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Around the League notebook for Thursday, March 26

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 9:18 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

2014 STANLEY CUP FINALISTS PUNCH TICKET TO POSTSEASON

The New York Rangers (47-19-7, 101 points) picked up a 5-1 win against the Ottawa Senators; coupled with the Boston Bruins' loss to the Anaheim Ducks, the Rangers became the first team to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* The defending Eastern Conference-champion Rangers are headed to the postseason for the fifth straight year and 57th time in franchise history. They also passed the Montreal Canadiens (46-21-8, 100 points), who lost in regulation, in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

* The Rangers reached the 100-point plateau for the eighth time in franchise history and for the first time since 2011-12 (51-24-7, 109 points). New York hit the century mark in their 73rd game of the season; Elias says that is tied for the second-fewest games to 100 points in franchise history (67 GP in 1971-72; finished 48-17-13, 109 points).

* Chris Kreider (2-1—3) matched a career high with three points, all in the first period, to help the Rangers improve to 9-2-1 in their past 12 games. He reached the 20-goal and 40-point plateaus for the first time in his career (20-20—40).

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Five reasons Rangers clinched playoff berth

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The New York Rangers became the first team to clinch a berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs with their 5-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. The Rangers have 101 points and 43 regulation/overtime wins to lead the Presidents' Trophy race.

It's also possible the best is yet to come for the Rangers because starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist is expected to return to the lineup this coming weekend, either Saturday at the Boston Bruins or Sunday at home against the Washington Capitals.

Lundqvist hasn't played since Feb. 2, but the Rangers are 18-4-4 without him, which is why they are in the hunt for their first Presidents' Trophy since the 1993-94 season, when they last won the Stanley Cup.

Here are five reasons the Rangers clinched their fifth consecutive trip to the playoffs:

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Super 16: Three must buck metrics trend to win Cup

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

There have been some crazy championship marches in the NHL in the past four seasons.

The Boston Bruins needed three Game 7s, including two decided by one goal and one that went overtime, to win the Stanley Cup in 2011. The Los Angeles Kings tore through the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2012 like no team had in the sport's history, and did so while becoming the first No. 8 seed to win a title.

Two years later, the Kings might have upped the ante, rallying from a 3-0 series deficit in the opening round and playing the full 21 games against a gauntlet of elite teams (San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks). Even in 2013 when the Blackhawks essentially went wire-to-wire in a shortened season, the Stanley Cup Final was filled with overtimes and incredible games.

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BU's Eichel talks Hobey Baker, NHL Draft build-up

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Boston University freshman Jack Eichel was determined from day one to not only be a success story, but one of the best college hockey players to ever play the game.

He's certainly on that path.

Eichel, the fourth-youngest player in college hockey and No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skates eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, is expected to hear his name announced in short order on the opening day of the draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on June 26.

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Rangers' Lundqvist to serve as backup vs. Senators

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 5:22 PM / News

NHL.com

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is the back up to Cam Talbot for their game at the Ottawa Senators on Thursday and expects to start one of two games this weekend.

Lundqvist, who has been out since Feb. 2 with a vascular injury, said Thursday he will have discussions with the coaching staff Friday to decide which game he will start, either at the Boston Bruins on Saturday or at home against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.

"It's hard to say no to a game right now when you've been away for that long," Lundqvist said. "But at the same time you have to be smart about it. I feel pretty close to being ready. We'll have that discussion tomorrow and we'll decide which game we should play."

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Blues' Shattenkirk may return Saturday: report

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 4:44 PM / News

NHL.com Staff

St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could return Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets (8 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-MW), according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Shattenkirk has missed the past 25 games after having abdominal surgery on Feb. 5. He will participate in practice on Friday and if things go well, could return to the lineup Saturday.

"He's going to get checked hard tomorrow, he's going to get forechecked hard, he's going to have to do some battle drills in team situations and if he gets to that next phase ... then he should be ready to go," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said.

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Blackhawks, Baun agree to terms on contract

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 2:36 PM / News

ChicagoBlackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have agreed to terms with free agent forward Kyle Baun on a two-year contract. Baun will report to the Blackhawks.

Baun, 22, recorded a collegiate career-high 29 points (14G, 15A) in 38 games this season as a junior at Colgate University. He ranked second on the team in points, shared the lead in goals and ranked third with a +13 plus/minus rating. The Toronto native, who was named Third-Team All-League by the ECAC, tallied five multi-point outings, including a season-high three points on two occasions. Baun has registered 79 points (39G, 40A) in 113 contests with Colgate across three seasons.

Prior to his collegiate career, Baun earned 103 points (48G, 55A) in 98 career games with the Central Canadian Hockey League’s Cornwall Colts.

To read more from the Chicago Blackhawks website, CLICK HERE.

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Samuelsson, member of Triple Gold Club, retires

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 2:20 PM / News

NHL.com

Forward Mikael Samuelsson, a member of the Triple Gold Club, announced his retirement Thursday.

Samuelsson, 38, played 699 games and for six teams in 13 NHL seasons. He won the Stanley Cup in 2008 with the Detroit Red Wings after earning a gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Turin Olympics and the 2006 IIHF World Championship.

"It isn't really something you choose to do, it's just something you feel," Samuelsson said of retiring to the Swedish club Djurgården's website. "Towards the end, I couldn't practice properly, I could only do rehab training, and you can only do that so long. I wanted to retire when I still could do something on the ice."

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Flames sign forward Carroll to entry-level contract

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 12:58 PM / News

CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed forward Austin Carroll from the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League.

Carroll, a native of Scottsdale, Arizona, played four seasons with the Royals in the WHL and was drafted by the Flames in the seventh round (184th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. In 69 games during the 2014-15 season the 6'4", 224 lb. winger led Victoria in points (77), goals (38), penalty minutes (124), and plus/minus (+23). Over his 268 game WHL career he recorded 196 points (95G, 101A) and 470 PIMs. The 20-year-old added another 12 points (8G, 4A) in 17 career WHL playoff games and he will have a chance to add to those totals in the 2014-15 WHL playoffs.

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Eichel, Hanifin among those to watch in NCAA tourney

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 12:40 PM / Prospects

Corey Masisak and Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writers

There hasn't been an NCAA player selected in the top five of the NHL Draft since 2006, but this June there could be two and both are in action this weekend in the 2015 NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament.

Jonathan Toews from North Dakota and Phil Kessel from the University of Minnesota were top-five picks in 2006. Nine years later, Boston University forward Jack Eichel and Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin could be among the first five names called at the 2015 draft in Sunrise, Fla.

Eichel and Hanifin are two of the key players to watch in the NCAA tournament, which starts with four games Friday. There are also 107 NHL draft picks on the 16 rosters, according to College Hockey Inc., along with some undrafted players who should receive attention as free agents once their seasons are over.

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Quote of the Day

It's a great feeling. I can't be more excited to be a part of a team that I absolutely love.

— Center Derek Stepan after agreeing to terms on a six-year contract with the New York Rangers