Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.
The Calgary Flames are in the middle of a rebuild, but that didn't stop them from becoming one of the best stories of the season. Their situation dimmed a bit when the face of that success, Mark Giordano, was lost for the remainder of the season after surgery to have a biceps injury repaired, but they aren't done yet, managing a 3-1-1 record without their captain.
Kadri, 24, was late for a team meeting Sunday and was made a healthy scratch for the Maple Leafs game Monday against the New York Islanders. In announcing Kadri will also miss the game Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres and Friday against the Calgary Flames, Shanahan made clear there were other factors in the discipline.
"We have told him if things go well he'll be available for Saturday's game against Vancouver," Shanahan said. "There's more to this obviously than if this was just a case of Nazem being 15 minutes late for a meeting one time. The easiest thing for us to do at this point would be to sweep this under the rug and put this off until the offseason to deal with it, but Nazem is an important part of our future.
The Rangers will be playing the second half of a back-to-back after edging the first-place New York Islanders 2-1 on Tuesday, a victory that moved them within one point of the division lead with four games in hand. The Capitals are well-rested; they've been off since defeating the Buffalo Sabres 6-1 on Saturday.
Though the season is past the three-quarters mark, this is New York's first visit to Washington and the second game between the Rangers and Capitals. They'll play at Madison Square Garden on March 29 and end the season against each other at Verizon Center on April 11.
Ben Bishop made 19 saves and Tyler Johnson broke a scoreless tie 63 seconds into overtime to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 1-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens, their fourth straight win and fifth consecutive regular-season victory against the Canadiens.
* The Lightning (42-20-6, 90 points) improved to 3-0-0 against the Canadiens (42-18-7, 91 points) this season to move within one point of their division rival for top spot in the Eastern Conference and entire NHL. The top seven teams in the League are separated by two points and 10 points divide the top 12 teams.
* Tampa Bay is 6-0-1 in its past six regular-season games against Montreal, including four straight wins at the Bell Centre. The teams play twice more this season: March 16 at TBL and March 30 at MTL.
* Johnson scored his fifth game-winner and 25th goal of 2014-15, establishing career highs in each category. His first career overtime goal stretched his point streak to seven games (3-6—9), equaling a personal best set earlier this season.
After the Wild's 2-1 victory against the Capitals on Thursday, Parise marveled at the distinct differences in Washington's style of play.
"It's not the Washington Capitals high-flying team that I was used to playing against all those years in the East," he said. "They play a really structured game, they know where to be defensively, they don't give you a lot of room in the neutral zone. They made us fight for all our chances and made us fight for zone time. They're a big team, they're physical."
Such postgame analysis from Washington's opponents has been common this season as the Capitals' transformation into a more versatile team under coach Barry Trotz has taken hold.
At an average weight of 209.9 pounds, the Capitals have the heaviest roster in the NHL, among the advantages they utilize.
The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals have played in four of the past six Stanley Cup Playoffs, with each team winning two series. Those series have gone a combined 26 of 28 possible games, with 18 of those games decided by one goal.
This week's Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA, SN1) will go a long way in determining if the Rangers and Capitals play again in this year's playoffs.
With the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division and the Capitals in fourth, another matchup this spring is within reach. Each made a move prior to the NHL Trade Deadline to bolster its roster down the stretch.
Washington acquired forward Curtis Glencross from the Calgary Flames, and he's made an immediate impact with two goals and four points in his three games since the trade, skating on a line with Jay Beagle and Troy Brouwer. The Capitals need an offensive threat who isn't Alex Ovechkin and as of now Glencross appears to be delivering.
"He's arguably been the best player in the League in helping his team to where they are at this point," Stamkos said after the Lightning defeated the Canadiens 1-0 in overtime on Tuesday. "They're a solid team. They play structured. But their goalie made some big saves."
The momentum for Price to win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player has been building during the past month or so, and he is doing nothing to slow it down.
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- When the New York Rangers were hit with the news during the first week of February that No. 1 goaltender Henrik Lundqvist would miss several weeks because of a vascular injury, perhaps some thought their chances of winning the Metropolitan Division were ruined.
The Rangers were 29-15-4 at the time, three points behind the first-place New York Islanders, but eight points from being outside the Stanley Cup Playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
With Lundqvist out, the Rangers had to turn to backup Cam Talbot, who entered the season with 21 games of NHL experience. He had terrific numbers as Lundqvist's backup in 2013-14, finishing with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage.
But this time, Talbot wasn't being asked to give Lundqvist a night off. He had to carry the load and perform well if the Rangers were going to remain in the race.
Things got off to somewhat of a rocky start. Talbot allowed three or more goals in four of the first five games following Lundqvist's injury, although the Rangers provided some offense and managed to win three of them.
But including the Rangers' 2-1 win against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, Talbot has allowed two or fewer goals in each of his past four starts. He made 29 saves, several at key moments, to help the Rangers pull within a point of the Islanders in the Metropolitan with four games in hand.
"I felt really strong from the get-go," Talbot said after his 15th win of the season. "I've been gaining confidence game after game here, and the guys have been unbelievable in front of me, so it's been fun."
"I wanted to watch the game from a different area," Lamoriello said while giving the postgame press conference. "Just to see something a little different."
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