Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 7:51 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks aren't at the top of the Western Conference standings, but they still draw a lot of interest whenever they play each other.

After splitting the past two Western Conference Final series and winning the past two Stanley Cup titles, the defending champion Kings and Blackhawks have earned a lot of respect, including each other's. They will decide their three-game season series at United Center on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN) in the Kings' first return to Chicago since winning in overtime of Game 7 to advance to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.

"We're excited," Kings forward Tyler Toffoli said after a well-attended optional morning skate. "It was a really fun series. Obviously when you win, it makes it even more fun. You look back and you think of what we did, but at this time of the season you've got to forget about it and be ready to play."

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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 3:58 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sabres at Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Buffalo Sabres will be without leading scorer Tyler Ennis for a second straight game Monday when they play against the Arizona Coyotes (10 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, FS-A PLUS) for the second time in five days.

Ennis missed the 5-3 loss Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche with a left shoulder injury and took to the ice very late Monday for some non-contact drills.

The Coyotes looked good on a three-game road trip with overtime wins against Buffalo and the Detroit Red Wings and a good effort in 3-2 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Goalie Mike Smith continues to play his best hockey of the season and Arizona is now six points ahead of the Sabres, who have an NHL-low 48 points.

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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 3:18 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Oilers at Avalanche

DENVER -- Center Ryan O'Reilly is playing his best hockey of the season, but he realizes it could be too late to help the Colorado Avalanche reach their goal of landing a place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

O'Reilly has a seven-game scoring streak for the Avalanche, who play the Edmonton Oilers at Pepsi Center on Monday (9 p.m. ET; SN1, ALT) to conclude a two-game homestand.

The Avalanche (35-28-12) can close to within six points of the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they can defeat the Oilers (22-40-13). They have seven games remaining, one more than the Jets.

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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 3:01 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Stars

DALLAS -- The Calgary Flames and the Dallas Stars played last Wednesday at Scotiabank Saddledome, a game Dallas won 4-3 in a shootout.

At American Airlines Center on Monday, the Flames and Stars face off in another matchup with huge implications for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (8:30 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-SW).

"I know it sounds cliché but that's going to be probably my favorite line until the end of this season, is it's one game at a time," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "There's six games left this season. We need to win them."

Calgary (41-28-7, 89 points) defeated the Nashville Predators 5-2 at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. The Flames are third in the Pacific Division, two points behind the second-place Vancouver Canucks.

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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 2:06 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canucks at Blues

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues were looking to get two important pieces back in the lineup Monday against the Vancouver Canucks (8 p.m. ET; SNP, FS-MW).

They will have to settle for one.

Right wing T.J. Oshie, who sat out Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets with the stomach flu, will return against the Canucks in an important Western Conference game.

"It always [stinks] when you have to miss the game, especially with something that's just the flu," Oshie said. "It would seem something that you would be able to battle through, but I had a tough one there. I'm ready to go tonight. Had a couple good meetings here and ready to go.

"I haven't done anything. I just had my first full meal last night. I have to keep my feet underneath me tonight. I ate breakfast so I'm ready to go."

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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 1:56 PM

By Arpon Basu and Sean Farrell - Staff Writers / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison will miss 3-4 weeks with an upper-body injury sustained in a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, coach Jon Cooper said Monday.

Defenseman Andrej Sustr will miss 1-2 weeks and center Tyler Johnson will miss the game Monday against the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, RDS, SNE) and is listed as day-to-day, each with upper-body injuries, Cooper said.

Center Cedric Paquette is a game-time decision after he was injured crashing into the net trying to prevent an empty-net goal at the end of the game against the Red Wings.

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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 1:30 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Panthers would be wise to keep Jagr

Last week word came out of south Florida that the Florida Panthers were interested in bringing Jaromir Jagr back for the 2015-16 season. Jagr turns 44 next season, but despite his age he's proven to be a valuable commodity, and I said back when the Panthers acquired him in February that I thought he could be a valuable addition to the team. So far it looks like he has been.

The Panthers aren't entirely out of the mix for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, particularly after a big win Sunday night and with a big game against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNW, FS-F, NESN), but making the playoffs will probably mean running the table. That's tough to do. Jagr's impact, however, doesn't have to be limited to this playoff race. The Panthers have plenty of young kids, but what's the use in having 12 good young forwards without anyone showing them how to win? Someone has to teach the young players in Florida how to be pros, how to play hard every night, how to take care of yourself off the ice.

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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 12:20 PM

By Fantasy Hockey Staff -  / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Daily projected fantasy hockey goalies

Projected goalie starters are based on reporting of staff and correspondents at morning skates, team announcements and media reports. While last-minute lineup changes are possible, these projections provide fantasy owners with the most up-to-date information available.

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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 3:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2015 NHL Draft blog

McDavid and Eichel continue playoff pursuit

Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel, the projected top-two prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, remain in the thick of their respective playoff races.

McDavid had one goal and one assist in a 6-5 victory against the Sarnia Sting in Game 3 of his team's best-of-7 first-round series of the Ontario Hockey League on Sunday.

McDavid, who had 44 goals and 120 points in 47 regular-season games, has two goals and five points in three postseason matches. Erie holds a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 in Sarnia on Tuesday.

Boston University reached the NCAA Frozen Four for first time since winning its fifth national title in 2009 when it scored victories against Yale University, 3-2 in overtime, on Friday and the University of Minnesota-Duluth, 3-2, on Saturday to advance from the Northeast Region.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 10:09 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Capitals' Ovechkin closing in on 50 goals

NEW YORK -- Alex Ovechkin's next goal this season will be his 50th, marking the sixth time in his 10 NHL seasons that he has scored at least 50 goals. He has six games left to score the goal.

Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals captain, is on pace to win the Rocket Richard Trophy for the fifth time in his career. That would put him in the company of Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and Phil Esposito as the only other players in NHL history have led the League in goals in at least five seasons.

Ovechkin tried his best to downplay what another 50-goal season would mean to him when he was asked about it following his two-goal performance in Washington's 5-2 win against the New York Rangers on Sunday.

"It's a good accomplishment," Ovechkin said. "Obviously if the puck goes in the puck goes in, but I'm concentrating right now to clinch the playoffs and do that kind of stuff."

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Quote of the Day

Now we have an 'X' next to our name, which is nice. Now we have to keep trying to climb and catch these guys.

— Lightning goalie Ben Bishop on clinching a Stanley Cup Playoff berth and trailing the Canadiens by one point for the division lead
AMP No Bull Moment of the Week