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Posted On Saturday, 05.30.2015 / 11:52 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Fans flock to airport to greet East champion Lightning

Hundreds of fans were waiting for the Tampa Bay Lightning early Saturday morning when their flight arrived at Tampa International Airport Center, according to the Tampa Tribune.

The Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-0 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2004.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper held up four fingers to the cheering fans, signifying the four more wins needed to win the Stanley Cup.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.30.2015 / 1:55 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Stamkos, St. Louis hug after Lightning win Game 7

NEW YORK -- It was a quick moment in the postgame handshake line Friday, but it was a moment that was a long time coming for Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos.

Stamkos found his way side-by-side former teammate and close friend Martin St. Louis following the Lightning's 2-0 win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

It was special and surreal for them to be standing there in opposite uniforms, the younger player and current Tampa Bay captain moving on to the Stanley Cup Final, the older, former Lightning captain going home, unsure of his future, of the rest of his career.

"It was kind of bittersweet, to be honest," Stamkos said.


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Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 11:26 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Kelowna advances to Memorial Cup title game

Justin Kirkland (Nashville Predators) had two goals and an assist, and Rourke Chartier (San Jose Sharks) had two goals to help the Kelowna Rockets defeat the host Quebec Remparts 9-3 on Friday in the semifinals of the 2015 Memorial Cup at Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City, Quebec.

Joshua Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets) and Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers) each had one goal and two assists for the Rockets, the champions of the Western Hockey League. Chance Braid and 2015 NHL Draft prospects Tyson Baillie and Cole Linaker each had a goal and an assist. Goaltender Jackson Whistle, also a 2015 draft prospect, made 18 saves. The Rockets outshot the Remparts 44-23.

Kelowna will play the Ontario Hockey League champion Oshawa Generals in the title game Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US).

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Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 9:13 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Ducks hold shot-blocking edge on Blackhawks

ANAHEIM -- If it seems like the Anaheim Ducks are blocking a lot more shots than the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, it's because that's exactly what's happening.

The Ducks have blocked 34.9 percent of all Blackhawks shot attempts in the first six games; the Blackhawks have blocked 23.5 percent of Ducks attempts.

"I think we try to do, basically, the same things that we do all the time," Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said. "Obviously, the more blocks you can get, you want to have, but it depends a little bit on the situations in the game and the series."

Game 7 is at Honda Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). The winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

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Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 5:48 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - In Case You Missed It Blog

ICYMI: Friday, May 29

Have #FOMO? Simply want to catch up after a busy day? No worries, NHL.com has you covered. Welcome to our new ICYMI blog, a daily digest of all news, features and blogs we publish. Consider it your one-stop shop for all written NHL.com content.



TRENDING:

Three keys for Rangers, Lightning to winning Game 7
Examining three keys to victory in for the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Weekes: Two Game 7s are better than one
NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes is ready for a pair of Game 7s that will decide who advances to the Stanley Cup Final.



Ducks cornerstone players face defining moment
Ryan Getzlaf has won his share of big games in the NHL and on the international level, but he and the Anaheim Ducks are trying to put a string of postseason failures behind them.

Ducks coach Boudreau eyes line changes for Game 7
Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau could be trying out some new wrinkles in his bottom-six forward group for Game 7 of the Western Conference Final.

NEWS:

Devils sign forward Kalinin to entry-level contract
The New Jersey Devils have signed former Avangard Omsk forward Sergey Kalinin to an entry-level contract.

Blues sign Schmaltz to entry-level contract
The St. Louis Blues have signed defenseman Jordan Schmaltz to a three-year entry-level contract.

Hurricanes sign goalie MacIntyre to one-year contract
The Carolina Hurricanes have signed goaltender Drew MacIntyre to a one-year, two-way contract.

Blue Jackets sign Falk to one-year contract
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Justin Falk to a one-year, two-way contract.

FEATURES:

NHL Scouting Combine to add new testing, technology
The 2015 NHL Scouting Combine will add new testing this year and incorporate new technology as it moves to Harborcenter in Buffalo, N.Y., to evaluate prospects in the 2015 NHL Draft.

McDavid nominated for three CHL awards
Center Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League was named a finalist for three Canadian Hockey League awards, the CHL announced Friday.

BLOG COVERAGE:

Rangers know better effort at home will be necessary
The New York Rangers have been successful on home ice in Game 7s, but their past two games at Madison Square Garden have been clunkers.

Lightning excited for Game 7 opportunity vs. Rangers
The Tampa Bay Lightning see Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Friday as an exciting opportunity.

Sabres' Bylsma likes what he sees in Jack Eichel
Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma offered his thoughts on Boston University freshman Jack Eichel.



Flames feel depth of 2015 draft works in their favor
The Calgary Flames, who have the 15th pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, feel the deep talent pool gives them a chance to add a quality young player.

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Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 3:36 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Blackhawks series blog

Ducks coach Boudreau eyes line changes for Game 7

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau could be trying out some new wrinkles in his bottom-six forward group for Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Right wing Kyle Palmieri was moved from the third line and replaced by right wing Jiri Sekac in line rushes Friday. The fourth line was Palmieri, left wing Tomas Fleischmann and center Rickard Rakell.

"I wanted to see it in practice today," Boudreau said. "We tried that a little bit. I wanted to make sure that if that's the route we're going to go, then I wanted to see if they at least had sort of some good chemistry together. We talked about it and we'll talk about it again [Saturday] morning. By no means are those set in stone, those lines today."

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Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 1:10 PM

By David Satriano -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Rangers know better effort at home will be necessary

NEW YORK -- Much has been made of the New York Rangers' record in Game 7s, especially at Madison Square Garden, where they are 7-0, including a 4-0 record in the past four seasons.

But with a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), the Rangers are going to need to play better than they have at home during the series, where they've lost two of three games and have scored a total of four goals.

Following a 2-1 win in Game 1, the Rangers lost Game 2 and Game 5 at MSG by a combined score of 8-2.

"It doesn't matter what happened in the first games here," Rangers forward Carl Hagelin said Friday. "We know we didn't play the way we wanted and we know we have another level. So the plan is to reach that higher level tonight and do everything we can to win."

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Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 1:06 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Lightning series blog

Lightning excited for Game 7 opportunity vs. Rangers

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are one win away from the Stanley Cup Final. They know what's at stake: Win and move on, or lose and go home.

The New York Rangers are treating Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) as just another game. After all, they've won 15 of 18 elimination games since the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But the Lightning have a different opinion.

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Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 12:33 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Flames feel depth of 2015 draft works in their favor

The Calgary Flames relied on some of their younger players during their run to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and heading into the 2015 NHL Draft they expect to find another quality player to add to the organization.

Although most of the headlines surrounding this year's draft class has been centered on Erie center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel, Flames director of amateur scouting Tod Button said he likes the depth of the talent pool and expects to find a quality player when the Flames' turn in the first round comes at No. 15.

Who that player could be, however, Button isn't sure about. He and his scouts have assembled a list of players who could be available when their spot comes up. Button did say the Flames would not use their first pick on a goaltender.

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Posted On Friday, 05.29.2015 / 10:56 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Draft blog

Sabres' Bylsma likes what he sees in Jack Eichel

Dan Bylsma was in high demand across many media platforms after being named coach of the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

The questions came fast and furious about his coaching philosophy, expectations and, most notably, his thoughts about Boston University freshman Jack Eichel.

Eichel, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, is expected to be chosen by the Sabres with the No. 2 pick in the first round on June 26 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

Bylsma saw plenty of Eichel this season, so everyone was interested in his opinion.

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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract