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NHL Insider

Pyatt producing gives Rangers dangerous third line

Monday, 04.22.2013 / 9:59 AM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- When Brad Richards started the season centering the New York Rangers' top line alongside All-Stars Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik, there was every reason to believe he would be a part of New York's hottest trio entering the final week of the regular season.

And with seven points in his last three games -- including his first career hat trick -- Richards has been on fire for the Rangers. But he's done it playing alongside two players that aren’t exactly Nash and Gaborik.

Gaborik has since been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nash has not seen much time alongside Richards. Instead, Mats Zuccarello was placed beside Richards at the end of March after starting the season with Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the Kontinental Hockey League. In their first nine games together, the pair combined for seven points and enjoyed varying degrees of success with different players on the other wing, including Ryane Clowe. But it's the addition of Taylor Pyatt who has allowed the pair to break out, combining for six goals in their past three games.

Injuries, lack of offense will send Devils home early

Sunday, 04.21.2013 / 7:43 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- They've talked about deserving better, about how their play was not indicative of their record, about how they wouldn't change anything in their game.

But the New Jersey Devils couldn't hide from reality Sunday.

The 2012 Eastern Conference champions will not be part of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, that much became official with the Devils' 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, where most of the 17,200 fans in attendance happily chanted, "Season's over!" with more than eight minutes still left in the third period and again, louder, six minutes later.

"You don't want to think about it until it's actually a reality," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "No other word but disappointment."

Bruins, fans react to Boston's difficult week

Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 5:49 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON – It's been a difficult week for this city, and the Boston Bruins wanted to do whatever they could to ease that burden.

With two games rescheduled in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings Monday, the Bruins took to the TD Garden ice Saturday afternoon, knowing the manhunt that locked down the city Friday had been successful.

"I think it was a little more of a celebration with everyone here [Saturday]," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said following a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. "More of an opportunity for us to thank them and give our respects for the amazing job they did with taking those guys into custody and cleaning up the streets pretty much.

Oates won Capitals' trust by focusing on positives

Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 4:31 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL – For a rookie coach trying to win the trust of his players, winning once in your first seven games is not exactly the way to do it.

But that's where Adam Oates found himself with the Washington Capitals this season: making system changes and asking players to adjust to new roles while having no on-ice success to back up what he was preaching.

The Capitals got off to a 1-5-1 start to the season, and they were 2-8-1 after 11 games, so Oates would have been justified if he lost his temper with his players at some point.

But he didn't. Not once.

"I have to give credit to the coaching staff for not being negative with us when we were going through the learning process," Capitals center Matt Hendricks told NHL.com Saturday morning before the team's game against the Montreal Canadiens. "There were times they could have shown a lot of negativity on video, but they chose not to do that. That kept us on a positive note, they showed us a lot of positive clips of things we were doing correctly. We knew when we started doing those things correctly on a nightly basis, good things will come."

Bruins, Penguins claim center stage in Boston

Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 12:15 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- After the Boston Bruins dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday night, many Bruins players went out with some of the first-responders who had attended the game two days after the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Then Friday night, when the Bruins should've been playing the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden, Andrew Ference and his teammates joined with the rest of the country watching some of those first responders and their law-enforcement colleagues apprehend one of the marathon bombing suspects after an intense manhunt that lasted nearly 24 hours.

Ference, while preparing for a Saturday afternoon game against Pittsburgh, reflected on how much we should all appreciate what those people do. The game against Pittsburgh was scheduled for Friday night but was rescheduled because the city was locked down by governmental request while the manhunt continued.

"It's not just last night. The thing about those guys is they have to do that every night. [Friday] night was obviously a lot more attention and it was under the scrutiny of the media and what not, but those guys have a tough job all year," Ference said. "You're so proud that they get recognized on terms like that last night, when they have obviously the national stage. But there's a lot of incredible people."

Red Wings scrambling to extend playoff streak

Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 12:35 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- New defenseman Danny DeKeyser doesn't really know a world that doesn't include the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

DeKeyser was born a month before the last time the Red Wings missed the postseason.

Danny DeKeyser
Defense - DET
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 8 | +/-: 0

Now, 22 years later, he is trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Signed in late March as a free agent after finishing his third season at Western Michigan, the Detroit native joined the team he grew up watching just in time for a playoff race it isn't accustomed to.

Detroit has made the playoffs for 21 straight seasons, the longest active streak in the NHL and tied for the fifth-longest in League history. But the Red Wings enter the next-to-last weekend of the season in 10th place in the Western Conference with five games left, putting the run in jeopardy. But as DeKeyser prepared to play his seventh NHL game Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks, he said history hasn't come up in the Detroit dressing room.

Canadiens rookies rely on fathers for support

Friday, 04.19.2013 / 11:59 PM / NHL Insider

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

After finishing last in the Eastern Conference last season, the Canadiens have already punched their ticket to the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, thanks in large part to the contributions of rookie forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.

Brendan Gallagher
Right Wing - MTL
GOALS: 13 | ASST: 12 | PTS: 25
SOG: 104 | +/-: 8

Entering Saturday, 20-year-old Gallagher ranked second among NHL rookies with 13 goals, and 19-year-old Galchenyuk ranked second among first-year players with 15 assists. But their roads to Montreal couldn't have been more different.

A standout since the age of 13, Galchenyuk was the first player taken in the 2010 Ontario Hockey League draft before being selected third in the 2013 NHL Draft. Undersized, Gallagher was taken in the ninth round of the Western Hockey League draft before the Canadiens selected him in the fifth round, No. 147, at the 2010 NHL Draft.

But there is one major similarity in their divergent paths to Bell Centre: the presence and sizeable role of their fathers.

Slow start, drop in scoring finished Flyers season

Friday, 04.19.2013 / 11:19 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

For the second time since the 1994-95 season, the Philadelphia Flyers will miss the Stanley Cup Playoffs, their hopes ended when the New York Rangers defeated the Buffalo Sabres on Friday.

With most of a roster returning from a team that posted more than 100 points and impressively eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, expectations were high entering the season. However, a slow start put the Flyers in a hole they never were able to dig out of.

How did the Flyers come up short? What reasons are there for optimism next season? Let’s take a look.

Weber surviving tough season with Predators

Friday, 04.19.2013 / 4:36 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

For the past two years, when Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber finished as the runner-up for the Norris Trophy, his partner was one of the NHL's other top defensemen, Ryan Suter.

This season, Weber, the team captain, has taken on a different role with a new partner as a result of Suter's decision to sign as a free agent with the Minnesota Wild: that of mentor and teacher to 22-year-old Roman Josi. Though Weber has not received the headlines and accolades this season that he has in the past, and the Predators failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in the past nine seasons, he has proved himself to be an extremely effective player.

Defense-first Blue Jackets ahead of schedule

Friday, 04.19.2013 / 11:15 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

John Davidson saw a defense, so he saw a chance.

His instinct was accurate.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a chance to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a top-10 defense and a goalie who should be a Vezina Trophy candidate.

They enter the weekend eighth in the Western Conference with 49 points, two more than the Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars. However, both the Red Wings and Stars have two games in hand on the Blue Jackets, who have three more games remaining and can max out at 55 points.

"I was asked the question when I first got there, 'How do you compare this to what you went through in St. Louis?'" Davidson, the Blue Jackets' first-year president of hockey operations, told NHL.com. "I said, 'I think it's a little different because this team has a better defense.' You can see the strength of this team, aside from Bob [Sergei Bobrovsky], is the defense. This team has played to its strength, and that's its goals-against.

"Keep the puck out of the net, give yourselves a chance. Everybody has bought in."

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