Neal was injured early in the second period of Game 1 on Wednesday. He appeared to injure his ankle after a heavy hit by defenseman Travis Hamonic along the side wall during a Pittsburgh power play. Orpik hasn't played since suffering a lower-body injury April 23. He skated with the team during each of its past two practice sessions.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The sun came up for the Los Angeles Kings when they returned home Friday. In fact, it was 93 degrees in L.A. and the Kings tried to put a sunny outlook on their 2-0 deficit against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The Kings last faced a 2-0 series hole in the 2002 conference quarterfinals. They last time they erased such a deficit and won was in the 2001 conference quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings.
This is drastically different from the Stanley Cup run last season in which Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead in all four postseason series.
“We’re not going to do what we did last year,” forward Dustin Penner said. “We've got to find different ways to win games now.
“We expect to win them all. We know based on reality, that’s probably not going to happen. But you just take each task on as it comes at you. Now we’re down, 2-0, we've got to worry about having a good start. They’re going to come in here -- opportunity lies in front of them -- they want to get that third one just like we did last year. We've got to combat what they’re going to bring to the table.”
VANCOUVER -- There is little doubt in Dan Boyle’s mind why the San Jose Sharks lasted only five games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season: Porous penalty killing.
The Sharks gave up six goals on 18 chances against the St. Louis Blues and bowed out earlier than any of their nine-straight postseason appearances.
“Our PK let us down and we were out,” Boyle said bluntly.
The veteran defenseman is confident it won’t happen again, not after the Sharks’ penalty killing unit went from 29th in the NHL at 76.9 percent last season to sixth in the League this year, killing off 85 percent of the chances they gave up.
That success continued in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday, with San Jose surrendering three shots on two chances for the Vancouver Canucks. Aggressively pursuing the puck in their own end, and seemingly not afraid to overload on one side, the Sharks kept the Canucks off balance and never really let them get set up and comfortable.
“One guy goes, everybody goes,” Boyle said. “Our unit as a whole has done a very good job all year and it’s just as important as the power play. It’s huge.”
Eller was removed from the ice on a stretcher during the second period of Game 1 of the Canadiens' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Ottawa Senators after he was hit by Ottawa's Eric Gryba.
The team announced Thursday that Eller had been hospitalized after sustaining a concussion, facial fractures, loss of consciousness and had teeth knocked out after the hit and falling face-first to the ice.
Gryba was assessed a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct for the hit, and has been suspended for two games by the NHL Department of Player Safety.
VANCOUVER -- The San Jose Sharks were the second best faceoff team in the NHL during the regular season and continued that dominance on the draw against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Led by Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture, San Jose won 40 of 70 faceoffs (57 percent) in the opener of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Wednesday, but Canucks coach Alain Vigneault takes issue with how the Sharks did it.
“Instead of trying to beat some of those guys clean, the way they cheat and are allowed to cheat, it makes it more challenging,” Vigneault said when asked about the faceoff discrepancy. “They got quite a few guys that can take draws.”
Havlat left with nine minutes left in the first period of San Jose's 3-1 win Wednesday, and replays of his last shift show Bieksa lifting his stick up into Havlat's groin area as he turned to box out for a rebound in front of the Vancouver net.
"Havlat? I don't remember," Bieksa said after the Canucks' optional morning skate Friday. "I don't know. I'll have to watch it over again to see what you are talking about."
Havlat was seen walking gingerly in the hallways of Rogers Arena but did not take part in the Sharks' skate Friday. Coach Todd McLellan didn't provide an update on the injury or have much to say about the incident that caused it.
"Marty is not playing [Friday] and I guess that is all that is important," McLellan said. "If there was a situation that somebody crossed the line, it could have been dealt with on the ice or after."
Asked if it was addressed at the League level, he said, "Not that I am aware of."
BOSTON --Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk was all smiles when asked about making a return to Beantown and having the opportunity to practice at Walter Brown Arena on the campus of Boston University the past two days.
After all, van Riemsdyk's first collegiate goal for the University of New Hampshire came against Boston University before 6,037 fans at nearby Agganis Arena on Oct. 19, 2007. It was the first of 11 goals that season for van Riemsdyk, who also notched an assist in the contest.
"I've always had good memories playing here since I had my first college goal at the rink next door, so it's definitely a special place to be back at," van Riemsdyk said with a grin.
Six teams are fighting for three spots at the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup, hosted this year by the Saskatoon Blades.
Leading those teams is a number of top 2013 NHL Draft prospects.
As NHL Network analyst Craig Button breaks down some of the top stars, among them defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater, whose team will face Curtis Lazar and the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League final. The series begins Friday in Portland.
In the Ontario Hockey League, the London Knights will have forwards Max Domi and Bo Horvat and defenseman Nikita Zadorov leading them against the Barrie Colts. That series begins Friday in London.
And in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final, the Halifax Mooseheads boast an incredible array of talent, led by forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, as well as Central Scouting's top-rated North American goaltender, Zachary Fucale. Their opponent in the league final, the Baie-Comeau Drakkar is led by forward Valentin Zykov. The series begins Friday in Halifax.
The Memorial Cup runs May 17-26, with the three league champions joining Saskatoon in the round-robin tournament to crown Canada's top junior team.