Tarasenko, Trocheck, Kinkaid named 3 stars of the week

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck, and New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid have been named the NHL’s "Three Stars" for the week ending March 13.

Here's a look at how they did it:

  • Tarasenko recorded three goals and three assists in three games for the surging Blues. He sits in a tie for fifth in the NHL with 33 goals.
  • Trocheck matched Tarasenko in points with six, five of which were assists, tops among players last week. He matched a career-high with three assists and four points in one game, a 6-2 win over Ottawa on Saturday.
  • Kinkaid posted a 2-0-0 record, 0.48 goals-against average, and .981 save percentage. He also earned his second career shutout with a 3-0 decision over San Jose. The other win came against Los Angeles.

Overlooked this week was Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk, who scored four goals and added an assist in three games. Zero points in a loss to Minnesota on Saturday likely eliminated him from contention.

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Top 5 NHL St. Patrick’s Day Uniforms

St. Patrick's Day is a time when NHL teams get creative with their uniforms, and that's yielded some terrific results over the years. In the lead up to the big night, theScore counts down the top five St. Patrick's Day uniforms.

No. 1: 2015 Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins wanted a way to better previous editions of their special green, St. Patrick's Day jerseys in 2015, so they reached out to a professor at nearby Carnegie Mellon University for Gaelic translations of their players' names.

Sidney Crosby (Crosbaigh) and Evgeni Malkin (Maolchin), along with the rest of their Penguins teammates, wore the jerseys prior to a game against the Boston Bruins, with their names written in Gaelic calligraphy on the backs.

Previous: No. 2 - 2008 Atlanta Thrashers

Related: Top 5 NBA St. Patrick's Day Uniforms

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Top 5 NHL St. Patrick’s Day Uniforms

St. Patrick's Day is a time when NHL teams get extra creative with their uniforms, and that's yielded some terrific results over the years. In the lead up to the big night, theScore counts down the top five St. Patrick's Day uniforms.

No. 5: 2002 Toronto Maple Leafs

The 2001-02 NHL season marked the 75th anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leaf franchise. One of the ways the franchise celebrated its rich tradition that year was by stepping on the ice in the green jerseys and brown helmets, pants, and gloves of the Toronto St. Patricks in a game on March 2.

Fans joined in on the tribute as well. They were given St. Pats toques and green flags, turning the usual sea of blue and white into a tribute to Toronto's hockey roots.

Next: No. 4 - 2012 Ottawa Senators

Related: Top 5 NBA St. Patrick's Day Uniforms

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Sabres’ Lehner in favor of reducing size of goalie equipment

Robin Lehner won't be bothered if the NHL decides to alter goalie equipment in an attempt to increase scoring.

The Sabres goalie fully endorsed reducing the size of goalie equipment Monday while speaking on WGR 550 in Buffalo.

"I'm a pretty big guy and you have guys weighing around 160 who look bigger than me on the ice," said Lehner, who's listed at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds. "We should be athletes out there, not operating equipment. We should save the pucks, it shouldn't be the equipment that saves the pucks."

Lehner has appeared in 20 games for the Sabres this season, posting a 5-9-4 record that belies his sparkling .926 save percentage.

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Report: Playoff arenas to feature blue line cameras

The NHL's general managers aren't wasting any time.

During the morning session of the annual meetings taking place in Boca Raton, Fla., it's reportedly been decided that blue line cameras will be installed in the boards of all 16 arenas that will host playoff games this spring, according to Jonas Siegel of The Canadian Press.

The hope is this will ensure the right ruling is made when a coach challenges a goal scored on a seemingly missed offside call.

Also on the docket is a discussion in regards to whether on-ice officials should make this call, or if it should be reviewed and decided in the league's Toronto-based war room.

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Blues GM looking to limit luck in draft lottery

At least one NHL general manager wants to limit the opposition's dances with lady luck to once in five years.

In advance of this week's general manager meetings in Florida, St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong is talking about reducing the chances of winning the lottery for teams that don't finish in 30th place.

"The theory is that if you finish last you always have a chance to win the lottery," Armstrong said, according to Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun. "So, if you finish last three years in a row, you can win the lottery three years in a row. But if you didn’t finish last and win the lottery, you can’t do it again for another five years.

"If you are like Edmonton last year and finished 28th and won the lottery, you couldn’t win it again this year if you didn’t finish last."

For Armstrong, the question of teams tanking in order to ensure a last-place finish isn't a concern.

"For me it’s not a thing of concern because of the parity," he said. "I just don’t think you can make yourself that much better at the (trade) deadline or that much worse at the deadline.

"Ultimately players have no stake in tanking," he continued. "And when you see the number of young players in the game today, well, usually when a player gets called up, he’s hungrier. It’s almost the reverse philosophy. The logic is that when you trade veteran players you get worse. The reality is, when you trade veterans and bring up younger guys, in a lot of instances you get better. The statistics actually show that."

The draft lottery is expected to be one of the main topics addressed at the GM meetings.

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Comparing Leicester’s magical season to sports’ greatest underdogs

Do you believe in the Loch Ness Monster? What about the possibility that Elvis Presley is still alive? Care to put a wager on it?

If so, you may also have considered dropping some money on Leicester City to win the Premier League title heading into the 2015-16 campaign. You would have gotten the same 5000-1 odds in England.

Six points away from being relegated to the second tier of English soccer last season, Leicester now sits atop the table, two points clear of the chasing pack with nine matches remaining in an absurd year that has defied conventional wisdom at every turn. Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Arsenal - perennial powers whose squads took hundreds of millions of Euros to assemble - are all looking up at the Foxes, who weren't even in the Premier League two years ago.

Heading into the season, the undesirability of Leicester's marquee protagonists would make Cinderella's ugly stepsisters bow in deference: a £400,000 signing (Riyad Mahrez); a 29-year-old striker who was playing in England's fifth tier as recently as 2012 (Jamie Vardy); a journeyman bench boss who was so hilariously terrible in his last gig that he was fired after losing to the Faroe Islands (Claudio Ranieri). The. Faroe. Islands.

Together, this band of misfits could conspire to craft the greatest upset in sports history - and in the process, make a pretty penny for a select few, as noted by Forbes.

Ladbrokes and William Hill, who have a combined customer base of 3.8 million online and over 5,000 betting shops, estimate a Leicester win may cost them at least four-million pounds ($5.7 million) ... Only three people in Leicester backed the Foxes, with a total of 8 pounds wagered. The biggest bet, 20 pounds, was made by a man in Manchester who stands to make an astonishing 100,000 pounds if successful.

The Philadelphia 76ers, pegged at 200-1 to capture the NBA title this season, wish they were unheralded in the same way.

Leicester, of course, is far from the first team to defy overwhelming odds and perceived inferiority en route to historical triumphs. Inspired by the Foxes' spellbinding campaign, theScore revisits some of our most revered underdog stories across the sporting world.

Super Bowl III: Namath delivers on his guarantee

David P. Woods: As long as the great leveler that is the NFL's salary cap remains in place, no upset will surpass the New York Jets' stunning 16-7 defeat of the 19-point favorite Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

Days before the game, "Broadway" Joe Namath - quarterback of the upstart AFL champion Jets - famously guaranteed his team would knock off the Colts, the class of the superior NFL, who had cruised to victory in the first two annual bouts between the league winners.

Super Bowl III's outcome helped reshape the sport, solidifying the AFL-NFL merger and building the foundation for the national mystique that accompanies the Super Bowl today.

1914 Boston Braves go worst-to-first

Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb: The Boston Braves finished last in the National League four times between 1909-1913, and appeared well on their way to another basement-dweller finish in 1914. On July 4 of that year, the Braves hit rock bottom; they dropped a doubleheader to fall 15 games behind the first-place Giants. The rest is history. Boston played at an astonishing .782 clip the rest of the season, led by a roster consisting of two marginal Hall of Famers - including one of the worst MVPs ever, statistically speaking - and three starting pitchers who all had the second halves of their lives in unison.

The Braves took first place from the Giants for good on Sept. 8, moved into Fenway Park to accommodate growing crowds, and won the NL pennant by an easy 10 1/2 games. If that wasn't enough, the Braves then swept Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics - the defending champions who were appearing in their fourth fall classic in five years - to win the World Series. Alas, within three years the team was back in the cellar - where it'd spend most of the next three-plus decades - but the 1914 "Miracle Braves" remain the authors of the greatest mid-season turnaround in baseball history.

Appalachian State silences the Big House

Dane Belbeck: Michigan entered the 2007 season as the No. 5 ranked team in the polls. Appalachian State came in with two straight FCS national titles, but this was Michigan. Las Vegas refused to set a betting line, which tells you all you need to know about the chances of an upset, and just 66 seconds into the contest it was glaringly obvious why.

The Wolverines overpowered their inferior opponents with a 66-yard drive of domination to stake an early lead. Then something weird happened, the Mountaineers answered immediately. They didn't stop there, taking a shocking 28-17 lead in to the locker room at half. Michigan would battle back, and after taking a 32-31 lead with 4:36 remaining, the 109,218 fans exhaled a sigh of relief.

Once again Appalachian State wouldn't die, striking back with a field goal to take a 34-32 lead with 26 seconds to play. Chad Henne would hit Mario Manningham on a 46-yard gain to set up a 37-yard field goal for a shockingly dramatic win. Then this happened.

Insult to injury, Michigan paid Appalachian State $400,000 to make the trip to Ann Arbor for the contest.

Moses Malone and the Rockets march to The Finals

Joseph Casciaro: In a league that sees no more than a handful of teams establish themselves as true championship contenders each year, there aren't many Cinderella runs to recount in the NBA's storied history.

That said, the closest such thing would be the 1980-81 Houston Rockets.

Through the franchise's first nine seasons in Houston, the Rockets had amassed a .467 winning percentage, and while the '81 version featured an MVP caliber player in his prime - Moses Malone - a subpar supporting cast (all due respect to Calvin Murphy, Robert Reid, Mike Dunleavy, Rudy Tomjanovich) meant no one was expecting much from the fairly mediocre unit. That the Rockets finished 6th in the Western Conference with a 40-42 record, clinching a playoff spot with only one game to spare, did little to heighten those expectations heading into the postseason.

Then the unthinkable happened, as Malone's Rockets upset the defending champion Lakers in the first round (winning the decisive Game 3 by three points), took down the second-seeded Spurs in a seven-game second round series, and dispatched the fifth-seeded Kings in the West Final, before eventually falling two wins shy against a 62-win Celtics squad in The Finals.

Imagine the fanfare a run like this - with a losing team upsetting the champs and marching to The Finals - would garner in the social media era.

1983 NCAA Championship: NC State at the buzzer

Dane Belbeck: Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, and the 1983 Houston Cougars known as "Phi Slamma Jamma" dunked their way to the top of the college basketball world entering the NCAA tournament, capturing the overall No. 1 seed. NC State barely made it into the tournament after a 10-loss season, needing to win the ACC tournament to ensure its place.

The Cougars entered as 7.5-point favorites, but their fast-paced offense struggled with the high-altitude in Albuquerque, N.M., resulting in an eight-point deficit at half. A 17-2 run, led by the two future NBA Hall of Famers, promptly restored Houston's lead, but NC State battled back to tie the matchup at 52 in the final minute. The winning basket for the Wolfpack would be reason enough to list this as the top upset in the sport's history ...

... but the pictures of coach Jim Valvano celebrating wildly are as iconic as they come.

8th-seeded Edmonton Oilers come agonizingly close

Justin Cuthbert: Let's preface this with acknowledgement to the Los Angeles Kings, who became the first-ever eighth seed in North American sports to win a championship in 2012. But they apply only by virtue of their ranking; Los Angeles was too good, too dominant, too damn big to ever be considered Cinderella.

Instead, the misfit Edmonton Oilers in 2005-06, who like Leicester City depended on one man's superhuman contributions to lift them to seemingly impossible heights, bear closest resemblance to the Foxes in the NHL's salary-cap era. Only unlike Riyad Mahrez (and to a lesser extent Vardy), Chris Pronger was a rock star from the back end out.

The punishing Pronger put on one of the single-best postseason performances at his position in the history of the NHL, leading the Oilers to an upset over the 124-point Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks, and Anaheim Ducks to reach the Stanley Cup Final and meet the Carolina Hurricanes. There, an injury to Oilers starter Dwayne Roloson undercut their run, but Pronger, who finished with five goals, 21 points, averaged nearly 31 minutes, and who willed Edmonton to a seventh game after falling behind 3-1, was robbed of the Conn Smythe Trophy, which instead went to Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward.

Leicester, of course, will hope that the parallels between Pronger and Mahrez are limited to the moments leading up to just before the final chapter of their seasons. Because not only did Pronger come up agonizingly short on the final day, he never wore an Oilers jersey again - demanding a transfer, of sorts, that summer.

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Blue Jackets’ Prout to have hearing for sucker punch on Lightning’s Kucherov

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout will have a hearing for roughing/sucker punching Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL's Department of Player Safety has announced.

The incident occurred during a scrum behind the net, and the punch forced Kucherov to make an early exit from Sunday's game.

The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

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Trotz urges Capitals to ‘fight for the inches’

Having basically already conquered the NHL's regular season, Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz is weary of his team becoming complacent.

Washington has amassed 103 points through 68 games, enough for a 12-point advantage in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

But this is a team with playoff-heavy aspirations, and with a 5-4-1 record over the past 10 games, is trending the wrong way at the wrong time.

As a result, Trotz is warning his players not to take their feet off the gas.

"Everybody we’re playing is in playoff mode. They’re fighting for playoff position and they’re marking us and they’re using us as a little bit of a yardstick based on our record and every game is hard," Trotz said Sunday, according to Chuck Gormley of CSN. "You’ve got to fight for inches and right now we’ve got some guys, they’re playing hard but we’re not fighting for enough inches.

"You’re going to have to fight for the inches in the playoffs and you’ve got to prepare that way for the playoffs."

Of particular note, superstar winger Alex Ovechkin has a single goal in seven March games and dropped only two shots in a 5-2 loss Saturday in San Jose.

Trotz's thoughts?

"I need all our guys to play at the level they need to play at."

Shots fired. Or, rather, more shots need to be fired.

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