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2015 NHL Draft
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Features

Rangers playing faster, better with Vigneault as coach

Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- When Alain Vigneault was hired to coach the New York Rangers before the 2013-14 season, he wasn't taking over a rebuilding project. The Rangers had reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs the three seasons prior, and seven out of the past eight.

Still, there were areas in need of fixing and a coach was needed that preached a philosophy that addressed the Rangers' weaknesses. When the Rangers host the Boston Bruins in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET), it will be Vigneault's 131st regular-season game with the Rangers, and the difference since he took over has been night and day.

Under Vigneault the Rangers have blossomed into one of the better offensive teams in the League. New York is averaging its most goals per game (2.98) since it scored 3.05 per game in the 2005-06 season. And while it's team speed that paces the Rangers, it's their coach's system that, more than a season and a half into his tenure, has them running at top speed.

"It's no secret, and you see all the teams in the League that are capable of playing a high-pace game," Vigneault said recently. "They're all teams that have a five-man unit. When they don't have the puck, to get it back, whether it's in their zone, the neutral zone or on the forecheck, but when their transition game is there it's from a breakout, to the transition to the neutral zone to the offensive zone."

Penguins' Perron raising his game alongside Crosby

Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Once David Perron got over his mixed emotions about being traded again, the Pittsburgh Penguins right wing started to feel something quite different on Jan. 2, something he hadn't felt in a long time.

"I was probably the happiest guy in hockey that day," Perron told NHL.com last week before Pittsburgh's game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Nobody can blame him if he was. He went from last place to the Stanley Cup chase. He was moved out of a difficult situation with the Edmonton Oilers so he could become the right wing on a line with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

No offense to Leon Draisaitl and Matt Fraser, who were Perron's linemates for his last game with the Oilers, but playing with them is not like playing with Crosby and Chris Kunitz in Pittsburgh.

"Stepping into the room the first day, the way the room is shaped in Pittsburgh it's kind of rounded a little bit, and you could feel the confidence from the guys," Perron said. "I was sitting there going, 'This is awesome. This is going to be a lot of fun.' It just made me feel comfortable right away."

Sharks, Kings display rivalry in episode one on EPIX

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With an opening montage showing sandy beaches, palm trees, surfers and skateboarders, the first episode of "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Stadium Series" instantly takes the viewer to California to set the scene for an introduction to a rivalry that is as hot now as it ever has been.

Away from the sand and surf are two teams, the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, which will be featured in the four-part series prior to taking their rivalry outside, to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 21 for the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game.

The first episode of the four-part series opens with behind-the-scenes, on-the-ice, and on-the-bench footage of the last game the two rivals will play before they take it outdoors under the Northern California sky.

The Sharks defeated the Kings 4-2 at SAP Center on Jan. 21 in what was fittingly part of NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry series. EPIX had cameras all over SAP Center to prove how deep-rooted the rivalry between the teams is.

EPIX debuts four-part Stadium Series show Tuesday

NHL.com

The first episode of the four-part "EPIX Presents Road to the NHL Stadium Series" serves as an introduction to a California rivalry that is as hot now as it ever has been.

The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings will meet at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 21 for the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game this season. The first episode of the series opens with behind-the-scenes, on-the-ice, and on-the-bench footage of the last game the two rivals played before they take it outdoors under the Northern California sky.

The Sharks beat the Kings 4-2 at SAP Center on Jan. 21 in what was fittingly part of NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry series. EPIX had cameras all over SAP Center to prove how deep-rooted the rivalry between the teams is.

"When it comes to hockey we don't like each other," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty says. "We want bragging rights."

Fantasy top 100 forwards: Pavelski, Steen avoid dip

Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 12:00 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.

Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Alexander Steen of the St. Louis Blues were two of the fantasy crown jewels of the 2013-14 NHL season. Each posted career-best shooting percentages of 18.2 and 15.6, respectively.

Entering 2014-15, the law of averages indicated each would come back to Earth. But while their high shooting rates have regressed (Pavelski: 16.1; Steen: 10.9), their fantasy value has hardly dipped.

The common denominator is quantity of shifts and first-rate scoring chances each generates (and converts on) for his respective team.

Wild goalie Dubnyk feeling comfortable, confident

Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- The designs on the front of Devan Dubnyk's mask have changed a lot over the past two seasons, but as he remodeled his look again after a trade to the Minnesota Wild last month, the portrait of his 17-month-old son on the back remained a constant.

Whether Dubnyk needed perspective amid a nightmare season in 2013-14 that included time in the American Hockey League, inspiration to get back to the NHL, or a break from the mental grind of goaltending now that he is back, he could find it in his son, Nathaniel.

"To see him is the best part of your day so it doesn't matter what else is going on, you can forget about it," Dubnyk said. "In order to come to the rink focused every game you have to be able to let it go on the days between, otherwise you tire out mentally. So to have him there and see him helps, no matter how much other stuff is going on."

Busy month could precede NHL Trade Deadline

Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Every Stanley Cup contender in every season is interested in filling a need for top-end talent or depth to solidify its position before the trade deadline passes, but the run-up to 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, which is 3 p.m. ET on March 2, likely will put the focus on the sellers for two reasons:

1. Connor McDavid

2. Jack Eichel

"We're having a poor year and there are certain rewards for being real bad this year. I think we're all aware of that," Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said last week on TSN 1200 Radio in Ottawa. "If we ever had to have a down year this is probably as good as any of them."

Five Questions: Flames' Giordano on road to the top

Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Mark Giordano's path to NHL stardom can be seen as either the blueprint for all fledgling professional defensemen or the envy of everyone who is or once was in his shoes.

Giordano, now a Norris Trophy candidate and an all-star, started as an undrafted defenseman out of the Ontario Hockey League and spent a year playing professionally in Russia. He has been a full-time NHL player since the 2008-09 season. He was a first-time all-star this season.

Along the way Giordano has figured things out about himself, his game, and about what makes the great ones in the NHL great. He has learned to play a two-way game without sacrificing what he does best, which is join the rush and provide offense. He has become a leader.

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Quote of the Day

There's standards that this team is going to play to and there are expectations. We're going to hold these guys accountable to high standards.

— Coach Dave Lowry on Canada's junior team, the defending IIHF World Junior champions