MONTREAL - It won't take long for Thomas Vanek to get his first taste of the heated Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins rivalry.
The 30-year-old acquired by Montreal at last week's NHL trade deadline will play his first home game at the Bell Centre against the Bruins on Wednesday night.
"Rivalries are for the fans," Vanek said Tuesday. "They're good for the league, but for us in here, and I'm sure it's the same as everywhere. It's just about winning the two points.
"But I'm sure the atmosphere will be great and I can't wait to experience it."
CALGARY - Martin Jones made a habit of winning big games at the Scotiabank Saddledome during his Western Hockey League career.
Four years after guiding the Calgary Hitmen to a WHL championship and a berth in the 2010 Memorial Cup, Jones made a triumphant return to the Saddledome with the Los Angeles Kings.
"I was excited to play here for sure," said Jones, who made 24 saves to backstop the Kings to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday. "I had four great years here. It was a good road win. It wasn't pretty."
Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist for the Kings (38-22-6), who have reeled off eight straight wins.
"Definitely we didn't want to make it as interesting as it was, but yeah I guess it was pretty big," said Kopitar of his third-period goal that put the Kings up 3-0 and eventually stood up as the game winner. "It wasn't the prettiest win tonight, but at the end of the day we got the two points."
PLYMOUTH, Mich. - Alex Nedeljkovic made 35 saves and Zach Lorentz scored the eventual winner with five minutes to play as the Plymouth Whalers edged the Saginaw Spirit 3-1 in Ontario Hockey League action on Sunday.
Victor Crus Rydberg and Ryan Hartman had a goal and an assist apiece for the Whalers (27-31-7).
Cody Payne was the lone scorer for Saginaw (32-28-5), finding the back of the net midway through the second period for the first goal of the game.
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Matt Climie made 28 saves as the Chicago Wolves defeated the Abbotsford Heat 4-1 Sunday in American Hockey League action.
Giving AHL All-Star Jake Allen a night off, Climie stopped all 12 shots in the third period to help the Wolves hang on to the win, and extending his personal streak to 4-0-2.
Alexandre Bolduc, Cody Beach, Dmitrij Jaskin and Tyler Shattock each scored for Chicago (35-18-6), who is on a 12-2-1 run that has them within three points of Grand Rapids for the Midwest Division lead.
Cade Fairchild, Taylor Chorney, and Pat Cannone, fresh off his first career hat trick against the Heat Saturday, picked up two assists apiece.
TORONTO - Playing three games in four nights is a test for any team. It gets even tougher when the opponents are the top three teams in the Atlantic Division.
The Toronto Maple Leafs left Sunday for California, where they'll face the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.
"We're going to see some real good hockey teams," coach Randy Carlyle said Saturday night. "We've got to understand there's a certain style of game we've got to play on the road. We have to skate. We're a skating hockey club."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Artem Anisimov scored with 6:25 remaining in the third period and Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
It was Bobrovsky's third shutout of the season for Columbus, which has won four of five.
With the game still scoreless, James Wisniewski sent a pass from the left circle to Anisimov at the left faceoff dot. Anisimov carried the puck to the goal line before cutting toward the Nashville net and sliding a backhander by Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne just inside the far post.
The Predators have lost four in a row and seven of their last eight.
PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. - Leon Draisaitl had two goals and two assists as the Prince Albert Raiders downed the Calgary Hitmen 5-2 on Friday in Western Hockey League action.
Collin Valcourt, Josh Morrissey and Mackenzie Stewart also scored for the Raiders (32-30-5), who moved within two points of Brandon for the eighth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, and Sawyer Lange chipped in with two assists.
Jake Virtanen scored both goals for the Hitmen (44-17-7), who have dropped back-to-back games.
Goaltender Shannon Szabados, who backstopped Canada's women's hockey team to a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, agreed on Friday to join to the Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League.
Szabados wrote on her Twitter account that she will join the team March 12 and be available for the final five games of the regular season. The team announced a press conference for March 13 to introduce her.
The 27-year-old goaltender allowed three goals (one even-strength) in three games at the Olympics, and led the tournament with a 0.96 goals-against average and .954 save percentage. She stopped 27 of 29 shots in Canada's 3-2 overtime win against the United States in the gold-medal game. It was her second straight gold medal, having helped Canada win at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
She will be the first woman to play in the league.
"I am very excited to get a world class athlete that has competed and has faced high-pressured situations," Columbus coach Jerome Bechard said. "Shannon has won at every level she has played, in women's hockey or men's hockey."
EDMONTON - The best player ever to don an Edmonton Oilers uniform still has confidence in the brain trust of the team, despite the fact the 29th-place team will miss the playoffs for an eighth straight season.
Wayne Gretzky was back in the building where he saw much of the success in his Hall of Fame career on Thursday night for the game between the Oilers and the New York Islanders. He was in town for a Oilers season ticket holders breakfast on Friday morning.
Gretzky said, while he understands the frustration of the fans with his former team, he believes that the Oilers are in good hands under the guidance of general manager and former teammate Craig MacTavish.