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Unmasked: Hammond, Talbot can maintain success

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Two of the hottest goaltenders and best nicknames in the NHL meet Thursday when the New York Rangers host the Ottawa Senators in a battle between the "Goalbuster" and the "Hamburglar."

Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot was dubbed Goalbuster thanks to his "Ghostbuster" movie-themed masks. Senators goalie Andrew Hammond earned the Hamburglar nickname in college and it stuck in the NHL thanks to the image of the masked McDonald's character painted (with Alfred E. Newman's face) on the side of his mask.

The bigger question beyond this meeting of hot nicknames and hotter play is, how much staying power do Hammond and Talbot have in the NHL, and which one is best suited to becoming a No. 1 goalie?

Each has looked the part heading into Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET: RDS, TSN5, MSG Plus).

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Bruins face do-or-die stretch with playoffs at stake

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- A favorite tactic of heels in wrestling is to start hitting their opponent before the bell rings in order to gain an advantage.

With nine games left in the Boston Bruins' regular season, they need to gain a similar edge by playing at a higher level than they're used to performing at this time of year.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs don't begin until April 15, but for the Bruins the bell has rung. In order to qualify for the eighth straight year they have to start playing playoff-caliber hockey right now. The Bruins trail the Ottawa Senators by one point for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference after leading by seven points as recently as March 10.

The Bruins will try to snap a five-game losing streak (0-3-2) against the Anaheim Ducks at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m.; NHLN-US, TVA Sports).

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Central Scouting meeting to set final rankings

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

It certainly isn't a stretch at this point to assume center Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League and Boston University freshman center Jack Eichel will be the top two players picked at the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on June 26.

While those two players have moved to the head of the draft class, NHL Central Scouting will meet Friday to start to determine the final rankings of the top 210 North American skaters and top 30 North American goaltenders.

McDavid played 47 games this season but finished third with 120 points and tied for fourth with 44 goals. He started the season with points in 10 straight games, then had a 27-game point streak, during which he had 26 goals and 67 points. It was the longest streak in the OHL since John Tavares of the Oshawa Generals had points in 27 straight games during the 2007-08 season.

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Skating, skill make Kylington's prospects intriguing

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

Oliver Kylington didn't get a chance to impress scouts by playing for Sweden at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship in January.

The defenseman sustained an injury during an exhibition game against Canada at Canadian Tire Centre prior to the start of the tournament and was unable to participate.

In a tournament typically dominated by 19-year-old players, Kylington (6-foot, 180 pounds), who turns 18 in May, might not have looked out of place. The event had many top prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft, including the projected top two picks, Canada center Connor McDavid and United States center Jack Eichel.

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Around the League notebook: Wednesday, March 25

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 1:57 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

STARS OUTLAST FLAMES TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK

The Dallas Stars surrendered leads of 2-0 and 3-2, but Tyler Seguin scored the lone goal in the shootout to lift the club to its fourth straight win overall and a 5-0-1 mark in their last six meetings with the Calgary Flames dating to March 18, 2013.

* The Stars (36-28-10, 82 points) moved within six points of the idle Winnipeg Jets (38-24-12, 88 points) for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Dallas owns the ROW tiebreaker (DAL: 32, WPG: 31), but Winnipeg won the season series (WPG: 3-1-0, DAL: 1-3-0).

* Kari Lehtonen made 31 saves and denied all three shootout attempts to pick up his eighth win in his past nine games against the Flames, including five straight victories. Overall, he has a 10-3-2 record in 15 career appearances vs. Calgary (2.61 GAA, .912 SV%).

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Flyers' Simmonds, MacDonald out for regular season

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 11:46 PM / News

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds and defenseman Andrew MacDonald sustained season-ending injuries in the Flyers' 4-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

The Flyers announced the injuries after the game.

Simmonds, who scored his Flyers-best 28th goal in the first period, has a lower-body injury. He was hit in the left foot by a shot.

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Congressional Hockey Challenge highlights education

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 10:58 PM / News

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The seventh annual Congressional Hockey Challenge took place Wednesday.

The recipients of the NHL/Thurgood Marshall College Fund scholarships were announced, and several panelists discussed the future of hockey and its role in higher education.

"The truth is, you've got some big-time hockey programs, but there's a lot of schools and colleges now that have hockey programs that are competitive," Congressional Hockey Caucus co-chairman Rep. Pat Meehan (Pa.) said. "Kids can come from that level and play, or they can play on club teams where there's some really good hockey being played, so it's still part of the school's curriculum.

"The concept is that hockey teaches skills -- teamwork, preparation, and discipline -- life skills. The program supports college scholarships for some of the players that come out of inner-city youth organizations, so it creates a future for kids that might not otherwise have a future [in hockey]. "

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LaFontaine savors one last visit to Nassau Coliseum

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 8:57 PM / NHL Insider

Pat LaFontaine - Special to NHL.com

About three months ago, I received a message from Garth Snow, the general manager of the New York Islanders, asking me to get in touch with him. He mentioned to me that the Islanders were going to be bringing back a lot of the players who have banners hanging from the rafters at Nassau Coliseum.

Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, Clark Gillies, Bobby Nystrom, all of those guys who won championships, along with other players from different eras were going to be brought in to say goodbye to the Old Barn and to salute the fans in the last season on Long Island.

Garth explained that they wanted to end the final season on a high note and asked me to come out for a ceremonial puck drop and to do some “meet-and-greets” with the fans and sponsors. I told Garth that I was honored by the gesture he and Charles Wang had extended to me, and it would be my pleasure to attend.

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Hammond hardly the only hero in Senators' surge

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 4:04 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Andrew Hammond has captured much of the hockey world's attention during the Ottawa Senators' run from outlier to Stanley Cup Playoffs contender in the past six weeks.

Though the 27-year-old "Hamburglar" embarking on his NHL career with a 14-0-1 record as a starter might be the biggest story, there are other significant reasons the Senators have overtaken the Boston Bruins for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference.

The return of veteran defenseman Marc Methot from injury to form one of the NHL's top defensive pairings with Erik Karlsson (who's in Norris Trophy form these days), the contributions of young forwards Curtis Lazar, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone, and the coaching of Dave Cameron have been keys to the Senators resurgence.

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Blackhawks' Timonen reflects on time with Flyers

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 3:22 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen was in the midst of his first press gathering in Philadelphia since the Philadelphia Flyers traded him Feb. 27.

After seven seasons as a member of the Flyers, Timonen was asked how the crowd would react for his return to Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA Sports).

Timonen, the stoic 40-year-old Finn, took several beats to gather himself as the memories of the past washed over him.

"I only have good memories here," he finally said. "I'm sure it's going to be good. All the things that happened here. ... I'm happy to be here."

Flyers fans likely will be happy to see Timonen, who helped the Flyers make the Stanley Cup Playoffs six times, reach the Eastern Conference Final twice and make it to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. His former teammates certainly are happy to see him.

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Quote of the Day

For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday
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