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October tough on Ovechkin
It’s been an October to forget for Alex Ovechkin. After scoring five goals and six points in four games to start the season, the Washington Capitals' star left-winger is without a point in his last five outings, the longest drought of his nine-plus NHL seasons. Ovechkin tried to get out of his funk in a 4-2 loss to Detroit, registering a game-high seven shots in 19 minutes 51 seconds of ice time. He only had seven shots in his previous seven games. Washington (4-3-2) allowed three third-period goals and has lost three of four. Justin Abdelkader scored twice in the third for Detroit and had three points on the night. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk collected two points each for the 5-2-2 Red Wings. Zetterberg has 11 points in his past six games. Prior to the national anthem, a picture was shown on the scoreboard of Red Wings legend Gordie Howe, who had a stroke Sunday but his condition is improving.
Rangers’ Moore suspended
New York Rangers defenceman John Moore will serve his second suspension of 2014, starting Saturday. The NHL slapped Moore with a five-game ban for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula on Monday night. Moore, 23, will be eligible to return on Nov. 11 at home against Pittsburgh. In May, he was suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Montreal forward Dale Weise in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. Moore's punishment follows Monday's two-game suspension handed San Jose Sharks enforcer John Scott for leaving the bench the previous night to fight Anaheim's Tim Jackman.
Rinne thwarts streaking Oilers
It took a hot goalie to put an end to the Edmonton Oilers’ four-game win streak. Nashville’sPekka Rinne turned aside 22 of 23 shots to lift his team to a 4-1 victory after it suffered its first regulation loss of the season on Saturday against Pittsburgh. Rinne improved to 6-1-1 on the season, lowered his goals-against average to 1.71 and raised his save percentage to .936. Offensively, the 6-1-2 Predators were led by Craig Smith’s two-goal performance. Taylor Hall replied with his team-leading sixth goal for the Oilers, who entered the game looking for their first five-game win streak since March 26-April 3, 2013.
More injuries for Blue Jackets, Bruins
The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t have to face forward Mark Letestu or eight other Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. Letestu, who has three goals and five points in nine games this season, will miss two to four weeks with a groin injury. Columbus is also without forwards Artem Anisimov (upper-body), Nick Foligno (stiff neck), Matt Calvert (upper-body), Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal surgery), Boone Jenner (broken hand) and Nathan Horton (back) along with defenceman James Wisniewski (broken finger) and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (broken finger). Still, the Blue Jackets have a 4-5-0 record, a testament to their organizational depth.
Meanwhile, Torey Krug joins fellow Boston Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara on the shelf. Krug, who tops all Bruins blue-liners with six points in 11 games this season, is expected to miss two to three weeks with a broken finger sustained in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Minnesota. Chara isn’t expected in the lineup until Dec. 1 at the earliest after tearing the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The 5-6-0 Bruins are also without defenceman Kevan Miller (shoulder) and forward Brad Marchand (undisclosed).