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Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 10:29 PM

NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Rangers respond to Hagelin suspension

New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin was suspended for three games Sunday night for elbowing Ottawa Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in New York on Saturday.

The incident occurred at 10:32 of the second period. Hagelin was assessed a major penalty for elbowing. Alfredsson suffered an injury as a result of the hit and his status for Monday's Game 3 is unknown. Hagelin will miss Monday's Game 3, as well as Game 4 on Wednesday and Game 5 next Saturday.

Sunday night, the Rangers issued the following statement regarding the suspension:

"The New York Rangers accept the NHL's three-game suspension of Carl Hagelin and will not pursue an appeal. However, we are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling's inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs.  We will have no further comment on this decision."

Ottawa's Matt Carkner was suspended one game for a separate incident in Game 2.
Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 8:19 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues vs. Sharks series blog

Sharks hope to capitalize on their chances

SAN JOSE – Two games. Zero points.

That's not the type of production the San Jose Sharks expected from their top line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against St. Louis. But that's the reality approaching Game 3 on Monday night at HP Pavilion. Thornton's line has matched up against St. Louis' top line of David Backes, David Perron and T.J. Oshie, which has produced just three points.

"Both lines have had their chances," Thornton said Sunday after practice. "I think me and [Pavelski] had a couple of chances last night. We're feeling good, we're feeling comfortable. Hopefully we can be on the score sheet tomorrow."

Most of those good scoring chances Saturday night in Game 2 came in the first period.

"I thought our first period was our best period of the series so far and we come out of it [trailing] 1-0," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "They did create some opportunities. Where their polish has to come a little better or a little more is on the power play. If [the Blues are] going to take some penalties, undisciplined penalties, we have to make them pay for it. Last night, we weren't as good as we were in Game 1. We were a little disjointed, so we'll look at fixing that."

The Sharks, who went 1-for-15 on the power play against St. Louis during the regular season, went 0-for-4 in Game 2. They went 1-for-3 in Game 1, a 3-2 San Jose victory in double overtime.
Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 7:22 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Tough-luck day for rookie Emmerton

DETROIT -- Just one game after scoring his first career goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to help his team get a win, Detroit Red Wings rookie Cory Emmerton sat at his locker stall on Sunday afternoon soaking in a very different feeling.

The Red Wings lost Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Nashville Predators 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena and Emmerton wound up being the only guy on his team not to record a shot on goal.

Detroit launched a whopping 45 shots on goal, had 19 others blocked and missed the net 15 times, but it was a play by Nashville's Kevin Klein in the third that had Emmerton shaking his head a little bit.

Emmerton was about to cap a rush early in the third by putting home a rebound of Drew Miller's shot into a wide open net when Klein somehow blocked the shot from the low slot with just the shaft of his stick at the last second.

"We had a good breakout there, I tried to beat my guy up the ice and [Miller] did a good job," Emmerton said. "It was a tight spot to make a pass, so he passed up the pass and the puck went off the pads and I just tried to wire it. But the D-man just kind of did like a spin or something with his stick and I don't know how, but I hit him right in the middle of the shaft. It's unbelievable, but it's a tough break."
Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 7:20 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Wings again unable to stay out of the box

DETROIT -- It's become a constant mantra now for the Detroit Red Wings, who've suddenly become prone to taking penalties in their first three games of a Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinal series against Nashville.

Detroit has committed 20 penalties, served 43 minutes in the penalty box and given the Predators a whopping 16 power plays already -- including a costly one by Drew Miller just 1:35 into Sunday's 3-2 Game 3 loss at Joe Louis Arena.

Miller was called for goaltender interference on a one-man rush after it appeared he tried to stop and was nudged into Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

"I for sure bumped into him, but it's not on purpose," said Miller, who went to the box and watched Shea Weber put the Preds up 1-0 at 2:48 of the first on Nashville's first power-play goal of the series. "It's skating as fast as I can down the ice to try to get to the puck and then shoot it at the net. So, I don't know if I was pushed from behind a little bit or what, or hit him hard. I couldn't even tell you."

Regardless of intent, it was just the start of another penalty-filled game for the Red Wings -- who wound up getting whistled for six infractions overall. Detroit finished the regular season behind only Nashville as the second least penalized team in the NHL, but suddenly has an issue with parading to the box.

It's starting to eat at the Red Wings, too -- whether they're taking their frustrations out on the calls or themselves.

"You've got to be more aware, but you can't use your stick, you can't tug someone [and] you can't, you know, interfere with someone," Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "You've got to be a lot smarter and you've got to think about it, too. Sometimes you've got to take a penalty to stop the scoring chance, but just be more aware of what they're calling out there."

What the officials have called, however, is starting to be a touchy subject in the Detroit locker room. Several Red Wings players were asked leading questions about the officiating in the series overall, but none really took the bait a day after Johan Franzen had some harsh comments about it.

Franzen was also the recipient of two slashing calls on Sunday, with the first one leading to a Nashville 5-on-3 situation for almost half a minute in the second period.

"The regular season, we're not really that kind of team," Henrik Zetterberg said. "All of a sudden in the playoffs we get a lot of penalties. [The] PK's been good, but we knew it [wouldn't] last forever. They've got a good power play. If you keep giving them chances, they will eventually score."
Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 7:17 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Wings continue to fall behind

DETROIT -- It's a disturbing trend that can't be ignored when talking about the Detroit Red Wings.

Including the final six games of the regular season plus their first three Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinal series contests, the Red Wings have fallen behind eight times and had to fight their way back.

It happened again on Sunday against the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of Detroit's opening-round series and led to a 3-2 loss -- the same score as the first two games. The Wings also fell behind in Game 1 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena and were scrambling late trying to tie it.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said a big issue related to the trend is happening in the faceoff circle, where the Red Wings were beaten soundly in the first period on Sunday.

"I thought we had to win faceoffs off the start, we were 0-for-4 in our first faceoffs, so they got on top of us," Babcock said. "We'd like to do a better job in the faceoff circle. The team that wins the draw, ends with the forecheck and gets on top of the other team, so that's something we'd like to do better."

Plus, there's the whole matter of actually playing against somebody. The Predators are also adept at sitting on leads, which is what happened Sunday after Shea Weber potted a power-play goal 2:48 into the game and Kevin Klein scored early in the second for a 2-0 lead.

"The thing I find is the other team is trying, too," Babcock said. "You're trying to get off to a good start, they're trying to get off to a good start. They got the power play early and made us pay."

Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom agreed with his coach and said that continually chasing the lead is no way to win in the postseason.

"It's so much harder to score those goals [to tie it] and get those chances in the playoffs," he said. "They make it harder to get in front of the net. It just shows how playoff hockey is so different than the regular season."
Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 6:44 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins vs. Capitals series blog

Rask will travel with Bruins to Washington

BOSTON – After playing nearly eight periods of hockey over the course of two of the last three days, the Boston Bruins held a team meeting and did some off-ice work instead of practicing on the ice as a group Sunday.

The only players who took the ice at TD Garden were backup goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, along with healthy scratches Mike Mottau and Jordan Caron.

Rask, who is still working on getting up to full strength after injuring his groin in early March, will travel with the Bruins to Washington, where the Bruins will play Game 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals this week against the Capitals. The series is tied 1-1.

Rask was scratched for the first two games of the series and Khudobin dressed as Tim Thomas' backup.

Defenseman Adam McQuaid, who has been out since April 5 with an upper-body injury, will not travel with the team.

"He's going to stay here and continue to get treatment," Julien said about McQuaid. "You know, right now he's not ready to go on the ice. So he's going to continue treatment, and when he's ready to start working out with the team, we'll bring him with us."
Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 6:41 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins vs. Capitals series blog

Bruins hope to regain home-ice advantage

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins missed an opportunity to put a stranglehold on their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with Washington by dropping a double-overtime thriller in Game 2 Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

But they know from their own experience and by looking at the rest of the League that a split in the first two games is a fortunate circumstance. Last year they lost the first two games at home to Montreal in the first round, and Pittsburgh and Vancouver dug themselves that same hole this season. Home teams struggled during the first week of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Yeah, I think everybody so far has lost home-ice advantage, but that doesn't mean you can't regain it. You get two more games to go there and regain that so it's, hopefully it's temporary for us anyways," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after his team held a meeting an off-ice workout at TD Garden on Sunday. "The other part is, that's parity in this League. When you look at the number of wins the top team has versus the eighth-place team, regulation wins, there's not that big of a difference. So I think people have to understand that it's a lot close than (No.) 1 against (No.) 8, as far as the gap's concerned. There's not that big of a difference."

Boston forward Brad Marchand believes that when it comes down to it, the venue has little impact on the events between the two teams.

"Even if you play at home, it's the same game on the ice. It really comes down to who wants it more and who has more heart and desire out on the ice," Marchand said. "Home-ice advantage just means you're in front of your home crowd, but really it's up to the guys in the room and that's really what it all comes down to. It's the same game on the ice."
Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 6:36 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Ellis latest to fill in for injured Gill

DETROIT -- The Nashville Predators won a hard-fought 3-2 game at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday afternoon and did it with a pair of rookie defensemen on the back end.

Ryan Ellis joined fellow rookie Roman Josi in the starting lineup for Game 3 of a Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinals series between the Predators and Detroit Red Wings -- which was his NHL playoffs debut.

Josi played in the first two games, while Ellis replaced Jack Hillen on Sunday in a continuing effort to replace veteran defenseman Hal Gill -- who missed his third playoff game and fourth game overall with a lower-body injury that happened blocking a shot in the second to last game of the regular season.

Ellis played just 7:50, but delivered three hits and had one of 19 blocked shots for the Preds.

"I was a little nervous," Ellis said. "It's quick out there, a faster pace than a regular game. It's nice to win. Whether it be big or small, it's better to win."

Like Josi, Ellis also made his NHL debut this season facing the Red Wings.

"It’s definitely nice to make the debut here," said Ellis, who played junior hockey just across the Detroit River for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires. "It would have been nice to play the first two, but whatever the team has to do to win. I’m just here to be a part of that."

Nashville coach Barry Trotz was just glad the talented rookie blueliner got his playoff debut out of the way.

"I thought he played pretty well," Trotz said. "He’s a young guy playing in 'The Joe.' I know he's from across the river, so I know he's very familiar with 'The Joe' and the atmosphere. I thought he played pretty well. He's one of the most intelligent players you'll come across. More than anything, he's a winner. He's been a winner at every level. I was real happy for his first game. I know he was excited, but I don't think he gets too rattled. He was very composed."
Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 6:35 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Klein steps up in Preds' Game 3 win


DETROIT
-- Kevin Klein's haircut had been garnering more media attention lately than his play, but the Mohawk styling atop his head took a big back seat on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.

Klein scored a goal, added an assist and saved a sure goal by Detroit Red Wings rookie Cory Emmerton in the Nashville Predators' big 3-2 victory in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinals series with the Detroit Red Wings.

Klein's goal, just the second playoff marker of his career, came just 3:50 into the second period and put the Preds up 2-0 to quiet a raucous pro-Wings crowd. Maybe more impressive was the way he scored it.

After Detroit's Brad Stuart created a delayed penalty situation, Klein took a short pass at the Red Wings blue line and blew past Stuart into the slot for a wrist shot that beat Howard high to the top right corner of the net.

"I don't know what I was really doing there," Klein said. "It's one of those plays where you just kind of read and react, and [Erat] gave me a nice pass there. It was nice to make a move and go in and score, get the boys fired up a little bit. It was nice to pot that one. When I got in alone, I saw the top was open a little bit, and I happened to execute it."

He also happened to come up with the quote of the day to sum it up.

"I like to step up and show my offensive talent once a year," said Klein, who scored four goals and added 17 assists in 66 games this season. "That’s about it."

Klein also blocked a shot from close range off the rush by Emmerton to save a sure goal, using just the shaft of his stick. Emmeton had pounced on a rebound of Drew Miller's shot that ricocheted off Pekka Rinne's pad to the low slot -- leaving the Preds goalie out of position.

Klein then picked up a secondary assist on Sergei Kostitsyn's goal with just 3:30 left to play in the third that made it 3-1 Nashville.

"Kevin was really good," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "He really stepped up. He was real strong. The second goal was huge. He looked like a 40-goal scorer jumping up there. He roofed it. I thought it was a real defining moment."

As for the shot block, Rinne was relieved and impressed.

"That was awesome," Rinne said. "He's done that a lot this year. I guess he has a little bit of goalie instinct, but he made a huge block ... really saved a for-sure goal. That's obviously one of the key plays."
Posted On Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 6:32 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Weber has big game for Preds in hostile atmosphere

DETROIT -- Shea Weber knew that he'd be the subject of jeers on Sunday in an arena filled with angry Detroit Red Wings fans.

Weber's altercation with Henrik Zetterberg just after the final horn of Game 1 in Nashville's Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinals series earned him a fine by the League, but Wings fans got a chance to let him hear it in Game 3 on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.

Weber was booed virtually every time he touched the puck, and he touched it a lot while playing 27:06 and spreading it out over a whopping 33 shifts.

It didn't matter, as Weber scored the game's first goal on a power play, launched four shots on goal, delivered three hits and blocked three shots to earn praise from Nashville coach Barry Trotz after the Preds' narrow 3-2 victory.

"He was a monster out there," Trotz said. "He scored a big goal. Obviously, when he came to the rink, he knew he wasn't going to be the most likeable guy in the arena. He made a big statement. He said, 'I'm here to stay and nothing's going to stop me from being a top player.' He's all about business, on and off the ice. I'm very fortunate that I can put him on the ice, night in and night out."

As for the constant boos, Weber just took them in stride.

"It's part of it, whatever," he said. "I guess we're more focused on the game."
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