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Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 2:44 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers, Penguins share fond Mother's Day memories

NEW YORK -- To this day, New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is amazed how patient and supportive his mother was in a home of four hockey-crazed sons.

"She was a busy mother with the four of us always in need of something," Staal said. "We spent 10 to 15 years inside of a hockey rink, I think. She's a pretty amazing woman and she still wants to take care of us and make sure we're alright."

Those memories were echoed by various players for the Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins on Mother's Day prior to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS, NBCSN). The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

Posted On Sunday, 05.11.2014 / 2:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Rangers' McDonagh after repeat showing in Game 6

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh is hoping for a repeat of his last game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

McDonagh is arguably coming off his finest effort of this series Friday in a 5-1 victory in Game 5 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh when he scored his first postseason goal, blocked two shots and had three hits in a team-high 26:53 of ice time.

How was he able to do it?

"I was trying to use my legs a little more," McDonagh said. "Whether it's gap defensively or trying to keep pucks in offensively and get pucks to the net; I'm just trying to do the same out there."

Posted On Friday, 05.09.2014 / 9:34 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Top 2015 prospect McDavid selected in KHL draft

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, who many project to be the No. 1 pick at the 2015 NHL Draft in Florida, was selected by Medvescak Zagreb in the second round (No. 77) of the Kontinental Hockey League draft on Thursday.

Zagreb will hold McDavid's KHL rights, but that likely won't matter since the 17-year-old prodigy is expected to suit up for an NHL team in 2015-16 right out of training camp.

It's not the first time a player projected to be a top pick in a future NHL draft was selected by a KHL team. Ak Bars Kazan chose Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers) No. 89 in 2009; Vityaz Podolsk chose Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche) No. 114 in 2012 and Podolsk chose 2014 top prospect Aaron Ekblad No. 171 in 2013. Ekblad is projected to be the top defenseman off the board at the 2014 draft in Philadelphia.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 4:35 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins' Sutter praises outgoing Hurricanes GM

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins center Brandon Sutter will never forget the opportunity given him by Jim Rutherford and the Carolina Hurricanes seven years ago.

One of the top two-way players on the Penguins, Sutter has three goals, five points and a plus-8 rating as the third-line center in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Penguins this spring.

Pittsburgh holds a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Second Round best-of-7 series against the New York Rangers. Game 4 is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Sutter was acquired from the Hurricanes in June 2012 along with Carolina's 2012 first-round pick and defensive prospect Brian Dumoulin in a trade for center Jordan Staal.

Rutherford was the general manager of the Hurricanes when Sutter was selected in the first round (No. 11) of the 2007 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound versatile forward was looked upon at the time as a player capable of logging big minutes, chipping in offensively and excelling on the penalty kill.

Sutter was recently asked about Rutherford and the impact he had in Carolina. Rutherford stepped down as GM after 20 seasons on April 28 and was replaced by Hall of Fame player Ron Francis.

"[Rutherford] drafted me and those were a great five years, four years of playing," Sutter said. "They have a good organization and a good thing going there. They have some good young players too, and now with Jimmy stepping down, he leaves a good mark.

"He's been there a long time and has done a good job, but maybe Carolina is ready for a little change there and Ron Francis will step in and do a good job."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 3:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Rangers series blog

Penguins could get Orpik back for Game 4

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik will be a game-time decision Wednesday against the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Orpik, who has missed the past five games, has one goal, two points and a plus-5 rating in four games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He sustained an undisclosed injury in the Penguins' first-round series against theColumbus Blue Jackets.

Orpik was replaced in the lineup by Robert Bortuzzo, who has one assist and a plus-2 rating in five games. Bortuzzo's highlight-reel stretch pass to Sidney Crosby in the second period of a 2-0 victory against the Rangers in Game 3 on Monday led to the first goal of playoffs for the Penguins captain.

"There are no injury updates [on Orpik]," coach Dan Bylsma said. "Our lineup will be game-time with the exception of our goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.07.2014 / 11:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Notable last names part of 2014 USHL draft

The latest edition of the United States Hockey League draft concluded on Tuesday with some familiar names prepared to take the next big step in their hockey-playing careers with the hopes of following the successful paths of their fathers.

Topping the list was Edina High School forward Keiffer Bellows, the son of 1993 Stanley Cup champion Brian Bellows, who played 17 seasons with five NHL teams. Bellows was selected in the first round (No. 13) by the Sioux Falls Stampede after scoring 10 goals and 27 points in 25 games as a sophomore at Edina.

Bellows was part of Phase 1 of the two-part draft conducted over two days beginning on Monday when 124 players with 1998 birth years were chosen over eight rounds. These players normally don't play immediately in the USHL, but remain on the affiliate lists of USHL teams and compete for roster spots in the future.

Posted On Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 8:43 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Yeo: No goalie issue; Bryzgalov to start Game 3

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo said Sunday it's senseless to debate whether or not Ilya Bryzgalov will start Game 3 on Tuesday in the Western Conference Second Round Series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wild lost Sunday afternoon, 4-1 to fall into a 2-0 hole in the best-of-7 series.

Bryzgalov actually hasn't played bad, but his numbers tell a different story as he is 1-4-1 with a 3.90 goals-against average and .830 save percentage in five playoff games. He was inserted back into the starter's role when Darcy Kuemper was injured in Game 7 of the first-round series against the Colorado Avalanche.

"He's in the net," Yeo said. "We got to find a way to get a win and that's all of us. That's him, but our team too and I'm not going to sit around and wait for another option, for someone else to come in. This is the guy, so let's quit even talking about it. We shouldn't even be talking about who is backing up. [Bryzgalov] is the guy right now and so we have to find a way as a team and as a staff to get a win."

Posted On Sunday, 05.04.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild looking for consistency on the road

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo would like to see his team prove once and for all that they can consistently win on the road in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Wild enter Game 2 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday having lost four of their past five road games in the playoffs. The Wild scored a 5-4 overtime victory against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the first round at Pepsi Center, but Yeo would like to see more.

He expressed that frustration to the media two hours before the opening faceoff at United Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

Posted On Saturday, 05.03.2014 / 5:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild's Bryzgalov hoping to bounce back in Game 2

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is looking forward to a little redemption against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their Western Conference Second Round series Sunday at United Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

The Blackhawks scored four goals on 21 shots, including three goals on eight shots in the final two periods, in a 5-2 win in Game 1 on Friday. Bryzgalov said he and the Wild can bounce back in Game 2.

"My confidence is pretty good. All I can do is go on the ice and give the team what I've got and hope it's enough to win the game," Bryzgalov said. "On the one side I'm feeling good, on the other one not very good. I'm not happy with the results [Friday], what we got when I played. Obviously I want to change it."

Posted On Saturday, 05.03.2014 / 5:24 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild turn back to checking line for Game 2

CHICAGO -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo will likely reunite one of his top checking lines for Game 2 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at United Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

Yeo had right wing Justin Fontaine working the third unit alongside center Erik Haula and left wing Nino Niederreiter during practice Saturday afternoon at United Center. It was a line Yeo had together against Colorado Avalanche rookie forward Nathan MacKinnon in Minnesota's first-round series victory and it worked effectively in Games 4, 5, 6.

Dany Heatley skated at left wing on the fourth line Saturday with center Kyle Brodziak and right wing Cody McCormick.

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Quote of the Day

(The tribute) was great, brought back a lot of memories. I felt I wanted to give them the thank you they deserved. I understand the booing and it was expected. They are great fans.

— Martin St. Louis after playing his first game in Tampa Bay since being traded to the Rangers last season
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