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Five reasons the Kings didn't make the playoffs

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 7:51 PM / Expert Picks

NHL.com

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The water bottles were lined up on the bench and the ice was fresh at the Los Angeles Kings practice facility, but the players never put on their skates Friday. Later, a manager came out to pack up the bottles, and the lights were turned off.

The scene summed up the past three days for the Kings: a flicker of light for the Stanley Cup Playoffs that was extinguished Thursday when a 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames made Los Angeles the first defending Cup champion to miss the postseason since the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006-07.

“Obviously it’s disappointing,” Kings center Jarret Stoll said. “There’s a lot of words to describe this season but, yeah, I think it’s maybe too fresh right now. It’s a weird, weird feeling. It’s a feeling we don’t like. We don’t want to relive this. You have a feeling of winning, and then you have a feeling of this. It’s pretty disappointing.”

Here are five reasons the Kings missed the playoffs:

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Bruins struggles a group failure, GM says

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 7:06 PM / Expert Picks

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is more than a little bit disappointed with their performance this season.

“I consider it a failure and it’s a failure on everybody’s part,” Chiarelli said Friday in Tampa on an off day for players and coaches. “But being a failure doesn’t mean there has to be a complete overhaul of everything. Guys fail, teams fail, and they get back on their horse. And so again, I consider it a failure, but you don't always succeed in this business. You don’t always hit the ball out of the park all the time, and you’ve got to get back and do your job, and we’ve shown we can do that. But right now it’s very disappointing.”

Chiarelli’s comments were surprising considering the Bruins have a chance to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the eighth straight season. Boston will play its regular-season finale against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NESN, SN1), and there’s a chance it won’t be the Bruins' last game of the season.

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Avalanche's Pickard thriving with AHL workload

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:25 PM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Goaltender Calvin Pickard's ability to handle a heavy workload is starting to pay off.

Making his NHL debut, doing so under the watchful eye of one of his childhood idols and earning the top spot in ESPN "SportsCenter’s" Top 10 Plays are all things the 22-year-old can check off his to-do list. Between the Colorado Avalanche and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters, Pickard has appeared in 61 games this season. That includes his first appearance and victory in the NHL.

“It seems like both places I've been in, I've been able to play a lot of games,” said Pickard, Colorado's third-round pick (No. 49) in the 2010 NHL Draft. “That’s how you develop, and I've been earning a lot of experience this year, playing at both levels and in different situations. It’s been a big year for me, for sure.”

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Sakic says Avalanche better than this season's record

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 2:53 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche executive vice president and general manager Joe Sakic had an inkling that this could be a difficult season as early as training camp.

Yet he didn't anticipate the Avalanche missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs one season after they won the Central Division with 112 points under first-year coach and former teammate Patrick Roy.

The Avalanche are in last place in the division with a 38-31-12 record and 88 points with one game remaining, Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center.

"We expect to win," Sakic said. "We didn't come here to be hovering and missing the playoffs. Last year, for sure, 112 points ... we know we weren't as good as 112 points. This year, I think we're better than what we've performed. This year, the big thing is what happened the first half of the year. We weren't ready for (it)."

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Perseverance propels Senators to playoff brink

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 2:08 PM / Expert Picks

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Sometimes it really is about the process and sticking with routines. The Ottawa Senators have proved in the past two months that believing in both eventually can yield positive results.

Ottawa will clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs by gaining one point Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Senators were 14 points out of a playoff spot Feb. 10 before they faced the Buffalo Sabres.

The Senators have gone 22-4-4 since, and the key is they haven't done much differently in the past 30 games than they did in their first 24 under coach Dave Cameron, who coached his first game Dec. 11 after taking over for Paul MacLean.

"We went through a stretch where we thought we were playing reasonably well but we weren't able to get on that roll," Cameron said following Ottawa's 3-0 win against the New York Rangers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. "We'd win one and we'd lose one and we'd sit down and analyze the game, look around at other teams in the League that were getting on rolls, and we'd say, 'Why isn't that happening to us?' We didn't have the answer for it other than the fact that we just have to trust that if you put in the work and you do it everyday eventually good things will happen. I don't care how good your team is you never sit back and say you know you're going on a roll like this, but we knew we put in the work and right now things are going good for us."

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Playoff clinching scenarios for Friday, April 10

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 12:28 PM / Expert Picks

NHL Public Relations

With two days remaining in the regular season, two berths in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs remain up for grabs (both in the Eastern Conference).

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Playoff Countdown: Berth on the line for Penguins

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 12:20 PM / Expert Picks

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Saturday, April 11, marks the conclusion to the 2014-15 regular season. Yet, much remains to be decided in the frantic run to the finish line, including playoff positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones. To celebrate the countdown to the end of the season and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, NHL.com will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

There are only two games on the NHL schedule Friday night, but one will have a big impact on potential matchups for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

The Pittsburgh Penguins welcome the New York Islanders to Consol Energy Center, and awin would secure a playoff berth for the Penguins. Pittsburgh has made the postseason every year since 2006-07, which is the second-longest streak in the NHL behind the Detroit Red Wings (24 years).

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Super 16: Growth of analytics a boon for hockey fans

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 11:59 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The months following the 2013-14 NHL season were dubbed "The Summer of Analytics" as teams scrambled to add experts in the field to bolster hockey operations departments with new ideas in an attempt to close the gap on competitors which had already embraced the movement.

The 2014-15 season has been a fascinating one on multiple fronts as NHL teams attempted to weave new concepts and new thinkers together with more traditional ideas and "old school" employees. 

That same process is happening for many fans of the sport. Access to advanced statistics is expanding exponentially, and interest, whether it is a passing fancy or a desire for deeper understanding, is driving forward analytics in the public sector.

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Five reasons Flames clinched playoff berth

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

After a lengthy absence from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Calgary Flames kick-started what was expected to be a long and painful rebuild by shipping out longtime franchise face Jarome Iginla and top defenseman Jay Bouwmeester prior to the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline.

The first full season moving in a new direction saw the Flames, not surprisingly, finish 27th overall.

But the second year saw the Flames' prospects blossom into solid NHL players and blend with the remaining veterans into one of the League's surprise teams.

The Flames assured themselves of their first postseason berth in six years Thursday with a 3-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings, a victory that also knocked the defending Stanley Cup champs out of the postseason.

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Five reasons Jets clinched playoff berth

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff preached that patience and prospect development would anchor his management philosophy from his first day on the job in June 2011.

Nearly four years later, Cheveldayoff's patience combined with strong work at this season's NHL Trade Deadline to send the Jets to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The franchise will make its first playoff appearance since 2007, when it played as the Atlanta Thrashers, and Winnipeg fans will see playoff hockey live in their city for the first time since 1996, when the original Jets left the city for Arizona.

Here are five reasons the Jets clinched a playoff berth:


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Quote of the Day

For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday