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Around the League notebook for Monday, April 6

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 2:21 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

STEPAN POWERS RANGERS TO OVERTIME WIN AGAINST BLUE JACKETS

Facing a 3-2 deficit, Derek Stepan (2-1-3) tied the game with 27.5 seconds left in regulation and potted the overtime-winner with 49.6 seconds remaining in extra time to power the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Rangers, who have won four straight games, are 51-21-7 (109 points) and moved two points ahead of the idle Anaheim Ducks (50-23-7, 107 points) for the top spot in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.

* The 51 wins and 109 standings points are tied for the second-highest single-season totals in Rangers history; they also registered 51 wins in 2011-12 and earned 109 standings points in 1970-71, 1971-72 and 2011-12. The only season in which the Rangers earned more than 51 victories and 109 standings points was 1993-94 (52-24-8, 112 points).

* The Rangers have earned at least 25 wins at home (25-10-5) and on the road (26-11-2) in the same season for the first time.

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Bruins' Chara day-to-day with undisclosed injury

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 1:10 PM / News

NHL.com

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara did not practice Monday and is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, coach Claude Julien said.

"He's day-to-day; today was a maintenance day," Julien said, according to the Bruins official Twitter account. "I know he's better today than he was after last game. We'll hope for the best."

The Bruins don't play until Wednesday, when they visit the Washington Capitals (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports).

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Fantasy All-Access: Championship week tips

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.

The fantasy championship week is finally here, and knowing the schedule is the most important piece to your championship. You can make a plan to drop some players who only have two games for players who play four games and bring more value to your team.

The teams that have four games this week are the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets.

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Hammond, Schenn and Foligno named stars of week

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 12:00 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK - Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, Philadelphia Flyers center Brayden Schenn and Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno and have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending April 5.

FIRST STAR - ANDREW HAMMOND, G, OTTAWA SENATORS

Hammond helped the Senators continue their surge for a playoff berth by posting a 3-0-1 record, 1.63 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage as Ottawa (40-26-13, 93 points) finished the week two points behind both Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference. Hammond stopped 16 shots in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings March 31, made 28 saves in a 2-1 overtime win over the Tampa Bay Lightning April 2 and 29 stops in a 4-3 overtime win over the Washington Capitals April 4. He closed the week by posting 36 saves through overtime and five more in the shootout in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs April 5. The NHL's First Star for March has posted a 17-1-2 record with a 1.86 goals-against average, .939 save percentage and two shutouts since his season debut Feb. 16.

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St. Laurent, five-time Stanley Cup winner, dies at 85

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:43 AM / News

MontrealCanadiens.com

MONTREAL - It is with great sadness that the Montreal Canadiens learned of the passing of Dollard St. Laurent in Beloeil on Monday. He was 85.

Originally from Verdun, St. Laurent got his start with the Canadiens in 1950-51 before playing his first full season in 1952-53. A defensive defenseman who could still pitch in on offense, it was during the 1952-53 season that St-Laurent won his first Stanley Cup.

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Playoff Countdown: Potential for wild night in West

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:40 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.

Monday promises to be a wild night in the Western Conference, as two teams have the opportunity to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the battle for the second wild card continues.

The Minnesota Wild (44-26-8) can become the fourth team from the Central Division to make the playoffs with a regulation or overtime win at home against the Winnipeg Jets (40-26-12). The Wild can also get in with a shootout win if the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Vancouver Canucks in any fashion.

The Canucks (45-29-5) will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak when they host the Kings (39-25-14). A regulation win and a Jets loss to the Wild in regulation would clinch a postseason berth for the Canucks and help solidify their second-place standing in the Pacific Division, which carries home ice for the first round.

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Canucks, Kings ready for Pacific Division showdown

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:36 AM / Expert Picks

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For the Vancouver Canucks, defeating the Los Angeles Kings on Monday (10 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, PRIME, SNP) would help in securing their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The opportunity to derail the defending Stanley Cup-champion Kings attempt to get back to the postseason, avoid Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs in the Western Conference, or make a statement if they do face the Kings in the playoffs was a bonus few wanted to discuss.

"I don't think we're thinking about that at all," forward Chris Higgins said. "You try to keep your focus small this time of year."

That focus is bouncing back from consecutive losses against the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets to finish a four-game road trip, avoiding their first three-game losing streak since mid-January, and taking back control of their own fate in the playoff race.

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Playoff clinching scenarios for Monday, April 6

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:24 AM / Expert Picks

NHL Public Relations

With six days remaining in the regular season, there are eight berths up for grabs in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

These are the clinching scenarios for games Monday:

* The Minnesota Wild would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Winnipeg Jets in regulation or overtime OR if they defeat Winnipeg in a shootout AND the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Vancouver Canucks in any fashion.

* The Canucks would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat Los Angeles in regulation AND Winnipeg loses to Minnesota in regulation.

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Defensive depth plays huge role in Wild's success

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The mumps and mysterious stomach ailments seem like they happened in another season. In many ways, that's because they did.

For the Minnesota Wild, the 2014-15 season has played out in three distinct segments: the good first month, the abyss around the holiday season, and then the rally to Stanley Cup Playoff relevancy.

Along the way, the Wild defensemen have played a key role in it all.

"Mumps and injuries, there's a lot of things we've had to overcome with that group," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Those are types of things that can really break a team, but they can also make it stronger too. And I think we've seen in that time, we've seen different players step up and take their game to another level, taking advantage of that opportunity."

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Around the League notebook for Sunday, April 5

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 12:21 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

CAPITALS PUNCH TICKET TO POSTSEASON WITH WIN AGAINST RED WINGS AND HELP FROM MAPLE LEAFS

Braden Holtby made 35 saves to backstop the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings. In addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs defeating the Ottawa Senators, the Capitals clinched a berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a result. Washington reached the postseason for the 25th time in Capitals history and for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

* The Capitals are 44-25-11 (99 points) and leapfrogged the idle New York Islanders to take sole possession of second in the Metropolitan Division standings.

* The Capitals have earned points in five consecutive games (4-0-1) and have earned points in seven of their past eight road games (6-1-1).

* Holtby stopped all but one of 36 shots he faced and is 40-19-10 with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Holtby has earned points in six consecutive decisions (5-0-1).

* With a career-high 40 wins this season, Holtby ranks third among League-leaders and became the second goaltender in Capitals history to earn 40 victories in a season; Olie Kolzig had a 41 wins in 1999-2000. The victory was Holtby's 100th in the NHL and he became the fastest goaltender in Capitals history to reach the 100-win mark (176 GP).

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He's a winner. We want winners here, and he's a proven winner. He's won two Stanley Cups. He's 22 years old and been a big part of it. He's got all the right tools. He's got size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and strength. He's exactly what we were looking for. He's going to be a big piece of our team for many, many years to come.

— Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen on Brandon Saad, who he acquired in a trade with the Blackhawks on Tuesday
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