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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
(Page 7 of 297)
NHL Insider

Flames credit comeback success to fitness level

Friday, 03.13.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- From an office overlooking the fitness facility in the bowels of Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary Flames strength and conditioning coach Ryan van Asten took a moment and paused.

Then, peering out from his desk in the direction of his other, bigger office of gym equipment, van Asten suggested he knew at least part of the reason the Flames have found success in the second season of what is supposed to be a rebuilding process.

Fitness.

"You kind of have to look at it as so many different variables," he said atop an exercise ball. "I like to think that piece of the puzzle is paying off, what we do in the gym. We train every day. There are so many different factors. One of them is, we've done it so many different times, is confidence. At the end of the day, if you don't have the physiological resources, it's all for naught.

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Bruins' Eriksson hears criticism, sticks to his game

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Out of his Boston Bruins uniform and equipment, forward Loui Eriksson walks through the dressing room and strikes a figure more reminiscent of Stefan Edberg than Terry O'Reilly.

At 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, Eriksson might be a few pounds shy of qualifying as a "big, bad Bruin." But one look at his coat-hanger shoulders and lanky legs completely rules out any chance that Eriksson can rival O'Reilly, Cam Neely or even teammate Milan Lucic in terms of punishing physicality and the stereotype that has characterized the ideal Bruins player for more than 90 years.

Eriksson is not built to punish opposing defensemen on the forecheck or staple combatants to the glass in the corners. That doesn't mean he can't use other means to be effective and make himself invaluable to the Bruins.

Obviously he has found a way during his second season to increase his importance to Boston's fortunes; after 66 games he leads all Bruins forwards in average ice time at 18:19.

Eriksson has played in all but one of the Bruins' games and he has 17 goals and 39 points, seven goals and two points more than he had in 61 games last season. His 2.7 shot attempts relative (SAT Rel) ranks fifth among Boston's forwards. Eriksson's bounce-back sophomore season continues when the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, TVA, SN360, SUN, NESN).

"That's not really been my game," the soft-spoken Eriksson said about the bruising approach many Bruins stars have taken to the sport over the years. "I've always been trying to have a good stick and try to take away pucks from other guys. That's how I've been playing ever since I came over and [began] playing in the NHL. I don't think it'll change in that way."


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Five things to watch when Rangers face Capitals

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals have played in four of the past six Stanley Cup Playoffs, with each team winning two series. Those series have gone a combined 26 of 28 possible games, with 18 of those games decided by one goal.

This week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA, SN1) will go a long way in determining if the Rangers and Capitals play again in this year's playoffs.

With the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division and the Capitals in fourth, another matchup this spring is within reach. Each made a move prior to the NHL Trade Deadline to bolster its roster down the stretch.

Washington acquired forward Curtis Glencross from the Calgary Flames, and he's made an immediate impact with two goals and four points in his three games since the trade, skating on a line with Jay Beagle and Troy Brouwer. The Capitals need an offensive threat who isn't Alex Ovechkin and as of now Glencross appears to be delivering.

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Capitals stopping opponents by playing heavy game

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Since joining the Minnesota Wild prior to the 2012-13 season, forward Zach Parise has faced the Washington Capitals far less than he did as a member of the New Jersey Devils.

After the Wild's 2-1 victory against the Capitals on Thursday, Parise marveled at the distinct differences in Washington's style of play.

"It's not the Washington Capitals high-flying team that I was used to playing against all those years in the East," he said. "They play a really structured game, they know where to be defensively, they don't give you a lot of room in the neutral zone. They made us fight for all our chances and made us fight for zone time. They're a big team, they're physical."

Such postgame analysis from Washington's opponents has been common this season as the Capitals' transformation into a more versatile team under coach Barry Trotz has taken hold.

At an average weight of 209.9 pounds, the Capitals have the heaviest roster in the NHL, among the advantages they utilize.

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Price continues to make case for Hart Trophy

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 12:28 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL – It's become difficult to find new and original ways to describe the excellence of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos chose the simple approach.

"He's arguably been the best player in the League in helping his team to where they are at this point," Stamkos said after the Lightning defeated the Canadiens 1-0 in overtime on Tuesday. "They're a solid team. They play structured. But their goalie made some big saves."

The momentum for Price to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player has been building during the past month or so, and he is doing nothing to slow it down.

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Talbot carrying the load in goal for Rangers

Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 11:30 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- When the New York Rangers were hit with the news during the first week of February that No. 1 goaltender Henrik Lundqvist would miss several weeks because of a vascular injury, perhaps some thought their chances of winning the Metropolitan Division were ruined.

The Rangers were 29-15-4 at the time, three points behind the first-place New York Islanders, but eight points from being outside the Stanley Cup Playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

With Lundqvist out, the Rangers had to turn to backup Cam Talbot, who entered the season with 21 games of NHL experience. He had terrific numbers as Lundqvist's backup in 2013-14, finishing with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.

But this time, Talbot wasn't being asked to give Lundqvist a night off. He had to carry the load and perform well if the Rangers were going to remain in the race.

Things got off to somewhat of a rocky start. Talbot allowed three or more goals in four of the first five games following Lundqvist's injury, although the Rangers provided some offense and managed to win three of them.

But including the Rangers' 2-1 win against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Talbot has allowed two or fewer goals in each of his past four starts. He made 29 saves, several at key moments, to help the Rangers pull within a point of the Islanders in the Metropolitan with four games in hand.

"I felt really strong from the get-go," Talbot said after his 15th win of the season. "I've been gaining confidence game after game here, and the guys have been unbelievable in front of me, so it's been fun."

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Canadiens goalie Price is Hart Trophy favorite: analyst

Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 5:31 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Comcast SportsNet NHL analyst Brian Boucher believes Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price should win the Hart Trophy as the League's most valuable player.

Boucher, a 13-year NHL veteran who began his career with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1999-2000, was in Manhattan for an appearance on NHL Live on Tuesday. He sat down with NHL.com to discuss Price, the Flyers and other hot topics around the League.

"Any time you have a goals against under two you know the team is doing their job and, second, the goaltender is doing his part," Boucher said. "It's not an easy thing to keep your goals against under two and his save percentage is through the roof. He's really matured into a top-notch goaltender and certainly has been a key for that Canadiens team. They're a serious contender because a lot of that has to do with Carey Price.

"If he's not in there, you got to ask yourself, 'Would that team still be where they are at?' I don't think so."

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Rangers-Islanders rivalry made memories at Coliseum

Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

With the New York Rangers and New York Islanders trending toward the top of the Eastern Conference, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said prior to a game between the teams in January, "It's going to be a New York classic."

That game took place at Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers and Islanders have played twice this season. But their game Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, TVA Sports, SN1) holds special meaning outside of its ramifications on the Metropolitan Division standings. With the Islanders moving to Brooklyn next season, it will be the last regular-season game against the Rangers at Nassau Coliseum.

The Coliseum, which opened in 1972, has been the site of many spectacular moments in the Rangers-Islanders rivalry.
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Analysis: Methot, Hammond keys to Senators' surge

Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Bobby Ryan could sense the Ottawa Senators were turning and starting to move in the right direction shortly before the All-Star break in late January.

Ottawa wasn't winning yet, but Ryan felt the Senators were playing strong through the neutral zone, with better layers of support, and using quick, crisp puck movement to suppress shots against.

Turnovers were starting to go down. Grade A scoring chances against were starting to go down. Shots against overall were starting to go down.

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Russian-born referee Romasko well-suited for NHL

Monday, 03.09.2015 / 11:50 PM / NHL Insider

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

Stephen Walkom calls it game presence, an it factor required for an NHL official, one who works in a composed, assured way skating among players moving at 25-30 miles per hour and pucks blasted up to speeds of 100 MPH. The ideal on-ice official is assured of himself and the way he goes about his business enforcing the rules of a game played at a breakneck pace.

"That's someone that has that great inner confidence," said Walkom, NHL senior vice president and director of officiating. "That's something that he has. He has that presence. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he's a phenomenal skater as well."

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Quote of the Day

That was something I've been dreaming of, something I've told myself before the third period I was going to do ... It was an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. I didn't believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to jump or just skate and do a Theo Fleury. I don't think I'm the same caliber player he is so I couldn't do it.

— Flames forward Mikael Backlund on scoring the overtime winner against the Ducks in Gm. 3