James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.
AP

Sabres sign goalie Jason Kasdorf to entry-level contract

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The Buffalo Sabres signed goalie Jason Kasdorf, one of the final pieces of the Evander Kane trade, to an entry-level contract on Monday.

It wasn’t specified by the Sabres, but it appears to be a one-year deal (covering the rest of the 2015-16 season).

At least, those are the contract details added by Cap Friendly:

The Winnipeg Jets selected Kasdorf in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL Draft at 157th overall. He’s coming off a strong final college season with RPI, where he registered a .931 save percentage in 30 games played.

It sounds like injuries have been a stumbling block for Kasdorf, as the Buffalo News discussed in the summer:

Kasdorf has had an up-and-down collegiate career. He set a school record as a freshman with a 1.62 goals-against average while starting 22 games. He played only two games his sophomore season because of a dislocated shoulder.

He went 11-19-2 with a .902 save percentage this season while again missing time with an injury. He hopes a solid senior season will vault him to the pros.

That it did, although it remains to be seen if he can make a big impact.

It looks like he might get an early shot to impress, too.

WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks

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After all this time, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Western Conference playoff race came down to another bout between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.

These two teams still feature many of the same core faces (Patrick Kane, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Drew Doughty and more …), and their franchises remain guided by steady hands.

In other words, Monday presents a treat on NBCSN, as we see two of the West’s best square off. For all we know, it could be a preview for the 2016 Western Conference Final match.

Along with watching it on NBCSN, you can stream the action via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Video: Steven Stamkos hits the 30-goal mark

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Whether Steven Stamkos remains in Tampa Bay or goes to Toronto (or somewhere else?), chances are, he’ll be scoring at least 30 goals during most healthy seasons.

He hit that mark once again on Sunday, finishing off a one-timer setup from Nikita Kucherov to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

As the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith notes, this is the fifth time that Stamkos has scored at least 30 goals in a season.

Should we expect 40 this season?

Penguins beat Rangers, game-winner likely makes Lundqvist mad again

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Hey, the Pittsburgh Penguins get a lucky break now and then, too.

(And not just when Craig Patrick won the Sidney Crosby lottery many moons ago …)

Amid the doom and gloom of the bad news about Evgeni Malkin‘s health, the Penguins generated a hearty effort in beating the New York Rangers 5-3 on Sunday.

It was the kind of effort that required a certain amount of moxie; the Penguins gave up three one-goal leads before their 4-3 tally held up.

It was also the sort of game that probably left Henrik Lundqvist livid … again, as that 4-3 goal was a real gut punch:

Ouch.

This has been a frustrating start to March for Lundqvist: the “baby stuff” loss to the Penguins which involved an injury, Saturday’s loss that left him “seething” and now this defeat. All that work and the Rangers leave this weekend with a single point.

The Penguins get two crucial ones here, thanks in part to a two-goal effort from Conor Sheary.

If Pittsburgh wants to reach the postseason, they’ll need to hang in there. They showed a solid knack for rolling with the punches against the Rangers today.

Video: Conor Sheary racks up two goals for Penguins

AP

With Evgeni Malkin out for what looks like at least the rest of the regular season, the Pittsburgh Penguins need different players to step up.

So far, Conor Sheary is doing that for the Penguins on Sunday, as he enters the third period against the New York Rangers with two goals.

Let’s take a look at both tallies.

Here’s his first goal, which was a deft deflection of a Justin Schultz shot:

And here is Sheary’s second tally:

We’ll see if Sheary can make it three. Tune in to NBC to follow along. You can also stream it via this link.