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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
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Features

Canadiens look for answers to power-play problems

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 8:07 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec – The Montreal Canadiens would appear to have all the tools necessary to have one of the most potent power plays in the NHL.

They have an excellent quarterback in defenseman Andrei Markov, a world-class trigger man in defenseman P.K. Subban, a disruptive net-front presence in Brendan Gallagher and one of the best shooting forwards in the NHL in Max Pacioretty.

But with this collection of talent at their disposal, the Canadiens have one of the worst power plays in the NHL. They enter their game Saturday against the Minnesota Wild (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, TVA, CITY, FS-N+) with a 7.9 percent success rate with the man-advantage.

"The power play needs to be a lot better," coach Michel Therrien said after practice Friday, during which the Canadiens spent a significant amount of time working on the power play. "We need to move the puck a lot quicker, we need to take better decisions. The power play needs to be a threat, and right now I'm not satisfied with the power play.

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Stars should shine when Capitals visit Blackhawks

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It's a matchup that won't lack for big names when the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals meet outside on New Year's Day at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa top the list of Chicago's elite players. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green will headline the roster for the Capitals.

The Capitals and Blackhawks will give fans a preview of that New Year's Day game Friday at United Center (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). It's the only other time the teams will play this season, so it should be a good primer for the Winter Classic.

"They've obviously got some dangerous players that can hurt you pretty quick," Kane said of the Capitals. "As far as the Winter Classic goes it could be a great matchup with a lot of talent and a lot of players that can do some special things to maybe help get the fans out of their seats."

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Tarasenko, Luongo among hot fantasy topics

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

We've just about reached the point of no return, at least in my book. As I stated a few weeks ago, I tend to give players a 12-15 game trial every season to prove themselves. If they've performed at a high level for those 12-15 games, I have reason to believe they can continue to perform at that level for at least most of the remainder of the season. If they've struggled and disappointed in those 12-15 games, I usually start to think this might not be their season.

Of course, players will prove my benchmark wrong. Claude Giroux's 2013-14 season got off to an abysmal start when he went without a goal in his first 15 games. We all know what happened after that.

There will be Girouxs this season. At some point players like Anze Kopitar, David Backes and Gabriel Landeskog should turn things around. But for lesser-known players, the 12-15 game benchmark usually has worked for me. This is your chance to start gauging what you can expect from a player this season.

St. Louis Blues sensation Vladimir Tarasenko is the perfect example. Tarasenko's been the hottest topic in fantasy hockey this week and is the No. 2 overall fantasy player in Yahoo leagues. Will he remain a top-10 player? Maybe. But he's the type of player that has proved to me he can carry this hot start throughout the season. I'm a believer.

Let's have a look at some other hot topics in fantasy hockey right now.
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Mazanec continues North American adjustment in AHL

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 11:39 AM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Though there's no definite number, Oxford Dictionaries estimates there are over 250,000 words in the English language. That's not including slang, technical or scientific terms. For those who grow up with English as their native tongue, it's often hard to fathom just how vast the language really is, and how so many of the "rules" are broken on a sentence-by-sentence basis.

Marek Mazanec, a sixth-round pick (No. 179) of the Nashville Predators in the 2012 NHL Draft, knew just a handful of those 250,000 -- if that. After three seasons backstopping HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga, the highest level of hockey in the Czech Republic, Mazanec split the 2013-14 season almost evenly between the Predators and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.

The adjustment was twofold.

"Everything was new for me last year. Different country, language, people, hockey style," Mazanec said. "The hardest part was my bad English. I got lucky [with] the people in the Predators organization. Everyone tried to help me, so they made it little easier for me."

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Quote of the Day

Obviously he's been my favorite goalie since I grew up. He's kind of close to my hometown so I've been watching him my whole life. It's a pretty special moment for me to score two goals on Lundqvist in such an important game as this.

— Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky after scoring his first two Stanley Cup Playoff goals against his childhood idol Henrik Lundqvist