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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Friday, 12.19.2014 / 1:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Devils' Schneider thankful for rest, still feels fresh

NEWARK, N.J. -- Other than Keith Kinkaid and likely his family, nobody is happier about the rookie goalie's rapid ascent to No. 2 on the New Jersey Devils depth chart than Cory Schneider.

If not for Kinkaid, who will make his third start in the past six games against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, Schneider might still be on pace to start 80 games this season, an unreasonable task to ask of any goalie at any level.

"I was on pace for that, wasn't I?" Schneider said with a laugh Friday morning.

Not that he would have complained, particularly after fighting for every minute he could get in the net over the past four seasons, first with Roberto Luongo in Vancouver and then last season with Martin Brodeur in New Jersey.

But Schneider is also a realist, and a former backup, so he knows how important it is to have one.

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Posted On Friday, 12.19.2014 / 12:45 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer hasn't done Keith Kinkaid any favors with the starts he's given the rookie goalie in the past two weeks.

Kinkaid made his first career start Dec. 9 against the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks, who had won six in a row when they took the ice against Kinkaid and the Devils. He followed that with a start at Nassau Coliseum against the New York Islanders, the second place team in the Metropolitan Division.

Kinkaid's welcome-to-the-NHL tour continues Friday at Prudential Center, where he faces Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning, the first-place team in the Atlantic Division.

"I'm not really thinking about it. I just want to play my game," Kinkaid said. "I could have had two wins in the first two games and it would have turned out a little bit better. I'll take it as a compliment playing against these teams, and I just want to give the boys a shot to win. Hopefully we can pot a few goals tonight."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 11:53 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Senators goalie Anderson laments miss at empty net

NEWARK, N.J. -- Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson nearly provided a highlight of the year Wednesday night at the end of a game that was devoid of great moments.

A little harder and a little to the left and Anderson would have had done it.

"It was so close," Anderson said of his shot attempt at an empty net that went wide right with 51.8 seconds remaining in Ottawa's 2-0 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. "You wait a whole career for a chance like that and it may never happen again, a chance to take a shot at the end. It's just unfortunate. It wasn't my day."

Anderson definitely shot to score. He said he had thoughts in his head of Patrick Roy talking about the missed opportunities he had during his career. He thought this was his moment.

Anderson caught Eric Gelinas' 80-foot slap shot in his glove, quickly dropped the puck to the ice, and from the top of his crease lifted it down toward the empty net almost 200 feet away.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 10:58 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Stars' Ruff on growing pains, positive signs, adversity

This week's Five Questions featured Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill discussing the patience required when you're an executive trying to build a winner and dealing with the peaks and valleys that make the ride to consistency a bumpy one.

You can read that Q&A right here.

To add to it, Stars coach Lindy Ruff also talked with NHL.com about the trials and tribulations his team has experienced so far this season after its surprising run to the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.17.2014 / 7:27 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Dec. 17, 2014

Here is the Dec. 17 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

If the Chicago Blackhawks continue to play the way they have can anyone beat them in a seven-game series? -- @jhoman29

I picked the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup, so you know my answer to this question right off the hop. But I'll assume here you don't necessarily care about my pick, but more about the way the Blackhawks are playing. So here is your answer:

Nobody can beat them in a seven-game series when they are playing the brand of hockey they're playing now. Nobody as in NOBODY!

The Blackhawks have Patrick Kane on their second line because Marian Hossa is on their top line. They have Patrick Sharp, a four-time 30-goal scorer, playing out of position on the third line right now because their depth is so great. Ben Smith on the fourth line is perfect for Chicago because he can skate, has some speed and skill, but understands his role is to check. That's unbelievable depth at right wing.

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Posted On Friday, 12.12.2014 / 4:58 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Benn: Stars have to change their mindset

The first step to finding a solution to a problem is identifying you have a problem. The Dallas Stars have a problem, and they know it.

"Pretty much we simply have to play better team defense," Stars captain Jamie Benn said during a phone conversation Friday.

Nobody will dispute that.

The Stars have allowed five goals in five of their past six games. Not surprisingly, they're 0-5 in those games.

Go back 22 games and they've allowed 78 goals, an average of 3.54 per game. That they're scoring 2.59 per game in the past 22 games, a reasonable number if you have a good defense, is totally irrelevant.

The Stars are 6-13-3 since opening the season with a 4-1-2 record in their first seven games.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 2:28 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Pavelski seeing positive signs in Sharks play

Five wins in six games, even if the one loss was against the last-place Edmonton Oilers, might be a sign that the San Jose Sharks are starting to turn the corner this season after a rocky start.

"It's definitely coming," Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said about consistency during a phone interview Wednesday night.

The Sharks, who play Thursday at home against the Minnesota Wild, have beaten the Anaheim Ducks, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Oilers in regulation since Nov. 29. They were 6-10-3 in their previous 19 games.

San Jose (15-11-4) has 34 points through 30 games, good for fourth in the Pacific Division.

"I think with the fact that we're winning a lot of these games in regulation speaks to that [consistency] too," Pavelski said. "We're not giving up a big number of goals. We're scoring a few. Guys are able to finish games off. We've had scoring from all the lines, and you need that, especially in this league right now."

Nobody is ready to suggest the Sharks are out of the woods or can even keep doing what they're doing now. Remember, they went 4-0-1 in their first five games before earning 15 out of a possible 38 points from Oct. 19 through Nov. 26.

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 3:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Jets buying into Maurice's defensive system

Since being hired as coach of the Winnipeg Jets in January, Paul Maurice has been focused on implementing a defensive structure within the team that would reduce the number of games that they were chasing in the third period.

Maurice's objective was built from his years coaching the Carolina Hurricanes and facing the Atlanta Thrashers in the old Southeast Division.

"I probably, for whatever reason, watched the Atlanta Thrashers and then the Winnipeg Jets as much or more than as any other team in the National Hockey League because they kept adding these good young players in Atlanta," Maurice said during a phone conversation Wednesday. "We went a long stretch where we beat them every game, but for 10 or 15 minutes in the game we couldn't get close to them. They were snapping it around. But because they were chasing a lot of games they were working hard and giving up a ton of chances, but getting a ton of chances. At the end of the day that's not a good recipe. We wanted to make sure we implemented a foundation of a game, like what do we do when we don't have the puck. We're still early on in this process."

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.10.2014 / 12:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Dec. 10, 2014

Here is the Dec. 10 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Any more news out of Arizona on the trade front? -- @KylePineda2

All quiet for now as far as I can tell, but clearly at this point in the season general manager Don Maloney is in full evaluation mode, trying to identify who should stay, who could go and what he could get back in return. The issue is the Coyotes' sale to potential majority owner Andrew Barroway. That might be holding things up a bit in Arizona. Commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this week that the sale "is still tracking" but isn't done yet. If and when that becomes official the Coyotes could hit the market in a big way, perhaps to the point where they sell assets to try to get into the race for top 2015 NHL Draft prospects Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 11:27 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Over the Boards blog

Kinkaid gives Devils a reason to keep him around

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goalie Keith Kinkaid admitted he was frustrated and disappointed after his last stint with the New Jersey Devils, one that yielded two relief appearances in seven games before he was sent back to Albany of the American Hockey League on Nov. 17.

Given the opportunity to show what he has Tuesday, Kinkaid gave coach Peter DeBoer and general manager Lou Lamoriello a reason to keep him around for another start or two, if not more.

Kinkaid made 37 saves in his first career NHL start hours after he was recalled from Albany. He didn't get a win; the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Devils 3-2 in a shootout. But he was hardly at fault for the loss.

"We know the goalie is not the problem," Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr said.

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Quote of the Day

I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey.  It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming.

— Mike Babcock, introduced as coach of the Toronto on Thursday, had a warning for fans