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2015 NHL Draft
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Blackhawks' Kane takes slap shots, progressing well

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 3:52 PM / News

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Anybody who thinks right wing Patrick Kane might return early from surgery to repair his fractured left clavicle only needs to glance at the Chicago Blackhawks' opponent at United Center on Tuesday.

There's a strong chance Minnesota Wild left wing Jason Zucker will play against the Blackhawks (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-CH) about eight weeks after having surgery Feb. 12 to repair his right clavicle. Even if Zucker doesn't play Tuesday, his return is close.

Kane, who was injured Feb. 24 and had surgery the next day, started participating in practices and morning skates April 1. The only limitations were no contact and no slap shots, but Tuesday morning he took multiple one-timer slap shots.

"He's progressing real well," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Every day he seems like he's getting a little stronger. His skating has always been fine and he's handling the puck extremely well, so it's good signs every day, seeing the progress."

Playoff Countdown: Rangers after Presidents' Trophy

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 2:02 PM / 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.

There are few certainties when it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs; however, a regulation win by the New York Rangers on Tuesday will guarantee them home-ice advantage in each series for the entirety of their postseason run.

The Rangers (51-21-7), who have already clinched the Metropolitan Division title, can win the Presidents' Trophy with a road victory against the New Jersey Devils (32-34-13), a team they defeated 6-1 on home ice Saturday. New York then ended the nine-game winning streak of the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 4-3 overtime win Monday. The Rangers need one point to secure the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Playoff clinching scenarios for Tuesday, April 7

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 1:26 PM / Expert Picks

NHL Public Relations

With five 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 Tuesday:

* The New York Rangers would clinch the Presidents' Trophy if they defeat the New Jersey Devils in any fashion.

* The Rangers would clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference if they get at least one point against the Devils.

Fantasy top 100 forwards: Ranks entering offseason

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 12:13 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

Pete Jensen - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

After six months of setting lineups, swinging trades and scouring the waiver wire, we're reaching the finish line of another thrilling fantasy season. Whether you've won your fantasy championship or fallen short of the ultimate goal, most would agree that 2014-15 has been defined by its surprises.

This season has proven how valuable under-the-radar forwards can be. Preseason standouts Filip Forsberg and Nikita Kucherov have been mainstays among the top 30, Rick Nash has bounced back with 40-plus goals, and Jakub Voracek has been among the League's top point-scorers all season.

Canadiens' Pacioretty out Thursday vs. Red Wings

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 10:45 AM / News

NHL.com

Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty will not play in their game against the Detroit Red Wings at Bell Centre on Thursday, coach Michel Therrien told reporters in Florida on Tuesday.

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

Hockey fans embrace 'Bracketology' with the Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Samsung

Starting April 12, fans can make their Stanley Cup predictions at NHL.com/Bracket

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 10:45 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK / TORONTO – When the mad scramble for playoff positioning ends and before the incomparable drama of the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins, NHL fans will get the chance to show off their powers of prognostication. The 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Samsung at NHL.com/Bracket enables the most passionate fans in sports to predict each and every series through the Stanley Cup Final in a competition for exciting prizes and bragging rights. New this year, Match-up Analysis with Insights from SAP will help fans determine who has the edge in each series.

Starting now, fans can register for the Bracket Challenge at NHL.com/Bracket in English or French and create leagues to challenge their friends. Once the match-ups are set, fans can make their predictions in the interactive bracket online up until April 15, the first day of the Playoffs.

Five Questions: Pierre McGuire talks playoff push

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features NBC analyst Pierre McGuire:

Pierre McGuire used to be a coach in the NHL, but now he laughs when he says he just plays one on TV.

McGuire does it for NBC, offering his analysis from between the benches on nationally televised games. His is a unique vantage point for not only watching the game and talking about it, but hearing what goes on during the game.

He has seen all the top teams in the League up close and never hesitates to weigh in with his opinion. That's why he is the subject of the Q&A this week, the final week of the 2014-15 NHL regular season.

Around the League notebook for Monday, April 6

Tuesday, 04.07.2015 / 2:21 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

STEPAN POWERS RANGERS TO OVERTIME WIN AGAINST BLUE JACKETS

Facing a 3-2 deficit, Derek Stepan (2-1-3) tied the game with 27.5 seconds left in regulation and potted the overtime-winner with 49.6 seconds remaining in extra time to power the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Rangers, who have won four straight games, are 51-21-7 (109 points) and moved two points ahead of the idle Anaheim Ducks (50-23-7, 107 points) for the top spot in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.

* The 51 wins and 109 standings points are tied for the second-highest single-season totals in Rangers history; they also registered 51 wins in 2011-12 and earned 109 standings points in 1970-71, 1971-72 and 2011-12. The only season in which the Rangers earned more than 51 victories and 109 standings points was 1993-94 (52-24-8, 112 points).

* The Rangers have earned at least 25 wins at home (25-10-5) and on the road (26-11-2) in the same season for the first time.

Bruins' Chara day-to-day with undisclosed injury

Monday, 04.06.2015 / 1:10 PM / News

NHL.com

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara did not practice Monday and is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, coach Claude Julien said.

"He's day-to-day; today was a maintenance day," Julien said, according to the Bruins official Twitter account. "I know he's better today than he was after last game. We'll hope for the best."

The Bruins don't play until Wednesday, when they visit the Washington Capitals (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports).

Fantasy All-Access: Championship week tips

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

Every Monday, NHL.com contributor Matt Sitkoff identifies waiver wire pickups, roster trends, schedule notes and a prospect to watch in fantasy hockey.

The fantasy championship week is finally here, and knowing the schedule is the most important piece to your championship. You can make a plan to drop some players who only have two games for players who play four games and bring more value to your team.

The teams that have four games this week are the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets.

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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter