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Posted On Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 1:14 PM

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

At the Rink: Kings at Rangers

NEW YORK -- The Los Angeles Kings played the way they wanted to Monday in defeating the New Jersey Devils 3-1, but the two points earned merely allowed them to keep pace in the Stanley Cup Playoff race in the Western Conference because the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets also won.

The Kings are still on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. They are two points behind the Flames for third place in the Pacific Division and four points behind the Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

They're trying to stay upbeat even though time is ticking and they have only 10 games remaining. They have a game in hand on the Flames and Jets.

"We have to just focus on ourselves; there's not much we can do about what other teams do," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "Obviously you kind of look at the standings this morning and see if anything happened, but besides that it's just about us winning games. If we can win every single game for the rest of this season I think we'll probably make it in. That's all we've gotta focus on doing."

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Posted On Monday, 03.23.2015 / 8:03 PM

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

Yandle proves to Rangers why he's worth it

NEW YORK -- It took him until his 10th game, but defenseman Keith Yandle showed the New York Rangers on Sunday why he was worth the steep price general manager Glen Sather paid to acquire him and what he can do for a Stanley Cup contending team this spring.

Yandle came to the Rangers in a trade from the Arizona Coyotes on March 1 for top prospect Anthony Duclair, a first-round draft pick in 2016, a second-round draft pick this year, and defenseman John Moore.

He came to New York for games like he played Sunday, when Yandle's first pass and focus on the details of his offensive game were on point in a 7-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Madison Square Garden.

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Posted On Monday, 03.23.2015 / 1:41 PM

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

At the Rink: Kings at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards, recalled from the American Hockey League on Sunday, will be in the lineup Monday against the New Jersey Devils (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Richards was sent to the AHL on Jan. 27 and played 16 games with Manchester, the Kings' AHL team.

The Kings are on the outside of the Stanley Cup Playoff race in the Western Conference with 11 games to play. They trail the Calgary Flames by two points for third place in the Pacific Division and are four points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

Richards is expected to center the third line Monday at Prudential Center against the New Jersey Devils in what will be his first NHL game since Jan. 21. He is expected to be an important player in the Kings' final push toward a playoff berth.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.22.2015 / 1:09 PM

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

At the Rink: Ducks at Rangers

NEW YORK -- Since April is a relatively slow month for the Anaheim Ducks until the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin, they're treating their five-game road trip, which starts Sunday at Madison Square Garden, as their prelude to the playoffs.

The Ducks play the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils over the next eight nights. They finish the regular season with four games in 11 days in April, all against teams that are currently outside of the playoff races.

Anaheim is first in the Pacific Division and with 99 points through 73 games. The Ducks will become the first team to 100 points this season with a win or overtime/shootout loss Sunday.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.18.2015 / 2:27 PM

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

Rosen's mailbag - March 18, 2015

Here is the March 18 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:

Is Ken Hitchcock's lineup tweaking a good or bad idea? -- @Allen_Schneider

There are times when coaches tweak for the sake of tweaking, almost as if they're bored and they just want to tinker because they can. More often, though, coaches tweak in order to keep players on their toes and to test out other lineup combinations in case of injuries, suspensions, etc. Hitchcock knows that with the St. Louis Blues he can tweak it here and there, but always go back to old reliable. I wouldn't worry about it too much. If the Blues are healthy come time for the Stanley Cup Playoffs I have no doubt that you'll see the following top three forward lines:

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.18.2015 / 9:17 AM

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

Oilers GM MacTavish sees progress in Edmonton

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Edmonton Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish expects a quiet offseason compared to what he has gone through in previous summers because he said he has seen enough positives this season to believe the rebuild is moving along in the right direction.

MacTavish said this Tuesday knowing the Oilers recently lost seven consecutive games and are last in the Western Conference and 29th in the NHL, in front of only the Buffalo Sabres. Edmonton has 50 points through 70 games, which is nine points fewer than it had through 70 games last season.

"I know people question where the team is right now because of the fact that we have been here for quite some time, but really for me it looks like it's changing and turning around," MacTavish said at the NHL general managers' meetings. "I think it'll turn quickly once we get maybe another year of development under our belt with some of the guys like [Darnell] Nurse and [Leon] Draisaitl and [Oscar] Klefbom.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.17.2015 / 2:55 PM

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

Red Wings' Zidlicky has possible future in Detroit

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Marek Zidlicky has fit in so well with the Detroit Red Wings since being acquired on March 2 that it wouldn't be a surprise to see general manager Ken Holland try to re-sign the veteran defenseman before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Zidlicky has seven points on three goals and four assists in seven games with the Red Wings.

"There's no doubt certainly it's a possibility," Holland said Tuesday from the general managers' meetings. "Now the player has to weigh in."

Holland indicated the possibility exists for the Red Wings to try to re-sign forward Erik Cole, who they also acquired on March 2, but Zidlicky in particularly has filled a big hole as a right-handed shooting defenseman who could quarterback Detroit's power play.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 4:40 PM

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

Parise: Wild getting more than just saves from Dubnyk

Devan Dubnyk has done more than just stop the puck to give the Minnesota Wild a chance to securing a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Left wing Zach Parise said Dubnyk has also given the Wild confidence to rediscover the way they feel they need to play in front of the goalie.

That, as much as stopping the puck, is the impact quality goaltending can have on any team.

The Wild weren't getting quality goaltending before Dubnyk arrived on Jan. 14, and they were a mess with an 18-19-5 record and .893 save percentage that led to 3.0 goals-against per game.

The Wild have gone 19-4-2 since Dubnyk made his debut on Jan. 15. Dubnyk has started every game and has a .937 save percentage and 1.67 goals-against average.

Minnesota is on pace to be the first wild card in the playoffs from the Western Conference.

"When he came in and made some big stops in his first couple games it let us take a deep breath," Parise said. "It had felt like every mistake we were making was magnified and ending up in the back of our net. I'm not saying that's the goalie's fault, because when we were losing we started to really change the way we played. Not even realizing we started to cheat on the offensive and we weren't playing a winning style of hockey. Now we've gotten back to that, so I think that's put less pressure on our goalies. We have kind of rediscovered our game to play the way that makes us a good hockey team."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

Stastny leading the Blues in a different way

Even though Paul Stastny was a veteran and the big-ticket free agent signee, it would have been hard for him to force his way into a leadership role with the St. Louis Blues this season considering he was the new guy in a room already filled with leaders such as David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, Alex Steen and Barret Jackman.

So instead of trying to upset the leadership hierarchy of his new team, Stastny has found another way to be an important leader for the Blues.

"He has really taken [Dmitrij] Jaskin and [Patrik] Berglund under his wing and tried to help them become a line," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's kind of been the quarterback of those two guys to coordinate good play, and they've given us good minutes every night for the last little while.

"I think he's taken to heart leading a smaller group of athletes rather than the bigger group."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 5:00 PM

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

Niedermayer happy filling part-time role with Ducks

Scott Niedermayer may one day want to take on a heavier role as a coach or executive in the NHL, but for now the Hall of Fame defenseman is content with being a part-time assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks.

"I'm comfortable with it for sure," Niedermayer said this past weekend following an event to honor the New Jersey Devils 1995 Stanley Cup championship team.

Niedermayer is in his third season on the Ducks coaching staff, but his role is limited to mostly home games and home practices.

"I'm busy at home still," said Niedermayer, who is married with four kids. "I'm realizing what a tough job it is the coaching staff has. It's a difficult job, a lot of moving pieces there. I'm enjoying my position."

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Quote of the Day

I don't think it's really truly going to sink in until we drop the puck, to be honest. I know there's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the media attention and all that. We came [Monday] and it was sort of a light day to get things organized. We just want to focus in on the business aspect, the game itself. That's what we're preparing to do. Get these next couple of days out of the way and it's game on.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on playing in his first Stanley Cup Final