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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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Posted On Saturday, 04.04.2015 / 12:23 PM

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

At the Rink: Devils at Rangers

NEW YORK -- Left wing Stefan Matteau will play his first NHL regular-season game in the arena where his father became famous when the New Jersey Devils face off against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+ 2, MSG).

Matteau, who did play at the Garden in a preseason game in September, is looking forward to the opportunity. His dad, Stephane Matteau, broke the hearts of Devils fans in the second overtime of Game 7 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Final.

"I grew up from 10, 11 on always dreaming about playing there and it's still my favorite city, favorite building and it's, obviously, special to play there," Stefan Matteau said.

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Posted On Friday, 04.03.2015 / 12:04 PM

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

At the Rink: Canadiens at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Montreal Canadiens continue their pursuit of the Atlantic Division title against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; SN360, RDS, MSG+).

With just four games remaining in the regular season, the Canadiens lead the Atlantic with 103 points. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who have played one more game than the Canadiens, have 102 points.

The Devils role in all this, of course, is playing spoiler. The Devils, who have five games remaining, will miss qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs a third straight season.

"We want to keep pushing right to the end," Devils forward Adam Henrique said. "Every game is important to us to put wins on the board. It's been tough recently and we've played some games that haven't gone our way, but we'll push to the end. The last five games are important."

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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

McDavid and Eichel continue playoff pursuit

Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel, the projected top-two prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, remain in the thick of their respective playoff races.

McDavid had one goal and one assist in a 6-5 victory against the Sarnia Sting in Game 3 of his team's best-of-7 first-round series of the Ontario Hockey League on Sunday.

McDavid, who had 44 goals and 120 points in 47 regular-season games, has two goals and five points in three postseason matches. Erie holds a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 in Sarnia on Tuesday.

Boston University reached the NCAA Frozen Four for first time since winning its fifth national title in 2009 when it scored victories against Yale University, 3-2 in overtime, on Friday and the University of Minnesota-Duluth, 3-2, on Saturday to advance from the Northeast Region.


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Posted On Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 11:00 AM

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

American Auston Matthews will headline 2016 Draft

TORONTO -- If the projections hold true and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel isn't the first American-born player since 2007 to be the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, than Auston Matthews could very well earn that distinction in June 2016.

Even though the team at NHL Central Scouting is wrapping up its final meeting to project the top 210 North American skaters for the 2015 Draft this week, scouts always have time to talk about the top underage players waiting in the wings.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

NHL Central Scouting final rankings wrap-up report

TORONTO -- NHL Central Scouting this weekend put the finishing touches on the opening two rounds of its projections of North American players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.

At the midterm rankings release in January, Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. Those generational stars are expected to remain there when Central Scouting makes its official release of the final rankings in April.

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We have to develop into a good team. We have to develop the pieces now that are a little more evident and in place to become a good team. It's not there yet.

— Sabres coach Dan Bylsma on new Buffalo players working together