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(Page 165 of 258)
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Blues' defense, goaltending spark run to playoffs

Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 11:09 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The St. Louis Blues are the first Western Conference team to have its ticket punched to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are also in the running to win the Presidents' Trophy for the first time since 1999-2000, when they finished with 114 points but lost to the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Obviously, St. Louis is banking on a better result this spring, but before discussing expectations and potential for Ken Hitchcock's team, let's examine how the Blues got to this point in the season.

Here are five reasons why the Blues are heading to the playoffs for the third straight season with Hitchcock in charge:

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Kings captain Brown leaves game with injury

Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 2:18 AM / News

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown left the game Saturday against the Florida Panthers with an upper-body injury, the team said.

Brown played four shifts in the second period, when he scored a goal, and did not return for the third period. The Kings were leading 3-0 against the Florida Panthers at Staples Center. They won the game 4-0.

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Senators' Ryan tells coach he'll be fine

Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 12:54 AM / News

NHL.com

Bobby Ryan left the Ottawa Senators' game against the Dallas Stars on Saturday with a lower-body injury and didn't return. But the injury reportedly may not be as bad as it looked.

The Senators right wing crashed hard into the end boards behind the Ottawa net late in the third period while skating at full speed. He lay on the ice for about a minute before being helped to the dressing room while appearing to be favoring his right side.

However, Ryan told coach Paul MacLean after that game that he'll be fine, the Ottawa Sun reported.

MacLean told the media he wasn't sure of Ryan's condition.

"It's kind of up in the air," he said after the Senators' 3-1 loss in Dallas. "It's not something that's definite. It's just a re-aggravation of something. We'll see how it is Sunday."


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Daily Primer March 23: Blackhawks back in hunt

Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 12:19 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Nine days ago, it looked like the Chicago Blackhawks had no chance to win the Central Division and might wind up in third place. That was after the Blackhawks lost 3-2 at home to the Nashville Predators, a team unlikely to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Predators come back to United Center on Sunday, and a lot has changed in the interim. The Blackhawks have gone 3-0-1 since that loss, with one of the wins coming against the division-leading St. Louis Blues. Chicago's 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and the Blues' 4-1 road loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday have cut Chicago's deficit in the division race to a more manageable four points.

Here's a look at all of the action Sunday:


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Rangers getting better at closing out victories

Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 12:06 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Less than two weeks ago, the New York Rangers appeared to be showing their warts as a team that could play well, could hang in tight games, but couldn't close. That seems like a distant memory now.

Nothing is set, not even close, especially with a pair of home games this week against the Phoenix Coyotes and Philadelphia Flyers followed by a four-game western road trip. But after going 2-4-1 to start the month, the Rangers have won four of their past five games. All four victories have come on the road, where they have a League-best 23 wins.

They beat the New Jersey Devils 2-0 on Saturday at Prudential Center to solidify their spot as the third-place team in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers have 82 points, one fewer than the red-hot Flyers and four more than the fourth-place Columbus Blue Jackets, a team the Rangers beat Friday night.

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Berglund filling offensive void for Blues

Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 11:15 PM / NHL Insider

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- According to Patrik Berglund, nothing has changed since his return from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The physical characteristics are certainly the same: He's still a left-handed shooter, he still wears No. 21 and he still plays for the St. Louis Blues.

What has changed is Berglund's name popping up more often on the stat sheet at the end of the night. More often bodes well for these Blues.

Berglund has 14 goals this season -- not an eye-popping number considering the Blues (47-16-7 have played 70 games. But six of those eight goals came in a recent eight-game stretch, and seven of his 31 points on the season came in a 10-game set.

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Flyers sign forward Raffl to two-year contract

Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 6:13 PM / News

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday signed rookie forward Michael Raffl to a two-year, $2.2 million contract extension.

Raffl, who signed a one-year, $925,000 contract May 31, 2013, could have become a restricted free agent this summer.

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Flyers' Downie leaves game against Blues

Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 1:27 PM / News

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Steve Downie sustained an upper-body injury on the opening shift of their game Saturday against the St. Louis Blues and will not return.

Downie collided with the Blues' Patrik Berglund in the neutral zone 45 seconds into the game, with Downie's head appearing to strike Berglund's shoulder. Downie remained down on the ice for several moments before skating off with trainer Jim McCrossin.

Downie has 24 points in 59 games this season, including 17 in 48 games with the Flyers, who acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche in October. He missed four games in November with a concussion sustained in his first game with Philadelphia.

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Bruins' defense, depth led to NHL's first playoff clinch

Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 11:11 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Zdeno Chara is still arguably the best defenseman in the National Hockey League and Tuukka Rask is a favorite to win the Vezina Trophy this season. Toss in enviable forward depth and a solid defense corps behind Chara along with a seasoned coaching staff, and there are plenty of reasons why the Boston Bruins are the first team to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.

The Bruins punched a ticket to the playoffs Friday night by winning their 11th straight game, fittingly with a near-flawless defensive performance in a 2-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.

Chara has been his usual minute-munching, forward-crunching self this season. He once again plays nearly 25 minutes per game and always faces the toughest matchups, and Chara, who turned 37 earlier this week, should again be up among the top candidates for the Norris Trophy. He won the trophy in 2009.

Here are five more reasons the Bruins are heading back to the playoffs:

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Clinching scenarios: Sharks can nab playoff berth

Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 11:08 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com Staff

The Boston Bruins became the first team to reserve a spot in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday, and a Western Conference power can join them Saturday. 

The San Jose Sharks could book a spot in the playoffs if they defeat the Washington Capitals in any fashion and either the Senators defeat the Stars in any fashion or the Bruins defeat the Coyotes in regulation. The Sharks would also clinch if they earn one point against the Capitals and the Senators defeat the Stars in regulation.

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Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets