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Posted On Wednesday, 05.04.2011 / 3:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Birthday boy JVR hoping for encore effort in Game 3

What could James van Riemsdyk possibly do for an encore in a Game 3 that falls on his birthday that he didn't do in a Game 2 loss to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinal round?

Perhaps provide a similar effort in a victory this time around?
James van Riemsdyk #21 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 2, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Van Riemsdyk was named the second star of the game on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia after scoring a pair of goals and posting eight shots on goal to extend his League-leading total to 59 this spring.

It marked the fifth game this playoff season of eight shots or more for van Riemsdyk, who had never posted more than seven shots in a game in his two-year career.

Van Riemsdyk, who turns 22 today, knows a victory in Game 3 will go a long way in helping the Flyers back into the series.

"We are just worrying about one game at a time and that's all it takes to win," he said. "We are down 2-0 now but if we take it one day at a time, one game at a time, I think we will be in good shape.

"Obviously, I had quite a few chances and some breakaways (in Game 2) that I maybe would like to have back and try something different," he added. That's the way the game goes sometimes. Hopefully, next time I can bury those chances."

The Flyers were very successful on the road this year and won two of three in Buffalo in their opening-round triumph against the Sabres. Van Riemsdyk is hoping that trend continues.

"I think we just have guys that step up and raise their game when our backs have been against the wall," he said. "Usually when you go on the road it's a little more of a hostile environment and you really need to step up a little more. We have been able to do that."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.04.2011 / 1:47 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Draper in, Miller out for Red Wings

Calling it his only lineup change "at this time," Wings coach Mike Babcock announced after Wednesday's morning skate that veteran forward Kris Draper will play in Game 3 (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS [JIP], TSN2, RDS [JIP]) on the fourth line, with Patrick Eaves and center Darren Helm, while Drew Miller will be a healthy scratch for the first time in the series.

That means Mike Modano also likely will be a healthy scratch, for the third straight game, unless Babcock decides to put him into the lineup shortly before the game.

Draper, who will turn 40 on May 24, said sitting for the first two games a tough thing to swallow.

"I'll be honest with you, it's probably been one of the toughest things I've had to do in my career," said Draper, who is playing his 20th NHL season and 17th in Detroit. "Just like everybody else, I love this time of year. I love playing playoff hockey, but with that being said, I just tried to do all the right things for Game 1 and Game 2. Tried to do everything right. It's disappointing when you're not playing and it's frustrating when you lose a couple games. I guess Mike felt like there was going to be a change and I get to go tonight."

So what was it like having to sit and watch the Wings struggle offensively?

"You feel like … helpless," Draper said. "I try to do as much as I can to talk to the guys between periods, encourage guys, encourage the players and talk about some stuff that maybe guys saw. I just hung around the dressing room for both games. The bottom line is that everybody wants to be a part of this time of year and when you're not playing, it bothers you because you want to be a part of it. But it's not about me. It's not about one individual."

Likewise, he's impressed with how Modano has handled sitting so far. Modano, 40, has played just one game in the playoffs thus far and has said this could be his last NHL season.

"Mo's been unbelievable," said Draper. "For a guy who's going to be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer … Mike's done so many good things at this time of year and very similar, he and I both really enjoy playing playoff hockey. But we have a lot of depth on this team, and that's the one thing you realize."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.04.2011 / 1:42 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Rafalski misses Wings morning skate … or did he?

None of the reporters watching Detroit's optional skate at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday morning noticed Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski on the ice, but Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he did participate.

If he didn't, it would be noteworthy because Rafalski also missed Tuesday's practice. Rafalski, who plans to play in Game 3 on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS [JIP], TSN2, RDS [JIP]), said missing Tuesday's workout was a maintenance day to take care of a nagging knee issue.

"Just a little swelling in the knee, getting it out and making sure it doesn't get aggravated anymore," he said. "Just getting ready for tonight."
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Posted On Wednesday, 05.04.2011 / 9:00 AM

By Scott Mayfield -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Scott Mayfield draft blog

Mayfield dishes on season, draft rating and Combine

Scott Mayfield Youngstown Phantoms USHL
Scott Mayfield is a defenseman for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. Committed to the University of Denver for the 2011-12 academic season, he also played a part in the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament for Team USA. NHL Central Scouting rated Mayfield No. 24 among North American skaters -- the seventh best defenseman -- at its final meeting in April. Mayfield, who participated in the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hello everyone!

April was a tough month for my team, the Youngstown Phantoms. Although we won our last two games, we missed the playoffs by two points.  It was really tough to be so close in the end after a long season. You can't help but think about certain games that we could have won except for a strange bounce or a missed goal.  Every game, and every point earned, is important, even in a 60-game season.

I spent the days after our last game packing and saying good-bye to my coaches, teammates, and friends in Youngstown. I spent most of the last two years there, and I'll always be thankful to the Phantoms organization, my coaches, my teammates, friends, and especially my billet parents, Gail and Jim Ridge, for making me feel at home and adjust to my new life.

It's nice to be back with my family and friends in St. Louis. I miss playing hockey every day, but I am getting on the ice and am helping my former youth and high school coach, Dave Garth, coach a spring team.

I was happy to be ranked 24th in the NHL Central Scouting's final rankings for North American skaters.  It's still a little hard for me to believe all that has happened in the last two years, and that I'm being considered for the NHL draft. There are so many great players on that list, and it motivates me to work as hard as I can to justify being listed with them.

I was also recently invited to the NHL Combine. I feel the Combine will be a ton of fun and a great experience. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the players I was able to play with at the RDO camp and how I compare off the ice to the best players in my draft class.

I will be spending May finishing up my high school courses and training for the Combine. I have a great personal strength coach, Dave Reddy, who helped me reach my weight and strength goals last summer.   We've been working hard on many of the Combine tests. It's tough, but it's also a lot of fun.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and can't wait to write about my experiences at the 2011 NHL Combine next month.
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 11:45 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Caps banged up

TAMPA, Fla. -- Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green did not play in the final 18:37 of Game 3 on Tuesday night with what coach Bruce Boudreau called a lower-body injury. Green sat at the end of the bench in the final minutes of the team's 4-3 loss but did not go back on the ice.

If Green is not able to play Wednesday night in Game 4, the Capitals will likely turn to Sean Collins, who played four games in the regular season for the team. Veterans Dennis Wideman, who is not with the team on this road trip, and Tom Poti have been out with long-term injuries but have been skating in an effort to return. Boudreau had hoped he might have Wideman available by the end of this series. Tyler Sloan could also be an option to replace Green.

Washington forward Eric Fehr also did not finish this game. He was checked into the boards in the third period and skated to the bench with his right arm dangling at his side. He went right to the dressing room and did not return. Fehr had surgeries on both shoulders two summers ago, and had a shoulder injury earlier this season.

If Fehr can't play, Matt Hendricks would likely return to the lineup. He's been a healthy scratch since Mike Knuble returned from injury for Game 2 of this series.
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 11:05 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Washington-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Fleming awake, alert after brain surgery

TAMPA, Fla. -- It was a great night all around for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Not only did they take a commanding 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven series, but assistant coach Wayne Fleming is alert and talking after undergoing surgery earlier in the day to remove a malignant brain tumor.

Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher confirmed to reporters after Tuesday night's 4-3 win in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Washington Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum that Fleming is awake and alert.

"It was the first thing we talked about with players after the game," Boucher said. "We didn't even talk about the win. I did get information from (Lighting GM) Steve (Yzerman) that Wayne's wife had talked to Steve and said that the operation was over. He was awake and alert, which is something extremely positive for that type of operation that he had to go through. For us, any positive note on Wayne is big for us."

The Lightning rallied from a 3-2 deficit by scoring twice in a 24-second span early in the third period. Steven Stamkos tied things up with a laser at 5:23 before Ryan Malone redirected Nate Thompson's feed past Michal Neuvirth for what proved to be the game-winner.

Afterwards, Stamkos -- who is now 4-2-6 in 10 playoff games -- dedicated the victory to his ill coach.

"We're obviously very excited about that," said Stamkos, who, along with his teammates, was informed of the positive news immediately following the game. "It's still a long battle for him and he's a fighter. All we can do now is pray for him and his family. It was a big win for him tonight."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 9:54 PM

NHL.com - Situation Room blog (2010-2011 season)

NSH-VAN Game 3: 12:29 of first period

After a video review, NHL Hockey Operations upheld the referee's call on the ice that Nashville player Matt Halischuk had batted the puck into the Vancouver goal with his arm as the net was being dislodged. No goal.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 8:51 PM

NHL.com - Situation Room blog (2010-2011 season)

WSH-TBL Game 3: 5:47 of third period

Through video review, NHL Hockey Operations confirmed referee Paul Devorski's call on the ice of a good goal for Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone at 5:47 of the third period.  The puck deflected off Malone's skate into the net.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 5:03 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

Red Wings searching for puck control

It's the telltale sign of when Detroit is on top of its game.

Simply put, if you see the Red Wings spending long amounts of time in an opponent's zone -- finding ways to control the puck and put multiple shots on goal -- they're playing their best. In the first two games of this series, that hasn't been the case and Detroit was limited to just one goal in each 2-1 loss.

Thus, it was no surprise to hear the Red Wings talking about better puck control and playing faster after Tuesday's practice.

"We have to use our speed a lot more," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We have to be even more of a skating team and when we have the puck, hang onto it. We can't be taking one shot and then backchecking when it goes the other way. We've got to retrieve the puck after shots and spend more time in their zone."
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.03.2011 / 5:01 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCSF: San Jose-Detroit Live Blog

'Pick your poison' with Datsyuk, Zetterberg

Much of the talk in both locker rooms after Tuesday's practices at Joe Louis Arena centered on whether the Red Wings will split up top-line superstars Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk or keep them together on the first line.

The Sharks said it doesn't really matter to them, because those two in particular are difficult to defend no matter how they're played.

"They're both high-end players and they're going to try and do different things to try to get a win," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. "That might be one of those things that we see. I think we feel pretty confident with the six d-men we have back there that we don't have to overthink the matchups and on the forwards side, same thing. We've got some lines that can handle what they do."

Still, Zetterberg and Datsyuk can cause problems in a hurry if the Sharks don't stay as disciplined as they've been in their own zone for the first two games. That, said San Jose's Douglas Murray, is because the Red Wings' "Big Two" are both gifted with immense hockey intelligence.

"Pick your poison," Murray said. "They're both very skilled players. They might not be very big in stature, but they're strong on pucks and what sets them apart from a lot of people is they're so smart. You can't really defend them the same way all the time, because if you get stuck doing the same thing, they'll find a way to take advantage of it."

The way Murray described what it's like defending them, it sounds similar to the way the guards in the movie "Jurassic Park" tried to cage in the Velociraptors, which kept testing the high-voltage electric fence to see where its weakest points were.

"You almost got to play a little chess game with them, too," Murray said of Zetterberg and Datsyuk. "If you make the first move, they'll counter with something."
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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres