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Posted On Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 2:06 PM

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

Kings feeling mixed emotions with playoff race on

WASHINGTON -- Have the Los Angeles Kings reached the point in their season where their sense of urgency to pick up points turns to desperation?

Kings coach Darryl Sutter says no; some of the Kings players say yes.

"Yeah, we're 50 games in, we're outside of a playoff spot, so desperation is in," forward Justin Williams said.

Sutter, though, refuses to associate urgency with desperation even though the Kings are three points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot with 32 games to play. He does not view them as one in the same.

"You have to be careful in pro sports," Sutter said. "Desperation is usually when guys slit their own throats. We'd prefer not to do that. I've never been associated with a team that does that."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.31.2015 / 11:04 PM

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

Staal brothers joining forces to help Hurricanes

NEW YORK -- Even though they're brothers and have been watching each other play the game for as long as they can remember, playing together on the same line is still a work-in-progress for Carolina Hurricanes forwards Eric and Jordan Staal.

"I've never played with him in my life," Eric Staal told NHL.com. "Even on the outdoor rink we played against each other, so it's not like I have anything to go on. I've watched him my whole life. I know his game, what he does, what he's good at and what I'm good at, but we're figuring it out as we go."

They're figuring out that they are quite good together, which really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone considering the size and skill they have.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.31.2015 / 5:45 PM

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

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Rangers

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak since mid-November when they play the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers have lost both games since coming back from the NHL All-Star break; 4-1 to the New York Islanders and 1-0 to the Montreal Canadiens. They went into the break with wins in 16 of their previous 19 games.

They last lost three in a row Nov. 13-17, but two of those losses came in a shootout. The last time the Rangers lost three in a row in regulation was Oct. 11-14, the second, third and fourth games of this season.

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Posted On Friday, 01.30.2015 / 2:35 PM

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

Arizona's Ekman-Larsson expects changes soon

The fact that Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said Friday that everybody on the team outside of captain Shane Doan could be available in a trade won't come as a surprise to defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Speaking to NHL.com during 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus, Ekman-Larsson said he expected changes to be made because of the Coyotes' record this season.

Arizona enters play Friday 13th in the Western Conference, 15 points out of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres are the only teams in the League with fewer wins than Arizona's 17.

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Posted On Friday, 01.30.2015 / 11:47 AM

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

Q&A: Cammalleri on Devils' future, his former team

NEWARK, N.J. -- Mike Cammalleri still is trying to adjust to his new normal as a player for the New Jersey Devils. It hasn't been easy, but it hasn't been boring either.

Cammalleri didn't envision the Devils being 14 points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot and ahead of only two teams in the Eastern Conference by this point in the season when he signed a five-year contract with the Devils on July 1. He certainly had no way of knowing former coach Peter DeBoer would be fired in December.

But as disappointing as the season has been for the Devils, it at least has given Cammalleri an opportunity to observe and learn more about the game, as well as a chance to see into the Devils' future. It's a view that has Cammalleri optimistic about the Devils' potential for better things ahead.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.29.2015 / 11:11 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com 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.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.29.2015 / 1:34 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.29.2015 / 10:31 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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).

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.28.2015 / 10:50 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.25.2015 / 9:45 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 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 NHL.com. "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."

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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens