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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 1:08 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Kings' win completes great day of hockey

Jonathan Quick knew he'd need to be better if the Los Angeles Kings were going to extend their season on Saturday night.

He wasn't just better -- he was terrific.

Despite the fact that his team allowed a franchise-record 52 shots in a Stanley Cup Playoff game, Quick made 51 saves to lead the Kings to a 3-1 win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal at HP Pavilion.

The victory allowed the Kings to stave off elimination, as they forced a Game 6 that will be played on Monday night at the Staples Center.

It also was the culmination of a phenomenal day of hockey, which also featured wins by Tampa Bay, Washington and Boston. We hope this long day of hockey was as enjoyable for you as it was for us.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 11:45 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Here come the Sharks

Can the San Jose Sharks pull off another comeback?

Patrick Marleau has started the rally for the Sharks, as he redirected Niclas wallin's shot past Jonathan Quick to cut the deficit to 3-1 with just over 14 minutes to play in the second period.

San Jose, you'll recall, erased a 4-0 deficit in Los Angeles earlier this week en route to a 6-5 overtime win. The Kings need to win this game to stay alive.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 11:08 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Bruins win in 2OT

Finally, the home team has won a game in the Boston-Montreal series.

Nathan Horton collected a rebound near the goal mouth and poked it past Carey Price in double overtime as the Boston Bruins won their third straight with a wild 2-1 victory against the Canadiens at TD Garden.

The Bruins can win the series with a victory at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 10:56 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Kings up the Antti

The Los Angeles Kings have ended Antti Niemi's night less than midway through the opening period.

Dustin Penner's first goal in 17 games gave the Kings a 3-0 lead with 11:18 left in the first, prompting Sharks coach Todd McLellan to replace Niemi with Antero Niittymaki.

Kyle Clifford scored at 7:14 of the first to make it 2-0.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 10:48 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Kings on the board

The action is under way on the West Coast, and the Los Angeles Kings have scored that much-needed first goal.

Wayne Simmonds drew first blood for L.A. as he redirected Rob Scuderi's shot past Antti Niemi to give the Kings a 1-0 lead just 3:36 into Game 5 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series at San Jose.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 10:35 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Double OT required

Twenty minutes of overtime hockey weren't enough to determine a winner in this epic battle between the Canadiens and Bruins at TD Garden.

Mike Cammalleri had the best chance for the Habs in the first overtime, but his shot from between the circles was blocked by the right skate of hulking defenseman Zdeno Chara. And, a despite a late penalty on Canadiens defenseman Brent Sopel, the Bruins were unable to cash in on the man advantage.

Boston outshot Montreal 12-9 in overtime.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 9:46 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Free hockey!

One of the best rivalries on the planet is going to overtime.

While both teams had quality chances in the final minutes, the Canadiens and Bruins are headed for overtime at TD Garden. It marks the second straight contest that requires an extra session -- Michael Ryder evened the series in Montreal on Thursday night when he beat Carey Price in overtime.

Boston is outshooting the Habs 32-30 after regulation.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 9:37 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Desperation level grows

The Bruins have nursed their 1-0 lead past the midway point of the third period. Montreal has had a tough time generating consistent pressure – the Habs have just six shots on goal with 9 minutes left.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 9:35 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

It's all tied

Jeff Halpern may just be playing in his second game of this series for the Montreal Canadiens, but he just scored the club's biggest goal.

With his team trailing 1-0 in the third period, the Montreal Canadiens forward beat Tim Thomas from point-blank range to knot this game up.

Halpern, a former star at Princeton University, now has seven career postseason goals.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 9:20 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Bruins grab lead on "broken" play

When is a broken stick a good thing? How about when it winds up setting up the opening goal in a playoff game.

Boston's Patrice Bergeron snapped his stick like a piece of kindling as he tried to one-time a passout – but he wound up banking the misfire off the skate of Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban right to teammate Brad Marchand, who put it into a half-empty net at 4:33 for the game's first goal. Carey Price had no chance.

How big is the first goal? Consider that teams scoring first in the playoffs have won 31 of 37 games – although one of the six losses was Montreal's 5-4 OT loss in Game 4, a contest the Habs led 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 9:11 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Third period under way

The pace was frantic in the opening minutes of the third period, with each goaltender being tested.

After the Bruins had a good rush broken up, Montreal captain Brian Gionta snuck past the defense and got off a good backhander, only to be denied by Tim Thomas. Play came back the other way, and Carey Price had to make a good stop on a blast from the high slot by Boston captain Zdeno Chara.

Things calmed down slightly, and with 17 minutes remaining, we were still scoreless.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 9:04 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Ovi to the left, Ovi to the right

A couple of thoughts from the first two games as we wait for the drop of the puck to start the third period in Boston.
  • What could be scarier than Alex Ovechkin as a left wing? How about Ovi as a right wing? He spent most of Saturday's series-clincher playing on the starboard side, and as Corey Masisak notes, Ovechkin was playing on the right side when he scored the series-winner.
  • The best news for Tampa Bay in its 8-2 rout of Pittsburgh was the re-emergence of Steven Stamkos, who broke out of a scoring slump by getting a pair of goals and a primary assist. Alan Robinson notes that coach Guy Boucher feels Stamkos “figured it out” in Game 4. That may be, but for the first time in the series, he was a factor in Game 5.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 8:51 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

40 minutes, no goals

We're through two periods in Boston, with just as many goals on the scoreboard as there were at the opening faceoff – none.

The physical play is ratcheting up as the time goes on – think of jacks-or-better poker when no one can open for a few hands. Boston's Brad Marchand had a chance with just under a minute to play in the second when he slid past the defense but couldn't jam the puck under Carey Price's pads. The ensuing scrum featured the site of super-sized defenseman Hal Gill of Montreal exchanging shoves with munchkin-like forward Mark Recchi of Boston.

The Bruins outshot Montreal 9-6 in the second period and own a 21-16 margin through 40 minutes. But where it matters most, neither team has been able to get rid of the "0" next to its name.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 8:50 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Martin looks for more pressure

Midway through the second period and no score. The tempo is still high, but not as frantic as both teams become more cognizant of not making mistakes.

"The key for us try to get more pressure and spend more time in offensive zone," Montreal coach Jacques Martin told Versus' Darren Pang after a TV timeout.

Not more than a minute later, Tomas Plekanec had a great chance for the Habs when he snuck in from right wing. But Tim Thomas came across to meet him and wound up sliding halfway to the side boards with the puck under his pads. Thomas has 14 saves, while Montreal's Carey Price has 18.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 8:19 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Bruins' power outage

The Bruins got their second power play when Travis Moen was called for tackling Chris Kelly 1:53 into the second period. But Montreal nearly scored a shorthanded goal when Jeff Halpern poked the free from Tomas Kaberle to start a 2-on-1 break. However, Halpern opted to pass rather than shoot – only to have a sliding Zdeno Chara block the pass.

The Habs got a second 2-on-1 break during the same penalty, but Thomas broke up a pass and started a 3-on-2 the other way. Still, Montreal killed off the power play, leaving the Bruins 0-for-14 with the extra man through four-plus games.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 7:57 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

No scoring after 20 minutes

We're through one period in Boston, with neither team able to put the puck in the net.

But it wasn't for want of opportunities. Montreal had some excellent chances among its 10 shots, though the best one – a wide-open shot by Tomas Plekanec that was foiled by forward Michael Ryder – doesn't count in that figure. The Bruins had 12, including a great opportunity by slump-ridden Milan Lucic in the final minutes.

No player on either team had more than two shots as we saw the first scoreless opening period in the series.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 7:39 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Ryder saves the day

Michael Ryder won Game 4 by scoring the OT winner. If the Bruins win Game 5, it will be in part because he pinch-hit for goaltender Tim Thomas.

Michael Cammalleri outraced the defense, tried to deke Thomas, then saw teammate Tomas Plekanec all alone in the slot. He dished a perfect pass for what looked like a sure goal – only to have Ryder dive across and get it with his right glove ... a save any goaltender would have been proud of.

"That was a big save. Unbelievable," coach Claude Julien told Versus' Darren Pang coming out of the second TV timeout midway through the period.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 7:26 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Traffic jam

The Bruins got back in the series by generating traffic in front of Carey Price, and, well, why mess with a winning formula?

The B's had two good rushes in the early minutes that just missed – and both were marked by plenty of black sweaters flooding the Montreal zone. That’s the kind of game the Bruins want to play – as opposed to the Canadiens, who want to use their speed to counteract their lack of size.

We're up to the first TV timeout – with no score.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 7:09 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Welcome back

Hope you're all refreshed and ready for the evening portion of our big day of hockey, beginning with Game 5 between the Bruins and Canadiens from Boston.

TD Garden in Boston is packed with 17,565 fans – many of whom a week ago probably thought they'd be spending their Saturday night doing something else. A week ago, Montreal went home after sweeping the first two games in Boston. But the Bruins returned the favor by winning Games 3 and 4 in Montreal, pulling even by beating the Habs 5-4 in overtime.

So who wins – can the Habs continue the success road teams have had in this series (and the first round of the playoffs in general)? Or will the Bruins find a way to keep rolling?
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 6:03 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Intermission

OK, you can take a break.

Go get a bite to eat. A cold beverage. Take care of anything else that needs to be done.

The afternoon portion of our playoff quadruple-header is done, and we’re an hour or so away from the start of the evening session, beginning with the Canadiens and Bruins in Boston.

The final score for the two afternoon games: Southeast Division 2, Atlantic Division 0. Tampa Bay stunned a sellout crowd in Pittsburgh by routing the Penguins 8-2 to send that series to Game 6 in Tampa Bay on Monday. Faced with the same situation – win at home to advance – the Washington Capitals succeeded where the Penguins had failed, eliminating the New York Rangers with a 3-1 win in Game 5.

So for now, we’re at intermission. Come on back about 7 p.m. ET for the evening games.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 5:48 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Caps move on; Rangers go home

The Rangers pulled Henrik Lundqvist and got a goal with 31.5 seconds remaining when Wojtek Wolski tucked in a rebound. But all that did was enable the Rangers to avoid being shut out -- they hadn't scored since the second period of Game 4 -- nearly 138 minutes.

A post-goal scrum left the Rangers down a man, and the Caps missed the empty net a couple of time before mobbing Michal Neuvirth after their series-clinching 3-1 victory.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 5:42 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

That will put it away

With the Rangers pressing, the Caps broke out 2-on-1, and Marcus Johansson made a brilliant pass right onto Alexander Semin's stick as he cut to the net. Semin made no mistake, and it's now 3-0 with time running out on the Rangers' season.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 5:41 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Running out of time

It's an electric atmosphere at the Verizon Center. The 18,398 red-clad fans are ready to celebrate as the Caps continue to lead by two goals.

Michal Neuvirth is devouring what few shots the Rangers are able to get through his defense, but the Caps are being smart and not just sitting back -- third-period shots were 7-7 at the final TV timeout.

Barring a miracle, the Rangers are going to run out of time.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 5:24 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Desperate times for Rangers

The Rangers came out in the third period with the kind of desperation that would have helped them earlier in the game. But after having the Rangers control play for the first 60-90 seconds, the Caps answered by upping their own pace. Through the first 11 minutes, the Caps outshot the Rangers 3-2 -- New York isn't having any success finding time or space in the offensive zone.

With the defense pinching, the Caps wound up with a 2-on-1 midway through the period, only to see Game 4 hero Jason Chimera fire wide on what would have been the clincher.

Mike Green returned to the bench late in the second period after missing more than 20 minutes of playing time after taking a slapper in the helmet. But he has yet to play a shift since returning.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 4:56 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Rangers get some push

After more than 30 minutes of being dominated, the Rangers are starting to push back.

Beginning shortly after the halfway mark of the middle period, the Rangers began to pick up their tempo and get more pucks deep on Washington's defense, generating some heat on Michal Neuvirth.

But Neuvirth was up to the task, and his defense did a good job of funneling a lot of shots to the outside or getting in the way of them.

New York got its second power play when defenseman John Erskine was called for taking down Brandon Prust with 2:41 left. The Rangers were able to get some zone time and had a good chance on a tip by Brandon Dubinsky. But Neuvirth was able to see everything, and the Caps killed the penalty and the rest of the period, sending the teams to the dressing room after 40 minutes with Washington ahead 2-0 -- and the Rangers facing the prospect of seeing their season end in about an hour.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 4:46 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Green's back

Washington defenseman Mike Green returned to the bench with about 5:30 left in the second period. He missed just over a full period after taking a slap shot by Matt Gilroy in the helmet.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 4:31 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Caps extend their lead

Mike Green wasn't on the bench for the Caps at the start of the second period after taking a Matt Gilroy blast in the helmet with 6:11 left in the first. The team said the All-Star defenseman's return is questionable. Green would be missed -- he scored the first goal on Saturday and has points in all five games.

The Caps nearly scored 45 seconds into the period on a beautiful three-way passing play -- a brilliant defensive play by Marc Staal kept Ovechkin from being able to put the puck into the net. Staal got a stick on a little touch pass from Nicklas Backstrom, who opted to pass instead of shoot.

Alexander Semin missed another chance a minute later -- Henrik Lundqvist was in the right place to stop his wide-open backhander.

But the Caps continued to dominate play and made it 2-0 at 7:04 when Alex Ovechkin took advantage of a long shift by the D-pair of Staal and Dan Girardi. He raced up the right wing, cut in on a weary Staal and tucked a backhander past Lundqvist, who was left to fend for himself.

It's all Caps at the first TV timeout -- they're up 2-0 and heading to their third power play.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 4:06 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

It could have been worse

The Caps took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, but if you're a Rangers fan, you're probably happy to get out of the opening 20 minutes down only one goal.

After the Rangers' flurry in the first 30 seconds, the Caps dominated play. Washington won the races to loose pucks, had little trouble breaking out of its own zone and generally made life miserable for the visitors -- especially Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced. Michal Neuvirth had to stop just six shots.

More indicative of the play are the shot attempts, rather than the ones that got through: The Rangers had 12 attempts (6 on goal, 5 blocked, 1 missed the net); the Caps had 36 (13 on goal, 13 blocked, 10 that missed). After the first shift, in which the Rangers dominated, Lundqvist spent the rest of the period surrounded by red jerseys trying to get in his way.

The one good piece of news for the Rangers: Defenseman Dan Girardi was back before the end of the period.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 3:54 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Caps push the pace

The pace is frantic, with Washington pushing the tempo as the Caps sense a chance to grab a two-goal lead that might be more than the Rangers can overcome. Lundqvist has faced a dozen shots in the first 13 minutes; Michal Neuvirth has seen just four and is spending minutes at a time all by his lonesome in the Caps' zone.

But the 18,398 fans quieted as one with 6:11 remaining when Matt Gilroy took a blast from near the right circle that dropped Caps defenseman Mike Green. Play was stopped immediately, and Green was helped from the ice, though he was able to skate off.

The Rangers were also missing a key defenseman -- Dan Girardi wasn't on the bench as the clock ticked down past the 5:00 mark.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 3:38 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Caps get the jump

Talk about coming out flying!

The Rangers came out like they'd been shot out of a cannon, forcing Michal Neuvirth to make an excellent stop off a scramble before the game was 30 seconds old.

Then it was the Caps' turn. Alex Ovechkin came down right wing on a 2-on-1 but fired wide. Henrik Lundqvist also had to make a pair of fine glove stops. John Erskine, not known for his offensive skills, also tested Lundqvist twice.

After the initial flurry, the Caps are carrying the play, forcing the Rangers to defend rather than attack. They earned the first power play when Bryan McCabe got his stick between Marcus Johansson' legs and tripped the rookie center as he raced down the right wing.

The Caps wasted no time taking advantage. With the Rangers in full disarray, Mike Green took a rip from the slot that Lundqvist stopped. But the All-Star defenseman followed his shot and poked the puck off defenseman Dan Girardi and into the net at 5:59 for a 1-0 lead. It's only the second time in the five games that the Caps have scored first.

Even worse for the Rangers: They wound up with the extra penalty after a scrum behind the net when New York's bench was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. They nearly wound up with a second minor seconds later when a clearing attempt went out of play -- but NBC's Pierre McGuire knew before anyone that the puck hadn't gone over the glass ... because he caught it.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 3:18 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Ready to "Rock the Red"

The Verizon Center is a sea of red as the Washington Capitals try to do what the Penguins couldn't -- put away an opponent in Game 5.

It's an uphill battle for the Rangers, who saw a 3-0 third-period lead turn into a 4-3 double-overtime loss in Game 4 -- meaning that instead of going back to D.C. all even, the Rangers need to win just to stay alive.

One area in which the Rangers need to improve is the power play. They are 1-for-18 and went 0-for-7 in Game 4. Another day like that and the Rangers could be toast.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 2:52 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

It’s over

Much to the relief of the Penguins, the final horn went off at the Consol Energy Center, ending an 8-2 nightmare. Two goals (and 3 points) for Steven Stamkos, two for Simon Gagne, two for Pavel Kubina. Four power-play goals. A perfect effort by the Lightning's penalty-killers. All in all, a near-perfect day for the Bolts -- and a nightmare for the Penguins, who had hoped to close out the series in front of their home fans.

So it's back to the St. Pete Times Forum for Game 6 on Monday for the Pens and Bolts -- and on to the Rangers and Caps for Act II of our 12 Hours of Hockey.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 2:51 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

One for the road

The Penguins finally killed off a full power play, but they paid the price again for Max Talbot's unnecessary boarding call when Dominic Moore put the puck into a wide-open net with 4:25 left for an 8-2 lead and a 4-for-6 showing with the extra man.

Kris Letang took a boarding call on the play after flattening Nate Thompson (who took the hit to make the play), giving the Bolts yet another advantage -- that's five in the third period.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 2:31 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Playing for pride

Give the Penguins credit for not rolling over. They added a second goal with 11:38 left when Chris Connor scored after Dwayne Roloson lost his stick during some sloppy play in Tampa Bay's zone. Bolts coach Guy Boucher looked about as unhappy as a coach can look with a five-goal lead.

The second goal and subsequent pressure by the Penguins has finally gotten the crowd back into the game, at least briefly. The Penguins look alive -- although it's far too late to affect the outcome of this game, this does give them something to build on for Game 6.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 2:21 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Power’s on again

The Lightning's power play made it two goals in three tries (the one they missed was just 19 seconds) when Pavel Kubina teed up a slapper from just above the right faceoff dot and blew it past Brent Johnson at 2:54 for a 6-0 lead.

It became 3-for-4 on the PP when Kubina set up in front of the crease and tapped home a pass by Purcell at 5:45 for a 7-0 lead.

At least the Penguins spoiled Dwayne Roloson's shutout bid. Mike Rupp chipped in a rebound at 6:36 to get the Pens on the board.

The Lightning have outscored the Penguins 12-2 in the last five-plus periods in Pittsburgh after a 3-0 loss in Game 1. It's an amazing turnabout -- Pittsburgh won both regular-season meetings at home and outscored the Lightning 13-2.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 1:51 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

More PP struggles for Penguins

Pittsburgh got its fifth power play when Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was called for interference at 17:02.

This time, the Penguins generated some chances -- Mark Letestu had a golden opportunity on a rebound, but Dwayne Roloson was up to the task. It actually looked like Letestu might have scored -- the Pittsburgh announcers thought so -- but replay showed the black "thing" in the net was the tip of Chris Kunitz' stick.

The Lightning killed off the remainder of the penalty and headed for the second intermission enjoying a 5-0 lead. Pittsburgh had 20 shots on goal to 18 for the Lightning.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 1:35 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Five and counting

The Lightning got their first power play when Mike Rupp was called for boarding Ryan Malone at 6:52 -- and needed just eight seconds to make it 5-0 when Steven Stamkos fired home a shot from 10 feet for a 5-0 lead. Stamkos, who struggled in the final six weeks of the season and did nothing through the first four games, has 2 goals and looks like the player who had 21 goals in his first 22 games this season.

Pittsburgh got a fourth power play when Lecavalier was called for hooking at 9:20. But the advantage lasted just 19 seconds before Kris Letang was called for cross-checking.

With 8:02 left in the period and a five-goal deficit, Consol Energy Center was as quiet as a church.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 1:23 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Fleury gets the hook

The Bolts gave Pittsburgh another power-play chance when they were called for having too many men on the ice just 80 seconds after Vinny Lecavalier's goal. But the Penguins again generated almost nothing -- dropping them to 1-for-21 in the series. The boobirds are beginning to make themselves heard.

They got a little louder when the Lightning struck again 5:31 into the period. Steve Downie, who served the penalty, grabbed a loose puck at center ice and led a rush that ended up with Simon Gagne putting a rebound past Marc-Andre Fleury for a 4-0 lead. That was the end of the day for Fleury, who was replaced by Brent Johnson.

As we hit the first TV break in the second period, the Lightning led 4-0 -- and the 18,000-plus at the Consol Energy Center were silent. Barring a miracle, the series appears to be headed back to Tampa for a game on Monday night.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 1:16 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Another Lightning strike

The Penguins started the second period with a power play, but again couldn't find a way to solve the Lightning's penalty-killers. They're now 0-for-15 at home.

Stamkos then made the play that led to a third Lightning goal at 1:55. Coach Guy Boucher loaded up his big guns -- Stamkos, Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis -- after the penalty kill (he did the same thing after Pavel Kubina's first-period penalty expired) and it paid off. Stamkos dug the puck out of the corner and found Lecavalier coming down the slot for a putaway past Marc-Andre Fleury, as Tyler Kennedy was unable to get back in time.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 12:54 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Lightning strikes

The Penguins spent the first 16-plus minutes doing everything but score. The Penguins outshot (11-4), outhit, outplayed -- out-everythinged the Lightning ... but couldn't beat Dwayne Roloson.

They might pay for the inability to put the puck in the net, because the Lightning had no such trouble at 16:57. After a passing play worthy of the Harlem Globetrotters, Simon Gagne fired the carom of Vincent Lecavalier's shot off the post into a wide-open net for his first of the series.

Just 46 seconds later, Steven Stamkos found the net for the first time in the series. He went to the net for a deflection of Steve Downie's shot that Marc-Andre Fleury was able to stop, but swatted home the rebound. Talk about a stunned crowd!
 
The Penguins got their second power play when Vincent Lecavalier was called for roughing with 32.6 seconds left in the period and nearly had a goal just before the final horn. But the period ended with the Lightning ahead 2-0 despite being outshot 13-8 (24-12 in shot attempts).
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 12:40 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Where’s Geno

Versus, which is picking up the Penguins' local telecast on Root Sports, showed footage of Evgeni Malkin skating as he works to come back from knee surgery in February. Malkin's absence has flown underneath the radar -- all the attention has gone to Sidney Crosby's absence due to a concussion, but the Pens have missed Malkin as well. Remember, it was Malkin, not Sid, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy two years ago when the Penguins took home the Stanley Cup.

The Penguins have had the better of the play, but Dwayne Roloson has been up to the task so far -- with a little help from his left post, which stopped Brooks Orpik's blast from the left point with just under seven minutes left in the opening period.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 12:30 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Searching for Stamkos

It's been a tough postseason so far for Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay's big gun. The No. 1 pick in the 2008 Entry Draft is taking part in his first playoff series -- and so far, he's been struggling.

Stamkos has just 1 assist in the first four games and didn't have a shot on goal in 30:38 of ice time in Game 4. That doesn't mean he wasn't trying -- he took 11 shots, but six were blocked and the other five missed the target.

Stamkos looked energized on his first shift. The Lightning need him to produce if they want to have a chance to extend the series.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 12:16 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

12 Hours of Hockey

Are you ready for some hockey?

We hope so, because there's plenty of it coming today.

Eight teams (Tampa Bay-Pittsburgh; New York Rangers-Washington; Montreal-Boston and Los Angeles-San Jose) will square off in one of the great days of playoff hockey -- 12-plus hours of competition that could see as many as three teams sent packing by the end of the day.

The action starts momentarily in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins come back home in hopes of closing out the Lightning after a pair of wins at Tampa Bay (Noon ET; Versus, CBC). Then it's the Rangers at Washington -- will New York be able to recover after Wednesday's shocking 4-3 double-OT loss that saw the Blueshirts blow a 3-0 third-period lead at home (3 p.m. ET; NBC, RDS, TSN).

What could say hockey more than the third game -- Montreal at Boston (7 p.m. ET; Versus, CBC, RDS, the most-played pairing in playoff history? The road team has won the first four games. If that's not enough, the action moves to the West Coast, where the San Jose Sharks host Los Angeles (10:30 p.m. ET; Versus, TSN, RDS) after sweeping a pair of games in Los Angeles -- including a historic comeback victory in Game 3.

And if you haven't seen it, check out the video of the goal scored by Anaheim's Bobby Ryan on Friday night -- it's the most spectacular individual effort of the playoffs so far. The bad part for the Ducks -- they lost to Nashville 4-3 in overtime, allowing a tying goal by Shea Weber with 35.3 seconds left in regulation and the winner by Jerred Smithson 1:57 into OT.

So settle in and relax. It's going to be a busy day.
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Quote of the Day

I kept refreshing the page on the NHL website after the second round and I was shocked he lasted that long. I'm sure the Coyotes were pretty happy to get him. He's such a good player and he plays big in big games.

— Arizona Coyotes forward Henrik Samuelsson on prospect Edgars Kulda being draftedd