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Around the League notebook for Tuesday, Feb. 10

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 9:00 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEAL'S OT HEROICS HELP PREDATORS INCREASE POINTS LEAD

The Nashville Predators surrendered a two-goal lead in the third period but James Neal scored his fifth career overtime goal with 33 seconds left to lift them to a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, their fifth win in their past six games.

* The Predators improved to 36-12-6 (78 points), widening their lead atop the NHL standings over the Anaheim Ducks (34-14-7, 75 points), who lost Tuesday. Nine teams are within 10 points of Nashville for the top spot, including the Central Division rival St. Louis Blues (35-15-4, 74 points) and Chicago Blackhawks (33-18-3, 69 points).

* Nashville improved to 22-3-1 (45 points) at Bridgestone Arena to tie Tampa Bay for the League lead in home wins and home points. The Predators also recorded their NHL-best 24th win in one-goal games.

* Neal is tied with Filip Forsberg for the Predators lead with 18 goals, including five game-winners. He has 6-7—13 in 13 games against the Lightning.

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Five things to watch for Wednesday Night Rivalry

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Detroit Red Wings have won three in a row and are two points shy of being atop the Eastern Conference. The Pittsburgh Penguins' past four games have featured shutouts, although they've won two of them.

Detroit (31-12-9) has won nine of its past 10 games, including a 3-1 victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. The Red Wings have allowed two goals over their three-game win streak. Pittsburgh (30-15-8), which is coming off a 5-0 loss at the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, are three points behind the New York Islanders for the Metropolitan Division lead.

The Red Wings will try to extend their win streak when they visit the Penguins in the first game of a Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader at Consol Energy Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN1).

On the West Coast, the Washington Capitals will face the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN). Washington (28-16-10) had a three-game win streak end with a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday. The Capitals trail the Penguins by two points for second place in the Metropolitan. The Sharks (28-20-7) will try to avoid a three-game skid after a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday. San Jose has allowed nine goals in its back-to-back defeats.

Here are five things to watch in the two Wednesday Night Rivalry games:

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Red Wings' Tatar an emerging talent in second season

Wednesday, 02.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Paul Harris - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- Mike Babcock is tougher on forward Tomas Tatar than he is on any other player.

That's because the Detroit Red Wings coach thinks Tatar, who's 24 and in his second full NHL season, has so much potential.

"As long as he keeps working on his details and is committed to doing it all the time, he's going to get there," Babcock said. "That's the biggest challenge for a young player. What allowed you to be good last year isn't good enough this year and the years to come. You got to keep getting better if you want to be the best. That's what guys like [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Henrik] Zetterberg have done. So for our young players, they have great examples."

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Commissioner attends Las Vegas ticket launch

Tuesday, 02.10.2015 / 9:12 PM / News

NHL.com

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in Las Vegas on Tuesday, when a season-ticket drive for a possible NHL team was launched.

Bettman was invited by Bill Foley, who is leading the attempt to bring Nevada its first major league professional sports team.

"So, here I am to watch Bill and his colleagues begin this season-ticket drive and see whether or not Las Vegas' interest matches Bill Foley's interest," Commissioner Bettman said in a video posted by KVVU-TV.

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Hurricanes' Murphy out four weeks with leg injury

Tuesday, 02.10.2015 / 3:35 PM / News

CarolinaHurricanes.com

RALEIGH, NCRon Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy has been placed injured reserve. Murphy suffered a leg injury on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes and is expected to be out for four weeks. The injury will not require surgery.

Murphy, 21, has earned one goal and six assists (7 points) in 21 NHL games for the Hurricanes this season. The Aurora, Ont., native has also appeared in 25 American Hockey League (AHL) games with Charlotte, and leads all Charlotte skaters in assists this season with 17. The Hurricanes’ first round selection, 12th overall, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Murphy (5’11”, 185 lbs.) has skated in 73 career NHL games with Carolina, totaling 19 points (3g, 16a).

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Gregory, Quinn, Savard receive Order of Hockey

Tuesday, 02.10.2015 / 2:39 PM / News

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Tom Renney was thrilled to honor Pat Quinn as one of three inductees into Canada's Order of Hockey Canada at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.

Renney hopes one day soon he'll see Quinn enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I think he should be in the Hall of Fame," said Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada. "What is it, 50 years in the game? He gets us [Canada] a gold medal at the [2002] Olympic Games. He wins us a gold medal at the [2009] World Junior Championship. He puts all kinds of people in a safe place in the NHL and he makes big stars out of a number of others as a coach, never mind as an administrator. Maybe it's only a matter of time. I'd like to think that it will be sooner rather than later."

Quinn, who died Nov. 23, 2014 at 71, was named to the 2015 class of Distinguished Honorees of the Order of Hockey in Canada along with NHL senior vice-president of hockey operations and former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Jim Gregory, and former Montreal Canadiens defenseman and NHL GM Serge Savard. Gregory and Savard also are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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Flyers' Mason out 2-3 weeks with lower-body injury

Tuesday, 02.10.2015 / 2:13 PM / News

NHL.com

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason will be out approximately 2-3 weeks because of a lower-body injury, the Flyers announced Tuesday.

Mason was injured during the second period of the Flyers' 3-1 victory against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. He was at the bench during a stoppage in play, and when he turned to skate back to his goal crease he immediately returned to the bench in pain, unable to put much weight on his right leg. He needed help from the Flyers' training staff to get off the ice.

CSNPhilly.com reported Monday that Mason will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

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Red Wings' Howard will dress as backup Wednesday

Tuesday, 02.10.2015 / 2:00 PM / News

NHL.com

Jimmy Howard will dress Wednesday as the Detroit Red Wings backup goalie, and should be ready to play Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets, according to the team's Twitter.

The news was announced by coach Mike Babcock, who said Howard, out since sustaining a groin injury Jan. 10 against the Washington Capitals, was excellent during the Red Wings practice Tuesday.

Petr Mrazek will start for Detroit on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN1, TVA Sports), and has played the majority of minutes in Howard's absence. Mrazek has gone 13-4-1 this season with a 2.42 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

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Fantasy top 100 forwards: With a little bit of luck …

Tuesday, 02.10.2015 / 12:10 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Every Tuesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey insider Pete Jensen will provide you with in-depth forward analysis. From updated weekly top 100 rankings to trending players and more, Jensen will be your go-to guy for fantasy forward advice all season long.

Buying low at the right time and price is an art that all fantasy owners try to master.

Looking at low shooting percentages and the chances they can improve over time can be an indication of strong options to target. There are always exceptions, but for the most part if a proven player is creating chances consistently with a track record of shooting a high percentage in the past, it's can simply be a matter of time before the flood gates open.

Take forward Rick Nash of the New York Rangers. He's tied for the NHL lead in goals (33) after he couldn't buy the back of the net during the Rangers' run to the Stanley Cup Final (3.6 percent shooting). He did have a strong regular-season track record of even-strength goal scoring prior to this season, but it would've still been tough to envision a 17.1 shooting rate and top 10 standing among forwards.

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Capitals defenseman Oleksy recalled from AHL

Tuesday, 02.10.2015 / 9:05 AM / News

WashingtonCapitals.com

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have recalled defenseman Steve Oleksy from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

Oleksy, 28, registered 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) and 86 penalty minutes in 61 career games with the Capitals. The 5'11", 183-pound defenseman recorded 10 points (two goals, eight assists) and 53 penalty minutes in 33 games with Washington last season. Oleksy made his NHL debut and tallied his first NHL point with an assist on March 5, 2013, against Boston. He signed with Washington as a free agent on March 4, 2013.

Oleksy skated in 44 games with the Hershey Bears (AHL) this season, earning 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and 106 penalty minutes. The Chesterfield, Mich., native leads Hershey in penalty minutes this season and ranks second among Bears defensemen in goals. Oleksy has registered 52 points (seven goals, 45 assists) and 433 penalty minutes in 196 career AHL games with Hershey, Bridgeport and Lake Erie.

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