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2015 NHL Draft
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Features

Coaching rematch when Predators meet Blackhawks

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

NHL.com

The Chicago Blackhawks are hoping history will repeat itself five years later.

The run to the Stanley Cup in 2010 started with a six-game series against the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Nashville is again in Chicago's way to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs, only this time the Predators have home-ice advantage.

Nashville is back in the playoffs under first-year coach Peter Laviolette after failing to qualify in their final two seasons with Barry Trotz, the only coach in Predators history until Laviolette came aboard.

Chicago is in the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season under coach Joel Quenneville. The Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice (2010, 2013) and reached the Western Conference Finals another two times (2009, 2014).

Zidlicky's offensive game an X-factor for Detroit

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

The ability of defenseman Marek Zidlicky to create offense from the blue line was well known when the Detroit Red Wings sent a conditional draft choice to the New Jersey Devils for him at the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline last month.

But Zidlicky, 38, has also shown in his time in Detroit that he doesn't shy away from physical play, despite being listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds.

A prime example came in the Red Wings 2-1 los to the Washington Capitals at Joe Louis Arena on April 5.

Zidlicky took exception to the way that Washington forward Tom Wilson hit him along the boards and let Wilson and the referees know about it. It was a game where many of the bigger Capitals were banging the Red Wings around with body checks.

Goaltending issues cloud Detroit's playoff outlook

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- This is the Detroit Red Wings dilemma going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Do they go with a struggling veteran golatender who has a solid playoff track record or a talented young netminder with moxie, who has won some big games but has shown he still has work to do on the craft of consistently keeping the puck out of the net in the NHL?

Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek?

Howard had an outstanding first half of the season and was selected to play in the All-

Star Game. But only hours after the All-Star participants were announced, Howard injured his groin against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 10 and missed a month.

Mrazek stepped in and won eight of 11 decisions.

Predators' Weber happy to see playoffs again

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Robby Stanley - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber was not a happy man at the end of the 2013-14 regular season.

His team had just missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in his career, and the only NHL coach he'd ever known, Barry Trotz, was fired after the season.

"We've got to get back to the postseason," Weber said. "Two years in a row is unacceptable. We know that. We're not an expansion franchise anymore."

Weber has led the Predators back to the playoffs this season and is looking to make a deeper run toward the Stanley Cup than ever before. He's the leader of one of the deepest defense corps in the NHL and believes that depth can be an advantage in the postseason.

Rangers' Nash ready to forget painful playoff past

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Three goals in 25 games and a shot off a stick shaft in overtime of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. That was New York Rangers forward Rick Nash in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. That's what he can't hide from now, with a new postseason set to begin.

"I've had thousands of people be on top of me and it is what it is," Nash said. "At the end of the day you just gotta try to be better next time."

Next time is here for Nash, who realizes that scoring a career-high 42 goals this season and being a dominant player, a potential Hart Trophy finalist, won't mean much if he doesn't score to help the Rangers win the Stanley Cup this spring.

High-scoring rookie forward Lee is Islanders X-factor

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Left wing Anders Lee was the victim of a numbers game at the start of the 2014-15 season. Instead of being with the New York Islanders, he started the season in the American Hockey League with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Lee took the demotion in stride and was back with the Islanders within two weeks. Since then, the 6-foot-3, 227-pounds forward has garnered consideration for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie; he finished second among first-year players with 25 goals.

"It's been a really good year," Lee said. "I think I'd be ecstatic to look where I'm at right now. If I asked myself if I'd be in this spot at the end of the year, would I be happy? I think absolutely. I think I'd take that. It was a little bit hectic at first, but things settled down and have fallen into place."

Tavares' development as a leader propels Islanders

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The memory of Brooks Orpik, the low-scoring Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman, eliminating the New York Islanders from the Stanley Cup Playoffs with an overtime goal at Nassau Coliseum in the spring of 2013 haunts John Tavares.

It's lingered for the Islanders captain, especially after he sustained a knee injury while representing Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which left him out of the equation as New York failed to qualify for the postseason last season.

"I think that's what you play for," Tavares said. "It was a series we probably felt we deserved a better fate, but in a few areas we weren't as good as Pittsburgh. We're a young team and I think we just want to keep pushing for that next level. Obviously, you want to win the Cup and you want to compete for it. Watching the playoffs as a kid, you see how much fun each and every round gets, and I think that's what drives everybody."

Capitals' Ovechkin embraces big moments

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Ben Raby - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Throughout the regular season, first-year Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz noticed a trend in Alex Ovechkin's game.

"The bigger the stage, the bigger he plays," Trotz said earlier this month. "On the big stage, he's not afraid."

From the the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park, to late-season trips to Madison Square Garden and Bell Centre, Trotz watched Ovechkin score key goals in big games.

Now as the curtain lifts on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the League's biggest stage, Ovechkin is poised to take the leading role during what he hopes is a deep postseason run.

Why the Red Wings will win the Stanley Cup

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Mike Babcock of the Detroit Red Wings is one of the game's top coaches. He has the Stanley Cup rings and Olympic gold medals to prove his ability.

He is primed to chase another Stanley Cup title, but it might be his last with Detroit. He is in the final year of his contract and his future in Detroit is uncertain. He may be back or may move on to a new challenge.

Either way, he will be in demand after he helps guide the Detroit Red Wings to another championship this spring. The Detroit roster has warts, but if there's one coach capable of getting the most out of any lineup, it's Babcock.

Why the Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Chicago Blackhawks check all the boxes required to be a championship team, which is exactly why the city should plan to keep the Magnificent Mile parade route open for an afternoon in June.

Do the Blackhawks have experience? Yes they do.

The Blackhawks have 17 players with a combined 25 Stanley Cup championship rings, including two each for Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Bryan Bickell, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

In addition, Kimmo Timonen and Antoine Vermette have played in the Stanley Cup Final for other teams. Brad Richards won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning and played in the Final last season with the New York Rangers.

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Quote of the Day

I would definitely love to play with him. He's a skilled player and over the years he definitely has shown that he can score a lot of goals. I think it would work out well.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on Alexander Semin