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(Page 8 of 274)
NHL Insider

Five things to watch in Rivalry Night games

Wednesday, 11.12.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to string wins together. The Boston Bruins are thriving, not just surviving, without their captain and top defenseman, Zdeno Chara.

They're each in Stanley Cup Playoff position one month into the 2014-15 season, separated by two points in the Atlantic Division. With a handful of teams in the Eastern Conference improving their rosters during the offseason, every point, even this early in the season, is critical.

The Original Six clubs will get together in the first game of a NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader at Air Canada Centre (8 p.m. ET), when the Bruins will be seeking their sixth straight win. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, will try to make it three in a row.

On the other side of North America, the Los Angeles Kings will head down the freeway to take on the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center (10:30 p.m. ET) in the first game between the teams since the Western Conference Second Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which the Kings won in seven games.

Anaheim has lost its past three games, but it enters Wednesday with a five-game point streak (2-0-3). Los Angeles is on a three-game point streak (2-0-1).

Here are five things to watch in the Wednesday Night Rivalry games:


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Analysis: Canadiens not ready to go young on 'D'

Tuesday, 11.11.2014 / 11:26 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- When the Montreal Canadiens entered training camp, the big question facing them was which of their two young, first-round draft picks on defense would be able to claim the final roster spot.

Two months later, it appears neither Nathan Beaulieu nor Jarred Tinordi has been able to convince Canadiens brass he is ready to seize the job.

General manager Marc Bergevin added some veteran help on defense Tuesday when he acquired Sergei Gonchar from the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Travis Moen.

And the help doesn't get much more "veteran" than Gonchar; at 40, he is the oldest defenseman in the NHL by 22 months.

Gonchar is not likely to be asked to play much more than the 13:01 of ice time averaged in the three games he played with the Stars since returning from a broken foot that kept him out of the first 11 games of the season.

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Ducks' Kesler looking forward to facing ex-teammates

Sunday, 11.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The incredulous look came across Ryan Kesler’s face when he was asked how quickly he checked the 2014-15 NHL schedule after he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks, as if someone questioned his competitiveness.

Yes, the first game against his former team, the Vancouver Canucks, on Sunday at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; CITY, PRIME), has been on his radar for a long time.

“I’m a competitive guy. I want to win. Obviously I want to have success against that team,” Kesler said.


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Canadiens look for answers to power-play problems

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 8:07 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec – The Montreal Canadiens would appear to have all the tools necessary to have one of the most potent power plays in the NHL.

They have an excellent quarterback in defenseman Andrei Markov, a world-class trigger man in defenseman P.K. Subban, a disruptive net-front presence in Brendan Gallagher and one of the best shooting forwards in the NHL in Max Pacioretty.

But with this collection of talent at their disposal, the Canadiens have one of the worst power plays in the NHL. They enter their game Saturday against the Minnesota Wild (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, TVA, CITY, FS-N+) with a 7.9 percent success rate with the man-advantage.

"The power play needs to be a lot better," coach Michel Therrien said after practice Friday, during which the Canadiens spent a significant amount of time working on the power play. "We need to move the puck a lot quicker, we need to take better decisions. The power play needs to be a threat, and right now I'm not satisfied with the power play.

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Better defense not equaling wins for Capitals yet

Friday, 11.07.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz hasn't sacrificed his offensive talent for stouter defense through 12 games, as he promised when hired in May.

Washington is averaging 3.08 goals per game and allowing 25.2 shots. Seven times this season, the Capitals have held an opponent to 25 or fewer shots, something they did 12 times in two seasons under former coach Adam Oates. The Capitals are also surrendering about 10 fewer 5-on-5 shot attempts per 60 minutes than they did last season, according to stats.hockeyanalysis.com.

That vast defensive improvement, though, hasn't led to early-season success.

The Capitals enter a preview of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) embroiled in a five-game losing streak.

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Back on wing, Rangers' St. Louis finds scoring touch

Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 12:36 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- Given Martin St. Louis' track record, it seemed inevitable that he would eventually start to score in bunches.

The New York Rangers right wing scored for the second straight game Wednesday and assisted on Derick Brassard's overtime goal in a 4-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden.

St. Louis, 39, had a tough start to the season, scoring one goal through New York's first 10 games. Some of that could be attributed to the leg injury No. 1 center Derek Stepan sustained in training camp. The Stepan injury forced Rangers coach Alain Vigneault to ask St. Louis to spend some time at center.

St. Louis went the first five games of the season without a goal before he finally broke through against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 19. He then went another four games without a goal.

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Blackhawks not worried by lack of consistent scoring

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 2:08 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Brad Richards has been around the NHL long enough to recognize a hockey illusion when he sees one.

That's why he didn't flinch a couple weeks ago when asked about the Chicago Blackhawks having difficulty scoring goals. They were shutout Oct. 28 at United Center by the Anaheim Ducks, a 1-0 game highlighted by Anaheim rookie goaltender John Gibson.

It was the first time the Blackhawks were shut out this season, but not the first time they'd struggled to score despite controlling most facets of the game. Despite posting great puck-possession statistics, their 2.33 goals-per-game average was down almost a full goal per game from the previous two seasons, when Chicago ranked near the top of the League in that category.

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Five things to watch as Rangers host Red Wings

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 1:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The New York Rangers are trying to get used to life with a depleted defense corps. The Detroit Red Wings are again wondering where the goals have gone after a mini-breakout against the Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings last week.

They're each in fourth place in their respective division, meaning they're surviving now. One win this early in the season has the potential to change that to thriving.

So, yes, there's a lot to watch in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET), but determining in advance where this game will be won is impossible because both teams are trying to overcome warts that are getting in the way of the consistency they're hoping to find.

Here are five things to watch in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game, the impossible to predict edition:

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Girardi carrying heavy load for depleted Rangers

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Defenseman Dan Girardi believes it's time for the New York Rangers to do a little soul searching.

The Rangers have lost four regulars on defense to either injury or suspension and two straight games entering their matchup against the offensively charged Detroit Red Wings in the "Wednesday Night Rivalry" game at Madison Square Garden (NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET).

Captain Ryan McDonagh (left shoulder separation) and Kevin Klein (foot contusion) were the latest to joinDan Boyle (broken hand) and John Moore (suspension) on the outside looking in.

"It's a big gut-check time for us moving forward with the guys we have out and with new guys coming in," Girardi said.

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Canadiens head to Buffalo seeking answers to slump

Wednesday, 11.05.2014 / 12:30 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Ten days.

That is all it has taken for the Montreal Canadiens to go from being the toast of the NHL, a team sitting pretty with a 7-1-0 record, to one getting booed in its own building.

The Canadiens have won once since defeating the New York Rangers 3-1 on Oct. 25, a five-game span that has seen Montreal get outscored 18-6, with the exclamation point being laid down by the Chicago Blackhawks in a 5-0 win at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

The Canadiens are 1-3-1 in the 10 days since that win against the Rangers, and what appeared to be a promising start to the season has gone seriously sideways in a hurry.

"Nothing's working for us," center Tomas Plekanec said Tuesday. "I mean, I thought we played hard in the first period, we put pucks to the net. We need to take a step back. We have to stay positive as much as possible and we've got to fight through it.

"We've got to help ourselves, somehow."


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It's time we got a break. People that have watched us, I'm sure they said, 'Finally, some things are going our way.' We'll take the breaks when they go our way.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien after a 3-2 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak
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