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(Page 131 of 167)
Features

Crosby confident in Penguins' chances vs. Rangers

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 2:21 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH – Sidney Crosby is aware of what happened a year ago. He doesn't think it matters.

The New York Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs after trailing the series, 3-1. The series loss led to sweeping change throughout the Penguins organization, from a new general manager and coach to a retooled roster.

Crosby has gone back and watched tape from that series. Other Penguins, such as defenseman Ben Lovejoy, have said it hasn't been mentioned in the locker room. Either way, the Penguins hope the outcome can be different when they play the Rangers in the Eastern Conference First Round, starting with Game 1 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, ROOT, MSG).

Whether the series last year has been widely discussed amongst the Penguins or not, Crosby thinks they can learn a few lessons to avoid an early exit this time.

Canadiens' Pacioretty practices, status uncertain

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 2:13 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec – Max Pacioretty might be ready for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Montreal Canadiens left wing and leading scorer took another step towards a return to the lineup Monday when he practiced with his teammates for the first time since he sustained an upper-body injury April 5.

It was Pacioretty’s third straight day on the ice and he said he was able to skate at 100 percent exertion for the second straight day, though he has not yet been cleared to take contact.

Senators' Karlsson deserves second Norris Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

It has been an unpredictable season for the top defensemen in the NHL.

Injuries have derailed the chase for the Norris Trophy for Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames, Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kevin Shattenkirk of the St. Louis Blues and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins finished second in the voting last season and while he too was injured, was probably not going to be part of the discussion anyway.

Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber was considered a favorite for the award shortly after Giordano was injured, but his team faded at the end of the season and several advanced statistics don't agree with that sentiment.

Before the season, Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings was pegged as the favorite by NHL.com. Doughty has never won the trophy, but the argument that he was the best defenseman in the sport became a popular one while the Kings marched to their second Stanley Cup title in three years last spring.

Doughty has had a phenomenal year, especially considering the amount of ice time he had to shoulder while the Kings dealt with injuries to Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez, and Slava Voynov being suspended for 76 games. He would be a fine choice for the 2015 Norris Trophy, but he is not the pick for NHL.com.

That would be Ottawa Senators talisman Erik Karlsson. Though Karlsson led all defensemen in points with 66 that is not the primary reason he deserves to win the Norris Trophy for the second time in his career.

Flames resurgence has Hartley leader for Jack Adams

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

Few if anyone outside of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, believed in the 2014-15 Calgary Flames.

The Flames were in their second full season without longtime franchise face Jarome Iginla, traded prior to the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline, and finished 27th in the League last season. A rebuilding project was in its infancy stage with a ways to go before they were to even sniff a chance at the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Or so it seemed.

Calgary responded to the skeptics by going 32-24-4 by Feb. 25, one point out of the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. But they were declared finished after captain and Norris Trophy contender Mark Giordano sustained a torn biceps muscle in the final minute of a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils.

Bruins' Bergeron remains favorite for Selke Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

The phrase "hard to play against" takes on many different meanings in hockey, depending on who is defining it.

Some think it means playing a physical, bruising style of hockey. Others think it means playing at a higher tempo, one that is difficult to keep up with.

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron is hard to play against because he executes every phase of the game so well. He is the best defensive forward in the NHL, makes life difficult for the top offensive forwards in the League on a nightly basis and is the favorite for the Selke Trophy.

Price's value to Canadiens makes him choice for Hart

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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

There isn't a team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that relied on its goaltending more than the Montreal Canadiens did in the regular season. There wasn't a goalie better in the regular season than Montreal's Carey Price.

Do the math and it should be easy to determine who the Hart Trophy winner will be for the 2014-15 season. Price should be the first goaltender to be named the League's most valuable player since Jose Theodore did it in 2001-02 with the Canadiens.

"When he came back from the Olympics, winning that gold medal gave him the confidence to be a winner," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said last week. "Certainly he's a true leader for us, and as far as we're concerned he's the best player in the world. He's got an impact on every game with his leadership and he's calm. Our team plays with a lot of confidence when he's out there."

Canadiens goalie Price top choice for Vezina Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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

The Montreal Canadiens won their final three games of the regular season and finished in first place in the Atlantic Division. Without the play of their goaltender over the past six months, there's little chance they would have finished anywhere near the top.

Carey Price completed an outstanding season with a 4-3 shootout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. After allowing four goals in back-to-back losses on March 30 and April 2, Price responded by winning his last three starts of the season.

Price finished with the most wins (44), the best goals-against average (1.96) and best save percentage (.933). He finished tied for second in the League with nine shutouts. 

That is why Price is NHL.com's pick to win the Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender. If selected, it would be the first time Price has won the award.

Panthers rookie Ekblad deserving of Calder Trophy

Monday, 04.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

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

What appeared to be a one-horse race early in the season turned into anything but down the stretch in the battle for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

In the end, it was hard to ignore the accomplishments of Aaron Ekblad, the youngest defenseman in the League. The native of Windsor, Ontario, had a one of the best rookie season by an 18-year-old defenseman in NHL history, beginning his career four months after being chosen No. 1 in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers.

Nashville Predators center Filip Forsberg was the early favorite. The 20-year-old looked to be the perfect fit for new coach Peter Laviolette, who stressed offense and puck possession. He was ultimately overtaken in the rookie scoring race by Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau, 21, who defied the odds at 5-foot-9, 150 pounds.

Draft Lottery to be conducted Saturday, April 18

Winning Team to be Revealed in Televised Announcement on CBC, TVA Sports and NBC

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 12:00 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

NHL.com

TORONTO -- The 2015 NHL Draft Lottery, a weighted system implemented and utilized to determine the order of selection in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft for the 14 Clubs not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs (or the Clubs that have acquired the first-round drafting positions of those non-playoff teams), will take place on Saturday, April 18 at 8 p.m., ET.

The results of the Draft Lottery will be revealed live on CBC and TVA Sports in Canada and NBC in the U.S. immediately preceding the start of Game 2 of the Penguins-Rangers First Round series.

In August 2014, the NHL announced changes to the Draft Lottery format. The changes included adjusting the odds of winning the first overall selection. The 10 highest-finishing non-Playoff qualifying teams will receive higher (better) Draft Lottery odds than they received previously with the four lowest-finishing teams receiving lower (worse) odds.

Vrbata providing balance, punch to Canucks offense

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 11:30 AM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER – Vancouver Canucks forward Chris Higgins called linemate Radim Vrbata an assassin after a two-goal game late in the regular season, but he is no longer a silent assassin.

With Vrbata's 31 goals leading the Canucks, it's hard to ignore the significance of his role in their return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing the postseason last year. Forget unsung hero, Vrbata is the Canucks MVP in many eyes, and Higgins has noticed other teams are paying special attention to the soft-spoken sniper too.

"You look at the stat sheet and see Vrbata has 31 goals and you are going to put some good players out against him," Higgins said. "You get a little more attention playing with him for sure."

That could a good thing for the Canucks now that Vrbata is no longer playing on their top line with Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin. After a strong start to his first season in Vancouver playing to the right of Sedin twins, Vrbata is having late-season success with Higgins and Nick Bonino on the Canucks' second line.

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Quote of the Day

I first met him when I was 19 years old and he coached me for 13 consecutive years. I don't know how many athletes who have had that pleasure. Al Arbour was a man that left us not only feeling like champions, but left us with a lot of great memories that we can carry on through life.

— Islanders Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin on former coach Al Arbour, who passed away Friday at the age of 82