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NHL Insider

Red Wings captain Zetterberg one goal shy of 300

Tuesday, 11.03.2015 / 9:30 AM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - Correspondent

DETROIT -- Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg is set to join select company.

With two assists in Detroit's 5-3 win against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday, Zetterberg reached 800 points in his NHL career.

The previous night, during a 3-1 loss to the Senators at Joe Louis Arena, Zetterberg scored his 299th goal.

He is the ninth Swedish player with 800 points in the NHL.

The others are Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund and Tomas Sandstrom.

Zetterberg's next goal will make him the seventh Swede to score 300 and the fifth player in Red Wings history to have 300 goals and 800 points, joining Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman, Alex Delvecchio and Sergei Fedorov.

The Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-D).

McDavid-Eichel buzz similar to Crosby-Ovechkin

Tuesday, 11.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

George McPhee won't forget the electricity generated by Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby when they entered the NHL as rookies in 2005-06.

McPhee, general manager of the Capitals at the time, had a front-row seat to one of the more memorable races for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. Ovechkin won after he had 52 goals and 106 points in 81 games. Crosby, who had 39 goals and 102 points in 81 games, was second.

Now a special adviser to New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow, McPhee sees similarities between the rookie seasons for Ovechkin and Crosby and the performances this season of Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel.

"It turns out to be great for the game because the entire League and hockey world is watching, and there's this instant competition between the two guys," McPhee said.

Oilers' McDavid more confident after solid first month

Monday, 11.02.2015 / 4:27 PM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- After a slow start, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid had a productive first month in the NHL, and on Monday he was named NHL Rookie of the Month for October.

Entering play Monday he leads all first-year players with 12 points, and his five goals are tied for the lead.

McDavid led a deep class of rookie performers in the first month of the season. Arizona Coyotes left wing Max Domi matched McDavid with five goals and is second among rookies with 11 points. Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin had 10 points in 11 games and Winnipeg Jets right wing Nikolaj Ehlers had four goals and eight points in 11 games. The St. Louis Blues' Colton Parayko leads rookie defensemen with four goals and seven points in 11 games. His four goals are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes' Justin Faulk for the lead among all NHL defenders.

Blackhawks goalie Crawford learns to ignore critics

Monday, 11.02.2015 / 10:49 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The slights used to be taken as personal attacks by Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who would use them as motivation.

Now a 30-year-old veteran, Crawford has learned to block out the noise and focus on winning championships. His two Stanley Cup rings are all the validation he needs.

But it wasn't always that way for Crawford. Prior to helping the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015, he said he was aware of his critics and what they would say.

"I took some stuff personally, when [media] would bash on me," said Crawford, who will start for the Blackhawks at United Center on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, SNE, SNO, SNW, FS-W, CSN-CH) looking to end the Los Angeles Kings' seven-game winning streak. "My [rookie] year, I just came in and it was great. I started playing a lot of games and I was winning. In the second year it's a different story when you're declared a No. 1 guy. I didn't play as well."

Canadiens get chance to show they're more than Price

Monday, 11.02.2015 / 12:45 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens set out this season to prove to the hockey world that they are more than an adequate team playing in front of an outstanding goaltender.

They're now getting a golden opportunity to do that, though not one the Canadiens necessarily welcomed.

The news Sunday that goaltender Carey Price would be out for at least one week with a lower-body injury could not possibly be spun in a positive way. But for the Canadiens who have felt slighted by the idea that they would be lost without Price, this is a chance to put that narrative to rest.

The Canadiens began making that point in an emphatic way Sunday, defeating the Winnipeg Jets 5-1 behind 18 saves from backup goaltender Mike Condon to kick off a four-game homestand that also includes games against the Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Boston Bruins.

"We know what we're capable of," center David Desharnais said. "Every team has good players. We have Carey, the Penguins have Sidney [Crosby], the Blackhawks have [Jonathan] Toews. Everyone has their kingpin. So there's no doubt he helps us, but we're able to play without him. He's an important element of the team, but he's a part of the team."

Stars satisfied with strong start to season

Friday, 10.30.2015 / 6:30 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- It has been an interesting week for the Dallas Stars.

They returned home from a four-game sweep of their Eastern Conference road trip. Then their five-game winning streak ended in their first home game, a 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Oct. 24.

Dallas responded with consecutive 4-3 comeback wins, on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks and Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks in overtime. The Stars end a four-game homestand Saturday against the San Jose Sharks (3 p.m. ET; FS-SW, CSN-CA).

The Stars are 8-2-0, and their 16 points were second in the NHL behind the Montreal Canadiens' 18 heading into play Friday.

"I'll use the word comfortable. I'm comfortable with our start," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Friday. "I want us to continue to get better. We've found ways to win several games and we've put a real nice road trip together, which really helped us in the start. So for me, I think the word comfortable [is fitting]."

Penguins downplay Bylsma's return as Sabres coach

Thursday, 10.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins admit it will be strange to face former coach Dan Bylsma for the first time when they host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, ROOT). But for the most part it will be business as usual.

"I think the first time is always a little bit different," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "But I think at this point we've all kind of dealt with those kind of things before. And once you get in the game, really get into it, everything kind of becomes normal. But I think the initial start is always kind of [strange]."

Bylsma coached the Penguins for parts of six seasons, starting when he replaced Michel Therrien 57 games into the 2008-09 season. That season ended with Bylsma coaching the Penguins to the Stanley Cup.

Blues bring in veterans to cope with injuries up front

Wednesday, 10.28.2015 / 7:43 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Doug Armstrong could have turned to the bevy of prospects thriving with Chicago of the American Hockey League. Instead, the St. Louis Blues' general manager is playing it safe and bringing in NHL veterans to bolster an injury-depleted corps of forwards.

Martin Havlat and Dainius Zubrus came into their first Blues' practice Wednesday seeking to make a strong first impression. Each has 10 days to parlay a professional tryout into an NHL contract. Each feels he still has something left in the tank, so when Armstrong reached out to the 34-year-old Havlat and assistant GM Martin Brodeur extended an invitation to Zubrus, 37, it was an easy decision for them to come and give it perhaps one last opportunity to stay in the NHL.

Long-term injuries to forwards Jaden Schwartz (broken ankle), Paul Stastny (broken foot) and Patrik Berglund (shoulder surgery) forced Armstrong to look for help. But instead of promoting prospects from the Blues' AHL team who might not be NHL-ready or exploring trade possibilities, Armstrong opted to see what Havlat and Zubrus, who have a combined 2,031 games of NHL experience, could offer.

Sabres' Bylsma looks forward to return to Pittsburgh

Wednesday, 10.28.2015 / 7:11 PM / NHL Insider

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

BUFFALO -- It's been more than 16 months since Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma was fired by the Pittsburgh Penguins. He's set to make his return to Pittsburgh on Thursday when the Penguins host the Sabres at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, ROOT).

Bylsma established himself as a winning coach during his 5 ½ seasons in Pittsburgh. He led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup four months after he was hired in 2009. But despite six consecutive trips to the playoffs, he was fired on June 6, 2014.

Returning to Pittsburgh has been on Bylsma's mind since the Sabres hired him on May 28.

Hurricanes' Hanifin confident he can play at NHL level

Wednesday, 10.28.2015 / 7:03 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Carolina Hurricanes rookie defenseman Noah Hanifin understands why he was a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career, and although no player enjoys being told that he won't suit up for a game, the 18-year-old feels the break was beneficial.

After playing Carolina's first eight games, Hanifin was scratched for a 3-1 victory at the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday.

"The coaching staff kind of wanted me to refresh a little bit and go up top and watch the game and see it from a different perspective just because I've been playing at a high level the past eight games," Hanifin told Wednesday during a tour of the League offices. "It was nice to take a breather, watch and see how it's supposed to be played. If I'm in against the Islanders, I just hope to keep it going."

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It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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