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Confidence growing as Islanders win consistently

Sunday, 11.30.2014 / 11:41 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Twelve months ago, the New York Islanders were entering December with an 8-15-4 record and no realistic chance at a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their confidence was as low as their last-place standing in the Metropolitan Division.

Fast forward a year and the Islanders are bursting with confidence as they prepare for the final month of 2014. The gloom and doom of the previous season has been replaced by the confident air of a team that expects to win every night.

That confidence was on display Saturday when the Islanders survived a third-period barrage by the New Jersey Devils and left a sold-out Nassau Coliseum with a 3-1 victory that capped off a month in which the Islanders went 11-3-0, the best November for the Islanders in 34 years. Instead of beginning December looking up at the rest of the division, they'll start the new month with a 17-7-0 record and 34 points, giving them the same amount of points as the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins, who have a game in hand. The 17 wins are half of last season's total.


Around the League notebook for Saturday, Nov. 29

Sunday, 11.30.2014 / 10:30 AM / News

The Nashville Predators (16-5-2, 34 points), New York Islanders (17-7-0, 34 points), Pittsburgh Penguins (16-5-2, 34 points), St. Louis Blues (16-6-2, 34 points) and Tampa Bay Lightning (16-6-2, 34 points) all recorded wins Saturday night to pull even with the Montreal Canadiens (16-7-2, 34 points) for the most standings points in the NHL.


Both the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres swept their home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens respectively.


Nash, Forsberg among those putting up big numbers

Sunday, 11.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

We're past the quarter mark of the 2014-15 season, and although there's still plenty of hockey remaining on the NHL schedule, we've learned a good deal about all 30 teams. From some of the League's biggest surprises, to those who continue to produce season after season, there are plenty of numbers to dissect from the season's first quarter.

Here are some of the most interesting numbers and trends:

Rick Nash's even-strength scoring

Since being traded to the New York Rangers before the 2012-13 season, Rick Nash has been the most prolific even-strength goal-scorer in the NHL. He averaged 1.37 goals per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 he played in 2012-13 and 2014-15, most among players with 100 or more games, according to

It's been no different this season for Nash, who led the League entering Saturday with 2.76 goals for every 60 minutes at 5-on-5.

Trailblazer Bye Dietz to enter U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Sunday, 11.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Jon Lane - Staff Writer

Early in her athletic career, Karyn Bye Dietz arrived at a crossroads.

She entered the ninth grade at River Falls High School in Wisconsin excelling in hockey and basketball. Her hockey ambitions, though, were met with resistance because for the female athlete, the sport wasn't thought to offer a career path. Her father told her so, as did River Falls' varsity basketball coach. Each tried to convince her to stick with basketball.

But there was something about hockey that touched Bye Dietz’s heart, the speed and grace of being on the ice along with a test of her will and perseverance; to survive and thrive playing with boys under exacting circumstances.

"There were teams that I played against that they did not like having a girl out there," she said. "They would actually try to take extra hits at me or go after me.

"It was a daily habit of mine, but I felt that I had to prove that not only to myself but to my teammates on a daily basis that I was good enough to be there, because I obviously took the spot of another boy that didn't make the team. As I got older the challenge became tougher. When I was 12 years old, I was the tallest one out there and, quite honestly, I think I was one of the fastest ones. But as the boys matured they caught up to me and actually went ahead of me, so that's when the challenge really took place when I felt like I had to work that much harder just to prove I deserve to be there.

"I think, looking back, that's what made me the player that I became."


Kings' Gaborik misses game with upper-body injury

Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 10:20 PM / News

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings right wing Marian Gaborik was scratched Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks because of an upper-body injury, according to the team.

It is not known if it is related to the same injury that forced Gaborik to miss eight games in October. Gaborik, who is usually paired with center Anze Kopitar on the top line, has four points in his past five games and seven points in the past nine games.

Gaborik, 32, has four goals and four assists in 15 games this season.


Penguins' Letang misses game with lower-body injury

Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 10:20 PM / News

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang sat out the game Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes because of a minor lower-body injury, according to coach Mike Johnston.

The Penguins announced on Twitter shortly before the game started that Letang would be a scratch because of an unspecified injury.


Scandella signs five-year extension with Wild

Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 8:31 PM / News

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild on Saturday signed defenseman Marco Scandella to a five-year contract extension reportedly worth $20 million.

Scandella led Wild defensemen with five goals and had a plus-7 rating entering the game Saturday against the St. Louis Blues. He's scored two overtime goals this season, most among NHL defensemen.

"We reached out to them at the beginning of the season. It came together pretty quickly," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "About a week ago, [assistant GM Brent Flahr] made an offer and it literally took three or four phone calls to get it done."


Gallagher signs 6-year extension with Canadiens

Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 7:28 PM / News

Sean Farrell - Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher signed a six-year, $22.5 million contract extension Saturday, and general manager Marc Bergevin said he had no qualms about securing him long-term.

Gallagher, 22, has 81 points (39 goals, 42 assists) in 149 NHL regular-season games since his debut in 2012-13 (Jan. 22).

He has 11 power-play goals and four winning goals, and is plus-16. Gallagher has 13 points (six goals) in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

In 24 games this season prior to Saturday, Gallagher has 12 points (five goals), 67 shots on goal and 33 penalty minutes. The 5-foot-9, 182-pound forward is plus-2 averaging 15:59 of ice time.


Former captain Potvin excited by Islanders' revival

Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 6:38 PM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Denis Potvin's No. 5 hangs from the rafters of the Nassau Coliseum in tribute to a career that included serving as a cornerstone of the New York Islanders' four consecutive Stanley Cup-winning teams from 1980-83.

But before being honored by the Islanders on Saturday as part of their final season at the Coliseum before moving to Brooklyn next fall, the Hall of Fame defenseman, now 61, said this edition of the Islanders has to grab the chance to write its own history.

"The one thing that coincides with moving to a new building is that now it's like the torch is really being passed to them," he said. "They have a chance to do something. It's all about them.


Rogers Hometown Hockey celebrates Brandon

Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 6:15 PM / News

Prior to the telecast Sunday of the Vancouver Canucks and the Detroit Red Wings on CITY in Canada, the network will televise the "Rogers Hometown Hockey" broadcast at 1:30 p.m. ET. The show will also be carried on NHL Network in the U.S. This week’s location is Brandon, Manitoba, to celebrate the city's iconic hockey story.

Among the features airing on the pregame show:

* Former NHL player Brad McCrimmon was a guy's guy, a man's man. That's how Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger and Todd Bertuzzi describe him. McCrimmon mentored those three and helped guide them through some difficult times during their careers.

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Quote of the Day

I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey.  It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming.

— Mike Babcock, introduced as coach of the Toronto on Thursday, had a warning for fans