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2015 NHL Draft
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NHL Insider

Sharp beginning to find offense for Blackhawks

Sunday, 04.05.2015 / 10:13 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- His scoring touch left him for a long stretch of games, but forward Patrick Sharp is starting to round into form at just the right time for the Chicago Blackhawks.

His goal production is trending up as the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs approach, and that’s a welcome relief for a team that’s missing its most potent offensive threat. If the Blackhawks are going to survive long enough to get injured right wing Patrick Kane back, they’re going to need one of Sharp’s patented postseason runs.

Other players were more heralded in Chicago’s 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup championship runs, but Sharp’s name was at the top of the goals column on the stat sheet each time. Odds are he’ll be up there again if the Blackhawks cap these playoffs with another title.

“Everybody wants to gear up for the end of the season and what’s to come,” said Sharp, who has two goals in the Blackhawks’ current four-game win streak. “You know, for whatever reason it’s been a tough season individually, offensively, putting up points and scoring goals. But I think our team’s right where we want to be. We’re playing better hockey as of late, individually, and I think we’re trending in the right direction.”

Stone contributing to Senators' late-season surge

Friday, 04.03.2015 / 12:19 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- There are several key reasons the Ottawa Senators have been one of the great stories in the NHL for the past couple months.

Backed by goaltender Andrew Hammond, "The Hamburglar," they have been on a potentially record-setting roll as they try to overcome a 14-point deficit on Feb. 10 and earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That would be the biggest deficit a team has overcome since the NHL went to an Eastern-Western conference format in 1993-94.

Capitals' success this season is a team effort

Friday, 04.03.2015 / 1:29 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL – It was set up perfectly.

With the game on the line in the shootout, the two leading contenders to win the Hart Trophy, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, were going head to head.

The game at Bell Centre on Thursday was hyped as a showdown between the two superstars. That was exactly what it came down to, with a chance for Ovechkin to win the game with a goal.

Ovechkin deked to his forehand, Price extended his pad, and the shootout continued.

Molson Canadian contest spotlights love for hockey

Thursday, 04.02.2015 / 11:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

Hockey, at its core, is a game. Yet sometimes that's an easily overlooked fact, especially when hockey can take on a greater meaning. And when choice individuals go above and beyond the call for the sake of the sport, it becomes all the more special.

Molson Canadian recently held a contest it called #ANYTHINGFORHOCKEY, which solicited entries from Canadians telling their stories about what they would do for hockey. Eleven winners were announced, with the grand prize of being flown to a professionally-made mountain rink in a remote range near the Rocky Mountains to play a game.

Though the 11 winners were different ages and genders, and told different stories, one common thread united them all: a passion for and commitment to hockey.

Subban, Canadiens ready for Ovechkin, Capitals

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 4:38 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- One of the many incredible aspects of the 50-goal season put together by Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is that he has scored at least one goal against 25 of 29 teams.

Not in his career, mind you. This season.

Ovechkin will have a chance to make it 26 out of 29 on Thursday when the Capitals play the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET; CSN-DC, RDS, SNE) at Bell Centre for the final time this season.

The Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks are the teams that have not allowed a goal to Ovechkin this season, and Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban knows it will be a big challenge to shut him out for a third time.

"I don't really like to pay special attention to certain players, but he's one of the players in the League who's had a better than average year this year," Subban said with a chuckle after practice Wednesday. "He's scored a lot of goals in the League, so you've got to pay attention to him when he's on the ice.

"I'm always the type of player who likes to get up for the better players in the League. That's how you test yourself, that's how you measure yourself. He's a great player in this League since he's come into it, and he's an impact player, so it's a challenge."

Defense-oriented Penguins feel they're set for playoffs

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are nearly unrecognizable.

They have been one of the NHL's more explosive teams throughout the past decade. Having forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin centering the top two lines has that effect. The tandem has combined to lead the League in points per game each of the past five seasons, with Crosby first on each occasion except 2010-11.

That production has led to Pittsburgh averaging 3.16 goals per game entering this season since Crosby's rookie year of 2005-06.

Some things stay the same. Crosby leads the NHL in scoring with 79 points, two more than Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek entering their game at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN1). But that has not translated into overall offensive success like it had in his previous nine seasons with Pittsburgh.

"I think this time of year, it's about us," Penguins assistant coach Gary Agnew said. "We've got to make sure we've got our game fine-tuned to where it has to be heading into the last couple of weeks and into the playoffs. [Wednesday] is just another fine-tune game for us."

Five things to watch in Rivalry Night doubleheader

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won back-to-back games and are in a heated race to secure home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Philadelphia Flyers would like to do nothing more than to help deny them that opportunity.

Pittsburgh (42-23-11) has earned points in four of its past five games, including a 3-2 shootout victory against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

Philadelphia (30-29-17), which has points in two of its past three, is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to San Jose on Saturday. The Flyers have four games remaining against teams battling for playoff position.

The Penguins, who are 3-1-1 in their past five games, will try to secure two more points when they host the Flyers at Consol Energy Center in the first game of a Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN1).

"No matter how the year goes for us or them, it's always a big rivalry and heated games, a lot of emotion and intensity in them," defenseman Paul Martin said, according to the Penguins website. "I'm sure I wouldn't expect anything different."

In the nightcap, the Sharks will face the Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center (NBCSN, SN1, 10:30 p.m. ET). San Jose (37-30-9) has earned points in three straight games as it tries to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.

Seidenberg stepping up game at key time for Bruins

Tuesday, 03.31.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- When Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg is at his best, he's a player who punishes opponents in battles down low with his body checking and serves as a second goaltender with his shot blocking.

Seidenberg's usually at his best in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He wrote his legend during the Bruins' run to the 2011 Stanley Cup championship as sidekick to Boston captain Zdeno Chara on the No. 1 pairing. Since then Seidenberg has been a rugged pillar of stability at the most important times for the Bruins.

In case anyone missed it, the Bruins have gotten a head start on playing playoff-caliber games because they're battling the Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers and others to extend their postseason streak to eight consecutive years. And Seidenberg has again played a central role in the Bruins tightening up their defense and winning two in a row to take a three-point lead on the Senators for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Bruins also lead the Panthers by four points heading into their game at TD Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m., SNE, SNO, SNW, NESN, FS-F).

Whirlwind trip for hockey fanatic has charitable payoff

Monday, 03.30.2015 / 4:32 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

NEWARK, N.J. -- For years, Rob Suggitt dreamed about visiting every rink in the NHL.

Finally, he acted this year and finds himself in the midst of a whirlwind, month-long tour of hockey across North America.

Suggitt, a self-professed hockey fanatic from Edmonton, is on a quest to visit 30 different NHL rinks in 30 consecutive nights. It is part bucket-list adventure and part charity fundraiser. It has also been an unforgettable experience.

"For me, it's going to be the memories of this trip," Suggitt said as he sat at the Prudential Center before a game Sunday night between the New Jersey Devils and the Anaheim Ducks. "Right now, they are just incredible. As I finish it, I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life."

Capitals' Fehr excels in new role as checking center

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Ben Raby - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- More than 10 years have passed since defenseman Mike Green and forward Eric Fehr, now Washington Capitals teammates, played against each other in the Western Hockey League, but Green still has one regret.

"I wanted to drop the gloves with him; I really wanted to go," said Green, who was captain of the Saskatoon Blades. "But Eric, he was too busy scoring goals against us, two or three a game. He was a great goal-scorer, absolutely. We couldn't stop him."

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Quote of the Day

He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.

— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft