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Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 4:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Ekblad earns four top honors in OHL coaches poll

Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, won top honors in four different categories in the Eastern Conference of the Ontario Hockey League.

The results of the OHL Coaches Poll, which enables teams from each conference to recognize the top three players in 20 different categories, were released Wednesday in Toronto.

Ekblad, considered to be the top draft-eligible defenseman on the board this season, earned first-place finishes for best shot, hardest shot, best offensive defenseman and best defensive defenseman. He also was voted second in the category of best penalty killer, behind Philadelphia Flyers prospect and Oshawa Generals forwards Scott Laughton.


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Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 6:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Johnson to start for Bruins vs. Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goaltender Chad Johnson will start against the New Jersey Devils when he leads the Boston Bruins onto the ice Tuesday at Prudential Center.

Johnson is 14-3-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average, one shutout and a .921 save percentage this season. He is 8-0-1 in his past nine starts and has won his past three, including a 30-save, 5-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 15.

Tuukka Rask, who is coming off a 33-save, 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Monday at TD Garden in Boston, has won six straight and is 10-3-2 in his past 15 starts. The 27-year-old Finn is three wins from career win No. 100.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 12:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils wary of Bruins' formidable top line

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils begin a critical five-game homestand at Prudential Center on Tuesday against the best team in the Eastern Conference.

The Boston Bruins not only enter the game having won nine straight, but have limited the opposition to two or fewer goals in eight of those games. They sport an impressive plus-72 goal differential and rank third in the NHL with a 3.19 goals-per-game average and second with a 2.12 goals-against average.

"We know they are good; I don't need to look at the goal differential to know they are a good hockey team," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We see where they are in the standings. We look at the success they've had and see their roster. They are a good team and it'll be a good test."

Martin Brodeur, who likely will start in goal for the Devils, is 25-22-10 with a 2.58 GAA, four shutouts and .908 save percentage in 59 career games against the Bruins.

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Posted On Monday, 03.17.2014 / 1:21 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Top prospects set for tiebreaker

Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, will lead his charges against the Red Deer Rebels on Tuesday in a tiebreaker game to determine the final playoff spot in the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference playoffs.

The winner will play the top-seeded Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round of the best-of-seven WHL playoffs on Saturday in Edmonton.

The WHL, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League begin postseason play this week.

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Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 12:10 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

DeAngelo expected to return Saturday for Sarnia

Sarnia Sting defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, No. 10 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, will sit out his third straight game on Friday with a lower-body injury when his team plays against the Guelph Storm at Sleeman Centre in Guelph, Ontario.

DeAngelo informed NHL.com that the injury, which he sustained in the first period of a 7-0 loss against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on March 7, is "nothing too serious." He expects to be back in the lineup on Saturday in his team's regular-season finale against the Erie Otters.

The offensive-minded defenseman remains the highest-scoring player at his position in the Ontario Hockey League with 70 points (15 goals, 55 assists) in 50 games. In three seasons with the Sting, DeAngelo has 30 goals and 151 points in 180 games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 10:36 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Kingston's Bennett suspended five games by OHL

Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, on Tuesday was given a five-game suspension by the Ontario Hockey League for his actions in a game against the Peterborough Petes earlier this month.

The suspension is retroactive to March 7, meaning Bennett would be eligible to return to the lineup for his team's regular-season finale against the Mississauga Steelheads on March 16.

Bennett had already served two games of the suspension while the league was reviewing his double minor for high sticking against defenseman Clarke Seymour 13:38 into the third period of a 5-4 loss to the Petes on March 6. Seymour was a fifth-round selection (No. 143) of the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2012 NHL Draft.

The Frontenacs have 36 wins and 78 points and are in third place in the conference standings with four regular-season games remaining.


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Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 2:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Prince Albert's Draisaitl named WHL player of week

Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, on Monday was named the Denny's Western Hockey League Player of the Week.

Draisaitl, who had five goals, nine points and a plus-5 rating in three victories this past week, is tied for fourth in the league scoring race with 97 points in 60 games. Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart, No. 4 on Central Scouting's midterm list, also has 97 points in 56 games.

Draisaitl, chosen No. 2 in the 2012 CHL Import Draft by Prince Albert, has 56 goals and 155 points in 124 career regular-season contests spanning two seasons.

"All season long, he's continued to develop as a prospect," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "You noticed him all the time last year and he's gone out there and become a dominant player for Prince Albert this year. We like him as a top-five pick."

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Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 11:34 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Top prospect Bennett out 'indefinitely'

Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft eligible skaters from North America, missed his second straight game on Sunday as the Ontario Hockey League continues to review an incident that occurred three days ago involving the top 2014 draft prospect.

The Kingston Whig-Standard reported on Friday that Bennett is serving an "indefinite" suspension after being issued a double minor for high sticking 13:38 into the third period of a 5-4 loss to the Peterborough Petes on March 6.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 6:59 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Khudobin in net for Hurricanes vs. Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin will be in net for a third straight game when his team plays the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Khudobin made 40 saves in a 4-2 loss against the New York Rangers on Friday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. The 27-year-old goalie was named the game's first star.

For the season, Khudobin is 14-9-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
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Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 6:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils' Brodeur looking for third straight win

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is scheduled to earn his third start in five games when his team faces the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at Prudential Center.

Brodeur, who is 15-11-4 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .899 save percentage this season, has won his past two starts. Brodeur is 38-16-6 with a 2.07 goals-against average and nine shutouts in 61 career games against the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller doesn't announce his starting goalie until after pregame warmups. Cam Ward (6-9-5, 3.23 GAA, .891 save percentage), who is 9-12-2 with a 2.83 GAA and .899 save percentage in 23 career matches against the Devils, is the expected starter. The veteran goalie last won a game on Dec. 31, a 5-4 overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens. Anton Khudobin stopped a season-high 40 shots in a 4-2 loss against the New York Rangers on Friday.

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— Defenseman Torey Krug on signing with the Boston Bruins
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