Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Thursday, 05.07.2015 / 4:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Rangers-Capitals series blog

Capitals limiting Rangers offense with blocked shots

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are discovering the Washington Capitals to be a much more well-balanced and determined group in the Stanley Cup Playoffs than the one they faced during the regular season.

The Rangers won three of four games against the Capitals in the regular season but find themselves trailing their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series 3-1 entering Game 5 on Friday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Rangers center Dominic Moore said the Capitals are committed to coming to the aide of goaltender Braden Holtby whenever possible. The Capitals have 86 blocked shots in four games against the Rangers, including 52 in two victories at Verizon Center.

The Rangers have 46 blocked shots.

"They are a little bit more pronounced in the philosophy of how they've caving up in front of Holtby, and they've done a good job of that," Rangers forward Dominic Moore said. "They've waited for their opportunities and they've capitalized on them, so they've been pretty consistent with it in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.07.2015 / 3:44 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks experienced at closing out playoff series

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild face a daunting challenge, trying to rally from a 3-0 series deficit. It might be even tougher considering the opponent.

The Chicago Blackhawks have a lot of Stanley Cup Playoffs success since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane arrived at the beginning of the 2007-08 season. Chicago is one victory from reaching the Western Conference Final for a fifth time in seven seasons.

A big part of the Blackhawks' ability to consistently advance deep in the postseason is their performances in games when they can advance. Chicago is 13-4 with Toews and Kane in playoff games after they have accumulated three wins a best-of-7 series.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.07.2015 / 3:34 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks' Versteeg healthy, waiting for his chance

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg has returned from a lower-body injury but must wait for an opportunity to crack the lineup in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Versteeg, 28, will be a healthy scratch in Game 4 of the Western Conference Second Round at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2), when the Blackhawks have a chance to end the best-of-7 series with a sweep of the Minnesota Wild.

Versteeg played all six games of Chicago's first-round victory against the Nashville Predators and scored one goal. He was replaced to start this series by rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen and then missed a few days of practice because of the injury, which was his third this season.

"I'm feeling good now," Versteeg said after the Blackhawks' skate. "I'm just kind of waiting now to get in the lineup and trying to be ready for my call. I don't think anyone can ever say they're 100 percent [in the playoffs], but I feel good now and I think it was important to do what I did."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.07.2015 / 2:25 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild hope lineup changes create space for Vanek

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild will make several tweaks to their lineup for Game 4 of their Second Round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2).

Chicago leads the best-of-7 series 3-0 and can advance to the Western Conference Final for the third consecutive season with a win at Xcel Energy Center. A Wild win would force Game 5 in Chicago on Saturday.

The biggest change for the Wild is moving third-line center Charlie Coyle to right wing on the second line, with left wing Jason Zucker and center Mikko Koivu. Coyle and Zucker have been linemates for much of the series but Coyle has played sparingly with Koivu this season. He has played right wing on Koivu's line in the past.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.07.2015 / 1:58 PM

By Corey Long - Correspondent / - Canadiens-Lightning series blog

Lightning need to avoid sitting back again in Game 4

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Cooper said they went into a prevent defense against the Montreal Canadiens for much of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round after taking the lead on Alex Killorn's goal in the first period.

Evan after a 2-1 win, Cooper knows they can't do that again Thursday in Game 4 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) if they want to sweep the best-of-7 series.

"It was a weird game because I thought we played well to get the lead and then sat back for the next 48 minutes or so," Cooper said Thursday. "Once they tied the score, the game settled down again. Do I like that our guys found a way to win? Sure. But you don't want to rely on that. We want to play a full 60 minutes [Thursday]."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.06.2015 / 9:51 PM - 2014-2015 Situation Room blog

MTL @ TBL - 19:58 of the Third Period

At 19:58 of the third period in the Montreal Canadiens/Tampa Bay Lightning game, video review supported the referee's call on the ice that Tyler Johnson's shot crossed the Montreal goal line with 1.1 seconds remaining in the third period. Good goal Tampa Bay.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.06.2015 / 7:40 PM

By Staff -  / - Ducks-Flames series blog

Ducks use day off to get away, relax in mountains

A day after the Anaheim Ducks' first loss of these Stanley Cup Playoffs, they traveled Wednesday to Banff, Alberta, where they will relax before practicing with two days until Game 4 against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

"I think today's the day where you can relax and not think about hockey," captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "Some guys are going on the ice just to get their legs going, but it's about getting away and turning off your brain for a day and then tomorrow getting back to work."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.06.2015 / 7:29 PM

By Staff -  / - 2015 IIHF World Championship blog

Ennis scores late, Canada rallies for win vs. Sweden

Canada overcame a three-goal deficit and defeated Sweden 6-4 on Wednesday in a Group A preliminary-round game at the 2015 IIHF World Championship at 02 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.

Forward Tyler Ennis (Buffalo Sabres) scored a power-play goal with 6:29 remaining to give undefeated Canada its first lead, 5-4. Forward Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars) scored an empty-net goal with 1:50 left.

"We had a big wakeup call in the first," Seguin said, according to the IIHF website. "We went to the dressing room and talked before the second [period]. A lot of guys were saying we can do better. We can score goals. We can be better at defending. We put it all together and came away with three points."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.06.2015 / 6:04 PM

By Staff -  / - In Case You Missed It Blog

ICYMI: Wednesday, May 6

Have #FOMO? Simply want to catch up after a busy day? No worries, 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 content.


Capitals finding ways to shut down Rangers' Nash
The Washington Capitals have been effective in their goal to shut down New York Rangers forward Rick Nash heading into Game 4 of their series.

Lightning's Bishop continuing to elevate his game
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop has continued to elevate his game during the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Montreal Canadiens.

Closer Look: Hawks' Toews blanketing Wild's Parise
Take a closer look at how Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews has used his defensive skills to blanket Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise during the first three games of their Western Conference Second Round series.

Oilers interview McLellan for coaching job: report
Former San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan has interviewed for the coaching job with the Edmonton Oilers, according to the Edmonton Sun.


Predators sign goalie Mazanec
Nashville Predators signed goalie Marek Mazanec to one-year contract Wednesday.

Stars' Benn sidelined through summer: report
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn is recovering from a second hip surgery in a week, according to a Dallas Morning News report.

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook
Comprehensive Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook from action on Tuesday, May 5.


Blackhawks' Kane back playing at pre-injury level
Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane picked up in the Stanley Cup Playoffs where he left off before a broken collarbone ended his regular season.

Chabot: 'Real Flames' showed up in comeback win
Former coach Frederic Chabot shares his insight on the Western Conference Second Round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames.

Wild, down 3-0, focused on one game at a time
The Minnesota Wild faced an uphill battle in the regular season to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Will will try to draw on those experience as it attempts to erase a 3-0 series deficit.

Getzlaf has found groove for Ducks on and off the ice
Ryan Getzlaf
Center - ANA
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 12
SOG: 19 | +/-: 7
Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf has found a balance between his play on the ice and his leadership off of it, a major factor in the Ducks' playoff run.

Gaudreau's goal sets Flames up for victory in Game 3
Johnny Gaudreau lit the fuse for the Calgary Flames to trim the Anaheim Ducks lead in the best-of-7 series to 2-1 with his goal late in Game 3 to force overtime.

Noel: Textbook win for Blackhawks to take 3-0 lead
Claude Noel felt the Chicago Blackhawks exhibited a textbook game plan in their 1-0 win against the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 to take a 3-0 series lead.

Crawford rebounds vs. Wild after first-round benching
Corey Crawford is excelling for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Minnesota Wild after getting benched in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Frustration mounts for Wild, down 3-0 to Blackhawks
The Minnesota Wild trail the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 in their Western Conference Second Round series after Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 30 saves in a 1-0 victory Tuesday.


Ennis scores late, Canada rallies for win vs. Sweden
Buffalo Sabres forward Tyler Ennis scored in the third period of a 6-4 comeback victory for Canada against Sweden at the World Championship.

Blackhawks mostly using five defensemen
The Blackhawks have played their best defense of the playoffs in the past two games, but coach Joel Quenneville has shortened his bench in each game.

Flames keeping emotions in check after Game 3 win
The Calgary Flames have preached the value of being even keel throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Erie's McDavid sets sights on OHL championship
Uber prospect Connor McDavid focused on taking home OHL title with Erie Otters.

Canadiens' Desharnais feels better, could play Game 3
Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais said he'll be back in the lineup Wednesday for Game 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Rangers seek breakthrough against Holtby, Capitals
The New York Rangers are desperate for goals and a win against the Washington Capitals in Game 4 to even their Eastern Conference Second Round series.

Weekes: Pluses, minuses for Lightning, Canadiens
NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes dissects Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.06.2015 / 5:34 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks mostly using five defensemen

MINNEAPOLIS – The Chicago Blackhawks have played their best defense of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the past two games against the Minnesota Wild, but coach Joel Quenneville has shortened his bench in each game.

Quenneville has played mostly five defensemen in the previous two games, which were won by the Blackhawks to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round series. The odd man out was 40-year old veteran Kimmo Timonen, whose ice time keeps dwindling.

Timonen, acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 28, averaged 11:58 in 16 regular-season games. He's averaged 9:31 per game through the first nine games of the playoffs and played a combined 12:01 in the past two games. Top defenseman Duncan Keith is absorbing most of the minutes normally reserved for a sixth defenseman, but hasn't shown signs of being worn out yet.

"[Keith] played meaningful minutes in the last couple of games, but it's something he's accustomed to doing and we're comfortable giving him those minutes," Quenneville said. "We'll see how taxing some of those minutes are, and at the end of the day, you look at it going into the next day, how you think he's going to handle it. He usually doesn't give you any reason why he can't do it again … but we'll see."

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Quote of the Day

I always feel the pressure to produce offensively. It's disappointing and frustrating when you can't help out your team the way you're supposed to.

— Rangers forward Rick Nash on scoring twice in a 5-1 Game 4 victory against the Lightning on Friday