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Panthers agree to terms with forward Kyle Rau

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 12:38 PM / News

FloridaPanthers.com

SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to terms with F Kyle Rau on an entry-level contract. Rau will report to San Antonio (AHL) on an amateur try-out.

“We are very pleased to have agreed to an entry level contract with Kyle,” said Tallon. “He played extremely well at the University of Minnesota, leading the Gophers to back-to-back Big Ten regular-season championships and four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He is another one of our young and talented prospects who is prepared to take the next step in his hockey career.”

Rau, 22, played in 160 games for the University of Minnesota (2011-2015), recording 164 points (67-97—164).

To read more from the Florida Panthers website, CLICK HERE.

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Penguins defenseman Letang out with concussion

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 12:32 PM / News

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is out indefinitely after sustaining a concussion against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

With 4:45 remaining in the second period, Coyotes forward Shane Doan shoved Letang to the ice, causing the defenseman to fall backward. Letang’s head snapped back into the end boards when he made contact with the ice, where he sat for several minutes while being treated by team trainers.

Penguins forward Steve Downie, who later fought Doan, and defenseman Rob Scuderi, helped Letang to his skates and to the runway. He struggled to walk toward the Pittsburgh locker room before being taken to a hospital.

“Watching the hit … It was just him going back,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. “It was just such a distance from the boards. When he landed and his head snapped back into the boards that was the main impact of the injury. We’ll see how he feels over the next couple of days and go from there.”

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Playoff clinching scenarios for Sunday, March 29

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 11:26 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

With 14 days remaining in the regular season, there are 12 berths up for grabs in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Clubs that can clinch their spots Sunday:

* The Tampa Bay Lightning would clinch a playoff berth if the Boston Bruins lose to the Carolina Hurricanes in regulation.

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Around the League notebook for Saturday, March 28

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 10:46 AM / News

NHL.com

DUCKS, PREDATORS CLAIM POSTSEASON BERTHS IN WEST

* Frederik Andersen made 29 saves and Andrew Cogliano's second period goal stood as the game-winner for the Anaheim Ducks, who clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders. The League-leading Ducks (48-22-7, 103 points) reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 11th time in franchise history and third consecutive season.

* Andersen improved to 33-11-5 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .914 save percentage, and has won three of his past four starts.

* Rickard Rakell and Kyle Palmieri also scored for the Ducks. Palmieri's goal was his 14th of the season, matching his career-high set last season.

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Hanifin finishes freshman year at Boston College

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 10:27 AM / Prospects

Connor Mellas - NHL.com Correspondent

PROVIDENCE -- Boston College’s offensive zone possession collapsed, and suddenly, Denver forward Daniel Doremus faced a stretch of wide-open ice. With a few seconds remaining in the second period, Doremus skated through the neutral zone and into Eagles territory, focusing his attention on the only player in front of the net, BC goaltender Thatcher Demko.

He should have been more worried about who was behind him.

BC freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin skated about 130 feet and caught Doremus before he could challenge Demko, defusing the threat with a sweeping poke check.

“The puck is transitioning, and he picked it up,” Hanifin said. “I saw the trail guy behind, so I didn’t know if it was going to be a 2-on-1 or not, so I was kind of pacing myself because I didn’t want to go to him and have him throw it across for an open guy. I looked back and [Michael Matheson] was there, so I told him to go to him, and I basically got stick on puck and luckily, the puck went into the corner.”

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Playoff Countdown: Predators, Ducks, Canadiens in

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

NHL.com

Saturday, April 11, marks the conclusion to the 2014-15 regular season. Yet, much remains to be decided in the frantic run to the finish line, including playoff positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones. To celebrate the countdown to the end of the season and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, NHL.com will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

Three teams joined the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday.

The Nashville Predators, Anaheim Ducks and Montreal Canadiens assured themselves of playing beyond April 11 by clinching playoff berths.


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Five reasons Canadiens clinched playoff berth

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

The Montreal Canadiens clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs one game earlier than they did last season when they defeated the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime Saturday.

The Canadiens have six games left; they had five remaining last season when they clinched following a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 1, 2014.

The season prior to that, coach Michel Therrien's first back behind the Montreal bench, the Canadiens clinched with eight games remaining.

For a franchise that had grown accustomed to scratching and clawing its way into the postseason, this has been a welcome change and one of many signs showing how successful Therrien's tenure has been in his second stint with the Canadiens.

Yet in each of those three seasons, there have been reasons to doubt the Canadiens were for real.

In the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Montreal began to slip down the stretch after a surprising start coming off a season when they finished last in the Eastern Conference. There were many reasons to believe the Canadiens would fall back to the pack in a full season; their five-game exit in the first round of the 2013 playoffs did nothing to dispel that argument.

The past two seasons, the Canadiens have had poor underlying numbers that suggested they were a flawed team, but they have nonetheless maintained a lofty perch in the standings and comfortably qualified for postseason play.

The reasons they were able to do so this season closely mirror last season's, with the biggest, most glaring one topping the list each time.


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Capitals' Fehr excels in new role as checking center

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Ben Raby - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- More than 10 years have passed since defenseman Mike Green and forward Eric Fehr, now Washington Capitals teammates, played against each other in the Western Hockey League, but Green still has one regret.

"I wanted to drop the gloves with him; I really wanted to go," said Green, who was captain of the Saskatoon Blades. "But Eric, he was too busy scoring goals against us, two or three a game. He was a great goal-scorer, absolutely. We couldn't stop him."

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Rogers Hometown Hockey: Lethbridge, Alberta

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / News

NHL.com

CITY in Canada will televise "Rogers Hometown Hockey" on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET prior to the game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets. The location this week is Lethbridge, Alberta, and the half-hour program will celebrate the city's iconic hockey story.

Among the features airing on the pregame show:

* Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg scored on a goal on Oct. 25 this season against the St. Louis Blues hours after promising he would to Rochelle and Sara Knapp in memory of Rochelle's mother.

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Panthers face must-win games vs. Senators, Bruins

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 12:43 AM / Expert Picks

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL – The Florida Panthers have not played a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since losing Game 7 of the first round to the New Jersey Devils in 2012.

The game Sunday at the Ottawa Senators (5 p.m. ET; FS-F, RDS, TSN5) will be as close to one as Florida has played in three years, followed by a visit to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

The Panthers enter the game in Ottawa three points behind the Senators, who are one point behind the Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Florida lost 3-2 in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday but got some unexpected help from the Toronto Maple Leafs, who rallied to defeat the Senators 4-3 in overtime at home. The Bruins defeated the New York Rangers 4-2 earlier in the day.

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Quote of the Day

I don't think it's really truly going to sink in until we drop the puck, to be honest. I know there's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the media attention and all that. We came [Monday] and it was sort of a light day to get things organized. We just want to focus in on the business aspect, the game itself. That's what we're preparing to do. Get these next couple of days out of the way and it's game on.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on playing in his first Stanley Cup Final