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NHL Insider

For Nabokov, career almost abandoned ends at start

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 3:28 PM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov retired from a 14-year NHL career Wednesday, one that almost ended before it started.

Twice, in fact, Nabokov almost bailed on the San Jose Sharks franchise he leads in most goaltending categories.

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Flyers facing uphill climb in quest to make playoffs

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 9:46 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Philadelphia Flyers are making a habit of testing the limits of how difficult it is to gain ground in the NHL standings.

The Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the League, picking up points in seven straight games after a 2-1 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday gave them a 5-0-2 record since Jan. 20, when they beat the rival Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 at home.

The morning of that game, the Flyers were 11 points out of a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

On Wednesday morning, not having lost in regulation time since then, the Flyers are eight points behind the Boston Bruins for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

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Vasilevskiy adjusts to NHL, role as Lightning backup

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 9:34 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- In many ways Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is a victim of his own success.

The 20-year-old, a prospect from Tyumen, Russia, was expected to spend this season with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League and hopefully lead the team to Calder Cup.

When he was called up in December to play for an injured Ben Bishop, he went 3-1-0 with a 45-save effort against the New York Islanders in the lone loss.

If members of the Lightning organization expected Vasilevskiy, the 19th pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, to have a bit of a setback when he returned to Syracuse, they were pleasantly surprised to see his numbers improve over the next month.

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Red Wings' Tatar an emerging talent in second season

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- Mike Babcock is tougher on forward Tomas Tatar than he is on any other player.

That's because the Detroit Red Wings coach thinks Tatar, who's 24 and in his second full NHL season, has so much potential.

"As long as he keeps working on his details and is committed to doing it all the time, he's going to get there," Babcock said. "That's the biggest challenge for a young player. What allowed you to be good last year isn't good enough this year and the years to come. You got to keep getting better if you want to be the best. That's what guys like [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Henrik] Zetterberg have done. So for our young players, they have great examples."

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Five things to watch for Wednesday Night Rivalry

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Detroit Red Wings have won three in a row and are two points shy of being atop the Eastern Conference. The Pittsburgh Penguins' past four games have featured shutouts, although they've won two of them.

Detroit (31-12-9) has won nine of its past 10 games, including a 3-1 victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. The Red Wings have allowed two goals over their three-game win streak. Pittsburgh (30-15-8), which is coming off a 5-0 loss at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, are three points behind the New York Islanders for the Metropolitan Division lead.

The Red Wings will try to extend their win streak when they visit the Penguins in the first game of a Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader at Consol Energy Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN1).

On the West Coast, the Washington Capitals will face the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN). Washington (28-16-10) had a three-game win streak end with a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. The Capitals trail the Penguins by two points for second place in the Metropolitan. The Sharks (28-20-7) will try to avoid a three-game skid after a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday. San Jose has allowed nine goals in its back-to-back defeats.

Here are five things to watch in the two Wednesday Night Rivalry games:

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Stars' Klingberg playing at level that belies his age

Tuesday, 02.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- John Klingberg is not your average rookie.

Through 39 games, the Dallas Stars defenseman has 10 goals and 18 assists. He has points in three straight games; included in that run is two assists in a 3-2 loss at the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, already his eighth multipoint game in the NHL.

A fifth-round pick (No. 131) in the 2010 NHL Draft, Klingberg, 22, who also has a plus-10 rating, has showcased a dazzling array of offensive skills, among them a deadly shot from distance and the vision to deliver a pinpoint pass to set up a teammate at the perfect time.

He'll have a chance to add to those numbers when the Stars visit the Boston Bruins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, SN1).

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Blue Jackets' Hartnell to play in 1,000th career game

Monday, 02.09.2015 / 1:45 PM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Monday will be a big deal for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Scott Hartnell, when he plays his 1,000th NHL regular-season game, against the Los Angeles Kings.

His parents, three siblings, a couple of nephews and a few friends from his hometown of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, will be in attendance at Nationwide Arena for the feat.

"I'm happy my whole family will be coming down and be part of the special day," he told NHL.com last week. "It will be neat to have everyone share that milestone."

The Hartnell clan and others had dinner Sunday night in Columbus to celebrate his career.

"It was a really special evening," Hartnell said.

Being surrounded by those closest to him will be in contrast to how his NHL career began, Oct. 6, 2000, as an 18 year-old with the Nashville Predators.

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Blues' top line is scoring, and shutting down scorers

Saturday, 02.07.2015 / 3:54 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Once St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock went back to an old reliable forward line, it was a matter of time before it would begin to click on all cylinders.

The Blues' top line of Alexander Steen, David Backes and T.J. Oshie has put together quite the offensive run in recent weeks.

Since the Blues' post-Christmas schedule, Steen, Backes and Oshie have been on the scoresheet on a regular basis, and the Blues are accruing points at a rapid pace.

The Blues (34-14-4), who host the Chicago Blackhawks (32-18-2) Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN360), have received 65 points (33 at even-strength with all three players on the ice) in 18 games from the line, an average of 3.6 per game.

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Oilers doctor leading World's Longest Hockey Game

Saturday, 02.07.2015 / 3:45 PM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

The longest game in the history of the NHL lasted more than 176 minutes, and ended when the Detroit Red Wings' Mud Brunteau scored in the sixth overtime to beat the Montreal Canadiens in a Stanley Cup Playoff game March 24, 1936.

That's just a warm-up compared to what Dr. Brent Saik and his friends are doing.

On Feb. 6, Saik was one of 40 players to start the fifth World's Longest Hockey Game, an event that raises money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. All proceeds go toward purchasing a piece of equipment for the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.

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Bruins' Chara used time off to get real estate license

Saturday, 02.07.2015 / 10:56 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Most NHL players will set their sole focus on getting healthy when they're out with an injury.

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara isn't like most NHL players, and not only because he's the tallest ever at 6-foot-9.

The Boston Globe reported Saturday that Chara, 37, has become licensed to sell real estate in Massachusetts.

Chara tore a ligament in his left knee Oct. 23; rather than lie around between daily rehab sessions each day, he enrolled in a real estate program. He passed his licensing exam during the NHL All-Star break last month and received his license that day.

"I like to keep as many doors open as possible for the future," Chara said, according to the Globe. "I just felt that while I was obviously not traveling as much with the team, I had so much time, especially early into my rehab, I decided to take some courses and I ended up going for the [exam]."

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Quote of the Day

For us it's a little bit different. I've never been in front of this much media. This is more than we've ever had to deal with in Tampa. I guess we're on a little bit bigger stage now. It's nice, you have to enjoy it. This doesn't happen too often.

— Lightning forward J.T. Brown after his first Media Day experience on Tuesday in preparation of Game 1 on Wednesday