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Stanley Cup Final
(Page 13 of 243)
NHL Insider

Metropolitan: Penguins in complete control

Monday, 02.24.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

There's no question which team will win the Metropolitan Division. After that, however, things are wide open.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have dominated the division almost since opening night, and despite injuries that forced them to raid their farm system, they return from the Olympic break with a 16-point lead over the second-place New York Rangers. Sidney Crosby is poised to win another NHL scoring title, but the Penguins have enough offensive depth, defense and goaltending to pace them through the final six weeks of the regular season before what they expect will be a long run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The other two automatic playoff berths in the division are very much in play, as are the Eastern Conference's two wild-card berths.

The Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers survived bad starts and return from the break second and third in the division, respectively. They're trying to fend off the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils, all of whom have been inconsistent but are no more than a short winning streak away from jumping into the top three. Only the New York Islanders appear to have too much of a hill to climb to make the postseason.

Here's a look at the eight Metropolitan teams as they prepare for the stretch run:


NHL season resumes Tuesday in Buffalo

Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 2:03 PM / NHL Insider


Once the NHL roster freeze ends at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday, the League formally re-opens for business following a two-week break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

And with the lifting of roster freezes, rumors and activity leading up to the March 5 NHL Trade Deadline will reach a fever pitch. Among the names who could be on the move are Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, New York Rangers forward Ryan Callahan, New York Islanders forward Thomas Vanek and defenseman Andrew MacDonald, and perhaps New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur.

The games resume Tuesday when the Carolina Hurricanes play the Buffalo Sabres (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) in a matchup originally scheduled for Jan. 7 at First Niagara Center until it was postponed due to a snowstorm. The Hurricanes returned to practice Thursday and the Sabres on Friday, when interim coach Ted Nolan returned from his stint coaching Latvia at the Olympics.


Bozak torn between loyalties to Canada, linemates

Thursday, 02.20.2014 / 2:26 AM / NHL Insider


If it's possible to have too much rooting interest, Tyler Bozak might find himself in that situation Friday.

The Toronto Maple Leafs center will watch the semifinal game between Canada and the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics (noon ET, NBCSN, CBC) knowing NHL linemates Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk could lead the Americans to a win against his home country.

"I've got my two wingers on U.S. and I'm Canadian," Bozak said Wednesday when the Maple Leafs returned to practice. "I guess I'm cheering for both; I just hope Phil and JVR play really well and maybe Canada wins, I don't know."


Break about over, NHL teams set for furious finish

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 2:15 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

It's almost time for the NHL to reopen for business.

Starting at 2 p.m. local time Wednesday, teams can start holding practices for players who didn't go to the 2014 Sochi Olympics or whose teams have been eliminated. They'll have a few days together to get ready for when the season restarts with a game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 25.

With 53 days left before the regular season ends April 13, there's a lot of work left to be done for many teams.


McLellan ready to break Sharks record for games coached

Friday, 02.07.2014 / 5:58 PM / NHL Insider

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- Making franchise history is nothing new to San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan.

McLellan has more victories (256), a higher winning percentage (.590) and a better percentage of points earned (.652) than any coach in franchise history. He'll add another line in the team record book Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets when he coaches his 435th game, breaking former coach Darryl Sutter's mark.

McLellan downplayed the impending record but not the impact that spending nearly six seasons with the Sharks has had on him.

"There's a hockey joke that you have a tattoo put on you when you spend some time in organizations," McLellan said after the morning skate. "The Shark tattoo is the biggest one I've got, certainly one I hope will grow for many years. It really gets ingrained when you win a championship, so that's still our goal."


Analysis: Penguins set up to handle Letang's absence

Friday, 02.07.2014 / 4:20 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

The hockey world was shocked when Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero delivered the news Friday that defenseman Kris Letang had suffered a stroke last week and would miss a minimum of six weeks.

Fortunately the condition is not life-threatening and the 26-year-old has been cleared to go on vacation with his family during the NHL break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He's expected to resume skating on his own after the Olympic break.

As for the Penguins, they'll be tasked with continuing without one of their best defensemen. But if their season to this point is any indication, they should be able to handle this adversity.


Daily Primer Feb. 7: Last call for the Penguins

Friday, 02.07.2014 / 1:53 AM / NHL Insider


Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Dan Bylsma will be working together for one more night before heading to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Next week, Crosby will be playing for Canada, Malkin will be doing the same for Russia, and Bylsma will be behind the bench for the United States as their countries chase Olympic gold. But on Friday, they'll be trying to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to one last pre-Olympic victory when the New York Rangers come to Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

It's the final game before the break for each team. The Rangers and Penguins each will have seven players in Sochi.

Here's a look at all of the action Friday:


Disappointed Stamkos focused on Lightning return

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 1:37 PM / NHL Insider

Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- The ache in his heart appeared to exceed any discomfort he might be feeling from his leg.

Steven Stamkos isn't going to the Olympics and the Tampa Bay Lightning center officially threw in the towel, reluctantly, after the morning skate Thursday. The news he was not medically cleared to play came following a CT scan Wednesday, and came out of the blue, taking Stamkos by surprise, especially because he thought he could play Thursday, even earlier than had been expected.

"It was disappointing. I was surprised," Stamkos said. "Going into the meeting I was expecting to play on Thursday, based on how I was feeling and how the previous X-rays had went. It was shocking, to be honest."

There is consolation, of course. Stamkos is 24 years old with lots of hockey ahead. But that wasn't making him feel much better Thursday.


Daily Primer Feb. 6: Bruins play without their captain

Thursday, 02.06.2014 / 1:45 AM / NHL Insider


The NHL's Olympic break officially starts after the completion of play on Saturday. But the 2014 Sochi Olympics are already having an effect on the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins visit the St. Louis Blues on Thursday in their next-to-last game before the break. However, they'll take the ice at Scottrade Center without captain Zdeno Chara, who left early for Sochi in order to carry the flag for Slovakia in the opening ceremony on Friday.

"This was made as a group and that was the only way I would accept it," Chara said of the decision to let him leave early, "so I really appreciate it again, and it means a lot to me."

Here's a look at all of the action on a busy Thursday:


Olympics take center stage on 'NHL Revealed'

Wednesday, 02.05.2014 / 11:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With the men's hockey tournament in the 2014 Sochi Olympics set to begin in one week, the episode of "NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other" that aired on NBCSN Wednesday night featured Olympians from seven teams.

The episode will air in Canada on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on CBC.

Part of the storyline was that friends and teammates will soon become rivals in Sochi. It's one of the storylines that is at the heart of every international tournament.

"There will be no friends during that tournament," New York Rangers and U.S. defenseman Ryan McDonagh said early in the show.

For example, Canadian Olympians such as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will have to put their friendship with fellow Anaheim Ducks teammate and Finnish forward Teemu Selanne on hold when they get to Sochi.

They had to do the same thing four years ago in Vancouver.

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Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1