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Malkin's line leads Penguins to Hockeyville win

Tuesday, 09.29.2015 / 11:55 PM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

Kristen Nelson - NHL.com Correspondent

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- There are roughly 4,000 seats in the Cambria County War Memorial Arena. But when Sergei Plotnikov scored 14 seconds into the Pittsburgh Penguins' preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, the building sounded as loud as a packed NHL arena.

The line of center Evgeni Malkin between Plotnikov and Patric Hornqvist set the tempo for the Penguins, combining for two of Pittsburgh's goals in its 4-2 victory against Tampa Bay in the preseason game that was the centerpiece of being named Kraft Hockeyville USA.

"I like what I see," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "Certainly Hornqvist and [Malkin], we thought they had some chemistry before, but Sergei Plotnikov, I know people have talked about him. He's fit in better and better every night that I see him."

Penguins defeat Lightning in Hockeyville USA game

Tuesday, 09.29.2015 / 11:00 PM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- The fans in Johnstown, Pa., waited more than five months for the preseason game Tuesday at Cambria County War Memorial Arena between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning since the city won the inaugural title of Kraft Hockeyville USA in May.

They didn't have to wait long to have something to cheer about with the hometown Penguins scoring on the first shift in their 4-2 win.

Sergei Plotnikov's backhand shot beat Lightning goalie Kristers Gudlevskis 14 seconds into the first period to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist, Plotnikov's linemates, assisted on the goal, which sent the crowd crammed in the small arena into a frenzy.

The crowd was mostly pro-Penguins; Johnstown is 90 miles from Pittsburgh and most of the residents are Penguins fans. Members from each team before the game said they expected it to feel like a playoff atmosphere, and it did all night in the sold-out arena with 4,000 screaming fans waving rally towels and cheering "Let's go Pens" most of the game.

Commissioner: No timetable for NHL expansion

Tuesday, 09.29.2015 / 7:12 PM / News

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The NHL continues to explore the possibility of expansion but no firm timetable has been set for the process, Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday at the fall Board of Governors meeting.

Earlier Tuesday, the Board's executive committee heard presentations from representatives from the Quebec and Las Vegas markets. The Quebec presentation was headed by members of Quebecor, the company making the Quebec bid. Businessman Bill Foley led the presentation by the Vegas Wants Hockey group.

The presentations, made at the NHL office here, each lasted more than an hour, according to Commissioner Bettman. They were the latest step by the League to determine if expansion is a viable option.

Commissioner Bettman said no deadline has been established for a decision.

"We are in the process of gathering information," Commissioner Bettman said. "There have been no deliberations as to whether or not we want to expand, how many teams, or where. There's much work to be done."

Penguins' Bennett, Lightning's Killorn visit school

Tuesday, 09.29.2015 / 5:25 PM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

Kristen Nelson - NHL.com Correspondent

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- Students at Westmont Hilltop Middle School couldn't really focus on what their teachers were going over in class on Tuesday. They couldn't keep their minds off the visitors scheduled for the end of the school day.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett and Tampa Bay Lightning center Alex Killorn visited the school as part of the Kraft Hockeyville USA celebration prior to the preseason game between their teams at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

The students piled into the gym, which was covered in signs made by students for the Penguins, and started chants well before anyone arrived.

Stars' Benn, Hemsky to make preseason debuts

Tuesday, 09.29.2015 / 3:44 PM / News


Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn will make his preseason debut Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues.

Benn, who won the Art Ross Trophy last season, has not played since having surgeries on his hips in April and May. He began skating in early July.

"I am excited and ready to get back in the action," Benn told the Stars website. "It will be a little bit of a different feel playing in a real game than in an intrasquad game against your teammates. I am ready to go and excited about tonight."

Penguins, Lightning players impressed by Johnstown

Tuesday, 09.29.2015 / 2:08 PM / Kraft Hockeyville USA

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- There has been a noticeable buzz in the area the past few days with the anticipation of the preseason game Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN) between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning as part of Kraft Hockeyville USA here at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

The Lightning received a warm welcome upon arriving in town, despite a heavy rain and the fact most fans here root for the Penguins; Pittsburgh is a 90-minute drive west

"Did you see the amount of people out there?" Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It was unreal. I don't know how to describe the pregame skate, being in front of a packed house. I see why they were crowned Kraft Hockeyville. I look at the response we were getting and we were the road team."

Chychrun among Central Scouting's A-rated players

Tuesday, 09.29.2015 / 9:30 AM / 2016 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Sarnia Sting defenseman Jakob Chychrun, a projected first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, appears ready to make up for lost time.

Chychrun, who had 16 goals and 17 assists in 42 games last season as a rookie in the Ontario Hockey League, missed 26 regular-season games and five OHL playoff games because of an upper-body injury. Despite the absence, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound left-shot defender was a nominee for OHL rookie of the year and defenseman of the year.

"There's lots of expectations just because of how he's performed more than anything else, but it's compounded a little bit because we haven't been able to see as much of him than we would have liked," NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "There's a lot of anticipation leading into his OHL season."

Matthews' smooth transition earns him top rating

Tuesday, 09.29.2015 / 9:30 AM / 2016 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

It hasn't taken Auston Matthews very long to become an international success.

Matthews, a 6-foot-1, 194-pound center who many project will be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, made headlines in August after announcing he would join ZSC in Switzerland's top professional league this season instead of playing NCAA hockey or in the Canadian Hockey League.

The decision by Matthews was made with the help of his parents and player agents Pat Brisson and Judd Moldaver of CAA Sports.

New 3-on-3 OT expected to entertain, affect strategy

Tuesday, 09.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015-2016 Season Preview

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin on a 2-on-1 rush less than a minute into overtime? Kuznetsov holding on to the puck and blasting a shot from the left circle? Ovechkin crashing the net in case there was a rebound?

You bet the Washington Capitals would take that scoring chance any day, twice if they could get it.

But, said Capitals coach Barry Trotz, "You've got to hit the net."

Ah yes, there is that, and in 3-on-3 overtime hitting the net might be more important than at any other point in the game. Because odds are a misfire, such as the one Kuznetsov had against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sept. 21, one that ricocheted off the end boards and popped back out, will lead to an even better scoring chance the other way.

Kuznetsov's miss led to a 3-on-1 for the Hurricanes, and the result was a tic-tac-toe goal by Kris Versteeg off of passes by Ryan Murphy and Eric Staal.

Cu-bet on it: Team-by-team bold fantasy predictions

Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Each season, NHL.com fantasy insider Matt Cubeta makes his bold fantasy hockey predictions. They are wild, outrageous and possibly even ridiculous, but that's the point. He's not here to tell you Sidney Crosby will lead the NHL in points or Alex Ovechkin will lead the League in goals. This story is here to deliver the unexpected.

Of course these predictions might not actually end up coming to fruition, but Cubeta believes there is a chance they could, even if that chance is slim. The point of this story is so you the fantasy player can discover which players Cubeta might be high on going into the season, and those he thinks you should avoid come draft day.

You'll disagree with plenty of them (maybe even all of them), but in years past, Cubeta has nailed some. Of course he'll get more wrong than right, but again, these are supposed to be over-the-top predictions to emphasize how strongly he feels about specific players.

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