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Optional practice turns into optional walk in the park for New Jersey’s Mattias Tedenby

If there’s a coach in the NHL you probably wouldn’t feel comfortable getting on the wrong side of, New Jersey’s Jacques Lemaire has to be near the top of the list. After all, Lemaire is set in his ways and has guys that he’s more confident in than others when it comes to making the lineup. For rookie winger Mattias Tedenby, the methods he has for his own madness in how to prepare for a game might be the sort of thing Lemaire would question.

Tedenby skipped out on the Devils optional skate today marking the second time he’s done that this season. Why might Lemaire not worry about this so much? Tedenby has a bit of a different technique for snapping out of a funk that he’s giving a shot at trying as he tells Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice.

The first time he did it on Feb. 8 before the Devils took on the Carolina Hurricanes, Tedenby scored two goals including the winner in a 3-2 overtime victory. So, he figured he’d try it again today when head coach Jacques Lemaire gave the team an optional morning skate before its game against Ottawa tonight.

“Exactly,” Tedenby said. “I have the same feeling tonight.”

Tedenby, 21, said he didn’t know if he is definitely in the lineup tonight. He hopes he’ll get a chance to see if the morning off pays off for him again. He hasn’t registered a point since that Feb. 8 game.

“That’s the way for me.” he said. “I feel like, yeah, today go out in the sun instead for a walk and I feel prepared for the game, so.”

Lemaire is certainly a stickler and he’s shuffled the talented Tedenby in and out of the lineup this year but if it takes a walk in the park to get a player to clear their head and prepared for a game, hey why not? After all, it worked out pretty well once before it’s probably worth a shot at trying it again to see if there’s something to it. Things are going so well with the Devils lately that this sort of thing gives them more of a “Major League” kind of feel (sans the Charlie Sheen “Wild Thing” whimsy) as they try to storm their way into the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Of course, this story loses a bit of its luster if Tedenby is once again a healthy scratch tonight. It might also provide the lesson that skipping out on an optional practice when the season is getting down to the end and a playoff spot is within the realm of possibility is a bad idea. That wouldn’t be too fun though and if there’s something Jacques Lemaire is all about in the NHL it’s fun.

Wait, what?

WATCH LIVE: Penguins at Capitals, Game 2, plus NHL Draft Lottery

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, right, goes up against Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, left, during the second period of Game 1 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday, April 28, 2016 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to even up their second-round series with the Washington Capitals with a win on the road Saturday at Verizon Center. You can catch Game 2 between these rivals on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links for both Game 2 between the Penguins and Capitals, and the draft lottery:

Sheary’s in for Penguins in Game 2; Kunitz is a game-time decision

Wilson fined for kneeing Sheary

Everything you need to know about the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery

Gather your lucky charms, 2016 NHL Draft Lottery is tonight

Burke: Once a team picks first overall, no more drafting first overall (for a few years at least)

Lightning strikes: Bolts even series with Islanders

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Tyler Johnson began the playoffs as a game-time decision for the Tampa Bay Lightning in their series with the Detroit Red Wings. He’s now among the top point producers this post-season.

Needing a win to even the series before it shifts north to Brooklyn, the Lightning earned a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon. Series tied, 1-1. As for Johnson, the diminutive but skilled forward, he led the Bolts with a three-point night and is up to 10 points in the playoffs.

He opened the scoring versus the Islanders and finished it with an empty-netter to negate any late comeback attempt.

Still without Steven Stamkos, the Lightning got another strong game from Jonathan Drouin, who entered this series without a goal. But he changed that, giving the host team a two-goal lead in the opening period of Game 2. That goal would be the eventual winner.

Corey Perry: ‘I take a lot of blame for what happened’ after Ducks bounced in first round

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 11:  Ryan Getzlaf #15 and Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks watch from the bench during the first period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on April 11, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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After a first-round playoff loss that resulted in the firing of coach Bruce Boudreau, players were forced to answer for such a disappointing end to the Anaheim Ducks’ season.

The Ducks were last in the West at the holiday break but went flying up the standings in the second half of the season, claiming the Pacific Division. But they couldn’t close out the Nashville Predators in the opening round, despite a 3-2 series lead, and Boudreau was sent packing.

Ducks GM Bob Murray then let the players have it, blasting the core group and their performance, especially in the first two games of the series, and strongly suggesting there would be some big changes in Anaheim leading up to next season.

“I take a lot of blame for what happened,” said Corey Perry, as per the Ducks’ website. “I didn’t score a goal. I take a lot of responsibility. I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform.”

In seven games, the 30-year-old Perry, who just concluded the third year of an eight-year contract with a cap hit of $8.625 million, had four assists. But, as he said, no goals.

On Boudreau’s dismissal, Perry added: “He did a lot for my game. It’s tough when you know the reason somebody got fired is because we as a team and as individuals didn’t perform to where we needed to perform, and that’s the hardest thing. You lose four Game 7s at home, and he has nothing really do with what we did on the ice. We’re performing, we’re playing and we have to hold ourselves accountable. And I think a lot of guys are doing that.”

 

Marquette, Michigan is your Kraft Hockeyville 2016 winner

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Huge congrats to the community of Marquette, MI and the Lakeview Arena — after an exciting voting process, Marquette has been named the winner of the Kraft Hockeyville 2016 competition.

As a result, Lakeview will receive $150,000 in arena upgrades, and will host an Oct. 4 preseason game broadcast on NBCSN between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes.

More, from the NHL:

Marquette is rich in hockey heritage and Lakeview Arena stands as a pillar of the community, stimulating the local economy since it opened in 1973. Lakeview Arena’s semi-pro Marquette Iron Rangers signed the first female professional hockey player in North American history, Karen Koch.

Lakeview Arena will prioritize energy efficiency updates with the grand prize money in addition to other arena upgrades to ensure future generations of Marquette players are able to enjoy skating at Lakeview Arena for years to come.

“We’ve seen amazing participation across the country in Kraft Hockeyville USA’s second year,” said Nina Barton, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kraft Heinz. “This year’s contest led to millions of votes from passionate hockey fans, and we’re so proud America has chosen the spirited, well-deserving community of Marquette as Kraft Hockeyville USA 2016.”

Marquette was just one of more than a thousand communities across the country that submitted stories showing their hockey spirit and passion.

The runner-up, Rushmore Thunderdome of Rapid City, S.D., will receive $75,000 to use toward arena upgrades.

For more on this year’s Kraft Hockeyville competition, click here.