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Around the League notebook for Saturday, Dec. 27

Sunday, 12.28.2014 / 10:34 AM / News

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Derek Stepan scored a shorthanded goal, power-play goal and an even strength goal for his third career hat trick to power the New York Rangers to their eighth consecutive victory. Per Elias, Stepan is the first Rangers player to score three such goals in one game since Brendan Shanahan on Dec. 3, 2006 against the New York Islanders.

* Stepan is the second Rangers player in as many games to have a hat trick, following Rick Nash on Tuesday against the Washington Capitals. Per Elias, the last time the Rangers had a hat trick in two consecutive games was Jan. 31 and Feb. 2, 1994 (Mike Gartner vs. PIT; Adam Graves vs. NYI).

* Stepan has four goals and eight points on his five-game point streak and ranks fourth on the Rangers with 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 21 games this season.

* The Rangers have won eight consecutive games for the first time since an equal stretch from Dec. 27, 1974 to Jan. 11, 1975.

* In addition, the Rangers have earned at least one point in 12 straight games against Metropolitan Division opponents (11-0-1). Elias says this marks the first time the Rangers have earned a point in 12 straight divisional matchups since the NHL adopted the four-division format in 1974-75.


Rogers Hometown Hockey celebrates Peterborough

Sunday, 12.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / News

Prior to the telecast Sunday of the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks on CITY in Canada, the NHL Network in the United States will televise the "Rogers Hometown Hockey" broadcast at 7:30 p.m. ET. This week's location is Peterborough, Ontario, to celebrate the city's iconic hockey story.

Among the features airing on the pregame show:


Year in review: Top 14 hockey moments in '14

Sunday, 12.28.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Every year is filled with great games and great performances, but there are certain moments that stand out.

These moments can give fans goose bumps, or make them cheer and scream as loud as they can or even elicit tears. Whether it is a point in a game where the electricity of the sport wows everyone, or communal support in a time of tragedy, hockey brings people together.

Here are the top 14 hockey moments of 2014:

January 1: A sea of blue (and red) at the Big House

The anticipation for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic centered largely on the venue. The NHL was going to play at Michigan Stadium, and a crowd of more than 100,000 was expected.

As the players stood and waited for the national anthems to be completed, the full scope of the spectacle set in. A record number of fans, half dressed in red for the Detroit Red Wings and half in blue for the Toronto Maple Leafs, sang the anthems and created a college-football like atmosphere as the snow fell in Ann Arbor. The Maple Leafs won in a shootout, and the images from the largest crowd to ever watch an NHL game were spectacular.


Devils focus on positives of unique coaching trio

Sunday, 12.28.2014 / 12:37 AM / NHL Insider

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Game 1 under the New Jersey Devils' coaching triumvirate is in the books, and it yielded similar results to the previous 36 games played under former coach Peter DeBoer.

One day after firing DeBoer, Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello unveiled his three-man operation Saturday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Adam Oates and Scott Stevens were added to the coaching staff to work behind the bench with Lamoriello, who is in a supervisory role for an undetermined about of time.

Although the tune was familiar, a 3-1 loss that dropped the Devils (12-18-7) to second-to-last in the Eastern Conference and 11 points out of the second wild-card spot, the vibe on the bench was positive.

"First of all, it was interesting watching and listening and seeing what was transpiring," Lamoriello said. "I thought it was extremely positive. The bench was extremely alive. We never got overly frustrated at any given time."


McDavid leads Canada past Germany at WJC

Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 10:27 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL - Connor McDavid got his first goal in what appeared to him to be an eternity.

In reality, it was three games.

But McDavid's opening goal in Canada's 4-0 win against Germany at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Saturday was the first time he had experienced that thrill since Nov. 11, when he broke his hand in a game with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, an injury that put his presence at this tournament in a little bit of jeopardy.

Slovakia upsets defending champion Finland at WJC

Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 7:49 PM / News

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Slovakia goaltender Denis Godla made headlines Saturday for the right reasons.

One day after being pulled from an 8-0 loss to Canada, Godla was the central figure in Slovakia's 2-1 upset of defending champion Finland in Group A play at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Bell Centre.

Godla made 37 saves and captain Martin Reway (Montreal Canadiens) set up goals by Peter Chlarik (Boston Bruins) and Matus Holenda for Slovakia (1-0-0-1, three points) to put Finland in a difficult spot in the group standings.

It was Slovakia's first win against a traditional hockey power at this tournament since a 3-2 overtime victory in the preliminary round of the 2009 championship held in Ottawa.


Sweden tops Denmark in WJC behind de la Rose

Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 7:37 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Captain Jacob de la Rose had one goal and two assists Saturday to lead Sweden to a 5-1 win against Denmark at Air Canada Centre in a Group B preliminary-round game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

In the second Group B game, Switzerland scored three times in the second period and beat the Czech Republic 5-2.

De la Rose (Montreal Canadiens) scored 13 seconds into the second period to give Sweden (2-0-0-0) a commanding 4-0 lead.

With the win, Sweden (2-0-0-0) leads Group B with six points. Denmark (0-0-1-1) is third with one point.


Finishing touches for NHL Winter Classic rink

Adam Vingan - Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Preparations at Nationals Park for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA) are nearing completion.

"We've got all the ice markings in, logos are almost completely in," NHL senior director of facilities operation Dan Craig said. "We'll put in our big center logo at 4 p.m. here, seal it all in."

Near 5 p.m., the center-ice logo was halfway finished. With an 80 percent chance of rain here Sunday, Craig's crew will work until around 9 p.m. to stay on schedule.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals will practice at the ballpark Wednesday, though the rink will be in use starting Tuesday.


Devils name Oates, Stevens to replace DeBoer

Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 2:46 PM / News

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

NEWARK, N.J. -- Scott Stevens and Adam Oates will combine to replace Peter DeBoer as coach of the New Jersey Devils, president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said Saturday morning.

With that unique announcement, the Devils entered uncharted territory as they try to navigate back into the hunt for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It is the first time in franchise history, and perhaps the first time in the history of the NHL, that a team has employed co-coaches.

In fact, for a short period, the Devils will have three coaches. Lamoriello said he is putting himself behind the bench for a limited period to supervise and get a better read on his players and the makeup of the team. He will step away from the bench as soon as he is comfortable with how the new process is working.

"I tried to come up with what, in my opinion, was the best way to get our team to do certain things and get the most out of the personnel we have," said Lamoriello, who fired DeBoer on Friday, the final day of the League's three-day Christmas break.

The three-headed coaching entity will make its debut Saturday when the Devils play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.


Penguins could have Maatta back within next month

Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:14 PM / News

Defenseman Olli Maatta is continuing a rehab program on his upper body injury and is expected to return to the lineup within the next month, Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford said today.

Maatta’s rehab program was set back briefly by his bout with the mumps.

Maatta, 20, has not played since December 6 vs. Ottawa. He has one goal and eight assists for nine points in 20 games this season.

Earlier this season he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his neck.

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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure