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(Page 135 of 170)
Features

Blackhawks complete first step on road to repeat

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 11:50 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Chicago Blackhawks have passed the first checkpoint on what they hope will be the road to back-to-back Stanley Cups, though the journey this season may be a bit more difficult.

The defending champs were assured of a sixth consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Phoenix Coyotes lost 3-1 to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. It came after the Blackhawks dropped back-to-back road games against the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators.

The road to a second championship won't be as smooth. Last season's team had the home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs; this one may not have it in any series. The Blackhawks are not likely to catch the St. Louis Blues for the Central Division title, and they're in a battle with the Colorado Avalanche, their all-but-certain first-round opponent, to see who finishes second and gets the home-ice edge.

Regardless of where they finish, the Blackhawks will be a serious contender to win the Cup for the third time in five seasons. Here are five reasons why:

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Union, North Dakota advance to Frozen Four

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 11:26 PM / On Campus

NHL.com

Top-ranked Union College advanced to the Frozen Four for the second time in three years by beating Providence 3-1 on Saturday in the NCAA East Regional Final at Bridgeport, Conn.

Max Novak, Mat Bodie and Matt Hatch scored for Union (30-6-4) of the ECAC, which is 14-0-1 in its past 15 games. The Dutchmen, who lost to Ferris State in the 2012 national semifinals, are ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school history.
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Avalanche ride fast start, young core back to playoffs

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 9:06 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

A season ago the Colorado Avalanche finished last in the Western Conference and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third straight season. Coach Joe Sacco was fired.

Two franchise legends were tasked with rebuilding the franchise. In May, Joe Sakic was named executive vice president of hockey operations. Two weeks later, Patrick Roy was hired as coach. Each was a cornerstone of Colorado's Stanley Cup victories in 1996 and 2001, which made for a winning pedigree in the front office and behind the bench.

The Avalanche opened the Roy Era with a 6-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks and raced out of the gate like a thoroughbred. Considering how they finished last season, many braced for the Avalanche to fall back to the pack. Instead, they're headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

It's been a long road back for the Avalanche, but the wait has been worth it. Colorado's 47 wins are the most since 2000-01 (52) and its 100 points are the most since the Avalanche hit that number in 2003-04.

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Giroux, Berube at forefront of Flyers' resurgence

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 7:30 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds was sitting on the bench during the second period of a Nov. 9 game against the Edmonton Oilers when something caught his eye.

As a frustrated Claude Giroux slammed his stick on the ice after missing another scoring chance, Simmonds noticed something he hadn't seen much during a trying start to the season for the Flyers and their on-ice leader.

The Flyers entered that day 4-10-1. Coach Peter Laviolette had been fired three games into the season. The offense was missing in action; nine times in 15 games it had been held to one goal or fewer. The power play was non-existent, and only strong play by goaltenders Steve Mason and Ray Emery kept their goal differential from being worse than the minus-20 it was.

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Bruins' Iginla proving he's still a top-flight talent

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 7:20 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Free agency, mega-contracts and wealth disparity among owners have made the one-organization superstar almost as rare as the 150-point season.

When Nicklas Lidstrom retired from the Detroit Red Wings in 2012 after 20 seasons in one uniform, the ranks of the one-team legends was diminished further. In 2013 another icon of one city, Jarome Iginla, was traded from the Calgary Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Iginla remains the Flames' all-time leader in games played, goals and points; he was in the midst of his 16th season with an organization that traded for him when he was 18 years old and anointed him captain at 26.

Some legends, like Brett Hull and Paul Coffey, get traded around the NHL their entire careers with varying levels of success at each stop. A few like Lidstrom make it all the way through to the end with one team. Others are shipped off late in their careers and the results historically have been mixed.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs clinching scenarios: March 29

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 7:01 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs or a division title on Saturday. Here are the scenarios:
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Daily Primer March 29: Coyotes can pass Wild

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Phoenix Coyotes have been trying to hold on to the second Western Conference wild-card position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They return home after a three-game road trip looking ahead, not behind.

The Coyotes went 2-0-1 on their trip, and a victory against the visiting Minnesota Wild on Saturday (9 p.m. ET) will move them into the first wild-card spot, ahead of the slumping Wild. Phoenix won games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils with backup goaltender Thomas Greiss, who's likely to get the call against Minnesota in place of starter Mike Smith, who's out with a lower-body injury.

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Tapped In: Ward on roundabout route to success

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 1:30 AM / Tapped In

Kathryn Tappen - NHL.com Contributor

Born in Canada to immigrant parents from Barbados, Joel Ward wasn't sure his dream of becoming a hockey player would ever come true. That was, until a certain someone familiar to NHL and NHL Network fans introduced Ward to the game. Ward grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, close to Kevin Weekes, a goalie in the NHL for many years and now an analyst for NHL Network. Through that relationship, Ward learned quickly that indeed a hockey career could be possible. The Washington Capitals forward talks about his mentor, as well as his upbringing, charitable work, decision to attend Canadian college and other subjects in the latest installment of Tapped In.

Kathryn Tappen: I don't usually ask on-ice related questions, but you've been on fire lately! What has been working for you offensively?

Joel Ward: My linemates have been great. I've gotten a couple of good bounces and rebounds that have been lying around. I happen to just put them in. We've had a handful of good games, have played pretty solid getting the pucks out of our own zone, and getting up the ice. I've been an opportunist, at the right place at the right time.

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Healthy Crosby, capable call-ups propelled Penguins

Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 12:58 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

It didn't seem to matter who was in the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins, or how many key players were on the injured list -- and on most nights there were a lot.

Through all the issues the Penguins continued to win, and Friday they became the second team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That spot in the postseason is just the first step for a team with aspirations of winning the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2009.

That can't happen until June. For now, here are five reasons the Penguins were able to punch their ticket to the postseason for the eighth consecutive season.

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Stars forward Peverley wants to return to play

Friday, 03.28.2014 / 9:31 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley said Friday he would like to return to the NHL if the time is right, but he'll need time to decide on his future as he recovers from a successful heart procedure.

"I feel great. I've gone back into my sinus rhythm (normal heartbeat) and I think under instructions of the doctors, I've been able to start working out and monitoring my heart rate," Peverley said in his first press conference since having the procedure last week at the Cleveland Clinic. "Going on the ice leisurely I think is something that shouldn't be a problem."

Peverley was able to take the ice Thursday for the first time since his procedure, which was to correct atrial fibrillation, the technical name for an irregular heartbeat.

"I went on the ice yesterday, and ultimately my goal would be to come back if it's the right time," he said.

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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery