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NHL Insider

Rangers confident in Talbot with Lundqvist out

Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 11:48 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot said he found out Tuesday night that he would be playing on national television Wednesday after learning Henrik Lundqvist had a neck injury.

Talbot didn't have to stand on his head in a 3-2 win against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden, but for the Rangers, it's soothing to know they can rely on their backup goaltender to step in and perform when called upon.

In his first start since Jan. 15, Talbot made 18 saves to help the Rangers close the gap in the Metropolitan Division. New York is in third place, one point behind the New York Islanders and two behind the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I didn't really have to do a whole lot," Talbot said. "The guys did a great job in front of me. They didn't get too many Grade A chances tonight."

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Five things to watch when Rangers face Bruins

Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 11:30 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Boston Bruins battled inconsistency and the injury bug this season while trying to keep pace in the Eastern Conference race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It appears now they will be a tough out when the postseason begins.

With a healthy captain, Zdeno Chara, and center David Krejci back in the mix, the Bruins went 8-1-3 in January and can leapfrog the New York Rangers in the standings in this week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA).

Boston (27-16-7) and New York (29-15-4) will each be seeking its third consecutive victory. The Rangers enter the game one point ahead of the Bruins. Behind 30 saves from goalie Tuukka Rask, the Bruins defeated the Rangers 3-0 at TD Garden on Jan. 15.

Here are five things to watch in the game between the Bruins and Rangers:

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Flames earn 'Cardiac Kids' reputation with late rallies

Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 9:20 AM / NHL Insider

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley has affectionately dubbed his team the "Cardiac Kids."

He wouldn't have it any other way.

"The bottom line is the outcome at the end of the game," Hartley said. "That's where it counts the most. As long as we have a goal more at the final buzzer, that's why we're here and that's why our fans come to Scotiabank Saddledome every game to see it. We take the game as they come. We adjust. We make changes if we need to. One thing is for sure: We can always count on the guys to come in and give us a very proud effort."

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Penguins' Perron raising his game alongside Crosby

Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Once David Perron got over his mixed emotions about being traded again, the Pittsburgh Penguins right wing started to feel something quite different on Jan. 2, something he hadn't felt in a long time.

"I was probably the happiest guy in hockey that day," Perron told NHL.com last week before Pittsburgh's game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Nobody can blame him if he was. He went from last place to the Stanley Cup chase. He was moved out of a difficult situation with the Edmonton Oilers so he could become the right wing on a line with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

No offense to Leon Draisaitl and Matt Fraser, who were Perron's linemates for his last game with the Oilers, but playing with them is not like playing with Crosby and Chris Kunitz in Pittsburgh.

"Stepping into the room the first day, the way the room is shaped in Pittsburgh it's kind of rounded a little bit, and you could feel the confidence from the guys," Perron said. "I was sitting there going, 'This is awesome. This is going to be a lot of fun.' It just made me feel comfortable right away."

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Rangers playing faster, better with Vigneault as coach

Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- When Alain Vigneault was hired to coach the New York Rangers before the 2013-14 season, he wasn't taking over a rebuilding project. The Rangers had reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs the three seasons prior, and seven out of the past eight.

Still, there were areas in need of fixing and a coach was needed that preached a philosophy that addressed the Rangers' weaknesses. When the Rangers host the Boston Bruins in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET), it will be Vigneault's 131st regular-season game with the Rangers, and the difference since he took over has been night and day.

Under Vigneault the Rangers have blossomed into one of the better offensive teams in the League. New York is averaging its most goals per game (2.98) since it scored 3.05 per game in the 2005-06 season. And while it's team speed that paces the Rangers, it's their coach's system that, more than a season and a half into his tenure, has them running at top speed.

"It's no secret, and you see all the teams in the League that are capable of playing a high-pace game," Vigneault said recently. "They're all teams that have a five-man unit. When they don't have the puck, to get it back, whether it's in their zone, the neutral zone or on the forecheck, but when their transition game is there it's from a breakout, to the transition to the neutral zone to the offensive zone."

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Bruins' Chara back in form after early-season injury

Wednesday, 02.04.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

At first it seemed like life for the Boston Bruins without injured defenseman Zdeno Chara would be OK.

Chara tore a ligament in his knee in a loss to the New York Islanders on Oct. 23 but the Bruins won six of their next seven games. It looked like maybe the Bruins, who have Chara signed through the 2017-18 season at an NHL salary-cap charge of just less than $7 million, were fast-forwarding to the part of their history where they don't rely on their 6-foot-9 Norris Trophy-winning defenseman as much.

Then reality hit.

The Bruins managed a winning record (11-7-1) in the 19 games Chara missed during his seven weeks on the sidelines but were 2-4-1 in the seven games before his return Dec. 11. Then integrating Chara into the lineup proved problematic; Boston went 0-1-2 in his first three games back.

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Busy month could precede NHL Trade Deadline

Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Every Stanley Cup contender in every season is interested in filling a need for top-end talent or depth to solidify its position before the trade deadline passes, but the run-up to 2015 NHL Trade Deadline, which is 3 p.m. ET on March 2, likely will put the focus on the sellers for two reasons:

1. Connor McDavid

2. Jack Eichel

"We're having a poor year and there are certain rewards for being real bad this year. I think we're all aware of that," Arizona Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said last week on TSN 1200 Radio in Ottawa. "If we ever had to have a down year this is probably as good as any of them."

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Wild goalie Dubnyk feeling comfortable, confident

Tuesday, 02.03.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- The designs on the front of Devan Dubnyk's mask have changed a lot over the past two seasons, but as he remodeled his look again after a trade to the Minnesota Wild last month, the portrait of his 17-month-old son on the back remained a constant.

Whether Dubnyk needed perspective amid a nightmare season in 2013-14 that included time in the American Hockey League, inspiration to get back to the NHL, or a break from the mental grind of goaltending now that he is back, he could find it in his son, Nathaniel.

"To see him is the best part of your day so it doesn't matter what else is going on, you can forget about it," Dubnyk said. "In order to come to the rink focused every game you have to be able to let it go on the days between, otherwise you tire out mentally. So to have him there and see him helps, no matter how much other stuff is going on."
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Analysis: Capitals' Ovechkin joins elite company

Sunday, 02.01.2015 / 1:46 PM / NHL Insider

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Alex Ovechkin has reached the point in his career when comparisons and context on a generational level can give way to a much bigger range of time.

The Washington Capitals forward scored his 30th goal the season in the first period Sunday against the St. Louis Blues. It is the 10th time in his 10 seasons that Ovechkin has reached 30 goals.

He became the fifth player in the history of the NHL have accomplished that, joining Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Mike Gartner. It is a feat of ability, consistency, durability and longevity. It is also an accomplishment buttresses the case for Ovechkin in any discussion about the greatest goal-scorers of all time.

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Green doing more for Capitals with less ice time

Sunday, 02.01.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden firmly believes in devising a plan for each of his defensemen, tailoring them to best accentuate each player's strengths.

Regarding Mike Green, that meant redefining his role.

"The key for Mike in talking to him this summer, even prior to getting here, is he wanted to win more hockey games," Reirden said. "However that is going to happen, he wanted to win more hockey games, as long as the plan was clear in how we were going to use him, how we were going to use all of our defensemen."

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Quote of the Day

I loved being in the jerseys again and they worked some magic for us. It was weird in warm-ups, seeing No. 22 in that jersey and thinking he’s [Mike Gartner], and No. 8 reminds you of Danny Briere … every number had me thinking back to the guys who wore them and smiling.

— Coyotes captain Shane Doan on wearing Kachina-style throwback jerseys in a 3-2 victory against the Canucks on Thursday