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Posted On Friday, 06.12.2015 / 3:48 PM

By Corey Long -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning's Johnson scrutinized over lack of faceoffs

BRANDON, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson isn't sure if he'll be taking faceoffs in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Johnson took one faceoff in Game 2, a 4-3 Lightning win, and hasn't taken a faceoff since. He took 15 faceoffs in Game 1 and won six of them, but Tampa Bay won 53 percent of the faceoffs in that game. In the three games that followed the Lightning have won 35, 42, and 34 percent of the faceoffs.

Chicago earned a 2-1 win in Game 4 and tied the best-of-seven series at 2-2.

There has been plenty of speculation about Johnson's health. His lack of faceoffs and dwindling shot total in the Cup Final would suggest he's struggling with injuries.

"I think everyone's banged up," Johnson said. "When you play this long … you're doing that, you're going to be bumped up a little bit, but it doesn't matter right now. It's the Stanley Cup. There's a maximum three games left and then you've got all summer to rest. You work this hard to get here, you want to win it."

Posted On Friday, 06.12.2015 / 1:08 PM

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

Panthers' Tallon will be flexible at 2015 draft: report

Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon will approach the 2015 NHL Draft with an open mind, he said Thursday on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio.

The Panthers have nine picks in the draft, including No. 11 in the first round.

"We have a list of candidates that if they all go before 11 we might think about doing something to gain more picks or prospects or assets by moving back," Tallon said. "Some teams have expressed interest in moving up. Other teams ahead of us have asked us if we're interested in moving up. It'll come down to draft day and sometimes these decisions are made at the table, minutes or seconds before it's your turn to make the call. You never know. You've got to be ready for all circumstances."

Posted On Friday, 06.12.2015 / 12:13 PM

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

Sea Dogs' Zboril to represent Czech Republic

Saint John Sea Dogs defenseman Jakub Zboril, a projected first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, has been invited to join the Czech Republic's under-20 national junior team in two events this summer.

Zboril, No. 12 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 draft, will first participate in the country's U-20 summer camp in Kravare, Czech Republic, June 16-21. He'll then take part in the U-20 Three Nations tournament in Calgary, July 28-Aug. 10.

Posted On Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 5:28 PM

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

ICYMI: Thursday, June 11

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:

Lightning goalie Bishop uncertain for Game 5
It is unknown if Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop can play Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Matchup: Inside Game 4 for Vasilevskiy, Crawford
Kevin Woodley breaks down the Game 4 performances of Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford and Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.



Penguins forward Dupuis cleared to take contact
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis has been cleared to work out and take contact.

NEWS:

Sabres' Hodgson remains buyout candidate: report
Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson remains a candidate for a contract buyout, Sabres general manager Tim Murray said Thursday, according to Buffalo radio station WGR-550.

Hurricanes sign Wallmark to three-year contract
The Carolina Hurricanes have signed forward Lucas Wallmark to a three-year contract.

Jets agree to terms with forward De Leo
The Winnipeg Jets have agreed to terms with forward Chase De Leo on a three-year, entry-level contract.

USA Hockey names Jim Smith as new president
Jim Smith was unanimously elected the fifth president of USA Hockey during the organization's Board of Directors four-day annual congress in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Islanders announce ECHL affiliation with Missouri
The New York Islanders have reached an affiliation agreement with the Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.

FEATURES:

Blackhawks enter Game 5 still seeking complete effort

The Chicago Blackhawks got the win they needed in Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, tying the best-of-7 series, but that doesn't mean they're pleased with the performance.

Desjardins: Blackhawks must keep focus on checking
Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins tells NHL.com in his latest blog that they must continue to focus on their checking game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Garrison: Tampa Bay can build on Game 4 loss
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jason Garrison will be blogging for NHL.com periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final. In this edition, he talks about the Lightning's 2-1 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4.

Lightning look on bright side despite Game 4 loss
The Tampa Bay Lightning were looking at the bright side of life after a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final evened the best-of-7 series at two victories each.

Blackhawks' Saad continues to shine in Cup Final
Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad has eight goals in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including one in each of the past two games of the Final.

Quenneville's line changes pay off for Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville changed his lines and they were on the ice for each goal in a 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.



Cup Final reunites Maine alumni Bishop, Darling
Ben Bishop once recruited Scott Darling to the University of Maine as his successor; now the two tall goalies meet at opposite ends in the Stanley Cup Final.

Konecny used hockey to develop socially, physically
Ottawa 67s forward Travis Konecny credits hockey for helping him develop socially as well as physically.


BLOG COVERAGE:

Blackhawks' penalty killing providing an advantage
The Chicago Blackhawks' strong penalty killing has given them an advantage against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final.

Oduya steps up for Blackhawks in Game 4
Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya played more than 25 minutes in a 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

Phantoms' Connor earns USHL All-Academic honors
Youngstown Phantoms forward Kyle Connor, No. 13 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, earned United States Hockey League All-Academic honors on Thursday.

Posted On Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 4:45 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Blackhawks penalty kill providing advantage in Final

CHICAGO -- In a series as tight as the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, the Chicago Blackhawks need to continue killing penalties as well as they have in the first four games of the series.

The Blackhawks have killed off 10 of 11 Lightning power plays, one reason the best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 at Amalie Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"I think when it comes down to the penalty kill, I think we've really always understood how big of a deal it is, especially to try and take away energy from a team like this," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said Thursday. "The last couple games it's been big for us."

Posted On Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 4:15 PM

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

Phantoms' Connor earns USHL All-Academic honors

Youngstown Phantoms forward Kyle Connor, No. 13 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, earned United States Hockey League All-Academic honors on Thursday.

Connor, who recently took part in the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo, earned an A average while attending Austintown Fitch High School in Ohio. He maintained those grades while also leading the USHL with 80 points in 56 regular-season games. His 34 goals and 46 assists each ranked second in the league, and he led the USHL with nine game-winning goals on the way to being named USHL Player of the Year and Forward of the Year.

Posted On Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 4:11 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning goalie Bishop uncertain for Game 5

TAMPA -- It is unknown if Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop can play in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Bishop did not play in Game 4 on Wednesday after taking part in the morning skate. Andrei Vaslevskiy made 17 saves, and the Lightning lost 2-1 at United Center.

The best-of-7 series is tied at 2-2.

"[Ben will] come in [Friday] and be looked at by our top-shelf, top-notch medical team and decisions will be made, but it's day-to-day," Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness, said Thursday while handling the media duties for coach Jon Cooper.

Cooper in his postgame remarks Wednesday said, "[Bishop] is going to play again in this series, there's no question. I just don't know which game."

Posted On Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 1:20 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Oduya steps up for Blackhawks in Game 4

CHICAGO -- There was some question as to whether Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya would even play in Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at United Center on Wednesday.

But Oduya, who sustained an undisclosed upper-body injury in Game 3 on Monday, played 25:45 in Game 4, blocked five shots and finished with a plus-1 rating. As one of the Blackhawks' top four defensemen who have absorbed a huge workload in this series and the Western Conference Final, receiving the normal contribution from Oduya was a big help in Chicago's 2-1 victory to tie the best-of-7 series 2-2.

Game 5 will take place at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"He's been huge," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said of Oduya. "Everyone liked to talk about the four [defensemen] who were absorbing most of the minutes and responsibility in the previous series, so I don't think that's changed. I think those guys are ready for whatever, [even] playing through a few bumps and bruises. Johnny is one of those guys. It's going to take a lot more to stop him. Huge for him to bounce back. [He] made a big difference for us on the blue line tonight."


Posted On Wednesday, 06.10.2015 / 5:33 PM

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

ICYMI: Wednesday, June 10


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:

Lightning again mum on Bishop's status for Game 4
Similar to before Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Tampa Bay Lightning weren't saying if Ben Bishop will be the starter Wednesday for Game 4.

Blackhawks' Timonen savoring chance to play in Final
After missing most of the season because of a blood clot problem, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Kimmo Timonen will play in his first game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final in Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

NEWS:

Statement regarding actions by the city of Glendale
The National Hockey League today released a statement regarding actions taken by the City of Glendale.

FEATURES:

Three keys for Lightning, Blackhawks to win Game 4

With the Tampa Bay Lightning two wins from the Stanley Cup and the Chicago Blackhawks trying to even the series, NHL.com has three keys to Game 4 for each team.



Bruins coach Julien meshing well with new GM
Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said the ideas of he and the coaching staff are meshing well with what new general manager Don Sweeney wants.


BLOG COVERAGE:

Blackhawks' Oduya likely for Game 4, Versteeg in
Johnny Oduya is likely to play in Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, but there are other changes coming to the Chicago Blackhawks' lineup.

Lightning's Drouin uncertain again about Game 4
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin mistakenly thought he'd be playing Game 3 after being asked to do an interview during pregame warm-ups.

Weekes: Pluses, Minuses for Lightning, Blackhawks
NHL Network's Kevin Weekes gives his analysis from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.10.2015 / 3:20 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2015 Stanley Cup Final blog

Lightning's Drouin uncertain again about Game 4

CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay Lightning rookie forward Jonathan Drouin was told he would be in warmups and a decision on his playing status would be made prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Prior to Game 3 on Monday, Drouin did a pregame interview in French with TVA Sports during the warmups prior and said he believed he was playing. After warmups, Drouin was told he would not play.

Because he was asked to do the interview, Drouin said he assumed he was playing because scratched players are rarely asked to do interviews.

"I'm not the guy going looking for interviews," Drouin said. "Someone told me to go do an interview in the warmup and I did. It just happened."

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Quote of the Day

I spent a long summer thinking about that playoff series and what could have been. [The Blackhawks] ended up being the Stanley Cup champions, so we know we lost to a very good team. It's tough to know how close we were, and it motivates us for this year.

— Nashville captain Shea Weber in an interview with the Predators website
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