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College hockey free agents set to garner attention

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

College hockey is in the postseason portion of its schedule with conference tournaments underway and, soon thereafter, the 2015 NCAA Tournament. That also means teams are seeing their seasons come to an end and, for those players who are not draft-eligible and still free agents, a chance to sign professional contracts.

Every season, a group of undrafted college free agents draw the attention of some NHL teams, and some end up getting contracts. Here are a few names to watch and ones that could draw attention:

Around the League notebook for Sunday, March 15

Monday, 03.16.2015 / 12:05 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

RANGERS, DUCKS REACH TOP OF LEAGUE STANDINGS

The New York Rangers and the Anaheim Ducks each won Sunday to reach the top of the NHL standings. The Rangers improved to 44-17-7 (95 points) and the Ducks are now 44-20-7 (95 points).

* Cam Talbot stopped all but one of 39 shots he faced to lead the Rangers to a 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers. The Rangers have won five straight games, have earned points in 17 of their last 18 (14-1-3) and in 20 of their last 22 games (17-2-3).

* Talbot made 38 saves, which matched a career-high from earlier this season, to improve to 17-6-4 with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. Talbot has won four consecutive decisions and is 5-0-1 in his past six games. Talbot has allowed one goal or fewer in four consecutive contests.

General managers to discuss OT format, video reviews

Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 10:10 PM / News

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The possibilities of altering the overtime format of regular-season games to include a portion of 3-on-3 play and expanding video review to include goals scored as a potential result of goalie interference will be two of the main topics discussed at the annual March meeting of the NHL's general managers.

The GMs will meet Monday through Wednesday here to discuss the state of the game and seek ways to improve it. Entering the meetings, there are no specific recommendations for changes in rules or format. Those could be developed during the course of the meetings.

"If we don't have any changes, I think we've got a fabulous product," Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. "I think it's a safer workplace than it's been in a long time. I think the game is in a great place."

Expanding overtime to include 3-on-3 play was discussed by the GMs at their one-day meeting in Toronto in November. The idea has been championed by Holland, who made it part of the Red Wings' annual Traverse City Prospects Tournament in 2013.

"We understand in Detroit the shootout is here to stay… so how do we have a greater percentage of games decided in overtime and a lesser percentage decided in a shootout?" Holland said. "The shootout fans will get their shootouts, but from my perspective I'd like to see more games decided in overtime than in the shootout. That's all I'm trying to bring to the table."

Around the League notebook for Saturday, March 14

Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 11:07 AM / News

NHL.com

SKAPSKI FLAWLESS AS RANGERS REGAIN TOP SPOT IN NHL

Mackenzie Skapski recorded his first career NHL shutout to help the Rangers complete their road trip with a 4-0-1 record and earn a point for the 15th time in their past 17 games overall (13-1-3).

* The Rangers (43-17-7, 93 points) opened a three-point lead over the Islanders (43-24-4, 90 points) – who lost in regulation – atop the Metropolitan Division. They also regained control of first place in the entire NHL, where the top seven teams are separated by three points:

* The Rangers swept their season series with the Sabres for the second straight season. They have won seven straight meeting with Buffalo dating back to April 19, 2013, matching their longest stretch in head-to-head matchups (also March 23, 1971 to March 2, 1972).

Crosby, Malkin pushing Penguins, each other

Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 10:40 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Questioning who is the Pittsburgh Penguins’ best player seems rhetorical.

The obvious answer would be forward Sidney Crosby, but the topic is up for debate. Not because of a significant drop in Crosby’s production, but because forward Evgeni Malkin has matched Crosby’s every step this season.

Crosby is widely considered the NHL's best player, but he has experienced a lackluster season by his standards. That despite leading the Penguins with 70 points and being two points behind the NHL lead entering their game Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN).

"I think we try to help our team get momentum," Crosby said. "When [Malkin] goes out there, has a good shift and his line's buzzing around, we definitely want to follow it up and use that and continue that momentum and hopefully we can help each other. If we're out there and we have a good shift and we can wear the other team down, hopefully they can take advantage of that tired group.

"I think it's good. You want to have that healthy competition, but I think we definitely try to get the best out of one another."

Rogers Hometown Hockey: Regina, Saskatchewan

Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / News

NHL.com

CITY in Canada will televise "Rogers Hometown Hockey" on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET, prior to the game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators. The show will also air on NHL Network in the U.S. The location this week is Regina, Saskatchewan, and the half-hour program will celebrate the city's iconic hockey story.

Among the features airing on the pregame show:

* Ryan Getzlaf is no stranger to success. He's won a Stanley Cup, two Olympic gold medals, and has been nominated for the Hart Trophy. However, Getzlaf felt he needed to make more of an impact off the ice. That's when he met a young man suffering from a rare form of muscular dystrophy that impacts one in every 3,600 boys. That meeting took place years ago; since then, each of their lives has changed forever.

South Carolina sets ECHL mark with 18th straight win

Saturday, 03.14.2015 / 10:22 PM / News

NHL.com

The South Carolina Stingrays set an ECHL record with their 18th straight win, 6-0 against the Gwinnett Gladiators at the North Charleston Coliseum on Saturday.

The record of 17 was set by the Cincinnati Cyclones from Jan. 13-Feb. 29, 2008.

The Stingrays, who have NHL affiliations with the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals, set an ECHL record for longest road winning streak Friday with their 11th straight, a 4-0 win at Gwinnett.

Bruins' Spooner, Pastrnak have become key elements

Saturday, 03.14.2015 / 8:45 PM / NHL Insider

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- When the Boston Bruins were protecting a two-goal lead on the road against the Ottawa Senators on March 10, coach Claude Julien joined left wing Milan Lucic with veteran forwards Gregory Campbell and Maxime Talbot for the last three minutes of a crucial 3-1 victory.

The switch left young forwards Ryan Spooner, who scored two goals, and David Pastrnak, who assisted on Spooner's second goal, on the bench for the end of the game.

Two nights later in a 3-2 shootout win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden, Julien didn't shorten his bench with the score tied in regulation or overtime. The Bruins' two offensively gifted rookies got to take their regular shift with Lucic in regulation and were a pair during a stretch of 3-on-3 play in overtime.

Crosby late scratch for Penguins; Malkin injured

Saturday, 03.14.2015 / 5:00 PM / News

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins started their game Saturday without Sidney Crosby and finished it without Evgeni Malkin.

Crosby was a late scratch against the Boston Bruins at Consol Energy Center for unspecified reasons after participating in warm-ups. Malkin seemed to sustain a lower-body injury after colliding with Bruins forward Chris Kelly during his first shift.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said he was notified Crosby was not feeling well and was seeing doctors minutes before the game.

"It's just he wasn't feeling well. That's the best way to describe it," Johnston said afterward. "So, it's not an injury. He didn't get himself injured in warm-up. He just wasn't feeling well and he went to see the doctors. I thought he was great at our meeting. He seemed to be fine, but somewhere between then and the end of warm-up when he came into the dressing room, he went to see the trainers and they said to see the doctors, and from there the decision was made that we were just going to keep him out."

Around the League notebook for Friday, March 13

Saturday, 03.14.2015 / 10:44 AM / News

NHL Public Relations

FRIDAY'S RESULTS

Home Team in Caps

Ottawa 2, NY ISLANDERS 1

Dallas 4, WASHINGTON 2

COLUMBUS 5, Edmonton 4 (SO)

Anaheim 2, MINNESOTA 1

CALGARY 6, Toronto 3

ANAHEIM DEFEATS MINNESOTA, REACHES TOP OF LEAGUE STANDINGS

Jakob Silfverberg (1-1—2) scored the game-winner at 13:45 of the second period to power the Anaheim Ducks to a 2-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild. The Ducks, who have won six of their past eight road games (6-2-0), improved to 43-20-7 (93 points) this season and passed five idle clubs to take sole possession of first in the League standings.

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Quote of the Day

I would definitely love to play with him. He's a skilled player and over the years he definitely has shown that he can score a lot of goals. I think it would work out well.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on Alexander Semin