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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Hurricanes' Ward has awoken

Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 12:20 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Justin Goldman, a regional goalie scout for USA Hockey and founder of The Goalie Guild, will provide you with in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Goldman will be your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward is kind of like the Rip Van Winkle of fantasy hockey.

For the first time in more than five seasons Ward has won five games in a row. It’s the first time he has accomplished this feat since stringing together nine straight wins from March 18 to April 9, 2009.

Considering he was 0-3-1 with a .840 save percentage (84 saves on 100 shots) in October, Ward is starting to prove to even his harshest critics that he's waking up from a very lengthy slumber.

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Unmasked: More than luck in Hasek's barrel roll

Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Of all the incredible saves Dominik Hasek made during a two-decade career that earned induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame, perhaps none was more famous than the barrel roll.

Also known as the drop and roll or the Hasek Roll, it was a signature move for a goaltender known as "The Dominator."

It also was widely misunderstood and improperly characterized as an act of desperate athleticism, or worse, a lucky save. It was anything but.

Many of Hasek's saves were easily dismissed as unorthodox flopping, but there was a method to the madness. Much of it was based on the same principles of taking away time and filling space that make up modern goaltending instruction but were emerging themes in the early-1990s when Hasek debuted in the League.

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Blues' 'STL Line' emerging as one of NHL's best

Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- When the St. Louis Blues made it known in July that they signed center Jori Lehtera and persuaded the Finland native to leave the Kontinental Hockey League for the NHL, nobody was happier than Vladimir Tarasenko.

Lehtera and Tarasenko played together for Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL for two seasons, and the chemistry was impeccable.

The Blues knew they had two-thirds of a line, and it was no secret that Russian native Tarasenko and Lehtera would join forces once again in St. Louis once the signing was announced.


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Erie's Dylan Strome ready to follow brother's path

Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Erie Otters forward Dylan Strome can recall the excitement watching his older brother head to the podium after the New York Islanders had just selected him with the fifth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft at Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota.

"We were kind of in shock," he said. "My brother just went fifth overall in the NHL draft and I'm like, 'Wow.' It's something that happens just once in your lifetime and it was pretty cool to be a part of it from right there in the fifth row.

"Hopefully, I can live that day again."

There's no reason to think Strome won't get a little déjà vu on June 26 when the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft is held at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The 6-foot-3, 187-pound left-handed shot has been everything advertised after the Otters selected him No. 2 in the 2013 Ontario Hockey League draft.

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Griffith's extra effort, skill sparked Bruins to victory

Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / Defenders of the Ice

NHL.com

Not only did Seth Griffith's goal dominate the highlight reel Monday, his extra effort that led to the goal sparked the Boston Bruins to a win against the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.

The play started late in the second period of a 2-2 game when Griffith took a knee to block a shot from Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador, got up immediately and powered through Salvador and Marek Zidlicky on an end-to-end rush. Defended by Zidlicky in front of the Devils net, Griffith spun, turned his back to the goal and slapped a backhander between his legs and the pads of goalie Cory Schneider at 18:01.

The Bruins added an insurance goal 1:20 later en route to their fifth straight win that boosted their record to 10-6-0, and Griffith's grit on defense and flair for offense was the talk of the locker room. What impressed coach Claude Julien was Griffith's desire that put the game's turning point in motion.

"I think that that whole effort, from the time he blocked it, to picking up some speed and really battling hard between the two Ds, and then staying on it -- that last effort there, of using his stick between his legs there to bank that puck in, it was a great effort," Julien told the Bruins website.

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Unorthodox Hasek dominated on way to Hall of Fame

Thursday, 11.13.2014 / 3:00 AM / Hall of Fame

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

If the awards and records don't say it, the nickname certainly does.

Dominik Hasek was known as The Dominator for good reason.

At the peak of a career that will see the 49-year-old inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, Nov. 17, Hasek won six Vezina and two Hart trophies with the Buffalo Sabres and a gold medal with the Czech Republic at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the first with NHL participation. He added two Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings before retiring with the highest NHL career save percentage at .922.

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Fantasy top 60 'D': Flames' Giordano tops rankings

Wednesday, 11.12.2014 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Brian Metzer - NHL.com Correspondent

Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.

The Calgary Flames have been one of the most interesting stories through the first month of the NHL season. They have gotten off to a 9-6-2 start and sit just three points behind the Western Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division. There have been many reasons for that success, but one of the biggest has been the play of Mark Giordano.

Giordano, who jumps to the head of the line in our rankings this week, leads all defensemen in assists (14) and points (19), and ranks second in goals (five) and points per game (1.12). He collected 10 of those points (three goals) over his past five games and is probably the hottest player in the league not named Sidney Crosby.

He might not have been the first name you thought of when drafting defensemen for your fantasy team, but he probably should have been, especially when you consider he rolled up 47 points (five goals) over the 64 games he played last season.

That production translated into .73 points per game and was good enough to rank him behind the Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson (.90) and the Chicago Blackhawks' Duncan Keith (.77) in that category.

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Five things to watch in Rivalry Night games

Wednesday, 11.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to string wins together. The Boston Bruins are thriving, not just surviving, without their captain and top defenseman, Zdeno Chara.

They're each in Stanley Cup Playoff position one month into the 2014-15 season, separated by two points in the Atlantic Division. With a handful of teams in the Eastern Conference improving their rosters during the offseason, every point, even this early in the season, is critical.

The Original Six clubs will get together in the first game of a NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader at Air Canada Centre (8 p.m. ET), when the Bruins will be seeking their sixth straight win. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, will try to make it three in a row.

On the other side of North America, the Los Angeles Kings will head down the freeway to take on the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center (10:30 p.m. ET) in the first game between the teams since the Western Conference Second Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which the Kings won in seven games.

Anaheim has lost its past three games, but it enters Wednesday with a five-game point streak (2-0-3). Los Angeles is on a three-game point streak (2-0-1).

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


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Quick continues to excel despite depleted Kings roster

Wednesday, 11.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Every four years Dustin Brown gets a reminder of why he appreciates Jonathan Quick. It happens when Brown and Quick are playing for the U.S. Olympic team instead of the Los Angeles Kings.

Brown has been with Quick throughout the 28-year-old goalie's NHL career, so he's used to seeing Quick carry the Kings and hide their weaknesses during rough patches.

"But going to the Olympics and him making saves over there and seeing guys react on the bench that way that haven't played with him on a day-to-day basis [reminds me]," Brown said. "Just seeing guys, how they reacted when he made some saves that probably very few goalies make."

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Maple Leafs seeing incremental progress from Kadri

Wednesday, 11.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- A work in progress.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri has been called that so often it might as well be his middle name.

And yet 15 games into his third full season with the Maple Leafs, Kadri is still working toward establishing himself as a bona fide top-two center with the team. The 24-year-old London, Ontario, native who was the seventh pick in the 2009 NHL Draft started the season as Toronto's No. 2 pivot behind Tyler Bozak, who has skated the last few seasons between left wing James van Riemsdyk and right wing Phil Kessel.

When that trio failed to light it up early, Toronto coach Randy Carlyle replaced Bozak, not a prototypical top-line center, though he has been productive as well as the defensive conscience on the line, with Kadri.

"I haven't gotten too much opportunity over the past couple of years, but it is always nice to play with Phil," Kadri said. "He's a great player. The thing with this team is we need all the lines to contribute and secondary third- and fourth-line scoring is definitely going to increase our chances of winning."

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Quote of the Day

It's something that you don't really envision starting this way, but when you put the work in you don't feel like it's unwarranted. You definitely don't envision it unfolding this way, but you do think you can be successful at this level.

— Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who defeated the Jets on Wednesday to improve to 6-0-1 since making his first NHL start on Feb. 18