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Rangers' Lundqvist early favorite for Hart Trophy

Friday, 11.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault put the pressure on goalie Henrik Lundqvist in their exit meeting after last season by telling him to be prepared to be better at the start of the season. It was a message based on Lundqvist's recent history of starting poorly.

Lundqvist has done better than just respond to Vigneault; he's put himself on pace to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. He is off to arguably the best start of his 11-season career with 12 wins, a 1.94 goals-against average and .939 save percentage through 18 games.

Canadiens' Price out at least one week with injury

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 5:11 PM / News

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was placed on injured reserve Thursday and will be out of the lineup for at least one week, coach Michel Therrien said.

"We don't know how long Carey will be out, but for us, it's business as usual," Therrien said Thursday after practice at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. "We're focusing on tomorrow's game."

Mike Condon will get the start Friday at the New Jersey Devils, who the Canadiens will host Saturday to begin a stretch of four out of five games at Bell Centre.

Montreal called up goaltender Dustin Tokarski on Thursday from St. John's in the American Hockey League to serve as Condon's backup Friday.

Oilers' Yakupov out 2-4 weeks with ankle injury

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:54 PM / News

Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov will be out of the lineup 2-4 weeks with a sprained ankle he sustained Wednesday when he was taken to the ice by an official during a 4-1 loss at the Carolina Hurricanes, the Oilers said Thursday.

During a faceoff at center ice early in the second period, Yakupov got his legs tangled with linesman Matt MacPherson, and each went down to the ice. Yakupov did not put any weight on his left leg while being helped to the Oilers dressing room at 2:22.

"It could have been significantly worse based on what happened," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said Thursday. "Hopefully, he heals quickly."

Around the League notebook: Wednesday, Nov. 25

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 2:14 PM / News

NHL Public Relations


Leading 2-1 after 40 minutes, the Montreal Canadiens scored three unanswered goals in the third period to earn their third consecutive victory, pull into sole possession of top spot in the NHL standings and halt the New York Rangers' home winning streak at nine games (their longest such streak since 1971-72).

* At 17-4-2 (36 points), the Canadiens lead the League in wins (tied w/ DAL) and points. The victory propelled them ahead of the Rangers (16-4-2, 34 points) and idle Stars (17-5-0, 34 points), who share second place in terms of points.

* Carey Price made 22 saves before being replaced by Mike Condon (11 SV) to start the third period. Price earned the decision to improve to 12-5-1 in 19 career regular-season appearances against the Rangers (1.74 GAA, .943 SV%, 7 SO).

Wild's Parise practices, could return against Jets

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 1:20 PM / News

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise returned to practice Thursday for the first time since injuring his right knee Nov. 5 and could be back in the lineup as soon as Friday against the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center.

"I don't know yet, we'll see how it responds," Parise said. "But I felt good and I felt comfortable doing everything."

Parise was injured in a collision with Nashville Predators forward James Neal. He was diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his right knee two days later and was originally expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Darling will share starts

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

David Satriano - Fantasy Staff Writer

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford has won the Stanley Cup twice and won 30 games in each of the past four full NHL seasons, and he's gotten those wins despite not playing in more than 59 games. That means you can expect his backup, Scott Darling, to get between 20-25 starts.

Crawford's numbers aren't up to his standards; his 2.57 goals-against average and .912 save percentage are less than his career averages of 2.35 and .916, respectively. He made 27 saves in a 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, but Darling has started two of the past five games and likely will start once this weekend with Chicago having back-to-back games at the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.

As Darling showed last season, he's more than capable of coming up big when it matters. Darling was 3-1-0 with a 2.21 GAA and a .936 save percentage in helping the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup last season. This was after he went 9-4-0 with a 1.99 GAA and a .936 save percentage in 14 starts during the regular season.

Penticton's Jost, Fabbro not vying for draft position

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

Every Thursday, will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

There's no competition between teammates, Penticton Vees forward Tyson Jost declared.

Not even amongst roommates, either.

Bragging rights aren't on the line in whether he or Vees defenseman Dante Fabbro is first to hear his name called in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The pair, who share the same billet and have been attached at the hip the past couple years, isn't about the tongue-in-cheek rivalry.

"No, no, not at all," said Jost, who captains the Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. "People probably wonder who's going to go higher and whatnot, and I went higher in the [Western Hockey League] Draft than he did by one spot. Honestly, we don't care at all. If Dante goes higher than me, I'm going to be really happy for him. He's one of my best buddies. I'll be just as happy if he gets drafted higher than if I do. It's a cool experience to have a buddy with you. We're not really focused on who goes higher."

By the Numbers: First quarter interesting picture

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Behind the Numbers

Rob Vollman - Correspondent

A quarter of the 2015-16 NHL regular season is complete, and a look at the numbers reveals some rather interesting statistics at the individual, team and League levels.

Here are a dozen of the most compelling:

Unmasked: Backup role readied Mason for new career

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Chris Mason may be new to broadcasting, but the recently retired NHL goaltender-turned-radio analyst got a chance to prepare for his second career while playing out his first.

During his two stints with the Nashville Predators, it was common for the backup goalie to put on a headset during a break in the action and take questions from the broadcast crew. Now, after calling it a career this past summer following two seasons in Europe and trading in his pads for a headset, all those interviews from the bench are paying off for Mason as a Predators analyst.

"I played behind Tomas Vokoun in his heyday, so there was a lot of games where I was on the bench for those interviews," Mason, who played 317 NHL games over 13 seasons with the Predators, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets, said with a laugh. "I looked forward to doing it actually. I love talking about hockey. I love watching hockey. I love playing hockey. It's a passion of mine, so to be able to have that small sample of experience, it did help and it does make a difference feeling comfortable being on air and talking about hockey and not making a fool of yourself. I probably still did, but it makes you not so scared to make a fool of yourself."

Fast start has Rangers' Lundqvist leading Vezina race

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault challenged his No. 1 goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, to get off to a better start this season after struggling early the past few years, and "The King" has responded by restaking his claim as the NHL's best.

After adjusting his preseason approach to focus more on technique and position-specific drills with goaltending coach Benoit Allaire, Lundqvist has emerged as the early favorite to win his second Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender by backstopping the Rangers to the top spot in the Eastern Conference after a 31-save shutout of the Nashville Predators on Monday.

Following a 5-1 loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, Lundqvist sits atop the NHL in goals-against average (1.94) and save percentage (.939); his 12 wins are second to the Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby, who has 13.

For those wondering if Lundqvist is sheltered behind a good team playing well defensively, he also leads NHL starters with an adjusted 5-on-5 save percentage of .954, according to, a measurement that weighs shot quality based on the distance of the shots a goalie faces.

"He's our best player, there's no doubt," Vigneault recently told The New York Times.

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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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