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2014 NHL Draft
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Wild's Niederreiter excelling in Stanley Cup Playoffs

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 6:19 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter says once he stopped thinking about the goals he wasn't scoring, he started scoring the goals he wanted to score.

By letting his mind go, he ended up getting to where he wanted to be all along.

Now, Niederreiter is having an impact on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, excelling as one of the Wild's most physical forwards as they battle the Chicago Blackhawks in a Western Conference Second Round series. Minnesota will look to even the best-of-7 series at two games apiece with a win in Game 4 on Friday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS)

"This is a guy that, coming in here this year and you look at where he has come as far as what type of player he has become, and it is a real compliment to him," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "We've had him on our fourth line and we've had him on our first line. We've had him on a checking line and we've had him on a scoring line, and he has really learned what type of player he has to be, the way he needs to play to be successful night in and night out.

"He's not a fun guy to play against when he is on top of his game. He's physical, he's strong on the puck, he's got the ability to make plays. He also has a good awareness of how to play without the puck. This is a guy that we have seen an awful lot of growth from as far as learning what his game is, but also just what it means to be a pro, and what it means to compete and be successful at this time of year."


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Hradek, La Greca to chat live with fans Friday

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 6:05 PM / Edward Jones Face Time

NHL.com

NHL Network's E.J. Hradek joins sports commentator Don La Greca for live online Face Time chat with fans Friday at 1 p.m. ET. Hradek and La Greca will take questions and share their views about the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Missed out on last Friday's chat? Register here to participate in today's. Learn more and access complete chat archive at facetime.nbcsports.com.

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Maple Leafs extend contract of coach Carlyle

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 3:00 PM / News

NHL.com

Randy Carlyle will return next season as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs and has been given a contract extension through the 2016-17 season.

General manager David Nonis announced at the same time that assistant coaches Dave Farrish, Scott Gordon and Greg Cronin would not return to the team next season.

Carlyle's job status had been in question since a late-season collapse by the Maple Leafs and the hiring of Brendan Shanahan as their new president.

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Pearn: Ducks must take back middle of ice from Kings

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 2:57 PM / Ducks vs. Kings - 2014 SCP Second Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, NHL.com has enlisted the help of former NHL coach Perry Pearn to break down the action. Pearn will be checking in throughout the series.

Pearn has spent the past 18 seasons as an assistant coach in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and a second tenure with the Jets in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

LOS ANGELES -- The Anaheim Ducks need to find some solutions after scoring three times in two games and falling behind 2-0 in this Western Conference Second Round series with the Los Angeles Kings.

Game 3 is Thursday night at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). Two years ago, the Kings won the first two games in each round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the road and then won Game 3 at home.

For the Ducks to avoid a similar fate, they would do well to start utilizing a particular area of the ice surface more.

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Blue Jackets sign Dansk to entry-level contract

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 1:52 PM / News

NHL.com

The Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday signed goaltender Oscar Dansk to a three-year entry-level contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Dansk, 20, was a second-round pick (No. 31) by the Blue Jackets in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Dansk, a native of Tumba, Sweden, has spent the past two seasons with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, compiling a 40-32-7 record with a 3.25 goals-against average, .897 save percentage and six shutouts in 85 appearances.

He was the co-winner, alongside fellow Otter Devin Williams, of the Dave Pinkney Trophy for Top Team Goaltending in 2013-14 after Erie allowed a league-low 170 goals in 68 games en route to posting franchise records for wins (52) and points (106) in a season.

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Kingston's McKeown flashing first-round potential

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Center Samuel Bennett wasn't the only top prospect making headway with NHL scouts playing for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League this season.

Defenseman Roland McKeown, a 6-foot-1, 197-pound right-shot defenseman, was another gem added to the short list.

"I believe my game translates well at the next level," McKeown said. "I think my skating, agility, IQ and strength to battle in the corners are all key components to making a successful pro. And I feel being able to do those things will get me to the next level."

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Rangers come up flat in must-win Game 4

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 12:54 AM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The confidence the New York Rangers felt after outshooting the Pittsburgh Penguins 35-15 during their Game 3 loss in the Eastern Conference Second Round series was nowhere to be found following a 4-2 loss in Game 4 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers head to Pittsburgh trailing 3-1 in the best-of-7 series and will see their season end unless they win Game 5 on Friday night (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN. CBC, RDS).

To do so, they'll have to be a lot better than they were Wednesday. Game 4 seemed to be an endless series of costly errors and lost opportunities. Even when the Rangers did manage to get back into this must-win game, they couldn't get out of their own way.

"It was a combination of them being real good and us picking a bad night in the playoffs to have a bad game," coach Alain Vigneault said. "I don't want to take any credit away from Pittsburgh, but our puck management tonight and our execution weren't very good and ultimately cost us the game."

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Penguins' defense overcomes another Orpik injury

Thursday, 05.08.2014 / 12:15 AM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Forced to play with five defensemen when Brooks Orpik sustained an injury in the first period did very little to derail the Pittsburgh Penguins from exhibiting one of their better defensive efforts of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Penguins limited the New York Rangers to a season-low 15 shots and scored a shorthanded goal to add salt to the wound of a struggling power play en route to 4-2 victory in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

It was a battle of attrition and teamwork, particularly over the final 40 minutes when the Penguins allowed nine shots against goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

The win gives the Penguins a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series that resumes Friday with Game 5 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh (7 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

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Penguins' Orpik leaves Game 4 vs. Rangers

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 10:22 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik did not play after the first period against the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

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Ducks' Fowler follows path set by Kings' Doughty

Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 7:36 PM / Ducks vs. Kings - 2014 SCP Second Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Here's a quick story: A young defenseman from a Southern California-based NHL team earns a somewhat surprising selection to his country's Olympic team. After he competes in the tournament and plays well, it bolsters his belief in himself and helps the player, already on the path to stardom, be even better.

So is this tale about someone from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics or the 2014 Sochi Olympics?

It's a trick question, of course. The answer is both. Like Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty four years before him, the experience with the United States team in Russia for Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks could help springboard him into the group of elite defensemen in the NHL. He might have been on that trajectory anyway.

"It was awesome. Obviously it wasn't the final result we were looking for (the U.S. did not medal), but for me getting that experience at such a young age was pretty crucial," Fowler said. "I looked back at a lot of those things that happened. Just being able to prove myself that I can play against the best competition at the highest level in the world, that was a pretty special thing for me. I've been able to kind of carry that with me. Just looking back and thinking through some things that I went through at that level definitely help me now."

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Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness