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Around the League notebook: Wednesday, Nov. 25

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 2:14 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

CANADIENS TAKE CONTROL OF TOP SPOT IN NHL

Leading 2-1 after 40 minutes, the Montreal Canadiens scored three unanswered goals in the third period to earn their third consecutive victory, pull into sole possession of top spot in the NHL standings and halt the New York Rangers' home winning streak at nine games (their longest such streak since 1971-72).

* At 17-4-2 (36 points), the Canadiens lead the League in wins (tied w/ DAL) and points. The victory propelled them ahead of the Rangers (16-4-2, 34 points) and idle Stars (17-5-0, 34 points), who share second place in terms of points.

* Carey Price made 22 saves before being replaced by Mike Condon (11 SV) to start the third period. Price earned the decision to improve to 12-5-1 in 19 career regular-season appearances against the Rangers (1.74 GAA, .943 SV%, 7 SO).

Wild's Parise practices, could return against Jets

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 1:20 PM / News

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise returned to practice Thursday for the first time since injuring his right knee Nov. 5 and could be back in the lineup as soon as Friday against the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center.

"I don't know yet, we'll see how it responds," Parise said. "But I felt good and I felt comfortable doing everything."

Parise was injured in a collision with Nashville Predators forward James Neal. He was diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his right knee two days later and was originally expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Darling will share starts

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

David Satriano - NHL.com Fantasy Staff Writer

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford has won the Stanley Cup twice and won 30 games in each of the past four full NHL seasons, and he's gotten those wins despite not playing in more than 59 games. That means you can expect his backup, Scott Darling, to get between 20-25 starts.

Crawford's numbers aren't up to his standards; his 2.57 goals-against average and .912 save percentage are less than his career averages of 2.35 and .916, respectively. He made 27 saves in a 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, but Darling has started two of the past five games and likely will start once this weekend with Chicago having back-to-back games at the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.

As Darling showed last season, he's more than capable of coming up big when it matters. Darling was 3-1-0 with a 2.21 GAA and a .936 save percentage in helping the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup last season. This was after he went 9-4-0 with a 1.99 GAA and a .936 save percentage in 14 starts during the regular season.

Penticton's Jost, Fabbro not vying for draft position

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday, NHL.com will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

There's no competition between teammates, Penticton Vees forward Tyson Jost declared.

Not even amongst roommates, either.

Bragging rights aren't on the line in whether he or Vees defenseman Dante Fabbro is first to hear his name called in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The pair, who share the same billet and have been attached at the hip the past couple years, isn't about the tongue-in-cheek rivalry.

"No, no, not at all," said Jost, who captains the Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. "People probably wonder who's going to go higher and whatnot, and I went higher in the [Western Hockey League] Draft than he did by one spot. Honestly, we don't care at all. If Dante goes higher than me, I'm going to be really happy for him. He's one of my best buddies. I'll be just as happy if he gets drafted higher than if I do. It's a cool experience to have a buddy with you. We're not really focused on who goes higher."

By the Numbers: First quarter interesting picture

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Behind the Numbers

Rob Vollman - NHL.com Correspondent

A quarter of the 2015-16 NHL regular season is complete, and a look at the numbers reveals some rather interesting statistics at the individual, team and League levels.

Here are a dozen of the most compelling:

Unmasked: Backup role readied Mason for new career

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Chris Mason may be new to broadcasting, but the recently retired NHL goaltender-turned-radio analyst got a chance to prepare for his second career while playing out his first.

During his two stints with the Nashville Predators, it was common for the backup goalie to put on a headset during a break in the action and take questions from the broadcast crew. Now, after calling it a career this past summer following two seasons in Europe and trading in his pads for a headset, all those interviews from the bench are paying off for Mason as a Predators analyst.

"I played behind Tomas Vokoun in his heyday, so there was a lot of games where I was on the bench for those interviews," Mason, who played 317 NHL games over 13 seasons with the Predators, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets, said with a laugh. "I looked forward to doing it actually. I love talking about hockey. I love watching hockey. I love playing hockey. It's a passion of mine, so to be able to have that small sample of experience, it did help and it does make a difference feeling comfortable being on air and talking about hockey and not making a fool of yourself. I probably still did, but it makes you not so scared to make a fool of yourself."

Fast start has Rangers' Lundqvist leading Vezina race

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault challenged his No. 1 goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, to get off to a better start this season after struggling early the past few years, and "The King" has responded by restaking his claim as the NHL's best.

After adjusting his preseason approach to focus more on technique and position-specific drills with goaltending coach Benoit Allaire, Lundqvist has emerged as the early favorite to win his second Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender by backstopping the Rangers to the top spot in the Eastern Conference after a 31-save shutout of the Nashville Predators on Monday.

Following a 5-1 loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, Lundqvist sits atop the NHL in goals-against average (1.94) and save percentage (.939); his 12 wins are second to the Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby, who has 13.

For those wondering if Lundqvist is sheltered behind a good team playing well defensively, he also leads NHL starters with an adjusted 5-on-5 save percentage of .954, according to war-on-ice.com, a measurement that weighs shot quality based on the distance of the shots a goalie faces.

"He's our best player, there's no doubt," Vigneault recently told The New York Times.

Bruins' Chara believes in more good times to come

Thursday, 11.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

After Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz recently announced the 2016 season would be his last, the revelation was met with celebratory commentary about his career, which included three World Series championships.

Someday before the end of this decade Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara might make a similar declaration and most likely will do it in a Bruins jersey. We know Chara will have at least one Stanley Cup championship and one Norris Trophy on his resume when his career concludes. But will his stint in Boston inspire the same adulation as Ortiz's?

"The city's been great. I've been really honored and humbled to be playing in this town and giving it my all," said Chara, who's in his 10th season with the Bruins and has two more after this one on his contract, according to war-on-ice.com. "These are hardworking people and it's a pleasure to be playing for these kinds of people. So if I'm going to be celebrated, I don't know. Certainly everybody would want to be. When you play that many years and games and you win championships, hopefully people will remember and have good memories. But that's not what I'm looking right now at."

Chara, 38, is focused on on-ice matters. One season ago a ligament tear in his left knee cost him 19 games and made him look like a shell of the dominant defenseman who had been one of the most feared players to face for a decade. This season has been a comeback tour for Chara, who will be in the thick of the battle Friday when the Bruins host the New York Rangers at TD Garden in the Discover NHL Thanksgiving Showdown (1 p.m. ET, NBC, SN).

Oilers forward Yakupov injured against Hurricanes

Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 11:14 PM / News

NHL.com

Edmonton Oilers forward Nail Yakupov sustained an apparent lower-body injury Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes when he was taken to the ice by an official.

During a faceoff at center ice early in the second period, Yakupov got his legs tangled with linesman Matt MacPherson, and each went down to the ice. Yakupov did not put any weight on his left leg while being helped to the Oilers dressing room at 2:22.

Canadiens goalie Price leaves game with injury

Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 10:56 PM / News

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price left the game Wednesday against the New York Rangers after two periods with the same lower-body injury that kept him out of the lineup for nine games from Oct. 30 through Nov. 19.

Price's right leg appeared to bend awkwardly when he was trying to move across the crease during a sequence in the second period.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien said he did not know how long Price would be out of the lineup. He will not play against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday, but wasn't scheduled to play in that game. The Canadiens play the Devils at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Price was playing his third game since returning from the injury last Friday against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center. He finished with 22 saves in two periods Wednesday. Rookie backup Mike Condon replaced Price and made 11 saves in a 5-1 win.

"The medical staff was really comfortable and Carey was really comfortable to come back," Therrien said. "If we would have had any doubt, for sure we were never going to take that risk. That's all we could say about it. He tweaked it again tonight and that's why we don't want to take any chances. It's still early in the season, so it's important for us that when he plays he's got to make sure he's healthy."

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