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Subban, Canadiens ready for Ovechkin, Capitals

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 4:38 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- One of the many incredible aspects of the 50-goal season put together by Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is that he has scored at least one goal against 25 of 29 teams.

Not in his career, mind you. This season.

Ovechkin will have a chance to make it 26 out of 29 on Thursday when the Capitals play the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, RDS, SNE) at Bell Centre for the final time this season.

The Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks are the teams that have not allowed a goal to Ovechkin this season, and Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban knows it will be a big challenge to shut him out for a third time.

"I don't really like to pay special attention to certain players, but he's one of the players in the League who's had a better than average year this year," Subban said with a chuckle after practice Wednesday. "He's scored a lot of goals in the League, so you've got to pay attention to him when he's on the ice.

"I'm always the type of player who likes to get up for the better players in the League. That's how you test yourself, that's how you measure yourself. He's a great player in this League since he's come into it, and he's an impact player, so it's a challenge."

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Hammond, Hudler, Dubnyk named stars for March

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 3:00 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORKOttawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond, Calgary Flames center Jiri Hudler and Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk have been named the NHL's "Three Stars" for the month of March.

FIRST STAR – ANDREW HAMMOND, G, OTTAWA SENATORS

Hammond went 10-1-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .930 save percentage to help the Senators (38-26-12, 88 points) complete an 11-3-2 March and climb within three points of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. He allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his 12 appearances, including his first seven of the month. With his run, Hammond became the second goaltender in NHL history to yield two or fewer goals in each of his first 12 career starts (Frank Brimsek: 1938-39). Hammond also improved to 14-0-1 before suffering his first career regulation loss March 26 vs. NYR, becoming the first goaltender to record at least one point in each of his first 15 career starts since Patrick Lalime in 1996-97 (14-0-2). The 27-year-old White Rock, B.C., native has appeared in 18 games this season, compiling a 1.85 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and two shutouts. That includes an 8-0-1 record on the road, where he has a 1.08 goals-against average, .964 save percentage and both shutouts.

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Blackhawks forward Kane returns to practice

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 2:48 PM / News

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It was April 1, but forward Patrick Kane joining the Chicago Blackhawks for practice Wednesday wasn't a hoax.

Kane's presence for a full team workout, wearing a white non-contact jersey, was real and impressive considering it was exactly five weeks since he had surgery Feb. 25 to repair a fractured left clavicle.

The estimated 12-week timetable hasn't changed and Kane is cleared only to take wrist shots, but seeing the highly-skilled right wing zip around the ice again, displaying elite stickhandling and mobility, was a breath of fresh air. The Blackhawks saw firsthand evidence that whenever Kane is cleared, he'll be ready to contribute right away.

"It's definitely a goal you work towards almost, to get one of your best players, if not your best player, in the lineup," forward Kris Versteeg said. "It's always something that's in the back of your mind."

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Blues' Tarasenko day-to-day with lower-body injury

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 2:25 PM / News

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury and was ruled out of the Blues' next game Thursday against the Calgary Flames.

Tarasenko was injured Monday against the Vancouver Canucks. He leads the Blues with 36 goals and 71 points in 76 games.

The Blues (46-23-7), who trail the Nashville Predators by four points for first place in the Central Division with two games in hand, are already without second-leading scorer Alexander Steen. Steen missed one game with a lower-body injury and his status for Thursday is uncertain.

St. Louis has six games remaining in the regular season.

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Flames' Gaudreau named March's Rookie of Month

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 2:00 PM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau, who led all rookies with 16 points (7-9—16) in 15 games, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for March.

Gaudreau edged Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (4-11—15 in 16 GP), Boston Bruins teammates Ryan Spooner (7-7—14 in 15 GP) and David Pastrnak (3-10—13 in 15 GP), Carolina Hurricanes center Victor Rask (3-8—11 in 15 GP), and Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (6-2-0, 2.50 GAA, .918 SV%) for the honor.

Gaudreau, a fourth-round selection (104th overall) by the Flames in the 2011 NHL Draft, recorded at least one point in 10 of his 15 March appearances, highlighted by four multi-point efforts. Those included his fourth career multi-goal game in a 6-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks March 11 (2-0—2) and his fourth career game-winning goal in a 5-3 triumph over the Dallas Stars March 30 (1-1—2).

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Rangers sign 2012 first-round pick Skjei

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 1:19 PM / News

NHL.com Staff

The New York Rangers signed defenseman Brady Skjei to an entry-level contract Wednesday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but Skjei will report to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League.

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Panthers agree to terms with defenseman Matheson

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 12:38 PM / News

FloridaPanthers.com

Florida Panthers Executive Vice President and General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to terms with D Michael Matheson on an entry-level contract. Matheson will report to San Antonio (AHL) on an amateur try-out.

"Michael is a talented, young, mobile, hard-working defenseman who we are pleased to have signed," said Tallon. "Since being selected in the first round of the NHL draft in 2012, Michael has led Boston College to three consecutive NCAA appearances, while also serving as the team's captain this past season. He is another one of our top prospects who will continue to develop his game playing while playing in the American Hockey League."

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Another 50-goal season puts Ovechkin in elite group

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 12:32 PM / News

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Alex Ovechkin continues to pile up milestones and memberships in exclusive clubs almost at the rate at which he is scoring goals.

Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the 2014-15 season Tuesday night for the Washington Capitals in a 4-2 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes. It is the sixth time he has scored that many in his prolific career.

The list is impeccable: Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy have nine 50-goal seasons, while Mario Lemieux, Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne and now Ovechkin have six.

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Jets' Byfuglien faces Player Safety hearing

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 12:00 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will have a telephone hearing Thursday with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit against New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller during a game at MTS Centre on Tuesday.

Miller was hit by Byfuglien in front of the Winnipeg net at 17:23 of the second period. No penalty was assessed on the play and Miller remained in the game.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: Cross checking. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.

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Fantasy top 60 'D': Niskanen heats up just in time

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen burst onto the fantasy scene last season as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins with his best offensive showing since 2008-09, putting up a career best numbers in goals (10), assists (36), points (46), plus-minus (33), power play assists (12) and shots on goal (162).

That he did so during a contract year helped him cash in with lucrative seven-year, $40.25 million dollar contract with the Capitals.

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