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Daily Primer March 13: Kings go for nine in a row

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Los Angeles Kings haven't lost since Feb. 3, a span of eight games. And now they begin a five-game homestand.

Los Angeles will seek its ninth straight victory when it hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs at Staples Center on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, TSN, FS-W). A portion of the Kings' recent success can be attributed to the play of center Anze Kopitar, who has four goals and eight assists over the past nine games.

Here's a closer look at all of the action Thursday:

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Prospector Files: QMJHL draft-eligible All-Star team

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League was undoubtedly the big winner at the 2013 NHL Draft, when a modern draft-record 31 players from the league were chosen over seven rounds.

It marked the highest total since 2003, when 38 players were selected over nine rounds, including No. 1 pick Marc-Andre Fleury of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The prospect pool for the 2014 draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia might not be as deep as it was nine months ago, when two of the six QMJHL players picked in the first round were among the top three choices -- No. 1 Nathan MacKinnon and No. 3 Jonathan Drouin. Still, there are some game-breakers having very productive seasons.

This week, Prospector Files continues its First Team draft-eligible pick six series at each position from the four major junior hockey leagues and one All European Team. The Ontario Hockey League (www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=707810) was featured last week and the QMJHL gains the spotlight today.

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Draisaitl poised to become highest-drafted German

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Will forward Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League become the highest-selected German player ever at the 2014 NHL Draft?

The odds are pretty good. Not only was the 6-foot-1.75, 208-pound left-shot center No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2014 draft, he's gaining plenty of praise down the stretch.

"You want to talk about a miniature Jaromir Jagr with a Doug Gilmour-type intensity, you've got him right here," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com.

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Rask, Bruins answer questions by beating Canadiens

Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 1:10 AM / NHL Insider

James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask silenced the critics and answered any questions surrounding his play against the Montreal Canadiens with a 35-save performance in a 4-1 win at Bell Centre on Wednesday night.

Rask had put himself in a cocoon since he and his teammates arrived in Montreal on Tuesday morning. He was one of the first to board the team bus after practice that afternoon and didn't partake in the morning skate Wednesday.

Rask clearly didn't want to face any questions, not only the Bruins' recent struggles against the Canadiens -- they had lost five straight regular-season games entering Wednesday -- but also his own; Rask entered the game 2-10-1 in his career against Montreal. His most recent win against the Canadiens came on Feb. 6, 2013, when he made 20 saves in a 2-1 win. His only other victory against the Canadiens was on Feb. 7, 2010, when he made 36 saves in a 3-0 victory.

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Kesler sidelined after knee-on-knee hit

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 11:50 PM / News

NHL.com

Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler left the game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday after a knee-on-knee collision late in the second period. He did not return, and the Canucks said he will return to Vancouver and miss the remainder of the team's four-game road trip.

Kesler, the Canucks' leader with 22 goals, was reaching for a loose puck and had his head down when Winnipeg center Jim Slater skated by and caught him with his right knee. Kesler appeared to be in pain as he skated cautiously off the ice and hobbled to the dressing room.
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Luongo trade center stage on 'NHL Revealed' finale

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 11:12 PM / NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

One week prior, Roberto Luongo was discussing how happy he was to be the No. 1 goaltender with the Vancouver Canucks after having to share the net with Cory Schneider last season. But after arguably the biggest deal prior to the NHL Trade Deadline last Wednesday, Luongo is back for a second stint with the Florida Panthers.

"You've handled yourself with a lot of class, though, the last couple of years," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon says moments before Luongo meets reporters in South Florida. "That's really good. It happened so quick. We fought hard last year [to get you back] and it didn't work, so … but this time, it just happened. Maybe sitting out at the Heritage Classic was a bonus for us. It worked out great. We're excited."

"It's been a long road," Luongo says.

The Tallon-Luongo exchange is one of many memorable scenes from the season finale of "NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other," on NBCSN in the United States and CBC in Canada.

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Wild's Granlund thriving after tough rookie season

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 10:40 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund has been dealing with high expectations his entire life.

The 22-year-old center began his professional hockey career at age 16 in his native Finland and quickly became a household name. The Wild made him the ninth player selected at the 2010 NHL Draft. Granlund's hockey exploits are easy to follow; all you have to do is type his name into the search box on YouTube and any number of his highlights will pop up.

Mikael Granlund
Center - MIN
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 28 | PTS: 34
SOG: 84 | +/-: 0
Granlund is perhaps best known for his lacrosse-style goal against Russia in the semifinals of the 2011 World Hockey Championship, which made him an instant internet sensation. Back home, the goal turned Granlund from a successful hockey player into a national rock star. It wasn't uncommon for paparazzi to follow Granlund out to dinner or shopping.

That's a lot of pressure for anyone to face, especially for a shy 19-year-old kid from Oulu, Finland, who would rather go about his business in the shadows. The normal pressures of being a high first-round draft pick are nothing compared to those in hockey-mad Finland, where fans are always on the lookout for the successor to Teemu Selanne, the 43-year-old Anaheim Ducks star and pride of an entire nation.

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Blues' Oshie juggles celebrity, hockey after Olympics

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 7:03 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- There he was, face to face in the slot, staring into the eyes of another goalie with the puck on his stick.

But this time, T.J. Oshie wasn't going against Sergei Bobrovsky and he wasn't being thrust into the spotlight of an entire nation and a global television audience.

Oshie just needed rhythm. He needed style points more than anything. That's all Enterprise Rent-A-Car was asking of the St. Louis Blues forward who represented the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics when they asked him to represent them and the NHL in the making of a commercial that will air during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The commercial being shot Wednesday afternoon at the Blues' practice facility inside St. Louis Outlet Mall's Ice Zone had Oshie shooting pucks at an Enterprise employee in a suit and tie.

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Stars forward Peverley to miss remainder of season

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 6:57 PM / News

NHL.com

DALLAS -- The cardiac event that caused Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley to collapse on the bench during the first period of a game Monday against the Columbus Blue Jackets has ended his season.

Peverley will have surgery at the Cleveland Clinic to remedy his heart issue, atrial fibrillation, a form of cardiac arrhythmia. The procedure is aimed at regulating his heart rate, and recovery will take at least a few months.

Peverley appeared Wednesday at a news conference at University of Texas Southwestern St. Paul University Hospital and read a statement thanking doctors for saving his life, and Stars coaches, front office and fans for their support.

"On behalf of my wife, Nathalie, all of my family and myself, I'd like to thank you and to thank all the people that saved my life," Peverley said. "But I'd also like to thank the Dallas Stars organization as a whole. They have been supporting not only myself but my family. The owner, Tom Gaglardi; [general manager] Jim Nill; [coach] Lindy Ruff have all been in constant contact with me this entire time. I'd also like to say thank you to my wife and family for their love and support. Finally, I'd like to thank everyone from past and present teammates to management, coaches, my agent, fans, and media from the entire NHL family for all their support, for which I'm very much grateful."

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Blue Jackets' Comeau banned two games for boarding

Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 2:58 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- Columbus Blue Jackets forward Blake Comeau has been suspended for two games, without pay, for boarding Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith during NHL Game No. 979 in Columbus on Tuesday, March 11, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 12:47 of the first period. Comeau was assessed a minor penalty for boarding.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Comeau will forfeit $10,256.42. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

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Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals