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Pacific Division notebook

Canucks find building block in defenseman Troy Stecher; Kings forward Adrian Kempe adjusting to NHL game

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

In their internal search for some future building blocks, the Vancouver Canucks can put a check mark beside one name.

Rookie defenseman Troy Stecher, 22, has played like he'll be around for some time.

"He's been great right from the start of the year," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "We sent him down [to the American Hockey League after training camp] and he came back with the attitude that he was here to stay.

"He's a small guy (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) but he plays hard. The best thing about Stecher is that he probably gets better when the situation gets tougher, like late in games when things are getting tough. That's when he probably moves his feet and does his best things. He's been good for us all year."

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Connor McDavid boosts Oilers with dominating start

Center has two assists, four shots on goal in first period against Kings

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- In two seasons in the NHL, Connor McDavid has had better games in terms of goals and assists.

The 20-year-old Edmonton Oilers center has never been more impactful than he was in the first period against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place on Monday, though.

In a tight, defensive Pacific Division matchup that in many ways went as expected, McDavid was the difference in a 2-0 victory against the Kings.

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Cam Talbot excelling with heavy workload for Oilers

Goalie showing no signs of fatigue as playoffs near

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Fresh is more than a state of mind for Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.

The 29-year-old has made the most starts in the NHL this season (64), has played the most minutes (3,801) and says he isn't tired of being asked if he's tired.

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Oilers offense regaining confidence

Fourteen goals by 10 different players in past two games gives support to Connor McDavid

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- The arena horn and the goal songs have been getting quite a workout during the past two NHL games at Rogers Place.

The Edmonton Oilers have caught their stride again, scoring 14 goals in two wins, 7-1 against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday and 7-4 against the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

The best takeaway for the Oilers, apart from reaching 83 points (37-24-9) and leap-frogging the Calgary Flames (82 points, 39-27-4) into third place in the Pacific Division, is that captain Connor McDavid had one of those 14 goals.

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NHL Insider

Commissioner Gary Bettman lauds Rogers Place

Also discusses Stanley Cup Playoff positions, Wayne Gretzky's new job with Oilers in visit to Edmonton

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman used the word "phenomenal" during his first visit to a completed Rogers Place in downtown Edmonton on Tuesday.

The new home of the Edmonton Oilers, which seats 18,642 and cost $480 million, opened for the start of the 2016-17 NHL season. 

"Seeing it finished, the arena, it's nothing short of phenomenal," Commissioner Bettman said Tuesday. "The way it's put together is ingenious. It is created and crafted and it has every amenity imaginable. The finishing touches and the way the building flows and the sight lines, incredible. 

"I can't say enough good things about it and it's testament to Daryl (Katz, Oilers owner) and his organization as to what they've accomplished here." 

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Oilers must keep up intensity

In thick of playoff race, draw positives from effort against Penguins

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Repeating the intensity and determination they showed against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday will be essential for the Edmonton Oilers in the remainder of the NHL season.

The Penguins won 3-2 in a shootout, the game creating buzz in Rogers Arena from start to finish. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a shootout goal and was a force.

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Carey Price back from flu for Canadiens

Goalie expected to start against Oilers on Sunday, teammates still dealing with illness

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price was back at practice Saturday after missing a game against the Calgary Flames on Thursday because of the flu.

He is expected to make his 52nd start of the season when the Canadiens play the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; SN, RDS, NHL.TV). 

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Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid put on show

Penguins defeat Oilers in shootout; respective captains enjoy hype of head-to-head matchup

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Some hyped games fall well short of their billing.

When Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins played against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Friday, expectations were exceeded in so many ways.

Crosby had the most ice time of any Pittsburgh forward, 22:46, and scored in the shootout to help the Penguins to a 3-2 win.

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Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid to face off

Penguins-Oilers matchup features top two scorers in NHL

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- The NHL scoring race will be a certain headline when two of the League's marquee centers, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, play against each other at Rogers Place on Friday (9 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SNW, ROOT, NHL.TV).

McDavid leads the NHL with 74 points (22 goals, 52 assists). Crosby is tied for second with 70 points (League-leading 34 goals, 36 assists).

The game also creates a focus on what's to come.

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Playoff race primer: Central Division

Wild, Blackhawks in heated battle for first place

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

With the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs five weeks away, NHL.com is taking a division-by-division look at the race for the coveted spots in the postseason. Here is how the Central Division stacks up:

The first seven weeks of the season brought few surprises in the Central Division, with the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues running 1-2.

Then, the Minnesota Wild turned the division on its ear, staring a franchise-record 12-game winning streak on Dec. 2, going from tied for third to first place.

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