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Around the League notebook for Monday, March 23

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 10:30 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

SURGING SENATORS REACH WILD-CARD SPOT WITH WIN AGAINST SHARKS

Facing a 2-1 deficit at the outset of the third period, the Ottawa Senators scored four straight goals, including two in a span of 1:12, to defeat the San Jose Sharks by a score of 5-2. The Senators, who have earned points in 16 of their past 17 games (15-1-1), are 37-24-11 (85 points) and leapfrogged the idle Boston Bruins to take sole possession of the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Senators have recorded points in 16 of 17 games for the first time since Feb. 20-March 24, 2007 (11-1-5). Elias also says that Ottawa have won 15 of 17 games for the first time since Oct. 3-Nov. 15, 2007 (15-2-0).

* Andrew Hammond made 29 saves and is 14-0-1 in his first 15 career starts, which includes victories in nine consecutive decisions. Through his 15 starts, Hammond has posted a 1.67 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage.

* Elias says that Hammond is the first goaltender in NHL history to earn points in each of his first 15 career starts since Patrick Lalime went 14-0-2 in his first 16 career starts with the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1996-97 season.

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Confident Kings face season-defining road trip

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 9:33 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- This is the regular season and that was the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Los Angeles Kings have to re-create or at least re-enact how they played with zero room for error in winning the Stanley Cup last season if they're going to have a chance to defend it this season.

They expect they will be able to do it. Confidence remains high even though consistency has been lacking.

"We know we can do it," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "We're confident that we will do it. There's no hope involved in that."

The Kings head into their game Tuesday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN) trailing the contenders in the Western Conference playoff race with 10 games remaining. They are two points behind the Calgary Flames for third in the Pacific Division and four points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

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Five Questions: Kesler on Ducks' success, depth

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features Olympic silver medalist and NHL All-Star Ryan Kesler:

Ryan Kesler's first season with the Anaheim Ducks has been rejuvenating for the 30-year-old center.

After a decade with the Vancouver Canucks, including 655 regular-season games, two Presidents' Trophy-winning seasons and a trip to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, Kesler feels his game is where it needs to be, his balance off the ice is better than ever, and his belief in the Ducks as Stanley Cup contenders is strong.

Kesler has 45 points (18 goals, 27 assists) in 74 games heading into Anaheim's game Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Ducks lead the Pacific Division and are in the race for the Presidents' Trophy with 99 points.

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Victoria's Lowry to coach Canada at 2016 WJC

Monday, 03.23.2015 / 5:15 PM / News

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Dave Lowry was named coach of Canada for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, Hockey Canada announced Monday.

Lowry, the coach of the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League, won a gold medal as an assistant coach for Canada at the 2015 WJC.

"We're going to continue to build on the momentum that we generated in 2015," Lowry said. "The mindset and mandate moving forward will be we're going to once again look to take the best players and we're going to make the players buy into playing the game a certain way and that'll be our way."

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Blue Jackets forward Milano assigned to AHL

Monday, 03.23.2015 / 3:34 PM / News

ColumbusBlueJackets.com

The Columbus Blue Jackets have assigned forward Sonny Milano from the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers to the American Hockey League’s Springfield Falcons, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.

Milano, 18, led Plymouth in scoring with 22 goals and 46 assists for 68 points and added 24 penalty minutes in 50 games in 2014-15, his first season in the OHL. He spent the previous two campaigns with the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recording 39 points in 25 games played for the USNDP Juniors (USHL) in 2013-14.

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Coyotes recall Szwarz, send Hodgman to AHL

Monday, 03.23.2015 / 3:20 PM / News

ArizonaCoyotes.com

GLENDALE, ARIZONAArizona Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have recalled forward Jordan Szwarz and assigned forward Justin Hodgman to the Portland Pirates, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate (AHL).

The 23-year-old Szwarz has collected 9-12-21 and 58 penalty minutes (PIM) in 42 games with the Pirates this season. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound native of Burlington, Ontario has totaled 3-0-3 and 19 PIM in 26 career NHL games. Szwarz was originally drafted by the Coyotes in the fourth round (97th overall) in the 2009 Entry Draft.

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Pavelec, Turris, Bishop named 'Three Stars' of week

Monday, 03.23.2015 / 12:00 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – Winnipeg Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, Ottawa Senators center Kyle Turris and Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending March 22.

FIRST STAR – ONDREJ PAVELEC, G, WINNIPEG JETS

Pavelec went 3-0-0 with a 0.97 goals-against average, .970 save percentage and one shutout to help the Jets (37-23-12, 86 points) pick up three straight wins and maintain the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. He made 38 saves in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks March 17. Pavelec then denied 32 shots – and two attempts in the shootout – in a 2-1 triumph over the St. Louis Blues March 19.

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Fantasy All-Access: Available options on waiver wire

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 playoffs are upon us, and if you are one of the lucky ones still playing for fantasy glory, one reason you're there could be bounce-back players you stole in the later rounds or on the waiver wire.

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Penguins say Dupuis won't return this season

Monday, 03.23.2015 / 11:34 AM / News

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis will not play again this season, general manager Jim Rutherford said Monday.

Dupuis has not played since being diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung Nov. 19.

"Based on the doctor's report I don't believe we'll see Pascal this year, and that's a big loss," Rutherford said. "He's not going to be cleared to play until June."

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Schneider thriving with heavy workload for Devils

Monday, 03.23.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider would gladly trade his eye-catching statistics if it meant having an opportunity to participate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring.

Cory Schneider
Goalie - NJD
RECORD: 26-26-7
GAA: 2.16 | SVP: .929
Schneider's numbers in his first season as a No. 1 goalie appear good enough to have the Devils heading to the postseason. But even a 2.16 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage aren't good enough to overcome New Jersey's 2.21 goals-for average.

There are five goalies with a save percentage of .927 or higher at this point in the season, and four are playing for teams in the postseason hunt: Carey Price (.938) of the Montreal Canadiens, Cam Talbot (.929) of the New York Rangers, Devan Dubnyk (.927) of the Minnesota Wild and Pekka Rinne (.927) of the Nashville Predators.

Schneider, meanwhile, is on the outside looking in. He'll likely start his 62nd game Monday when the Devils play the Los Angeles Kings at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

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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