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NHL Insider

Daily Primer March 28: Rangers head West

Friday, 03.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The New York Rangers boosted their hopes of finishing second in the Metropolitan Division earlier this week with home victories against the Phoenix Coyotes and Philadelphia Flyers. They'll get a different kind of test when they begin a four-game road trip Friday night with a game against the Calgary Flames (9 p.m. ET).

The Rangers (41-29-4) are three points in front of the Flyers as they begin their trip, which also includes games against the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche. They've actually played much better on the road (23-13-0) than at home (18-16-4), and they are 3-2-0 in their past five visits to Scotiabank Saddledome.

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Red Wings' Nyquist sees accelerated development

Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 10:16 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- The numbers are impressive when you break down the tear Gustav Nyquist is on right now.

The 24-year old Detroit Red Wings forward has 25 goals and 17 assists for 42 points in 47 games, but that's only the big picture. Narrowing the scope shows Nyquist, who was named the NHL first star this past week, has scored nine goals with one assist during a career-high six-game goal streak heading into a game against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena (7 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS, FS-D).

That's Detroit's longest of the season and it topped his own mark of four straight games during a hot spell that began Jan. 20 with a goal in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Since that point, Nyquist leads the NHL with 20 goals in 24 games, including his most recent two in a 4-2 loss Tuesday at the Columbus Blue Jackets. He's also tied during that span with Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux for most points in the League (31).

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Daily Primer March 27: Cup Final rematch in Boston

Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Boston Bruins are on the verge of securing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Chicago Blackhawks are battling just to have home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Original Six franchises will get together in a rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final as part of the NHL's 10-game schedule Thursday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). Thanks to its recent 12-game winning streak, Boston (49-17-6) has built a seven-point lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins atop the East; Chicago (42-16-15) trails the St. Louis Blues by six points in the Central Division but is three points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for second place; Colorado has a game in hand.

The Detroit Red Wings continue their pursuit of a 23rd consecutive postseason appearance Thursday when they host the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS). Detroit (33-25-14) is one of four teams in the East with 80 points; Montreal is in second place in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning host the New York Islanders on Thursday.

Later Thursday the Vancouver Canucks aim for their fourth straight win when they face the Avalanche at Pepsi Center. The surging Canucks have moved within four points of the Phoenix Coyotes for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The San Jose Sharks, who are two points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division and trail St. Louis by two for the conference lead, host the Winnipeg Jets at SAP Center. 

Here's a closer look at the action Thursday:

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Rivalry Night Faceoff: Berube vs. Vigneault

Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Alain Vigneault came to the New York Rangers last summer with ideas for how to create a culture change off the ice and a new and improved team on the ice, using the slogan "Clean Slate." He had all of training camp and nine road games in October to work on creating the team he wanted before he stepped up behind the home bench at Madison Square Garden.

Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube had to make his changes on the fly after he was named as Peter Laviolette's replacement three games into the regular season. After nine seasons as an assistant in Philadelphia, Berube had ideas too, but he knew for them to work he'd have to incorporate them slowly and carefully to try to get his struggling, fragile team back on a path to success.

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Daily Primer March 26: Rangers-Flyers showdown

Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 12:34 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

All eyes will be on the heated race for second place in the Metropolitan Division and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night.

The New York Rangers, who currently reside in second in the Metropolitan, will host the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden. New York has a one-point lead on Philadelphia, but the Flyers have two games in hand.

It's one of three games on the schedule Wednesday. The night gets underway when the Minnesota Wild host the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota is in possession of the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference, three points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes. Minnesota has won three of its past 10 games, but has earned points in seven of them (3-3-4). The Canucks are seeking their third straight win; they trail the Coyotes by six points. Each team has nine games remaining.

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Daily Primer March 25: Maple Leafs aim to end skid

Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Three games on the NHL schedule Tuesday night will have a significant impact on the Eastern Conference wild-card race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs: St. Louis Blues at Toronto Maple Leafs; Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, FS-D, TSN2); and Los Angeles Kings at Washington Capitals.

The Maple Leafs face a daunting task as they attempt to end a five-game losing streak (0-5-0) when they host the Western Conference-leading Blues (103 points). If Toronto can't snap its skid, it's in danger of falling out of an Eastern Conference wild-card position.

Toronto and Detroit each has 80 points, but the Red Wings enter Tuesday in control of the first of two East wild-card spots because they've played two fewer games than the Maple Leafs.

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Canadiens' Budaj comes up big again in Boston

Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 1:56 AM / NHL Insider

James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTONMontreal Canadiens goalie Peter Budaj did it to the Boston Bruins again on Monday night.

For whatever reason, Montreal's backup goaltender plays his best every time he gets the nod against the Bruins at TD Garden. Budaj held the fort early for the Canadiens, finished regulation and overtime with 28 saves and then stopped four shots in the shootout to help the Canadiens snap Boston's 12-game win streak with a 2-1 victory.

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Gaborik still trying to fit in with Kings

Monday, 03.24.2014 / 11:50 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Darryl Sutter shrugs his shoulders and shakes his head when he's asked about the impact Marian Gaborik could have on the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs next month and possibly beyond.

Marian Gaborik
Right Wing - LAK
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 18
SOG: 72 | +/-: -1
It's possible he's playing coy, but Sutter, the Kings coach, repeatedly said after Los Angeles' 3-2 win Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers that he really doesn't know what to expect from Gaborik because he doesn't know him well enough yet.

"We just got him, and it's not easy for a player at the deadline to come in, it's not easy to come to a good team," Sutter said. "It's got nothing to do with the player. Quite honestly, I couldn't tell you. I really don't know."

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Bruins seamlessly integrating new players on defense

Monday, 03.24.2014 / 2:14 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Teams can boast about their depth until they're blue in the face.

Under perfect circumstances that depth never will have to be tested and observers never will discover if it's capable of living up to the hype.

The Boston Bruins haven't had perfect circumstances during the 2013-14 season. But a rash of injuries to their defense corps hasn't stopped them from reeling off 12 straight wins heading into their game against the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS), or from allowing the second-fewest amount of goals per game in the NHL entering play Monday.

Obviously the goaltending of Tuukka Rask (2.07 goals-against average, .929 save percentage) and Chad Johnson (2.04, .925) deserves a lot of credit for Boston's stinginess. But even the goaltenders would admit they need help from the players in front of them.

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Kings' Carter feels content in return to Philadelphia

Monday, 03.24.2014 / 1:33 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Leaning back on the wall outside the unfamiliar visitor's dressing room at Wells Fargo Center, Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter flashed a smile, revealing his bumpy gums and some scarce chipped and out-of-position teeth, a hockey player's signature grin.

There was no way to know what Carter's smile looked like June 23, 2011, when he was traded by thePhiladelphia Flyers to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first of two culture-changing transactions made that day by Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, who later traded former captain Mike Richards to the Kings.

Carter was sad to be traded, and angry at the organization that drafted him and had signed him to an 11-year, $58 million contract less than a year earlier. His no-trade clause hadn't kicked in yet, but Carter thought he was safe -- until Holmgren sent him to Columbus for forward Jakub Voracek and a 2011 first-round pick he turned into center Sean Couturier.

Carter was traded to the Kings eight months later, ending a short stint in Columbus. And as he prepares to play his first game in Philadelphia since the day he was shipped out of the city (Richards played here Oct. 15, 2011), a smiling Carter appears ready to let bygones be bygones.

Time has healed his wounds; the Stanley Cup he won with the Kings in 2012 certainly helps.

"I think it's worked out pretty well," Carter said. "Stanley Cup, playing in L.A. It's a pretty good setup."

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Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets