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Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 12:49 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference solid in return to Bruins' lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference wasn't sure he was ready to join the Eastern Conference Final after being idled three weeks with an injury.

But, he was eager to give it a try Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 at Consol Energy Center.

It turned out he was ready. Ference played a little more than 17 minutes and assisted on the game-opening goal by David Krejci in a 3-0 victory.

“It’s kind of like jumping on a moving train obviously to come in at this point in the season," Ference said.


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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 10:29 PM

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

Blackhawks' Hossa says hello to friends back home

CHICAGO Marian Hossa had quite the night Saturday at United Center.

The Slovakian star forward scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final -- but he also did something noteworthy before the game started.

As the Blackhawks’ starting five skaters lined up on the blue line during the singing of the national anthem, Hossa looked into a TV camera that panned across them and gave a wink. It was shown live on the scoreboard’s big screen, but the intended targets for it were located much farther away.

“Lots of my friends back home were watching at the bar,” Hossa said. “I was just giving them some signal. They called me before the game, said they were going to watch. Hopefully they got the signal.”

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 10:07 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings' Stoll glad to be back for Game 1

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll already felt confident he was healthy enough to play in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, but it didn't bother him that roughly five minutes into the game he took a hard hit in the corner from Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw.

Stoll, who missed the final six games of the conference semifinals with a concussion, popped right back up and skated back into the play. He played 15:14 in his return after missing six games after being injured by a high hit from San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 9:31 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Bolland helps Blackhawks finish off Game 1

CHICAGO -- Dave Bolland laid a big hit on Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards near the end of Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, then drew a penalty at the other end that effectively sealed a victory for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Richards carried the puck behind the Chicago net with his team down a goal, then tried to stop and come back towards the goal line to the left of goalie Corey Crawford. Instead, Bolland connected with a big hit that Richards was slow to get up from.

The Blackhawks went the other way with the puck, and eventually Bolland ended up with it. Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter tripped Bolland with 1:41 left in regulation, and the Blackhawks were able to play keep-away for most of the final 101 seconds to run the clock out for a 2-1 victory.
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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 8:20 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference in Bruins lineup for Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is in the Game 1 lineup for the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After taking part in the pregame warmups Saturday, Ference was inserted into the lineup by Boston coach Claude Julien, who scratched young defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who is from the Pittsburgh area.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 4:51 PM

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

Stoll back in Kings lineup for Game 1

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll returned to the lineup for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks after sitting out the final six games of the conference semifinals.

Stoll was injured in Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks when he was hit high by Raffi Torres, who was suspended for the duration of that series.

Stoll took line rushes in pregame warmups as the third-line center between Dwight King and Trevor Lewis. Tyler Toffoli, who played in Game 7 against the Sharks, had to be scratched in order for Stoll to return.

Stoll shed his non-contact jersey and practiced in his normal spot Friday.

Faceoffs, where he won 56 percent of his draws during the regular season, and penalty killing was where Stoll was missed most.

"If you look at our faceoff percentage last series, it's down quite a bit … and he's a big part of that," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "I think we only got above 50 percent in one game. He still has an effect on our team when he’s not in the lineup, but from an X's and O's standpoint we're strong up the middle and a lot of that's because he's in the [third center] spot."

Here are the lineups for the Kings and Blackhawks based on pregame warmups:

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 3:36 PM

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

Kings sharing hotel with 'Star Trek' convention

CHICAGO -- During the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings shared hotel space with a large Anime convention while playing their games at San Jose's HP Pavilion.

When the Kings checked into their hotel Thursday for the start of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, they weren't even fazed by the "Star Trek" convention being held there this weekend.

"Actually, this is pretty tame compared to what we saw in San Jose," Kings captain Dustin Brown said Saturday morning prior to the series opener at United Center (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). "That was Anime, so that one was a little more bizarre."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 3:27 PM

By Nick Baptiste -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Nick Baptiste Draft blog

Baptiste grateful for Combine experience

Nick Baptiste, No. 61 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible skaters in North America, concluded his second season with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League in 2012-13. The 6-foot, 189-pound right wing produced 21 goals and 48 points in 66 games for the Wolves. He also won a gold medal for Team Canada at the World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, Russia, in April, collecting three goals, eight points and a plus-6 rating in seven tourney games. Baptiste has agreed to take the time and maintain a blog for NHL.com during his stay at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto this week.

Hello hockey fans!

Waking up in the hotel room [Saturday] morning and looking back on the last three days, it struck me just how cool the experience of the NHL Scouting Combine was. It's one of the experiences you go into not really knowing what to expect.

The first two days of interviews were pretty exciting. Moving from room to room, from team to team and being face to face with some of hockey's most influential people was unbelievable.

On Friday, the physical testing brought the week to a whole new level. Being in a room with all of the same hockey people watching as you undergo some of the toughest physical tests was a little surreal. As others before me have said, the bike tests were quite tough. You feel like your legs are like rubber but you keep telling yourself to push through because you know it's important to show all that you have.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 3:14 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Lewington stands out in Combine fitness results

TORONTO -- Medicine Hat Tigers defenseman Tyler Lewington measures in at 6-foot-1 and 189 pounds, but no player was bigger when it came to some of the upper-body tests during the two days of fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine.

Lewington, No. 66 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, performed a Combine-best 16 repetitions on the 150-pound bench press, one more than forward Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires and Shawinigan Cataractes defenseman Dylan Labbe.

Lewington also did the most pushups, 42, finishing ahead of Rimouski Oceanic defenseman Jan Kostalek, who had 37. United States National Team Development Program center John Hayden and Portland Winterhawks center Nicolas Petan were next with 36.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 3:07 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Combing the 2013 NHL Combine

Ristolainen, Saros debate who was in charge of room

TORONTO -- There seemed to be a difference in opinion between Finnish countrymen Rasmus Ristolainen of TPS and Juuse Saros of HPK after their stay at the Westin Bristol Place during the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine this week.

Ristolainen, No. 4 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible European players, informed the media Saturday following Day 2 of fitness testing that his roommate for the week was Saros.

Ristolainen, who is regarded as one of the more physical defenders among all the European players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft, seemed sure about one thing too.

"I think I'm the boss in our room," Ristolainen (6-foot-4, 207 pounds) said. "I'm bigger and older. He's just a junior."

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Quote of the Day

I had one really not-good game. I came back to the hotel and he [his father] was on Skype. My mother called first and said, 'Your father wants to talk to you.' So he moved my mother away, and he yelled at me for like 30 seconds. I understood him, and then he said, 'I'm done.' And he was gone. The next game I got my first shutout.

— Anton Khudobin recalls a fond memory, explains why he was so sharp in the Hurricanes' 3-0 win against the Capitals on Friday
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