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Daily Primer Dec. 19: Penguins aim for 6th straight win

Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider


The Pittsburgh Penguins have been playing without their top four defensemen yet they keep finding ways to win.

The Penguins (25-10-1) will look to make it six in a row when they host the Minnesota Wild at Consol Energy Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, FS-N, ROOT). Pittsburgh extended its winning streak to five with a 4-3 shootout victory against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

Sidney Crosby had two assists for the Penguins, who are without Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik.

Here's a closer look at the action Thursday:


Jones, Scrivens step up for Kings in Quick's absence

Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Before the Los Angeles Kings had goaltenders falling out of their pockets, captain Dustin Brown remembers the dark days.

From 2006-08, Los Angeles started 11 goalies, from the four-game Yutaka Fukufuji era to veteran Sean Burke. Not to disparage those players, but Brown recalls the instability before Jonathan Quick arrived.

"I think I've always said that was our biggest change," Brown said. "With Quickie coming in and the level he's played at kind of speaks for itself, but I also think a byproduct of that is the mentality around the team, because when you have a solidified No. 1 goalie, that goes a long way, [and] the uncertainty of not knowing who's going to be in net for you every night can have a negative effect on the team, and the morale, and how you play in front of a guy.


Prospector Files: A-listers impress at selection camp

Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Goalie Thatcher Demko and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo certainly weren't out of place this past week at U.S. National Junior Team selection camp here on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

Both are considered A-rated players on NHL Central Scouting's December players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft and were involved in a regular rotation during four practice sessions at the camp held at Mariucci Arena this week.

The only difference is Boston College freshman Demko will be traveling with the team when selection camp continues in Sweden beginning Thursday while DeAngelo will be returning to the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting. DeAngelo was informed of his release Wednesday morning as the U.S. managerial team pared its roster to 26 players.


Rookie Maatta emerges for injury-ravaged Penguins

Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 1:07 AM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

Olli Maatta
Defense - PIT
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 7 | PTS: 9
SOG: 52 | +/-: 3
NEW YORK -- It's unlikely Pittsburgh Penguins rookie defenseman Olli Maatta ever imagined he would be one of the team's most veteran defensemen at any point this season. But injuries to Pittsburgh's top four blueliners have suddenly forced Maatta into that very situation.

And he's making the transition look easy.

The 19-year-old easily topped his career high for minutes in Pittsburgh's 4-3 shootout victory against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. His 28:06 topped his previous high of 24:17, which he set in a 3-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs two nights earlier.

Senators hold meeting after loss to Devils

Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 12:30 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Ottawa Senators held a closed-door meeting Wednesday night to try to figure out how to get their season turned around.

The Senators shut the dressing room doors for nearly 10 minutes following a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center for a gathering that included general manager Bryan Murray, coach Paul MacLean, his staff and the players.

"It was for the most part a message from the top of expectations from them and what we should be expecting of each other," Senators alternate captain Chris Phillips said. "It was a good message."

The Senators entered the season with high expectations after making the Stanley Cup Playoffs despite injuries to stars such as defenseman Erik Karlsson, center Jason Spezza and goalie Craig Anderson. However, they are sixth in the Atlantic Division with 34 points and have not been able to string together back-to-back wins since they won three in a row from Nov. 5-9.


Devils' Jagr eighth on goals list, record game-winner

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 11:20 PM / News

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Jaromir Jagr moved up on two of the NHL's all-time lists for goals with one shot Wednesday.

Jagr's power-play goal early in the second period at Prudential Center put him in sole possession of eighth place on the NHL's all-time goals list with 693 and eventually moved him into first place on the League's all-time list for game-winning goals with 122.

Jagr's next goal will tie him with Mark Messier for seventh place on the goals list. Jagr was tied with Gordie Howe on the game-winning list, but Jagr now has first place to himself because his goal was New Jersey's third in a 5-2 win against the Ottawa Senators.

In typical Jagr fashion, he cracked a joke when asked about his achievements.

"It's a long streak for me without a goal," said Jagr, who snapped an eight-game drought. "[Dainius Zubrus] did a great job to shut me down for eight games."


Blues sign Steen to three-year extension

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 5:08 PM / News


The St. Louis Blues on Wednesday signed forward Alexander Steen to a three-year contract extension worth $17.4 million.

He is in the final season of a four-year, $13.45 million contract and would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Steen leads the Blues in goals (22) and points (36) this season. He is tied with Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks for second among all NHL players with 22 goals, trailing only the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, who has 28.


Lightning sign Cote to two-year contract

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 4:30 PM / News


The Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday signed defenseman Jean-Philippe Cote to a two-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Cote, 31, had nine points and a plus-6 rating in 19 games with the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League. He will be available for the Lightning for their next game, Thursday against the Nashville Predators.


Hurricanes forward Lindholm to play in WJC

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 4:23 PM / News


The Carolina Hurricanes will allow forward Elias Lindholm to play for Sweden at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, general manager Jim Rutherford announced Wednesday.

With this year's WJC in Malmo, Sweden, the national junior team certainly is happy to have Lindholm, who was not available for the summer evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., in August so he could prepare for the start of the NHL season.

Lindholm, 19, has split the season between the Hurricanes and the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League. In 21 NHL games Lindholm has three goals and four assists. He was the fifth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.


Red Wings use outdoor practice to lift spirits

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- The puck magician exited the rink inside Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon and summed up the Detroit Red Wings' current situation as only he could.

"No black," said Pavel Datsyuk, when asked why he didn't wear eye black during an outdoor practice that was open to the public. "[Don't] need it. In Detroit, no sunny days. We start winning, it might be sunny."

His answer drew a round of laughs but was apt for the injury-plagued Red Wings, who were blown out 5-2 by the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena and haven't won in six games.

Like the famous song lyric, ain't no sunshine for the Red Wings when the wins are gone. And wins are harder to get with almost half the usual roster sidelined by various injuries.

Detroit is missing six of its top-nine forwards, including captain Henrik Zetterberg, along with goalieJimmy Howard and top-four rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser. The Red Wings also have a 5-9-6 record on home ice and a vexing five-game losing streak at Joe Louis Arena they'd like to snap Thursday night against the Calgary Flames.

There's also some concern about Daniel Alfredsson's status after he didn't participate in the outdoor practice.

All things considered, taking it outside might've been perfect timing. The Red Wings got to breathe in some cold air and take their mind off their woes. Datsyuk put it this way: "It's fresh air, what we needed … a little bit of breathe."

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I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round