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'Fragile' Wild believe mindset needs to change

Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 6:58 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO – The Minnesota Wild looked like they were on the rise in 2013-14. This season, things have been anything but hopeful.

The Wild have lost six consecutive games and 12 of the past 14. They're in last place in the Central Division and 12th in the Western Conference.

"I think we should stop referencing last year," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "We've been doing that way too much. We give up one, two goals and mentally right now, we quit. We've been fragile and we change the way we play. That's what's killing us right now."


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All-Star captains eager to get down to business

Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 6:29 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

NHL.com

When Patrick Kane joined Jonathan Toews in coach Joel Quenneville's office before practice Wednesday, he was worried something had gone awry during the Chicago Blackhawks' brief break since last playing Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.

"I thought we were in trouble," Kane said.

Quite the opposite, actually. Quenneville called the meeting to tell Toews he would be named a captain for the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend and Kane that he would be named an assistant to captain Nick Foligno of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Toews will be joined by Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Rick Nash of the New York Rangers. Foligno and Kane will be joined by Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings.

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Fantasy top 60 'D': Flyers' Streit thrives on power play

Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Mark Streit had a career-high 62 points during the 2007-08 season with the Montreal Canadiens. He had 54.8 percent of those points while his team was on the power play. That production was good enough to place him third among all defensemen in scoring and earned him a five-year, $20.5 million contract with the New York Islanders after that season.

He had 179 points in 286 games with the Islanders, with 85 of them coming on the power play.

Streit's history prior to joining the Flyers last season is important because it shows just how effective he has been on the power play. He has scored 47.4 percent of his career points while his teams have been on the man-advantage, and that production is making Streit a standout performer for the Flyers this season.

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Canadiens use time off to change power play

Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 10:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Being a hockey coach here is not always easy. In fact, it rarely is.

The Montreal Canadiens enter their game at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday with a 26-12-3 record and have been at or near the top of the Eastern Conference standings for most of the season. Yet the Canadiens have been consistently poor on the power play, and in Montreal, that one glaring weakness tends to grab a lot of attention.

Coach Michel Therrien made some changes to the power play Monday and Tuesday at practice, in personnel and system. Considering the power play has been consistently unproductive for more than a calendar year without any significant adjustments, it was not surprising this became big news, even without an explanation from Therrien.

"I'm not going to start analyzing the changes," Therrien said. "First of all, as a coach, you want to keep those things private. We're in Montreal, we're a big market. Practices are getting analyzed on TV, and it's not fun for a coach. You want to make adjustments, and you're watching the news and people are trying to analyze the new strategy that you want to have. It can be tough at times. So I'm not going to start to elaborate on the changes."

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Wild's Suter faces Player Safety hearing Wednesday

Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 6:45 AM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter will have a hearing Wednesday for an elbow to Pittsburgh Penguins forward Steve Downie during a game at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday night.

Suter was not penalized on the play at approximately 4:24 of the second period. Downie left the game and did not return.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: elbowing.

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Goalie Holtby's confidence inspiring Capitals

Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. – When playing at peak performance, Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby oozes a steely confidence, each kick of the leg and flip of the glove accentuated with a subtle flair.

Coach Barry Trotz recognizes that self-assurance in goal, which has seeped into the mentality of Holtby's teammates.

"You have a strut, whatever you want to call it," Trotz said. "You have a little swagger. That's the one position in our sport that can do that.

"You see it with Braden. His play has been stellar and so has our play."

Holtby is scheduled to make his 20th consecutive start and franchise-record 26th straight appearance in NBC's Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN1). In his previous 19 starts, Holtby is 13-2-4 with a 2.09 goals-against average, .932 save percentage and two shutouts.

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Five things to watch when Capitals face Flyers

Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Washington Capitals battled inconsistency earlier this season while trying to get accustomed to new coach Barry Trotz, but it now looks as though they're going to be in the mix for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs right until the very end.

Trotz and the Capitals are 13-1-4 in their past 18 games (they've outscored the opposition 57-34 over that span) and have moved within two points of second place in the Metropolitan Division heading into this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Verizon Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA, SN1).

"I don't believe it's a hot streak," Trotz said. "A hot streak is when you're winning games when you're not supposed to. I think our consistency has been good. Our commitment and our detail have been good. We're not just a team having a good month."

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Predators' Laviolette paces Adams race at midpoint

Wednesday, 01.14.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Awards

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the first half of the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

The Nashville Predators are the latest to experience a renaissance under Peter Laviolette.

In parts of 12 seasons coaching the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers, Laviolette's teams have improved dramatically in his first full season. The 2001-02 Islanders started 11-1-1 and finished with 96 points, the eighth-most in the NHL, one season after placing 30th with 52 points. The Hurricanes went from 23rd (76 points) in 2003-04, when he took over 30 games into the season, to fourth (112) in 2005-06. The Flyers moved from 18th (88 points) in 2009-10 when he took over 25 games into the season, to third (106) in 2010-11.

Laviolette is at it again with the Predators. After finishing three points out of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference last season, Nashville has emerged as one of the NHL's biggest surprises; its 60 points are the most in the League. The Predators are 13-0-0 following a loss and their 41-game start (28-9-4) was the best in franchise history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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Rangers rue missed chances in loss to Islanders

Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 10:50 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- When you win five straight and 13 of your past 14 games, there's no doubt you need some bounces along the way.

In the first period at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, the New York Rangers didn't get any breaks against the New York Islanders. It played a huge role in what turned out to be a 3-0 loss.

With a chance to pull within three points of the first-place Islanders in the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers came out buzzing. They were doing all the right things and generated several quality scoring chances, none better than the two they had seconds apart late in the first period.

About eight minutes after Mats Zuccarello's one-timer hit the post, Rick Nash made a power move around Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy and let go a wrist shot that beat goalie Jaroslav Halak but hit the far post. The puck caromed right out to the slot for Derick Brassard, who managed to hit each post on his chance.

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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Brassard most undervalued

Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen will provide you with in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen will be your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.

How much more will it take for fantasy hockey owners to realize that New York Rangers center Derick Brassard has reached must-own territory?

News flash: arguably the most undervalued fantasy forward in the game right now is there for the taking in over half of Yahoo leagues.

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Quote of the Day

I always feel the pressure to produce offensively. It's disappointing and frustrating when you can't help out your team the way you're supposed to.

— Rangers forward Rick Nash on scoring twice in a 5-1 Game 4 victory against the Lightning on Friday