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NHL Insider

Daily Primer March 14: Who's in first?

Friday, 03.14.2014 / 1:08 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Anaheim Ducks have spent most of the season on top of the Pacific Division; they led the San Jose Sharks by nine points at the end of January and by seven when play resumed after the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

But that lead is all gone, and the Ducks are facing the prospect of looking up at the Sharks after Friday night. Each team has 93 points, though the Ducks still hold first place because they've played one fewer game.

The Sharks continue a road trip with a visit to the New York Islanders, who are last in the Metropolitan Division. That game starts about two hours before the Ducks play the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.

Here's a look at all of the action on a busy Friday:

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Rangers' Talbot, actor Russell share Alabama bond

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 1:15 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

The University of Alabama-Huntsville isn't necessarily known for developing high-end NHL talent. But the hockey program is gaining some attention this season with the recent success of New York Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot, who led the school to the College Hockey America tournament title and its second NCAA tournament berth in 2010.

A lanky, under-recruited goaltender from Ontario when he arrived at Huntsville in 2007, Talbot's gradual rise to the League was propelled in part by competition from another goaltender who is now paving his own way in a completely different field.

Battling Talbot for a spot in the Chargers' crease that season was Wyatt Russell, the son of actors Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, who would stay for just over a year at Huntsville before leaving to play professionally in Germany. Now establishing himself as an actor with a number of high-profile roles, Russell became fast friends with his UAH teammate.

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Daily Primer March 13: Kings go for nine in a row

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Los Angeles Kings haven't lost since Feb. 3, a span of eight games. And now they begin a five-game homestand.

Los Angeles will seek its ninth straight victory when it hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, TSN, FS-W). A portion of the Kings' recent success can be attributed to the play of center Anze Kopitar, who has four goals and eight assists over the past nine games.

Here's a closer look at all of the action Thursday:

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Rask, Bruins answer questions by beating Canadiens

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 1:10 AM / NHL Insider

James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask silenced the critics and answered any questions surrounding his play against the Montreal Canadiens with a 35-save performance in a 4-1 win at Bell Centre on Wednesday night.

Rask had put himself in a cocoon since he and his teammates arrived in Montreal on Tuesday morning. He was one of the first to board the team bus after practice that afternoon and didn't partake in the morning skate Wednesday.

Rask clearly didn't want to face any questions, not only the Bruins' recent struggles against the Canadiens -- they had lost five straight regular-season games entering Wednesday -- but also his own; Rask entered the game 2-10-1 in his career against Montreal. His most recent win against the Canadiens came on Feb. 6, 2013, when he made 20 saves in a 2-1 win. His only other victory against the Canadiens was on Feb. 7, 2010, when he made 36 saves in a 3-0 victory.

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Wild's Granlund thriving after tough rookie season

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 10:40 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund has been dealing with high expectations his entire life.

The 22-year-old center began his professional hockey career at age 16 in his native Finland and quickly became a household name. The Wild made him the ninth player selected at the 2010 NHL Draft. Granlund's hockey exploits are easy to follow; all you have to do is type his name into the search box on YouTube and any number of his highlights will pop up.

Mikael Granlund
Center - MIN
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 28 | PTS: 34
SOG: 84 | +/-: 0
Granlund is perhaps best known for his lacrosse-style goal against Russia in the semifinals of the 2011 World Hockey Championship, which made him an instant internet sensation. Back home, the goal turned Granlund from a successful hockey player into a national rock star. It wasn't uncommon for paparazzi to follow Granlund out to dinner or shopping.

That's a lot of pressure for anyone to face, especially for a shy 19-year-old kid from Oulu, Finland, who would rather go about his business in the shadows. The normal pressures of being a high first-round draft pick are nothing compared to those in hockey-mad Finland, where fans are always on the lookout for the successor to Teemu Selanne, the 43-year-old Anaheim Ducks star and pride of an entire nation.

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Blues' Oshie juggles celebrity, hockey after Olympics

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 7:03 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- There he was, face to face in the slot, staring into the eyes of another goalie with the puck on his stick.

But this time, T.J. Oshie wasn't going against Sergei Bobrovsky and he wasn't being thrust into the spotlight of an entire nation and a global television audience.

Oshie just needed rhythm. He needed style points more than anything. That's all Enterprise Rent-A-Car was asking of the St. Louis Blues forward who represented the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics when they asked him to represent them and the NHL in the making of a commercial that will air during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The commercial being shot Wednesday afternoon at the Blues' practice facility inside St. Louis Outlet Mall's Ice Zone had Oshie shooting pucks at an Enterprise employee in a suit and tie.

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Vancouver GM discusses Tortorella, team's struggles

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 1:59 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis emerged from the three-day meetings of the NHL's GMs at the Boca Beach Club with the understanding that his team faces a rocky road in the future, but also a fuller understanding of the hardships already endured.

While Gillis was here for the meetings, the Canucks allowed the New York Islanders to score seven third-period goals in a demoralizing 7-4 loss Monday at Rogers Arena.

It was, perhaps, the nadir of what has been a trying season for the usually competitive Canucks.

"It's been tough, but it's been a tough month-and-a-half for us," Gillis said. "When you're not performing up to a standard that you think is acceptable, it's never easy."

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Bruins at loss to explain Canadiens' success in rivalry

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 10:48 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The rivalry between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins appears to exist in a vacuum.

Every metric imaginable would suggest the Bruins should dominate the Canadiens, much like they do the great majority of the NHL's 28 other teams.

Except, for some reason, they don't.

When the Canadiens play the Bruins in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS) they will do so riding a five-game winning streak against their Atlantic Division rivals.

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Henrik Sedin not in mood to celebrate 1,000th game

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 9:47 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVERVancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin isn't in the mood to celebrate his upcoming milestone.

Reaching 1,000 NHL games Wednesday night against the Winnipeg Jets amid the worst slump since he joined the Canucks in 2000 has put a damper on the occasion. But as Sedin looked back on some tough early years in Vancouver, it was easy to find perspective on the Canucks' current woes.

Sleep didn't come easy then, and it isn't coming easy now.

"A lot of nights you lay in bed and wonder what has happened," Sedin said of a 2-11-1 slide that has dropped Vancouver into 11th place in the Western Conference, six points out of the final wild-card position for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Daily Primer March 12: Blackhawks out for revenge

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 12:06 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Colorado Avalanche came to United Center eight days ago and left with a 4-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks, their third in four games this season against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Blackhawks will seek revenge Wednesday night when they visit Pepsi Center for a game that will leave the winner in second place in the Central Division. Colorado and Chicago are chasing the St. Louis Blues, who lead the NHL with 95 points.

Here's a look at all of the action Wednesday.


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When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions