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Fantasy top 30 goalies: Evaluating Talbot, Hammond

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season,'s Evan Sporer will provide you with in-depth analysis of goaltenders. From updated weekly top 30 rankings to trending players and more, Sporer will be your go-to guy for advice on fantasy goalies all season long.

What's made the appeal and allure of goaltenders like the New York Rangers' Cam Talbot and the Ottawa Senators' Andrew Hammond so high this season is the element of here and now.

Goaltending can be broken down into a series of events over the course of a season. We try to select players in fantasy hockey, to the best of our ability, based on prior results and how consistent goalies have been in the past; at what chances we think they have of duplicated high levels of productivity.


Flames' Gaudreau scores twice to join select company

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 11:45 AM / Top Performer

Johnny Gaudreau's heroics helped the Calgary Flames rally to another victory Wednesday while keeping them firmly in the race to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The rookie forward scored twice as part of five unanswered goals by the Flames en route to a 6-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks. The victory stretched Calgary's point streak to five straight games (4-0-1).

Gaudreau had a goal waved off 39 seconds after forward Matt Stajan opened the scoring for the Flames but scored the equalizer at 15:25 of the first period when he received a pass from forward Josh Jooris and connected on a backhand that went off each post before going over the line. Gaudreau's second goal came on the power play at 13:59 of the second when he finished a give-and-go with defenseman Dennis Wideman.

"Everyone's stepping up here, whether it's a defenseman or a forward, first line or fourth line," Gaudreau said. "It's great to see that too when we're coming down the playoff stretch here. It's going to help us in the long run."


Rangers' Klein to meet with doctor after shot block

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 11:12 AM / News

New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein has returned to New York to meet with a team physician after blocking a shot Wednesday against the Washington Capitals, the Rangers announced Thursday.

Klein blocked an Alex Ovechkin shot in the final minute of the Rangers' 3-1 win at Verizon Center on Wednesday. Klein was to have his left arm examined, according to The Journal News.


Maple Leafs recall defenseman Brennan from AHL

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 10:59 AM / News

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that defenseman TJ Brennan has been recalled from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).

Brennan, 25, has skated in five regular season games with the Toronto Marlies this season, collecting one assist. Prior to being acquired from Chicago on February 25, Brennan registered 36 points (nine goals, 27 assists) and 59 penalty minutes in 54 regular season games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks). Brennan has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 40 career NHL games between Buffalo and Florida.


Islanders' Leddy will miss at least two weeks: report

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 10:43 AM / News

New York Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy will be out at least two weeks because of an upper-body injury, according to Newsday.

Leddy was injured during the second period of the Islanders' game Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and he did not play Tuesday against the New York Rangers. That absence ended Leddy's streak of 320 consecutive games played.

"He was missed, of course, but we have guys who have been out of the lineup who are more than capable," Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk, Leddy's defense partner, said Tuesday, according to Newsday. "He's missed but I thought we did a good job."


Bruins' Eriksson hears criticism, sticks to his game

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - 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."


Unmasked: Lessons learned letting Lack succeed

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For Vancouver Canucks goalie Eddie Lack, the mantra "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is more than a cliché or the lyrics of a pop song by Kelly Clarkson.

Lack has lived the lesson behind those words. Last season, he survived an all-out attack on his game and faced a litany of doubters about his ability to be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL. Neither was likely the intention of coach John Tortorella, but instead the result of Lack being thrown into the fire by starting 19 consecutive games during a 41-day span after Roberto Luongo was sent to the Florida Panthers prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

The heavy workload, combined with the fact Lack was a little more than one year removed from major hip surgery, caused his body and his game to disintegrate. His save percentage, which was .925 when the streak started Feb. 26, dropped to .900. When the streak ended with a loss to the Anaheim Ducks on April 7, Lack was too tired and too sore to accept an invitation to represent Sweden at the IIHF World Championship.


Wheat Kings' Provorov proving self in North America

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Defenseman Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League has been described by teammates as a breakout machine.

The 6-foot, 191-pound native of Yaroslavl, Russia, has lived up to that billing in his first WHL season.

"He's good in all aspects of the game," defense partner Ryan Pilon said. "He can take the body and score some highlight-reel goals."

Provorov isn't your typical one-year wonder from Russia having success in North America.


Around the League notebook: Wednesday, March 11

Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 1:30 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


J.T. Miller scored the eventual game-winning goal at 16:34 of the first period and Cam Talbot stopped 28 shots, including a goal-line glove save on Nicklas Backstrom, to guide the New York Rangers past the Washington Capitals and to a 12-1-3 record in their past 16 outings, including three straight wins.

* With the victory, the Rangers (42-17-7, 91 points) leapfrogged the idle New York Islanders (43-22-4, 90 points) into first place in the Metropolitan Division and past the idle Montreal Canadiens (42-18-7, 91 points) for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and entire NHL, where the top seven teams remain separated by two points.

* The Rangers have won their past three meetings with the Capitals – including two contests this season, and are 11-4-1 in their past 16 regular-season games dating to Dec. 12, 2010. They will play twice more this season on March 29 at NYR and April 11 at WSH.


Roberts to work with new sports performance center

Wednesday, 03.11.2015 / 5:00 PM / News

Former NHL player Gary Roberts announced plans Wednesday for a familiar role of off-ice instruction in his return to Pennsylvania.

He will be the coordinator of the Sports Performance Center at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, Pa.

Since his NHL retirement in 2009, Roberts, 48, has been on a mission to make sure hockey players maintain a structured workout regimen away from the rink. He aided many of the NHL elite at his personal training center in Toronto the past seven years and will try to offer a similar philosophy at the 185,000 square foot center scheduled to open in August.

Roberts, who seven years ago played in the Stanley Cup Final with the Pittsburgh Penguins, will coordinate, lead and work at the Sports Performance Center. He'll work with youth hockey players and other athletes, and consult with the full-time UPMC staff.

"I love the city and the fans of Pittsburgh," Roberts said in a statement. "These are philosophies I honed during my career and afterward. I'm thrilled to team up with UPMC to bring philosophies and programs that we've put in place to train, develop and mentor athletes from the youth levels all the way to the professional ranks."

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Quote of the Day

I don't think it's really truly going to sink in until we drop the puck, to be honest. I know there's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the media attention and all that. We came [Monday] and it was sort of a light day to get things organized. We just want to focus in on the business aspect, the game itself. That's what we're preparing to do. Get these next couple of days out of the way and it's game on.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on playing in his first Stanley Cup Final