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Around the League notebook for Tuesday, March 24

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 9:00 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

LIGHTNING MATCH FRANCHISE RECORD, CLOSE GAP IN ATLANTIC

Ahead two goals before the eight-minute mark, the Lightning surrendered three goals in a span of 1:58 but scored twice in the third period, including Ryan Callahan's winning goal with 2:28 left, to pick up their fourth straight victory. 4-3 against the Florida Panthers.

* The Lightning (46-21-7, 99 points) are one of four teams in the NHL at 99 points. They sit one point behind the Atlantic Division rival Montreal Canadiens (46-20-8, 100 points), who lost in overtime but became the first team to reach the 100-point plateau and pulled into top spot in the entire League, where the top 12 teams are separated by 10 points.

* Tampa Bay's 46 wins equal a single-season franchise record established in 2003-04 (46-22-14, 106 points) en route to its first and only Stanley Cup championship. The Lightning matched that win total last season (46-27-9, 101 points) and in 2010-11 (46-25-11, 103 points), their only other seasons with at least 100 points.

Five things to watch when Flyers host Blackhawks

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Chicago Blackhawks' week of playing against teams that are trying to play the spoiler role continues at the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

After a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, the Blackhawks' continued pursuit of a Central Division crown will be featured this week in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA) from Wells Fargo Center.

Here are five things to watch between the Blackhawks and Flyers:

Flyers' Emery savored chance after hip surgery

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Five years ago, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ray Emery received what was supposed to be a hockey death sentence. He was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in his right hip. Not only was his hockey career over, walking normally again was in question.

Today, as Emery prepares for a game against the Chicago Blackhawks (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports), he has a Stanley Cup ring (won with the Blackhawks), is in the second season of his second stint with the Flyers, and has no intention of putting his pads away any time soon.

Emery said early in the 2009-10 season with the Flyers, he felt pain in his hip, groin and pelvis. Surgery in December 2009 to repair torn abdominal muscles kept him out six weeks. But on Feb. 1, 2010 in a game at the Calgary Flames, the pain returned worse.

"That game in Calgary I said, 'Something's not right,'" Emery said. "Feels like my leg is going to fall off."

Canucks sign defenseman Tanev to five-year contract

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 5:14 PM / News

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev figured he was finished with hockey in high school, so the idea of one day signing a five-year, $22.25 million contract never crossed his mind.

That's exactly what the 25-year-old did Tuesday, signing an extension with the Canucks worth $4.45 million per season almost 10 years after he thought he was done playing competitively.

"It's something I never thought would happen at all, especially during those days," said Tanev, who signed in Vancouver as an undrafted free agent in 2010, after one season playing NCAA hockey at the Rochester Institute of Technology. "Even during college I had no idea I would be in the NHL now. It's just something that's evolved so fast and I'm just happy to be here and along for the ride."

It's a ride that almost ended in grade 10 because Tanev was 5 feet tall and weighed less than 120 pounds, too small to continue playing AAA hockey in the Greater Toronto Hockey League.

"I couldn't really make any triple-A teams, so I just went back and played high school hockey once a week with my buddies," said Tanev, who also turned to roller hockey. "And I honestly thought I would play some high school hockey with friends and that would be it."

Stars captain Benn questionable for Wednesday

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 5:02 PM / News

NHL.com Staff

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn is questionable for the game Wednesday at the Calgary Flames.

Benn sustained an undisclosed injury late in the Stars' 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres and did not practice Tuesday.

"Jamie is a little bit of a concern," coach Lindy Ruff told the Stars website Tuesday. "He was hurting late in the game and he was sore today. We'll see. He is a question mark for tomorrow."

Bruins defenseman Hamilton out indefinitely

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 4:47 PM / News

NHL.com

Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton is out indefinitely because of an unspecified injury and will be evaluated in a few days, coach Claude Julien told the Bruins website Tuesday.

Hamilton may have sustained a shoulder injury during the Bruins' shootout loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, according to Comcast SportsNet New England. Hamilton left that game in the second period after a hit against the boards by Scottie Upshall and Nick Bjugstad.

The Bruins shuffled their defensive pairings at practice Tuesday, according to the Boston Globe.Adam McQuaid moved into the top pair with Zdeno CharaZach Trotman, recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Sunday, skated with Matt Bartkowski.

Red Wings' Helm, girlfriend recount unique birth

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 4:25 PM / News

DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT – Every time Darren Helm drives by mile marker 160 near the Beck Road exit on Interstate 96 he'll be reminded of the time his youngest daughter uniquely entered the world.

Rylee Klaire Helm, weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces when she made her extraordinary debut at 2:15 Monday morning in the backseat of her dad's black four-door Audi.

"I don't think I've been more nervous in my life and scared," the Detroit Red Wings' forward said. "I didn't really have a chance to think about it until after. … I was petrified. But things ended up working out great."

Sunday evening began as a relatively quiet one for Helm, his longtime girlfriend, Devon Englot, and their 3 ½-year-old daughter, Reece.

LaFontaine returns to Islanders roots at Coliseum

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 2:26 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Pat LaFontaine arrived at Nassau Coliseum in 1984 and was asked to help the New York Islanders win the Stanley Cup for a fifth consecutive year.

They nearly pulled it off, reaching the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Edmonton Oilers in five games. LaFontaine, who was 19 at the time and New York's first-round pick (No. 3) a year prior, had three goals and six assists in 19 playoff games.

"We went on an unbelievable run," LaFontaine said. "If not for a few injuries and a few guys named [Mark] Messier and [Wayne] Gretzky, we might have won."

LaFontaine was back at the Coliseum on Tuesday, when he will be honored prior to the Islanders game against the Minnesota Wild. Nearly a decade passed between visits to what has been the Islanders' only home, but owner Charles Wang and general Garth Snow each reached out to LaFontaine with hopes of luring him back for what promises to be a special night.

Rangers' Lundqvist targets weekend return to lineup

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 12:34 PM / News

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is targeting a return to the lineup this weekend. The Rangers play at the Boston Bruins on Saturday and at home against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.

"That's my goal, yeah," Lundqvist said Tuesday morning. "I think I need at least one more or two more skates just to work on my timing, but I feel close."

Lundqvist, who hasn't played since Feb. 2 because of a vascular injury to his neck, participated in the morning skate at Madison Square Garden prior to the game against the Los Angeles Kings (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN). It was his first full practice since he was taken out of the lineup.

Senators' Hammond expected to play Thursday: report

Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 12:08 PM / News

NHL.com

Goaltender Andrew Hammond should be available for the Ottawa Senators on Thursday against the New York Rangers, Senators coach Dave Cameron said Tuesday on TSN 1200 Radio in Ottawa.

Hammond collided with San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture during the third period of the Senators' 5-2 win Monday against the Sharks. Hammond remained in the game and finished with 29 saves. The victory boosted the Senators past the Boston Bruins for the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

The win also extended Hammond's record to 14-0-1 in 15 starts this season. He can tie the NHL record of 16 starts without a regulation loss to start a career held by Patrick Lalime, who started 14-0-2 with the 1996-97 Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Quote of the Day

I think when you build a team, you look at pairs, and I think the pair of [Voracek and Giroux] is very good, certainly one of the top pairs in the League.

— Flyers GM Ron Hextall on Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek after giving Voracek a multiyear extension Thursday