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Posted On Tuesday, 04.26.2011 / 2:10 PM

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

This Game 7 is a long time coming for Boucher

Brian Boucher has started one other Game 7 in his NHL career -- the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Devils. He stopped 16 of 18 shots that night in a 2-1 loss.

Back then, Boucher was a 23-year-old rookie getting his first taste of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. When he starts Game 7, he'll be a grizzled 34-year-old in his third stint with the Flyers in an NHL journey that's taken him to Phoenix, Calgary, Chicago, Columbus and San Jose, with a couple stops in the American Hockey League included.

"I think what's changed is the fact that there's a lot of years in between then and now," he told reporters Monday. "There's a lot of experience gained. I feel like I'm a better goalie today than I was back then. The fact that I was fresh-faced and had a lot of energy and a lot of spunk, I think that was what carried me at that time. Now I feel like I'm a smarter goaltender. I've learned a lot. Maybe that'll help out."

One of the things he's learned is to laugh off some of the things that come up in the media at playoff time. Like, how the Buffalo News called the Flyers' three starting goalies in the series -- Boucher, Sergei Bobrovsky and Michael Leighton -- the Three Stooges.

When Boucher was asked which his favorite Stooge was, he just laughed.

"That's pretty funny," he said. "Which was the bald-headed one? Curly, that's the guy. Maybe I'll be Curly."

Boucher said the benefit of age also has helped him be able to take his mind off the game.

"For me it's pretty easy," he said. "I've got a family at home and you can't ignore your duties as a father or as a husband. When I get home, it's life as usual. For me, it's easy to (get away from the game). For guys that are single or on their own, it might be more difficult. We've got baseball practice today at 5 p.m. for my son. It's a beautiful day so far, go catch some sunshine."

In five games in this series (three starts, two relief appearances), Boucher is 3-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .935 save percentage, both of which rank fifth among all playoff goalies.

"There's a tremendous amount of confidence in Brian Boucher, there's no question about that," coach Peter Laviolette said Tuesday morning.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 04.25.2011 / 8:37 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Boston-Montreal Live Blog

Time set for Game 7

While fans of the Boston Bruins are hoping they won't be at TD Garden on Wednesday night, a time has been set for a Game 7 should the Montreal Canadiens come out victorious at the Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Previously listed as "to be determined," Game 7 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal will begin at 7 p.m. ET. And, of course, fans can watch the game on Versus in the U.S and CBC and RDS in Canada.
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Posted On Monday, 04.25.2011 / 6:23 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Kopecky travels with Blackhawks

CHICAGO – Injured forward Tomas Kopecky traveled with the Chicago Blackhawks to Vancouver on Monday afternoon as the defending Stanley Cup champions prepare to play Tuesday night's Game 7 of a Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Kopecky is "progressing" from an upper-body injury sustained in the first game of the series and the team will know more about his availability to play on Tuesday.

Kopecky, who didn’t score and logged one shot in Game 1, played 81 regular-season games and scored 15 goals with 27 assists and 42 points.

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Posted On Monday, 04.25.2011 / 5:43 PM

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

NSH-ANA, Game 5, 1:53 of the 3rd period

Video review at 1:53 of the third period of the Anaheim-Nashville game proved inconclusive, therefore referee Kozari's call of a hi-stick on the ice stands -- no goal.

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Posted On Monday, 04.25.2011 / 1:53 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Boucher, Stamkos don't believe in momentum

TAMPA, Fla. -- Momentum is something players and coaches in all sports discuss at length, especially in the playoffs.

We need to grab the momentum. They took the momentum away from us. After that play, the momentum really carried us.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher, however, feels the same way about momentum that he does about the Easter Bunny.

"I don't believe in momentum," Boucher said Monday morning. "The next game is new. You have to plan again, players have to get psyched up again and you have to get ready for different circumstances. It's a different game."

Considering the Lightning are coming off a dominating 8-2 victory against the Penguins in Game 5, you'd think Boucher would be all aboard the momentum train.

"You can win 8-2 and the next game is 0-0 for five periods," Boucher said.

Steven Stamkos, who scored his first two goals of the series in Game 5, doesn't expect there to be a carryover effect either. He's expecting Marc-Andre Fleury, who was pulled after allowing four goals in 25 minutes, and the rest of the Penguins to be at their best in Game 6.

"If you ask any guy on their team, they'll probably said they didn't play a good game last game," Stamkos said. "They're all going to bring their best. That's to be expected. Everyone's a professional. You want to bounce back. We're going to expect nothing less than the best from them tonight."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 10:05 PM

By Jeremy Sandler -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Philadelphia-Buffalo Live Blog

Ruff: Roy will play in Game 7

With Tim Connolly now sidelined following a hit by Mike Richards, the Buffalo Sabres are going to need some reinforcements.

Enter Derek Roy.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Roy will take Connolly's spot on Tuesday, when the Philadelphia Flyers will host the Sabres in Game 7 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal.

Roy, also a center, had 10 goals and 35 points in 35 games for Buffalo this season but has not played since tearing a quad tendon in December, an injury that required surgery to fix.

"He's going to be ready," said Ruff. "We'll get him ready."

As for the rest of his shorthanded team, the Sabres coach said the key task for Game 7 in Philadelphia will be getting his best players to deliver top performances.

"This team's got a lot of battle, incredible battle," he said. "This team is going to battle 'til the bitter end. We're going in there, we know we've won two games in that building. We're going in for a win."
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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 7:44 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: San Jose-Los Angeles Live Blog

Less pressure on Penner

Murray said dropping Penner to a lower line was largely done to take some defensive responsibility off him.

"Right now with Pens I think that the matchup right now is important," Murray said. "I'm giving him the opportunity here to back away on having to shut down a (Joe) Thornton line, the checking part of the game. He's capable. But the game is just not there right now so with a different look it's an opportunity to get your game together … maybe certainly not the same stress coming at him as a Thornton line."
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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 7:10 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: San Jose-Los Angeles Live Blog

Murray not ready to tinker with Kings' lines

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- If ever a team has good reason to stick with a lineup after it surrendered 52 shots on goal, it's the Los Angeles Kings.

Coach Terry Murray changed three of his four lines prior to Game 5 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against San Jose, and it resulted in a 3-1 victory.

Despite making goalie Jonathan Quick record a franchise playoff record 51 saves, the Kings actually were better off overall in part to balanced, two-way play by their forward group.

So why fix what's not broken?

"I will not change the lines right now, no," Murray said after Sunday’s practice.

Murray will continue to use Scott Parse on a line with Michal Handzus and Justin Williams. Dustin Penner has been dropped down with Jarret Stoll and enforcer Kevin Westgarth while Trevor Lewis centers Ryan Smyth and Dustin Brown.

The one line intact is that of rookie Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds, who have turned out to be the story of the playoffs for L.A.

Clifford and Richardson lead the team with five points apiece and Simmonds has contributed a goal and two assists. But it's their play on both ends of the ice that have made them the most effective, with Clifford's grit, Richardson's veteran savvy combining with the speed of Simmonds.

Richardson said they developed chemistry playing together at the end of the regular season and recently discussed a desire to get on the scoreboard.

"We talked about it," Richardson said. "We were happy with our play, but we just wanted to get some more production. I think it was just a matter of getting an ugly goal – I think Cliffy got one in the second game – so I think that just kind of sparked us. But we've been playing well even before that. We felt like we were getting our chances."

Clifford is the biggest surprise. A few weeks ago he made news only for losing fights to Ryan Reaves of St. Louis and Sheldon Brookbank of Anaheim.

Clifford's three goals lead the Kings and he was the postseason’s top rookie goal scorer entering Sunday.

"The fact that you're looking at a young player, a rookie, putting some pucks into the back of the net, it really doesn't surprise me," Murray said. "It has happened in the history of the game when you have a player who's doing it who plays that hard game. He goes to the area that you have to go to to play at this time of the year. There's no reluctance, no hesitation in physical contact and paying a price in order to recover pucks. You get rewarded for that attitude."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 5:47 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Anaheim-Nashville Live Blog

Preds preparing for potential franchise first

Before Game 6, Trotz was asked how to prepare his players to clinch the franchise's first ever trip to the second round. (This is the first time the Preds have had an opponent in an elimination game.)

"We've never been here," said Trotz, Nashville's only coach since it arrived in the League in 1998. "You have to live in the moment. This is a new situation…. Every group is a new canvas and you start over again.

"There are good and bad experiences you have to go through. The bad ones make you more resilient, the positive ones you draw from."

Nashville has been resilient in this series, helping to establish a series of franchise firsts. The Predators rallied from a goal down in the final minute of regulation in Game 5, pulled their goalie and tied the score and then won in overtime. In Game 3, they earned a power play in the final minutes of regulation to help them protect a one-goal lead, as they won 4-3. Last year, they lost a game to Chicago in the first-round in a similar situation.

Friday represented numerous organizational firsts for Nashville: The first time it won a Game 5, won an overtime playoff game and recorded two road playoff wins in the same series (or season). In fact, Game 1's victory was only Nashville's second road playoff victory in six trips to the postseason.

Asked how the mood in the room was on Sunday afternoon, Trotz said he had yet to check. After completing his talk, he popped in and then came back out to indicate that the mood was light.

Earlier, he said his message to the players was simple.

"Play to win," he said. "Don't sit back. This is a great opportunity. Shifty by shift. Get the job done."
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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 5:30 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Anaheim-Nashville Live Blog

Ryan still getting accolades for goal

After setting the Twittersphere ablaze around midnight on Friday night in Game 5 with his goal for the ages, Ducks forward Bobby Ryan was still reveling in the attention he was receiving when he spoke to reporters on Saturday.

To recap: Ryan blocked a shot by Nashville's David Legwand in the third period, earned possession of the puck in the neutral zone, faked around Legwand once, causing Legwand to lose his stick, then stickhandled again around Legwand, as Legwand missed with a body check.; with Nashville's All-Star defenseman Shea Weber in pursuit from behind, Ryan went from forehand to backhand, roofing a shot over Preds goalie Pekka Rinne's blocker.

Some called it Mario Lemieux circa the '80s. Some called it the best goal they have ever seen.

"It has been pretty cool," Ryan said. "I didn't talk to too many people last night, but getting off the plane today I had about 40 text messages. It's a cool feeling. Obviously, when I look back on all of them, it's a moot point when you go on to lose the game, but I'll remember it, that's for sure."

Ryan was asked if the goal made the clips that Ducks coach Randy Carlyle showed the team in preparation for Game 6.

"We haven't seen anything yet," he said. "It won't make the cut, there will be a lot of different clips in there, but I don't think that will be one of them."
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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