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Posted On Saturday, 11.08.2014 / 2:08 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Wild at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- With the Montreal Canadiens set to retire Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Guy Lapointe's No. 5 jersey, the Minnesota Wild could use skills like his to get their struggling power play going.

Lapointe, who is Minnesota's coordinator of amateur scouting, has worked for the Wild since 1999. He won the Stanley Cup six times with the Canadiens, who will retire his jersey in a ceremony prior to the game against Minnesota on Saturday.

Wild defenseman Marco Scandella grew up in Montreal.

"I'm super happy for Guy," said Scandella, who is the nephew of former Canadiens forward Sergio Momesso. "What a legend in Montreal. Six Stanley Cups, unbelievable defenseman, he played in some golden years of the Canadiens and it's just special to be here to witness that. I was too young to see him play, but he's just a great person. I met him at the [NHL] draft in 2008 and every time I see him he just talks to you like you're a regular guy and like he's a regular guy. But you know in the back of your mind he's one of the legends of this city. We're really happy to have him in our organization and everyone is super proud of him getting his number retired."

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 2:12 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blackhawks vs. Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadiens are each consolidating their big guns to get themselves back on track Tuesday at Bell Centre.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville has put superstar forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane together on a line with Ben Smith. Toews and Kane each have eight points in 12 games.

"These guys should be leading our offense and usually you like them spread to give us more of a balanced attack," Quenneville said. "But putting them back together, I think they like playing together and right now we are looking for a little more scoring. There are some other parts of our game that have been positive, but a consistent attack, and how we play, I think we can enhance by getting some more scoring."

The Blackhawks have scored two goals or fewer in six of their past seven games while going 2-5-0. A 1-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday marked the second consecutive loss by that score.

"We've never had a lack of production like we've had over a stretch here, so we're looking for some consistency on the offensive side of things," Quenneville said. "We think we're giving up a consistent amount defensively, but we're looking for some offense."

Montreal coach Michel Therrien is reuniting defensemen P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov. Subban had been paired mostly with Alexei Emelin through Montreal's first 12 games. Emelin will swap spots with Markov and pair up with Tom Gilbert.

"At the end of the day, I've said it at the start of training camp, I'm comfortable playing with any D-man on our team," Subban said. "It doesn't change anything for me. Obviously we still need to play a tight-checking game. We want to stay out of the box and be disciplined. Obviously, playing together [with Markov], there's a lot of chemistry there in terms of us playing on the power play and we've had a lot of success when we've played together, so that's always great to know, but by the same token, whether I'm with [Jarred Tinordi], [Mike Weaver] or [Gilbert], you want to make sure you're playing the right way."

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Posted On Sunday, 11.02.2014 / 2:45 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley will be able to put his limited knowledge of the Swiss-German language to rare use Sunday at Bell Centre.

Calgary will have three players from Switzerland in its lineup for the game against the Montreal Canadiens, including forward Sven Baertschi, who was recalled from Adirondack of the American Hockey League on Sunday.

Goalie Jonas Hiller will make his fifth straight start and former Canadiens defenseman Raphael Diaz returns after he was left out of the Flames lineup for the past five games.

"To have them [play] together, I think there are a lot Swiss people who are going to be very happy, and they deserve to be because they work really well with their youngsters," said Hartley, who coached the Zurich-based ZSC Lions to Switzerland's National League A championship in 2012 before he was hired by Calgary.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.25.2014 / 2:44 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Rangers at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- It promises to be an emotional night at Bell Centre when the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens play Saturday for the first time since the Eastern Conference Final last season.

The Rangers won the series in six games before losing to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.

"They definitely have a skilled group over there," Montreal forward Max Pacioretty said of the Rangers. "And they have a little bit different team than they had last year but they're a young team like us now, a lot of young guys who are trying to make a name for themselves in the League, and I think we have the same identity as them. We want to pay a fast game and obviously we weren't happy with the results last year and we have a lot to prove now."

Goaltender Carey Price will make his sixth straight start for the Canadiens. It will be the first time he has faced the Rangers since he was knocked out of the series with a knee injury sustained in Game 1 when New York forward Chris Kreider slid into him.

Pacioretty said the two points at stake Saturday are too crucial for the Canadiens to single out Kreider or any special attention.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 2:00 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Red Wings at Canadiens

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk may be playing out of position when he makes his season debut Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Datsyuk lined up at left wing at the Red Wings' morning skate at Bell Centre in Montreal, with Henrik Zetterberg at center and Justin Abdelkader on the right side.

Even Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was caught off guard by Datsyuk's position change.

"That was a bit of a surprise for me this morning," Babcock said after confirming Datsyuk would be in the lineup.

Datsyuk played coy when asked if he'll play left wing during the game.

"It's a secret," Datsyuk said. "We try to switch. I need work. I'll play center too."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.18.2014 / 1:54 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Canadiens

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Thrust right into the action Thursday against the Ottawa Senators after being recalled from the American Hockey League, Calvin Pickard will make his first NHL start Saturday for the Colorado Avalanche.

Pickard will be in goal for the Avalanche at Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens after relieving Reto Berra early in Colorado's 5-3 loss in Ottawa.

Berra sustained a neck injury in a goalmouth collision with Senators center Kyle Turris at 2:46 of the first period. He is day-to-day and will not dress Saturday.

Pickard, who joined the Avalanche on Thursday, stopped 23 of 27 shots and was tagged with the loss in his first game in the League. He was called up from Lake Erie of the AHL after No. 1 goalie Semyon Varlamov was placed on injured reserve because of a groin injury.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.16.2014 / 1:27 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Bruins at Canadiens

BROSSARD, Quebec -- After opening their 2014-15 schedule with four straight road games, the Montreal Canadiens finally get to play in front of their fans at Bell Centre on Thursday against the Boston Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, SN360).

Despite a 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, the Canadiens are off to a 3-1-0 start after beginning the season with wins against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers.

Montreal has allowed the first goal in each of its past three games and has trailed at some point in every game. The Canadiens were down 3-0 in the third period Saturday in Philadelphia, but they rallied to tie it before winning in a shootout.

"We haven't had good starts in the last couple of games," center Lars Eller said. "We have to turn that around and I think last season that was a bit of a trademark for us, that we really always had good starts, so there's no excuses for that. We've got to come out hard, especially at home, and set the tone."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.20.2014 / 2:50 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Rangers series blog

Richards, St. Louis lend Cup know-how to Rangers

MONTREAL -- It has been 10 years since Brad Richards won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The New York Rangers center and linemate Martin St. Louis are enjoying passing along that shared experience to their current teammates.

"This whole playoff it's been fun to do that," Richards said Tuesday in the wake of New York taking a 2-0 series lead against the Montreal Canadiens in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final. "When I was in Tampa, Marty also, we didn't really have a clue what we were doing. We were first time through it, we were leaning on other people, older people, asking them all the questions, which I think is a lot easier when you're younger.

"Now you know all the things that can happen, and it's a lot harder. But it's fun to try to gather the group and talk about things. This group has come together so much and they ask a lot of questions. They make fun of us a lot too for doing that, but it's fun to try to help out that way."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 12:38 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Senators' Zibanejad to miss final two games

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators forward Mika Zibanejad will not play either of the final two games of the regular season, including Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Ottawa coach Paul MacLean shed no new light on why Zibanejad was sent to a hospital Thursday at the end of the Senators' 2-1 shootout win against the New Jersey Devils.

Zibanejad assisted on Mike Hoffman's second-period goal Thursday but did not play after his second shift of the third period.

"Well, he was here today and he still has to have further tests going into next, so he's still out of the lineup," MacLean said after Ottawa held an optional morning skate prior to their last game of the season at Canadian Tire Centre.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 1:57 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils sticking with Schneider against Senators

OTTAWA -- New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider will make his fifth straight start Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.

Both teams have been eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. New Jersey's faint hopes were dashed Wednesday when both the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets became the final Eastern Conference teams to secure playoff spots.

"You invest six months of work into a team and into a group and when you don't accomplish what you set out to accomplish it's tough, it's like the air getting let out of a balloon," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said after the team's morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre. "I don't have another description for it."

Three-time Stanley Cup champion Martin Brodeur was disappointed about New Jersey missing the playoffs for a second straight season after leading the Devils to the Final in 2012, where they lost to the Los Angeles Kings in six games.

"I didn't miss the playoffs once in 16 years, 17 years, when I started and now it's been three times out of four years so definitely it gets frustrating a little bit," Brodeur said. "You don't have many chances to win Stanley Cups at my age so you want to at least get into the dance, and now three out of four years we haven't done that here."

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Quote of the Day

I might have blacked out. I was pretty pumped.

— New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid on his first NHL win Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning