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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 5:13 PM

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

WSH-NYR, Game 3, 20:00 of the 2nd period

Video review was used to determine if the puck crossed the line before time expired in the second period. The official burn-in clock on the overhead camera had time expired before the puck crossed the line. No goal.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 4:51 PM

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

Canucks staying out of the box

Last season, the Blackhawks were successfully able to get in the heads of several Vancouver players and make them commit retaliatory actions that wound up being penalties that led to Chicago power-play goals.

This time around, the Canucks are trying to flip the scenario around – and appear to be doing it well, having committed just five penalties combined in the first two games.

"Our whole game plan is to initiate not retaliate," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said on Sunday. "We've done a good job of it so far. I don't see anything changing tonight."

If it doesn't, then the pressure will really increase for Chicago to improve its power play production (0-for-5 ) in the limited chances that happen.

"They've got a lot of skilled guys over there and can put out a good power-play unit," Vancouver center Ryan Kesler said. "You don't want to let those guys get going over there. You don't want to let their power play get out on the ice too much and get in a rhythm, where they might not be scoring – but they're generating momentum for their team. We just want to play good, hard hockey and stay out of the box."
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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 4:45 PM

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

Matchups something to watch

Players on both sides say they're not worried about who comes over the boards for the other team when they're on the ice, but it’s something both coaches will be concerned with in Game 3.

In the first two games, Vancouver had the luxury of the final line change to match star center Ryan Kesler – a dynamic two-way player—against the Hawks' top line of Toews, Sharp and Hossa. Now that the series has shifted to the United Center, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville will get the last change and likely try to get his top line away from Kesler's as much as possible.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault will then have to find ways to match Kesler's line up with Toews' on the fly whenever possible. Kesler's ability in this series thus far is similar to the way injured Chicago center Dave Bolland gave the Canucks' Sedin twins fits last year in the playoffs – only Kesler is also a top goal-scorer.

"He's a good player and he does just about everything right out there," Sharp said of Kesler. "He's a hard-nosed guy. He's in your face. He's got speed, strength and is a 40-goal scorer, as well. He can hurt you in a lot of ways and he's a tough guy to match up against."

Toews went so far as to say the Hawks need to reverse the strategy and target Kesler more – the same way they try to lock down the Sedins.

"He's a guy that maybe we don't focus on enough and maybe we've got to find some ways to expose him a little bit," Toews said. "There's many ways to do that. It's just about doing that tonight. Whatever line's up against that line, you're just as concerned with a guy like him as we are, say, the Sedin twins."
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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 4:31 PM

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

Hawks stars agree with critics

Chicago's four top scorers – Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa – have just one assist and a minus-6 rating between them after the first two games.

They're also taking a good amount of criticism because of the stark lack of production and Chicago's sticky situation against the rival Canucks – trailing by two games and almost needing to win Game 3 on Sunday night to keep a realistic shot of winning the series alive.

Is the criticism coming their way fair?

"Absolutely," Toews said. "I always think that when things are going well, your star players are going to get a lot of credit -- but when things aren't going so well, they're the ones who are going to take the heat, as well. That kind of … is the whole thing with being a star player. It's not easy when your team is not doing so well. You're the one who is going to take the blame, so yeah, that is absolutely fair."

Kane agreed.

"I think (it's fair)," he said. "I don't think our best players have been living up to par, that's for sure. We know we've got better in us. It's fun this time of year. It's fun to have that pressure on you and it's fun to make sure that we come out and lead the way for our team. I think for all of us, whether it's five of us, six of us or 20 of us, all of us know we have better."

Sharp also agreed, in his own way. Asked by a reporter if it was "too simplistic" to say the Canucks' stars are better than Chicago's stars, Sharp bristled.

"Uh, they're up 2-0 in the series, I guess is what I would say," Sharp said.
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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 4:20 PM

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

Blackhawks looking for power-play fixes

Chicago came into the regular season wanting to improve from the previous season on the power play and got the job done by becoming one of the League's most dangerous teams with the man advantage.

Now, the Blackhawks are looking to fix the power play in the postseason after going a combined 0-for-5 with the man advantage in the first two games against the Canucks.

As defenseman Brian Campbell aptly pointed out after Chicago's morning skate on Sunday, had they converted even one of those five chances, it probably wouldn't be a topic of discussion among the media. But they didn't … so it is.

As a result, the Hawks are searching for answers quickly now that they're down two games to none.

What’s the biggest issue?

"A little more urgency, maybe," said Patrick Sharp, who led the Hawks with 12 power-play goals in the regular season. "I think they're pressuring us up ice and in the zone, doing a good job of taking away time and space. We've got to realize that and support each other. It's not always the guy with the puck not being able to make a play, but it's the guys without that puck that have to support him."

Getting off to a strong start at even strength could also help, according to Hawks captain Jonathan Toews – a key playmaking center on the No. 1 power-play unit.

"It's all going to come off our work ethic and the way we play 5-on-5," said Toews, who has yet to record a single point and has a minus-2 rating. "If we show we're playing better as a team, 5-on-5, early in the game the power play can come off of that, too."

Another key member of the Hawks power play, Patrick Kane, said that coming out of their own end with the man advantage has also been an issue.

"That's probably the biggest thing," Kane said. "I thought in the (first) two games they kind of hemmed us in our own end a little bit on the power play and you definitely don't want that. We've got to settle down and make sure we're coming out with good breakouts."
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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 2:33 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Vancouver-Chicago Live Blog

Canucks ready to deal with Scott

CHICAGO -- Finding out that Chicago will use John Scott in Game 3 raised more than just a few eyebrows inside Vancouver's dressing room.

"It's interesting," Canucks forward Tanner Glass said. "I'm sure they think he's going to bring something to the lineup that may have been lacking. It's a different look, but we're focused on what we do in here and our process."

Kevin Bieksa chirped Scott a little when he said that the best way to beat him is to just skate around him and score a goal.

"When a guy 6-8 challenges you, (a guy) that can't skate? Well, usually you say 'No,' and then you go around him and score," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "That's what usually you do. There are other 6-8 guys in the League. Why doesn't he go challenge those guys to fight?"

Bieksa also said the Canucks won't change a thing despite knowing Scott will play.

"We're going to be physical regardless," he said. "Our whole gameplan is to initiate, not retaliate. We've done a good job of it so far and I don't see it changing tonight."

None of the Canucks plan on fighting Scott.

"I remember him fighting Alex Bolduc," Glass said, "and it didn't end so well for Alex."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 2:29 PM

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

Who's your goalie?

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette isn't talking goalies. He's got two to choose from for Game 3 on Monday, and there's a compelling argument either way.

On one side there's rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who had 28 wins and played well despite losing Game 1 Thursday against the Sabres.

On the other side is veteran Brian Boucher, who Laviolette and teammates credited with bringing a calmness to Game 2 Saturday when he relieved Bobrovsky after the rookie surrendered three goals on seven shots.

Teammates don't seem to care who's in net -- even if it's Michael Leighton, last year's playoff starter who is with the team now as an extra goalie.

"We've got three good goalies," said defenseman Kimmo Timonen. "To me it doesn't matter who's in there because I know they're going to do their job and play well."

Bobrovsky and Boucher had simiar regular-season numbers -- in 54 games, Bobrovsky went 28-13-8 with a 2.59 goals-against average and .919 save percentage; Boucher was 18-10-4 with a 2.42 GAA and .916 save percentage in 34 games.

What does stand out, however, is Bobrovsky's resiliency.  In 24 occasions this season he either suffered a loss or was pulled from a game, in the next game, he went 12-5-4 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

"In the past Bob has bounced back," said Laviolette. "He's come back (after) an outing he wishes things had gone differently and maybe we could have played better in front of him and he's come back with a strong performance."

So which way is Laviolette leaning? He's not giving any hints.

"Any decision you make with the lineup, they're difficult decisions," he said. "They're all difficult. You're talking about people that aren't playing in the lineup right now, that are scratches, those are difficult decisions as well. It's people's livelihood, they want to play. We got guys that are sitting out right now and I'm sure they'd much rather be in the lineup. There's no decisions taken lightly."

Boucher said he didn't think he would find out one way or the other until the team left for Buffalo.

"He's trying to juggle (Bobrovsky's) psyche, how he's feeling, and at the same time he's trying to win playoff series so we can move on and try to win a Stanley Cup," said Boucher. "I'm sure it's a high-pressure situation for Lavi. It's why he gets paid the big bucks, to make those decisions. He's been pretty good at pushing all the right buttons since he's been here. We'll see what happens."

So what would you do?

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 2:21 PM

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

Pronger making trip to Buffalo

The Flyers have announced Chris Pronger will travel with the team to Buffalo, but does that mean he'll practice with the team? Or the "Black Aces," the extra players every playoff team carries? What about his potential return to the lineup for Game 3 on Monday?

One thing is for sure -- the players have moved past worrying about whether Pronger plays or doesn't play.

"I don't think about it," said Scott Hartnell. "He's around, he's working out. I don't know if he's skating before us or not. Until he's practicing with us for a few times we can't expect him back. He's definitely a presence, we miss him, but it's the farthest thing from our mind."

The other consideration could be an extra forward. Andreas Nodl is listed as day to day, and if he can't go in Game 3, it could be either Nikolay Zherdev or Jody Shelley drawing in.

Zherdev could be the missing element for a power play that's gone 1-for-15 in the series, including 0-for-3 on 5-on-3 chances. However, he's spent most of the season as a healthy scratch. Shelley hasn't played in a month due to a broken orbital bone, but he's been cleared to play and on Sunday ditched the full cage he had been wearing for a visor.

Coach Peter Laviolette, as per his usual, would not tip his hand as to which way he might be leaning with his lineup.

"All decisions are tough and they're not taken lightly," he said. "You try to do what's best for the team. Ultimately somebody goes and somebody doesn't. The people that don't, they want to play. They're proud guys and they want to play and I respect that."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 1:47 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Washington-New York Live Blog

Tortorella pregame: 'We're not far off'

NEW YORK -- Rangers coach John Tortorella met with the media about two hours before Sunday afternoon's Game 3. He didn't reveal specifics of his lineup, but said the same personnel would be employed agains the Capitals. Steven Eminger and Mats Zuccarello will be scratched.

He also touched on how his young players are handling their first Stanley Cup Playoffs, the energy of the home crowd, and the importance of getting a break and scoring a goal.

Q: Do you think the other team's been taking real care to hit Staal all the time?

Tortorella: I'd do it. That's part of playoff hockey.

Q: Is there any way to slow it down?

Tortorella: No. That's part of playoff hockey. We're trying to do the same thing with some of their people. I thought the second game was more physical than the first. You have to play through it. Especially with the new rules, they're targets. You can't hold up. Teams play that way. They try to put it into areas and bang. Do we want our guys hit? No. But I think it's the responsibility of the players also if they can get away from it, get away from it. But you still have to make a play. That's part of winning in playoff hockey. It's taking a hit to make a play.

Q: When you're having trouble scoring, is the first goal more magnified today?

Tortorella: I'm not going to get into magnifying, back up against the wall, that stuff. We're going to play. We know what we have to do, and we're going to try and play.

Q: From Game 1 to Game 2, especially with some of your young guys, did you see a maturation from that first NHL playoff experience? Maybe McDonagh and Sauer in particular. Could you see growth in a short period of time?

Tortorella: I think those two have right from the get-go have just…it's really encouraging. I looked at McDonagh and I think he has to go through a little process where -- it shouldn't have been a penalty -- but that's going to happen.  You can't take a risk. If you're not playing between the whistles, you're taking a risk. I think he'll learn there. But the way he's handled himself, I think he's got some fight to him. You can just see his attitude. I think he has the right attitude. Michael Sauer, the same thing. They've been two of our best as far as handling their first situation. I felt Step played better. Artie Anisimov…you know, I think there is some nerves. But I think as each game goes by, they are getting better. Now it's a new animal coming into MSG here, home building. I'm anxious to see how they react. This is all part of the process of building a team. So I'm glad we're here, and I think we will be better as we keep on going through the series.

Q: Are there parts of their game you can see per shift, per period, per game? I know it's early, but the seeing of it from where you stand.

Tortorella: Improving?

Q: Yeah.

Tortorella: I'll go to Artie because he just sticks out. I thought he really struggled at times and then in the second half of Game 2, he started being more physical. He just seemed more involved. He's an important guy for us. He's a young man that has been given quite a bit of responsibility as a center ice man on this team. I just saw him start growing a little bit in understanding that your game comes in when you start getting around the puck and hitting people. It's very important for Step, also. Step has gone through not a lot of downs, a couple downs early in the season, but once he started getting involved with the body, his game follows behind it. It always is. I think they're improving. I think they'll be…I'm looking forward to them today. Not only those guys, but I think our team is really ready to jump in here and try to grab some momentum.

Q: How do you get to the inside a little bit more? Will this building change things? How can you get your team to the inside to the net?

Tortorella: That's a willingness. It doesn't matter which building. You can be out on the pond playing. It's a matter of trying to get there. It's a matter of trying to funnel shots there to allow people to get there. The series is 2-0, but it's been, at least from my standpoint, either way, it could change. It changes. I think at times, I think we've defended pretty well. Our biggest key is just to get something good to happen for us offensively. I look at their second goal the other night, which was a huge goal. We're defending their power play the right way. It deflects off of Gilroy's skate and right onto Arnott's stick, and he buries it. That's a huge goal. I'm hoping something like that happens for us. Because we're not far off. They can't win the series today, we can't win the series today. But we can grab some momentum. And I think that's the most important thing when you're involved in a series, is trying to get some momentum on your side.

Q: When you look at home-ice advantage, how much of it do you think is the ability to match up as you want, and how much of it is the energy in the building?

Tortorella: You know, the matchups, for me, they're a little overfplayed. They're going to get their matchups. If they want to get their two young defensemen against Gaborik, they'll get'em, if they really work hard at it. We did the same thing with Staal and Girardi. I know we like to talk a lot about those matchups, but as far we're concerned, energy is a very important thing. But you have to be really careful when you come into your home building. You need to have some discipline too. You need to control it, also. I don't need to speak to the team about playing with energy today. It's not happening. I thought after Game 1, we didn't have enough energy. I don't think we had enough jam. Game 2, we were better.  I won't have to talk about that today. It's a matter of keeping it under control because you can't put yourself in a bad spot and allow a power-play goal to hurt you.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 11:13 AM

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

Pronger off the ice Sunday

Philadelphia Flyers All-Star defenseman Chris Pronger did not practice Sunday, leaving in question his availability for Game 3 of the team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN).

Pronger has not played since March 8 due to a broken bone in his right hand. He has been skating for about two weeks, but away from the team, and his sessions have been almost exclusively limited to skating drills. He worked with a puck Wednesday but made only soft passes and light shots, and only touched the puck one time Friday, skating laterally with it along the blue line and then letting it roll of his stick.

Prior to the Flyers announcing Saturday that Pronger would miss Game 2, CSNPhilly.com reported Pronger would miss Game 2 and Game 3 -- if not more.

The club continues to list Pronger as day-to-day with his injury.

In other injury news, forward Andreas Nodl played just 3:43 in Game 2 due to what the team called an upper-body injury. The team did not issue any other updates, but if Nodl can't play, the two most likely options to replace him for Game 3 are Nikolay Zherdev and Jody Shelley.

Zherdev brings a dynamic offensive element. He had been skating on a line with Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter for the final five regular-season games, but has been a healthy scratch in the first two playoff games, with James van Riemsdyk playing very well in that spot.

Shelley brings a more physical element. Despite not playing in a month due to a broken orbital bone and still wearing a full cage to protect his face, he's been medically cleared to play.

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