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NHL on NBC Spotlight

Zetterberg's strong play leading Red Wings

Saturday, 02.09.2013 / 10:00 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Mike Babcock doesn't mince his words when he talks about how much captain Henrik Zetterberg has meant to the Detroit Red Wings this season.

Henrik Zetterberg
Left Wing - DET
GOALS: 5 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 16
SOG: 43 | +/-: 5

"To be honest with you, he's driving our bus big time," Babcock told NHL.com. "He's been our best player by a country mile."

Nobody should be surprised by this, considering Zetterberg has been one of the Red Wings' best players for a long time -- long enough to prompt The Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky, to say Zetterberg has been his favorite player in the NHL over the last decade.

"I think he's the best Swedish player they've ever put in the NHL," Gretzky told NHL.com.

His resume aside, Zetterberg, now 32, is leading the Red Wings with 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) through 11 games. He has points in nine of those 11 games, including a hat trick and two assists in a 5-1 win against the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 1. It was his first five-point regular-season game since Nov. 14, 2009.

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Malkin's play taking center stage in Pens-Caps rivalry

Friday, 02.01.2013 / 4:44 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

For years, hype for contests between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins centered on Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, with Evgeni Malkin lurking as one of many fascinating subplots in what became the best rivalry in the NHL.

The two franchises meet again Sunday (NBC, 3 p.m. ET), but it might be time for Malkin to take center stage. He is the reigning League MVP, and while Crosby's journey back from concussion-related problems dominated the NHL landscape, Malkin's return to dominance in 2011-12 after back-to-back injury-marred seasons is no less critical to Pittsburgh's near- and long-term outlook.

"I think it was more than anyone expected coming off the knee injury that he had," Phil Bourque, the Penguins' radio analyst, said. "It is one thing when you're talking about Sid and Geno [Malkin] and [Ovechkin], depending on what month it is -- Alex might catch fire when Sid and Geno aren't quite there, and people will say [Ovechkin] is the best player in the world."

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Roenick: Capitals must win Game 2 to have a chance

Friday, 04.13.2012 / 4:09 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Even with rookie goalie Braden Holtby inspiring the Capitals through his confidence and swagger, Washington still find itself stuck in a major hole heading into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in Boston on Saturday (3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN).

"They'll be done in five if they lose Game 2," NBC Sports analyst Jeremy Roenick told NHL.com Friday.

Roenick said as impressed as he was with Holtby -- "he was better than any one of us expected him to be," were J.R.'s words -- he can't get over the fact that the Capitals let a huge opportunity slip out of their grasp Thursday at TD Garden.

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Close games hallmark of Wings-Blackhawks series

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 11:11 AM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks will renew their fierce rivalry Saturday at Joe Louis Arena in the regular-season finale on NBC's NHL Game of the Week (1 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN2).

The Blackhawks took a 3-0-2 lead in the season series following a 2-1 victory in Detroit on March 4 -- the fifth one-goal game between the teams this season.

No team has more home wins than Detroit's 31 this season and the club will look to add to that total, and in the process, even up its six-game series and head into the Stanley Cup Playoffs on a positive note. The Wings have lost three of their past five games.

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'Throw-in' Dupuis' versatility makes him invaluable

Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins' mega-deal to land star forward Marian Hossa in 2008 is considered to be one of the best trade deadline maneuvers pulled off by any team in recent years.
 
It's not just because Hossa helped lead Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup Final that season. It's more about the so-called "other guy" the Penguins acquired.
 
"I was supposed to be the throw-in in the Marian Hossa deal," Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis said. "That was funny to me. I'm still here, playing my game."
 
As it turns out, Penguins general manager Ray Shero's most-remembered trade would be considered a success even if Hossa hadn't contributed the way he did, meshing with linemate Sidney Crosby to lead a long playoff run before signing with Detroit only weeks later.
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Flyers vs. Penguins: A point/counterpoint breakdown

Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Adam Kimelman and Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writers

NHL.com "experts" Corey Masisak and Adam Kimelman decided to break down the big matchup Sunday between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Things might have gotten a little heated, but it was all in good spirits. We think.

It's always a physical, nasty event when the Flyers and Penguins meet. And the best part of this one? It could be a precursor to a seven-game, steel-cage match of a first-round playoff series.

The Flyers have won three of the first four meetings, so that makes them the better team, right Corey?

Adam, Philadelphia definitely is the better team … as long as Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang don't play, or the Penguins are playing their third road game in less than 96 hours. Crosby has faced the Flyers just once this season, and Pittsburgh is 1-0-1 with Letang in the lineup. The Penguins dominated the game March 18 for two periods before they ran out of gas.

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Roenick: Pens-Flyers a "perfect" weekend matchup

Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 12:47 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Jeremy Roenick isn't a big fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that doesn't mean he doesn't recognize the impressive nature of the franchise's accomplishments.

The Penguins will face their bitter intrastate rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, on Sunday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena (12:30 ET on NBC), and they are one of the hottest teams in hockey.

"I don't have any good memories from playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I didn't like them very much," Roenick, once a member of the Flyers and now an analyst for NBC, told NHL.com. "They beat us [the Chicago Blackhawks] in the '92 Cup finals and I've never had good memories about them.

That said, I do admire them and respect their dominance and what they've accomplished. I respect everything Mario Lemieux has done for that franchise, and I love watching them play right now."
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Flyers-Pens rivalry resumes with Crosby back in fold

Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

NHL.com

The intrastate rivalry between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins resumes on Sunday at Wells Fargo Center in the City of Brotherly Love.

One thing is certain, the teams won't be in a good mood as the push for prime position in the Eastern Conference playoff race continues. The Penguins have been surging of late and the return of their captain, Sidney Crosby, and defenseman Kris Letang has certainly provided an added impetus for the stretch run.

The Flyers, meanwhile, are finally reaping the benefits of their big nine-year, $51 million investment in goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. The 31-year-old goalie recently established a franchise record shutout streak of 249:43, breaking the former mark of 227:40 set by John Vanbiesbrouck from Oct. 17-27, 1999.
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Grossmann's defensive play endearing him to Flyers

Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 9:00 AM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Nicklas Grossmann
Defense - PHI
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 10
SOG: 50 | +/-: 5
Any time a player gets traded, there's an adjustment period -- learning new teammates, new coaches, a new city, new style of play.

Nicklas Grossmann went through that exact scenario when he was traded by the Dallas Stars to the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 17.

However, it didn't take the 6-foot-4, 230-pound defenseman long to make new friends.

In just 13 games with the Flyers, Grossmann has blocked 31 shots. And his play seems to be contagious, as the Flyers have blocked 204 shots since Grossmann's arrival. Their average of 15.7 blocked shots per game with Grossmann in the lineup is an improvement from their 14.9 blocks per game prior to his arrival.

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Bruins-Pens game showcases Staal’s two-way skills

Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 6:48 PM / NHL on NBC Spotlight

Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Boston Bruins will be the latest team to attempt to solve what is becoming a perplexing riddle whenever the Pittsburgh Penguins are next up on the schedule.
 
Jordan Staal
Center - PIT
GOALS: 22 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 37
SOG: 112 | +/-: 8

How do you shut down a player best known for being a shutdown defender?
 
With his size and strength, expansive wingspan and underrated skating ability, Jordan Staal has been a defensive force since breaking into the NHL with a rookie-record seven shorthanded goals as an 18-year-old in 2006-07.
 
The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder immediately became a perfect complement to offensively gifted Penguins centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- and yet another matchup problem for opponents already concerned with controlling Malkin and Crosby. He often centers the third line, but he's a top-line talent.
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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday