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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Saturday, 06.22.2013 / 2:33 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Not much has surprised players on either side in Final

CHICAGO -- There's no doubt players on both sides in the Stanley Cup Final expected a grueling series.

The best-of-7 Final is tied 2-2, and Game 5 between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks looms Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Perhaps a more intriguing question for those involved is whether there have been any surprises.

"I don't think so," Bruins rookie defenseman Torey Krug told NHL.com. "They are a team that basically is what you see is what you get. They play north/south hockey and it's pretty fast and they like to play with the puck. Obviously, we're a team that has no secrets … we go out and we want to do our job.

"It's been a series of what we expected, and we're ready for it to go a long way."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.22.2013 / 10:24 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Has Bickell discovered a solution for Chara?

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic revealed a sheepish smile when asked if he felt players on the Chicago Blackhawks were beginning to get the best of captain Zdeno Chara.

It was two days ago that Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell sprinkled a little fuel onto the fire when he declared Chara "doesn't like getting hit."

"Not a lot of guys attempt it, but to get a hit on him and to see him fall down, it's rare," Bickell said.

There isn't a player in the NHL who relishes being on the receiving end of a thunderous body check. Bickell, who was in Chara's face for much of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, had a first-period hit on the 6-foot-9 defenseman that sent him to the ice and, in effect, may have set the physical tone for the entire game.

Bickell, a 6-foot-4, 233-pound left wing for the Blackhawks, likely will continue to target Chara in Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
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POSTED ON Friday, 06.21.2013 / 7:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins power play has improved during Final

CHICAGO -- In case you haven't noticed, the Boston Bruins are suddenly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the power play.

That's certainly music to the ears of coach Claude Julien. Though the Bruins had the worst power play percentage of any Stanley Cup champion when they won in 2011, there's no question coaches and players would feel more at ease if success with the man advantage came with regularity.

Despite the fact the Chicago Blackhawks entered the Final owning the best penalty-killing efficiency (94.8 percent) in the 2013 playoffs, the Bruins have managed four power-play goals in 14 opportunities. To put that in perspective, the Blackhawks had allowed three power-play goals in 58 times short through the opening three rounds.

Obviously, the Bruins hope the trend continues Saturday when they visit United Center for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). The best-of-7 series is tied, 2-2.

"We've added some new personnel in there and we're moving the puck well and playing with a lot of confidence," Julien said. "Like anything else, confidence is a big part of the game. When you start feeling it, you try and hold on to it as long as you can, and right now I think our guys are feeling it. We feel confident about how we're handling the puck and moving it around and we're making some good decisions and it has gotten better.

"For all the struggles we had with it, what better time than now to be pretty decent on it."

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.21.2013 / 2:38 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Stalberg hopes to stay with Saad, Shaw for Game 5

CHICAGO -- Earning minutes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs hasn't come easy for Chicago Blackhawks right wing Viktor Stalberg, but he's certainly making the most of it.

After being a healthy scratch in the opening two games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, he was reinserted into the lineup for Games 3 and 4 in Boston and proved effective on a line with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad.

Stalberg, who has averaged just under 11 minutes of ice time in 17 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, told NHL.com he expects to be in the lineup for Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The Saad-Shaw-Stalberg line combined for three shots, seven hits and two blocked shots in a 6-5 overtime victory against the Bruins in Game 4 Wednesday at TD Garden that evened the best-of-7 series 2-2.

"However you want to quantify or qualify that line, it's a very dangerous line for us," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're all dangerous when they have the puck, and they all can make plays around the net. It's a line we hadn't gone to all year, but it's a line that is dangerous both on the attack and in the [offensive] zone, and defensively they do the right things."

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 06.18.2013 / 10:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Anthony Brodeur to play for Gatineau

Anthony Brodeur, the son of New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, announced via his Twitter account Tuesday that he will continue his career with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League next season.

The 18-year-old goalie, who is eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft to be held at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on June 30, just completed his senior year at Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep in Minnesota. Brodeur had been mulling his options for several weeks before finally making a decision Tuesday.

He finished 21-5-2 with a 2.48 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and team-leading five shutouts in 28 appearances for Shattuck in 2012-13. He also had four assists.

Brodeur posted Tuesday afternoon on Twitter: "Really excited to finally announce that I am now part of the @LesOlympiques organization! Can't wait for next year!"

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POSTED ON Sunday, 06.16.2013 / 1:47 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Rask solid again for Bruins

CHICAGO -- After keeping his team within striking distance with a stellar first period between the pipes, Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was rewarded with his first win in the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.

Rask, who stopped 18 of 19 shots in the opening 20 minutes when the Chicago Blackhawks completely dominated, turned away 15 shots the remainder of the contest to help lead the Bruins to a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2 at United Center. The series shifts to TD Garden in Boston on Monday with the series tied, 1-1.

"We definitely were in survival mode there for a bit," Rask said. "It looked like they had more guys out there than we did [in the first]. They were bouncing on every single puck in front of net, had a lot of chances.


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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 10:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

P.K. Subban: Younger brother Jordan may be better

CHICAGO -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said he believes his younger brother Jordan may one day eclipse what he has accomplished.

That's saying a lot, considering that P.K. was awarded the James Norris Memorial Trophy on Saturday as the NHL's best defenseman. Subban, 23, finished with 38 points this season, tying the career high he set two seasons ago in 71 appearances during his rookie campaign. He also finished with a plus-12 rating.

P.K., a second-round pick (No. 43) of the Canadiens, was ranked No. 102 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters heading into the 2007 NHL Draft.

Jordan, who plays the same position as his eldest brother, is No. 55 on Central Scouting's final list of the top 2013 Draft-eligible North Americans released in April. Middle brother Malcolm, selected in the first round (No. 24) in the 2012 NHL Draft, was regarded as Central Scouting's No. 1-rated goalie when he was chosen by the Boston Bruins last year.

"Jordan plays more of a cerebral type of game and is more of a thinker and I play off my instincts and try to do a little bit of everything," P.K. Subban said. "I think Jordan's skill level is much higher than mine. I'm on the ice with him every day during the summer doing skill stuff, and he's the one demonstrating the drill."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 2:11 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins' Horton says he will play in Game 2

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton declared himself ready to go for Game 2 on Saturday when his team faces the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Horton revealed the news to the media following his team's morning skate at United Center, where he skated in his regular spot on the right wing on a line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.

"I feel good," Horton said. "There are no setbacks and I'm ready to go. In the playoffs, everyone is playing physical and everyone has bruises. I'm good to go."

The Bruins trail the best-of-7 series, 1-0. The Blackhawks scored a 4-3 triple overtime victory in Game 1 on Wednesday.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 12:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Marchand plans to see more of Keith throughout Final

CHICAGO -- One of the more intriguing battles that began to take shape during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday was the one pitting Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith against Brad Marchand, the Boston Bruins agitator.

It was a tad surprising to see Keith and his partner, Brent Seabrook, logging big minutes against Marchand's line with center Patrice Bergeron and Jaromir Jagr. Only because top-line Bruins center David Krejci leads all scorers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 23 points in 17 games.

Despite that, Marchand didn't see it that way.

"Keith and Seabrook pretty much played the whole game," Marchand said. "They were matched against everybody."

Marchand, who is fourth on the team in scoring with 13 points, isn't exaggerating either. Keith actually led all players in ice time (48:40) for Game 1, while Seabrook logged 39:12.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.14.2013 / 4:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins' Horton practices, will be game-day decision

CHICAGO -- Forward Nathan Horton returned to the ice Friday during practice as the Boston Bruins resumed preparations for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Horton and Tyler Seguin split line rushes with the top unit alongside center David Krejci and wing Milan Lucic. Boston coach Claude Julien reiterated to the media after practice that Horton remains day-to-day with an undisclosed injury he sustained in the first overtime of Game 1 Wednesday. A decision on whether he is in the lineup will be made Saturday.

Horton wasn't made available to the media after practice.

"He's day-to-day and that's where he is," Julien said. "That's why he practiced [Friday] and we'll have to make a decision on Nate [Saturday]. But it was encouraging to see him out there today, and if he feels good, he's in the lineup."

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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild