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NHL Insider

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).

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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."

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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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Thomas Vanek finally found his way with Wild

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 11:50 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Since entering the NHL as a 21-year-old with the Buffalo Sabres, Thomas Vanek has earned the reputation as one of the League's premier goal-scorers. Over that span, Vanek ranks second in power-play goals, ninth in goals and 11th in game-winning goals.

Thomas Vanek
Left Wing - MIN
GOALS: 20 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 50
SOG: 160 | +/-: -4
It's the reason the Minnesota Wild committed three years and $19.5 million to Vanek in July. But the season wasn't going according to plan for the Wild or for Vanek, who got off to one of the slowest starts of his career.

Minnesota's 16-11-1 start made it easy to forgive Vanek, who was traded twice last season after playing the first eight of his NHL career with the Sabres.

"I went from left to right, to left to right, and finding linemates hasn't been as steady as you'd want it to be," Vanek said last week. "That's what happens when you come to a new place, you try and find chemistry."

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Bruins face do-or-die stretch with playoffs at stake

Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- A favorite tactic of heels in wrestling is to start hitting their opponent before the bell rings in order to gain an advantage.

With nine games left in the Boston Bruins' regular season, they need to gain a similar edge by playing at a higher level than they're used to performing at this time of year.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs don't begin until April 15, but for the Bruins the bell has rung. In order to qualify for the eighth straight year they have to start playing playoff-caliber hockey right now. The Bruins trail the Ottawa Senators by one point for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference after leading by seven points as recently as March 10.

The Bruins will try to snap a five-game losing streak (0-3-2) against the Anaheim Ducks at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m.; NHLN-US, TVA Sports).

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LaFontaine savors one last visit to Nassau Coliseum

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 8:57 PM / NHL Insider

Pat LaFontaine - Special to NHL.com

About three months ago, I received a message from Garth Snow, the general manager of the New York Islanders, asking me to get in touch with him. He mentioned to me that the Islanders were going to be bringing back a lot of the players who have banners hanging from the rafters at Nassau Coliseum.

Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, Clark Gillies, Bobby Nystrom, all of those guys who won championships, along with other players from different eras were going to be brought in to say goodbye to the Old Barn and to salute the fans in the last season on Long Island.

Garth explained that they wanted to end the final season on a high note and asked me to come out for a ceremonial puck drop and to do some “meet-and-greets” with the fans and sponsors. I told Garth that I was honored by the gesture he and Charles Wang had extended to me, and it would be my pleasure to attend.

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Hammond hardly the only hero in Senators' surge

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 4:04 PM / NHL Insider

Chris Stevenson - NHL.com Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Andrew Hammond has captured much of the hockey world's attention during the Ottawa Senators' run from outlier to Stanley Cup Playoffs contender in the past six weeks.

Though the 27-year-old "Hamburglar" embarking on his NHL career with a 14-0-1 record as a starter might be the biggest story, there are other significant reasons the Senators have overtaken the Boston Bruins for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference.

The return of veteran defenseman Marc Methot from injury to form one of the NHL's top defensive pairings with Erik Karlsson (who's in Norris Trophy form these days), the contributions of young forwards Curtis Lazar, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone, and the coaching of Dave Cameron have been keys to the Senators resurgence.

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Blackhawks' Timonen reflects on time with Flyers

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 3:22 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen was in the midst of his first press gathering in Philadelphia since the Philadelphia Flyers traded him Feb. 27.

After seven seasons as a member of the Flyers, Timonen was asked how the crowd would react for his return to Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA Sports).

Timonen, the stoic 40-year-old Finn, took several beats to gather himself as the memories of the past washed over him.

"I only have good memories here," he finally said. "I'm sure it's going to be good. All the things that happened here. ... I'm happy to be here."

Flyers fans likely will be happy to see Timonen, who helped the Flyers make the Stanley Cup Playoffs six times, reach the Eastern Conference Final twice and make it to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. His former teammates certainly are happy to see him.

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Flyers' Emery savored chance after hip surgery

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Five years ago, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ray Emery received what was supposed to be a hockey death sentence. He was diagnosed with avascular necrosis in his right hip. Not only was his hockey career over, walking normally again was in question.

Today, as Emery prepares for a game against the Chicago Blackhawks (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports), he has a Stanley Cup ring (won with the Blackhawks), is in the second season of his second stint with the Flyers, and has no intention of putting his pads away any time soon.

Emery said early in the 2009-10 season with the Flyers, he felt pain in his hip, groin and pelvis. Surgery in December 2009 to repair torn abdominal muscles kept him out six weeks. But on Feb. 1, 2010 in a game at the Calgary Flames, the pain returned worse.

"That game in Calgary I said, 'Something's not right,'" Emery said. "Feels like my leg is going to fall off."

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Five things to watch when Flyers host Blackhawks

Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Chicago Blackhawks' week of playing against teams that are trying to play the spoiler role continues at the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

After a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, the Blackhawks' continued pursuit of a Central Division crown will be featured this week in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA) from Wells Fargo Center.

Here are five things to watch between the Blackhawks and Flyers:

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Quote of the Day

It was a different game in the past, that's for sure. It's not exactly what I was expecting but I think the experience paid off for a lot of our guys that realized what it takes in a Game 7. Realistically the effort we put forward, we might not even had to put 60 [minutes], but we just couldn't get a couple bounces to go our way and we just kept pushing.

— Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby on Washington's play in Game 7 vs. the Islanders