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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 1:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Strome named OHL sportsmanlike player of the year

Erie Otters center Dylan Strome, No. 4 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, has been awarded the William Hanley Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player of the year in the Ontario Hockey League.

Strome not only led the OHL with 129 points (45 goals, 84 assists) in 68 games, but his 32 penalty minutes were the sixth lowest among the top 20 scorers. He had just four penalty minutes in his last 32 games of the regular season.

"This is a major honor," Stome said in a statement. "You look at the guys who have won this award in the past and it's pretty cool to be recognized alongside them. I'm extremely proud to be recognized as most sportsmanlike for this league."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.18.2015 / 1:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Penguins series blog

Penguins' Ehrhoff, Pouliot out vs. Rangers in Game 2

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Derrick Pouliot are out because of injuries will not play against the New York Rangers in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 1-0.

"Neither will play and they are still day-to-day," Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said. "We will have the same lineup as Thursday [in Game 1]."

Ehrhoff has missed the past 10 games because of an upper-body injury and Pouliot has missed the past three games because of an upper-body injury. The injury-depleted defense also is without Kris Letang, who has missed the past eight games after being diagnosed with a concussion March 28. Second-year defenseman Olli Maatta has not played since Dec. 6 because of surgery to repair a shoulder injury.

In their absences Taylor Chorney and Brian Dumoulin will remain in the lineup; both players made their Stanley Cup Playoff debuts in Game 1.

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Posted On Friday, 04.17.2015 / 2:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Auston Matthews sets record for points at USNTDP

Auston Matthews, a projected top pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, established a new record with 107 points in a season for the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team.

The native of Scottsdale, Ariz., had 49 goals and 58 assists in 55 games this season; the 107 points broke the record set by current Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, who had 102 points (52 goals, 50 assists) in 2005-06.

Matthews had 12 goals and 17 points in 20 games with the U-18 team in 2013-14.

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Posted On Friday, 04.17.2015 / 1:38 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Penguins series blog

Penguins' Scuderi embodied playoff hockey in opener

NEW YORK -- There was no way Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi would leave his teammates high and dry even after needing a quick facial repair after being hit by a stick against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Scuderi was clipped by the stick of Rangers center Kevin Hayes on a the follow-through of a shot early in the third period. He got seven stitches to close the cut on his nose and returned less than seven minutes later.

"It was inspiring to see [Scuderi] come back to the bench, for sure," forward Blake Comeau said. "You see the cut on his nose and the blood dripping down his face. That basically sums up playoff hockey right there.

"Guys will get the bumps and bruises, but you'll do anything you can to help the team. [Scuderi] is one of the leaders in our lineup and I'm not surprised that he came back so quick."

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Posted On Friday, 04.17.2015 / 1:28 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Penguins series blog

Penguins confident they have formula to beat Rangers

NEW YORK -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will enter Game 2 of their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) with renewed confidence.

Players were upbeat Friday despite a 2-1 series-opening loss Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

"Take away the first 10 minutes of [Game 1] and I feel we got better every minute of the game and that's why we came within one goal of tying it up," forward Maxim Lapierre said. "We can beat the Rangers if we play our game and skill set. We have to come out [Saturday], look them in the eye and know we can beat them."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 1:38 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Penguins series blog

Penguins' Chorney, Dumoulin to make playoff debuts

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Taylor Chorney and Brian Dumoulin will make their debuts in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, ROOT, MSG).

Chorney and Dumoulin have been forced into duty because of the injuries the Penguins have sustained on defense. The Penguins, who had 343 regular season man-games lost to injury according to mangameslost.com, will be without Kris Letang (concussion), Christian Ehrhoff (concussion) and Derrick Pouliot (upper body) in the series opener.

"The good thing for [Chorney and Dumoulin] is they both skate really well," Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said after the morning skate at Madison Square Garden. "Dumoulin is a big guy (6-foot-4, 207 pounds), but when you watch him skate it's effortless. You want your defense to be mobile because the Rangers have a dynamic attack; they're quick and have a lot of speed up front. You can't get caught flat-footed."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 9:23 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

McDavid sets Erie record for points in playoff series

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, established a team record with 14 points in a playoff series on Tuesday when he had one goal and one assist to help complete a four-game sweep of the London Knights in an Ontario Hockey League Western Conference semifinal before 9,046 at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.

McDavid set the record on an empty-net goal with eight seconds remaining in the third period. He finished with eight goals and six assists in four games against London. Cory Pecker held the previous record of 13 points in a series in 2002, when he finished with 25 goals and 42 points in 21 playoff games.

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Posted On Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

McDavid, Eichel establish memorable seasons

It was quite a weekend for Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel.

The prospects many consider will be the top two choices in the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on June 26 each had record-setting accomplishments.

McDavid, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the draft, became the first player in the 19-year history of the Otters to score five goals in a regular-season or playoff game in a 7-3 win against the London Knights in Game 2 of their Ontario Hockey League Western Conference best-of-7 semifinal series at Erie Insurance Arena on Friday.

His fifth goal, a between-the-legs attempt off the end boards at the right post with 3:56 remaining in the game, was impressive.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 6:07 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Rangers at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot will have a chance to help his team clinch the Presidents' Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, MSG, MSG-PLUS).

It's a rather fitting opportunity for Talbot, considering the huge role he played while goalie Henrik Lundqvist recovered from a vascular neck injury that forced him to miss 24 games from Feb. 4 through March 26. Talbot went 16-4-3 with a 2.16 goals-against average, two shutouts and a .929 save percentage in the absence of Lundqvist.

Since his return to the lineup, Lundqvist has played the past five games (4-1-0) and has a 2.00 GAA and .937 save percentage in four straight wins.

The Rangers can also clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference with one point. A victory would match the franchise record of 52 regular-season wins set in 1993-94 when the organization won its fourth Stanley Cup.

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Posted On Monday, 04.06.2015 / 3:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

McDavid, Eichel continue to impress, lead their teams

Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, has his team in the semifinal round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

Boston University freshman Jack Eichel, No. 2 on Central Scouting's midterm ranking, has helped his team reach the NCAA Frozen Four at TD Garden in Boston.

Each player refuses to see his season come to a close prior to the Wednesday release of NHL Central Scouting's final rankings of the top 210 North American skaters. McDavid had three goals and nine points in Erie's 4-1 best-of-7 quarterfinal-round series win against the Sarnia Sting this past week. He had a goal and three points in a 7-0 victory in Game 5 on Friday.

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Quote of the Day

We have no doubt how he can play. You don't, with four teams that are left, you're not getting here without good goaltending. All great goalies left, and [Bishop] is a top-tier goaltender in this league and he's shown it.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper on goalie Ben Bishop, who shut out the Rangers in Game 5