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Islanders edge Senators on Skille's late goal

Monday, 09.22.2014 / 5:30 PM / News

NHL.com

Jack Skille scored with 1:27 remaining in regulation to give the New York Islanders a 3-2 victory against the Ottawa Senators in the first of two split-squad games at Mile One Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Skille, signed by the Islanders on July 1, took a feed from Casey Cizikas and beat Andrew Hammond with a high shot from the slot to break a 2-2 tie.

Brock Nelson had a power-play goal and an assist on Sebastian Collberg's goal for the Islanders. Alex Chiasson and Cole Schneider scored for the Senators.

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Capitals will enjoy every bit of Winter Classic

Monday, 09.22.2014 / 3:51 PM / News

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich won't make the same mistake twice when it comes to an event that provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most NHL players.

Laich's view on the growing hype and preparation for the 2015 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. is quite different from how he allowed himself to approach playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2011 NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

"I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points," Laich said. "I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.'

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NHL Network to broadcast CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game from Buffalo

First Niagara Center hosts 42 2015 NHL draft-eligible players on Thursday

Monday, 09.22.2014 / 11:33 AM / NHL Network

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — USA Hockey announced today that NHL Network will broadcast the third annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game Thursday (Sept. 25) live from First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York, home of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET.

The CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game will feature 42 top American prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

The broadcast team will include NHL Live co-hosts Steve Mears, who will provide play-by-play, and EJ Hradek alongside Dan Bylsma, head coach of the 2104 U.S. Men's Olympic Ice Hockey Team, who will serve as game analysts.

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Couture, Skinner lead Cubeta's fantasy breakout list

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Last season, forwards Tyler Seguin of the Dallas Stars, Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers went from reliable fantasy producers to elite-level assets. On the defenseman and goalie fronts, fantasy owners witnessed Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames and Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche joining the likes of stardom at their respective positions.

These were players who made their mark on the fantasy landscape before, but never to the degree of statistical prowess that they put forth this past season. Sleepers are under-the-radar players who are drafted much later than they should be. Breakout players are players we respect from a fantasy standpoint that elevate their level of production to new heights.

Targeting breakout candidates in your fantasy draft can go a long way in building a championship-caliber roster. Here are five players I believe will take the jump from household name to superstar in 2014-15. Pete Jensen will release his five breakout players on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

1. Logan Couture, C/LW, San Jose Sharks

In NHL.com's aggregate top-275 overall fantasy rankings, Couture came in at No. 32. Not too bad, right? I disagree. I think he should've been ranked a lot higher, and in my personal ranks I showed that, slotting him at No. 18 overall.

As I wrote in my top-50 fantasy breakdown, among players 25 or younger, only Stamkos, Tavares and Toews have more goals than Couture's 112. And his 924 shots on goal rank second. Yet for some reason, Couture is never included in the discussion as one of the NHL's best young players. He should be. Despite missing 17 games last season, Couture still finished as the 66th-ranked player in Yahoo fantasy leagues, scoring 23 goals, 54 points, a plus-21 rating, 20 penalty minutes, 13 power-play points and 233 shots on goal. His 3.6 shots on goal per game were 11th best in the NHL. Had he stayed healthy for the full season, he likely would've been an easy top-20 player.

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Coyotes need big season from Smith in goal

Monday, 09.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There have been a lot of changes since the Phoenix Coyotes won their first division title and made an improbable run to the Western Conference Final in the spring of 2012.

The renamed Arizona Coyotes also have new ownership and a pack of new players, many who were born in the 1990s. But general manager Don Maloney knows one thing hasn't changed, a tried-and-true barometer since goaltender Mike Smith came to the desert in the summer of 2011.

"Mike's play is going to determine how far we go," Maloney said.

That was the case in 2011-12, when Smith finished with a 2.21 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in 67 regular-season starts, then dragged the Coyotes past the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first two series victories in franchise history.

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Smith, Gagner, Hanzal are keys to Coyotes' success

Monday, 09.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

The Arizona Coyotes may have changed their name, but the hurdles they face in trying to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs remain the same.

The former Phoenix Coyotes haven't made the postseason since 2011-12, when they got as far as the Western Conference Final. They came up two points short last season, but general manager Don Maloney is confident his team can get back to the playoffs.

"There are lots of good teams out West," he said. "That's OK; I like where we're at. I think our mix is going to be much better. We're always looking to get better, but I don't mind where we're at right now."

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Coyotes look to ride defense, Smith back to playoffs

Monday, 09.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

The Arizona Coyotes will try to accomplish what the Phoenix Coyotes failed to do in each of the past two seasons: qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After advancing to the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history in 2012, the renamed Coyotes have gone backward. Last season's failure was especially frustrating: They held a playoff berth for most of the season, but an injury to goaltender Mike Smith and an offensive drought left them two points behind the Dallas Stars in the race for the final wild-card position.

"Last year was sort of a funny year," Arizona general manager Don Maloney said. "We scored a little more, but we surprisingly gave up a lot of leads in the third period when in the past we were able to lock things down."

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Capitals look to turn talent into more victories

Monday, 09.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

It was a statement profound in its simplicity.

In a midsummer interview with CBC, new Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz provided what could be considered an apt assessment of the team he would soon lead.

"There's a big difference between a good team," Trotz told Elliotte Friedman, "and a team with talent."

Washington is undeniably a team with talent. Alex Ovechkin is the NHL's premier goal-scorer. Nicklas Backstrom may be its most underappreciated superstar. Mike Green might not wow fans like he used to, but he is still capable of awe-inspiring rushes.

Yet the Capitals were not a good team last season, at least according to their lofty standards. Their absence from the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007 served as proof and an awakening. General manager George McPhee, the franchise's architect for nearly two decades, was not offered an extension. Coach Adam Oates was fired after two seasons.

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Ovechkin, Holtby among keys to Capitals' success

Monday, 09.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

As his franchise began to evolve into one of the NHL's perennial preseason Stanley Cup favorites several seasons ago, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis proclaimed that his team would qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs "10 to 15 years in a row."

The Capitals fell well short of that declaration last season, failing to qualify for the postseason for the first time in seven years. After some organizational introspection, there were significant changes in personnel, management and coaching.

Reinforced by an experienced coaching staff fronted by Barry Trotz and a redesigned defensive corps, the Capitals are convinced that last season was nothing more than an aberration. But in order to prove that notion correct, a lot of things have to go right.

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Capitals need Green to rejuvenate offensive game

Monday, 09.22.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014-2015 Season Preview

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

One could argue that no member of the Washington Capitals personifies the fluctuations of the franchise as much as defenseman Mike Green.

As Washington captivated the NHL several seasons ago with its freewheeling attack, so did Green, whose breathtaking, end-to-end rushes often resulted in dazzling goals.

Yet as the Capitals collectively struggled to reinvent themselves following disheartening eliminations in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Green no longer garnered attention for record-breaking scoring performances. Instead, he took heat for glaring defensive miscues when he was not out because of an injury.

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Quote of the Day

Because of the way they play and their skill set I don't think they're fourth-line players, so in my mind I'm looking at one of those guys I'll have to move over to the wing.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on his four-player battle for second-line center