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Posted On Saturday, 01.31.2015 / 12:12 PM

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

At the Rink: Capitals at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin is on the verge of a tenth straight 30-goal season as he gets ready to face the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Ovechkin has seven goals in his past five games, including his 28th and 29th in Washington's 4-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz has enjoyed working with Ovechkin in his first season behind the Washington bench.

"He's a rare athlete," Trotz said. "He's one of the best goal scorers in the National Hockey League in probably this last seven or eight years and he's probably the most physical superstar that you're going to find up front as well. I mean, I know Marshawn Lynch and the Super Bowl's happening, but he gets into that beast mode where he wants to run people over and be the alpha male out there.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.27.2015 / 2:32 PM

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

At the Rink: Stars at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Dallas Stars have made up a fair bit of ground in the Western Conference standings since they last faced the Montreal Canadiens.

After winning nine of its first 26 games, Dallas has gone on a 12-6-2 run that began with a 4-1 win against Montreal on Dec. 6. The Stars were 11 points out of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before their first game against the Canadiens; they are now within four points going into their game against Montreal at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

"It's a fact we've been able to defend a lot better," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said after the morning skate. "We won that game in kind of a low-scoring game and we caught them in a back-to-back situation, which I think was a little bit tougher, but the (wins) have been coming because mainly I think our defensive play as a whole has been better as a team."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.20.2015 / 1:40 PM

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

At the Rink: Predators at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Goalie Carey Price will start for the Montreal Canadiens against the Nashville Predators at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Price missed Montreal's 6-4 win against the New York Islanders on Saturday because of an upper-body injury he sustained as the result of a collision with Matt Calvert of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday.

There was concern that Price might not be able to take part in the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Columbus on Sunday.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Price would face the Predators after the morning skate at the team's suburban practice facility.

"He's a true leader," Therrien said. "He's a guy who wants to make the difference. It's important for our hockey team that he's got that type of attitude, and he's got a great attitude. He wants to play, he wants to win, and he wants his hockey team to be successful."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.17.2015 / 1:36 PM

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

At the Rink: Islanders at Canadiens

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens will not have Carey Price at their disposal when they face the New York Islanders at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Price is day-to-day with an upper-body injury he sustained during a 3-2 win at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. He backed up Dustin Tokarski on Thursday during Montreal's 4-1 loss at the Ottawa Senators.

"(Friday) morning he was stiff and that's the reason we made our decision," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said after the morning skate at the team's suburban practice facility.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.10.2015 / 1:57 PM

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

At the Rink: Penguins at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- One week after losing to the Montreal Canadiens at home, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins look to pay them back at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Crosby said he expects another tight-checking game after Montreal won 4-1 at Consol Energy Center last Saturday.

"I think if you look at the last game especially, there wasn't a ton of room out there," Crosby said after the morning skate. "They capitalized on some chances, but I think we'd like to generate a few more chances. I thought we did a pretty good job in the first period, but in the second two they seemed to shut those chances down pretty well."

A key for Penguins coach Mike Johnston is denying the Canadiens transition opportunities.

"They're a good team in transition, they have very good skill, very good speed up front, and we just don't want to give them those easy transition opportunities," Johnston said. "So we talk about turnovers through the neutral zone, make sure we manage the puck real well through there, and making sure our backcheck is solid off the forecheck."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 1:52 PM

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

At the Rink: Lightning at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Tampa Bay Lightning want to exorcise bad memories of a Stanley Cup Playoffs sweep at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper wasn't sure after the Lightning's morning skate if he was dealing with memories or nightmares about the Montreal arena. And he couldn't resist referencing Ryan Callahan's disallowed goal in Game 3 of his team's four-game loss to the Canadiens in their Eastern Conference First Round playoff series.

"I can't believe it's been eight-plus months since we've been here," Cooper said. "It's clearly negative memories just because of the way the games turned out and the series turned out. I don't believe we played poorly here, I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win both our games here. I was looking for the yellow tape around the goal on our side there to see if it was still there."

Tampa Bay (25-12-4) and Montreal (26-11-2) are tied for the Eastern Conference lead with 54 points.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 9:45 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada views U.S. game as but one on way to goal

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Goalie Eric Comrie will start for Canada against the United States in the much-anticipated 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Group A showdown on New Year's Eve.

It will be the second start for Comrie (Winnipeg Jets) in the tournament. The 19-year-old made 17 saves in a 4-0 win against Germany on Saturday.

"I think he's going to be ready," Canada coach Benoit Groulx said. "He's had a good day every day so far. We're very confident with both goalies."

First place in Group A will be at stake when Canada (3-0-0-0) plays the U.S. (2-1-0-0) at Bell Centre on Wednesday (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHL.com).

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 7:00 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. captain Eichel focused on Canada, not McDavid

BROSSARD, Quebec -- United States captain Jack Eichel is focused on a showdown of two powerhouse teams at Bell Centre on New Year's Eve rather than his much-anticipated 1-on-1 matchup against Canada's Connor McDavid at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The consensus top-two 2015 NHL Draft prospects will face each other with their respective undefeated teams Wednesday with a first-place finish in Group A at stake (4 p.m., NHL Network).

"It's not at all about me versus Connor," Eichel said after the United States practiced at the Montreal Canadiens' suburban training facility Tuesday. "It's a huge matchup for the top seed in our bracket, so it's Canada and the U.S."

Eichel, who has a goal and an assist in three U.S. wins (2-1-0-0), said he hasn't watched McDavid much this year.

"He's obviously a good player for a lot of reasons, so that's probably my only comment," the 18-year-old Boston University center said.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.20.2014 / 2:17 PM

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

At the Rink: Senators at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- It looks like the Montreal Canadiens will have left wing Max Pacioretty in the lineup against the Ottawa Senators at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Pacioretty took part in the morning skate at the Canadiens' suburban practice facility. He went to the hospital Thursday night for precautionary reasons after he fell headfirst into the boards on a check by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner.

"I think maybe people hear the word hospital and they assume the worst, but whenever someone gets a little injury they have to obviously get tests, and at that time of the night the only thing open is the hospital," Pacioretty said. "So I don't want it to be blown out of proportion. I feel really good."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 1:39 PM

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

At the Rink: Ducks at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Anaheim Ducks look to put a rare lopsided loss behind them Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Anaheim ended a seven-game winning streak with a 6-2 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. The Ducks lead the NHL with a 21-7-5 mark for 47 points.

"Good teams bounce back and we consider ourselves a good team," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said after the morning skate. "We've had a good stretch here but we don't want it to end on a bad note. There's a lot of character and pride in that room and I know we're going to put our best foot forward (Tuesday)."

The Ducks wrap up their five-game road trip Friday at the Ottawa Senators.

Forward Emerson Etem will play against the Canadiens in place of Kyle Palmieri, who sustained a shoulder injury Tuesday. Etem, who was recalled from Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, has two goals and four points in 21 games this season with Anaheim.

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Quote of the Day

I've been so fortunate, blessed, to play a long time with some great players and be on power plays, play in some great cities and stuff. It's been fun.

— Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla on tying Dino Ciccarelli for 46th place on the NHL's all-time list with his 1,200th career point after their win vs. the Predators on Friday