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Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 1:22 AM

By Shawn Roarke -  Director, Editorial /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning's Killorn scores fantastic goal in loss

TAMPA -- Lost in the late comeback by the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday was Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn's fantastic goal, a likely candidate for best of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Killorn was stationed to the left of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford as Valtteri Filppula won a race to a dump-in and fed the puck to the point, where defenseman Anton Stralman was waiting.

Stralman launched a bit of a knuckler that was going wide; that is, until Killorn violently jabbed his stick down and got the shaft on the wobbling puck to send it past a caught-off-guard Crawford at 4:31 into the game for a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead.

"I mean, you don't expect to score on those shots, but I was just trying to sort of hit it toward the net," Killorn said. "Not something you practice, but lucky it went in."

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Posted On Thursday, 06.04.2015 / 1:20 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks' Versteeg replaces injured Bickell

TAMPA -- The past few days have been a blur for Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg, who replaced Bryan Bickell for Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Wednesday, two days after he became a father for the first time.

Versteeg didn't have a point in 9:32 of ice time. He skated primarily at left wing on the second in Bickell's spot.

Chicago scored twice in the third period for a 2-1 win. Game 2 will be played Saturday at Amalie Arena (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).


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Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 8:14 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Illinois, Florida reps. wager goods on Cup Final

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, co-chair of the Congressional Hockey Caucus, joined with three fellow members of Congress from Illinois on Wednesday to wager home-state goods in a Stanley Cup bet against three congressmen from Florida. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi helped finalize the bet with a "puck drop" in the morning, hours before the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks faced off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final an Amalie Arena.

Also taking part in in the wager are Illinois Reps. Randy Hultgren, Danny Davis and Rodney Davis, as well as Florida Reps. Dennis A. Ross, David Jolly and Gus Bilirakis.


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Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 8:07 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks' Bickell out, Versteeg in for Game 1

TAMPA -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell will not play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday at Amalie Arena.

Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Kitchen said on NHL Network that Bickell was out for precautionary reasons and that forward Kris Versteeg would replace him in the lineup.


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Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 5:38 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - In Case You Missed It Blog

ICYMI: Wednesday, June 3

Have #FOMO? Simply want to catch up after a busy day? No worries, NHL.com has you covered. Welcome to our new ICYMI blog, a daily digest of all news, features and blogs we publish. Consider it your one-stop shop for all written NHL.com content.



TRENDING:

Blackhawks to keep Toews, Kane together for now
Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will start Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the same line.

Three questions for Blackhawks, Lightning in Game 1
NHL.com identifies questions facing the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning entering Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

2015 Stanley Cup Final picks
NHL.com and NHL Network predict the 2015 Stanley Cup Final with Cup champion, series length and MVP selections.

Riggle, Daughtry to headline 2015 NHL Awards
The 2015 NHL Awards will be hosted by actor and comedian Rob Riggle and will feature a live musical performance from rock band Daughtry.

NEWS:

Stevens interested in staying with Devils: report
Scott Stevens said Wednesday that he would be interested in remaining on the New Jersey Devils coaching staff as an assistant following the hiring of John Hynes as coach, according to NorthJersey.com.

Senators owner Melnyk discharged from hospital
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has been discharged from hospital.

Kings GM Lombardi wants conditioning to be focus
Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi says missing the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs should give his players time in the offseason to work on their conditioning.

Capitals extend AHL affiliation with Hershey Bears
The Washington Capitals have extended their AHL affiliation with the Hershey Bears.

FEATURES:

Lightning, Blackhawks stress importance of defense
Matching up the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks could lead to a Stanley Cup Final full of exciting plays, frenetic pace and lots of goals.

Strangis: Olczyk brings horse sense to Cup Final
Eddie Olczyk will call the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks, which starts with Game 1 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday. Ralph Strangis discusses Olczyk's expertise in hockey and horse racing.

Coyotes considering options with third pick in draft
The Arizona Coyotes don't expect Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel to be available when they pick No. 3 in the 2015 NHL Draft, leaving their options open for talent such as Mitchell Marner of the London Knights.


BLOG COVERAGE:

Lightning's Cooper not worrying about matching lines
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper expects the Chicago Blackhawks to mix up his lines frequently during the Stanley Cup Final.

Versteeg rejoins Blackhawks following birth of child
Kris Versteeg returned to the Chicago Blackhawks after flying to Toronto to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.

Blackhawks' van Riemsdyk could factor in series
It seems likely Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will play in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, though it won't be in Game 1 on Wednesday.

Weekes: Pluses, minuses for Blackhawks, Lightning
It should set up to be an amazing Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks, writes Kevin Weekes.

Flyers see 2015 draft as good time to have high pick
The Philadelphia Flyers don't like having a high pick because it meant missing the playoffs. But if there's a year to have one, 2015 is it.

Prospects adjust travel to reach NHL Combine
The trip to get to the NHL Scouting Combine may be just as memorable as the event itself for a dozen players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.

For more 2015 NHL Combine coverage, follow NHL.com's blog.

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 2:52 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Flyers see 2015 draft as good time to have high pick

The Philadelphia Flyers would have preferred a more successful season to having the seventh pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, but they are excited about the talent that will be available to them.

In addition to having their own pick in the first round, they also have the Tampa Bay Lightning's top pick, acquired for defenseman Braydon Coburn earlier this season. Philadelphia has five picks in the first three rounds and seven of the first 99 selections of the draft, which will be held in Sunrise, Fla., on June 26-27.

"I think we're really excited about the opportunity," Flyers director of scouting Chris Pryor said Wednesday. "It's something that Ron [Hextall, Flyers general manager] has spent a lot of time with, accumulating assets. It's a good year to have a lot of picks, as deep as it is. We're excited. Hopefully it enables us to fill some areas we need a little more of and there's some quality guys available that we're hoping are still there when we pick."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 2:10 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Versteeg rejoins Blackhawks following birth of child

TAMPA -- The Stanley Cup Final can be an overwhelming experience, even if you've been through it before.

Compared to what Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg has just experienced, however, it should be a breeze.

Versteeg arrived in Tampa to join his teammates Tuesday after flying to Toronto on Monday to be with his wife, Brittany, as she gave birth to the couple's first child, a son, Jaxson James Versteeg.

"It's been a whirlwind," Versteeg said. "I said in hockey I've been able and fortunate to be a part of some great things, but nothing really compares to the birth of your child. It's been exciting and intoxicating, but now it's about getting ready for hockey."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 2:02 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks' van Riemsdyk could factor in series

TAMPA -- It won't happen in Game 1 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), but it seems likely Chicago Blackhawks rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will play at some point in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If so, the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk will make his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut on the NHL's biggest stage.

"Not playing today, but he's real close," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Chicago's morning skate. "We asked could he play today. He's sitting there. He's that close. We expect a very good chance he's going to be in the series."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 1:52 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks to keep Toews, Kane together for now

TAMPA -- All season long Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has preferred to keep his two best forwards on separate lines.

Now, at the most important time of the year, he has veered away from that philosophy of balance in favor of the fireworks that can be produced when captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane play together.

Toews and Kane will at least start Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) together on the top line with Brandon Saad, giving the Tampa Bay Lightning a high-powered line to worry about shutting down.

"Last two games, they were so good together, it's tough to get them apart now," Quenneville said, referring to Games 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks. "We'll see how the game goes matchup-wise. Certainly have some balance if you get them apart. Together, pretty dynamic the last two games."

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Posted On Wednesday, 06.03.2015 / 12:56 PM

By Corey Long -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning's Cooper not worrying about matching lines

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper is not ready to tip his hand on how he plans to handle situations when Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are on the ice together in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Cooper expects Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville to mix up his lines frequently during the best-of-7 series and hopes to have a plan for each change he makes.

"We'll just have to see how things go, how things start," Cooper said. "I can't predict what he's going to do. I'm fairly certain the lineup he starts with won't be the lineup he finishes with. He'll move things around."

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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract