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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Tuesday, 05.19.2015 / 12:43 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Top 2015 prospects set for big roles at Memorial Cup

A number of top prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft will have roles on their teams at the 2015 Memorial Cup tournament, which will be held May 21-31 at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec. The tournament will determine the champion of the Canadian Hockey League.

The four-team tournament includes the host team, the Quebec Remparts, along with the Rimouski Oceanic, champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League; the Western Hockey League champion Kelowna Rockets; and the Ontario Hockey League champion Oshawa Generals.

The top-ranked forward is Kelowna right wing Nicholas Merkley (5-foot-10, 191 pounds), No. 23 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters. Merkley had 20 goals and 90 points in 72 regular-season games for the Rockets, and five goals and 27 points in 19 WHL playoff games.

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Posted On Monday, 05.18.2015 / 12:29 PM

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

Rangers' Glass expected to play Game 2 vs. Lightning

NEW YORK -- Left wing Tanner Glass is expected to be in the lineup when the New York Rangers play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Glass missed practice Sunday and was absent from the morning skate Monday at MSG. But Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said that Glass is fine and should be ready to assume his normal fourth-line role alongside center James Sheppard and right wing J.T. Miller. Glass played 9:38 in Game 1 and had one shot on goal and five hits. He is second on the Rangers with 49 hits in 13 playoff games.

The Rangers will be looking to take a 2-0 lead in a best-or-7 series for the fifth time in 19 playoff series since 2006. That includes the 2014 Eastern Conference Final, when the Rangers went on to defeat the Montreal Canadiens in six games.

"We're playing against a real fast team, one that plays a real good system, so we'll try and execute and make the right plays with the puck when we have the puck," Vigneault said. "We're definitely going to have to defend well."

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Posted On Friday, 05.15.2015 / 4:48 PM

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

Lightning's Bishop making name known in playoffs

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop will look to continue his solid play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when his team visits the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday at Madison Square Garden (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

In helping lead the Lightning to the conference final for the first time since 2011, Bishop was able to outlast Detroit Red Wings rookie sensation Petr Mrazek in seven games and Montreal Canadiens star Carey Price, a Vezina Trophy nominee, in six games.

Now he comes face-to-face against Henrik Lundqvist, nicknamed "The King." But his mindset doesn't change knowing how well Lundqvist has played this postseason.

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Posted On Friday, 05.15.2015 / 4:25 PM

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

Lightning power play on roll entering East Final

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Lightning enter the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers with plenty of confidence on the power play.

The Rangers enter with one of the top penalty-killing units through two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Something will have to give in Game 1 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Posted On Friday, 05.15.2015 / 3:25 PM

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

Lightning's Callahan practices, could play in Game 1

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan would like nothing more than to return to the lineup to face his former team, the New York Rangers, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Callahan, who missed Game 6 of the second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens after having an emergency appendectomy Monday, was on the ice during practice at the Garden on Friday. Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper called Callahan day-to-day.

"It's going to be a pain-tolerance thing," Cooper said. "We're not going to put him in a situation where he can do further damage. It's definitely sore, but he's getting better every day, so ultimately it'll come down to Ryan Callahan and how much pain he's in."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 1:20 AM

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

McDonagh 'outstanding' for Rangers in Game 7

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault needed one word to describe captain Ryan McDonagh in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.

"Outstanding," was his concise appraisal.

McDonagh, who had been playing big minutes alongside defense partner Dan Girardi throughout the series, turned in another stellar effort in leading his team to a 2-1 overtime victory.


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 1:25 PM

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

Green focused on Game 7, not future with Capitals

NEW YORK -- Mike Green, the longest tenured defenseman on the Washington Capitals, wasn't in any mood to discuss his future with the organization hours before Game 7 on Wednesday against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Second Round series at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Green, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, is just looking forward to helping the only team he's ever played for advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Despite being the subject of numerous rumors prior to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2, the 29-year-old is not thinking about the possibility of this being his final game as a member of the Capitals.

"It's not on my mind; we'll see what happens," Green said. "Right now all I care about is playing for as long as I can [with the Capitals] and [Wednesday] is the night we need to continue it. There are too many friendships and pals I've made over the years; I wouldn't want to go to the Stanley Cup Final with any other group of guys."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 12:17 PM

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

Rangers' Lundqvist has proven to be Game 7 king

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has built a reputation as being a top performer in the face of elimination during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I've only been here a short time but that's the reputation [Lundqvist] has around the League," Rangers forward Tanner Glass said Wednesday. "He's a big-game goalie."

Lundqvist will look to continue that trend in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Posted On Sunday, 05.10.2015 / 12:54 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Matthews continues to mull options for 2015-16

Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, still is mulling his options on where he will continue his hockey career in 2015-16.

Matthews confirmed Sunday that in addition to the NCAA and Canadian Hockey League route, he is considering playing in Switzerland. He didn't identify which team he was considering but did say it likely would be with a team in the top division of the Swiss professional league.

"I am looking at all opportunities," Matthews told NHL.com via a text message. "Switzerland, Everett [Silvertips in the Western Hockey League] and the CHL, as well as the NCAA are all great options for me. I am speaking with my family and advisers Pat Brisson and Judd Moldaver and will probably make a decision soon."

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Posted On Friday, 05.08.2015 / 12:25 PM

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

Rangers looking to stave off elimination in Game 5

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have yet to experience a galvanizing moment against the Washington Capitals in their Eastern Conference Second Round series.

That moment potentially could take place Friday in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). The Rangers trail the best-of-7 series 3-1 and need to win three straight to keep their season alive.

A win on Friday would go a long way in instilling some confidence in the Presidents' Trophy-winning Rangers. It might also plant, perhaps, a seed of doubt into the minds of players on the Capitals.

"A win could do that, yes," Rangers forward J.T. Miller said. "We need a big moment to turn the series around, we're down 3-1. And it's not just about getting the big guys going because everybody needs to step up."

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Quote of the Day

That's the biggest goal I've ever scored. It's a great feeling any time you do that, especially at home. We're one game away from a Stanley Cup berth. It was a huge goal and it felt unbelievable.

— Anaheim forward Matt Beleskey on scoring the overtime winner Monday to give the Ducks a 3-2 series lead against the Blackhawks