Stoll, who missed the final six games of the conference semifinals with a concussion, popped right back up and skated back into the play. He played 15:14 in his return after missing six games after being injured by a high hit from San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres.
CHICAGO -- Every team talks about how winning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs comes down to getting pucks and bodies to the net, fighting through traffic to score so-called dirty goals off rebounds. The Chicago Blackhawks are no different, but their challenge in the Western Conference Final is.
The Los Angeles Kings are one of the best teams in the NHL at keeping bodies away from their net. It starts with goalie Jonathan Quick, who is so aggressive and challenging when he plays above the blue paint, precisely the position Chicago will want to occupy starting with Game 1 Saturday at United Center (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). The Kings also are one of the better teams at boxing out in front of Quick.
For the Blackhawks to win positional battles in front of the crease, to own the area Quick wants for himself, they have to be the first ones to get there. It's critical against Quick, who is the best goalie going in the playoffs with a 1.50 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. And it's arguably the most important piece of ice for the Blackhawks if they want to win the series.
"You like to get early position there and hopefully you can keep him [Quick] from getting how far he gets out there," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday morning. "They do box out. Detroit did a lot of that as well. There's got to be a willingness to fight through that traffic and the physicality, we can't be deterred by it at all. Getting in front of him is going to be key."
But Stoll's chances of playing in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Saturday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN) have to at least be getting better, considering he practiced in his regular spot on the third line between Dwight King and Trevor Lewis.
BOSTON -- The New York Rangers will dress the same lineup for Saturday’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals that they dressed for Game 4. They trail the Boston Bruins in the best-of-7 series, 3-1.
Darroll Powe was on the ice for pregame warmups at TD Garden, but he will not play. Powe hasn't played since Game 3 of the conference quarterfinals.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh played more than 29 minutes in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Bruins on Thursday, marking the fourth time in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs he's logged at least that much ice time in a game.
However, for the first time in the playoffs, McDonagh had a regular role on the power play. Rangers coach John Tortorella said McDonagh was good in that role, and Tortorella took the blame for not putting him on the power play sooner.
"I think he helped us [in Game 4] on the power play," Tortorella said. "It's me. I [messed] that up not using him early enough and I should have."
NEW YORK -- Facing elimination in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella decided to sacrifice 165 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience from his forward group for one.
NEW YORK --New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is still waiting for the day when he can just be another hockey player wearing a visor. It's not Thursday.
Staal skated again Thursday morning at Madison Square Garden, but he isn't expected to play in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins. He hasn't played since Game 3 against the Washington Capitals on May 6 -- and that was his first game since he suffered his right eye injury two months earlier against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"My belief is that in a certain amount of time I'll never have to answer another question about this again," Staal said.
NEW YORK --New York Rangers defenseman Roman Hamrlik has been practicing in the morning and watching games at night for the past seven-and-a-half weeks. Hamrlik better have been working hard and watching closely because he is expected be smack dab in the middle of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Hamrlik likely will replace injured defenseman Anton Stralman in the Rangers lineup for their must-win Game 4 against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS). Stralman was injured late in the second period in Game 3 Tuesday, when Bruins forward Milan Lucic crunched him into the end boards in the defensive zone.
Boston leads the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal series 3-0.
"I've been watching the games from upstairs and that's a different view," Hamrlik said after the morning skate Thursday. "During the game you see lots of mistakes, but when you're on the ice or on the bench, it's much faster and quicker. Your brain has to [react] really quickly about what you're going to do. For me, I just have to read the play and use my stick, do what I do the best, make the first pass and play good defense."
Richards said Rangers coach John Tortorella called him Thursday morning to give him the news that he will be a healthy scratch for the elimination game. The Bruins lead the Rangers 3-0 in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal series.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers appear to be bracing themselves for what will likely be an even further depleted blue line corps in a must-win Game 4 against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Anton Stralman did not participate in the optional practice Wednesday after sitting out the third period in Game 3 Tuesday. Stralman was crunched into the end boards in the Rangers' defensive zone by Bruins left wing Milan Lucic with 6:54 to play in the second period. He returned for one more shift roughly three minutes later but didn't play again.
The Rangers have already been playing without Marc Staal (eye), but he has been skating for the past several days with the scratches. Matt Gilroy and Roman Hamrlik are the other options for coach John Tortorella if Stralman is unable to play in Game 4.
"Losing Stralsy is a big blow to us," Tortorella said. "He puts himself in a situation there where he's playing in an area to try and make a play and gets hurt. And he's done that really through the playoffs here. To a defense that's lacking a little depth right now, it hurts us."