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Five reasons Ducks clinched playoff berth

Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 4:09 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Anaheim Ducks continue to be one of the NHL's elite teams. For the eighth time in the past 10 seasons, they have qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With a high-profile coach, a quality goaltending tandem, and three of the top forwards in the League, the Ducks have the assets required to play deep into the playoffs.

Here are five reasons the Ducks clinched a playoff berth:

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Playoff clinching scenarios for Saturday, March 28

Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 11:10 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

With 15 days remaining in the regular season, there are 15 berths up for grabs in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Clubs that can clinch their spots Saturday:

* The Montreal Canadiens would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Florida Panthers in any fashion OR if the New York Rangers defeat the Boston Bruins in any fashion OR if they get one point against the Panthers AND the Bruins defeat the Rangers in a shootout.

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Top prospects for 2015 draft provide self-evaluations

Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Prior to every season, NHL Central Scouting has already evaluated hundreds of the top prospects eligible for the upcoming NHL Draft.

In addition to putting together meticulous reports and sharing those details with their colleagues, it's also required that each prospect submit some necessary paperwork.

So even before Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel begin to impress, they've already completed the NHL Central Scouting questionnaire.

When asked for his ambition outside of hockey in September 2014, Eichel wrote: "Be a good father someday."

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Around the League notebook for Friday, March 27

Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 1:03 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

MINNESOTA WINS FOURTH STRAIGHT IN VICTORY OVER CALGARY

With the score knotted at 1-1 heading into the third period, the Minnesota Wild scored three consecutive goals to eventually defeat the Calgary Flames 4-2. The Wild have won four straight games and improved to 43-25-7 (93 points) this season.

* Minnesota occupies the first Wild Card spot in the Western Conference and moved three points ahead of the idle Winnipeg Jets, who occupy the final Wild Card spot with a record of 39-24-12 (90 points). The Wild also moved within a point of the Chicago Blackhawks, who rank third in the Central Division with a record of 44-24-6 (94 points).

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Thomas Vanek finally found his way with Wild

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 11:50 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Since entering the NHL as a 21-year-old with the Buffalo Sabres, Thomas Vanek has earned the reputation as one of the League's premier goal-scorers. Over that span, Vanek ranks second in power-play goals, ninth in goals and 11th in game-winning goals.

Thomas Vanek
Left Wing - MIN
GOALS: 20 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 50
SOG: 160 | +/-: -4
It's the reason the Minnesota Wild committed three years and $19.5 million to Vanek in July. But the season wasn't going according to plan for the Wild or for Vanek, who got off to one of the slowest starts of his career.

Minnesota's 16-11-1 start made it easy to forgive Vanek, who was traded twice last season after playing the first eight of his NHL career with the Sabres.

"I went from left to right, to left to right, and finding linemates hasn't been as steady as you'd want it to be," Vanek said last week. "That's what happens when you come to a new place, you try and find chemistry."

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Panthers' Bjugstad has back surgery, out for season

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 9:17 PM / News

NHL.com

Florida Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad had successful surgery on his lower back Friday.

Bjugstad is out for the season and a full recovery is expected, the Panthers said.

"After consulting with Nick and thoroughly evaluating the extent of his injury, we mutually felt it was important to have this procedure done as soon as possible," Florida general manager Dale Tallon said.

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Capitals star Ovechkin meets soccer icon Messi

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 7:14 PM / News

NHL.com

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin is used to meeting fans who are in awe of him, but Friday it was his turn.

Ovechkin and teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov, along with Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, met soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md., to prepare for its friendly against El Salvador on Saturday.

"It was a big dream," Ovechkin told Monumental Network. "[Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetsov] as well."

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Scouts see value in enhanced stats if applied properly

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 5:00 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Will the age of enhanced statistics one day change the way NHL Central Scouting goes about its business in evaluating the top players eligible for the NHL Draft?

There's no denying the fact enhanced stats have taken the NHL and its fans by storm. In February, the League announced a partnership with enterprise software company SAP to provide many new statistics via NHL.com. If this stats revolution changes the way people now analyze the game, what could it do for NHL scouts?

"If you add ingredients to help you evaluate someone, you have to use those ingredients," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "But you can't go overboard; we've been baking a cake our whole life and now, if you put icing on the cake, it's better. But if it's all icing it's not a good cake, so I think if you take it too far it might not work.

"The eyeball test still has to be there, you still have to apply what analytics do. It could help you decide between one guy or the other, and I believe it is good for the game."

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Hurricanes, goalie Nedeljkovic agree to terms

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 4:46 PM / News

CarolinaHurricanes.com

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (neh-DEL-koh-vitch) on a three-year, entry-level contract. At the NHL level, the deal will pay Nedeljkovic $700,000 in 2015-16, $750,000 in 2016-17 and $800,000 in 2017-18. In the minor leagues, he will make $70,000 in each season, and he will receive a signing bonus of $277,500. Nedeljkovic will join the Hurricanes’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers, for the remainder of the 2014-15 season.

“Alex had another strong year with Plymouth, and we are pleased with his development thus far,” said Francis. “We anticipate that he will play an important role in our organization’s future.”

Nedeljkovic, 19, recently completed his third season of major-junior hockey with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He finished the season ranked first among OHL goaltenders saves (1,827) and shots faced (1,994), tied for third in shutouts (5), fourth in games (55) and minutes played (3,206), fifth in save percentage (.916) and 12th in goals-against average (3.13). The Parma, OH, native posted a 20-28-7 record with Plymouth, finishing 14th among OHL goalies in wins despite the Whalers finishing ninth in the Western Conference with a 23-38-7 record.

To read more from the Carolina Hurricanes website, CLICK HERE.

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Bruins sign forward Hargrove to entry-level contract

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 4:41 PM / News

BostonBruins.com

Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced March 27, that the club has signed forward Colton Hargrove to an entry-level contract.

In 34 games for Western Michigan University (NCHC) this season, the 22-year-old forward recorded 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points along with 80 penalty minutes. Hargrove finished the season tied for first on the team in goals, ranked second on the team in points and tied for third on the team in both assists and penalty minutes.

Hargrove played three seasons (2012-15) with Western Michigan University amassing 34 goals and 28 assists for 62 points in 105 career collegiate games with a combined plus-26 rating. Before his college career, Hargrove played two seasons with the Fargo Force of the USHL where he competed in 110 total games with 29 goals, 36 assists and 249 penalty minutes.

Hargrove has participated in the last three Boston Bruins Development Camps. The 6’1’’, 211-pound Dallas, TX native was drafted by Boston in the seventh round (205th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

To read more from the Boston Bruins website, CLICK HERE.

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Quote of the Day

The last time I did it was 1994 and surprise, 20 years later it’s still working. I don’t do it very much, though. I don’t think I had it. I’m kind of surprised. It was probably because I went to church before the game.

Panthers veteran forward Jaromir Jagr on the move that produced his second goal in a 4-2 victory against the Senators on Sunday
AMP No Bull Moment of the Week