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NHL Insider

Pens-Flyers rivalry captures attention of players too

Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 1:15 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When Lindy Ruff was fired Feb. 20 after 14 years as coach of the Buffalo Sabres, it would be expected that he'd want some time away from the game.

Instead, he found himself watching the most compelling television he could find -- the game that night between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Even in his one of his darkest moments, Ruff allowed himself to be captured by what's become the No. 1 rivalry in the NHL today.

The latest edition of the Keystone State clash comes Thursday, when the Penguins visit the Flyers (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). It's the third meeting between the teams this season, with the Penguins beating the Flyers 3-1 on opening night in Philadelphia, while the Flyers won 6-5 in that Feb. 20 game in Pittsburgh.

Rebuilt depth has keyed Blackhawks' remarkable run

Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 12:25 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010 because their goaltending was solid and their depth players played just as big of a role on a nightly basis as their stars.

Shortly after they paraded the Cup down Michigan Avenue, their goalies and depth were gone, victims of an anticipated and unavoidable purge resulting from salary-cap constraints. The Blackhawks were not even close to being the same team over the next two seasons, and they went one-and-done in the postseason in 2011 and 2012.

They're back now, though, back to being the best team in the National Hockey League largely because of -- wait for it -- excellent goaltending and depth that has taken some pressure off the stars.

Penguins-Flyers rivalry has peaked in the past year

Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 1:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

When the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins take the ice Thursday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US), it will be the 12th time they've played in the past calendar year -- six regular-season games, and six highly memorable games in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Keystone State Clash has transformed into the most passionate rivalry in the NHL today, drawing attention of not just fans, but people throughout the hockey world.

Here are some highlights from those previous games, starting with the end of last regular season:

March 18, 2012 -- Hartnell down, Flyers up Watch

The Penguins led 2-1 as the game entered the final five minutes of regulation when Scott Hartnell scored to tie it after Evgeni Malkin turned over the puck in the Penguins' zone. Then, as time was running down in overtime, Hartnell took a pass from Danny Briere and beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with 0.9 seconds left to give the Flyers a 3-2 win in Philadelphia.

After surgery, Weiss, Panthers have big decision

Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 1:29 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Stephen Weiss admits the thought has crossed his mind.

Weiss has been a cornerstone for the Florida Panthers for a decade, but there's a possibility he has played his last game with the organization.

Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Weiss will undergo season-ending surgery on his right wrist in Cleveland on Tuesday.

"Yes, it has [crossed my mind]," Weiss told reporters on a conference call Wednesday morning. "It's definitely not the way I would have written it if that is the case. It kind of burns at me that this is the way it could be going out, but you know what, that's life sometimes. You've got to deal with the cards you're dealt."

Losing streak set stage for Chicago's run to history

Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

David Kalan - Staff Writer

In sports, losing often forms the attributes needed to be a winner.

The Chicago Blackhawks may be the latest example of the cliché that the experience of painful losses is often a precursor to finding a way to win consistently. Yes, the Blackhawks have pocketed at least a point in 22 straight games -- an almost unheard of streak of success amid the parity that presently exists in the National Hockey League -- but they are not that far removed from the team that endured a dispiriting nine-game losing streak that altered the outcome of its 2011-12 season.

There, seemingly, is proof of the cliché.

"I think that's something that we've definitely thought about," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said in St. Louis last week. "I think it was in our mind the rest of that season and even this year, we were quick to forget some of the things we went through as a team last year, and maybe not only that nine-game losing streak but what didn't click for us as a team as the season went along and how we lost in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs. We've understood what we had to change and the details of our game. And here we are.

"All those things that make us successful as a team we weren't doing at that point of the season last year. We've all seemed to learn from that."

Flyers reach halfway point unhappy with results

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 11:45 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Ilya Bryzgalov was asked to summarize the first half of the Philadelphia Flyers' season following a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, one that dropped his team to a game below .500 and out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference.

The goalie took a deep breath and exhaled as he looked to the ceiling of the visitors locker room at Madison Square Garden, as if the answer was written up there in invisible ink.

Perhaps unable to think of a diplomatic response, he instead gave a short, blunt one.

"Not good," Bryzgalov said. "We're not good."

Struggling Panthers ready for Markstrom era

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 2:13 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Jacob Markstrom era has arrived for the Florida Panthers.

Long touted as one of the best goalie prospects around, Markstrom should be in line for his first extended action in the NHL with veteran Jose Theodore out 5-6 weeks with a leg injury.

Jacob Markstrom
Goalie - FLA
RECORD: 0-2-0
GAA: 3.05 | SVP: 0.915
Even Panthers general manager Dale Tallon acknowledged that Markstrom's time has come.

"You'd have to say yes," Tallon said Tuesday morning. "We've got a lot of confidence in the young man and he's got a lot of confidence in his abilities. He's big and strong. We were hoping to hold off a little bit, but let's go. Let's see if he can do it, and I'm very confident that he can."

With both Theodore and veteran backup Scott Clemmensen struggling, Markstrom was called up from San Antonio of the American Hockey League and started against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 22 and the Boston Bruins two days later.

Even though Florida lost both games, Markstrom acquitted himself quite well, stopping 59 of 65 shots. His save percentage of .915 in those two games was much better than those compiled this season by Theodore (.893) and Clemmensen (.859).

Wild excited for challenge of facing Blackhawks

Tuesday, 03.05.2013 / 12:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Occasionally in the regular season the excitement of taking on a unique challenge can motivate a team far more than simply thinking about the obvious opportunity to secure two more points.

Case in point -- the Minnesota Wild and what they're up against Tuesday night at United Center.

The Wild are the next challenger that will attempt to hand the Chicago Blackhawks their first regulation loss of the season. Oh sure, the Wild would take a win in overtime or a shootout because, first and foremost, they want the points, but the opportunity to snap Chicago's record-setting streak of 22 consecutive games to start a season with a point is the motivation now, the challenge they want to overcome.

Crosby, Stamkos wowing everyone -- even each other

Monday, 03.04.2013 / 2:58 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Steven Stamkos smiled sheepishly, a blush almost apparent. The affable Tampa Bay Lightning star was seemingly embarrassed he's being asked to weigh his game against that of Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby.

"To be compared in the same sentence to him is pretty special for me," the Tampa Bay Lightning sniper said. "I think I still have a long way to go and a lot of things to work on before you get mentioned with a guy like that."

When it comes to this season's National Hockey League scoring race, there aren't any other players more worthy of mentioning.

Blackhawks' streak draws admiration from Red Wings

Sunday, 03.03.2013 / 8:04 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

DETROIT -- It takes one to truly appreciate one.

The Detroit Red Wings, who last season set the NHL record with 23 straight home victories, are the latest stunned admirers of the Chicago Blackhawks, who on Sunday again found a way to continue their tear through the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks' come-from-behind 2-1 shootout victory was 2:02 away from being their first regulation loss in 22 games (19-0-3), the longest such stretch to open a season in NHL history, but Patrick Kane's power-play goal assured the visitors of at least one more game with the run intact.

Kane also gave the Blackhawks a second point by scoring the deciding goal of the shootout and improving his team’s record in one-goal games to 12-0-3.

The Red Wings, like many other opponents this season, just shook their collective head about it afterward.

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Quote of the Day

It's a big milestone for me and I'm happy to help my team with lots of good teammates. It's fun.

— Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, who on Wednesday became the ninth Russian-born player, and ninth Red Wings player, to score 300 NHL goals
World Cup of Hockey 2016