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Malkin looking to lead Penguins back to playoffs

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins' offense has lived and died by center Evgeni Malkin.

Sidney Crosby has returned to form with seven goals and 17 points in his past 14 games, his most productive stretch since scoring 23 points in the first 13 games of the season.

But that hasn't led to team success. In those 14 games, the Penguins went 4-8-3, not including a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins with Crosby injured.

Malkin fully played in five of the 14 games, the first three ending with a win before losing two straight when he returned April 5 from an undisclosed injury. In the nine games Malkin was injured, including the shutout loss to Boston on March 14 when he sustained a lower-body injury on his first shift, Pittsburgh won once, putting the Stanley Cup Playoffs in some doubt.

"There are a lot of good hockey teams that have had good years that are in the exact same position as us," Crosby said. "It's going to be about who handles it the best and who plays the best at the right time."

Five teams that bolstered defense at trade deadline

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Starting with the blockbuster trade that brought Tyler Myers to the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 11, the run-up to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline was essentially a race among contending teams to bolster their blue lines.

The Jets, Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings all acquired defensemen before the deadline.

In the case of trades the Penguins made with the Blues and Ducks, defensemen were swapped because of the different elements of the game they offer.

Considering what went on in the trade market more than a month ago, it's no surprise now that the defensemen traded have a chance to make a huge impact on their respective teams in the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are the five teams that have appeared to benefit the most by bolstering their blue lines before the deadline:

Bond helped Suter, Parise navigate difficult season

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Ryan Suter can finally smile and even allow himself to laugh about what will always be an odd coincidence, because he can laugh about a lot of things now.

Time heals, winning helps, and friendship goes a long way toward turning your world right side up again after feeling like everything was falling apart.

Suter and Minnesota Wild teammate Zach Parise know this all too well.

"It's kind of weird actually if you think about that, how it's everything we've gone through together," Suter said. "But what are the odds of something like this last year happening? That's how I feel when I think about it, like, really, this is just weird."

Suter and Parise created a lasting link when they signed matching 13-year, $98 million contracts on July 4, 2012; they formed a bond only they can understand this season because each lost his father in a tragic way.

Price focused on winning Cup, not individual honors

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 2:14 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- The history of the Montreal Canadiens can be suffocating at times for the players trying to live up to it.

The franchise’s NHL-record 24 Stanley Cup banners watch over each of their home games,as do the banners commemorating the 18 players who have had their numbers retired,each of them a member of the Hall of Fame.

In the dressing room,the photos of the 44 players in team history who are in the Hall of Fame watch over them as well,their photos lined above the players’ lockers.

That history can be a burden when things are not going well.

But it also makes becoming a part of that storied history that much sweeter.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price did that Thursday in a 4-3 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings. It was his 43rd victory of the season setting a franchise record on a team that takes records more seriously than most.

Western Conference playoff field set; pairings TBD

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 1:20 AM / Expert Picks

The eight Western Conference teams in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been determined, although the pairings have not.

The Calgary Flames earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2009 by defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday, eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champions. The victory assured the Flames of finishing no worse than third in the Pacific Division.

Calgary's victory also assured the Winnipeg Jets of their first playoff berth since 2007, when the franchise was known as the Atlanta Thrashers. The Jets earned one point in a 1-0 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche, a game that ended five minutes before the Flames finished the Kings.

Boston U., Providence advance to NCAA title game

Thursday, 04.09.2015 / 11:53 PM / News

Connor Mellas - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Jack Eichel did it all for Boston University on Thursday.

The freshman forward scored the Terriers' first and last goals, as well as assisting on the momentum-swinging third goal in a 5-3 victory against North Dakota in the second Frozen Four semifinal game at TD Garden.

BU (28-7-5) will meet Hockey East rival Providence College for the national championship on Saturday. The Friars advanced to the title game for the first time since 1985 by defeating Nebraska-Omaha 4-1 in the first semifinal.

Five reasons Islanders clinched playoff berth

Thursday, 04.09.2015 / 11:00 PM / Expert Picks

David Satriano - Staff Writer

After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, the New York Islanders led the Metropolitan Division for a large portion of 2014-15 and clinched a berth in the postseason on Thursday.

Additions in goal and on defense, and a captain who is a Hart Trophy candidate are reasons the Islanders' last season at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island was a memorable one. New York's 43-year run there will come to an end this season.

Here are five reasons the Islanders clinched a playoff berth:

Panthers' Jagr passes Francis, gets 1,800th point

Thursday, 04.09.2015 / 10:20 PM / News

Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr passed Ron Francis for fourth on the NHL all-time points list in a 4-2 win against the Boston Bruins at BB&T Center on Thursday.

Jagr passed Francis with his 1,799th point when he had an assist on Aleksander Barkov’s power-play goal with 1:20 left in the second period to tie the game 1-1. Jagr reached 1,800 with an assist on Jonathan Huberdeau’s goal at 4:02 of the third period.

Red Wings' Pulkkinen among AHL First Team All-Stars

Thursday, 04.09.2015 / 4:20 PM / News

Teemu Pulkkinen has spent most of the past three months with the Detroit Red Wings, but his time in the American Hockey League this season was prolific to the point where he was named to the First All-Star Team on Thursday.

The AHL announced its First and Second All-Star Teams, naming six forwards, four defensemen, and two goaltenders.

Pulkkinen was one of two players from Grand Rapids selected to the First Team. A right wing, he leads the AHL with 34 goals in 46 games; he's played 29 games for the Detroit Red Wings.

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Quote of the Day

Yeah, it was a pretty special moment for me. Today was my Dad's [55th] birthday. I have a lot of family in town, so it was a special moment for me to score my first one today. A win definitely would have capped it off, but you can't have everything.

— Sabres rookie Jack Eichel after scoring a goal in his National Hockey League debut
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