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Posted On Monday, 05.02.2011 / 4:28 PM

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

Carle, JVR exhibit American pride

When the towers fell, Matt Carle was a sophomore in high school and James van Riemsdyk was a sixth grader. Now teammates with the Philadelphia Flyers, both players were glad to see that justice finally prevailed on Sunday night when President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan.

"I think it's a time for everyone to rally and kind of unite again," said Carle, a native of Anchorage, Alaska. "I was 16-years-old when 9/11 rolled around and it was a huge turning point. It's one of those things where I don't think you'll ever forget where you were when the news broke on Sunday and that's going to be the case (Monday) night as well."
Lauren Hart Philadelphia Flyers anthem singer

It's probably fitting that Game 2 between the Flyers and Bruins is the only game on the docket and being staged in the City of Brotherly Love this evening. Fans will get an opportunity to witness anthem singer Lauren Hart perform her duet with Kate Smith prior to puck drop at 7:30 p.m. ET. It should be an extremely moving and emotional tribute.

"Everybody will kind of remember how they found out how Osama bin Laden was killed and it's one of those things in history that you'll never forget," Carle said. "All the thanks goes out to our troops and the guys who were there getting that done."

Van Riemsdyk, a native of Middletown, N.J., was certainly proud to be an American as he spoke to reporters, sitting at his stall after practice at Wells Fargo Center Monday afternoon.

"It's something that has been going on for the last 10 years … it's been a manhunt for this guy and he's done a lot of terrible things and to see him brought to justice, it definitely makes you proud to be an American," van Riemsdyk said. "He's affected not only the people in the U.S., but other countries too."

NHL.com certainly has all your pre-game reaction to the dramatic world-wide news regarding bin Laden covered. Hart is looking forward to offering up her rendition of 'God Bless America' for the capacity crowd on hand at Wells Fargo this evening.

Adam Kimelman also produced a story regarding former Flyers prospect Ben Stafford, who is currently serving in the Marines. There is also video with reaction from Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins so check it out.

"I was watching a movie (Sunday) night and happened to check my twitter account and saw some rumblings of (bin Laden's death) so I turned the movie off and turned on the news and watched the President's speech," Carle recalled. "I think it was a pretty historic moment. I know a lot of people have given their lives and sacrificed a lot to be able to put him to rest, I guess. You wish it would have never have come to that, but this speaks volumes about our military and how relentless they were in never giving up. There's still a lot of work to be done, I think, but it's a step in the right direction."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Monday, 05.02.2011 / 3:05 PM

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

Jones steps up in Kubina's absence

TAMPA -- Randy Jones barely saw the ice in the first period Sunday night. Little did he know he'd go on to play a major role in overtime.

After receiving just two shifts in the first 20 minutes, Jones realized the Washington Capitals were in the midst of a bad line change and sent a long outlet pass to Teddy Purcell, who then fed Vincent Lecavalier for the game-winner at 6:19 of overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning took a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series with a 3-2 victory at Verizon Center.

For Jones, it was his first game since he suffered an ankle injury back on March 7. He would have only seven more shifts after the first period, but he made his final one of the night count.

"It felt fantastic," said Jones, who replaced the injured Pavel Kubina in the lineup. "I was happy to kind of get that first period over with. I told a couple of guys my first game in the NHL was in this barn, and I think I was more nervous tonight than I was back then. It felt great to get out there and be part of it again and coming out with a 'W.'

Bad line changes have been a problem for several teams during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Not only was Purcell open for Jones' long pass at the Washington blue line, but Lecavalier was then standing all alone in front of Michal Neuvirth, and the Lightning's captain had plenty of time to flip the puck over the Caps' goaltender for what was his second goal of the night.

"That's something we emphasize as a group -- strong changes," Jones said. "We've noticed that quite a bit in the playoffs that bad changes can really cost you. It happened in that Montreal-Boston series in overtime. I think it was just a bad change. I just saw Teddy open and I wanted to get it out of our end as quick as possible. Teddy made a great play and Vinny was able to bury it."

Jones is just the latest player on this Tampa Bay roster to contribute. In Game 1, the Lightning's third line of Dominic Moore, Sean Bergenheim and Steve Downie each found the back of the net en route to a 4-2 victory. And while Jones only received 6:25 of ice time Sunday night, his ability to read the play and make the long pass to Purcell is a big reason why Tampa Bay went home with a 2-0 series lead.

"We have a lot of guys that step up," Jones said. "There's a lot of depth on this team. When guys go down, it seems like other guys kind of step up and help contribute. We had a pretty big team effort."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL


 
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Posted On Monday, 05.02.2011 / 8:59 AM

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

Ed Snider pays a visit to Flyers practice facility

The Flyers received a little surprise on Sunday morning when chairman Ed Snider strolled into the locker room of the Flyers practice facility to shake hands and offer some luck.

It certainly wasn't the first time Snider made his presence felt, but it was a nice surprise for the players to see him on an off-day at the team's training facility. When Snider walked into the room, the first player he approached was goalie Brian Boucher.
Ed Snider Philadelphia Flyers chairman

"He cares for sure," Flyers forward Claude Giroux said. "He's always around, and always after games he comes into the room and shakes guys' hands. He is always happy. I think he believes in us for sure."

The Flyers' regulars didn't skate on Sunday and, instead, spent the day watching film of their Game 1 debacle against the Boston Bruins. They're hoping to even up the best-of-7 series on Monday at Wells Fargo Center, 7:30 p.m. ET.

"It's pretty cool (to see Snider)," Danny Briere said. "That's why he is considered one of the best owners in any team sport. He is very passionate. He loves his team, loves his players. It's pretty cool to see him."

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Posted On Sunday, 05.01.2011 / 1:09 PM

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

Carlson expected to play

John Carlson is expected to play Sunday night for the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of this series despite missing most of the third period in Game 1 and not practicing Saturday.

Carlson participated in the morning skate Sunday and both he and coach Bruce Boudreau said he is ready to go.

"If he's playing, he's playing. I assume he's playing. I don't know the big deal – guys get banged up a little bit and it takes you 24 hours to sorta get better sometimes, and that's where he is. There's no question."

Added Carlson: "I feel great. I had a day off and now we're here. It's an exciting time of the year, too, and everyone wants to go all the time. We need this next game. This next game's real big for us."

Carlson is in his first full season in the NHL, but he was essentially Washington's No. 1 during the regular season because of injuries to Mike Green and Dennis Wideman. He had 7 goals and 37 points while averaging more than 22 minutes of ice time in the regular season, and that figure is up over 23 per game in the postseason despite missing time in Game 1.

He and Karl Alzner have formed Boudreau's most-used defensive pairing and often see the ice against the opposing team's top forwards.

"He's used to playing those minutes and he's very good at it," Alzner said. "He benefits the team tremendously offensively and defensively and he benefits me a lot. I wouldn't be able to play as good as I have played in certain games without him, because he's a big key to my success as well. He's a warrior, too, so it's a nice thing that he's gonna battle through whatever he can battle through."

Carlson has played in every game this season -- tough for any defenseman to do but he also played through a leg injury earlier in the season. He blocked a shot and walked with a limp for more than a week after the injury, but played through it in part because the team was thin on defense at the time (before trades for Scott Hannan and Wideman).

"When you play 82 games, there's gonna be times where you don't feel like playing and to still play – that makes really good hockey players really good hockey players," Boudreau said. "He's a tough man and we expect him to be in."
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 8:34 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Is Pronger healthy?

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger had a major hand in the Flyers turning around their first-round series against the Buffalo Sabres. He hadn't played in seven weeks when he entered the lineup in Game 6, and just by playing less than five minutes, and all on the power play, he sparked the Flyers.

So it's notable that he didn't play a single shift in the final five minutes of the game.

He played 19:45, the most he's played in the three games since returning from the broken right hand that had sidelined him since March 8. He had two shots, blocked four shots and was a minus-3 on a night where the Flyers' defensive play as a whole was lacking.

Losing Pronger again, though, would be a major blow to the team.

Coach Peter Laviolette, when asked after the game if Pronger was healthy, only responded, "Yes."

Pronger did not speak to the media following the game.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 8:25 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Somewhat-special teams

The Boston Bruins made history by becoming the first team in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup Playoff series without scoring a power-play goal when they went 0-for-21 in seven games in the first round against the Montreal Canadiens. They extended that line of futility to 0-for-26 with their 0-for-5 performance in Game 1 against the Flyers. They generated just four shots on their five opportunities.

"Our power plays aren't very good, I guess, but I think today there was some really good movement on our PP," said David Krejci. "We had some good chances, we just have to stay positive, take the positive things from this game today, and if we're going to play this way on the power play, it is just a matter of time and the first one is going to go in."

While their power play was ineffective, the Bruins' penalty killing was excellent. They killed off four of the Flyers' five chances, with their only slip-up coming in the third period, seconds after they killed off a 56-second two-man advantage for Philadelphia.

Their best man-down play came on two straight kills midway through the second period, with the Bruins clinging to a 3-1 lead. Back-to-back penalties on Brad Marchand and Johnny Boychuk gave the Flyers four minutes of power-play time in a 4:39 span.

The Bruins killed those penalties off, and 49 seconds later Krejci scored to make it 4-1.

"They did a great job tonight," Julien said of his penalty killers. "We had a lot of penalties to kill and our guys did a pretty good job. It's unfortunate they got that one goal (but) they did a great job. At that time of the game it's so important to kill those, you don't want to let them back into it. Had they scored it might have been a different game in the third period."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 5:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

Second period: Bruins 5, Flyers 2

The Philadelphia goalie carousel appears to be spinning again. Brian Boucher was chased after allowing Boston's fifth goal, replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky. It's Bobrovsky's first appearance since Game 2 of the first round against Buffalo.

Boucher's rebound control was not good, which led to a couple goals. Early in the second he kicked Patrice Bergeron's shot back into the slot, where Mark Recchi scored just 2:34 in.

After Krejci tipped Adam McQuaid's shot past Boucher, another big rebound this time allowed Bard Marchand to score to make it 5-1 and end Boucher's night.

James van Riemsdyk scored 16 seconds after Bobrovsky came into the game, and they nearly got another one when Kris Versteeg took the puck from Krejci deep in the Boston end. He dragged the puck around Tim Thomas and was looking at an empty net when Krejci knocked Versteeg off the puck.

We've got 20 minutes left here in Philadelphia.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 4:13 PM

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

Gagne, Kubina listed as day-to-day

WASHINGTON -- Less than 24 hours after losing both Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina to injuries, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher listed both players as "day-to-day" and couldn't say for sure if one, neither or both will play on Sunday night in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Washington Capitals.

Jones missed the final 16 games of the regular season with a sprained ankle and did not play at all during Tampa Bay's seven-game series victory against Pittsburgh. Boucher, though, deemed Jones -- who last played on March 7 against these Caps -- ready if Kubina is unable to play Sunday night.

"He's ready to go," Boucher said of Jones. "He knows exactly what to do. He was playing against some top lines before he got injured."

Boucher wouldn't commit to a replacement for Gagne, who was hit by Scott Hannan 7:22 into the opening period of Game 1 and hit his head on the ice. A stretcher came out, but Gagne -- who has a history of concussions -- was able to leave the playing surface with the help of two trainers.

"I think the option of being prepared is having Option A, B and C. So, I guess we'll prepare D the rest of the day," Boucher said. "We have to prepare for different scenarios because there are really different scenarios that are possible. It's not clear cut at all."

Kubina, a defenseman who averaged 19:13 of ice time during the regular season, was hit by Jason Chimera late in the second period and was unable to return. Lightning center Steven Stamkos said he spoke with both Kubina and Gagne earlier Sunday and found them to be doing well given the circumstances.

"I haven't heard anything for sure if they're in or not," Stamkos said. "If we don't have them, it's two big holes and it's going to be tough to fill. (But) we found a way all year to fill those holes. Guys have stepped up and filled those shoes. That's the beauty about our team. We have guys that are willing to step up. Obviously we want them in the lineup and healthy as quick as possible, but we've got guys that are hungry for those roles."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 4:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECSF: Philadelphia-Boston Live Blog

First Period: Bruins 2, Flyers 1

That was a fun, physical first period that had a little bit of everything.

David Krejci gave the Bruins an early lead, making a nice play to intercept a Nathan Horton shot (replay showed it never got to Brian Boucher), stepping away from the Flyers' Matt Carle and sliding it under Boucher just 1:52 into the game.

Midway through, Danny Briere made a similar play, stopping a Braydon Coburn shot just before it could get to Tim Thomas, pulling it away from the Boston goalie and then sliding it under him at 11:02. The teams were skating 4-on-4, and Ville Leino did a great job controlling the puck in the Bruins' end to set up the goal.

Then, with 35.7 seconds left, Horton banged in the rebound of Krejci shot from in front. He didn't get much on it, but it appeared to roll up Boucher's arm and over the top of his glove.

The Bruins had more shots, 12-8, but went 0-for-1 on the only power play of the period. They're still looking for their first extra-man goal of the postseason after going 0-for-21 against the Canadiens in the first round.

And in what should be a fun stat to watch this series, the Flyers out-hit the Bruins 14-9 in the first.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Saturday, 04.30.2011 / 3:46 PM

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

Caps hope for improved power play

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Nearly all of the main contributors on Washington's two power-play units did not skate during an optional practice Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but coach Bruce Boudreau said any adjustments will come from three video sessions between Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening for Game 2.

The Capitals went 0-for-5 with the man advantage Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning -- a 4-2 loss in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

"We'll go over it today, we'll go over it tomorrow [morning] and we'll go over it before the game. I think it will be more in small doses than one long thing and let them forget about it," Boudreau said. "I think the basics are the same. But it's an awful lot easier to see how they worked against you and how they've been successful against you. It gives you a better idea of how you can hopefully beat it."

Washington put only five shots on net against Tampa Bay goaltender Dwayne Roloson despite all of the time on the man-advantage. The Capitals had several great chances early in the game on the PP, but those opportunities weren't there as the contest wore on.

The Capitals struggled at times to enter the offensive zone, and the Lightning collected five shots of their own while shorthanded. When they were able to get the puck into the zone and setup, there weren't enough shots on target.

"I think that kind of moment we have to play our game," Alex Ovechkin said. "We all knew what we have to do on the power play. I think we tried to do too much on the last power play because it was 3-2 and there was only five or six minutes left in the game. If this is going to happen again, we know what we have to do.

"We have the chances in the first period. When they get the lead and it is the third period and you see how they play, of course you try to do too much and something more than usual. I don't know but we're going to watch the video tomorrow, today and see what we have to do better."

Added Mike Green: "I think we executed our game plan for the most part but we just didn't put the puck in the net. I had a chance to put one away there. Semin hit the post. The thing is, that's the not the way we're going to score goals in the playoffs. We have to get pucks to the net and battle in front."
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Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp