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Features

Blackhawks not worried by lack of consistent scoring

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 2:08 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Brad Richards has been around the NHL long enough to recognize a hockey illusion when he sees one.

That's why he didn't flinch a couple weeks ago when asked about the Chicago Blackhawks having difficulty scoring goals. They were shutout Oct. 28 at United Center by the Anaheim Ducks, a 1-0 game highlighted by Anaheim rookie goaltender John Gibson.

It was the first time the Blackhawks were shut out this season, but not the first time they'd struggled to score despite controlling most facets of the game. Despite posting great puck-possession statistics, their 2.33 goals-per-game average was down almost a full goal per game from the previous two seasons, when Chicago ranked near the top of the League in that category.

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Five things to watch as Rangers host Red Wings

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 1:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The New York Rangers are trying to get used to life with a depleted defense corps. The Detroit Red Wings are again wondering where the goals have gone after a mini-breakout against the Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings last week.

They're each in fourth place in their respective division, meaning they're surviving now. One win this early in the season has the potential to change that to thriving.

So, yes, there's a lot to watch in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET), but determining in advance where this game will be won is impossible because both teams are trying to overcome warts that are getting in the way of the consistency they're hoping to find.

Here are five things to watch in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game, the impossible to predict edition:

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Fantasy top 60 'D': Power-play points key category

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 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.

Scoring in fantasy hockey leagues has grown to include statistics like hits, blocked shots, and time on ice, but at its root it still comes down to goals, assists, and points. As part of that base scoring, many leagues have begun to give extra credit for things such as shorthanded points and what we're going to discuss today: points on the power play.

There are plenty of players getting power-play minutes around the NHL, but when you are trying to locate steady sources of productivity you have to consider a number of different variables.

First, you want to look at the team itself.

Is the power play clicking at a high rate? Which players make up the unit? Will the players in your lineup be the ones picking up the points when that power play scores?

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Blue Jackets' Johnson to have Player Safety hearing

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 10:00 AM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson faces a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday afternoon as the result of an incident with Carolina Hurricanes forward Jiri Tlusty in the third period at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.

Johnson was given a two-minute penalty at 7:31 of the third period for an illegal check to the head of Tlusty, who left the game and did not return.

Carolina won the game 4-2.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: illegal check to the head. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.

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Girardi carrying heavy load for depleted Rangers

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Defenseman Dan Girardi believes it's time for the New York Rangers to do a little soul searching.

The Rangers have lost four regulars on defense to either injury or suspension and two straight games entering their matchup against the offensively charged Detroit Red Wings in the "Wednesday Night Rivalry" game at Madison Square Garden (NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET).

Captain Ryan McDonagh (left shoulder separation) and Kevin Klein (foot contusion) were the latest to joinDan Boyle (broken hand) and John Moore (suspension) on the outside looking in.

"It's a big gut-check time for us moving forward with the guys we have out and with new guys coming in," Girardi said.

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Canadiens head to Buffalo seeking answers to slump

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 12:30 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Ten days.

That is all it has taken for the Montreal Canadiens to go from being the toast of the NHL, a team sitting pretty with a 7-1-0 record, to one getting booed in its own building.

The Canadiens have won once since defeating the New York Rangers 3-1 on Oct. 25, a five-game span that has seen Montreal get outscored 18-6, with the exclamation point being laid down by the Chicago Blackhawks in a 5-0 win at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

The Canadiens are 1-3-1 in the 10 days since that win against the Rangers, and what appeared to be a promising start to the season has gone seriously sideways in a hurry.

"Nothing's working for us," center Tomas Plekanec said Tuesday. "I mean, I thought we played hard in the first period, we put pucks to the net. We need to take a step back. We have to stay positive as much as possible and we've got to fight through it.

"We've got to help ourselves, somehow."


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Which amazing goal was better? Tarasenko or Malkin

Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 2:39 PM / You Decide: Watch and vote

NHL.com Staff

 

St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko took the hockey world by storm Monday night with his amazing goal against the New York Rangers.

After accelerating past three defenders, Tarasenko dekes to the left before coming back to the right and tucking the puck, with just one hand on his stick, past New York goalie Cam Talbot in a move that may well have found its inspiration from Peter Forsberg's famous shootout goal against Corey Hirsch to lift Sweden to the gold medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

It also brought to mind a beautiful goal from fellow Russian forward, Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, who zig-zagged past several Tampa Bay Lightning defenders before beating goaltender Dwayne Roloson with a shot to the short side of the net in a game played Feb. 12, 2012.

Which of these amazing goals is better? That's for you to decide! Vote in the poll and have your say.

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Fantasy top 100 forwards: Lightning stacked up front

Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 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.

Coming into the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning were a complete team on paper -- from their forward group to their blue line to their goaltending.

Tampa Bay has been ravaged by injuries early on, so the fact that the Lightning are still tied atop the Eastern Conference standings through 12 games speaks volumes about their depth. The injury bug started with prospect Jonathan Drouin in training camp, escalated with defenseman Victor Hedman the second week of the season, and continued with Ryan Callahan, Alex Killorn and Brett Connolly in recent weeks.

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Blues' Tarasenko combining talent with drive, humility

Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 9:40 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The day after Vladimir Tarasenko scored his first NHL hat trick, the St. Louis Blues held an optional skate. More times than not, top-end players in particular typically are inclined take advantage of an off day.

Not Tarasenko.

If it weren't for Alexander Steen stepping onto the ice at the Blues' practice facility that day, Tarasenko would have been first on the ice. Continuous improvement is what matters to the right wing most.

It wasn't just another workout for Tarasenko, who in a 4-3 win against the Dallas Stars last Tuesday became the first Blues player to score a hat trick on an overtime goal since Brett Hull did it Oct. 9, 1997. Tarasenko was spending time improving his craft by shooting pucks -- lots of them. Wrist shot after wrist shot, snapping off a plethora of pucks. It's what turns good shooters into great shooters.

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Five Questions: Hitchcock on special teams, goalies

Monday, 11.03.2014 / 11:55 PM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock:

NEW YORK -- The St. Louis Blues carry a five-game winning streak into Prudential Center on Tuesday because they're finding ways to win the hard way despite a below-par penalty kill and injuries to some key forwards.

"That's what it's about," Blues captain David Backes said. "Plugging holes and getting guys to step up with bigger responsibilities. We're gutting it out and getting back to our roots in how we play and how we have success, and that's playing in their end, mucking and grinding, and finding ways to get dirty goals."

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Quote of the Day

It's something that you don't really envision starting this way, but when you put the work in you don't feel like it's unwarranted. You definitely don't envision it unfolding this way, but you do think you can be successful at this level.

— Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who defeated the Jets on Wednesday to improve to 6-0-1 since making his first NHL start on Feb. 18