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2015 NHL Draft
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Five reasons Blackhawks clinched playoff berth

Friday, 04.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

After some concerns down the stretch as they played without injured right wing Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks assured themselves of a berth in 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

The Blackhawks, who have 47 wins and 100 points, are third in the Central Division of the Western Conference and still have a chance to pass St. Louis Blues (101) and Nashville Predators (103). Chicago is 11-4-1 since Kane sustained a broken left clavicle on Feb. 24.

Here are five reasons the Blackhawks have qualified for the playoffs for a seventh straight season:

Super 16: Little clarity on favorite as playoffs beckon

Friday, 04.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

By the end of the 2013-14 season, the top teams in the NHL had distinguished themselves.

The top of the West was pretty clearly a group of five teams: the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. The top teams in the East was a smaller group, with the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers leading the way.

Save for the Bruins losing to the Montreal Canadiens, those other five teams that didn't win the Stanley Cup had their season ended by the Kings or the Blackhawks.

Two seasons ago, the Blackhawks went wire-to-wire but Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston were the three best puck possession teams to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs and all reached the final four. Even the Detroit Red Wings, a No. 7 seed facing the team with the second-most points (Anaheim), was tied for fourth among playoff teams in score-adjusted shot attempts percentage (SAT%) and they were the de facto fifth-place finishers, taking the eventual champs to seven games in the second round.

Andersen, Gibson push for playoff call in Ducks net

Friday, 04.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The competition is intense, to hear Frederik Andersen tell it. There's not much separation between him and teammate John Gibson, and it often gets tight.

The thing is, Andersen isn't talking about their dual goaltending dynamic for the Anaheim Ducks but their latest head-to-head showdown in an NBA video game.

"It was actually a good series," Andersen said. "We had a best-of-7 series. I've got to win the Game 7 next time."

Andersen and Gibson are friends, teammates and young goalies who have propelled Anaheim to the best record in the NHL going into Friday against the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; SN1, ALT, PRIME). The competition between them for the No. 1 job is more of a media and fan curiosity, but there's no denying each is making it a tough decision for coach Bruce Boudreau with the Stanley Cup Playoffs ahead.

"I think they both want the starting role," Boudreau said. "We had a tough game in New York and Columbus [last month] and when [Andersen] played two really good games, it was like [Gibson] said, 'Oh, yeah? OK,' and he came in and played great. I think they both would like to have it."

Capitals' success this season is a team effort

Friday, 04.03.2015 / 1:29 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL – It was set up perfectly.

With the game on the line in the shootout, the two leading contenders to win the Hart Trophy, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, were going head to head.

The game at Bell Centre on Thursday was hyped as a showdown between the two superstars. That was exactly what it came down to, with a chance for Ovechkin to win the game with a goal.

Ovechkin deked to his forehand, Price extended his pad, and the shootout continued.

Byfuglien suspended four games for cross-checking

Thursday, 04.02.2015 / 4:30 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NEW YORKWinnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien has been suspended for four games, without pay, for cross-checking New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller during NHL Game No. 1148 in Winnipeg on Tuesday, March 31, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 17:20 of the second period.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and based on his average annual salary, Byfuglien will forfeit $111,827.96. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

Eichel among three Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalists

Thursday, 04.02.2015 / 12:25 PM / NCAA Update

Boston University center Jack Eichel, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, was named a 2015 Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist as college hockey's top player on Thursday.

Eichel, who is looking to become the first freshman to win the award since University of Maine forward Paul Kariya in 1993, is joined by junior goalie Zane McIntyre of the University of North Dakota and junior forward Jimmy Vesey of Harvard University as finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.

The winner will be announced April 10 at Matthews Arena in Boston and will be televised live on NHL Network at 5 p.m. ET.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: AHL transitions unpredictable

Thursday, 04.02.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season,'s Evan Sporer will provide you with in-depth analysis of goaltenders. From updated weekly top-30 rankings to trending players and more, Sporer will be your go-to guy for advice on fantasy goalies all season long.

Logic will tell you that if a player is performing at a certain level against the same level of competition consistently, should the competition get stiffer the expectation should not be for said player's performance to get better.

Goaltending though can be rather fickle, as we've learned this NHL season.

Lucic does heavy lifting as Bruins battle for playoffs

Thursday, 04.02.2015 / 12:00 PM / Top Performer

With the Boston Bruins fighting to maintain a spot in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, forward Milan Lucic is doing his best to keep them there.

Lucic scored three goals in the past week, including his second multigoal game of the season against the New York Rangers, and the winner against the Florida Panthers in a crucial game in the race for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"You talk about those four-point games where you're able to get two points but also not let them get anything," Lucic said after scoring the game-winner against Florida. "So I think it makes it that much bigger of a win to be able to come out and win that one in regulation."

Playoff Countdown: Bruins in pursuit of Red Wings

Thursday, 04.02.2015 / 11:12 AM / Expert Picks

Saturday, April 11, marks the conclusion to the 2014-15 regular season. Yet, much remains to be decided in the frantic run to the finish line, including playoff positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones. To celebrate the countdown to the end of the season and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

It wasn't long ago the Boston Bruins had slipped out of the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference and their run at an eighth straight postseason berth seemed in serious jeopardy.

With a regulation win Thursday at the Detroit Red Wings, the Bruins (39-25-13) would tie the Red Wings (40-23-13) with 93 points. Detroit would still hold down third place in the Atlantic Division by virtue of having played one fewer game, but it would continue a late-season trend that has seen the Bruins come on strong and the Red Wings start to fade.

Playoff clinching scenarios for Thursday, April 2

Thursday, 04.02.2015 / 11:08 AM / Expert Picks

NHL Public Relations

With 10 days remaining in the regular season, there are 11 berths up for grabs in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The clinching scenarios for games Thursday:

* The St. Louis Blues would clinch a playoff berth if they get at least one point against the Calgary Flames OR if the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Edmonton Oilers in regulation.

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Quote of the Day

I think when you build a team, you look at pairs, and I think the pair of [Voracek and Giroux] is very good, certainly one of the top pairs in the League.

— Flyers GM Ron Hextall on Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek after giving Voracek a multiyear extension Thursday