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Daily Primer April 1: Plenty at stake on 11-game night

Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 3:00 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

Nine spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are still available, and several teams will be provided an opportunity to increase their chances Tuesday night with 11 games on the NHL schedule.

The New Jersey Devils, who beat the Florida Panthers on Monday and pulled within three points of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, are back on the ice Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres. The Toronto Maple Leafs, who are two points back of a wild card despite eight straight losses, look to get back on track against the Calgary Flames.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, who hold that aforementioned two-point lead on New Jersey in the East, will host the Colorado Avalanche. In the Western Conference, the St. Louis Blues will look to regain a three-point lead on the Anaheim Ducks after the latter rallied from a 4-0 deficit Monday to beat the Winnipeg Jets. The Blues host the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET, TSN2, NBCSN, CSN-PH).

Here's a closer look at the action Tuesday:


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Five Questions: Around the NHL with NBC's McGuire

Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

As NBC's lead "Inside the Glass" analyst, Pierre McGuire has a unique look at the players on the ice, trends in the game, highs and lows on the bench, and an ear on any coaching adjustments before they play out in front of the viewing audience.

Agree or disagree with him, McGuire is a fixture in your living room if you watch games on NBC and NBCSN.

He has been with NBC since 2006 and full-time on the network since 2011. He previously worked for TSN after starting his broadcasting career calling Montreal Canadiens games on the radio in 1997. McGuire also won the Stanley Cup twice as a scout and assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and served as head coach of the Hartford Whalers for part of one season.

McGuire went around the League with NHL.com on Monday for five questions that turned into more because of a long discussion on advanced statistics near the end of the telephone interview.

Before the conversation turned to stats, McGuire touched on Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene's injury, the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings rookie Gustav Nyquist and which coach will get one of his Jack Adams Award votes.

It's all below.

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Comparisons continue between Vigneault, Tortorella

Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 12:09 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella understands his unlikely job swap with Alain Vigneault last summer makes for easy comparisons between the two.

With Vigneault and the New York Rangers back in Vancouver to play his former team at Rogers Arena on Tuesday, Tortorella is also very aware those assessments don't flatter him right now.

Hired to get more out of veteran group that had been knocked quickly out of the past two Stanley Cup Playoffs, Tortorella has the Canucks on the verge of missing the postseason altogether for the first time in six seasons with 79 points. Vigneault's Rangers are second in the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference with 88 points after winning six of their past seven games.


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Fantasy All-Access: 'March Madness' comes to an end

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Tuesday marks the start of the last month of the NHL regular season and the start of fantasy championships. Before we look forward let's focus on some players that have gone into March like a lion and left that way.

It took Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux 15 games to score a goal this season, but in March he had a League-leading 21 points in the 14 games. The Boston Bruins' Jarome Iginla led the League with 13 goals in the month with one day to go. The Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano is leading all defenseman in scoring with 16 points in 16 games. And the Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil has a league-high 50 penalty minutes with one game to go in the most crucial month in fantasy hockey.

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No clinching scenarios in Monday games

Monday, 03.31.2014 / 10:42 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins are the only teams in the Eastern Conference to have clinched a berth in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins clinched the Atlantic Division title on Saturday.

The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche have all clinched spots in the Western Conference.

There are no clinching scenarios for games on Monday.

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Daily Primer March 31: Ducks chase top seed

Monday, 03.31.2014 / 3:00 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Anaheim Ducks will look to build on their one-point lead atop the Pacific Division on Monday night, but they also have a chance to gain ground in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Anaheim (48-18-8) can extend its lead in the Pacific to three points on the idle San Jose Sharks when they face the Winnipeg Jets at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET, TSN-JETS, KDOC). But, a victory would also move the Ducks within a point of the St. Louis Blues, who are also idle Monday. The Ducks have two games in hand on the Sharks; Anaheim and St. Louis have each played 74 games.

Here's a closer look at the action Monday:

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Kings' Kopitar earning attention for Selke Trophy

Monday, 03.31.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It would be easy to think that Anze Kopitar got his defensive mindset from his father and coach, Matjaz, growing up in Slovenia. It would seem natural for a son to emulate his father’s style of play.

But the Los Angeles Kings center can't really say that was the case because he remembers what type of player his father was toward the end of his playing career.

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Boston College, Minnesota advance to Frozen Four

Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 10:39 PM / On Campus

NHL.com

Ian McCoshen scored with 8:44 left and top-seeded Boston College beat UMass-Lowell 4-3 on Sunday in the NCAA Northeast Regional final to reach the Frozen Four for the 11th time in 17 years.

Boston College (28-7-4), seeking its fourth NCAA championship in seven seasons, faces East Regional champion Union in the national semifinals April 10 in Philadelphia.

Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau, a Calgary Flames prospect and the nation's leading scorer, set up goals by Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes. Ryan Fitzgerald also scored for the Eagles.

Thatcher Demko stopped 29 shots for Boston College.

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No clinching scenarios in Sunday games

Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 10:33 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins are the only teams in the Eastern Conference to have clinched a berth in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins clinched the Atlantic Division title by defeating the Washington Capitals 4-2 on Saturday.

The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche have all clinched spots in the Western Conference. The Avalanche clinched a berth by defeating the Sharks 3-2 on Saturday. The Blackhawks were idle Saturday, but clinched a spot after the Minnesota Wild defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1.

There are no clinching scenarios for games on Sunday.

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Daily Primer March 30: Hawks seek home-ice edge

Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Chicago Blackhawks didn't play Saturday, but their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs was punched when the Phoenix Coyotes lost to the Minnesota Wild. Now that they know for sure they will have a chance to defend their crown, the Blackhawks will attempt to secure home-ice advantage in the opening round.

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Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis