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Lightning-Senators Preview (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 07 Feb 2016 08:09:30 PST)
An improved offense has helped pace the Tampa Bay Lightning's most successful stretch of the season. The visiting Lightning look to win for the 11th time in 12 games Monday night against the Senators. Tampa Bay (29-18-4) is averaging 3.5 goals during its 10-1-0 stretch - one goal more than through the first 40 contests.

NHL Three Stars: Habs finally win; Karlsson kills penalties; Marchand's OT penalty shot (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 06 Feb 2016 23:42:01 PST)
Hi Lou — Jack A. Wilson (@JACKaWILSON) February 6, 2016 No. 1 Star: Artem Anisimov, Chicago Blackhawks In a big Central Division matchup against the Dallas Stars, the Blackhawks came away with a convincing 5-1 win; increasing their lead over the Stars to five points. Anisimov assisted on 3 tallies and scored his 18 goal of the season while the Blackhawks were shorthanded. No. 2 Star: Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens The Canadiens desperately needed a win and they finally got one at the expense of the Edmonton Oilers. Plekanec scored a goal and had 3 assists in the Habs 5-1 trouncing of the Oil. It is their first regulation win in exactly a month . No. 3 Star: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators The offensive-minded defenseman provided 4 assists in the Senators 6-1 beatdown of the Toronto Maple Leafs. What had everyone freaking out was the fact Karlsson logged 3:19 on the penalty kill.  Honorable Mention: Paul Carey earned his first NHL goal when he tied the game for the Washington Capitals with less than six minutes to go. The Caps took the New Jersey Devils to the shootout. Braden Holtby stopped 2 of 3 Devils shooters and picks up win No. 32 on the season. Ovechkin SMASH: ... Keith Yandle scored with 12.9 seconds left on the clock to tie the Philadelphia Flyers at 2-2. Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan both scored in the shootout and Henrik Lunqvist stopped Sam Gagner and Claude Giroux. HALLELUJAH!  ???? — Alex Fitzpatrick (@AlexJamesFitz) February 6, 2016 ... Connor McDavid is a magical unicorn . Ben Scrivens earned his first win as a member of the Canadiens, making 23 saves on the Oilers. The lone Edmonton goal was a shorty by Benoit Pouliot ... Detroit scored 5 unanswered goals before John Tavares netted at power play goal just over four minutes into the third period. The Red Wings won 5-1 Dylan Larkin tied Artemi Panarin for the rookie goal scoring lead with his 18 of the season.   Dylan Larkin scores 18th goal of the season. 5-0, Red Wings. — 1-2-3 Lets Have Fun! (@KyleWIIM) February 6, 2016 ... Brad Marchand is hated by pretty much everyone in the NHL outside of Boston. Add the Buffalo Sabres to the list, again. In overtime, Marchand draws a penalty and is somehow given a penalty shot. He buries it to win the game. From Stanley Cup of Chowder : ... Congrats to Ryan Dzingel on his first NHL point. Mark Stone, Zack Smith, and Curtis Lazar each registered 2 points for the Senators. Stone escaped the game with his nose still attached to his face after Joffrey Lupul's skate makes contact with it: Man Mark Stone was lucky tonight- this could have been horrible. #Sens #Leafs — David Amber (@DavidAmber) February 7, 2016 ... Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang connected on all 3 goals by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 3-2 comeback overtime victory against the Florida Panthers. Sid picked up career points 900, 901, and 902 in the win . Florida had no problems scoring on special teams: one power play goal by Jussi Jokinen and one shorthanded goal by Aleksander Barkov ... Brian Elliott allowed only 1 goal on 39 shots by the Minnesota Wild; 24 of Minnesota's shots were in the second period. All but one of the St. Louis Blues goals came on the power play in the 4-2 win ... Filip Forsberg had a goal and 2 assists in the Nashville Predators 6-2 stomping of the San Jose Sharks. Both of San Jose's goals were on the power play. One of Viktor Arvidsson's two goals was a perfect snipe over the shoulder of Martin Jones as the forward is falling to the ice:  Viktor Arvidsson with an outrageous goal #Preds : — Mark Harris (@MCHisTweeting) February 7, 2016 ... Corey Crawford staying on Holtby's heels in the win total. The netminder earned his 31 win on the year with 36 saves against Dallas ... The Calgary Flames scored 4 goals against the Vancouver Canucks; 2 were in an empty net. Jonas Hiller improved to 6-5-1 on the season making 34 saves. T.J. Brodie, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, and Sam Bennett each had 2 points and were a plus-3. Brodie logged the most ice time for the Flames at 27:29. The next closest as Mark Giordano with 22:49 ... Drew Stafford scored 2 goals and assisted on Mathieu Perreault's tally for the Jets in the 4-2 win over Colorado. Did You Know? Marchand's penalty shot marked the first overtime penalty shot goal by a Bruin in history. — Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 7, 2016 Dishonorable Mention: Ryan McDonagh and Wayne Simmonds left the game at the same time . McDonagh with an injury and Simmonds on a match penalty for injuring McDonagh. The Flyers had 20 shots in the second period (good!) and 1 shot on goal in the third period and overtime combined (bad!) ... Jaroslav Halak was pulled after giving up 4 goals on 13 shots midway through the game. Puck drop for the third period between the Islanders and Red Wings was delayed by 36 minutes due to a deep gash dug into the ice by the Zamboni ... James Reimer was given the hook only 7:38 into the game against Ottawa. He allowed 3 goals on 8 shots, and his replacement, Jonathan Bernier let in 3 goals on 17 shots. Despite protests, Tyler Bozak went back to the locker room and did not return with a concussion after his head made contact with Mika Zibanejad's elbow: It gets better. Then Shawn Mattias gets knocked loopy by his own teammate. He leaves to the dressing room but returns to finish the game. ... Thomas Vanek and Jason Zucker were healthy scratched by Mike Yeo to send a message to his team. It didn't work. Minnesota had 7 power play opportunities and only scored on one .. Antti Niemi played only one period for the Stars, letting in 3 goals on 11 shots. Kari Lehtonen replaced him and faced 15 shots, allowing 2 goals. The Stars once potent power play was 0-for-6 against Chicago ... Patrick Roy lost his mind after losing a coach's challenge and it is glorious. The Colorado Avalanche and WInnipeg Jets combined for 68 penalty minutes in the game. - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

NHL-Highlights of Saturday's NHL games
(Sat, 06 Feb 2016 22:46:12 PST)
Feb 6 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Saturday's National Hockey League games. - - Canadiens 5, Oilers 1 Tomas Plekanec scored a goal and added three assists to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at the Bell Centre. Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller, P.K. Subban and Tom Gilbert also scored for Montreal (25-24-4), who snapped a four-game losing streak. ...

Lazar has 2 goals, Karlsson 4 assists; Sens beat Leafs 6-1 (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 06 Feb 2016 22:37:03 PST)
The Ottawa Senators desperately needed something to go right. Curtis Lazar had the first two-goal game of his career, Erik Karlsson had four assists and the Ottawa Senators embarrassed the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1 to end a three-game skid. Lazar's second goal came 2:27 into the third period and gave Ottawa a 6-0 lead.

Maple Leafs-Senators Preview (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:11:00 PST)
The Ottawa Senators are trying to remain composed during a rough stretch. Hoping a players' meeting will provide a solution, the Senators try to avoid matching a season high with their fourth consecutive defeat Saturday night against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. A loser of 11 of 16, Ottawa (23-23-6) held a closed-door meeting following Thursday's 7-2 home defeat to Edmonton.

Panarin's bonuses; Sedin's All-Star leadership; Peverley Protects (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:05:09 PST)
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 .   Bob Miller sends his well wishes to all the #LAKings fans! — LA Kings (@LAKings) February 5, 2016 • Los Angeles Kings Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Miller had heart surgery and appreciates your well wishes.  • The Montreal Canadiens should shut down goaltender Carey Price for the remainder of their disappointing 2015-16 season. Price, last year’s league MVP, has played 12 games this season as he’s fought a lower body injury. [ Habs Eyes on the Prize ] • Former NHL referee Paul Stewart has added his name to the NHL concussion lawsuit. Stewart also played 21 NHL games with the Quebec Nordiques. [ The Hockey News ] • If Chicago Blackhawks rookie Artemi Panarin keeps scoring at a high pace, he may trigger some contract bonuses, which would cost Chicago some salary cap space. [ Second City Hockey ] • Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin showed his leadership in the NHL All-Star Game’s 3-on-3 tournament for the Pacific Division. [ Vancouver Courier ] • Daniel Sedin gave away his All-Star winnings to the Vancouver Canucks training staff. That equates to $125,000 Canadian dollars. [ Van City Buzz ] • Check out Pevs Protects, in association with former Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley: “Our mission is to raise funds to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to be placed within communities so that others will be given a chance for a second life. In addition, we would like to help educate and train community members of all ages to feel comfortable and confident in using AED’s.” [ Pevs Protects ] • Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen opens up about the possibility of a trade. Cowen has been a healthy scratch recently. [ TSN ] • Former NHLer Martin Rucinsky was named the general manager of the Czech Republic World Cup team. Milan Hnlicka was also named assistant to the general manager and Jaroslav Spacek was named assistant coach. Former NHLers Vinny Prospal (assistant coach) and Jiri Fischer (head of scouting) were named to the team's staff.  [ NHL ] • After PTOs with the Toronto Marlies and Ontario Reign, former NHL goaltender Ray Emery has signed with Adler Manheim in Germany, [ Sportsnet ] • Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall expects to start skating again Monday or Tuesday. He had arthroscopic knee surgery on Jan. 18. [ MLive ] • Todd Bertuzzi has found his retirement calling, coaching his 14-year-old son’s local midget minor team in Michigan. [ Click On Detroit ] • The New York Riveters of the NWHL need to improve in a few areas for their playoff push. [ Today’s Slapshot ] • Check out the top-100 fantasy keeper league defensemen. [ Dobber Hockey ] • The1992, 94 and 95 Kamloops Blazers Memorial Cup championship teams were recently honored. That group featured 600 goal scorer Jarome Iginla. [ Buzzing the Net ] • On being a Wisconsin Badgers fan for a day: “Until that day, I'd only heard stories of Midwest women's college hockey -- the packed barns, the sold-out enthusiastic crowds. But on that day, I was finally experiencing them for myself.” [ Victory Press ] • How have the Philadelphia Flyers have performed this year in all three zones under first-year coach Dave Hakstol. [ Broad Street Hockey ] • Connor McDavid’s aggressiveness, along with his skill, is what makes him such a special player. [ Oilers Nation ] • How should the Carolina Hurricanes approach the NHL trade deadline? The Hurricanes are contending for a playoff spot, but they haven't quite broken through yet. [ Section 328 ] • Has the Northeastern men’s hockey team turned a corner this season? [ College Hockey News ] • Check out this save total. "Junior Taylor DeForrest of Apple Valley made 112 saves, but the Eagles still lost 3-2 to East Ridge in six overtimes on Wednesday night in a Class 2A, Section 3 girls’ hockey quarterfinal at Bielenberg Ice Arena in Woodbury.” [ Star Tribune ] • The 10 NHL teams that should be tankings for No. 1 rated prospect Auston Matthews. [ The Comeback ] • Finally, NHL players wish coach/broadcaster Don Cherry a happy birthday. Cherry turns 82 today.   MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

Back in full swing (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 05 Feb 2016 09:07:00 PST)
With the All-Star break behind us, we're into the final months of the season. It's a busy schedule for plenty of teams in The Week Ahead.

The Seven: McDavid marks his return to the Oilers with his nascent signature move (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 05 Feb 2016 06:50:19 PST)
Our weekly look at the NHL's seven Canadian franchise begins with Connor McDavid not missing a beat as he rejoined the Edmonton lineup.

NHL Three Stars: Toews clutch again; Jagr and Panthers roar over Red Wings (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 04 Feb 2016 23:02:20 PST)
No. 1 Star: Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks In his first game back since the All-Star break, Toews scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to give his Blackhawks a 5-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The goal was Toews’ fifth OT winner of the season, which tied him with Steve Stamkos for most overtime goals in a season. That record was set in 2011-12.    No. 2 Star: Jaromir Jagr, Florida Panthers The 43-year-old Jagr scored one goal and added two assists in a 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Jagr became the sixth player in NHL history to notch at least 1,100 assists in his career. Jagr is three goals shy of tying Brett Hull (741) for third-most in an NHL career. He's also 11 points away from tying Gordie Howe (1,850) for third-most in a career. No. 3 Star: Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers The young forward scored two goals and added an assist in a 7-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Playing on a line with Connor McDavid, Eberle has five points in his last two games. They’re the first two games McDavid has played since suffering a fractured clavicle in early November. Edmonton has won both contests. Honorable Mention: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored one goal and added two assists in the loss to the Blackhawks … Chicago forward Marian Hossa scored one goal and added an assist … Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin notched three assists … Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg scored the overtime winner to give his team a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche … Jason Spezza also scored a goal for Dallas … Stars defenseman Patrik Nemuth notched two assists in 15:23 of action … Philadelphia Flyers forwards Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds each scored two goals and added an assist in a 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators … Flyers forward Jakub Voracek notched two assists … San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton scored a goal in a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Linemate Joe Pavelski notched two assists … Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester scored for the Blues … Florida forward Vincent Trochek scored one goal and added two assists in the win. Teammate Brandon Pirri scored his 10th goal of the season and added an assist … Goaltender Roberto Luongo picked up his 23rd win of the season. He surpassed Tony Esposito for seventh-most career wins in NHL history. Luongo now has 424 career victories … Dylan Larkin scored two goals for Detroit … Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid notched two assists in the win over the Senators. He has five points in his first two games back from a fractured clavicle … Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored one goal and added an assist … Edmonton defenseman Mark Fayne scored his second goal of the year … Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson notched two assists … Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak scored one goal and added an assist in a 3-2 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils … P.A. Parenteau fired the shootout winner … New Jersey defenseman David Schlemko scored one goal and added one assist in the loss … Devils goaltender Keith Kincaid stopped 37 of 39 shots on goal … Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin fired the game-winning goal with 2:40 left in the third period of his team’s 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. Teammate Andre Burakovsky scored a goal to pick up his 11th point in his last eight games … Caps goaltender Braden Holtby stopped 24 of 26 Islanders shots on goal … Islanders forward Mikhail Grabovski scored his ninth goal of the season and teammate Josh Bailey scored his eighth … New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard scored the game-winner at the 5:46 mark of the third period in his team’s 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. He finished with the goal and an assist … New York forward J.T. Miller scored one goal and added an assist in the win. Forward Chris Kreider also scored for the Rangers … Wild defenseman Ryan Suter notched an assist in 29:15 of action … Boston Bruins forward Ryan Spooner scored a goal and the shootout winner in a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres … Brad Marchand also scored for the Bruins … Evander Kane and Sam Reinhart each picked up goals for the Sabres … Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf scored one goal, added an assist and was a plus-3 in a 4-2 beating of the Los Angeles Kings. Linemate David Perron scored one goal and added two assists … Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm scored a goal in 19:13 of action … Kings forward Tyler Toffoli fired his 23rd goal of the season in a losing effort … Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo stopped 37 of 38 Vancouver Canucks shots on goal in a 2-1 shootout win … Scott Hartnell scored Columbus’ goal and Alexander Wennberg fired the shootout winner … Linden Vey scored for the Canucks. Did You Know?  Alexander Ovechkin leads the NHL with 86 game-winning goals since entering the NHL in 2005-06 – 18 more than the next closest player, Daniel Sedin with 68.   Dishonorable Mention: Coyotes forwards Anthony Duclair and Martin Hanzal were each a minus-3 … Nashville forwards Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro were each a minus-3. Preds defenseman Barret Jackman was also a minus-3 … Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne allowed six goals on 19 shots on goal … Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard dropped to 7-8-4 on the year. He has a 2.89 goal-against average and .904 save percentage and hasn’t won since Dec. 3 … Ottawa goaltenders Andrew Hammond and Craig Anderson stopped 21 of 28 shots on goal in their loss to the Oilers … The Wild blew a 2-0 lead … Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick was yanked after allowing three goals on nine Ducks shots on goal … Ottawa’s Mika Zibanejad was a minus-3.   MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

NHL-Highlights of Thursday's NHL games
(Thu, 04 Feb 2016 22:55:43 PST)
Feb 5 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Thursday's National Hockey League games: Blackhawks 5, Coyotes 4 (overtime) Jonathan Toews scored his fifth overtime game-winner of the season with 28.5 seconds remaining as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-4 at Gila River Arena on Thursday. Toews had two goals for the Blackhawks in a game in which eight different players scored. Corey Crawford made 24 saves for Chicago and Louis Domingue had 35 for Arizona. ...

Jordan Eberle's 2 goals lead Oilers in 7-2 rout of Senators (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 04 Feb 2016 21:59:36 PST)
The Ottawa Senators held a closed-door meeting following their 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night in front of the home crowd. ''We definitely expected a little more than that (Thursday),'' said Ottawa's Zack Smith. Jordan Eberle scored twice and added an assist for the Oilers, who started their four-game road trip with the win to run their record to 21-26-5.

Anaheim Ducks try to take offensive momentum into LA (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:22:14 PST)
A little over two weeks ago, Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano took comfort in a 3-2 home loss to the Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Kings.  The Ducks were down 3-1 and then battled back to close the gap against the Kings in their first game against each other this season. “I think we showed we could play with them,” Cogliano said. “I think they’re probably the toughest team to play in the league when they’re playing their game. They’re just very good. I know they’re tough to play against but I think we proved to ourselves we could play with them.” Since that game, the Ducks haven’t lost, going 4-0-0. Over that span, Anaheim has scored 16 goals. In their last seven games they’ve scored 26 goals. Both teams play each other at Staples Center on Thursday evening.  According to War On Ice, the Ducks rank fourth in the NHL with a 53.3 CF% 5-on-5. Even with a high amount of puck possession the Anaheim offense has been slow to come around. Only their recent hot streak has pushed their goals per-game over two. Currently it’s at 2.13 scores per-contest  Said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau to the Los Angeles Daily News: “When we get the opportunity to score we’re not hitting posts or shooting wide, we’re putting pucks in,” Boudreau said. “I think that builds your confidence. By no means are we turning away or not defending as hard as we can, because we know that’s where we’ve had our success this year.”  Recently, Boudreau has put All-Star winger Corey Perry with Rickard Rakell at center, taking him away from his normal pivot, Ryan Getzlaf. The two haven’t clicked this year with Getzlaf only scoring three goals all season, though he has seven points in his last seven games, all assists . Getzlaf was also benched after a costly turnover led to an Ottawa Senators goal last month and has been put on a trio with newly acquired David Perron and Chris Stewart. Perry has 20 goals this season including seven in his last 11 games played . This year defense has kept the Ducks sturdy in their times of crisis. The Ducks rank seventh in the NHL in allowing 2.31 goals per-game as their goaltending duo of John Gibson and Frederik Andersen have remained consistent. A year ago, the Ducks allowed 2.70 goals per-contest. In some ways, this formula is reminiscent of the Kings, a team that grinds out wins with a strong structure in their own zone, and a powerful puck-possession game in the offensive zone. Since Darryl Sutter arrived as Kings coach early in 2011-12, the team hasn’t finished worse than eighth in the league in goals allowed per-game.  Said the Daily News: What’s changed for the teams this season? Only everything, including the fact the Kings and Ducks are now excellent defensive teams, capable of stopping opponents in their tracks. The Kings are second-best in the Western Conference with 115 goals given up, trailing the Ducks, who have allowed 113. The Ducks are hanging onto the last Pacific Division playoff spot 53 points and have pulled their season together at 23-18-7 after a disastrous 1-7-2 start. It’s unlikely they’ll catch the Kings, a team with 65 points. But with a win, it could give them the confidence that they can beat them, and not just simply keep pace with them.  MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper

Oilers-Senators Preview (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:33:20 PST)
Connor McDavid might have provided the Edmonton Oilers with the spark needed to ignite a serious run in the right direction. The Oilers hope to build on their star rookie's triumphant return as they open a four-game trip Thursday night against the struggling Ottawa Senators. In action for the first time since breaking his clavicle against Philadelphia on Nov. 3, McDavid had a goal and two assists to help Edmonton (20-26-5) beat Columbus 5-1 on Tuesday.

Dose: Missed you, Connor (Rotoworld)
(Wed, 03 Feb 2016 01:56:00 PST)
The return of the Hockey Dose covers a heaping portion: 12 recaps, including the glorious return of Connor McDavid.

NHL Three Stars: Crosby, McDavid do as Crosby, McDavid do (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 02 Feb 2016 23:26:42 PST)

Crosby's hat trick powers Penguins past Senators, 6-5 (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 02 Feb 2016 20:15:12 PST)
Sidney Crosby is back to doing Sidney Crosby things. The Pittsburgh Penguins are winning. Crosby scored three straight goals for his first natural hat trick in more than five years, and the Penguins opened the second half of the season with a rollicking 6-5 win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

Doughty the Norris favorite and other midseason award picks (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 02 Feb 2016 07:55:06 PST)
Drew Doughty constantly thinks about winning the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman. If he keeps up this pace, that will become a reality in less than five months.

With All-Star endeavors finished, NHL playoff race heats up (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:07:25 PST)
The NHL playoff race doesn't really get rolling until after the All-Star break, and almost every team still harbors postseason hopes - some more realistic than others. The division races only determine playoff seeding in the NHL, and it's almost considered a weakness to ascribe too much importance to the regular season. The Washington Capitals have opened a formidable 15-point lead in the Metropolitan Division and an 11-point lead on Atlantic Division leader Florida for the top overall seed in the Eastern Conference.

Senators-Penguins Preview (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 01 Feb 2016 17:15:49 PST)
The way the Pittsburgh Penguins figure it, the playoffs have already started. Pittsburgh took a modest three-game winning streak into the All-Star break, part of a 5-1-2 surge that moved the Penguins into the Eastern Conference's eighth and final postseason spot. The solid two-plus week stretch showed tangible proof of new head coach Mike Sullivan's aggressive mindset.

Capitals running away with the East, Penguins stirring (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 01 Feb 2016 13:16:22 PST)
It certainly looks like the Washington Capitals are running away with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The 14-point gap between the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals and the second-place New York Rangers is almost as big as the one between New York and the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets. The Capitals' overall conference lead over the Florida Panthers is 11 points.

Senators' Karlsson among players to watch in second half (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 01 Feb 2016 13:02:39 PST)
Erik Karlsson is on the ice more than any other NHL player and is scoring unlike any defenseman in the past two decades. The two-time Norris Trophy winner is on pace for 85 points, which would be the most since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers in 1995-96. The electrifying star also is the key to the Ottawa Senators' push for the playoffs.

Power Play Busts (Rotoworld)
(Mon, 01 Feb 2016 06:56:00 PST)
Michael Finewax looks at players who have yet to pick up a point this season on the power play.

What We Learned: Who is the NHL’s king of 3-on-3 OT? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 01 Feb 2016 06:53:03 PST)
(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.) The Calgary Flames have only been to overtime once since Dec. 17, and they ended up losing that game in a shootout. Prior to that, though, there was no team in the NHL that should have been more feared in the extra period of 3-on-3, because their success rate was mind-boggling. They've won eight of their 12 overtimes, lost once, and gone 1-2 in the three that lasted into the shootout. Any time you outscore your opponents 8-1 in any situation, even if it's only in a combined total of 32:48, you're in a good place. And moreover, when that scoring differential wins you eight more points in the standings, it's a major advantage. Now, you can obviously say that this is little more than a confluence of good circumstances. The Flames lead the league in overtime shooting percentage at 32 percent, and also have the fourth-highest save percentage at .952. That's PDO to the max, and especially where it concerns goaltending; Kari Ramo and Jonas Hiller just aren't that good. But as to the shooting percentage, well, there's plenty of reason to believe that can be kept up for quite a while to come, and it's all thanks to one man: Johnny Gaudreau. Again, Calgary has eight overtime wins, and he has a point on seven of them, with three goals and four assists. That's the largest OT point total for any single player in the league, ahead of Brent Seabrook (0-5-5), and five guys who have four points: Patrick Kane, Anze Kopitar, Andrej Sekera, Jordan Staal and Jake Voracek. Of that group, only he and Kopitar have yet to be on the ice for an OT goal against. That alone is a major difference-maker, but what really separates Gaudreau from literally every other player in the NHL is that this is a game state which seems to be designed to specifically benefit him. In all, 233 skaters have played more than five minutes of 3-on-3 time this season, and this is where Gaudreau ranks among all of them in terms of individual events — i.e. all shots taken by that player, rather than while that player is on the ice — per 20 minutes (instead of the normal 60, because the current league leader in 3-on-3 ice time only has 31:14, so most guys probably won't sniff 60):

Nashville puts on good show for NHL All-Star weekend (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 31 Jan 2016 20:15:45 PST)
Music City waited 18 years to host the NHL All-Star game. Nashville smothered the league's showcase event with Southern hospitality. Living up to its moniker, Nashville filled the weekend with music from start to finish.

Dylan Larkin wins NHL Fastest Skater, beats Gartner's record (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 30 Jan 2016 17:03:45 PST)
NASHVILLE – Dylan Larkin has wheels. The Detroit Red Wings rookie won the NHL Fastest Skater event to kick off the Skills Competition Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. Not only did Larkin post the fastest time among the six competitors, but he also was given the opportunity to beat Mike Gartner’s record time of 13.386 set in 1996.  Larkin is now the fourth straight rookie to win the event, joining Jonathan Drouin (2015), Carl Hagelin (2012) and Michael Grabner (2011).  FINAL RESULTS East: Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings / 12.894 Brandon Saad, Columbus Blue Jackets / 13.634 Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators / 14.630 Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins / 14.081  West: Roman Josi, Nashville Predators / 13.527 Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche / 14.026 Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers / 13.654 Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets / 14.203 Score through first event: East 5, West 1  Larkin vs. Gartner's record: 13.172 - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Women's Hockey Notebook: Controversial coaching hires; NHL donates to Laing; Playoff dates (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 30 Jan 2016 16:01:34 PST)
Full house for @Hilary_Knight 's autograph signing! 100+ people deep. Love it. — Caity Kauffman (@caitykauffman) January 30, 2016 LINE RUSHES 1. Coaching controversies. The Connecticut Whale of the NWHL have occupied a majority of the women's hockey headlines the past few days. Late Thursday night, news broke that Jake Mastel, head coach of the first place Whale, suddenly resigned . The NWHL confirmed the resignation the following day and announced the hiring of Heather Linstad in the same press release. This hiring took many in the women's hockey community by surprise. In Linstad's final two seasons as the head coach of the University of Connecticut's womens team  they posted a 7-52-10  record. In March 2013, Linstad resigned from the position  after 13 years with the program.  Months after Linstad's resignation a Title IX lawsuit was filed against the university by five women who alleged to have been sexually assaulted on campus. One of the women in the lawsuit was a freshman on the women's hockey team, coached by Linstad, at the time of the alleged assault.  From the Associated Press : "The woman alleges she was raped by a male hockey player in August 2011. She said that after reporting the assault to school officials, she was advised to transfer and kicked off the women's hockey team by her coach, who told her she was not 'stable enough' and would 'bring the team down.'" The lawsuit was eventually settled out of court . As a part of the settlement, UConn was not required to admit any wrongdoing. The NWHL has not responded to a request for comment on the hiring of Linstad given the allegations in the settled lawsuit. It's important to note that Linstad was never sued in criminal or civil court for any alleged involvement in the Title IX investigation . Yet, given the sensitive nature of the allegations, this has some eyebrows raised in the women's hockey community. This isn't the first or last controversial hiring in women's professional hockey. The Boston Blades of the CWHL hired Brian McCloskey as their head coach two years after he was involved in an alleged physical altercation with a women's hockey player at the University of New Hampshire that cost him his job. He was eventually charged with assault and sentenced to a diversion program to have the charges dropped off his record. Let's put on our sanity hat for a moment because this feels crazy. How are there not better hires than those with questionable pasts to coach these women? There are many eligible candidates out in the sport but the problem is money. The better the coach, the more money they'll cost. Both women's leagues have to find a coach that fits in their price range. At the same time, it takes the right kind of coach to fit into women's pro-hockey. Consider Kate Cimini's report on the circumstances surrounding Connecticut Coach Mastel's resignation : "Mastel is considered by many to the lowest-profile coach in the league. Unlike his counterparts — Chad Wiseman, former AHL and NHL player; Shelley Looney, Olympic gold medalist; Ric Seiling, former Buffalo Sabres player; Bobby Jay, assistant coach to the 2014 U.S. Women’s Olympic team — Mastel’s coaching background lies in youth teams. "Players have called the break a healthy one, both for the team and Mastel, who did not focus on systems and special teams enough to satisfy the players, many of whom are coaches themselves. "Despite Mastel’s coaching, Connecticut was, and still is, the top team in the NWHL." Connecticut is winning, but the coach's lack of experience is reportedly an issue with the players. Now they bring in an experienced coach who will take over midway through the season but there is baggage that comes along. It doesn't feel right, but it's reality. 2. Women's leagues finals go head to head, March 11 - 13. During the All-Star weekends for the CWHL and NWHL both leagues announced their playoff plans. The biggest news: the finals for each league will be held the same weekend. CWHL playoff details: Four teams make the first round of the playoffs and will be seeded based on total points. The semi-final round is a best of three with the higher seed hosting the lower seed. These games take place February 26-28. The Clarkson Cup final is a one game, winner take all affair on March 13, in Ottawa at Canadian Tire Centre, as part of a two-year partnership deal with the Senators .  NWHL playoff details: Everybody makes the playoffs, woohoo! Like the CWHL, each team will be seeded with the higher seed hosting the lower seed, playing a best of three, but will take place March 4-6. The Isobel Cup final is a best of three and will take place March 11-13. The location of the final is TBD but there is some speculation as to the final possibly being at an NHL rink . 3. NHL donations for Denna Laing. Meeting with the media during All-Star weekend in Nashville, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the following: On behalf of its member clubs, the NHL is donating $200,000 to assist Laing in her rehabilitation and recovery.  Honda and Ticketmaster, NHL partners and members of the hockey family, are teaming to donate a 2016 Honda Odyssey that will be retrofitted to meet Laing’s transportation needs. Donations continue to be accepted at .  - - - - - - - AROUND THE RINKS Women's hockey has banner weekend in North America. [ EOTP ] With rise of CWHL and NWHL, women’s pro hockey starting to gain serious traction. [ National Post ] Women's pro hockey gaining foothold with two leagues. [ The Olympian ] Julie Chu: American leader in a Canadian league. [ Along the Boards ] Older players find new challenges in fledgling NWHL. [ Today’s Slapshot ] Les Canadiennes, Calgary Inferno face off with first place on the line. [ EOTP ] Q & A with Kaleigh Fratkin of the Connecticut Whale. [ The Hockey Writers ] Laura Fortino coming into her own for Brampton Thunder. [ ATB ] Checking in with the Riveters 2015 draft picks. [ TSS ] Small victories helping Blades’ Lacasse star amid trying season. [ SI ] CWHL All-Star Game: Social Media Round-Up. [ ATB ] A look at the NWHL: Past, present and future. [ VP ] 2016 CWHL All-Star Game in pictures. [ EOTP ] A spotlight on professional hockey in Brooklyn. [ My W Sports ] Inferno players shine at CWHL All-Star Weekend. [ Matchsticks & Gasoline ] Did you know that Jillian Dempsey named the Bruins' Mascot "Blades"? [ Stanley Cup of Chowder ] - - - - - - - PODCASTS Sportsology: Off The Post . Russ Cohen and Anthony Mingioni welcome in lead NWHL writer Kate Cimini from Today’s Slapshot. The Xperience: Hockey Talk with Michael Lindenbaum . Interviews with Kelley Steadman and Hayley Williams of the Buffalo Beauts. Don’t Snow the Goalie . The Kates and Hannah discuss the upheaval in the NWHL over the past couple of days. - - - - - - - We have opened the bidding on the goalie mask on our Facebook, only Facebook messages on our page will be considered — Les Canadiennes (@LesCanadiennes) January 30, 2016 THE BIG SHOW Saturday CWHL Calgary Inferno (14-2-2) at Les Canadiennes de Montreal (14-2-0) – 5:30pm ET (Stream: $ CWHL Live $ ) Sunday CWHL Toronto Furies (4-15-1) at Brampton Thunder (14-5-0) – 1:30pm ET (Stream: $ CWHL Live $ ) Calgary Inferno at Les Canadiennes de Montreal – 1:30pm ET NWHL New York Riveters (3-8-2) at Buffalo Beauts (3-8-2) – 3:30pm ET (Stream: Cross-Ice Pass ) Boston Pride (9-3-1) at Connecticut Whale (11-2-0) – 6:00pm ET (Stream: Cross-Ice Pass )  - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . 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The Seven: The 2016 NHL All-Star Game with an all-Canadian twist (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 29 Jan 2016 17:51:44 PST)
The Seven: A weekly look at the NHL's seven Canadian-based teams -- the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks & Winnipeg Jets.

NHL All-Star Skills Competition players announced; who wins? (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 29 Jan 2016 16:17:21 PST)
Eastern Conference captains, Jaromir Jagr and John Tavares, and Western Conference captains, Patrick Kane and John Scott, have selected their challengers for the Honda NHL Skills Competition. The East appears to be in it to win it; whereas, the West might be leaning towards entertainment value (see: fastest skater). All the events take place on Saturday, January 30 starting at 7:00 pm ET at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. So, who you got? Check out the field below. Bridgestone Fastest Skater Event description: Four players from each team will test their speed, facing off against an opponent in a two-skater race. The race track for the head-to-head match-ups is the border of the rink split in half lengthways. Timing devices will record each skater to determine the winner of each match. If a race ends in a tie, each of the teams will be awarded one point. The skater with the fastest time in the head-to-head match-ups will skate a full lap of the outside border of the rink, in the direction of their choosing, in an attempt to break Mike Gartner’s record (13.386). Points Available: 6 – The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the fastest skater scores a bonus point; if the fastest skater is successful in breaking Mike Gartner’s record an additional bonus point will be awarded. Western Conference Roman Josi (D), Nashville Predators Matt Duchene (F), Colorado Avalanche Taylor Hall (F), Edmonton Oilers Dustin Byfuglien (D), Winnipeg Jets   Eastern Conference Dylan Larkin (F), Detroit Red Wings Brandon Saad (F), Columbus Blue Jackets Erik Karlsson (D), Ottawa Senators Kris Letang (D), Pittsburgh Penguins Last year's winner : Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning (AWKWARD) Favorite: Dylan Larkin is young and naive. Expect him to go all out. Darkhorse: Everyone outside of Evander Kane wants to see the universe explode when Dustin Byfuglien wins. *** Honda NHL Breakaway Challenge* Event description: A test of creativity a player can insert into a breakaway, three shooters and one goaltender from each team will participate. Columbus' Brandon Saad was selected by fans to participate in this event in an online vote. Each skater will attempt two shots. NHL penalty shot rules do not apply. Fans in-arena and watching on television will be able to vote for their favorite player on Twitter by casting their vote using the hashtag that corresponds to the player of their choice. Points Available: 1 – The shooter with the highest fan vote will score one point for his team. *We are sad to report: No fire allowed - AGAIN. Western Conference James Neal (F), Nashville Predators Matt Duchene (F), Colorado Avalanche Brent Burns (D), San Jose Sharks Jonathan Quick (G), Los Angeles Kings   Eastern Conference Brandon Saad (F), Columbus Blue Jackets Evgeny Kuznetsov (F), Washington Capitals P.K. Subban (D), Montreal Canadiens Cory Schneider (G), New Jersey Devils Last year's winner : Ryan Johansen, then-Columbus Blue Jackets, now Nashville Predators (AWKWARD) Most likely to use prop comedy: Brent Burns Most likely to dazzle with pure skill: Matt Duchene *** DraftKings NHL Accuracy Shooting Event description: Four players from each team will compete, with two additional players serving as passers. This event will consist of four head-to-head match-ups, one shooter from each team per round. The goal is to hit four 15-inch diameter targets located in each corner of the net. The teams will be situated at opposite ends of the rink, and will alternate shot attempts. The first shooter to hit all four targets wins. Points Available: 5 –The winner of each match-up scores one point; the player who hits all four targets in the fastest time scores the bonus point Western Conference Patrick Kane (F), Chicago Blackhawks Joe Pavelski (F), San Jose Sharks Corey Perry (F), Anaheim Ducks Jamie Benn (F), Dallas Stars Passer: Drew Doughty (D), Los Angeles Kings Passer: Vladimir Tarasenko (F), St. Louis Blues   Eastern Conference John Tavares (F), New York Islanders Patrice Bergeron (F), Boston Bruins Claude Giroux (F), Philadelphia Flyers Evgeni Malkin (F), Pittsburgh Penguins Passer: Nicklas Backstrom (F), Washington Capitals Passer: Jaromir Jagr (F), Florida Panthers Favorite: The sniper-loaded Western Conference *** Gatorade NHL Skills Challenge Relay Event description: This timed relay event – involving 14 skaters and one goalie from each team – will consist of five challenges: One-Timers, with three shooters and one passer per team  Passing, with one passer per team  Puck Control, with one skater per team Stick-Handling, with one skater per team Goalie Goals, with one goalie per team Each skill must be completed before moving on to the next challenge with the exception of one timers, passing and goalie goals, in which a maximum of forty-five seconds will be allocated. The goal is to finish all five challenges faster than the opponent. Points Available: 3 - The team with the fastest time in each heat scores one point; the team with the fastest overall time scores one bonus point. RELAY 1 Western Conference   Shea Weber (D), Nashville Predators One-timer RH Drew Doughty (D), Los Angeles Kings One-timer RH Corey Perry (F), Anaheim Ducks One-timer RH Taylor Hall (F), Edmonton Oilers Passer: One-timer Daniel Sedin (F), Vancouver Canucks Passer: Mini Net Johnny Gaudreau (F), Calgary Flames Puck Control Patrick Kane (F), Chicago Blackhawks Stick Handling Pekka Rinne (G), Nashville Predators Goalie Goals     Eastern Conference   Aaron Ekblad (D), Florida Panthers One-timer RH Erik Karlsson (D), Ottawa Senators One-timer RH Steven Stamkos (F), Tampa Bay Lightning One-timer RH Patrice Bergeron (F), Boston Bruins Passer: One-timer Nicklas Backstrom (F), Washington Capitals Passer: Mini Net Justin Faulk (D), Carolina Hurricanes Puck Control Claude Giroux (F), Philadelphia Flyers Stick Handling Braden Holtby (G), Washington Capitals Goalie Goals RELAY 2 Western Conference   Mark Giordano (D), Calgary Flames One-timer LH James Neal (F), Nashville Predators One-timer LH Vladimir Tarasenko (F), St. Louis Blues One-timer LH Matt Duchene (F), Colorado Avalanche Passer: One-timer Jamie Benn (F), Dallas Stars Passer: Mini Net Roman Josi (D), Nashville Predators Puck Control Tyler Seguin (F), Dallas Stars Stick Handling Devan Dubnyk (G), Minnesota Wild Goalie Goals     Eastern Conference   Ryan McDonagh (D), New York Rangers One-timer LH Leo Komarov (F), Toronto Maple Leafs One-timer LH Ryan O'Reilly (F), Buffalo Sabres One-timer LH Jaromir Jagr (F), Florida Panthers Passer: One-timer Evgeny Kuznetsov (F), Washington Capitals Passer: Mini Net Kris Letang (D), Pittsburgh Penguins Puck Control Dylan Larkin (F), Detroit Red Wings Stick Handling Ben Bishop (G), Tampa Bay Lightning Goalie Goals Favorite: Again, the West. Some of the best hands in the business are on the team. *** AMP NHL Hardest Shot Event description: Four shooters from each team will test their slap shot skill in a head-to-head match-up. Each player will attempt two shots, with teams alternating after each player. One puck will be placed 30 feet from the center of the net. Each shot will be calculated in miles per hour (mph), with the highest speed of their two shots recorded. Points Available: Five team points. The winner of each match-up scores one point; the team with the player who has the fastest speed scores one bonus point. Western Conference Dustin Byfuglien (D), Winnipeg Jets Tyler Seguin (F), Dallas Stars John Scott (F), Arizona Coyotes via MTL/Newfy Shea Weber (D), Nashville Predators   Eastern Conference Aaron Ekblad (D), Florida Panthers Evgeni Malkin (F), Pittsburgh Penguins Steven Stamkos (F), Tampa Bay Lightning P.K. Subban (D), Montreal Canadiens Last year's winner : Shea Weber at 108.5 m.p.h. Favorite: He may not hit 108 again but Weber is an old pro at this event. Darkhorse: We love us some 6'8" monster of a man in John Scott. *** Discover NHL Shootout Event description: 18 skaters and three goaltenders from each team will participate in the three-round shootout. During each two-minute round, six skaters and one goalie from each team will take the ice. Teams will alternate after each shot with each player having a maximum of 10 seconds to take a shot. Players one and three from each team will be designated Discover puck players; each goal scored by these players will count as two points. NHL shootout rules apply to each scoring attempt. Points Available: 1 point for every goal scored and 2 points for every goal scored with a Discover puck. ROUND 1 Western Conference Patrick Kane (F), Chicago Blackhawks Matt Duchene (F), Colorado Avalanche Brent Burns (D), San Jose Sharks Mark Giordano (D), Calgary Flames Vladimir Tarasenko (F), St. Louis Blues Daniel Sedin (F), Vancouver Canucks Devan Dubnyk (G), Minnesota Wild   Eastern Conference Evgeni Malkin (F), Pittsburgh Penguins Jaromir Jagr (F), Florida Panthers P.K. Subban (D), Montreal Canadiens Ryan O'Reilly (F), Buffalo Sabres Leo Komarov (F), Toronto Maple Leafs Aaron Ekblad (D), Florida Panthers Roberto Luongo (G), Florida Panthers ROUND 2 Western Conference Joe Pavelski (F), San Jose Sharks Taylor Hall (F), Edmonton Oilers Jamie Benn (F), Dallas Stars James Neal (F), Nashville Predators Johnny Gaudreau (F), Calgary Flames Dustin Byfuglien (D), Winnipeg Jets John Gibson (G), Anaheim Ducks   Eastern Conference Patrice Bergeron (F), Boston Bruins Nicklas Backstrom (F), Washington Capitals Steven Stamkos (F), Tampa Bay Lightning Evgeny Kuznetsov (F), Washington Capitals Ryan McDonagh (D), New York Rangers Justin Faulk (D), Carolina Hurricanes Braden Holtby (G), Washington Capitals ROUND 3 Western Conference John Scott (F), Arizona Coyotes via MTL/Newfy Shea Weber (D), Nashville Predators Tyler Seguin (F), Dallas Stars Corey Perry (F), Anaheim Ducks Drew Doughty (D), Los Angeles Kings Roman Josi (D), Nashville Predators Pekka Rinne (G), Nashville Predators   Eastern Conference Claude Giroux (F), Philadelphia Flyers Dylan Larkin (F), Detroit Red Wings John Tavares (F), New York Islanders Kris Letang (D), Pittsburgh Penguins Erik Karlsson (D), Ottawa Senators Brandon Saad (D), Columbus Blue Jackets Ben Bishop (G), Tampa Bay Lightning Favorite: Western Conference will prevail again. The East has a ton of great passers but the goal scorers are in the West.  - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Patrick Kane is Able (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 29 Jan 2016 06:57:00 PST)
Patrick Kane has been the best hockey player in the world heading into the All-Star Break. Read more in The Week Ahead.

TSN coach poll says Capitals likeliest to win Stanley Cup (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 27 Jan 2016 14:31:05 PST)
Most head coaches in the NHL believe the Washington Capitals will face off against the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2016 Stanley Cup. And many think the Capitals will prevail over as champions. Over Jan. 23-25, TSN conducted a poll of 27 NHL head coaches on Stanley Cup finalists, Cup champions, best player, best goaltender, best defenseman, best rookie and best coach. They could not vote for their own teams and players. A total of 25 voters believed the Capitals would represent the Eastern Conference in the Cup Final – the other two votes going to the Tampa Bay Lightning, last year’s Eastern Conference champions. In the Western Conference, the Blackhawks – the defending Stanley Cup champions – received 15 votes. The Pacific Division leading Los Angeles Kings got 11 votes and the Dallas Stars one vote as teams that would represent the Western Conference in the Cup Final. As for the Cup itself, the Capitals received 16 votes, the Blackhawks nine votes, the Kings and Lightning one vote each. Los Angeles won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014. The Capitals lead the NHL in defense, allowing 2.15 goals per-game. The Kings rank third at 2.23 goals per-game. Washington has the league’s top offense with 3.33 goals per-game with the Stars second at 3.20 goals per-game. The Capitals have never won a Stanley Cup and not gone past the second round since Alexander Ovechkin’s first season in 2005-06. Fourteen coaches chose a Washington-Chicago Cup final, but those 14 were split right down the middle on the winner. Seven took Washington; seven took Chicago. The next most popular Cup pairing (10 votes) was Washington-Los Angeles, but nine of those 10 coaches chose the Caps to beat the Kings in the final. The Kings’ lone vote as Cup champion came from a coach who envisioned a Los Angeles-Washington final with the Kings prevailing. One coach had Tampa beating Los Angeles in the Cup final; another had Washington beating Dallas for the Cup.  The two more hotly contested voting totals involved “Best Defenseman” and “Best Rookie.”  Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty received the highest totals for defensemen with 12 votes, beating Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson – the NHL’s leader amongst defenseman scoring – who had five votes. Chicago’s Duncan Keith, last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner, received three votes, Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson got two votes, and Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi, San Jose Sharks blueliner Brent Burns, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Minnesota Wild rearguard Ryan Suter and Nashville captain Shea Weber each got one vote.    Karlsson has won two Norris Trophies to Doughy’s zero, but Doughty’s candidacy seems to have picked up some steam this year, with him taking over as one of the Kings’ leaders. Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg, the third leading scorer amongst defensemen, did not get any votes. Doughty ranks just 21st in defenseman scoring but plays 28 minutes per-night. He averages 2:57 per-game on the penalty kill and is used by coach Darryl Sutter in tough match up situations. Karlsson’s strength is keeping the play more in the offensive zone and making the Senators a much better team when he’s on the ice. According to the website War on Ice, Karlsson’s CF% Rel is plus-8.73 5-on-5.  As far as rookies, Chicago forward Artemi Panarin edged out Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin with 12 votes to 10 for Larkin. Arizona Coyotes forward Max Domi had two votes. Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere each had one vote. One coach chose not to vote. If 2015 No. 1 overall pick Connor McDavid had not been injured, this list may have looked different. McDavid had 12 points in 13 games before breaking his collarbone in early November. The 24-year-old Panarin is the runaway leader in rookie points with 46 in 53 games, playing on a line with Patrick Kane. Eichel has made a push of late, now ranking second in rookie scoring with 34 points in 50 games played. He has seven points in his last five games played. Larkin ranks third with 33 points in 48 games and Domi fourth with 32 points for the resurgent Arizona Coyotes. Gostisbehere leads rookie defensemen with 20 points in 28 games, while averaging 18:17 of ice-time per-night.  Multiple NHL coaches wanted to vote for Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid, but a broken collarbone that has limited him to 13 games (albeit with five goals and 12 points), effectively took him out of the running. Chicago forward Patrick Kane – the NHL’s leading scorer with 73 points – was overwhelmingly named the league’s top player by the coaches. Kane received 22 votes to three for Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn, who ranks second in the NHL with 58 points. Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews each got one vote. Ovechkin has scored 28 goals this year, two behind Kane for the NHL lead. Toews has suffered through a down year with 35 points in 53 games. Still he has captained Chicago to three Stanley Cups since 2010. At 0.66 points per-game, Toews is suffering through his lowest average of his NHL career. Three coaches did opt for the more physical approach of Dallas winger Benn, who trails Kane with 58 points. Washington’s brute force scoring winger Ovechkin, who is chasing Kane for the goal-scoring lead, picked up the only other vote.  Washington Captials goaltender Braden Holtby received 20 of 27 votes as the league’s top goaltender. Holtby leads the NHL with wins and has a 2.01 goal-against average and .930 save percentage. New Jersey Devils netminder Cory Schneider (2.03 goal-against average and .929 save percentage) received five votes – for his help in getting the Devils (55 points and tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins) near the last Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo and Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick each got one vote. Luongo’s had arguably the best season of his career with a 2.08 goal-against average and .930 save percentage in helping the surprising Florida Panthers to the top of the Atlantic Division. Quick ranks third in the NHL with 26 wins. He’s allowed three-or-more goals in three of his last five starts. As for best coach, Barry Trotz’s peers overwhelmingly said Washington’s bench boss had done the top job this year with 15 votes. The Capitals are 35-8-3 and have 73 points – most in the league over the Blackhawks with 70.  Florida’s Gerard Gallant ranked second with five votes and Chicago’s Joel Quenneville was third with four votes. New Jersey Devils coach John Hynes, Carolina Hurricanes coach Bill Peters and Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett each had one vote. The surprising Hurricanes are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and just one point back of the last Wild Card Spot. The Coyotes held the second-worst record in the NHL last season, but currently hold the final Pacific Division postseason spot with 53 points. Both the Devils and the Panthers have not made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season.  MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

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