NASHVILLE www.sanjosesharksteamshop.com , Tenn. (AP) — NHL goaltenders prepare for the unpredictable, ready for pucks deflecting off sticks, bodies, feet or a divot in the ice, past all the gear designed to help defend their net.The freaky, fluky or simply weird goals can be laughed off by goalies who know sometimes the puck just takes a funny bounce.The goals that eat at a goalie are those he believes he could’ve — and should’ve — stopped. Not the goal allowed by Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin where the puck bounced off a Nashville forward’s back and over the net before hitting the back of the goalie’s helmet, then off his back and into the net.“It stings anytime you give up a goal,” Predators goalie Pekka Rinne said Tuesday. “That kind of goal, there’s nothing really he could’ve done. It’s a freaky goal, and I feel like those things maybe happen once, twice in a season. But yeah, the ones that hurt the most as a goalie, it’s the ones that you feel like you should’ve had it.”Stick-handling in the NHL has improved right along with players’ speed and skating thanks to offseason workouts. That also has boosted the creativity for shooters looking to do a bit more than a simple slap shot, wrister or snap shot.“There’s a lot of talent in the league, more maybe so now than there has been in years past,” Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “These young guys coming up, everybody has their own skills coaches and things like that. There’s a lot of skills. I don’t doubt there’s more highlight-reel goals.”Goaltenders have to be ready for the next move dreamed up by the league’s stars to put the puck over the line. Scoring is up with the average number of goals scored per game increasing in each of the past four seasons San Jose Sharks T-Shirts Womens , and the current average of 3.06 goals per game is on pace to be the highest since the 2005-06 season, according to Hockey-Reference.com .“Maybe it’s the skill of the players too, finding that one spot,” Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer said. “(Evgeny) Kuznetsov in Washington, he’s so sneaky in terms of what he wants to do and doesn’t want to do. He puts the puck in spots. Maybe you get a weird bounce, hit a guy’s shin pad or something like that.”The NHL also keeps downsizing goaltenders’ pads, most recently chest protectors . Grubauer sees teams also changing how they break out on offense, attacking faster and giving goalies less time.“Back in the days, you always used to go back and regroup and break out as a unit,” Grubauer said. “I feel like the last couple of years, it’s always like, (snaps fingers) and up (snaps fingers) and up.”Sometimes goalies get lucky, too.Buffalo goalie Carter Hutton appeared to be losing his balance Sunday in the first period against Winnipeg with Adam Lowry coming in on a short-handed breakaway. Hutton put his glove down at the exact moment Lowry tried to slip the puck between the goalie’s legs for the save.“You definitely get some fluky saves where you’re beat and a guy just hits you,” Hutton said.The Sabres goalie also recalls being on his goal line when the puck came up, rolled over the top of the net, hit his neck and went in. He had another puck slip past him on a penalty shot in December against Florida.“You make the initial save, and it lands on my pads sideways and just slowly rolls off San Jose Sharks Hoodies Womens ,” Hutton said. “That’s one where if it’s during a game, a D-man’s probably there to stop it or that puck lands flat on my pad and doesn’t go in. It’s unfortunate that it lands sideways and rolls off my pad. So that’s one that I would say this year that’s been fluky.”There’s one goal so weird it’s called the Butt Goal.Defenseman Mark Pysyk, now with Florida, got his first goal of the 2013 season right before Christmas in overtime after jamming at the puck, sending it into the air and into the pants of Coyotes goalie Mike Smith who then backedinto his own net.“I didn’t think they would call it a goal, because I didn’t think they’d see it, but they did,” Pysyk said. “It was in his pants and he backed in. I think you could see me point at it. They counted it a little bit after, obviously, so I didn’t have a chance to celebrate normally. It was pretty funny.”SURPRISING ISLANDERSThe New York Islanders are atop the Metropolitan Division in coach Barry Trotz’s first season despite losing John Tavares last offseason to Toronto. They just snapped a three-game streak Tuesday night with a 3-1 loss in Buffalo but are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and remain second overall in the Eastern Conference.To Buffalo coach Phil Housley, credit Trotz for using the same philosophy and structure from coaching in Nashville and winning the Stanley Cup with Washington last summer.“I really had a pleasure to work with him for one year and learned a lot from him,” Housley said. “You can see he’s had success wherever he’s went.”RIVALRY SERIESThe best of women’s hockey are back at it this week with the United States and Canada playing each other in a rare three-game “Rivalry Series” that ends Sunday in Detroit at the home of the Red Wings. The U.S. beat Canada nearly a year ago for Olympic gold and then won a fourth straight Four Nations Cup title last November. Kendall Coyne Schofield will be the U.S. captain for the series, which will be aired on NHL Network.“That’s something we’ve been fighting for, is more chances for us to play against Canada,” U.S. forward Dani Cameranesi said. “It’s not that often that we get to play at the highest level. We don’t really have that many chances for that, but for them all to be … on NHL Network too and for us to get coverage on that is a really big deal.”GAME OF THE WEEKThe Washington Capitals visit the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night in a matchup of two of the NHL’s top 10 teams.LEADERS (after Tuesday games)Goals: Alex Ovechkin (Washington), 38; Assists: Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay) San Jose Sharks Hats Womens , 63; Points: Kucherov, 88; Ice time: Drew Doughty (Los Angeles), 26:45; Wins: Marc-Andre Fleury (Vegas), 29; Goals-against average: Robin Lehner (N.Y. Islanders), 2.08; Save percentage: Robin Lehner, (N.Y. Islanders), .929. COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Red Wings took an early 3-0 lead but ended up having to scrap for a victory.Tyler Bertuzzi scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period and Jimmy Howard had 34 saves as Detroit got its second straight win, 5-3 over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.Bertuzzi scored the go-ahead goal off Sergei Bobrovsky’s stick with 3:24 left in the game, and Dylan Larkin got an empty-netter — his second tally of the night — with 43 seconds left to seal the victory. The Blue Jackets had scored three times in the third period to tie it.“Give (Bertuzzi) credit — he banged in a greasy one,” Larkin said. “It’s what we’ve got to do.”Nineteen-year-old Michael Rasmussen got his first NHL goal and Anthony Mantha also scored for the Red Wings, who snapped the Blue Jackets’ two-game winning streak. Detroit’s two consecutive wins came after losing nine of the first 11.Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo, who made his third straight start, had a horrific 13½ minutes, giving up three goals on Detroit’s first seven shots. He was replaced after the third goal by Bobrovsky, who settled things down but gave up the game-winner. Bobrovsky finished with 23 saves.Josh Anderson, Markus Nutivaara and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for the Blue Jackets.The Red Wings took advantage of an early power play. Rasmussen scored 1:06 into the game when he beat Korpisalo from the slot Custom San Jose Sharks Jerseys , with former Blue Jacket Thomas Vanek getting the assist on a smooth pass out from behind the goal line.Detroit’s second goal came on a breakdown of the Blue Jackets’ special teams. With Columbus on a power play, the puck got loose into the Red Wings’ zone, and Larkin carried it past a sprawling Seth Jones and got the short-handed goal between Korpisalo’s pads .Mantha made it 3-0 on a 2-on-1 rush to chase Korpisalo.After a scoreless second period, the Blue Jackets took over. Anderson got his sixth goal of the year early in third when he whiffed on a first try but a got a second chance to beat Howard from the doorstep.Nutivaara got his first goal of the year, and Dubois tied the game just over a minute later when he found a sliver between the post and Howard’s stick side.“I thought after they scored, I thought we answered and played good hockey, though, and that’s a real, real important thing,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “You’re going to have stuff like this happen to you, you got to be able to answer, and I thought we answered well.”How well Columbus is playing can usually be discerned from how long coach John Tortorella is willing to entertain questions from the media after the game. On Tuesday night, he provided mostly one-word answers and abandoned the podium after 57 seconds.NOTES: Detroit F Andreas Athanasiou and F Frans Nielsen did not play because of undisclosed injuries suffered in the win over the Dallas Stars on Sunday. … Vanek returned to Columbus for the first time since signing a free-agent contract on July 1. He had 15 points in 19 games for the Blue Jackets last season. … Vanek got his 400th NHL assist on Rasmussen’s goal, but left in the game later in the first period with an injury. … Columbus has given up the first goal in six of the last seven games. … Detroit won for the first time in the last eight games against Columbus going back to Dec. 6, 2016.UP NEXTDetroit: Hosts New Jersey on Thursday.Columbus: Begins a three-game West Coast swing against San Jose on Thursday.