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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 4:36 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Hitchcock understands road Blues must travel

LOS ANGELES -- As coach of the Dallas Stars in 1999, when he led his team to the Stanley Cup, Ken Hitchcock was in this familiar position: down 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and facing elimination on the road.

Not only did Hitchcock's Stars go into Denver and defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals, they won Game 7 at home, and that run was culminated with a victory over the Buffalo Sabres in six games to win the Stanley Cup.

Fast forward 14 years, when Hitchcock's St. Louis Blues are down 3-2 against the defending champion Los Angeles Kings, on the road, in a tough building, needing a win to keep their season alive.

So what can these Blues draw from their veteran coach that they must apply against a Kings team that has won three straight in the series?

"You have to outplay the team," Hitchcock said after Friday's morning skate. "You can't expect to play at the same level and win the hockey game. It doesn't happen. I've been in this situation a number of times and come through, and it's been the same similar landscape. We have to outplay them today. If we play at the same level, it's not going to be good enough"

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 2:41 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Clifford a question mark for Kings

LOS ANGELES -- The big drama for the Los Angeles Kings at the morning skate Friday was the absence of forward Kyle Clifford, which was explained by coach Darryl Sutter.

"He gets here before you guys," Sutter said. "Then he was doing a Geico commercial, and then he was doing the weather with Channel 4 this morning up in the helicopter."

Sutter expanded to say Clifford "had … what does [St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock] call it? A maintenance day, the day of the game."

If Clifford can't play, that would seem to be the only significant change for the Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Blues at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Hart honor nice, but Ovechkin focused on winning

ARLINGTON, Va. -- When the Washington Capitals were faced with a 10-point deficit in the Southeast Division standings in mid-March and were in danger of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years, Alex Ovechkin turned his season around.

Beginning March 14, Ovechkin had a League-high 23 goals and 36 points in the final 23 games of the regular season as the Capitals went 17-4-2 to clinch the division title.

Ovechkin's efforts were recognized Friday when he was named one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded annually to the "player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team." Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and John Tavares of the New York Islanders are the other finalists.

"It's nice and I'm sure I'm going to have time to celebrate later, but right now it's all about business and focus on the game," Ovechkin said as the Capitals prepared Friday for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

"It's big. It means like I'm still [a factor]," he said of his fourth career Hart Trophy nomination, his first since 2009-10. "It was a hard year, it was hard season for all of us, and I'm happy to be in that kind of position."

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 1:12 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Colaiacovo, Abdelkader joining Red Wings lineup

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings will get a key component of the team's top line back from suspension, but that isn't the only lineup tweak from coach Mike Babcock as an elimination game beckons.

Veteran defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will make his debut in the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 on Friday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN2), replacing rookie Brian Lashoff. Detroit, down 3-2 in the series, needs a win to force Game 7 in Anaheim on Sunday.

"We didn't move the puck," Babcock said of the reason for his switch on the blue line. "I thought we struggled, particularly with that pair, in a lot of the game, from the opening shift to a number of shifts. We weren't good enough so we're making a change."

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 1:01 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Van Riemsdyk has been here before vs. Bruins

BOSTON -- No one on the Toronto Maple Leafs knows more about the Boston Bruins' propensity for not closing out a series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs prior to Game 7 than forward James van Riemsdyk.

Van Riemsdyk was part of the Philadelphia Flyers team that rallied from a 3-0 deficit in 2010 to beat the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The mentality the Flyers used while making history might apply now to the Maple Leafs, who trail the Bruins 3-1 in the teams' first-round series entering Game 5 Friday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NHLN-US).

In non-Game 7 situations where the Bruins have had a chance to put a team away under coach Claude Julien, the Bruins are 3-6.

"Again, it's just not looking at the grand scheme of things," van Riemsdyk said after his team's morning skate. "You just want to take it, kind of compartmentalize it and take it one game at a time and go from there. That's what we're going to have to do [in Game 5], is just look at the here and now. Today's game, treat it as one individual thing and then just go from there."

With Mark Fraser on the mend because of surgery to repair facial fractures, the Maple Leafs are expected to reinsert veteran John-Michael Liles in their lineup. Liles has been scratched since Game 1.

Here’s a look at the Maple Leafs’ projected lineup (click here for the Bruins' potential lineup):

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 8:47 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Crosby leaves Game 5 with injury

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby went to the dressing room with two minutes to play in the second period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Islanders after blocking a shot with his left foot.

The team provided no immediate update on his condition or status.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 8:43 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

OTT @ MTL - 11:29 of the Second Period

At 11:29 of the second period in the Senators/Canadiens game, the referee initiated a review to determine if the puck entered the Montreal net in a legal fashion. The Toronto Situation Room upheld the referee's call on the ice that Erik Condra's shot deflected off Kyle Turris' body and entered the net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 78.4 "if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed." Good Goal Ottawa.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 7:16 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Cleary to be evaluated; Abdelkader can return

Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary will be evaluated Friday morning before his status for Game 6 that night against the Anaheim Ducks is determined, coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit News on Thursday.

Cleary was injured late in the second period of Game 5 on Wednesday when he was hit into the boards by Anaheim's Daniel Winnik. Cleary was helped off the ice but returned to play in the third period.

“I’m sore,” Cleary said after the game. “My whole left side was sore -- shoulder, hand, ribs, neck, head. I didn't see him coming at all.”

The Red Wings face elimination, trailing the best-of-7 Western Conference Quarterfinal 3-2 after a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 5.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 6:59 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Kings ready for another physical battle with Blues

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings went through last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs like a buzz saw. So far this spring, that saw has been dulled, bent and chipped in what is arguably the most closely contested series of this postseason.

"I don't remember all the statistics from series in the past, but from what I've read there [were] 377-some hits going into last game," Dustin Penner said of L.A.'s Western Conference Quarterfinal against the St. Louis Blues.

"I'd have to think this is the most physical one I've been a part of so far."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 6:58 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Lydman doesn't travel with Ducks

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman did not travel with team to Detroit prior to Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals to be played Friday.

Coach Bruce Boudreau has no timetable for Lydman's return, the Ducks said via Twitter.

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I've got a lot of experience and there's a lot of young guys. It's even making me excited a little more. It's kind of a new life. At my age, I feel like I know a lot of things what to do, but I just cannot do it anymore. It's a lot easier to tell them what to do because they've still got the legs and hands to do it. I just know things, but I cannot do them anymore.

— Jaromir Jagr after making his Panthers debut in a win against the Sabres on Saturday
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