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Pavelec stops 39 shots to lead Jets past Canadiens, 5-2 (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:15:43 PDT)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) -- Ondrej Pavelec made 39 saves for his sixth consecutive win, leading the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

WHL Eastern Conference Playoff Preview: Brandon aims to dethrone Oil Kings (Buzzing The Net)
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:07:09 PDT)


Predators-Lightning Preview (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:13:01 PDT)
Inconsistent play over the last six weeks dropped the Nashville Predators from their perch atop the NHL, but a hard-fought win against the league's most dominant goaltender has them again rising in the standings. Another quality win Thursday night would only boost that momentum, although it won't come easy against a Tampa Bay Lightning team looking to clinch consecutive 100-point seasons for the first time in franchise history. The Predators scored more than two goals twice in that 11-game stretch but have managed three in each of the last two, beating Buffalo and Montreal to move back within two points in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. Ryan Ellis tied it in the third and Filip Forsberg scored his first goal in 13 games to beat Hart Trophy front-runner Carey Price in the extra period.

Canadiens-Jets Preview (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:02:48 PDT)
The Montreal Canadiens are the first team to reach 100 points, though finishing on top of the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference are still far from certain. The Winnipeg Jets are just trying to hang onto the West's final wild-card spot. The Canadiens have taken 10 of the last 12 meetings and will clinch a playoff spot with another victory Thursday night in Winnipeg. Montreal (46-20-8) lost 3-2 in overtime at Nashville on Tuesday to reach 100 points for the second straight season.

Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Bruins' playoff hopes; college hockey awards; Calder race (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:28:47 PDT)
[Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]  7. “Fans don't care about CapGeek.” Just make salary information publicly available, you dopes. Everyone wants it. 6. The Bruins Just when you thought things couldn't possibly get any worse, the David Krejci-less Boston Bruins, losers of their last five and surrenderers of the final playoff spot in the East, announce that Dougie Hamilton is out “indefinitely.” In effect, that probably means “until next season,” because the Bruins without their Nos. 2 center and defenseman are dead in the water, and that's if Andrew Hammond starts playing to his career average starting tomorrow. Hell, even having one of them out for an extended is going to be cause for concern, and Krejci's not showing his hand as to whether he'll be good to go against Anaheim — just what any team fighting for a playoff spot having lost six straight needs: A game against the Ducks — on Thursday. You can say what you want about Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg, mainly that they're no Krejci, but the dropoff in quality overall isn't as stark as it is from Hamilton to, say, Dennis Seidenberg. The Bruins have blue line problems to begin with; center depth not so much. Adding in any sort of extensive injury to Hamilton, who in addition to being very good also has an extraordinarily high ceiling, and you're asking for trouble, especially at this late stage. The thing is that if the Bruins are going to trade back-and-forth shots with the Sens over the next two weeks, they at least have the talent level to go punch for punch and see where they're at when the season ends. Without Hamilton, it's a lot more difficult to see that being a possibility. Which means that we have to at least think about the reality that the Bruins' window is now effectively closed, because if they don't make the playoffs, big changes are coming. We've been talking for a while now about the possibility that either or both of Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli could find themselves canned, and it wouldn't be a good idea. But it's what might (probably will?) happen. The Bruins are a team with flaws but which has a very good skeleton. Hamilton looks like he could be a No. 1 defenseman, they have an elite one-two punch down the middle, and one of the best goaltenders alive (i.e. in an “off year” his .921 save percentage is something most NHL goalies could only dream of). If they were run a little better maybe they're in the playoffs this year — not having all that dead cap money left over from last year probably killed them — but you once again have to look at everything that's happened this year through the lens of: “Chiarelli pushed all-in on last season, and lost with a pair of pocket aces.” They had to know this season could have turned out like this, but man the end is shaping up to be torturous. 5. College hockey awards I love college hockey more than anyone living or dead. I'm going to five games in three days this weekend, and I will probably see about 80 live before the season is over. I write about it for two outlets, and so on. And believe me when I tell you that nothing in the sport is dumber than the people who vote for awards. For instance, Jack Eichel should win the Hobey Baker this year in a runaway, because he has 66 points in 36 games and that's 1.83 points per game and no one else is north of 1.57. He's also doing this as the fourth-youngest player in the country. But the Hobey is awarded not to the best player in the country, but the great player who is also the nicest (seriously: “ Strength of character, on and off the ice ” is the No. 1 criteria, which is so dumb as to boggle the mind.) But this is really only done selectively; sometimes the nicest guy wins but mostly it's the best player. It's only when there's enough reason to complain about the best player — Eichel drank beer can you believe an 18-year-old would do such a thing!!!!! — that this is up for debate. If Eichel doesn't get caught on Snapchat or whatever, we're not having a discussion about Jimmy Vesey winning the Walter Brown award, because he doesn't win it. (The Walter Brown award is given to the best American-born college player in New England. Vesey had a great year but Eichel's was better by a significant margin.) The people who vote on these things didn't even give Johnny Gaudreau, who put up 80 points in 40 games, the Hobey unanimously last year . A guy who finished with fewer points on the year than Gaudreau had assists was in the final three because he is A Nice Boy. Eichel's going to fall into the same category. And it's not really decided that he's going to even win the Hobey. Which I can't believe I have to say, but I do believe that college hockey awards voters are that demonstrably dumb. And would it shock you to learn balloting for most of these awards is kept secret? Oh yeah, buddy. 4. Ilya Kovalchuk's return Wow, you mean the NHL might be able to lure Kovalchuk, who's not even really dominating the KHL to any great extent, back when he's just 34 years old? Where do I sign up?! 3. Weirdly valuable players You will never ever in your entire life hear someone refer to Chris Tanev as any kind of great defenseman. But Chris Tanev is kind of a great defenseman. He just re-upped with Vancouver for five years, with a cap hit of $4.45 million, which has to be the largest cap hit for a player most hardcore hockey fans couldn't pick out of a lineup. But here's the thing: Tanev has the best CF% on the Canucks, ahead of even Alex Edler, and he just recently turned 25. He doesn't pile up points, but if he'd hit the open market there would have been a feeding frenzy of smart teams. Among defensemen with more than 1,000 minutes at evens this season, Tanev's possession numbers are tied for 27th out of 92, putting him well into the class of “No.1 defenseman” even if the points per 60 is eighth from the bottom. Which is why Vancouver was able to get him so cheap. If those numbers were even somewhat near the league average for those 92 defensemen, some of whom are still on their entry-level deals, the cost would have gone up a lot. Locking down a defenseman of that quality, regardless of the lack of offense, for basically the entirety of his prime (that is: until he's almost 31) is almost certainly going to look like a smart bet. We generally find that high-corsi players can keep up that skill as they age, but not so much with the offense. And what's Tanev gonna do if his game is diminished four years from now? Score less? 2. The Calder race A month or two ago this probably didn't seem that interesting. “Filip Forsberg's getting his name on the trophy unless something horrible happens,” was the general discussion point around Calder voting. And something horrible happened: Forsberg stopped scoring. That opened the door for Johnny Gaudreau, who has 51 points in 61 games since October (about a 69-point pace), to state his case. And look, Gaudreau is basically one of three reasons the Flames are still alive at this point (the other two are Sean Monahan, who's having a brilliant sophomore season, and Jiri Hudler, who continues to dazzle as he did last season). So you have to ask yourself whether that should be enough. The fact that we're even having the conversation at this point shows how sharply Forsberg has dropped off, but what it doesn't mention is the fact that Aaron Ekblad is having an historically great rookie season. And that's beyond the very respectable 35 points he's compiled in his first 71 games. He's actually getting more difficult minutes than you might expect (but not as difficult as some make them out to be), and his CF% is north of 53. Add in the 21 points at evens — his 1.03 per 60 is tied for 34th in the NHL with Johnny Boychuk and only a shade behind Alex Goligoski, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Shea Weber — and you're talking about a guy who's a very legitimate candidate. But defensemen don't win awards that are typically won by forwards, so this is basically Gaudreau's to lose at this point. We're talking 0-fer down the stretch. Or, put another way, “pulling a Forsberg.” 1. Partnership Well done to the Canadiens . There's no reason on earth that the NHL shouldn't have a partnership with the CWHL, but if it's not going to, the local clubs really ought to pick up the slack. Boston, Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal all have clubs (there's a fifth in Brampton) and the fact that the Boston Blades and Brampton Thunder don't have an NHL team supporting them is sad. Okay, fine, Brampton might need the Sabres to step up or something, but the Bruins not helping out is weak. Really ought to change, y'know? (Not ranked this week: Your team's “playoff push.” If you're like five or six points out with nine games to go, you're not making up the ground. It's not gonna happen. It just isn't. Sorry to the Stars and Sharks and Panthers but this is over for you. Start booking your summer getaways.) MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Canadians take big lead in pairs at figure skating worlds (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 08:21:53 PDT)
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford skated a flawless short program to take a commanding lead in the pairs at the world figure skating championships on the opening day Wednesday. The Canadian duo, undefeated in five international competitions this season, scored 76.98 points to take a four-point lead over Chinese veterans Pang Qing and Tong Jian, who came out of retirement to compete on home ice in their 16th world championships. In ice dancing, Madison Chock and Evan Bates will attempt to become just the second American duo to win a world title after taking the lead in the short dance. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada were second, and defending world champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy were third.

NHL Three Stars: Hartnell tricks Ducks; Dubnyk wins again for Wild (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 21:49:19 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Scott Hartnell, Columbus Blue Jackets  Hartnell tallied his eighth career NHL hat trick as the Blue Jackets dispatched the Anaheim Ducks 5-3. Hartnell’s goals came at even strength, on the power play and finally, into an empty net to give the Blue Jackets their fourth win in a row.  No. 2 Star: Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild In his 32nd consecutive start, Dubnyk made 37 saves in regulation and overtime and another two in the shootout as the Wild edged the New York Islanders 2-1. The win was Minnesota’s 10th straight away from Xcel Energy Center. Zach Parise tied the game in the second period with his 29th of the season and scored his 39th career shootout goal to earn the bonus point. No. 3 Star: Mark Arcobello, Arizona Coyotes David Moss scored twice and Mike Smith made 33 saves as the Arizona Coyotes beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. Arcobello was the hero, potting his second goal of the night 3:08 into overtime. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak and gave the Coyotes their first non-shootout victory since Feb. 3. Honorable Mention : Alex Steen’s goal 35 seconds into overtime completed a St. Louis Blues comeback for a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Former Penguins Robert Bortuzzo and Marcel Goc scored second period goals 2:32 apart as St. Louis fought back from a 2-0 deficit. Another ex-Penguin, Zbynek Michalek, assisted on Steen’s winner as the Blues snapped a three-game losing streak: Jonathan Quick made 34 saves and Marian Gaborik broke a 1-1 deadlock in the second period as the Los Angeles Kings beat the New York Rangers 4-2. Anze Kopitar recorded a pair of assists and now has seven points in four games. The playoff hungry Kings have now taken 16 points out of a possible 22 in their last 11 games … One of Sergei Bobrovsky’s 36 stops was this lovely save: After allowing the Florida Panthers to score three times in a span of 1:58 in the second period, the Tampa Bay Lightning rallied in the third period with two of their own for a 4-3 victory. Tampa has now won four in a row and eight of their last 10. The Lightning also improved to 18-3-3 against Atlantic Division opponents … A three-goal second period helped power the Vancouver Canucks over the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Radim Vrbata had a pair of goals and an assist, while the Sedins combined for five points. Eddie Lack made 25 saves for his sixth win in eight starts.   ... Filip Forsberg’s power play goal 1:54 into overtime gave the Nashville Predators a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Pekka Rinne stopped 37 shots for his 39th win of the season. Mattias Ekholm opened the scoring with this pretty goal from his knees in the first period: Then Forsberg, who drew the tripping penalty in OT on P.K. Subban, put home the winner later in the game: The Habs, meanwhile, became the first NHL team to reach 100 points this season. And Carey Price was Carey Price with this nice skate save to rob rookie Kevin Fiala of his first NHL goal:  Andrew Cogliano scored this nifty goal during Anaheim’s loss to Columbus: Did You Know? Via the AP: “It was the first hat trick by a Blue Jackets player since Cam Atkinson had three goals at Colorado on April 5, 2012. It had been three years and one day since the last Columbus player - R.J. Umberger - did it at home against Carolina.”  Dishonorable Mention : The loss was the first time in 10 appearances that Cam Talbot had allowed more than two goals … Detroit has now lost seven of their last 10 games … Christian Ehrhoff exited the game after this hit by Vladimir Tarasenko early in the first period: MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Forsberg's goal lifts Predators past Canadiens 3-2 in OT (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 21:21:04 PDT)
The Nashville Predators have struggled enough over the past month that they'll take any bounce they can get, especially against Montreal goalie Carey Price. Ryan Ellis bounced a puck past Price for the tying goal in the third, then Filip Forsberg scored a power-play goal at 1:54 of overtime as the Predators rallied to beat the Canadiens 3-2 Tuesday night in a game between two of the NHL's top teams. Mattias Ekholm also scored for the Predators, who stayed a point behind first-place St. Louis in the Central Division. Nashville won consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 22 and Feb. 24, after going 3-6-1 over the previous 10.

Watch Carey Price rob Kevin Fiala with backwards skate save (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:53:30 PDT)
Kevin Fiala of the Nashville Predators made his NHL debut Tuesday night, an evening that was made almost even more memorable in the second period.. Early in the second frame, Fiala nearly scored his first career goal after a fortunate bounce behind the Montreal Canadiens net, but Carey Price did a Carey Price thing with a fantastic stop: Notice how in true Carey Price fashion there was no panic as he cooly slid across the crease to made the skate save. The Predators would get the last laugh, however, winning 3-2 in overtime after Filip Forsberg's winner 1:54 into the extra frame. Despite the loss, the charity point makes Montreal the first team to reach 100 points this season. - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Pekka Rinne's slim Vezina hopes hinge on Carey Price showdown (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:51:16 PDT)
Is there truly a Vezina Trophy battle Tuesday night between the Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens? No, not really.  In absence of a major meltdown, Carey Price is going to win the award – which is chosen by the NHL’s general managers. Pekka Rinne has been lights out most of the year, but unless say Price gives up six goals Tuesday and Rinne has a 50-save shutout against Montreal, this award has basically been decided. In case there are some GMs who haven’t thought long and hard on the award yet, it’s at least a good spot for Rinne to restart his candidacy and mount a charge on Price. Said Rinne to the Montreal Gazette: “It’s two points for either team,” Nashville’s star goaltender said with a grin, knowing that wasn’t what a small gathering of notebooks and microphones had come to record. “It’s going to be a fun game,” Rinne continued. “Obviously, Price is one of the better goalies in the league. He’s a great goalie, a guy I like a lot and have a lot of respect for. It’s always fun to face one of the top guys.” Rinne has a 2.09 goals against average. His .927 save percentage ranks fifth in the NHL. His 38 wins rank second – in spite of him missing time with a knee injury. In most years, Rinne would be the obvious choice. A majority of us chose him as our Vezina and Hart Trophy guy at the midpoint of the season . But since then a bit of a Predators malaise combined with Price’s play (and his on-ice personality) have pushed the award toward the pride of Anahim Lake, British Columbia. From Feb. 19 through March 5, Rinne allowed on average 3.29 goals per-game. During that time he went 1-5-1. During that same stretch, Price allowed 1.86 goals per-game and went 4-1-2.  And recently he has bolstered his chances with some sweet on-ice PR with maybe the greatest NHL in-game selfie ever taken. Rinne countered with an astronaut/space jersey thing – which was still cool, but not quite the same. At very least we’ve been able to determine both goalies are good dudes. There are still some games left this year, but at this point of the season, GMs minds are made up, or not since they seem  to ask for major sweeping rule changes every year . Is there a more crazy  ‘Stonecutterish’ group in sports  when they show up for their annual meetings? OK, regardless, Nashville’s hopes do live and die with the 6-foot-5 Finnish netminder. If offense makes a mistake and there’s an odd-man rush, he makes a stop at the other end. Again from The Gazette:  He is a vital part of the Predators’ portrait, a popular, marketable star in the realm of captain and Norris Trophy candidate Shea Weber, leading scorer Filip Forsberg and, to a lesser degree, erstwhile enfant terrible Mike Ribeiro, who’s enjoying a fine season on the tracks off of which he has often derailed himself.   Not that Price is any different with Montreal, but if Rinne wants a shot at hardware, Tuesday’s his chance to get back in the race. - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

Do not give Shea Weber the Norris this season (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:24:49 PDT)


The Great Canadian Ratings Report: HNIC survives without the Toronto Maple Leafs (Eh Game)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 08:55:44 PDT)


Carey Price tears up over students’ thank you cards (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:01:34 PDT)
This is the story of Trent Leon. He’s a quiet Aboriginal boy. His grandmother talks about him having a challenging childhood in Anahim Lake, British Columbia. He’s the kind of kid who could use a reminder that dreams can come true. This is the story of Carey Price. The Montreal Canadiens’ goalie had his dreams come true after growing up in Anahim Lake, and he gave back to his community and his former school by being the official ambassador to its Breakfast Club – an organization that gives 150,000 children around Canada access to a healthy morning meal before school, in an environment that allows their self-esteem to grow and flourish. Trent was given the honor to fly to Montreal and meet his local hero, spending a day with Price. Reserved and overwhelmed, he handed Price a poster his classmates made to show him the art project they created – a mosaic bench. Then Trent joined Price on the ice for some shootout practice, and afterward handed over a bundle of thank you cards from the students for Price’s generosity – leaving the Canadiens star a bit teary-eyed over the moment. Hey, look, we're all cynical jerks here, and we'd always rather see these things done behind closed doors rather than in an infomercial. But Price's support of kids back home, and those kids' appreciation of it, is as genuine as it gets. And it's getting a little dusty in here all of a sudden ... MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Kings-Rangers Preview (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:11:16 PDT)
Although the New York Rangers fell to the Los Angeles Kings in last year's Stanley Cup Finals, right now they're the one in a position to get back to that point. The Rangers look to remain atop the NHL standings and dent the Kings' playoff hopes Tuesday night when they play at Madison Square Garden for the first time since Game 4. New York (46-18-7) unexpectedly reached the Cup finals last year but was defeated in five games by Los Angeles (35-23-14). The Rangers are among the favorites to return and are tied with Montreal and Anaheim with a league-high 99 points in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

Canadiens-Predators Preview (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:51:21 PDT)
Carey Price continues to flirt with history, and his stellar play has the Montreal Canadiens in the thick of the race for the Presidents' Trophy. Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators are still trying to find their elite form that's been missing this month with the playoffs around the corner. Montreal (46-20-7) has won three in a row despite being outshot 48-13 in the third period in that span, relying heavily on Price, who totaled 60 saves in back-to-back shutouts of Carolina and San Jose. He needs one shutout to become the first Montreal goalie with 10 since Ken Dryden in 1976-77, and his 40 wins are two shy of the club record held by Dryden and Jacques Plante.

NHL Playoff Death Watch: Ottawa’s big chance; West bubble chaos (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:23:22 PDT)
Since we're down to the final moments of postseason life for teams in contention, Puck Daddy solemnly begins a daily countdown to annihilation. The Western Conference bubble is the story of Monday night, as the three lowest point-earners in playoff seeds and the four teams chasing them are all in action. Colorado at Calgary: The Flames currently hold the third seed in the Pacific with 84 points; the Avs are up to 78 points, but need to overtake one of the wild card teams to get in. And their 24 ROW means that probably won’t happen. Minnesota at Toronto: Devan Dubnyk plays in his one hundredth straight game (or so it seems) for the Wild, who have 87 points and are in the first wild card, five in back of Chicago for the third seed in the Central. The Blackhawks don’t have the tie-breaker, but do have a game in-hand. Edmonton at Winnipeg: The Jets have 86 points, inhabiting the second wild card. But their 30 ROW is the lowest among current playoff teams, and that makes them vulnerable to both the Flames and the Kings. LA Kings at New Jersey: The Kings go back-to-back in NJ and at MSG, trailing the Jets by six for the wild card and trailing the Flames by two points for third in the Pacific. Their 32 ROW is behind Calgary (35) and ahead of the Jets (30), and they have a game in-hand on both. San Jose at Ottawa: All the Sharks have to do to jumpstart their playoff hopes is beat one of the hottest teams on the planet with a chance to move into a playoff spot tonight. San Jose has 78 points, tied with Colorado but with 32 ROW. Buffalo at Dallas: Lindy Ruff tries to do his old mates a solid by beating them. The Stars have 78 points and 31 ROW, needing to overtake one of the wild cards. Here are the current standings. The Death Watch tracks the final Wild Card spot and the teams that are chasing it. Their “tragic number” is the number of points gained by the final wild card team or lost by the team chasing it. All playoff percentages are from Sports Club Stats ; tragic numbers and other figures via the NHL. A team is eliminated from play-offs when their "Tragic Number" hits 0. Here’s the Eastern Conference picture: 

Shattenkirk the PP Specialist (Rotoworld)
(Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:40:00 PDT)
Kevin Shattenkirk has excelled on the power play for the second year in a row.

Claude Noel, Vancouver Giants in limbo; playoff matchups set: the coast-to-coast (Buzzing The Net)
(Mon, 23 Mar 2015 07:23:22 PDT)


What We Learned: Why can’t Boston Bruins close deal on playoff spot? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 23 Mar 2015 07:08:31 PDT)
(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)   So we’re at the point in the season where the standings are starting to look worrisome for some teams and hope springs for those clubs that are on the outside looking in. The odds that you make up a point or two in the standings might not be great, but hell if they don’t feel great, and isn’t that the important thing? The majority of the playoff spots are more or less sewn up. Clubs don’t have a lot of mobility whether they’re locked in or not, but the eighth and ninth spots in both conferences remain very much up for grabs. Calgary has a rather narrow lead over Los Angeles and you can’t exactly feel good about that game in hand if you’re the Flames. For all the talk about how easy the Flames’ schedule is down the stretch, it features a lot of road games and some pretty tough opponents, including what’s likely to be a pair of make-or-break games at the end of the season with those same Kings and at Winnipeg. Worrisome to say the least, but clock-watching with cross charts in hand at least gives you some amount of certainty as to the outcome. Out East, though, what happens on the playoff bubble is just about anyone’s guess. Boston seems to have no ability to control which Bruins team shows up on any given night; some games they look like juggernauts, and others they go down meekly in a shootout against Florida. Does there seem to be any rhyme or reason to it? Sure doesn’t. Tuukka Rask can be either great or, umm, less so (though this month it’s been the former far more often), and the offense can be a buzzsaw or a pop-gun. Which makes for a nervy final nine games here. Especially because Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators seem dead-set on never losing again. They’ve dropped one game in regulation since Feb. 18, which doesn’t seem like it should be possible but here we are. They’ve taken the long hard road out of hell based on an incredible run of unsustainable goaltending, yes, but if people think the Senators haven’t turned a major corner here under Dave Cameron, they are very much fooling themselves. Since Feb. 1, the Senators have become a pretty good possession team; that 52 percent of theirs and plus-13 goal differential at even strength alone tells quite the story. It’s certainly a step up from the 49.5 percent seen in the first four months of the season, and the farther away they get from Paul MacLean’s influence, the better off they appear. And that portends some pretty good things not only for this final stretch run but how tough of an out they’d be if they actually make the playoffs (which by the way is starting to look more likely by the day). In that same stretch, the Bruins’ possession numbers — and that includes that run where they looked nigh unbeatable again, going 8-1-1 from Feb. 21 to March 14 — are a little bit worse at 51.5 percent, but what really stands out is the goals-against number: 34 at evens in just 22 games. And the possession, too, has hit the skids of late. They started the season well enough, as you’d expect, then cratered, then rebounded, then cratered, then rebounded, and now they’ve cratered again. A lot of that can be linked to injury, specifically those to Zdeno Chara and David Krejci.

Stepan, Rangers break out of slumps in 7-2 rout of Ducks (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 23 Mar 2015 06:53:51 PDT)
Cam Talbot finally had a night in which he didn't have to be nearly perfect to help the New York Rangers win. The Rangers managed only 13 goals in the previous eight games, but went 6-1-1 in that stretch, with Talbot backstopping all but one of the wins. On Sunday night, Derek Stepan broke out of his long slump with two goals and an assist, and the Rangers rode the offensive outburst and caught the Western Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks atop the NHL standings with a 7-2 rout. Talbot allowed only two goals to Corey Perry in the first period when the Rangers netted three.

NHL Three Stars: Price goes nine on shutouts; Turris' goals lead to burgers (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 21 Mar 2015 22:21:01 PDT)
No. 1. Star: Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens The star Canadiens netminder stopped 29 of 29 San Jose shots on goal in a 2-0 victory. With his ninth shutout, Price is the first Canadiens goaltender with nine or more shutouts since Ken Dryden had 10 in 1976-77.   No. 2 Star: Kyle Turris, Ottawa Senators Turris picked up the game winner for the Senators in a 5-3 win over Toronto. He also scored an empty net goal in the final minute of the game. Because of these scores Senators fans got two free hamburgers from McDonald’s as part of a promotion. No. 3. Star: Radim Vrbata, Vancouver Canucks Came up big with one goal and one assist in a crucial 4-1 win for the Canucks over the Los Angeles Kings. The victory put Vancouver four points clear of LA for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. Honorable Mention: Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby scored one goal and added one assist in a 3-1 win over Arizona to pick up the NHL's scoring lead … Penguins defenseman Kris Letang notched one assist and played 31:09 … Coyotes forward Tobias Rieder scored a goal … Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped all 33 Chicago shots on goal in a 4-0 win over the Blackhawks … Dallas forward Patrick Eaves scored one goal and added an assist … Nashville forward Craig Smith scored a goal in a 3-0 win over Buffalo … Predators forward Matt Cullen notched two assists … Winnipeg forward Drew Stafford notched two assists and Jets forward Mark Scheifele scored a goal and added an assist … Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec stopped 28 of 28 Washington shots on goal … Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot stopped 28 of 30 Carolina shots on goal in a 3-2 shootout win … Rangers forward J.T. Miller scored a goal … Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 of 26 Devils shots on goal in a 3-0 win … Islanders forward John Tavares picked up an assist … Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo stopped 26 of 27 shots on goal in a 2-1 shootout win over Boston … Brandon Pirri fired the shootout winner … Andrew Hammond stopped 22 of 25 Toronto shots on goal … Sens captain Erik Karlsson scored a goal and added an assist … Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec scored a goal and added an assist … Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack stopped 25 of 26 Kings shots on goal … Columbus forward Rene Bourque scored two goals (including the winner) in a 3-2 overtime win over the Flames … Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 38 of 40 Calgary shots on goal … Devan Dubnyk moved to 22-6-1 in his 30th straight start, a 6-3 win over St. Louis … Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter notched two assists and played 22:44 in the victory and forward Justin Fontaine scored a goal and added two assists … Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals and added one assist in a 5-4 overtime win over Philadelphia … Oilers forward Jordan Eberle scored a goal and added one assist … Flyers forward Jakub Voracek notched three assists. Teammate Claude Giroux scored two goals. Did You Know?:  Jaroslav Halak recorded his fifth shutout of the season. Only Chico Resch has posted more shutouts in one season for the Islanders (seven in 1975-76). Dishonorable Mention: Washington forward Alex Ovechkin was a minus-3 … Toronto’s James Reimer was yanked after allowing three goals on 12 Ottawa shots on goal … The Sharks have lost three of their last four … Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, forwards Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik were each a minus-3 … Blues forward Paul Stastny was a minus-3. Goaltender Brian Elliott was pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots on goal.  MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

Price earns 2nd straight shutout, Canadiens top Sharks 2-0 (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 21 Mar 2015 21:25:05 PDT)
Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was at a loss for words when he tried to describe goalie Carey Price's stellar season. ''Carey was Carey again,'' Therrien said after Price made 29 saves to earn his second shutout in a row and ninth of the season in a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night. Price, coming off a 4-0 win over Carolina on Thursday, earned his NHL-leading 40th victory to become the third Canadiens goalie to reach that milestone - following Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, who share the team record with 42 wins. The 27-year-old Price also tied Bill Durnan for fourth on the Canadiens list with 34 career shutouts.

Rangers-Hurricanes Preview (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:29:04 PDT)
The New York Rangers are looking to bounce back after their winning streak was snapped despite another terrific performance from Cam Talbot. A matchup against the last-place Carolina Hurricanes could help. New York goes for a five-game season sweep and 16th victory in 17 matchups against the Hurricanes when they meet in Raleigh on Saturday night. The Rangers (44-18-7) enter the weekend five points ahead of the Islanders for the Metropolitan Division lead and two back of Montreal for the Eastern Conference's top spot.

Sharks-Canadiens Preview (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:02:08 PDT)
The Montreal Canadiens have failed to score in a three-game slide against the San Jose Sharks, who are desperate to stay in the playoff race. Opponents are increasingly coming up empty against Montreal's Carey Price, and the Canadiens figure to turn to him Saturday night when they host the Sharks. Montreal (45-20-7) has been outscored 10-0 in its last three matchups with San Jose, the most recent a 4-0 road loss March 2. Price made 33 saves, falling to 1-4-1 with a 3.15 GAA in his career against the Sharks.

Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban fined $3,000 for diving (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 20 Mar 2015 13:43:19 PDT)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has been fined $3,000 for diving in a game against Ottawa, his third fine in three months.

Young fan in Carey Price selfie sends thank-you note to Canadiens (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:51:50 PDT)
As Carey Price was cruising to another impressive victory Saturday night against the New York Islanders, the Montreal Canadiens netminder popped his head into the background of a selfie from a young fan along the glass at Nassau Coliseum:

Montreal Canadiens finally step up to support the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women's Hockey League (Eh Game)
(Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:38:55 PDT)
In the end, you wonder why it took so long, because the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women's Hockey League have been looking for support from the hockey's emperor, the nearby Montreal Canadiens, for awhile. Finally, on Thursday, the NHL club announced a partnership with the Stars, set up to offer much-needed support on several different levels. The press release stated , in part: "The Canadiens organization will make its infrastructure and resources available to the Stars, along with a host of expertise in the areas of marketing, advertising and sponsorships, while assisting in merchandising and promoting the Montreal Stars brand. Together, the two teams will work to encourage the development of women's hockey at the grassroots level and contribute to various community projects and initiatives." The CWHL was officially founded in 2007. But before that, there was the NWHL (National Women's Hockey League), which was in existence from 1999 to 2007. One Montreal team in that league was called the "Axion", a bilingual play on words but not exactly a name that was easy to market or get behind. There also were the Wingstars, the Quebec Avalanche, the Montreal Jofa Titan and the Sainte-Julie Panthères, among other teams and incarnations in sort of a revolving door of ephemeral organizations during a time the powerhouse teams of the genre generally were Ontario-based. That has changed with the Stars, whose roster at times has been a who's who of Canadian women's Olympic team members including Charline Labonté, Caroline Ouellette, Cathy Chartrand and Catherine Ward, to name just a few. The Canadians, whose contributions to grassroots hockey in the province are substantial, were probably remiss in not addressing this previously – especially given how successful Canada is at women's hockey. The club tends to be ahead of curve, not behind it, in many things. Last December, they put on a clinic for female players, but if that was the extent to which they could boast of their contribution to women's hockey on a day they announced a partnership like this, that's pretty thin soup. "As a professional hockey organization, we have been closely involved in minor hockey development for many years in Quebec, and with the growing popularity of women's hockey over the last decade, I think this is the right time to concretely support women who play professional hockey, and, at the same time, promote the sport among up-and-coming players," was the statement from Canadiens CEO Geoff Molson. “Female hockey players in Quebec and around the world, along with fans of the CWHL, will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the work we do together," CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress said. Better late than never. Will it make a major difference in the end? Probably not much although it certainly should help the Stars cover their expenses. But fans are not going to pour into the Etienne-Desmarteau Arena in east-end Montreal to see women's hockey just because it has now received the Canadiens' seal of approval, that's for sure. It's one of those fringe initiatives that has its diehards – and it's a fun opportunity for dads to take their daughters to a game. And, it goes without saying, the women are very, very good at what they do. But as with many sports played by both men and women, there's not necessarily that much of a crossover between the men's and women's incarnations. The Stars already wear the Habs' iconic bleu-blanc-rouge.

Scoring isn't down in 2014-15 (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 20 Mar 2015 11:01:00 PDT)
But you'd never know it by looking at the top of the leaderboard. That and more in The Week Ahead.

P.K. Subban's second diving/embellishment fine puts Michel Therrien on notice (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 20 Mar 2015 09:21:19 PDT)
Michel Therrien, you are on notice. According to the NHL, Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban received his third citation for diving and second fine. That’s $3,000 out of Subban’s wallet. And for Therrien? Well, that means he’s one Subban or any Habs player dive/fine away from getting hit with a $2,000 fine. From the NHL: Subban was fined $2,000 under Rule 64 earlier this season for  incurring two Citations, stemming from incidents on Jan. 6 vs. Tampa Bay  and Jan. 29 at New York Rangers. His third Citation, which triggered the  $3,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 1005 vs. Ottawa on March 12, at 0:53 of the second period. This is all part of the NHL’s public shaming system for players diving. Is this going to change much of anything? This is still small change. But the point of this rule was to add a different dynamic to the punishment process.  So let's say Subban (or any Montreal player)  gets ticked at Therrien over ... something and decides to DIVE. Highly unlikely but now possible. Oh what delicious power the Canadiens players now have over their coach.  - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Mario Tremblay drops P.K. Subban insult during DUI arrest (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 20 Mar 2015 08:28:53 PDT)
Mario Tremblay is one of the most vocal critics of Montreal Canadiens star P.K. Subban, although you might not have heard it considering it's on French language media. The former Habs coach has constantly slammed Subban’s professionalism and attitude . It sometimes seems excessive; perhaps the better term is obsessive, considering that Tremblay will use Subban’s name as a pejorative.  During a DUI arrest. Tremblay was arrested in January 2014 for doing 79km/h in a 50km/h, and refused to take a Breathalyzer test, which led to his arrest. From the Globe & Mail: According to Le Journal, Constable Maxime Perron, a police officer in the town of Mascouche, told the court that he intercepted Tremblay on Jan. 25, driving at 79 kilometres per hour in a 50 zone. The police officer testified that even though Tremblay was chewing gum there was a smell of alcohol on his breath. Perron said Tremblay protested when the officer asked for a breathalyzer test. “You can’t do that to me, I am Mario Tremblay,” Perron quoted the former coach as saying. Perron said Tremblay then started insulting him when he placed him under arrest. “He compared me to some hockey players, [saying] that I was like `a P.K. Subban’, that I had no judgment and that I was being petty.” “You can’t do that to me, I am Mario Tremblay” might be our new go-to excuse for ill behavior. Glad Tremblay attached that explanation to his slag on Subban, or else the cop might have been thinking, “Why yes, I am very much someone who is excellent at his job in the face of constant criticism from idiots.” But we do wonder what other players Tremblay evoked to insult the officer. “You’re like a Patrick Roy, publicly shaming me for my ineptitude before moving on to better things…” MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

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