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(Page 12 of 288)
NHL Insider

Rangers rue missed chances in loss to Islanders

Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 10:50 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- When you win five straight and 13 of your past 14 games, there's no doubt you need some bounces along the way.

In the first period at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, the New York Rangers didn't get any breaks against the New York Islanders. It played a huge role in what turned out to be a 3-0 loss.

With a chance to pull within three points of the first-place Islanders in the Metropolitan Division, the Rangers came out buzzing. They were doing all the right things and generated several quality scoring chances, none better than the two they had seconds apart late in the first period.

About eight minutes after Mats Zuccarello's one-timer hit the post, Rick Nash made a power move around Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy and let go a wrist shot that beat goalie Jaroslav Halak but hit the far post. The puck caromed right out to the slot for Derick Brassard, who managed to hit each post on his chance.

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Rangers have found consistency after slow start

Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For the first two months of the 2014-15 season, the conversation coming out of the New York Rangers dressing room focused on their search for consistency. Injuries and illness, particularly on defense, made it difficult for the Rangers to play the way they want to play, meaning a low-risk, high-reward game built on speed through the neutral zone backed by superior goaltending.

Consistency, like the health of their defensemen, is no longer a problem. Watch the Rangers now and it looks like they're playing in fast forward. They're playing at a breakneck speed, particularly when they transition from defense to offense. The results have been staggering.

The Rangers have won five games in a row and 13 of their past 14 heading into their game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday. Last week, the Rangers became the third team since 2000-01, and first since the Buffalo Sabres in 2011-12, to sweep the three California teams in the same season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

With a regulation win Tuesday, the Rangers can move within three points of first place in the Metropolitan Division; they were 12 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and Islanders on Dec. 8, when they defeated the Penguins in overtime to start their current hot streak.

Here are five reasons why the Rangers have found the consistency they were looking for in the first two months of the season:

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Stars' Spezza ready for first game against Senators

Monday, 01.12.2015 / 7:50 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza will face the Ottawa Senators for the first time Tuesday after asking for and receiving a trade last summer from the city where he played 11 seasons, the last of which as captain.

Spezza told reporters Monday he's glad the first time he will face his former team is in Dallas rather than Canadian Tire Centre. He will return to Ottawa with the Stars on Jan. 29. Spezza had 687 points in 686 games for the Senators.

"I don't think it's that bad them coming here. It kind of feels like it's on your turf," said Spezza, who has seven goals and 22 assists in 41 games for the Stars. "Going to Ottawa is going to be strange for sure, walking into the building and walk into the visiting room and all that.

"It's nice to catch up. I saw some of the guys [Sunday] and I'll catch up with a few more guys. It's different when it's on your terms and in your rink. It'll be different when I go back to Ottawa though, for sure."

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Six biggest surprises from season's first half

Sunday, 01.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

With the first half of the 2014-15 season complete, NHL.com looks at some of its biggest storylines and award contenders.

At the beginning of each season NHL fans will make predictions on what the ensuing season will look like, from where their favorite team will finish in the standings to who will lead the League in scoring to which team will win the Stanley Cup.

Some predictions are easy to make; saying the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks would be among the NHL's top teams really isn't much of a stretch.

But some things have happened during the first half of the 2014-15 season that no one could have seen coming.

Here are six of the biggest surprises of the first half:

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Selanne set to be first jersey retired by Ducks

Sunday, 01.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- The ceremony is supposed to start Sunday at 4:15 p.m. PT, but that might as well be written in pencil given how long it takes Teemu Selanne to get from place to place.

Selanne gladly stops to sign autographs or chat with fans, no matter the time or place, and he's had trouble making appearances on time this week leading up to his jersey retirement ceremony. About 100 fans showed up Thursday when word got out that Selanne was at Honda Center, and of course he didn't leave until every fan got their moment with him.

"That's why I'm always late," Selanne said.

Selanne's accessibility is as much a part of his legacy as his playing career, and his popularity makes him the overwhelming choice to be the first player in Anaheim Ducks history to have his jersey retired, a scant eight months after he retired at 43.

"It's very special," Selanne said. "Obviously, it's a good start for the culture and history of this franchise. There's going to be many others after that. Being first, it's going to be great."

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Islanders' Okposo, Capuano reflect on J.P. Parise

Friday, 01.09.2015 / 2:04 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Former New York Islanders forward J.P. Parise, who died of lung cancer on Wednesday, is certainly on the minds and hearts of current players and coaches of the team.

Coach Jack Capuano and a few players discussed Parise's legacy following the Islanders optional skate Friday at Prudential Center, where they will play the New Jersey Devils.

Forward Kyle Okposo, who played for J.P. Parise at Shattuck-St. Mary's school in Minnesota in 2004-05, will always remember his smile and guidance.

"J.P. was a good man; I first met him when I went to Shattuck and I was 14," Okposo said. "He was a coach of mine and I developed a relationship with him over time in those years. He was someone I turned to when I needed some help, guidance or advice, and he's going to be missed."

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Byfuglien as D-man helps Jets overcome injuries

Friday, 01.09.2015 / 10:00 AM / NHL Insider

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- The injuries that threatened to spoil the Winnipeg Jets' 2014-15 season have instead brought a few revelations, lessons and wins along the way.

"You always get better in your most adverse times," Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said.

The Jets have prospered in the six-week span when defensemen Zach Bogosian, Grant Clitsome, Toby Enstrom, Mark Stuart and Jacob Trouba each sustained a long-term injury.

Enstrom, the first Winnipeg defenseman to miss significant time, is not expected to return until late January. Since he missed his first game because of a lower-body injury Nov. 25, the Jets are 10-5-4, a mark that was even more impressive before the recent 1-4-0 slide the Jets are on after a 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

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Parise name a mainstay in Minnesota hockey

Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 3:02 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Together, J.P. Parise and his son, Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise, have bridged two generations of Minnesota hockey fans.

Over nine seasons, J.P. was one of the most popular players for the Minnesota North Stars. From 1967 until 1975, and again for one final season in 1978-79, the Parise name became synonymous with the North Stars franchise.

J.P. Parise died Wednesday at the age of 73 after a battle with lung cancer.

"He was really a great teammate, and when you think of the guys you've played with and the guys you've played against, the guys who you really got to know, J.P. was one of those guys," said Wild radio analyst Tom Reid, who was with Parise on the North Stars. "It was so fitting the fact that he was able to come back here to Minnesota and have his son come back here."

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'Triplets' line adds scoring dimension for Lightning

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

They have been dubbed "The Triplets," and when you see them on the ice, it's easy to understand why.

Tyler Johnson, 5-foot-10, 182 pounds.

Nikita Kucherov, 5-11, 171.

Ondrej Palat, 6-0, 180.

Not only do the three members of one of the top lines in the NHL look alike when skating for the Tampa Bay Lightning, they all share the trait of being dismissed at one time or another in their hockey careers because of their similarly slight frames.

But since Oct. 24, when coach Jon Cooper was practically forced to put them together after losing forwards Brett Connolly and J.T. Brown in the first period of a road game against the Winnipeg Jets, "The Triplets" have been terrorizing the NHL.

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Maple Leafs' Kessel aware critics 'expect more'

Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 1:26 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- With the Toronto Maple Leafs having made a coaching change, forward Phil Kessel, already their top scorer, is feeling additional heat to improve his play.

Kessel, who ranks 10th in NHL scoring with 18 goals and 41 points in 40 games, has one goal in his past nine games and three in his past 12.

"Obviously we haven't been winning and that's what happens; they're going to come after you," Kessel said. "It's never fun, but it's part of the business."

Former Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson suggested Tuesday during a radio interview that the core group of players on the Maple Leafs, which includes Kessel, may be uncoachable. Kessel was asked about his former coach’s statement and said, "I don't really care, to be honest with you. I didn't see it, so it doesn't really faze me."

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Quote of the Day

I watched many times this year the series between the Russians and Canada in 1972, and he was a dominating player there. After I watched the tapes, I respect him a lot more because he turned the series around. He was the guy. In that time, he was the best in the world. It’s a big honor for me to tie him.

— Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr on scoring the 717th goal of his career to tie Phil Esposito for fifth on the NHL's all-time goals list after a 4-3 win vs. the Lightning on Sunday
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