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Posted On Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 1:57 PM

By Adam Vingan - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Capitals

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals have employed a wing-by-committee approach on their first line under coach Barry Trotz.

When in need of physicality, Tom Wilson plays right wing with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Trotz has turned to Jay Beagle on the right side to provide two-way responsibility. In four games between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1 Trotz used four different first-line wings: Eric Fehr, Wilson, Jason Chimera (played on the left side and Ovechkin moved to right wing) and Beagle.

Lately Andre Burakovsky has assumed right wing alongside Ovechkin and Backstrom. Against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday they will play together for the sixth straight game.

"He makes plays," Trotz said of Burakovsky. "He's pretty creative. Definitely he's done a pretty good job. His wall play has gotten better as the whole year's gone on. He's been pretty creative. He can make those high-skill plays like [Backstrom] can; maybe not to that extent yet, but the high-skill plays that he can make to [Backstrom or Ovechkin], so far so good. He skates very well for a young man."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 1:26 PM

By Craig Merz - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canadiens at Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS -- Montreal Canadiens right wing PA Parenteau will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets with no restrictions.

"Tonight's 100 percent for me with the power play and everything," he said.

Parenteau missed three games because of an upper-body injury and the Canadiens (26-12-3) lost the past two.

"It's a good feeling to get back," Parenteau said after practicing Wednesday morning. "You miss the game and you miss being with your teammates. I'm feeling pretty good on the ice. I'll know more when the game starts and the pace picks up."

Parenteau has six goals and nine assists in 38 games. He will play with new linemates Brandon Prust and Alex Galchenyuk.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 12:02 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Live blog

NHL Live to talk All-Star Game with captain Foligno

Nick Foligno, named Wednesday as one of the two captains for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game, will be a guest on NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, which airs at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network. Foligno will call in to the show at 5:40 p.m.

Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN this week pits the surging Washington Capitals against the Philadelphia Flyers. Analyst Pierre McGuire will join us via the Arena Cam at Verizon Center to discuss this Metropolitan Division matchup.

NHL Network insider Darren Dreger will appear at 6:35 p.m. to talk about news from around the League.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst / - Weekes on the Web

Weekes: Pluses, minuses for Flyers, Capitals

The Washington Capitals are trying to keep pace in the race for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Philadelphia Flyers are just trying to get back on track so they maybe can think about a run to catch up in the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Confidence on one side, desperation on the other. That's the matchup NBCSN is offering in its latest edition of the Wednesday Night Rivalry series.

The Flyers are coming off a 7-3 trouncing of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, a win that should provide a measure of confidence that the club has been lacking this season. They played against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and crushed them.

The Capitals are coming off a 2-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, a win that falls in line with how they have been playing for nearly six weeks, dating back to Dec. 4, when they beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 to start the 13-1-4 run they're currently on.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 12:33 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - Jan. 14, 2015

Here is the Jan. 14 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

Hearing so many "Babcock to…" stories. Is there really any doubt he'll stay in Detroit? Surely he can at least leverage rumors. -- @r0bertwaters

There is plenty of doubt about Mike Babcock's future in Detroit. He is not signed after this season. He doesn't want to negotiate during the season. He has offered no indication one way or the other about staying or leaving. He has told me that he knows he has it good in Detroit and the grass isn't always greener on the other side, but that doesn't mean he isn't thinking about leaving. There will be a lot of money coming his way regardless of what decision he makes. The biggest thing for Babcock is does he think he can win the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings, or is he up for a challenge in a different market. Clearly the Toronto Maple Leafs are thinking about going all in on Babcock. Why else would they name Peter Horachek the interim coach for the rest of the season? There are good coaches available such as Peter DeBoer, Dan Bylsma and Paul MacLean, but the Maple Leafs are waiting for Babcock before they make any decision. So, yes, there is plenty of doubt about his future in Detroit. He hasn't done anything to erase that doubt either.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 12:06 AM

By Kyle Connor -  Special to / - Kyle Connor blog

Connor: Final thoughts on USHL Top Prospects Game

Kyle Connor, who was given an A rating on NHL Central Scouting's players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft, is in his third season with the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League in 2014-15. Committed to the University of Michigan in 2015-16, the 6-foot-1, 182-pound center has 12 goals and 34 points in 27 games with the Phantoms this season. Connor, who had one assist and three shots on goal in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 25, has offered to maintain a blog for leading up to the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla. His latest entry is after a 7-4 win for Team East at the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Dubuque, Iowa.

Hello from the Team East locker room at Mystique Community Ice Center in Iowa!

Team East defeated Team West at the USHL Top Prospects Game on Tuesday. I thought it was a real high-paced game out there and everyone was competing really hard. Overall, I thought it was a great atmosphere before a sell-out crowd in Dubuque so it was a really fun place to play.

I think this was a good chance to show what you could do out there and I thought I was able to create some opportunities for myself and my line-mates.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 11:33 PM

By David Satriano - Staff Writer / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Big results from little-owned Predators

The Nashville Predators have been one of the NHL's surprise teams this season, and many of their players have been surprisingly valuable for fantasy owners. Nashville has 13 players with at least 10 points, and several are available in most leagues.

Forward James Neal is owned in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues, but his linemates are largely available. Neal, who missed the past five games with a lower-body injury, returned Tuesday in a 5-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks and found success with Colin Wilson (36 percent owned, C, LW) and Mike Fisher (12 percent owned, C).

Since Dec. 23 (four games), Neal has played 57 percent of the time with those two, according to Neal has four points in his past three games; Wilson had two goals and two assists Tuesday, has eight goals in his past 11 games, and is plus-21 this season; and Fisher had two points and has seven goals and 12 points in 13 games.

Craig Smith (21 percent owned, C, RW) is another option. He has 13 goals and 11 assists this season.

-- Goalie Petr Mrazek (38 percent owned) made his first in what likely is majority of starts for the Detroit Red Wings with Jimmy Howard sidelined with a groin injury. Mrazek made 24 saves in a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres. Mrazek (6-3-1, .920 save percentage, 2.16 goals-against average) has been consistent when given a chance this season, and the Red Wings have a favorable schedule with three of their next five games against the Sabres, Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 11:27 PM

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

Conley leads Team East at USHL Prospects Game

Youngstown Phantoms left wing Kevin Conley, a C-rated skater on NHL Central Scouting's players to watch list for the 2015 NHL Draft, had two goals and one assist to help lead Team East to a 7-4 victory against Team West in the United States Hockey League/NHL Top Prospects Game on Tuesday before 3,021 fans at the Mystique Community Ice Center in Dubuque, Iowa.

More than 100 NHL scouts were in attendance at the game, which included players from 15 different states. In addition to the United States, there were players representing five other countries (Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden).

In addition to Conley, who was named most valuable player for his team, Team East also got goals from Chase Pearson (Youngstown; C-rated), Callahan Burke (Cedar Rapids; C-rated), Christian Wolanin (Muskegon), Sam Miletic (Green Bay; C-rated) and Jiri Fronk (Cedar Rapids; C-rated).

Joe Masonius (U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program), Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (Omaha; B-rated), Jake Henderson (Omaha; C-rated) and Christopher Wilkie (Tri-City; C-rated) had goals for Team West.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 10:20 PM - 2014-2015 Situation Room blog

OTT @ DAL - 17:19 of the Second Period

At 17:19 of the second period in the Ottawa Senators/Dallas Stars game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play at the Ottawa net. Video review supported the referee's call on the ice that Erik Cole's stick was below the level of the crossbar when he deflected the puck into the net. According to Rule 38.4 (vi) "The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick in relation to the crossbar. If the puck makes contact with the portion of the stick that is at or below the level of the crossbar and enters the goal, this goal shall be allowed." Good goal Dallas.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 9:22 PM - 2014-2015 Situation Room blog

MIN @ PIT - 10:52 of the Third Period

At 10:52 of the third period in the Minnesota Wild/Pittsburgh Penguins game, video review supported the referee's call on the ice that Paul Martin's shot crossed the Minnesota goal line in a legal fashion before deflecting off the back bar of the net. Good goal Pittsburgh.

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Quote of the Day

I mean, hockey had to change the rules because of Marty, and that's impressive. I got two Stanley Cup rings because of the guy. Look at the banners of [Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko] and Marty is right up there when you think about the New Jersey Devils; he was part of the core group and he'll go down as one of the greatest goalies ever.

— New Jersey Devils center Scott Gomez on former teammate Martin Brodeur, who will announce his retirement Thursday