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Around the League notebook: Saturday, Dec. 26

Sunday, 12.27.2015 / 10:36 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

EICHEL LEADS SABRES TO COMEBACK WIN IN RETURN TO BOSTON...

Facing a 3-1 deficit in the third period, the Buffalo Sabres scored five unanswered goals, two each from Jack Eichel (2-2—4) and Ryan O'Reilly (2-1—3), to rally past the Boston Bruins and improve to 4-1-1 in their past six games.

* Eichel, a native of North Chelmsford, Mass., who won the Hobey Baker Award last season at Boston University, had an NHL career-high four points in his first professional game in Boston.

* The Sabres overcame a multiple-goal deficit in the third period to win in regulation for the first time since beating the Florida Panthers 5-3 on March 25, 2009, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Elias added that the Sabres scored five goals in a single period for the first time since the third period of a 7-4 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 8, 2011.

* O'Reilly had his third three-point game of the season. In 35 game this season he leads the Sabres in goals (14), assists (18) and points (32).

* Chad Johnson (20 saves) stretched his personal point streak to four games (3-0-1) and improved to 6-2-1 in his past nine decisions.

Islanders place goalie Halak on IR, recall Gibson

Sunday, 12.27.2015 / 10:33 AM / News

NHL.com

New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury Sunday, retroactive to Dec. 21.

Halak is 10-6-3 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 20 games.

The Islanders host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday in their first game out of the holiday break. Goalie Christopher Gibson was recalled from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League to back up starter Thomas Greiss.

Rogers Hometown Hockey: Oshawa, Ontario

Sunday, 12.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / News

NHL.com

Sportsnet will televise "Rogers Hometown Hockey" on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET, prior to the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders. The location this week is Oshawa, Ontario and the show will celebrate the history of hockey in the city.

Among the features on the pregame show:

Penguins D-man Letang returns to game after injury

Saturday, 12.26.2015 / 10:26 PM / News

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to the game Saturday against the Minnesota Wild after leaving early in the third period with an apparent head injury.

Three minutes into the period, Letang was hit by Wild forward Jarret Stoll in the left corner of Pittsburgh's defensive zone. Stoll's shoulder appeared to make contact with Letang's chin. Letang remained on the ice before skating off and going to the locker room.

Stoll was assessed a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head.

Bruins say Pastrnak can join Czech Republic at WJC

Saturday, 12.26.2015 / 8:51 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak will be made available to the Czech Republic for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, if the Bruins don't need him because of injuries, when the NHL roster freeze ends Monday, general manager Don Sweeney said Saturday.

Pastrnak, who has been out since Oct. 31 because of a nondisplaced fracture in his foot, recently completed a two-game conditioning stint with Providence of the American Hockey League.

"He is fully healthy and now we need to get him back to where he can impact our lineup," Sweeney said. "And if indeed he does join the [Czech] team on the 28th over in Finland, we think that based on last year, his experience there and rolling out of that tournament with the confidence that he had, that he'll come back to the full level that he had really had gotten to last year in impacting our lineup."

Five things learned from Day 1 of World Juniors

Saturday, 12.26.2015 / 5:08 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The United States national junior team earned its first preliminary-round victory against rival Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 17 years with a 4-2 win Saturday at Helsinki Ice Hall in Finland.

Finland and Sweden also had regulation wins against Belarus and Switzerland, respectively, and Russia survived a scare from the Czech Republic in a shootout on the first day of tournament competition.

The United States received goals from defenseman Louis Belpedio, a third-round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild, and Auston Matthews, an A-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list for the 2016 NHL Draft, late in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie. Colin White (Ottawa Senators), who was named U.S. player of the game, and defenseman Zach Werenski (Columbus Blue Jackets) also scored and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes) made 25 saves, including 11 in the third.

"[The win] gives us a feather in our cap because we've beaten Canada but now we have to settle in and take care of the other teams," U.S. coach Ron Wilson told NHL Network. "For me, personally, it's the first game I've won in four years and that means a lot actually."

Avalanche goalie Reto Berra out about 10 days

Saturday, 12.26.2015 / 4:56 PM / News

NHL.com

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Reto Berra will be out about 10 days with an ankle injury, coach Patrick Roy said Saturday.

Berra, who is 5-8-0 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .922 save percentage, injured himself playing soccer in the hallway prior to Colorado's game Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, according to The Denver Post.

Late goals lead U.S. past Canada to open 2016 WJC

Saturday, 12.26.2015 / 4:42 PM / 2016 World Junior Championship

Canadian Press

HELSINKI -- Louis Belpedio, a Minnesota Wild draft choice, scored the go-ahead goal and Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, added an insurance goal late in the third period as the United States beat Canada 4-2 on Saturday in each team's first preliminary game of the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Colin White (Ottawa Senators) and Zach Werenski (Columbus Blue Jackets) also scored for the United States (1-0-0), while Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes) made 25 saves for the win.

Matt Barzal (New York Islanders) and Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes) supplied the offense as Canada (0-1-0) began its defense of the 2015 World Junior title. Mason McDonald (Calgary Flames) stopped 21 shots in net.

Canadiens' Gallagher practices, could return on trip

Saturday, 12.26.2015 / 12:06 PM / News

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher practiced with his teammates Saturday for the first time since fracturing two fingers on his left hand on Nov. 22.

Gallagher did not travel with the Canadiens to face the Washington Capitals on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, CITY, TVA Sports, CSN-DC), but coach Michel Therrien did not rule out a return over the course of their current road trip.

The Canadiens will travel to face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday and the Florida Panthers on Tuesday before the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 1.

"It's a possibility," Therrien said when asked if Gallagher will join the Canadiens on the trip. "I know he's got to meet the doctor again in the next few days, and they'll take a decision from there."

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