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Hudler's season sparked Flames, but he won't say so

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Jiri Hudler is as elusive on the ice as he is off.

But while the bashful Calgary Flames forward has never proven to be a big fan of chatting about personal accolades, linemates of the right wing haven't been shy to step in and discuss Hudler's best NHL season.

"A lot of people might not have expected that but in this room we know how he can play," said Sean Monahan, who has served as Hudler's center for much of 2014-15. "It's no surprise to us. I don't think he minds not getting that attention that some of the other guys get.

"He flies under the radar a little bit. That's something that he likes. He's doing a great job for us. He's taken a big chunk of this season and carried us."

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Why the Lightning will win the Stanley Cup

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

There are a few things teams need to have to win the Stanley Cup, from a deep offense to a mobile but stout defense and a goaltender who makes all the important saves.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have all those pieces in place, and that's why they will win the Stanley Cup.

Captain Steven Stamkos draws most of the attention when it comes to the Lightning, and with good reason. Along with being one of the purest goal scorers in the League, Stamkos has the ability to elevate the play of his linemates.

But what separates the Lightning from the pack is the depth of their offense. Their second line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov arguably is the best 5-on-5 line in the NHL. They've combined for more than 90 points on the ice together at even strength; that ranks them in the top two among all lines, and about 60 points better than the Lightning's next highest-scoring line. Johnson, Palat and Kucherov each has a plus/minus of plus-30 or better.

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Why the Predators will win the Stanley Cup

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Nashville Predators entered the 2014-15 season with hopes of finding a way to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after failing to qualify in back-to-back years.

They entered with a new coach, Peter Laviolette, who is the second in Predators history. Barry Trotz spent the first 15 years of their existence behind the bench. Armed with an ability to quickly turn things around, Laviolette seemed to be the perfect hire by general manager David Poile.

Just like Laviolette did in his first seasons with the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers, he quickly got his team back on track. Laviolette, who coached the Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006, has done such an impressive job his name has been mentioned as a Jack Adams Award candidate as the NHL's top coach.

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Why the Rangers will win the Stanley Cup

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The New York Rangers are better suited to win the Stanley Cup this season because they're faster and more skilled than they were last season, when they went to the Stanley Cup Final. This is the best Rangers team since the 1993-94 season, when they last won the Cup.

Everything the Rangers do starts with speed. It fuels their overall game. They are arguably the fastest team in the NHL from front to back.

New York pushes the pace to create odd-man opportunities off the rush with quick puck movement. It puts the opponent on its heels. When the Rangers do that, it allows coach Alain Vigneault to roll four lines and three defense pairs, keeping everybody into the game and fresh.

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Ovechkin, Price win regular-season trophies

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 12:54 AM / Trophy Tracker

NHL.com

NEW YORK (April 12, 2015) – The 2014-15 National Hockey League regular season concluded on Saturday with Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn capturing his first career Art Ross Trophy as the League’s scoring champion, Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin claiming his fifth career Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s goal-scoring leader and Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens winning the William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender(s) who play at least 25 games for the club allowing the fewest goals. Two races – for the Art Ross Trophy and William M. Jennings Trophy – came down to the final moments of the regular season.

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Providence edges Boston U. to win first national title

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 12:30 AM / News

Connor Mellas - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- The clock hit zero, and the Providence College Friars raced straight for their goalie, crushing junior Jon Gillies in a celebratory sea of black and white jerseys.

Gillies made 49 saves and the Friars scored two third-period goals in a 4-3 come-from-behind victory against Boston University on Saturday in the Frozen Four final at TD Garden to win their first national championship.

"He was big-time for us," Providence coach Nate Leaman said of Gillies, a third-round pick (No. 75) by the Calgary Flames at the 2012 NHL Draft. "He held the ship. It was very much like our season. He held us in there, he held us in there, he held us in there, and then we were able to kind of respond in the third period there. He was our best player tonight."

Gillies, the Frozen Four most valuable player, finished the season with a 2.01 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.

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Five reasons Penguins clinched playoff berth

Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 12:21 AM / Expert Picks

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the ninth straight season.

They stumbled to the finish line, but the Penguins gave themselves a chance to see the real impact of the organizational overhaul undergone since elimination from the playoffs last season in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

General manager Jim Rutherford and coach Mike Johnston have their fingerprints all over a team that under former GM Ray Shero and ex-coach Dan Bylsma followed a Stanley Cup championship in 2009 by being a perennial playoff disappointment.

Now Rutherford and Johnston get their first chance to win in the spring with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. At least they hope to have each player. If there is one thing that's for certain this season, it's to never take a healthy player for granted.

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Playoff field set: Senators, Penguins get in

Saturday, 04.11.2015 / 11:59 PM / Expert Picks

NHL.com

The Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins won their way into the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday.

The New York Islanders and Calgary Flames lost to hand over home-ice advantage to their first-round opponents.

Ottawa capped an amazing run with a clinching 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Senators, 23-4-4 in their last 31 games, are the second wild card from the Eastern Conference and play the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.

Montreal clinched the Atlantic Division with a 4-3 shootout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Pittsburgh is the second wild card after defeating the Buffalo Sabres 2-0. The Penguins victory set the Eastern field by eliminating the Boston Bruins.

The Penguins will play the New York Rangers, who won the Presidents' Trophy and Metropolitan Division.

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Stars' Benn gets four points to win scoring title

Saturday, 04.11.2015 / 11:13 PM / News

NHL.com

Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn used a late-season charge to win his first Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer with 87 points, edging New York Islanders forward John Tavares by one point in the final seconds of the Stars' 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Benn had a hat trick and an assist. It was a career high in points for Benn, who had 79 last season.

Benn scored his third goal with 2:05 remaining with an empty net. That tied him with Tavares (86 points). Had the two remained tied, Tavares would have won the Art Ross Trophy because he scored more goals (38 to 35).

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Kings defenseman Regehr likely to retire from NHL

Saturday, 04.11.2015 / 6:57 PM / News

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr said Saturday he will likely retire after the Kings defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1 at Staples Center.

"Probably the last professional game I’ll play," Regehr said. "I talked to [Kings general manager] Dean [Lombardi] just after I got here [in 2013] and he asked me how long I thought I could play for. I told him I think I can give you two hard years and we’ll see … I think it’s time to move on to the next chapter in life."

Regehr, 34, played 15 seasons in the NHL as a physical, hard-hitting defenseman whose body absorbed a lot of impact over the years. He was due to become an unrestricted free agent.

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Quote of the Day

Obviously there's a lot of expectations around me but it's something I try not to focus on. I'm just trying to go out there, be myself on the ice every day, try to get better, be myself around the guys in the locker room. I think that's what's made me successful and the person that I am.

— Sabres forward Jack Eichel on transitioning from college hockey to the NHL