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(Page 182 of 243)
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X-Factor: Callahan a game-changer for Lightning

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 12:00 AM / Lightning vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

Ryan Callahan could not have joined the Tampa Bay Lightning under worse circumstances.

Embroiled in very public contract negotiations with the New York Rangers for weeks leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline, Callahan and his expiring contract were acquired by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman in exchange for Martin St. Louis in a swap of team captains on March 5.

Callahan's departure from Manhattan was always seen as a distinct possibility, if not a probability, but the decision by St. Louis to request a trade to New York blindsided the Lightning fan base. It was something completely out of left field.

Gone was St. Louis, a hero from Tampa Bay's run to the Stanley Cup and a player who defied the odds to become a star in the NHL thanks largely to the opportunity afforded him by the franchise from which he orchestrated his own departure.

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Despite long odds, Palat has emerged for Lightning

Monday, 04.14.2014 / 12:00 AM / Lightning vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

Ondrej Palat sat there and waited.

He waited some more.

As the 2011 NHL Draft was rolling through its second day about 4,500 miles away in St. Paul Minn., Palat was at home in Frydek-Mistek, Czech Republic, wondering, waiting to see if he would take another step toward his dream of an NHL career.

Palat had left his home two years earlier to play for the Drummondville Voltigueurs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his second season, he put up 96 points in 61 games, tying him for the team scoring lead with current Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier, the No. 8 pick in 2011.

After being ignored twice by the NHL, surely this would be enough for someone to take notice, right?

Sitting in front of his laptop, Palat watched as the second round ended, then the third, and the fourth, fifth and sixth as well without his name popping up on his computer screen.

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Blue Jackets trying to end Penguins' dominance

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 11:45 PM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

NHL.com

Looking at the season series between Metropolitan Division rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, there is little to suggest the teams are evenly matched.

They played each other five times and five times Pittsburgh emerged victorious, Trailing for 56 seconds in the 300 minutes of the series.

Riding a top-end power-play, the Penguins outscored the Blue Jackets, 16-7. Five of those goals came on the 19 power-play attempts Pittsburgh had in the series. By contrast, Columbus scored one power-play goal, on 14 attempts.

Plus, this matchup has been one-sided for quite some time. Since Sidney Crosby joined the League, he has lost to Columbus once in regulation, during his rookie season.

But the Blue Jackets are not ready to concede anything. As they look at the series, they see a couple of things in their favor.

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Crosby, Ovechkin, Quick win regular-season trophies

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 11:41 PM / Trophy Tracker

NEW YORK -- The 2013-14 National Hockey League regular season concluded tonight with Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby capturing his second career Art Ross Trophy as the League scoring champion, Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin claiming his fourth career Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the League’s goal-scoring leader and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick winning his first career William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender who plays at least 25 games for the club allowing the fewest goals.

Crosby, who won his first Art Ross Trophy in 2006-07, finished with 36 goals, a League-leading 68 assists and 104 points -- besting Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf (31-56—87) and Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux (28-58—86) for the Art Ross Trophy. Crosby registered points in 60 of the 80 games he played in (75.0%), including 30 multi-point performances, and never went more than two consecutive games without registering a point.

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Crosby wins NHL scoring title for second time

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 11:40 PM / News

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby wrapped up his second Art Ross Trophy on Sunday despite sitting out the Pittsburgh Penguins' season finale against the Ottawa Senators.

Crosby led the NHL with 104 points, the third-highest total of his nine-year career and the most since he had 109 during the 2009-10 season. His other scoring title came in 2006-07, his second season, when he had a career-high 120 points.

With Crosby winning again, 15 of the past 26 NHL scoring titles have been won by a member of the Penguins. The Los Angeles Kings have the second-highest total during that span with three.


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Rangers, Flyers each hold big edge at home

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 11:06 PM / Rangers vs Flyers - 2014 SCP First Round

NHL.com

The biggest key to the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers could be which team plays better on the road.

In four regular-season games this season, the home team won each time. The Flyers have won three in a row against the Rangers at Wells Fargo Center, and the Rangers have won seven in a row against the Flyers at Madison Square Garden.

"Home-ice advantage is always better. MSG will be rocking," Rangers forward Rick Nash said. "It's a huge rivalry. It's going to be a fun one to play in. You play in the regular-season games [against Philadelphia] and they're that much more intense than the regular ones. So the playoffs are going to be much more exciting."

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Lightning, Canadiens find little room for separation

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 10:50 PM / Lightning vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning do not share a rich and storied history in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The two teams have met once before in the playoffs, and if anyone in the Lightning organization is a believer in good omens, the matchup came in the second round in 2004, the season Tampa Bay won its only Stanley Cup.

The Lightning won three of four games against the Canadiens this season, but the series could not have been much closer.

Three of the four games were tied 1-1 after regulation time, and two of them remained tied after overtime. The one game which did not finish 2-1 was the final one of the season, a 3-1 Lightning win in Tampa where the score was 2-1 until the final minute. Alex Killorn scored into an empty net.

So based on the regular season, a tight-checking, low-scoring series should be expected.

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Blackhawks' Saad responded after late benching

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 10:30 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Joel Quenneville wasn't going to let it drag on for another minute.

After watching 21-year old Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad steadily spiral downward through the second half of the regular season, the coach of the NHL's defending champion addressed it with four games left. Quenneville, who coached the Blackhawks to Stanley Cup titles twice in four seasons, handled it the same way he has with most players in similar circumstances.

He benched Saad on March 6 for a big game against the St. Louis Blues at United Center, sending an unmistakable message to the player. It didn't matter that top forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were out with injuries.

Saad sat, and the message was received.

"There are elements and there's a process to get to the point where you don’t play," Quenneville said a couple days after Chicago beat St. Louis, 4-2. "It's not like it was just a rash decision."

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Alfredsson to Red Wings brings new playoff turn

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 9:53 PM / Bruins vs Red Wings - 2014 SCP First Round

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- Daniel Alfredsson left behind 17 seasons of memories with the Ottawa Senators, including the last 14 as captain, to chase an elusive Stanley Cup championship with the Detroit Red Wings.

It was a decision which uprooted one of hockey's most familiar faces from the place he'd spent his entire NHL career. It was a life-changing moment, but from a hockey aspect, it made sense.

Alfredsson, 41, was enticed by Detroit's 22-year streak of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the four Cup championships the Red Wings had claimed, including the most recent in 2008, since Alfredsson joined the League.

"That's what you play for, to get into the playoffs," Alfredsson said, after the Red Wings overcame a slew of injuries to clinch a postseason spot for the 23rd straight season. "I played a long time in this League, played a lot of playoff games, but haven't won the Stanley Cup. That's what you dream about. That's the only reason I'm still playing, I guess."

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Bruins, Red Wings ready for first series in 57 years

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 9:50 PM / Bruins vs Red Wings - 2014 SCP First Round

NHL.com

After three decades in a conference populated mostly by teams outside the Central time zone, the Detroit Red Wings moved to the Eastern Conference for the 2013-14 season. Their reward for making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 23rd consecutive season is facing the class of their new conference.

The Bruins have represented the East in the Stanley Cup Final in two of the past three seasons, and this season won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time since 1989-90. Boston is an overwhelming favorite to reach the Cup Final for a third time in four years, but Detroit's season-ending surge makes the Red Wings a dangerous first-round foe.

Boston is led by the best trio of down-the-middle players in hockey: goaltender Tuukka Rask, defenseman Zdeno Chara and center Patrice Bergeron. Rask is a favorite to win the Vezina Trophy, Chara should be among a crowded group of contenders for the Norris Trophy, and Bergeron is one of the top two or three choices for the Selke Trophy.

Everything starts with the Bruins' spine and works out from there. The Bruins only wobble of the season came right after No. 2 defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was lost to a major knee injury, but the young defensemen improved and Boston remains the best team in East at possessing the puck and not allowing it to end up behind Rask.

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Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers