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Flames-Predators Preview (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:49:10 PDT)
Peter Laviolette has taken a Nashville Predators club that missed the playoffs the previous two seasons under the only coach it had ever known and turned it into a viable contender in his first season. Bob Hartley didn't conjure up that immediate success when he was named Calgary's coach in 2012, but he may be a few victories away from guiding the Flames to their first postseason berth in six years. The playoff-bound Predators seek a fifth straight win while trying to avoid a three-game season sweep at the hands of the visiting Flames on Sunday. Nashville (47-21-8) made seven postseason appearances under former coach Barry Trotz, who was behind the bench for the franchise's first 15 seasons in the NHL.

NHL Playoff Death Watch: Which teams can clinch tonight? (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 28 Mar 2015 07:14:03 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. Huge night of action in the playoffs races on Saturday night, and there are a few teams that can end any uncertainty about their participation in the postseason. * The Canadiens would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Panthers in any fashion  OR if the Rangers defeat the Bruins in any fashion  OR  if they get one point against the Panthers  AND  the Bruins defeat the Rangers in a shootout.   * The Ducks would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Islanders in any fashion  OR  if they lose to the Islanders in overtime or a shootout.   * The Lightning would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Red Wings in any fashion OR  if they get one point against the Red Wings  AND  the Rangers defeat the Bruins in any fashion  OR  if the Rangers defeat the Bruins in regulation.   * The Predators would clinch a playoff berth if they defeat the Capitals in any fashion. The St. Louis Blues can clinch with a win over the Blue Jackets. UPDATE: The NHL lists the Blues' magic number as two, but apparently it's three, as they can't clinch tonight.  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:

Stars-Canucks Preview (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 27 Mar 2015 23:07:50 PDT)
A strong second half has the Vancouver Canucks primed to rejoin the postseason, but the ultra-competitive Western Conference won't afford them any comfort the rest of the way. With a slight cushion in the playoff race, the Canucks face off Saturday night with the Dallas Stars, whose desperate late-season push suffered a near-fatal hit their last time out. Vancouver (43-27-4) has been one of the league's best teams since the All-Star break with 17 wins, tied for second-most in the Western Conference, but will still need a strong finish to stay ahead of playoff hopeful Calgary. The Canucks have as many points (90) as Winnipeg, which holds the second wild-card spot, but are second in the Pacific Division, two points ahead of Los Angeles and three in front of the Flames.

Vanek, Koivu, Parise score in third, Wilds beat Flames 4-2 (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 27 Mar 2015 22:45:37 PDT)
The Minnesota Wild poured it on in the third period against the Calgary Flames. Thomas Vanek and Mikko Koivu scored early in a three-goal third period and the Wild pulled away to beat the Flames 4-2 on Friday night. Matt Dumba and Zach Parise also scored for Minnesota, which has won four in a row and six of seven. The Wild moved within one point of Chicago for third place in the Central Division and are three points ahead of Winnipeg for the top wild-card spot.

Dose: Oilers slip past Stars (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 27 Mar 2015 22:28:00 PDT)
The Saturday Dose looks at a rare Edmonton shutout over Dallas by a former Stars goalie.

Kings-Wild Preview (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:48:40 PDT)
Thanks to the Minnesota Wild, the Los Angeles Kings have an opportunity to pull further ahead for the Pacific Division's final guaranteed playoff spot. Visiting Los Angeles looks to snap Minnesota's four-game winning streak and sweep the season series Saturday night. The Kings (37-23-14) remained one point ahead of Calgary for third place in the Pacific after the Wild (43-25-7) defeated the Flames 4-2 on Friday. The defending Stanley Cup champions earned that position with Thursday's 3-2 win over the New York Islanders.

NHL Three Stars: Wild douse Flames; Atkinson tricks Chicago; Oilers shut-out Stars (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:20:06 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild Both Minnesota and Calgary are hanging on to playoff positions by their finger tips. Minnesota moved within 1-point of Chicago for the final spot in the Central in their 4-2 win over Calgary. As has been the norm since the trade, Dubnyk backstopped the Wild to victory against an always dangerous Flames team. No. 2 Star: Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets Against Chicago, Atkinson netted his second career hat trick. The Jackets may be out of it, and did their best to play spoiler on the Blackhawks after putting up 4 goals in the first period, and finally winning the game 5-2. Of Atkinson's 3 goals, one was a breakaway while shorthanded, and resulted in Corey Crawford being pulled: No. 3 Star: Richard Bachman, Edmonton Oilers If the Oilers are supposed to be tanking, no one relayed that message to goaltender Richard Bachman. (You'd think they'd know how to do it correctly by now...) The backup-to-the-backup netminder stopped all 29 shots from Dallas, and delivered a serious blow to the Stars already slim playoff chances with the 4-0 win. Honorable Mention: Jonas Brodin was a plus-3 against Calgary. Matt Dumba converted on the Wild's only power play opportunity. Zack Parise on a breakaway lives in the nightmares of goalies: ... Sergei Bobrovsky looked shaky early giving up 2 goals in the first to Chicago, but held on the rest of the way getting the win with 31 saves. Johnny Oduya assisted on both Blackhawks goals. For the Jackets, Cody Goloubef and Ryan Johansen recorded 2-points each. Another nightmare of goaltenders is Johansen on the breakaway: ... Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot, Derek Roy, and Andrew Miller were your goal scorers for Edmonton. Now Andrew Miller, not to be confused with Drew Miller of Detroit, was playing in his fifth ever NHL game on Friday night. He had yet to score a goal until he was gifted a penalty shot in the third period. He made the most of it; top shelf, where all the booze is kept: Did You Know? #CBJ now with three 25-goal scorers for first time in franchise history. — Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) March 28, 2015 Dishonorable Mention: After giving up a fourth Minnesota goal on 35 shots, and with less than 10 minutes to go in the game, Kari Ramo was given the hook in favor of Jonas Hiller ... Brent Seabrook was minus-4 and Duncan Keith was minus-3. Corey Crawford exited the game after giving up 4 goals on 13 shots in 15:46 of the first period ... Dallas was within striking distance of Edmonton until 9:24 of the third period when the score went from 1-0 to 4-0 in a matter of seven-ish minutes. - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Calgary Flames start road heavy finish in desperate need of wins (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 27 Mar 2015 13:04:13 PDT)
In the words of Kenny Loggins “This is it” for the Calgary Flames on their upcoming roadtrip. There are just eight games left for the advanced stat non-darlings and six come away from the friendly Scotiabank Saddledome confines. And there is some pressure on the guys with the flaming Cs on their unis to get a ‘W’ in regulation against the Minnesota Wild and Iron Man goaltender Devan Dubnyk on Friday.  The Los Angeles Kings swept a tri-state area three game stretch as part of what was considered to be their five-game roadtrip of death. At very least this means the defending Stanley Cup champs will finish this trip with an over .500 record – which is more than we expected for Los Angeles, who has had a ‘meh’ road record all year. Currently, the Flames have 87 points to the Kings’ 88 in 74 games played, but Calgary has one more regulation and overtime win, which could potentially help in the end heading toward the final Pacific Division playoff spot.  According to Sports Club Stats , with a regulation loss to Minnesota, Calgary’s playoff chances will drop 12.6 percent off 58.9 percent. Now it’s Calgary’s turn to be road warriors. Per the Calgary Herald: The Calgary Flames have eight games remaining, six in enemy territory. They now embark on a ticklish tour, which opens Friday against the vindaloo-hot Minnesota Wild. The itinerary also includes stops in Nashville, Dallas, St. Louis, Edmonton. When the Flames get back home — April 7 versus Arizona — will their playoff picture be any more clear? Yes and no. The game April 9 against the Kings looms large for the Flames. And the Flames have that potential mega contest at home. But there’s still a lot of time between now and then.  And for Calgary to make it an important contest, the Flames need to keep up their winning ways, in spite of statistical skeptics. Per the NHL’s enhanced stats site, Calgary as a team is a minus-713 in regards to shot attempts differential. This ranks them 28th in the NHL. Granted, the Montreal Canadiens rank 23rd and the Rangers 19th, so this isn’t an end-all, be-all. But it’s a tool to help show us a teams overall puck possession dominance.  The Kings rank first at plus-620. Out of the teams in the top-10 in this category only Carolina is currently not in the playoffs. Out of the NHL’s bottom 10 in this puck possession notion, only the Canadiens own a playoff spot.  Regardless of the fancy stats, it’s all about wins, and the Flames have somehow figured out how to ‘get the two points’ in spite of a season-ending injury to Mark Giordano and basically being called out for being an advanced stat outlier all year. It’s almost like it has become a rallying cry for them. To quote Phil Collins, another 80s softish rock icon, they're winning "against all odds." When a guy like Deryk Engelland, whose summer three-year contract was rightfully panned, scores two goals to give Calgary a point against Dallas in a come-from-behind shootout loss, there has to be some voodoo going on here. Said coach Bob Hartley per the Calgary Sun:   “We always say that two points in October is the same value as two points at this time of the year, which is true and this is why we're in our situation. But now, to get two points, especially in the Western Conference, you need to invest a little bit more. Invest a little bit more on the physical side, on the mental side. But that's part of our business.” But how long can it continue. And is it enough to keep Los Angeles away? Every time they get doubted, they win. So at least expect this column to lead to some sort of victory over Minnesota on Friday. - - - - - - - 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

OHL, QMJHL, WHL playoffs begin in earnest: the coast-to-coast (Buzzing The Net)
(Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:15:00 PDT)


Penultimate Week (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:15:00 PDT)
The Maple Leafs top line of JVR, Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel is minus-111 this season and minus-102 since January 1.

Stars-Oilers Preview (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:59:26 PDT)
The Minnesota Wild are one of the NHL's hottest teams this month thanks to their defense while the Calgary Flames are surging in March because of their offense. Devan Dubnyk has enjoyed an excellent history against the Flames and could get the start as the Wild seek a fourth straight win Friday night at home. He has made 33 straight starts, the most in the NHL since Antti Niemi started 34 straight for San Jose in 2011. It's not certain if Dubnyk will start since the Wild are beginning a back-to-back set, though he posted road victories Monday over Toronto and Tuesday over the New York Islanders.

NHL Three Stars: Pavelec stops 39; Marleau leads Sharks over Red Wings (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:41:01 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets The Jets stayed in the playoff hunt with a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Pavelec was excellent again, stopping 39 shots for his sixth straight victory. Mark Scheifele and Jim Slater each had a goal and an assist. The win puts Winnipeg three points up on the Calgary Flames for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.  No. 2 Star: Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks Three third period goals helped the Sharks upend the Detroit Red Wings 6-4. Marleau scored twice and assisted on another as San Jose won for the first time in three games. Chris Tierny had a pair of points and Antti Niemi made 30 stops. No. 3 Star: Reto Berra, Colorado Avalanche Colorado scored three goals in the opening 12:56 of the second period and coasted to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Reto Berra made 33 stops, while Ryan O'Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and Alex Tanguay each recorded two points. The win was Berra's first in a game he started since Nov. 25. Honorable Mention : Ryan Getzlaf’s goal 3:09 into overtime helped give the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins. Frederik Andersen made 27 saves and Cam Fowler, back from being a healthy scratch, assisted on a pair of goals, including Getzlaf’s winner: David Krejci had a pair of assists for the Bruins in his first game back from a knee injury … Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his 21st goal of the season, breaking Nicklas Lidstrom’s record for goals in a season by a Swedish defenseman, and Sam Gagner put home the overtime winner as the Arizona Coyotes got by the Buffalo Sabres 4-3: Anze Kopitar slipped one by Jaroslav Halak with 4:23 left in the third period as the Los Angeles Kings edged the New York Islanders 3-2. Nick Shore scored his first career NHL goal to open the scoring for the Kings. Tyler Toffoli now leads the league in shorthanded goals with five. The third straight win helps move LA into a playoff spot in the Western Conference … Chris Kreider scored twice and Tanner Glass added his first of the the year as the New York Rangers chased Andrew Hammond and routed the Ottawa Senatos 5-1 to clinch a playoff spot.. Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, Kevin Hayes and Dan Boyle all recorded two points. Cam Talbot stopped 22 shots for his 20th win ... Matt Niskanen put home the winner 1:13 into overtime as the Washington Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2: Pekka Rinne made 28 saves and earned his 40th win as the Nashville Predators edged the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 … Brandon Pirri tallied two more goals and Roberto Luongo made 24 saves as the Florida Panthers kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pirri now has 20 goals and 2 assists on the season .. Sam Carrick of the Maple Leafs scored his first career goal in the loss … Eric Staal led the Carolin Hurricanes with a goal and two assists as they dispatched the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. The goal was Staal’s 20th of the season, the ninth time he’s reached the mark in 11 seasons. Cam Ward made 27 stops, including this robbery on David Perron , while Brad Malone recorded a pair of helpers … John Tavares couldn’t get by Drew Doughty, so he stole his stick:  Did You Know?   Last #Caps player to score OT GWG vs NJ? Adam Oates. — Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) March 27, 2015 Dishonorable Mention: The Penguins and Islanders are 1-5-1 in their last seven games … Boston has lost six in a row, while Toronto has dropped seven straight …Jimmy Howard allowed three goals on 10 shots before being pulled. He also lost his starting gig for the time being, according to Mike Babcock … Andrew “The Hamburglar” Hammond allowed five goals on 22 shots and suffered his first loss in regulation … Tampa’s power play failed on all five opportunities … Richard Panik was given a 10-minute misconduct for chucking Pirri’s stick into the Air Canada Centre crowd: MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Highlights of Thursday's NHL games
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 21:04:10 PDT)
(The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Thursday's National Hockey League games: - - - Ducks 3, Bruins 2 (overtime) The Anaheim Ducks tied the game with a deflected goal in the last minute of regulation before captain Ryan Getzlaf scored with 1:51 left in overtime to give his team a 3-2 victory over the slumping Boston Bruins. The loss was the sixth straight (0-3-3) for the Bruins, who at least collected a point to match the Ottawa Senators with 85 points in the race for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. ...

NHL-Highlights of Thursday's NHL games
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:30:15 PDT)
March 26 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Thursday's National Hockey League games: - - - Ducks 3, Bruins 2 (overtime) The Anaheim Ducks tied the game with a deflected goal in the last minute of regulation before captain Ryan Getzlaf scored with 1:51 left in overtime to give his team a 3-2 victory over the slumping Boston Bruins. The loss was the sixth straight (0-3-3) for the Bruins, who at least collected a point to match the Ottawa Senators with 85 points in the race for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. ...

NHL-National Hockey League roundup
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:55:59 PDT)
Kyle Baun, grandson of former NHL defenseman Bobby Baun, and defenseman Michael Paliotta agreed to terms on two-year contracts with the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. The 22-year-old Baun, a forward for Colgate, was one of the top college players available and reportedly had been pursued by more than half the teams in the NHL. - - The St. Louis Blues, battling for the top playoff seed in the Western Conference, could get a boost Saturday in the form of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Shattenkirk, who has missed 25 games since undergoing abdominal surgery on Feb. 5, will practice Friday and could play Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Sabres/Coyotes 'Tank Wars' previews; Kevin Shattenkirk to return Saturday (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 12:01:54 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at  puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com .

Don't forget about me (Rotoworld)
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:34:00 PDT)
Remember to keep these injury-riddled players in mind for next season.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: No place like home for Mason (NHL)
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:20:00 PDT)
Every Thursday during the season, NHL.com's Evan Sporer will provide you with in-depth analysis of goaltenders. From updated weekly top-30 rankings to trending players and more, Sporer will be your go-to guy for advice on fantasy goalies all season long.

Hemsky scores 2, Seguin gets SO winner as Stars beat Flames (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 23:56:33 PDT)
The Dallas Stars need every point they can get. Ales Hemsky scored twice in regulation, Tyler Seguin had the only goal in the shootout, and Dallas beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 for its seventh win in eight games. Jamie Benn also scored for the Stars, six points behind Winnipeg for the second Western Conference wild-card spot with eight games left this season. We had to get two points somehow,'' Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said.

Deryk Engelland delivers potentially crucial point to Flames (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 23:16:39 PDT)
The Dallas Stars were going to be the spoiler for the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night. The Stars had a 2-0 lead, blew it to the Calgary Flames, went up 3-2 late in the second period and then … let Deryk Engelland tie the game in the final 10 minutes of the third period to send the game to OT in a 4-3 shootout loss to Dallas.  Said Engelland per NHL.com "Every point is going to count at the end." "It's a tight battle with a lot of teams, so we'll take every point we can get. We're trying for two every night, but if you get one, we'll take it and go."  If the Kings miss the postseason by one point, they will be cursing the Stars and Deryk ‘freaking’ Engelland and his first two goals of the season up and down Southern California … until Orange County where they will rejoice. Even Kings celebrity super-fan Wil Wheaton was pissed:  You had one job, Dallas Stars. — Wil Wheaton (@wilw) March 26, 2015 Well, not really but it’s always fun to see Sheldon Cooper's arch nemesis go bonkers over his Kings. Also, there’s a lot of hockey left to be played in the race for the postseason. Technically, the Stars didn’t really owe the Kings anything. They’re putting on their own playoff push – though they’re still six points back of Winnipeg for the Wild Card with eight games left. And there’s hope in Big D … from Tyler Seguin in the same story.  "We were saying right before overtime, 'We're here for two points; we're not here for one.' It was a playoff-type game. They had momentum at times. We had momentum. I think both teams made some mistakes and both teams made some great plays. Obviously we're happy to walk away with both points." Calgary players were jazzed for Engelland, a blueliner who had done practically zilch from an offensive statistic for them after (or before) signing a three-year $8.7 million contract for them last summer.  But heroes come in all shapes and sizes.  From the Calgary Sun: “(Engelland) was awesome,” said Flames left-winger Lance Bouma. “He got two huge goals for us, and that's a big point. “I think everyone on the bench was really happy for him. He's such a good guy in the locker-room. He doesn't get a lot of credit for what he does out there, he always sticks up for his teammates, and it's just huge to see him get two goals like that.” The Flames still got a point … but it seemed like a bit of a paper point for Calgary. Yes, they all count in the bank, but a Kings win at the Islanders on Thursday would put Los Angeles one ahead of Calgary. That is Los Angeles’ game in hand. Also, a regulation victory would put the Kings one behind the Flames in regards to the regulation and overtime victory tiebreaker. And, The Great Engelland continued: "No matter if you score one or two or none, two points is what we need and coming down the stretch," Engelland said. "We'll take one but we needed that other one too." The biggest 'two points' could come Thursday, April 9 against the Kings when they play at Los Angeles. So really in some ways, Wesley Crusher, the Stars did their job. The Flames didn't win and the Kings could still pass them Thursday. This is turning into one pretty solid race when a guy like Engelland is turning into a quotable hero.  - - - - - - - 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  

Highlights of Wednesday's NHL games
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 22:27:58 PDT)
(The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Wednesday's National Hockey League games: - - - Flyers 4, Blackhawks 1 Wayne Simmonds scored the 100th goal of his Philadelphia career, helping the Flyers to a 4-1 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Goaltender Steve Mason stopped 34 of 35 shots to keep the Flyers’ faint playoff hopes alive. Despite the loss, Chicago are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and on track to secure home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. ...

NHL-Highlights of Wednesday's NHL games
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 22:20:29 PDT)
March 25 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Wednesday's National Hockey League games: - - - Flyers 4, Blackhawks 1 Wayne Simmonds scored the 100th goal of his Philadelphia career, helping the Flyers to a 4-1 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Goaltender Steve Mason stopped 34 of 35 shots to keep the Flyers' faint playoff hopes alive. Despite the loss, Chicago are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and on track to secure home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. ...

NHL Three Stars: Mason grounds Hawks; Hemsky damages Flames' hopes (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 22:12:49 PDT)
No. 1. Star: Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers Stopped 34 of 35 Blackhawks shots on goal in a 4-1 victory. Mason improved to a 2.25 goals against average and .926 save percentage on the season. The win broke a two-game losing skid for Mason. The Flyers are nine points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, and lost Wayne Simmonds for the season with a lower body injury.   No. 2. Star: Ales Hemsky, Dallas Stars The underachieving forward kept Dallas’ slim playoff hopes alive with two goals. The Stars are six points back of the Winnipeg Jets for the last Wild Card spot following their 4-3 shootout win over Calgary. Though the Stars are still six points back of the Los Angeles Kings. No. 3 Star: Deryk Engelland, Calgary Flames Scored two goals to keep the Flames one point ahead in the playoff race with the Los Angeles Kings. Unfortunately for the Flames, Los Angeles still has a game in hand. Honorable Mention: Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto notched two assists as did forward Matt Read … Forward Claude Giroux scored a goal …  Colorado forward Ryan O’Reilly scored a goal and added two assists in a 4-3 loss to Edmonton … Oilers forward Derek Roy scored the game-winner midway through the third period … Colorado’s Jarome Iginla notched his 25th goal of the season …Edmonton’s Taylor Hall scored his first goal since coming back from an injury two games ago … Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau scored a goal … Dallas center Tyler Seguin notched two assists. Did You Know?: The Flyers recorded their 11th straight home regular season win over Chicago, dating back to 1998. Dishonorable Mention: The Blackhawks have scored five goals in their last four games … Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 29 of 33 Philadelphia shots on goal … Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov was yanked after allowing three goals on seven Edmonton shots on goal ..  MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Lanny McDonald selected as chairman of Hockey Hall of Fame (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:13:54 PDT)
Lanny McDonald has been a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame since 1992. McDonald was selected as chairman of the board of the Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday, succeeding the late Pat Quinn. Although he had a successful playing career, culminating in a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989, McDonald is still anxious about his new role. ''I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little nervous,'' McDonald said Wednesday in the Hall of Fame's Great Hall, hours after the board of directors elected him to the position.

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:

OHL Eastern Conference playoff preview: Oshawa Generals, Niagara IceDogs coming in hot (Buzzing The Net)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:15:00 PDT)


NHL Playoff Death Watch: We’re a little worried about Winnipeg (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 06:41:48 PDT)


Quick, Kings top Rangers again in Cup rematch (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:45:22 PDT)
Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings are still on the outside of the Western Conference playoff race. Quick shook off a goal in the first minute and allowed just one more the rest of the way in the Kings' 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. The Kings, fighting for a chance to defend their title, have won the first two games of a five-game trip on successive nights. Marian Gaborik snapped a second-period tie, and Los Angeles cooled off the Rangers in a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final.

Stars-Flames Preview (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:19:02 PDT)
The Calgary Flames and Dallas Stars have identical winning percentages this month to rank among the NHL's best.

NHL Playoff Death Watch: Everyone wins in the West (except Avs, Sharks) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:37:15 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 teams all did their duty on Monday night, as the Flames, Wild, Jets, Kings and even the Stars kept pace with regulation victories. Alas, the Avalanche lost to Calgary, dropping their tragic number to 10 and leaving them with a 0.7 percent chance of making the playoffs. Alas, the San Jose Sharks were the jobbers to the Ottawa Senators juggernaut, dropping down to 12th place in the West and seeing their playoff chances down to under one percent. On Tuesday night, the Wild are at the New York Islanders; the Kings play at the New York Rangers; and there’s a Canadian showdown between the Canucks and Jets in Vancouver that could shake things up. 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:

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