MONTREAL -- Slovakia goaltender Denis Godla made headlines Saturday for the right reasons.
One day after being pulled from an 8-0 loss to Canada, Godla was the central figure in Slovakia's 2-1 upset of defending champion Finland in Group A play at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Bell Centre.
Godla made 37 saves and captain Martin Reway (Montreal Canadiens) set up goals by Peter Chlarik (Boston Bruins) and Matus Holenda for Slovakia (1-0-0-1, three points) to put Finland in a difficult spot in the group standings.
It was Slovakia's first win against a traditional hockey power at this tournament since a 3-2 overtime victory in the preliminary round of the 2009 championship held in Ottawa.
Captain Jacob de la Rose had one goal and two assists Saturday to lead Sweden to a 5-1 win against Denmark at Air Canada Centre in a Group B preliminary-round game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
In the second Group B game, Switzerland scored three times in the second period and beat the Czech Republic 5-2.
De la Rose (Montreal Canadiens) scored 13 seconds into the second period to give Sweden (2-0-0-0) a commanding 4-0 lead.
With the win, Sweden (2-0-0-0) leads Group B with six points. Denmark (0-0-1-1) is third with one point.
WASHINGTON -- Preparations at Nationals Park for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA) are nearing completion.
"We've got all the ice markings in, logos are almost completely in," NHL senior director of facilities operation Dan Craig said. "We'll put in our big center logo at 4 p.m. here, seal it all in."
Near 5 p.m., the center-ice logo was halfway finished. With an 80 percent chance of rain here Sunday, Craig's crew will work until around 9 p.m. to stay on schedule.
With that unique announcement, the Devils entered uncharted territory as they try to navigate back into the hunt for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It is the first time in franchise history, and perhaps the first time in the history of the NHL, that a team has employed co-coaches.
In fact, for a short period, the Devils will have three coaches. Lamoriello said he is putting himself behind the bench for a limited period to supervise and get a better read on his players and the makeup of the team. He will step away from the bench as soon as he is comfortable with how the new process is working.
"I tried to come up with what, in my opinion, was the best way to get our team to do certain things and get the most out of the personnel we have," said Lamoriello, who fired DeBoer on Friday, the final day of the League's three-day Christmas break.
The three-headed coaching entity will make its debut Saturday when the Devils play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Defenseman Olli Maatta is continuing a rehab program on his upper body injury and is expected to return to the lineup within the next month, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford said today.
Maatta’s rehab program was set back briefly by his bout with the mumps.
Maatta, 20, has not played since December 6 vs. Ottawa. He has one goal and eight assists for nine points in 20 games this season.
Earlier this season he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his neck.
Devils center Travis Zajac and defenseman Adam Larsson were each diagnosed with the mumps earlier this month. Zajac returned to the lineup Dec. 15 after missing eight games with the mumps and a lower-body injury. Larsson played Tuesday after missing 10 games.
The Devils (12-17-7) are seventh in the Metropolitan Division with 31 points, nine points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. DeBoer was in his fourth season as New Jersey's coach.
DeBoer took the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, but they have not made the playoffs since.
Outdoor games and the Olympic Games made 2014 the year of the big event in the NHL.
Before the hockey world turns its full attention toward Washington, D.C. for the next big event, the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day, a trip down memory lane of the year that is soon to be takes us to The Big House, Chavez Ravine, the Bronx, a resort city on the coast of the Black Sea, Vancity, and a venerable football stadium along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.
Beyond the big events, the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs featured historic comebacks, emotional lifts, and overtime heroics. A modernized approach to evaluation became popular. Legends were lost, and others retired or moved on. Coaches and general managers were hired and fired.
Here is an overview of what 2014 was to the NHL:
MONTREAL – A year earlier, Slovakia put a serious scare into Canada in the preliminary round of the same tournament, leading by two goals late in the second period before Canada stormed back to win.
Canada returned the favor Friday, making Slovakia look like the scared team in a dominant 8-0 victory to open the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on home soil in emphatic fashion.