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(Page 156 of 167)
Features

Bruins' Eriksson hears criticism, sticks to his game

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Out of his Boston Bruins uniform and equipment, forward Loui Eriksson walks through the dressing room and strikes a figure more reminiscent of Stefan Edberg than Terry O'Reilly.

At 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, Eriksson might be a few pounds shy of qualifying as a "big, bad Bruin." But one look at his coat-hanger shoulders and lanky legs completely rules out any chance that Eriksson can rival O'Reilly, Cam Neely or even teammate Milan Lucic in terms of punishing physicality and the stereotype that has characterized the ideal Bruins player for more than 90 years.

Eriksson is not built to punish opposing defensemen on the forecheck or staple combatants to the glass in the corners. That doesn't mean he can't use other means to be effective and make himself invaluable to the Bruins.

Obviously he has found a way during his second season to increase his importance to Boston's fortunes; after 66 games he leads all Bruins forwards in average ice time at 18:19.

Eriksson has played in all but one of the Bruins' games and he has 17 goals and 39 points, seven goals and two points more than he had in 61 games last season. His 2.7 shot attempts relative (SAT Rel) ranks fifth among Boston's forwards. Eriksson's bounce-back sophomore season continues when the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, TVA, SN360, SUN, NESN).

"That's not really been my game," the soft-spoken Eriksson said about the bruising approach many Bruins stars have taken to the sport over the years. "I've always been trying to have a good stick and try to take away pucks from other guys. That's how I've been playing ever since I came over and [began] playing in the NHL. I don't think it'll change in that way."


Unmasked: Lessons learned letting Lack succeed

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack, the mantra "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is more than a cliché or the lyrics of a pop song by Kelly Clarkson.

Lack has lived the lesson behind those words. Last season, he survived an all-out attack on his game and faced a litany of doubters about his ability to be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL. Neither was likely the intention of coach John Tortorella, but instead the result of Lack being thrown into the fire by starting 19 consecutive games during a 41-day span after Roberto Luongo was sent to the Florida Panthers prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

The heavy workload, combined with the fact Lack was a little more than one year removed from major hip surgery, caused his body and his game to disintegrate. His save percentage, which was .925 when the streak started Feb. 26, dropped to .900. When the streak ended with a loss to the Anaheim Ducks on April 7, Lack was too tired and too sore to accept an invitation to represent Sweden at the IIHF World Championship.

Wheat Kings' Provorov proving self in North America

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Defenseman Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League has been described by teammates as a breakout machine.

The 6-foot, 191-pound native of Yaroslavl, Russia, has lived up to that billing in his first WHL season.

"He's good in all aspects of the game," defense partner Ryan Pilon said. "He can take the body and score some highlight-reel goals."

Provorov isn't your typical one-year wonder from Russia having success in North America.

Fantasy top 60 'D': Flames' Russell in high-profile role

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

The Calgary Flames are in the middle of a rebuild, but that didn't stop them from becoming one of the best stories of the season. Their situation dimmed a bit when the face of that success, Mark Giordano, was lost for the remainder of the season after surgery to have a biceps injury repaired, but they aren't done yet, managing a 3-1-1 record without their captain.

Inside the matchup: Rangers vs. Capitals

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 10:40 AM / Tale of the Tape

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

The New York Rangers can take over first place in the Metropolitan Division by defeating the Washington Capitals in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, TVA Sports).

The Rangers will be playing the second half of a back-to-back after edging the first-place New York Islanders 2-1 on Tuesday, a victory that moved them within one point of the division lead with four games in hand. The Capitals are well-rested; they've been off since defeating the Buffalo Sabres 6-1 on Saturday.

Though the season is past the three-quarters mark, this is New York's first visit to Washington and the second game between the Rangers and Capitals. They'll play at Madison Square Garden on March 29 and end the season against each other at Verizon Center on April 11.

Capitals stopping opponents by playing heavy game

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Since joining the Minnesota Wild prior to the 2012-13 season, forward Zach Parise has faced the Washington Capitals far less than he did as a member of the New Jersey Devils.

After the Wild's 2-1 victory against the Capitals on Thursday, Parise marveled at the distinct differences in Washington's style of play.

"It's not the Washington Capitals high-flying team that I was used to playing against all those years in the East," he said. "They play a really structured game, they know where to be defensively, they don't give you a lot of room in the neutral zone. They made us fight for all our chances and made us fight for zone time. They're a big team, they're physical."

Such postgame analysis from Washington's opponents has been common this season as the Capitals' transformation into a more versatile team under coach Barry Trotz has taken hold.

At an average weight of 209.9 pounds, the Capitals have the heaviest roster in the NHL, among the advantages they utilize.

Five things to watch when Rangers face Capitals

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals have played in four of the past six Stanley Cup Playoffs, with each team winning two series. Those series have gone a combined 26 of 28 possible games, with 18 of those games decided by one goal.

This week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA, SN1) will go a long way in determining if the Rangers and Capitals play again in this year's playoffs.

With the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division and the Capitals in fourth, another matchup this spring is within reach. Each made a move prior to the NHL Trade Deadline to bolster its roster down the stretch.

Washington acquired forward Curtis Glencross from the Calgary Flames, and he's made an immediate impact with two goals and four points in his three games since the trade, skating on a line with Jay Beagle and Troy Brouwer. The Capitals need an offensive threat who isn't Alex Ovechkin and as of now Glencross appears to be delivering.

Price continues to make case for Hart Trophy

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 12:28 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL – It's become difficult to find new and original ways to describe the excellence of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos chose the simple approach.

"He's arguably been the best player in the League in helping his team to where they are at this point," Stamkos said after the Lightning defeated the Canadiens 1-0 in overtime on Tuesday. "They're a solid team. They play structured. But their goalie made some big saves."

The momentum for Price to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player has been building during the past month or so, and he is doing nothing to slow it down.

Talbot carrying the load in goal for Rangers

Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 11:30 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- When the New York Rangers were hit with the news during the first week of February that No. 1 goaltender Henrik Lundqvist would miss several weeks because of a vascular injury, perhaps some thought their chances of winning the Metropolitan Division were ruined.

The Rangers were 29-15-4 at the time, three points behind the first-place New York Islanders, but eight points from being outside the Stanley Cup Playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

With Lundqvist out, the Rangers had to turn to backup Cam Talbot, who entered the season with 21 games of NHL experience. He had terrific numbers as Lundqvist's backup in 2013-14, finishing with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.

But this time, Talbot wasn't being asked to give Lundqvist a night off. He had to carry the load and perform well if the Rangers were going to remain in the race.

Things got off to somewhat of a rocky start. Talbot allowed three or more goals in four of the first five games following Lundqvist's injury, although the Rangers provided some offense and managed to win three of them.

But including the Rangers' 2-1 win against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Talbot has allowed two or fewer goals in each of his past four starts. He made 29 saves, several at key moments, to help the Rangers pull within a point of the Islanders in the Metropolitan with four games in hand.

"I felt really strong from the get-go," Talbot said after his 15th win of the season. "I've been gaining confidence game after game here, and the guys have been unbelievable in front of me, so it's been fun."

Canadiens goalie Price is Hart Trophy favorite: analyst

Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 5:31 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Comcast SportsNet NHL analyst Brian Boucher believes Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price should win the Hart Trophy as the League's most valuable player.

Boucher, a 13-year NHL veteran who began his career with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1999-2000, was in Manhattan for an appearance on NHL Live on Tuesday. He sat down with NHL.com to discuss Price, the Flyers and other hot topics around the League.

"Any time you have a goals against under two you know the team is doing their job and, second, the goaltender is doing his part," Boucher said. "It's not an easy thing to keep your goals against under two and his save percentage is through the roof. He's really matured into a top-notch goaltender and certainly has been a key for that Canadiens team. They're a serious contender because a lot of that has to do with Carey Price.

"If he's not in there, you got to ask yourself, 'Would that team still be where they are at?' I don't think so."

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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