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(Page 141 of 216)
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Canadiens look for answers to power-play problems

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 8:07 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec – The Montreal Canadiens would appear to have all the tools necessary to have one of the most potent power plays in the NHL.

They have an excellent quarterback in defenseman Andrei Markov, a world-class trigger man in defenseman P.K. Subban, a disruptive net-front presence in Brendan Gallagher and one of the best shooting forwards in the NHL in Max Pacioretty.

But with this collection of talent at their disposal, the Canadiens have one of the worst power plays in the NHL. They enter their game Saturday against the Minnesota Wild (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, TVA, CITY, FS-N+) with a 7.9 percent success rate with the man-advantage.

"The power play needs to be a lot better," coach Michel Therrien said after practice Friday, during which the Canadiens spent a significant amount of time working on the power play. "We need to move the puck a lot quicker, we need to take better decisions. The power play needs to be a threat, and right now I'm not satisfied with the power play.

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Canadiens' Scherbak leads Russia Super Series roster

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 5:24 PM / News

NHL.com

Montreal Canadiens prospect Nikita Scherbak, the 26th pick of the 2014 NHL Draft, was one of the players who will be part of the Russia roster that will take part in the 2014 Subway Super Series.

Scherbak has 10 goals and 20 points in 12 games with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.

Russia will have a 23-man roster for the six-game tournament and will use 10 Russian players already skating in the Canadian Hockey League. That includes Scherbak, who only will play in the first two games, against the Western Hockey League.

Scherbak is one of seven players who have been drafted by NHL teams who will play in the Super Series. Other players already drafted are goaltender Igor Shesterkin (New York Rangers), defenseman Rushan Rafikov (Calgary Flames) and Rinat Valiev (Toronto Maple Leafs), and forwards Pavel Kraskovsky (Winnipeg Jets), Sergey Tolchinsky (Carolina Hurricanes) and Ivan Barbashev (St. Louis Blues).

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Rangers' Stepan to make season debut Saturday

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 3:29 PM / News

NHL.com

New York Rangers center Derek Stepan will make his season debut Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, coach Alain Vigneault told the Rangers website Friday.

"I think he's probably the happiest person around our surroundings today," Vigneault said. "He's been waiting for this for a long time. He's worked extremely hard. He's good to go. He's going to play [Saturday]."

Stepan has not played since sustaining a broken left fibula during a training camp conditioning drill Sept. 24. The initial diagnosis was Stepan would miss 4-6 weeks; Saturday will be six weeks and three days.

"I feel good, I feel strong," Stepan said, according to The (Bergen) Record. "It was good to get back in the mix."

Vigneault said Stepan will skate between Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello against the Maple Leafs.

"[Stepan and Kreider] have got some real good chemistry," Vigneault said. "He understands Chris well, he reads him well, he uses his speed well. [Zuccarello] I feel should fit in real nicely with that line."

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Stars should shine when Capitals visit Blackhawks

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It's a matchup that won't lack for big names when the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals meet outside on New Year's Day at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa top the list of Chicago's elite players. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green will headline the roster for the Capitals.

The Capitals and Blackhawks will give fans a preview of that New Year's Day game Friday at United Center (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). It's the only other time the teams will play this season, so it should be a good primer for the Winter Classic.

"They've obviously got some dangerous players that can hurt you pretty quick," Kane said of the Capitals. "As far as the Winter Classic goes it could be a great matchup with a lot of talent and a lot of players that can do some special things to maybe help get the fans out of their seats."

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Vande Sompel to play in two OHL Super Series games

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 2:19 PM / News

NHL.com

Mitchell Vande Sompel, a top prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft, will play in both games for the Ontario Hockey League against Russia in the 2014 Subway Super Series, the OHL announced Friday.

Vande Sompel, a defenseman with the Oshawa Generals, was added to the OHL roster for Game 3, on Nov. 13 in Peterborough, Ontario. He replaces Alexander Peters, a Dallas Stars prospect, who is unable to play because of an injury. Vande Sompel initially was named to the roster for Game 4 of the series, Nov. 17 in Kingston, Ontario.

He entered play Friday tied for the lead among OHL defensemen with 19 points in 16 games. The 5-foot-10, 182-pound defender earned a B rating from NHL Central Scouting on its preliminary players to watch list.

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Tarasenko, Luongo among hot fantasy topics

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

We've just about reached the point of no return, at least in my book. As I stated a few weeks ago, I tend to give players a 12-15 game trial every season to prove themselves. If they've performed at a high level for those 12-15 games, I have reason to believe they can continue to perform at that level for at least most of the remainder of the season. If they've struggled and disappointed in those 12-15 games, I usually start to think this might not be their season.

Of course, players will prove my benchmark wrong. Claude Giroux's 2013-14 season got off to an abysmal start when he went without a goal in his first 15 games. We all know what happened after that.

There will be Girouxs this season. At some point players like Anze Kopitar, David Backes and Gabriel Landeskog should turn things around. But for lesser-known players, the 12-15 game benchmark usually has worked for me. This is your chance to start gauging what you can expect from a player this season.

St. Louis Blues sensation Vladimir Tarasenko is the perfect example. Tarasenko's been the hottest topic in fantasy hockey this week and is the No. 2 overall fantasy player in Yahoo leagues. Will he remain a top-10 player? Maybe. But he's the type of player that has proved to me he can carry this hot start throughout the season. I'm a believer.

Let's have a look at some other hot topics in fantasy hockey right now.
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Mazanec continues North American adjustment in AHL

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 11:39 AM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

Though there's no definite number, Oxford Dictionaries estimates there are over 250,000 words in the English language. That's not including slang, technical or scientific terms. For those who grow up with English as their native tongue, it's often hard to fathom just how vast the language really is, and how so many of the "rules" are broken on a sentence-by-sentence basis.

Marek Mazanec, a sixth-round pick (No. 179) of the Nashville Predators in the 2012 NHL Draft, knew just a handful of those 250,000 -- if that. After three seasons backstopping HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga, the highest level of hockey in the Czech Republic, Mazanec split the 2013-14 season almost evenly between the Predators and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals.

The adjustment was twofold.

"Everything was new for me last year. Different country, language, people, hockey style," Mazanec said. "The hardest part was my bad English. I got lucky [with] the people in the Predators organization. Everyone tried to help me, so they made it little easier for me."

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Super 16: Blues' Tarasenko among elite Russians

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The St. Louis Blues have won six games in a row despite injuries to forwards Paul Stastny and T.J. Oshie (and a temporary absence for captain David Backes). One of the biggest reasons the Blues have stormed back near the top of the League standings after an uneven start is the play of forward Vladimir Tarasenko.

While Stastny was the headliner among the offseason additions, with forward Jori Lehtera and a full-time roster spot for goaltender Jake Allen probably next in line, one of the best reasons to think St. Louis could improve in 2014-15 was the maturation of Tarasenko and forward Jaden Schwartz. Tarasenko is off to a great start with eight goals and 14 points in 12 games, including the best goal of the season to date Monday at Madison Square Garden and then the lone goal of the game one day later across the Hudson River at Prudential Center.

Tarasenko is already one of the top Russian players in the NHL (in the NHL is an important distinction, because he was not happy with his role on the national team in February). Where does he stack up among the top Russians in the League? Here's a look at the most productive players from his homeland since Tarasenko joined the Blues at the start of the 2012-13 season:

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Better defense not equaling wins for Capitals yet

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz hasn't sacrificed his offensive talent for stouter defense through 12 games, as he promised when hired in May.

Washington is averaging 3.08 goals per game and allowing 25.2 shots. Seven times this season, the Capitals have held an opponent to 25 or fewer shots, something they did 12 times in two seasons under former coach Adam Oates. The Capitals are also surrendering about 10 fewer 5-on-5 shot attempts per 60 minutes than they did last season, according to stats.hockeyanalysis.com.

That vast defensive improvement, though, hasn't led to early-season success.

The Capitals enter a preview of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) embroiled in a five-game losing streak.

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Around the League notebook for Thursday, Nov. 6

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 2:31 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

BLUES HOLD ON FOR SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE WIN

The New Jersey Devils scored three goals in the final 3:25 of regulation, ending Jake Allen’s shutout streak at 184:38, but David Backes’ power-play goal at 17:28 of the final frame stood as the game-winner as the St. Louis Blues won their seventh consecutive game.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Allen’s shutout streak is the longest ever by a Blues rookie, surpassing Ernie Wakely's mark of 150:50 set in 1969-70. The last NHL rookie with a streak as long as Allen’s was Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008-09 (199:28).

* Allen’s streak is the fifth-longest in Blues history, behind Brian Elliott (241:33 in 2011-12, 214:02 in 2012-13), Manny Legace (187:39 in 2007-08) and Greg Millen (184:47 in 1988-89).

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I don't have a crystal ball. Predicting is a real complicated thing. If we stay healthy, have enough depth and get the good goaltending we think we're going to have, you can go all the way. But a lot of things have to happen. There's going to be a lot of teams that think the same thing. Everyone made deals. We're all are optimistic about where we'll end up.

— Rangers general manager Glen Sather after being asked if he's constructed a team that can win the Stanley Cup before their 4-1 win against the Predators on Monday
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