Former women's hockey player AJ Mleczko breaks the ice as TV analyst for NHL playoff games – USA TODAY

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SportsPulse: The Vegas Golden Knights are rewriting the history books on what it means to be an expansion team and in the process captivating a city. Our NHL insider Kevin Allen believes their magical run could end with a Stanley Cup. USA TODAY Sports

AJ Mleczko, a former U.S. Olympian, has been taking her talents to the TV booth during NHL games, where she uses her expertise to provide insight about what is going on on the ice.(Photo: Courtesy: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

When former U.S. Olympian AJ Mleczko left her audition for an NBC television analyst job in the spring of 2005, she assumed her broadcasting career was over before it launched.

Nobody had told her she would audition with legendary play-by-play man Mike Emrick and they would broadcast her U.S. team’s loss to Canada at the 2002 Olympics. Intimidation. Sentimentality. Nervousness. Mleczko had it all going on.

“It was a difficult audition,” said Mleczko, an Olympic silver and gold medalist. “I was thinking, ‘Well, this was a great experience, but that may well be my one-and-done broadcasting career.”

To Mleczko’s surprise, she was offered the job as an analyst for the women’s games at the 2006 Olympics. Twelve years later, Mleczko is the first woman to be working NHL Stanley Cup playoff games as an in-booth analyst.

She will work beside Kenny Albert on Friday for Game 5 of the Nashville Predators-Colorado Avalanche Western Conference quarterfinal in Nashville (9:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network). Mleczko also served in the role for Game 1. Nashville leads the series 3-1.

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“I

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Flyers vs. Penguins odds, Game 5: 2018 NHL playoffs picks from hockey expert on 21-9 run – CBSSports.com

The Pittsburgh Penguins hold a 3-1 edge against the Philadelphia Flyers in their first-round NHL playoff series. On Friday (7 p.m. ET), Pittsburgh is heavily favored to move on to the Eastern Conference semifinals, but Philadelphia has vowed to put up a fight against their in-state rivals.

Oddsmakers appear convinced Pittsburgh is destined to move on, as the Penguins are massive -250 favorites (wager $250 to win $100). The over-under for total goals scored is six.

For optimal analysis on this elimination game, look no further than SportsLine’s resident hockey expert,  David Kelly. He has extended a season of documented excellence with a similar run through the 2018 NHL playoffs. 

Over the past two weeks, he has picked 30 NHL games and nailed 21 of them, a cash rate that has raked in more than $1,000 to $100 bettors. Those following his picks all season have more than $5,600 to show for it.

A Toronto-born hockey analyst with multiple advanced degrees, Kelly uses his proprietary data models and unmatched knowledge of the game to produce consistently astounding results. Now, he has analyzed the key factors for Game 5 of this series and shared his top value selection on SportsLine.

Kelly knows Pittsburgh’s three wins have come by a combined score of 17-1 and it’s coming off a two-game sweep at Philadelphia capped by a 5-0 shutout Wednesday. The Flyers’ lone bright moment in this series came with a 5-1 win at Pittsburgh in Game 2.

Penguins goalie Matt Murray has two shutouts in the series for a 1.27 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. He received attention from a trainer during practice Thursday, but said afterward he is fine and would be ready for Game 5.

Pittsburgh will be without gritty winger Patric Hornqvist for the

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Bill Peters Resigns Position as Head Coach – NHL.com

RALEIGH, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes today announced that Head Coach Bill Peters has resigned his position. The team will immediately begin its search for a new head coach.  

“I have a lot of respect for Bill as a person and coach,” said Owner/CEO/Governor Tom Dundon. “We thank him for his time with the Hurricanes and wish him success in whatever comes next.”

Peters compiled a career record of 137-138-53 in four seasons, after being named head coach for the Hurricanes on June 19, 2014. He was the 13th person in franchise history to serve as head coach and the fourth since the team’s arrival in North Carolina in 1997. In addition to his work with the Hurricanes, Peters won a gold medal as the head coach for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship, and he will again lead Canada during the 2018 IIHF World Championship.

“I want to thank Tom Dundon, Peter Karmanos and Ron Francis for the trust they put in me to lead the team,” said Peters. “I feel the incoming general manager should have the ability to hire his own head coach. I also want to thank Don Waddell and the entire front office and PNC Arena staff. This business requires hard work and long hours, and I greatly appreciate the efforts of the many people I have worked alongside during the past four years.

“We enjoyed our time in Raleigh, and my family will always feel a connection to North Carolina. I feel like this is a good time to move on, and I am looking forward to my next challenge.”

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Matthews has top-selling NHL jersey this season – NHL.com

Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs had the top-selling jersey on the Fanatics network of ecommerce sites, including Shop.NHL.com, NHLShop.ca and Fanatics.com, during the 2017-18 regular season.

Matthews, who had 63 points (34 goals, 29 assists) in his second season in the NHL, finished ahead of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby, who had the best-selling jersey last season. The 20-year-old forward won the Calder Trophy last season as NHL rookie of the year.

“We’ve got unbelievable fans here and every time we play it’s awesome seeing your jersey in the stands,” Matthews said Friday. “It’s definitely something I don’t take for granted.”

Rounding out the top five jerseys were Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, and New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Top 15 selling NHL jerseys

1. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

3. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

4. Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights

5. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

6. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

7. Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers

8. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

9. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

10. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues

11. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

12. T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals

13. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres

14. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning

15. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

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Islanders, NHL News: Look Ma, new wood paneling – Lighthouse Hockey

It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Also, it’s Friday.

Islanders Reading The Islanders, er Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, made a big deal of showing ticketholders the renovated Nassau Coliseum. Honestly everything about Isles arena news and missed opportunities just makes me sad, so all I can think is, “Oh. Nice. Wood paneling.” At least the seats work though. [Newsday story and video] Here are some of the best Isles photos of the year, which in a shock upset are not all by the esteemed and one-of-a-kind Bruce Bennett. [Isles] Down 3-1 in the series after a 2-1 loss, ECHL Worcester now faces a do-or-die scenario beginning Saturday night. [Telegram] Meanwhile, lots of exit interview quotes in Michael Fornabaio’s season-ending blog. For example, Devon Toews says his rehab is ahead of schedule, and also: “I had confidence in my game, plus playing with Kyle Burroughs is the easiest job in the world.” [Soundin’ Off] Also from that roundup, coach Brent Thompson on Michael Dal Colle (“I’ve got to get faster”) and Joshua Ho-Sang: “They need to have a response season. They’re probably not happy with how the season played out. It’s important they take ownership, move forward and now improve for next year.” Well thank goodness, Scott Malkin’s Value Retail outlet shopping chain has rebranded. [WWD] Teams That Are Still Playing, Or Recently Extinguished

Last night’s NHL scores include the Leafs outplaying Boston but making critical mistakes, and the Blue Jackets laying an egg to let the Capitals tie there series.

Not gonna lie, for maximum viewing pleasure I like having many West Coast teams in the playoffs. Annoyed that two of them were swept, eliminated so soon. But it is fun to see

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