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Playoff clinching scenarios for Friday, April 10

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 12:28 PM / Expert Picks

NHL Public Relations

With two days remaining in the regular season, two berths in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs remain up for grabs (both in the Eastern Conference).

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Playoff Countdown: Berth on the line for Penguins

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 12:20 PM / Expert Picks

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

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.

There are only two games on the NHL schedule Friday night, but one will have a big impact on potential matchups for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

The Pittsburgh Penguins welcome the New York Islanders to Consol Energy Center, and awin would secure a playoff berth for the Penguins. Pittsburgh has made the postseason every year since 2006-07, which is the second-longest streak in the NHL behind the Detroit Red Wings (24 years).

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Blackhawks' Shaw fined for diving/embellishment

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 12:00 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw has been fined $2,000 as supplementary discipline under NHL Rule 64 (Diving/Embellishment), the National Hockey League announced today.

Revised for the 2014-15 season following offseason approval by the League's Board of Governors and the National Hockey League Players' Association, NHL Rule 64 is designed to bring attention to and more seriously penalize players (and teams) who repeatedly dive and embellish in an attempt to draw penalties. Fines are assessed to players and head coaches on a graduated scale outlined below.

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Super 16: Growth of analytics a boon for hockey fans

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 11:59 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The months following the 2013-14 NHL season were dubbed "The Summer of Analytics" as teams scrambled to add experts in the field to bolster hockey operations departments with new ideas in an attempt to close the gap on competitors which had already embraced the movement.

The 2014-15 season has been a fascinating one on multiple fronts as NHL teams attempted to weave new concepts and new thinkers together with more traditional ideas and "old school" employees. 

That same process is happening for many fans of the sport. Access to advanced statistics is expanding exponentially, and interest, whether it is a passing fancy or a desire for deeper understanding, is driving forward analytics in the public sector.

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Five reasons Flames clinched playoff berth

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

After a lengthy absence from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Calgary Flames kick-started what was expected to be a long and painful rebuild by shipping out longtime franchise face Jarome Iginla and top defenseman Jay Bouwmeester prior to the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline.

The first full season moving in a new direction saw the Flames, not surprisingly, finish 27th overall.

But the second year saw the Flames' prospects blossom into solid NHL players and blend with the remaining veterans into one of the League's surprise teams.

The Flames assured themselves of their first postseason berth in six years Thursday with a 3-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings, a victory that also knocked the defending Stanley Cup champs out of the postseason.

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Five reasons Jets clinched playoff berth

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff preached that patience and prospect development would anchor his management philosophy from his first day on the job in June 2011.

Nearly four years later, Cheveldayoff's patience combined with strong work at this season's NHL Trade Deadline to send the Jets to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The franchise will make its first playoff appearance since 2007, when it played as the Atlanta Thrashers, and Winnipeg fans will see playoff hockey live in their city for the first time since 1996, when the original Jets left the city for Arizona.

Here are five reasons the Jets clinched a playoff berth:


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Five reasons Red Wings clinched playoff berth

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

Six Detroit Red Wings weren't even born the last time they didn't make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Red Wings clinched a playoff berth for the 24th straight season Thursday, tied for the fourth longest streak in NHL history. They haven't missed the postseason since the 1989-90 season.

"People talk about 24 years, but for me 10 years since the lockout, we're the only team in the National Hockey League to make it all 10 times," coach Mike Babcock said Thursday. "The last three years, we've been grinding to get in. We changed our group totally, and to find a way has been incredible."

Here are five reasons the Red Wings clinched a playoff berth:

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Stamkos needs little space to create big offense

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Closer Look

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

When Steven Stamkos is on the ice, he is the focus. Not only of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but of their opponents.

Stamkos is one of the best goal-scorers on the planet, meaning not only are the Lightning constantly looking to get him the puck, but other teams are game-planning to deny him possession.

It's a chess match, and one that requires coach Jon Cooper to create ways to get Stamkos the time and space he needs to be successful.

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Malkin looking to lead Penguins back to playoffs

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins' offense has lived and died by center Evgeni Malkin.

Sidney Crosby has returned to form with seven goals and 17 points in his past 14 games, his most productive stretch since scoring 23 points in the first 13 games of the season.

But that hasn't led to team success. In those 14 games, the Penguins went 4-8-3, not including a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins with Crosby injured.

Malkin fully played in five of the 14 games, the first three ending with a win before losing two straight when he returned April 5 from an undisclosed injury. In the nine games Malkin was injured, including the shutout loss to Boston on March 14 when he sustained a lower-body injury on his first shift, Pittsburgh won once, putting the Stanley Cup Playoffs in some doubt.

"There are a lot of good hockey teams that have had good years that are in the exact same position as us," Crosby said. "It's going to be about who handles it the best and who plays the best at the right time."

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Five teams that bolstered defense at trade deadline

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Starting with the blockbuster trade that brought Tyler Myers to the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 11, the run-up to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline was essentially a race among contending teams to bolster their blue lines.

The Jets, Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings all acquired defensemen before the deadline.

In the case of trades the Penguins made with the Blues and Ducks, defensemen were swapped because of the different elements of the game they offer.

Considering what went on in the trade market more than a month ago, it's no surprise now that the defensemen traded have a chance to make a huge impact on their respective teams in the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are the five teams that have appeared to benefit the most by bolstering their blue lines before the deadline:

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Quote of the Day

I definitely think going back down helped me, I had a lot of confidence down there, I played a lot of minutes and I think that helped me a lot. With the 37 games up here, that gave me experience as well. I know what it takes to play in the NHL and now it's time for me to show that I'm capable of being a full-time NHL player.

— Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on finishing the 2014-15 season in juniors after playing 37 games with Edmonton to begin the season