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NHL Insider

Blues eager for task against undefeated Canadiens

Monday, 10.19.2015 / 9:36 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Players and coaches love to talk about measuring-stick games.

At this early stage of the 2015-16 season, you won't see a much bigger one.

The Montreal Canadiens host the St. Louis Blues at Bell Centre on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, FS-MW, RDS, CITYM), a game featuring the NHL's top two teams in the overall standings, and in many statistical measures as well.

The Canadiens (6-0-0) are the only undefeated team remaining and the Blues (5-1-0) are right behind them in wins and points.

"They're a team that hasn't lost yet," Blues captain David Backes said Monday. "No one's found the kryptonite to put them away and find a way to steal points from them. But we've played pretty good hockey and it should be one heck of a matchup."

Sharks goalie Jones making most of shot at No. 1 job

Monday, 10.19.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Marc Crawford remembers the confidence and calmness exhibited by a young Martin Jones. He remembers never seeing the goalie out of breath and rarely out of position. He vividly recalls his post-save recovery being quick, cat-like and effortless.

But mostly, Crawford, like anybody who followed Jones growing up in North Vancouver, remembers the winning. All that winning, from atom to pee-wee to bantam to midget to the Western Hockey League to the American Hockey League, and now to the NHL.

"Martin doesn't know anything but winning," said Crawford, the former NHL coach who watched Jones grow up playing with his son, Dylan, in Vancouver's North Shore Winter Club. "All this kid does is win."

Jones is winning with the San Jose Sharks now, and they're thrilled.

Canadiens showing they're more than Carey Price

Sunday, 10.18.2015 / 12:25 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- As the Montreal Canadiens opened their dressing room for the media Saturday following their sixth straight win to open the season, goaltender Carey Price was getting undressed at his locker.

The reporters rushed by Price to allow him to remove his equipment, which is not unusual.

What was unusual was that they didn't come back to Price's locker until he was long gone because, as has been the case more often than not this season, he wasn't the main story behind the Canadiens' 4-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings.

Sharks' fast start typical, but fresh energy abounds

Saturday, 10.17.2015 / 10:30 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- That the San Jose Sharks are still perfect this season at 4-0-0 isn't all that different from what they're used to in the Silicon Valley.

The Sharks, who face the New York Islanders on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, have a reputation for being fast starters. They even have proof in the form of an NHL record they set this season. San Jose became the first team to start a season with three consecutive wins in four straight seasons.

What is different is how the Sharks feel about their hot start this season as opposed to, say, last season, when they were 4-0-1 out of the gate but couldn't build on it and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in a decade.

"There has just been a good energy, a different energy," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said Friday, when San Jose beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in a shootout at Prudential Center. "You can feel it. You can feel it through the fans and the players. Last year was tough at times, just up and down, a rollercoaster ride, but we have confidence.

"Last year we found a lot of ways to lose, but now it's about getting that winning feeling back. That's part of the energy."

Blue Jackets' Saad has moved on from Blackhawks

Saturday, 10.17.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- There's no bitterness for Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Brandon Saad looking ahead to his first game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center.

Saad won the Stanley Cup for the second time in three seasons with the Blackhawks when they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. He was then traded to Columbus on June 30 as part of a seven-player deal.

Saad thinks he will receive his championship ring this weekend.

"I'll imagine I'll get it throughout the day sometime or after the game," he said. "I'm not sure."

When Saad has it in hand, the memories will not be of how his time with the Blackhawks ended but what he accomplished there.

"It's not bittersweet," Saad said. "Just sweet. You're celebrating getting a championship. Then you're onto hockey."

McDavid feeling pressure during Oilers' losing streak

Saturday, 10.17.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Each scoreless game that Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid plays and his team does not win, the pressure grows.

Four games into his NHL career, McDavid, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, has one goal, his only point of the season. He did not score in a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday in the Oilers' home opener, finishing minus-3.

It is not the start envisioned for the most anticipated player to join the League since Sidney Crosby in 2005.

"There is pressure, but as much as the pressure this team has from the outside, internally we're putting more pressure on ourselves to succeed," McDavid said Friday. "We had high expectations for this year, and obviously, starting 0-4 is not where we want to be, so we want to get this thing turned around."

Unbeaten Canadiens prepared for visit by Red Wings

Saturday, 10.17.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- A 5-3 home loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday made the Detroit Red Wings the second-to-last Eastern Conference team to lose this season.

The Red Wings have an opportunity to knock off the last team Saturday.

The Montreal Canadiens are off to their first 5-0-0 start and will try to extend that team record against the Red Wings at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET: NHLN, CBC, TVA Sports, FS-D).

After Montreal started the season with wins at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators, all games it was favored to win, the streak was extended with a 3-2 win at the Pittsburgh Penguins and a 3-0 win against the New York Rangers in the Canadiens' home opener Thursday.

"It's early in the season but we've played a lot of good teams," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Friday. "We had Pittsburgh, then last night we had the Rangers, and now it doesn't stop because we've got Detroit tomorrow night."

Joannette to referee 1,000th game close to home

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 8:54 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Referee Marc Joannette has come a long way and will be honored for that journey about three miles from where it began.

Joannette will work the 1,000th game of his NHL career at Bell Centre on Saturday when the Montreal Canadiens host the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, FS-D).

Joannette grew up in the Montreal borough of Verdun, a block away from his friend and current NHL linesman Pierre Racicot and near Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.

Joannette would go to Racicot's house to play hockey on his backyard rink, and when they were teenagers they would often ride the city bus together to the local arena to officiate minor hockey games in the mid-1980s.

In May 2008, Joannette and Racicot boarded a plane together to fly to Detroit. Joannette was on his way to officiate his first game in the Stanley Cup Final, Game 2 of the series between the Red Wings and Penguins.

Maple Leafs have plan to slow down Penguins' Kessel

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Goalie James Reimer said Phil Kessel has the best shot in the NHL. Joffrey Lupul said he has a plan to try to stop Kessel.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will face their former teammate for the first time when they play the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, ROOT).

"It'll be interesting," Reimer said. "He's dangerous … so dangerous. He's probably got the best shot in the League. Honestly, I don't think there's anybody better. Just the speed of his release and his accuracy and how heavy his shot is, he's the best. It'll be fun to face him. I faced him lots in practices, but even when you think you knew where he was shooting, he could usually still score."

Penguins' Kessel focused on winning, not revenge

Friday, 10.16.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel said there's no animosity from him toward the Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, Kessel did say he wouldn't mind defeating the team that traded him to Pittsburgh on July 1 when the Penguins play the Maple Leafs on Saturday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; CITY).

Kessel's desire for a win doesn't stem from a need to get one over on Toronto, but from a desire for his new team to win its second consecutive game following its worst start in a decade.

"I've played a bunch of games so it's not a big deal," Kessel said. "Obviously I loved my time in Toronto. I had a great time there. I have a lot of friends there. I love the city. But it's time to move on.

"I don't care [about the media attention he'll receive]. I'm going to do whatever I can to help this team win [Saturday] and try to play my best. And whatever happens, happens."

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Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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