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Posted On Thursday, 01.29.2015 / 11:11 PM

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

Weise fitting in on Canadiens' top line

NEW YORK -- Dale Weise is trying his best to treat his latest run on the Montreal Canadiens' top line as if playing with Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty is the same as playing with the grinders he usually has on his line.

"It doesn't really change for me which line I play on; I play the same way," Weise told prior to Montreal's 1-0 win against the New York Rangers on Thursday. "I try to be first in on pucks, win battles. I think I do a good job on the wall in our own zone, try to get the puck up to those guys with speed, get to the front of the net, try to get some scrambles and do the best we can there."

Weise nods in agreement when it's brought up to him that playing on the top line is obviously different from playing in the bottom-six group of forwards, but the more he tells himself nothing has changed about his role with the Canadiens, the better he thinks he plays.

Posted On Thursday, 01.29.2015 / 1:34 PM

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

At the Rink: Canadiens at Rangers

NEW YORK -- Walking into Madison Square Garden on Thursday brought back some difficult memories for the Montreal Canadiens.

They thought of their most recent game here, a 5-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Nov. 23, a road trip that coincided with their annual moms' trip.

"That was a tough night," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said.

There was the Canadiens' final trip to the Garden last season, which happened to be their final game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; a 1-0 loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. They also thought of their 3-2 overtime loss at the Garden in Game 4 of the conference final.

Madison Square Garden hasn't quite reached house-of-horrors level for the Canadiens, but they haven't left the building with a positive memory since Oct. 28, 2013, when they beat the Rangers 2-0.

Posted On Thursday, 01.29.2015 / 10:31 AM

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

Predators' Forsberg starring in up-tempo system

From the surprise of being traded to a difficult start to his NHL career, Nashville Predators rookie Filip Forsberg came into this season as a 20-year-old in need of a fresh start. He was fortunate that Predators first-year coach Peter Laviolette didn't know and didn't care about what had happened to Forsberg in the past.

"It was perfect," Forsberg said during the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus, where he had two goals on two shots in his first NHL All-Star Game. "Coming into training camp with a new coach, everyone had to start at the first page and I think that was good for me."

Laviolette gave Forsberg the freedom to play his game, not to mention skilled linemates in Mike Ribeiro and James Neal. Feeling more comfortable and less restricted, Forsberg has answered with a performance that, to date at least, makes him the favorite to win the Calder Trophy.

Forsberg enters Nashville's game Thursday at the St. Louis Blues with 41 points and a plus-25 rating in 46 games. He leads all rookies in points, assists (25) and plus-minus rating. He is tied with Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman for the most goals among rookies (16).

Posted On Wednesday, 01.28.2015 / 10:50 AM

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

Rosen's mailbag - Jan. 28, 2015

Here is the Jan. 28 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:

Where do you see the Los Angeles Kings finishing and can they make a Stanley Cup run? -- @_ewok

I'm starting to worry about the Kings. I really am. I'm not saying they don't have a run in them because all indications are that they do, particularly with their fancy stats domination. They are one of the best puck possession teams by the proxies we have available in Corsi and Fenwick. That typically means betting on long-term success is a good idea despite short-term failures. But time is ticking and the Kings haven't been able to turn their strong fancy stats into points in the standings, at least not enough points in the standings. It's very possible that the amount of hockey they have played since the 2011-12 season (322 games) is finally catching up with the Kings.

The Calgary Flames are the team that won't go away. I still think the San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets have some fragility, but they too have cushions on the Kings.

Posted On Sunday, 01.25.2015 / 9:45 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Ovechkin finally gets car, donates it to special cause

COLUMBUS -- Even though he wasn't named MVP of the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday night, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin finally got his new car. He won't be keeping it for too long.

Ovechkin, who missed out on the car Friday night after lobbying to be picked last in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft Presented by DraftKings, was given the key to a new Honda after the game Sunday.

He is donating the new wheels to the Washington Ice Dogs hockey program.

Ovechkin's connection with the Ice Dogs program includes his friendship with Ann Schaab, a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who went on a sushi dinner date with Ovechkin in September.

"It means a lot," Ovechkin told "Honda connected with my agent and they just gave me a car, so I'm going to donate to [Ice Dogs] and that sweet little girl."

Posted On Saturday, 01.24.2015 / 9:02 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Team Foligno extends lead in Skills Challenge Relay

COLUMBUS -- Team Foligno increased its lead to 12-2 by taking two of three points in the Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay.

Team Toews and Team Foligno split the heats with the latter winning the first and Team Toews winning the second, but Team Foligno got the bonus point because it posted the best time in the competition at 1:37.979.

Team Foligno got off to a good start in the first heat when Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk and Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin scored on six consecutive one-timers off of passes from New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias.

Posted On Saturday, 01.24.2015 / 8:15 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Johansen lifts Team Foligno in Breakaway Challenge

COLUMBUS -- The entertainers were on display in the Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge on Saturday, but Columbus Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen stole the show with three unique attempts that were good enough to sway the fans who voted for the winner on Twitter.

Johansen got Team Foligno the point available in the Breakaway Challenge to give Team Foligno a 6-0 lead in the Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition.

Johansen used a prop, six fellow all-stars, and even the son of Blue Jackets trainer Mike Vogt to win the event.

Before going in for his first shootout attempt, Johansen played to the Columbus crowd by pulling off his Blue Jackets sweater to reveal an Ohio State football jersey. The No. 5 he wore belongs to Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller.

Posted On Saturday, 01.24.2015 / 6:48 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Lightning center Johnson out of Skills Competition

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson will not participate in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday at Nationwide Arena because of a lower-body injury.

Johnson, who was drafted by Team Toews on Friday, was picked to be in the Gatorade NHL Skills Relay as a mini net passer. He was not expected to participate in any other events.

It is not known if Johnson will play in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Posted On Friday, 01.23.2015 / 4:22 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game blog

Stamkos eyes long-term extension with Lightning

COLUMBUS -- Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos hopes to sign a contract extension after this season so he can stay with the team for an extended period of time.

Stamkos is eligible to sign an extension on July 1. His five-year, $37.5 million contract expires at the end of next season.

"Yeah, I think that's exactly what the plan is," Stamkos said Friday at NHL All-Star Media Day presented by DraftKings at Nationwide Arena. "Obviously, July 1 you can announce a deal. … It's a long ways away. I'm not really focused on that. We haven't really talked about that at all. We'll discuss that in the summertime, but I'm obviously very happy with where I am in Tampa.

"You see the team we've been able to develop the past couple of years, the ownership we have, obviously [general manager] Steve Yzerman, the coaching staff, the young nucleus of the team. I feel like the old fart at 24, all these guys coming in here, but they've played extremely well and I want to be part of it, to say I was there from the beginning to see the end result."

Posted On Wednesday, 01.21.2015 / 9:27 AM

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

Rosen's mailbag - Jan. 21, 2015

Here is the Jan. 21 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:

Are the Islanders in the conversation for the Stanley Cup? -- @IanBirny

The Islanders are in the conversation as a contender at this point in the season. To say they're in the conversation for the Stanley Cup is premature because I don't think that conversation starts until the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin and we get to see the matchups, health of each team, the way each team is trending, the goaltending, etc.

That said, I have been thoroughly impressed by the Islanders this season. I love the way they play, with speed and relentless pressure. They smother everyone in their path with a fast and fun brand of hockey to watch. They are getting contributions from up and down the lineup. Their fourth line has been a gamechanger at times. They shoot from everywhere and are always getting to the net.

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Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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