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NHL Insider

Daily Primer March 7: Another tough test for Penguins

Friday, 03.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Facing one of the five best teams in the NHL was just a warm-up for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

One night after they saw a two-goal lead turn into a 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks, whose 87 points are fifth in the League standings, the Penguins head to Southern California for a game against the NHL's best team, the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks had the night off Thursday following a 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

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

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Red Wings retire Nicklas Lidstrom's No. 5

Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 9:59 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- They rolled out the red carpet Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena, and there was no question as to whom it was meant to welcome.

Looking down at center ice prior to the Detroit Red Wings' game against the Colorado Avalanche, the red carpet was in the shape of the No. 5. If you looked behind each net, "5" was painted into the ice; in the corners of the rink, there were 5s; and attached to the lapels of Red Wings employees: 5.

That, of course, was the number Nicklas Lidstrom wore during his legendary 20-year NHL career, all with the Red Wings.

It clearly was the seven-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman’s night, and the Red Wings made sure everybody knew it.

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Stamkos back for Lightning in wake of St. Louis trade

Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 3:50 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos admitted Wednesday was a roller-coaster day.

It started with Stamkos being declared healthy enough to return to the lineup after missing 45 games with a broken tibia sustained Nov. 11 against the Boston Bruins. It continued with the announcement hours later that Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay's captain and leading scorer as well as Stamkos' linemate, had been traded to the New York Rangers.

The morning after, Stamkos was looking forward to his anticipated return to the Lightning lineup against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

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Lidstrom honored to be immortalized by Red Wings

Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 10:39 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- It was a ritual Nicklas Lidstrom did before nearly every practice at Joe Louis Arena.

While stretching at center ice, the former Red Wings captain would look up to the rafters. First he'd spot the long string of Stanley Cup championship banners, which grew from seven to 11 during his 20-year NHL career.

Next he'd see the six red banners of players whose numbers were retired: Gordie Howe (9), Sid Abel (12), Ted Lindsay (7), Alex Delvecchio (10), Terry Sawchuk (1) and former teammate Steve Yzerman (19).

Thursday night, prior to the Red Wings facing the Colorado Avalanche (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US), Lidstrom's No. 5 will join them. A pre-game ceremony will officially remove his number from circulation for one of the League's storied franchises and he's still a little bit in awe of the whole thing.

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Red Wings prepare to retire Lidstrom's No. 5

Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The only thing that would make the Detroit Red Wings happier than seeing Nicklas Lidstrom's No. 5 go up to the rafters in Joe Louis Arena on Thursday is if the former captain came out of retirement to play against the Colorado Avalanche after the ceremony.

Jonathan Ericsson thinks he could do it too.

"He could probably come in and play today without even practicing, that's how good he is," Ericsson told NHL.com. "Well, to be realistic, maybe he'll need a few practices. But if he practiced for a week you wouldn't even know he was gone for a year and a half."

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Daily Primer March 6: Stamkos returns for Lightning

Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Martin St. Louis may be gone, but Steven Stamkos is back.

One day after the Tampa Bay Lightning traded their captain to the New York Rangers, their superstar center returns against the Buffalo Sabres at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday. Stamkos will be in the lineup for the first time since breaking his leg in a game against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11. He has 14 goals in 17 games this season.

"I'm excited, a little anxious, a little nervous, everything all in one," Stamkos told the Lightning website Wednesday. "It's been a long road. It's been tough, but I think time heading in [to see the doctor] I was the most confident going in there knowing how I felt on the ice, off the ice, what I needed to do in order to get cleared to play, the tests I needed to go through, and everything felt great."

Here's a closer look at the action Thursday:

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Rivalry Night Faceoff: Holtby vs. Mason

Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

To help celebrate NBC Rivalry Night, NHL.com will look at a rivalry within the rivalry of the featured game on Wednesday nights. For this week, we are trying to determine which goaltender is better equipped to backstop his team into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby or the Philadelphia Flyers' Steve Mason.

The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals enter their Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2) separated by two points in the standings. Each team features a high-scoring offense and a defense that has had questionable performances.

They also have one other thing in common. Each has a goaltender looking to prove he can backstop his team to a long run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Can the Flyers' Steve Mason or the Capitals' Braden Holtby be that guy for his team?

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Daily Primer March 5: Different look for Caps, Flyers

Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

It's usually an intense showdown when the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals get together, and it shouldn't be any different when the teams face off at Wells Fargo Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

But each team will have a bit of a different look after tweaking its rosters prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, which is set for 3 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Philadelphia enters the game in second place in the Metropolitan Division, but one point ahead of the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets and two ahead of the Capitals.

Here's a closer look at all the action Wednesday:

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Predators' Rinne focused on keeping cool in return

Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:54 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- As Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne prepares on Tuesday to play his first game in 133 days -- pretty much the equivalent of an offseason in the middle of the NHL season -- his goaltending coach Mitch Korn said he thought Rinne's biggest task would be to manage his emotions.

"Not be too energetic," Korn said of the game at Bridgestone Arena against the Pittsburgh Penguins. "Not want to do too much. Not want the puck so bad that he doesn't wait for it. Managing the energy, I guess."

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Pirri's potential piqued interest of Panthers' Tallon

Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:20 PM / NHL Insider

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Almost five years later, Dale Tallon remains a fan of Brandon Pirri.

In his last year as general manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, Tallon selected Pirri in the second round of the 2009 NHL Draft. Sunday, he acquired him for the Florida Panthers in a trade for a 2014 third-round pick and a 2016 fifth-round selection.

Pirri may not have panned out in Chicago, but Tallon likes the 22-year-old center's upside.

"I think it's a great move for our long-term future," Tallon said. "We're adding some tremendous knowledge and skill. [Our] hockey IQ has increased dramatically with this acquisition."

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Quote of the Day

I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

— Stars forward Rich Peverley to "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas