Indeed.

Armia’s goal was his 12th of the season, one short of the career high he set last season. It came on a quick shot from the top of the slot that beat Rittich on the short side.

“It was a quick release,” Julien said. “When you look at Army’s goal you can say whatever you want. I think he caught the goaltender by surprise because that release was so quick and he’s got a great shot. But no doubt, if you got people in front of the net you throw pucks at the net and every team does it. From bad angles, it hits people, it trickles through, whatever. A shot on net is never a bad play.”

That’s what happened on Suzuki’s goal that tied the score 3-3 at 11:58 of the third period. Nick Cousins threw the puck at the net from a bad angle and Suzuki tipped it in for his first goal in 13 games. It was one of a team-leading six shots for Suzuki.

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“He was involved in a lot of different areas on the ice and that’s what we’ve talked about,” Julien said about the 20-year-old rookie. “I don’t just want to see him make great plays on the power play, which he did again tonight. But five-on-five, he’s very capable of creating a lot of stuff for himself and for others. I thought he did a great job of that tonight and one of his better games no doubt. I like the direction he’s going.”

The Canadiens’ top defence pairing of Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot had a huge night. Chiarot logged a team-leading 26:00 of ice time, picked up an assist and was plus-4, while Weber played 24:38, had an assist and was plus-2. Weber now has a five-game point streak and has 11-18-29 totals for the season, one point behind Tomas Tatar (13-17-30) for the team lead. Weber is a team-best plus-13, while Chiarot is plus-12.

Domi was asked if he felt a sense of relief after finally ending his long goal drought.

“No, not at all,” he said. “That’s just part of the game. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t. Winning hockey games, that’s all that matters.”

It’s easier to do that when you shoot the puck.

Just ask The Great One.

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

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Five intriguing Henrik Lundqvist destinations if he doesn’t retire – Sportsnet.ca

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The Henrik Lundqvist era in The Big Apple officially ended Wednesday when the New York Rangers bought out the final year of the star goalie’s contract.

The 38-year-old Swedish star has been associated with the Rangers organization for the past 20 years after being selected by the team in the seventh round of the 2000 draft.

Lundqvist finished top-six in Vezina Trophy voting in each of his first 10 NHL seasons, however his goals-against average has increased in each of the past six seasons so his $8.5-million annual salary cap hit became a burden for a Rangers team about to begin a new chapter in its history.

The Rangers — the team that won the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery and now hold the No. 1 overall pick — will roll with their two young Russian puck-stoppers, Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, starting in 2020-21. As for Lundqvist, it’s unclear what his future holds, at least in terms of his playing days.

Will Lundqvist consider retirement? If not, will he want to earn a starter’s role in a new city? Could he thrive as part of a tandem? Might he be an ideal backup on a team with a young starter he could mentor?

Or, could the veteran struggle to find the right fit altogether? This off-season, after all, boasts a fairly crowded goalie market and with the salary cap not increasing it puts some teams in a budget bind.

With all that in mind, here are five teams that could be interesting fits for the decorated netminder.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche were looking like a legitimate threat to emerge from the Western Conference before Philipp Grubauer went down with an injury. Backups Pavel Francouz and Michael Hutchinson struggled and Colorado was eliminated by Dallas. Adding some insurance in the form of a possible future Hall of Famer could contribute to Colorado reaching that next level.

GM Joe Sakic has plenty of cap space with which to work and Lundvist will prefer going to a team with realistic championship aspirations. Grubauer and Francouz are both under contract next season, with a combined cap hit of $5.33 million, which could complicate things slightly.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks have something potentially special cooking in B.C. They were the only Canadian team to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs this summer. A huge reason for that was the play of Jacob Markstrom, who is expected to be the most sought-after goalie available in free agency – it’s either him or countryman Robin Lehner.

If Markstrom does leave, Vancouver will need to fill that void and who better to mentor Thatcher Demko than someone like Lundqvist? If he isn’t interested in playing second fiddle to a 24-year-old, though, then Vancouver might not be the right fit. Lundqvist could join former Team Sweden teammates Alex Edler and Loui Eriksson, plus star forward Elias Pettersson and Calder Trophy runner-up Quinn Hughes, on a growing team that would benefit from his experience and leadership.

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Washington Capitals

With Braden Holtby hitting the open market, Lundqvist would make sense as a replacement. The Capitals will be handing the keys to the crease to 22-year-old Ilya Samsonov. Lundqvist could provide the Russian some valuable support. Lundqvist might’ve struggled in 2019-20 but his .905 save percentage was better than Holtby’s .897.

Dallas Stars

Did Anton Khudobin price himself out of town after his playoff heroics that fell a couple wins shy of a Stanley Cup championship?

Khudobin is a pending UFA and if he leaves town the Stars will be left with Ben Bishop. The Stars should be contenders again next season. If they don’t think 2017 first-rounder Jake Oettinger is ready to be a full-time NHL backup next season and/or they don’t fully trust Bishop to stay healthy and perform at a high level consistently, then why not take a look at Lunqvist?

Henrik’s twin brother, Joel Lundvist, spent three seasons with the Stars from 2006-2009.

Chicago Blackhawks

This would be a wild jump from one Original Six franchise to another.

Chicago needs an upgrade in net with Corey Crawford a pending UFA and both Malcolm Subban and Collin Delia unproven as starters. Lundqvist wouldn’t be their first choice, but if they miss out on their top handful of targets then Lunqvist could be an excellent contingency plan.

Chicago has plenty of proven winners on their roster and they upset the Oilers in the qualifying round. As mentioned above, Lundqvist will want to go to a place where he can actually start some games. If he thinks the Blackhawks will be a playoff-calibre team next season, then who knows?

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GameThread Wild Card Game #2: Jays at Rays – Bluebird Banter

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We are only at the second game of the series, but the Jays are already facing elimination. Fortunately (?) they have their ace going today, so hopefully they’ll be able to pull out a win.

Here are today’s lineups. Both Shaw and Panik will get starts, Vladdy will DH and Gurriel has been moved up in the lineup.

Poll

Tonight, I will be watching this game:

  • 64%

    At home alone

    (45 votes)

  • 25%

    At home with family or friends

    (18 votes)

  • 10%

    Out alone

    (7 votes)

  • 0%

    Out with family or friends

    (0 votes)



70 votes total

Vote Now

Poll

How many innings will Ryu pitch tonight?

  • 28%

    0-3

    (25 votes)

  • 15%

    4-5

    (14 votes)

  • 40%

    6

    (36 votes)

  • 14%

    More than 6

    (13 votes)



88 votes total

Vote Now

Poll

How many runs will the Jays score tonight?

  • 10%

    0-1

    (9 votes)

  • 37%

    2-3

    (31 votes)

  • 30%

    4-5

    (25 votes)

  • 21%

    6+

    (18 votes)



83 votes total

Vote Now

GO JAYS GO

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Anthony Davis Plans To Make Nine More Finals With LeBron James – RealGM.com

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When LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010, he predicted they could win upwards of seven titles. James ended up winning two titles in four trips to The Finals before returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014.

Anthony Davis, appearing in his first Finals, believes he and James could reach The Finals in every year of this decade.

“You see the work and preparation LeBron puts in every day, and you understand why this is his 10th NBA Finals appearance. He never stops. I plan to follow this motherf—er to hopefully nine more Finals,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “We’re all ready to go.”

Davis is 27 years old while James turns 36 in December. 

“I knew what I wanted,” he told Yahoo Sports. “I wanted what he had,” pointing to James.

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