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Features

Sharks, Kings conquer slumps in EPIX episode 3

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

If the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the events of the past week may be remembered as critical for each team.

The third episode of "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Stadium Series" chronicles the Sharks' search for answers while they slumped and the Kings' rise after struggles of their own. Along the way, there is lots of storytelling away from the ice.

It begins with an inside look at a San Jose power-play meeting, a scene that is one of the most revealing of this genre for the NHL. Sharks coach Todd McLellan has video and facts prepared as he implores them to place more value on their extra-man opportunities.

McLellan asks defenseman Brent Burns if there are any teams in the NHL that can place five better players on the ice than San Jose's top power-play unit. Burns' response, "No," and McLellan's retort, "No, not even [expletive] close," illuminates the frustrations for everyone involved as they watch video and the coach meticulously points out mistakes.

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Preparations for Stadium Series game are on schedule

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Don Renzulli, the NHL's executive vice president of events, got a pleasant surprise when he headed to work at Levi's Stadium on Tuesday.

The skies were overcast and the temperature was cool enough to need a jacket during the day for the first time since preparations began in earnest eight days ago for the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.

"This is perfect weather for a hockey game; overcast," Renzulli said.

And not bad weather for making ice at the home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

Workmen continued walking up and down the rink, spraying water from an eight-foot wide wand and thickening the sheet of ice for Saturday night's game.

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NHL Network, NHL.com, NHL Social unveil programming plans for 2015 NHL Stadium Series

Countdown to game day includes exclusive live coverage of the rink build via NHL.com's Stadium Series web cam

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League's takeover of Levi's® Stadium for the much-anticipated 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ outdoor game between the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, Feb. 21, will continue with on-the-ground, live coverage from NHL.com, NHL Network and NHL Social.

NHL.com

The NHL.com/StadiumSeries site is the official online destination for the event. Fans can watch the Levi's® Stadium rink take shape through the lens of the exclusive 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ webcam, view time-lapse footage of the rink build presented by Levi's®, read features about participating players and teams, watch live coverage of team practices and pregame shows, get weather updates and much more. Postgame, NHL.com will feature highlights, analysis, blogs and feature stories. In addition, NHL.com/StadiumSeries also features a comprehensive list of reminders about stadium policies, traffic, parking, security and other helpful information for fans attending the game.

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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Don't sleep on Panthers

Tuesday, 02.17.2015 / 12:03 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.

You can't always judge a book by its cover in fantasy hockey.

No one is mistaking the 2014-15 Florida Panthers for an offensive juggernaut. Their 2.36 goals-per-game average ranks 25th out of 30 teams and they haven't had much of a presence in these top 100 fantasy forward rankings.

But that's not to say their forward group won't be fantasy relevant down the stretch. The Panthers happen to have two under-the-radar forwards who can aid your fantasy squad in the goal-scoring department.

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Five Questions: McLellan on Stadium Series hype

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Todd McLellan was hoping the schedule would be kinder to the San Jose Sharks, that it would allow them to be home this week to enjoy the buildup and be a part of the hype leading into their 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Los Angeles Kings at Levi's Field on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA2).

McLellan didn't get what he wanted. He's on the road with his team for a game against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday and the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

By the time the Sharks return home, the rink at Levi's Field will be finished and ready for them to skate on Friday. The media will already be in town. The hype machine will already be blasting, even without the home team in the same time zone.

So instead of having the benefit of being at home to promote arguably the biggest hockey event to ever come to Northern California, McLellan is finding the positives in being on the road this week.

"I think it would be to our benefit to be at home as far as promoting it and getting our players out and taking in the whole week of excitement, but we don't have that luxury so maybe we have to look at it from another perspective," McLellan told NHL.com. "That's being on the road, you won't have the distraction. You're just on the road playing hockey. That can be the positive."

The question for McLellan now is, in what shape will the Sharks return for the big game?

The Sharks are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday when they were plagued by many of the same warts and inconsistencies that have been plaguing them all season. They flew to Nashville on Monday in second place in the Pacific Division; they woke up Tuesday in fourth place.

"We're all over the map too much," McLellan said.

McLellan spoke to NHL.com about how the Sharks are preparing for the Stadium Series game and what some of his concerns are in the following Q&A.

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Devils' Jagr remains valuable commodity at age 43

Tuesday, 02.17.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr continues to be defiant against Father Time, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the now 43-year-old could be one of the most influential players to change teams prior to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline on March 2 at 3 p.m. ET.

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello hasn't said he is going to trade Jagr, nor has Jagr made public any request to be traded, but New Jersey's position in the standings (seventh in the Metropolitan Division) and Jagr's position as a player on a one-year contract who can still score makes him a valuable commodity as the deadline nears.

"He's got it, he's still got it," Devils forward Dainius Zubrus said. "He's still doing it."

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Senators could stand pat after Methot extension

Monday, 02.16.2015 / 4:21 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators didn't look like they would be in a position to be active when it came to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2.

A long shot to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Senators could have been a seller at the deadline, but now another of their few potential chips has been taken off the table.

The Senators signed defenseman Marc Methot to a four-year contract extension Monday which will pay the 29-year-old $4.9 million a season.

Senators general manager Bryan Murray had said if Methot, potentially an unrestricted free July 1, had not been signed by March 2 he would be traded.

Murray didn't want to run the risk of losing him for nothing.

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Trade signals Stanley Cup intentions for Predators

Monday, 02.16.2015 / 3:08 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Robby Stanley - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE – The Nashville Predators sent a message Sunday to the rest of the NHL when they acquired defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maples Leafs. They are all-in to make a push for the Stanley Cup this season.

Nashville general manager David Poile said if things go according to plan, he doesn’t anticipate making any more moves before the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2 at 3 p.m. ET. He seems confident that Nashville’s roster has enough to do some damage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"That seems to be the trend around the League with teams that feel that they are going for it, which we certainly feel like we have a good chance to try to bolster our lineup and add depth," Predators forward Eric Nystrom said. "I definitely think we did that with this trade, so that was good. We’re a confident team regardless but any time you can improve your team, that’s the idea."

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Jokinen trade could be just the start for Maple Leafs

Monday, 02.16.2015 / 2:18 PM / 2015 NHL Trade Deadline

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Olli Jokinen made his way through the crowd of waiting reporters outside the dressing room of the Toronto Maple Leafs practice facility and shook his head in bewilderment.

"Wow, Toronto," he said.

The 15-year veteran had been traded Sunday to the Maple Leafs from the Nashville Predators, who do not quite attract such massive media coverage. How long will his stay in Toronto be? That is not certain.

Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis said the goal is to get Jokinen in peak playing form in hopes that a contender for the Stanley Cup Playoffs may wish to acquire him to add depth to its organization.

Jokinen was asked how long he expects to be with the Maple Leafs.

"I don't know," Jokinen said. "Right now I am a Maple Leaf and I'll probably take it day by day."

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Kulikov suspended four games for clipping

Monday, 02.16.2015 / 1:30 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORK Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov has been suspended for four games, without pay, for clipping Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin during NHL Game No. 820 in Dallas on Friday, Feb. 13, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 13:05 of the third period. Kulikov was assessed a major penalty for clipping and a game misconduct.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Kulikov will forfeit $93,189.96. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Quote of the Day

Obviously there's a lot of expectations around me but it's something I try not to focus on. I'm just trying to go out there, be myself on the ice every day, try to get better, be myself around the guys in the locker room. I think that's what's made me successful and the person that I am.

— Sabres forward Jack Eichel on transitioning from college hockey to the NHL