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Posted On Monday, 05.12.2014 / 3:02 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Starting Gibson pays off for Ducks

The second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is coming to a close this week, and what a second round it's been so far. We've got one series guaranteed to go seven games and three more that very well could. In addition, there's no shortage of storylines to watch as four different divisional rivalries reach their respective climaxes.

Here's what's catching my eye this week:

WINNING ONE FOR THE GIB-BER

Everyone in hockey has known about Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson for a long time. Every NHL team would love to have him in their organization, and Saturday night you saw why. The kid's an elite goaltender, he looked great in his playoff debut, he looked very confident and moved very well. It was a performance that not only may have saved the Ducks' season, but also paid off for coach Bruce Boudreau. Putting in Gibson to start Game 4 was a risky move, but Boudreau had the guts to do it and it paid off.

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Posted On Monday, 05.05.2014 / 2:21 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Canadiens let golden opportunity slip

All four series in the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway, and even though the Chicago Blackhawks currently have a 2-0 series lead on the Minnesota Wild, nearly every game has been tight and exciting and each series is full of storylines.

As we get ready to see the Anaheim Ducks try to rebound from their Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, and watch the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers shift their series to Madison Square Garden, here are some of the things I'm thinking about.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 2:10 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Blackhawks just too much for Blues

The first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs is just about in the books, but it's already been an incredibly revealing two weeks. With the field nearly narrowed down from 16 teams to eight, here are the things I'm thinking about.

DON'T BLOW UP THE BLUES

This was a devastating loss for the St. Louis Blues. There is no way to sugarcoat it. If you're up two games to none and you're one of the best teams in the NHL, the series you're playing should be just about over. To lose a first-round series is one thing, but to lose it the way they did, considering the same thing happened to them a year ago against the Los Angeles Kings, is certainly another.

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Posted On Monday, 04.21.2014 / 2:22 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Thrilling start to Stanley Cup Playoffs

We're less than a week into the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs and already it's been a crazy ride. The hockey has been great, the drama has been unmatched and best of all, there's plenty more hockey still to come.

Here are some things I'm thinking about after watching the start of the postseason:

ALREADY A CLASSIC

This series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks has been everything we hoped it could be and more. We knew it was going to be great. We knew the history of these two teams and that they were two of the best teams in the NHL. But to have two games like we've seen to open this series -- all this drama, the comebacks, the blown leads -- this is a series for the ages. The only unfortunate thing is that this is happening in the first round and not the third.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.16.2014 / 2:06 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: First-round playoff predictions

After more than six months and 1,230 regular season games we've finally arrived at the best part of the NHL calendar. The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight at 7 p.m. ET when the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning drop the puck at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

There are still roughly two months and four rounds of playoff games to be played before we crown a champion, but as we drop the puck on the postseason, here is my take on the first round:

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Posted On Monday, 04.07.2014 / 2:54 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Bracing for a 'wild' finish

Well folks, after more than six months it all comes down to this. What precious few spots remain in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be gone in the next seven days as the regular season hits its final week. Here is how I think it will all shake out, as well as a few other things on my mind.

WHO IS MAKING IT?

Not every team in the top three of its division has clinched, but it seems pretty clear that the top-three teams in each division won't be changing. The wild cards are where most of the action is going to be.

In the Eastern Conference, it looks like the Detroit Red Wings are going to be a safe bet to extend their playoff streak for another season. The conference's final spot, in my mind, has come down to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the New Jersey Devils. That the Devils are even in this discussion is a surprise, but they've been playing extremely well lately and haven't lost in regulation in seven games. I still think, however, that Columbus gets in. The Blue Jackets are playing too hard right now and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is too good for that team to let a three-point lead slip away in four games.

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 3:09 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Lecavalier rejuvenated with Flyers

Less than 10 games remain for each team in the NHL, and while some of the races for berths in the Stanley Cup Playoffs have cleared up, there is plenty to be decided as we hit the home stretch. Here are some things I've been noticing and that I'll be watching over the next week.

VINNY VIDI VICI

One of the best players from the past decade reached a career milestone Sunday when Philadelphia Flyers center Vincent Lecavalier scored his 400th (and later 401st) NHL goal. When someone hits that kind of a milestone it's hard not to look back at his career and marvel. What makes Lecavalier's career so interesting, though, is how good it's been for him to make the change he made this offseason.

He didn't come into Philadelphia playing in good form. Lecavalier had struggled his last few seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning and it didn't help that for a lot of those seasons the Lightning weren't very good. Finishing near the bottom of the standings multiple times can be good for a franchise if it can turn draft picks into Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman or Jonathan Drouin. But for an older player it can wear on you. Lecavalier had been great for most of his career. He'd won a Stanley Cup and he was the face of a new organization for a lot of years. Going from that kind of success, particularly when you're young, to being on a team that struggles can wear on an older player.

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Posted On Monday, 03.24.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Sharks surging; Bruins are the best

With just a few weeks to go in the 2013-14 regular season, teams are starting to hit their final 10 games. Even with so little time left, so much remains to be decided. That doesn't mean some teams haven't separated themselves and others haven't fallen back to the pack, though.

Here are some things I'm noticing as the season hits its home stretch.

SHARKS COMING OUT OF THE WATER

All season long we've talked about the Chicago Blackhawks or the St. Louis Blues or the Anaheim Ducks as teams to beat out in the Western Conference. We haven't talked very much about the San Jose Sharks, but they've been there lying in the weeds the whole time. Well, they aren't lying in the weeds anymore. San Jose has now jumped atop the Pacific Division and it's pretty clear they'll be a factor in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and may even be the team that wins the West.

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Posted On Monday, 03.17.2014 / 4:38 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Blue Jackets built to last

As we hit the final 15 games of the season, races across the NHL are heating up as teams scramble to earn berths in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. One team, however, is starting to make a lot of noise in the Eastern Conference and it just might surprise you who.

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Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 3:41 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: More on Miller, St. Louis trades

Now that the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline has passed and the dust around the League has settled, teams are gearing up for the final stretch run to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A number of big names changed addresses and several teams made additions to prime them for a run at the Stanley Cup. The big stories at the deadline are just a few of the things that caught my attention over the past week.

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic