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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."

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.


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.

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.

Posted On Friday, 03.27.2015 / 6:25 PM

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

Day one wrap-up of Central Scouting's final meetings

TORONTO -- The opening day of NHL Central Scouting's final meetings to rank the top North American players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft ended with the completion of five separate league lists and goaltender projections.

Dan Marr, NHL Director of Central Scouting, and his staff compiled rankings for the Western Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, USA-West and USA-East regions, which include all U.S. colleges and high schools, and the Canadian junior and midget leagues.

The top 30 goaltenders were also discussed and finalized. The staff will complete the list for the Ontario Hockey League before beginning the ranking process of the top 210 skaters from North America on Saturday.

Posted On Friday, 03.27.2015 / 7:12 AM

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

NHL Central Scouting final meetings underway

TORONTO -- The top evaluators from NHL Central Scouting are in place and ready to begin debating and scrutinizing the top 210 North American skaters and 30 North American goaltenders here at the board offices in Toronto.

The final meeting to determine the top 2015 draft-eligible prospects is underway.

Posted On Monday, 03.23.2015 / 3:00 AM

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

Eichel wins tourney MVP; McDavid ready for playoffs

Boston University coach David Quinn came up with a unique way to describe his star player after watching his freshman center, Jack Eichel, win the most valuable player award at the Hockey East Tournament on Saturday following the Terriers' first conference title in six years.

Eichel is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, to be held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

"I jokingly say he's kind of like the Secretariat of a hockey player," Quinn told GoTerriers.com. "If you ever watch Secretariat run, he just looks so different than all the other horses. Jack is very much in that mold."

Eichel is the second player in Hockey East history, after Boston College defenseman Brian Leetch in 1987, to win Hockey East Player of the Year, Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Hockey East tournament MVP.

Posted On Sunday, 03.22.2015 / 7:36 PM

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

Erie's Strome wins OHL scoring title with career day

Erie Otters center Dylan Strome, who is considered a top-10 prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, established two Erie records and won the Ontario Hockey League scoring title on the final day of the regular season when he had career-highs of four goals and six points in an 8-7 victory against the Niagara IceDogs at Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario on Sunday.

Strome, No. 5 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 draft, finished with a league-best and Otters record 84 assists and 129 points in 68 games. He has been Erie's second-line center, slotted behind captain Connor McDavid, the projected No. 1 pick in this year's draft.

McDavid, a healthy scratch against the IceDogs on Sunday, finished third in the league with 120 points in 47 games.

Posted On Saturday, 03.21.2015 / 6:43 PM

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

Devils forward Elias returns against Islanders

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias, who missed the past three games because of back spasms, will return to the lineup against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Elias, who has 10 goals and 29 points in his 17th season with the Devils, centered a line with Dainius Zubrus and Stephen Gionta during warm-ups. Elias has 33 goals and 86 points in 89 career games against the Islanders. Forward Michael Ryder will be a healthy scratch.


Posted On Saturday, 03.21.2015 / 1:00 PM

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

At the Rink: Islanders at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Defenseman Nick Leddy and goaltender Jaroslav Halak will return to the lineup for the New York Islanders against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano confirmed that Leddy, who has missed the past four games with an upper-body injury, and Halak, who missed the past two with a lower-body injury, will return following the Islanders optional morning skate.

Leddy will resume his normal role alongside Johnny Boychuk. Defenseman Calvin de Haan, who has no points in his past 19 games, will serve as a healthy scratch. Leddy leads all Islanders defensemen with 10 goals and a plus-17 rating.

"When you lose elite players you have a hole to fill," Capuano said about Leddy. "He means a great deal and is important. When you got a guy that can move the puck and work the power play, it's big."

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I'm a hockey player and that's what I love to do. That is what I am here for. Everything else is just a side note.

— Oilers forward Connor McDavid on moving beyond the anticipation of his long-awaited arrival in the NHL
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