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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Friday, 09.13.2013 / 2:22 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Kraft Hockeyville 2013 blog

Ovechkin to join Capitals at Kraft Hockeyville

BELLEVILLE, Ontario – Good news for those who will be in town for the 2013 Kraft Hockeyville festivities: Alex Ovechkin will be in town.

NHL.com has learned that the Washington Capitals superstar will be among those in Stirling-Rawdon and Belleville when the team arrives here Saturday morning. The Capitals will face the Winnipeg Jets at Yardmen Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET (CBC, NHLN-U.S.).

It is not known yet if Ovechkin will play in the game, but he will definitely be in town. The 27-year-old right wing won the Hart Trophy last season as the NHL's Most Valuable Player. He had 32 goals and 24 assists in 48 games, leading the Capitals to the Southeast Division title.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 12:42 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Lack of power plays doesn't deter Bruins

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers power play certainly needs more work. Their penalty kill, however, hasn't had any of late at Madison Square Garden.

The Boston Bruins did not receive a power play in their 2-1 victory against the Rangers in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal series Tuesday night. New York went 0-for-2 and has received the past 11 man-advantages awarded in its building.

That might be a frustrating statistic for most teams, but the Bruins managed to keep their focus in Game 3 and came away with a victory that has the Rangers on the brink of elimination heading into Thursday's Game 4.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 2:42 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Essensa gets to turn back the clock at morning skate

NEW YORK -- More than a decade has passed since Bob Essensa played in an NHL game. But on Tuesday morning, the 48-year-old was facing shots again.

The Boston Bruins goaltending coach took Tuukka Rask's spot on the ice at Madison Square Garden for the team's optional skate prior to Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

One of the lighter moments came when Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk ripped a slap shot Essensa didn't even try to stop. He wasn't about to make any quick movements that weren't going to agree with his body.

"Anything I had to reach for … yeah," he said to reporters. "Just like the good old days."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins' Seidenberg unlikely to play in Game 3

NEW YORK -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said he would be surprised if defenseman Dennis Seidenberg would be available to play Tuesday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Seidenberg did take part in the team's optional morning skate but apparently is not ready to return to action. He has been out since sustaining a lower-body injury on the first shift of Game 7 of the Bruins' first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Seidenberg is one of three injured veteran defensemen doubtful or out of the lineup. Wade Redden and Andrew Ference have been out since Game 6 of the first round. In their places, rookies Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug have helped the Bruins take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

"Probably not Seidenberg; Redden, we'll see," Julien told reporters Tuesday morning when asked if either would participate in Tuesday's pregame warm-ups. "They're skating this morning, but I don't think [Seidenberg] will be in. If he is, it'll be a surprise to me as much as you guys."

Here is the Bruins' projected lineup for Game 3:

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 8:52 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Kings-Sharks series blog

Sharks trying to solve Kings goalie Quick

The San Jose Sharks were feeling the same frustration Tuesday night experienced by the St. Louis Blues during the latter's final four games of the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

No matter what the Sharks did in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal against the Los Angeles Kings, they could not solve 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick. The Kings goaltender stopped all 35 shots he faced, including 16 in the third period, to lead Los Angeles to a 2-0 win at Staples Center.

After dropping the first two games of the postseason, the Kings have won five in a row. Much of that is due to the play of their goaltender, who lowered his goals-against average to 1.36 while raising his save percentage to .953.

"He's in a zone right now. He's playing great," Sharks forward Logan Couture said Wednesday. "He's seeing everything, he's compact with the puck. It's hitting him and it's not coming off him. We've got to find a way. The St. Louis series, they were saying the same things that I'm saying right now. We've got to find a way to score."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 8:07 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Tavares, Islanders ready to face Vokoun in Game 5

It didn't come as much of a surprise Wednesday afternoon when Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma informed reporters that Tomas Vokoun would replace Marc-Andre Fleury in goal for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Islanders.

Fleury allowed six goals on 24 shots in Tuesday's 6-4 loss in Game 4 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. With the best-of-7 series shifting back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Thursday tied 2-2, Bylsma is going with Vokoun, who went 3-0-0 with a shutout against the Islanders during the regular season.

Not long before Bylsma made the announcement, Islanders center John Tavares discussed the possible switch with Mike Francesa of WFAN in New York.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.07.2013 / 12:52 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Neal, Orpik could return for Penguins in Game 4

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wouldn't divulge any information in regard to his lineup for Game 4 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Islanders, but there is a good chance forward James Neal and defenseman Brooks Orpik will return Tuesday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

Neal and Orpik were full participants at the morning skate, and Neal put in work on the club's top power-play unit. Nine of his 21 goals during the regular season came via the man-advantage.

"It's tough sitting out," said Neal, who suffered a lower-body injury during Pittsburgh's 5-0 victory in Game 1. "It's good to be back on the ice and skating with the guys."
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Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 6:43 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Panthers without Mueller against Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Florida Panthers made forward Peter Mueller a late scratch Tuesday, allowing him to go home to be with pregnant wife.

Mueller did participate at the morning skate at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum prior to the game against the New York Islanders before getting the call to come home.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 12:14 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Islanders understand danger that awaits in Panthers

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- With six games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the New York Islanders will view each match as a must-win situation.

But they know they really can't afford to let two points slip away Tuesday, when the Islanders (21-16-5, seventh place in Eastern Conference) face the Florida Panthers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

With 32 points, Florida (13-22-6) resides in last place in the Eastern Conference and will be looking to avoid a three-game losing streak. The Panthers have been outscored 10-3 in back-to-back losses to the Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

"I know what that feels like the last couple of years," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said of the Panthers, a team that is simply playing out the remainder of its schedule. "Those are dangerous teams sometimes. They want to win these games and they want to mess with someone else's season. We have to be prepared."

Here are the projected lineups:

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Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 7:44 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Isles' Strait suffers fractured ankle

If it wasn’t bad enough that the New York Islanders had their doors blown off by the Philadelphia Flyers in a 7-0 rout at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Monday afternoon, they received more bad news later in the day.

Isles defenseman Brian Strait, a waiver-wire acquisition just prior to the start of the season who has emerged as one of the club’s more reliable blueliners, suffered a fractured left ankle and has been placed on injured reserve.

Strait, 25, caught an edge and crashed hard into the side boards and had to crawl back on to the Islanders’ bench. Moments later, he limped off to the team’s dressing room.


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Quote of the Day

That was something I've been dreaming of, something I've told myself before the third period I was going to do ... It was an amazing feeling. It's hard to describe. I didn't believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it's just an unbelievable feeling. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know whether to jump or just skate and do a Theo Fleury. I don't think I'm the same caliber player he is so I couldn't do it.

— Flames forward Mikael Backlund on scoring the overtime winner against the Ducks in Gm. 3