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Features

Panthers' Luongo back in Vancouver to face Canucks

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 9:20 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Florida Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo isn't sure what to expect from Vancouver Canucks fans when he returns for the first time to play his old team on Thursday.

With Luongo, it's often hard to tell the cheers from jeers anyway.

"Loos and boos all sound the same, so I won't be able to tell the difference," Luongo said. "Hopefully it's good, but that's not up to me."

Neither was his departure from Vancouver, at least not entirely.

Despite requesting a trade after losing the No. 1 job to Cory Schneider late in the 2011-12 season and enduring a two-year soap opera that followed, Luongo had come around on staying in Vancouver, maybe even finishing his career with the Canucks after Schneider was traded to the New Jersey Devils at the 2013 NHL Draft. He was the No. 1 again, but after returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics he watched Eddie Lack play three straight games, including the Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic at BC Place.

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Five things to watch in Rivalry Night doubleheader

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Boston Bruins are still trying to find their way this season. The Pittsburgh Penguins added another big piece to a puzzle general manager Jim Rutherford is trying to put together with hopes of delivering their first Stanley Cup since 2009.

Boston (19-15-6) has earned at least one point in four straight games, but it has lost three in a row (1-0-3). Pittsburgh (24-10-5), which acquired left wing David Perron from the Edmonton Oilers last Friday, is tied with the New York Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Bruins will try to get back on track when they face the Penguins in the first game of a Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader at Consol Energy Center (NBCSN, TVA Sports, 8 p.m. ET).

On the West Coast, the sizzling New York Rangers will face the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center (NBCSN, 10:30 p.m. ET). Behind the play of goalie Henrik Lundqvist and a rejuvenated power play, the Rangers (21-11-4) have won nine of their past 10 games. Anaheim (26-9-6) has won 20 games by one goal this season.

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Ducks' Getzlaf making another case for Hart Trophy

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM – Corey Perry received a renewed appreciation for longtime Anaheim Ducks linemate Ryan Getzlaf when he was anchored to his couch during his bout with the mumps in November, and again in recovery from a sprained knee last month.

Perry specifically remembers the detailed, two-goal game that Getzlaf had against the Ottawa Senators on Dec.19.

"Even though we lost, individually, he was still producing," Perry said. "Those individual-type plays, sacrificing for your teammates, those are big things that stick out in my mind."

It was during Perry's 14-game absence that Getzlaf, the Ducks captain, re-asserted another case for the Hart Trophy. Getzlaf had six goals and 13 assists without Perry on his wing, and he entered Wednesday against the New York Rangers (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN) third in the NHL with 44 points.

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Penguins' Crosby producing, but it hasn't been easy

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby is in a slump and entered the week tied for fourth in the NHL scoring race.

Crosby didn't earn his position among the League's point leaders through a blistering start to the season before eventually tailing off over the past few weeks. He has had what for him has been a down season since late October.

Entering the Pittsburgh Penguins' Wednesday Night Rivalry game against the Boston Bruins (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA SPORTS), Crosby has 43 points but has gone through lengthy goal droughts. He has been visibly frustrated on the ice several times throughout the past month while scoring two goals in 16 games.

That stretch began Nov. 26 against the Toronto Maple Leafs after scoring a goal against the Bruins two days earlier, and coincided with the beginning of Pittsburgh's recent injury troubles. At the time, Crosby's goal against Boston was his second in 12 games.

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EPIX captures memorable day at NHL Winter Classic

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Oftentimes, the personalities and experiences around the game that fans and media don't get to see are the most interesting of all.

Watch "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic" to get an inside look at the personalities of the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks on their way to the NHL's signature regular-season event. REGISTER FOR YOUR EPIX FREE TRIAL ›

That's where EPIX has come in these past four weeks, serving as the window to what is usually an unseen world inside a dressing room before a game, on the ice during a game, at home with the players on off days, in the hotel, on the plane, and everywhere else they go where we don't.

The final episode of "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Winter Classic" doesn't disappoint in bringing the viewer all of that and more. The questions you might have had once the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was over are answered in the episode.

If you were curious about how the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks got to Nationals Park, what they saw upon arrival on the practice day and New Year's Day, and what they thought of the entire spectacle, the answers are inside the 56-minute, 34-second episode.

Hint: Capitals forward Joel Ward was blown away by the size of the Washington Nationals' clubhouse; Washington captain Alex Ovechkin couldn't stop looking around as he talked to Capitals owner Ted Leonsis about the game being a sellout; Joel Quenneville loves the fresh air, the fans, enthusiasm, hype and the fact that the game is for keeps, for two points.

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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