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St. Laurent, five-time Stanley Cup winner, dies at 85

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:43 AM / News

MontrealCanadiens.com

MONTREAL - It is with great sadness that the Montreal Canadiens learned of the passing of Dollard St. Laurent in Beloeil on Monday. He was 85.

Originally from Verdun, St. Laurent got his start with the Canadiens in 1950-51 before playing his first full season in 1952-53. A defensive defenseman who could still pitch in on offense, it was during the 1952-53 season that St-Laurent won his first Stanley Cup.

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Playoff Countdown: Potential for wild night in West

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:40 AM / Expert Picks

NHL.com

Saturday, April 11, marks the conclusion to the 2014-15 regular season. Yet, much remains to be decided in the frantic run to the finish line, including playoff positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones. To celebrate the countdown to the end of the season and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, NHL.com will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

Monday promises to be a wild night in the Western Conference, as two teams have the opportunity to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the battle for the second wild card continues.

The Minnesota Wild (44-26-8) can become the fourth team from the Central Division to make the playoffs with a regulation or overtime win at home against the Winnipeg Jets (40-26-12). The Wild can also get in with a shootout win if the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Vancouver Canucks in any fashion.

The Canucks (45-29-5) will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak when they host the Kings (39-25-14). A regulation win and a Jets loss to the Wild in regulation would clinch a postseason berth for the Canucks and help solidify their second-place standing in the Pacific Division, which carries home ice for the first round.

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Canucks, Kings ready for Pacific Division showdown

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:36 AM / Expert Picks

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- For the Vancouver Canucks, defeating the Los Angeles Kings on Monday (10 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, PRIME, SNP) would help in securing their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The opportunity to derail the defending Stanley Cup-champion Kings attempt to get back to the postseason, avoid Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs in the Western Conference, or make a statement if they do face the Kings in the playoffs was a bonus few wanted to discuss.

"I don't think we're thinking about that at all," forward Chris Higgins said. "You try to keep your focus small this time of year."

That focus is bouncing back from consecutive losses against the Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets to finish a four-game road trip, avoiding their first three-game losing streak since mid-January, and taking back control of their own fate in the playoff race.

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Playoff clinching scenarios for Monday, April 6

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 11:24 AM / Expert Picks

NHL Public Relations

With six days remaining in the regular season, there are eight berths up for grabs in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

These are the clinching scenarios for games Monday:

* The Minnesota Wild would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Winnipeg Jets in regulation or overtime OR if they defeat Winnipeg in a shootout AND the Los Angeles Kings lose to the Vancouver Canucks in any fashion.

* The Canucks would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat Los Angeles in regulation AND Winnipeg loses to Minnesota in regulation.

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Defensive depth plays huge role in Wild's success

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The mumps and mysterious stomach ailments seem like they happened in another season. In many ways, that's because they did.

For the Minnesota Wild, the 2014-15 season has played out in three distinct segments: the good first month, the abyss around the holiday season, and then the rally to Stanley Cup Playoff relevancy.

Along the way, the Wild defensemen have played a key role in it all.

"Mumps and injuries, there's a lot of things we've had to overcome with that group," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Those are types of things that can really break a team, but they can also make it stronger too. And I think we've seen in that time, we've seen different players step up and take their game to another level, taking advantage of that opportunity."

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Around the League notebook for Sunday, April 5

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 12:21 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

CAPITALS PUNCH TICKET TO POSTSEASON WITH WIN AGAINST RED WINGS AND HELP FROM MAPLE LEAFS

Braden Holtby made 35 saves to backstop the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings. In addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs defeating the Ottawa Senators, the Capitals clinched a berth in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs as a result. Washington reached the postseason for the 25th time in Capitals history and for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

* The Capitals are 44-25-11 (99 points) and leapfrogged the idle New York Islanders to take sole possession of second in the Metropolitan Division standings.

* The Capitals have earned points in five consecutive games (4-0-1) and have earned points in seven of their past eight road games (6-1-1).

* Holtby stopped all but one of 36 shots he faced and is 40-19-10 with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Holtby has earned points in six consecutive decisions (5-0-1).

* With a career-high 40 wins this season, Holtby ranks third among League-leaders and became the second goaltender in Capitals history to earn 40 victories in a season; Olie Kolzig had a 41 wins in 1999-2000. The victory was Holtby's 100th in the NHL and he became the fastest goaltender in Capitals history to reach the 100-win mark (176 GP).

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Five reasons Capitals clinched playoff berth

Sunday, 04.05.2015 / 11:30 PM / Expert Picks

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Metropolitan Division is not an easy place to make a living in the NHL. Between the New York Rangers, coming off a trip the Stanley Cup Final last season, the Pittsburgh Penguins, perennial contenders with two of the best forwards on the planet, and an up-and-coming New York Islanders team, the top of the division is a difficult place to be successful.

The Washington Capitals have navigated those waters and return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs after coming up short a season ago.

Washington made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons beginning in 2007. They had 90 points in 2013-14, but fell three points short of the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

But with its stars in top form, a new coach and a group of young players who continue to mature, Washington was able to put last season's disappointment behind and qualify for the playoffs.

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Blues control destiny after win against Blackhawks

Sunday, 04.05.2015 / 11:28 PM / Expert Picks

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The magnitude of the St. Louis Blues' 2-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday will determine a lot when the Central Division standings are finally decided by the end of the regular season next Saturday.

A Blues loss would have dropped them into third place, one point behind Chicago and the Nashville Predators with three games remaining for each of the three teams.

Instead, the Blues (49-23-7, 105 points) control their own destiny and thrust themselves into first place, one point ahead of the Predators and more importantly, three ahead of the third-place Blackhawks (48-25-6).

Whoever finishes in second and third place will be a Western Conference First Round matchup, something the division winner would rather avoid.

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Canadiens forward Pacioretty leaves game with injury

Sunday, 04.05.2015 / 9:16 PM / News

Alain Poupart - NHL.com Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty left the game Sunday against the Florida Panthers in the first period because of an injury. He did not return.

Pacioretty appeared to sustain an upper-body injury at 5:48 when he hit his head against the boards after being checked by Dmitry Kulikov and then getting his feet tangled with Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic.

Coach Michel Therrien had no update on Pacioretty's status after the game.

"He's a big part of our team, a guy we've relied on all year long," forward Brendan Gallagher said. "That said, that's sports; guys go down. It's an opportunity for guys to step up, and I thought we did a good job of that tonight."

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Referee Devorski calls it quits after 26-year career

Sunday, 04.05.2015 / 6:34 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Paul Devorski's career as an official started in the early 1980s because of a headline in a newspaper and ended Sunday with NHL stars such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Claude Giroux shaking his hand and thanking him for his service to the game.

Devorski officiated his 1,594th and final NHL game at Wells Fargo Center. The 56-year-old is retiring after serving as a referee for 26 years.

He worked the game Sunday with his brother, Greg, a linesman.

"You know what, I never thought I'd last this long, but it's so fast out there and it's time to go before you embarrass yourself," Devorski said following the game, a 4-1 win for the Flyers against the Pittsburgh Penguins. "It's so fast out there now. It's time to go."

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Quote of the Day

I love you. I think we [climbed] as high as we possibly can.

— Sergei Fedorov to former Red Wings teammate Nicklas Lidstrom after each was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 on Monday
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