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Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 1:13 AM

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

Quick's save on Bickell could be a turning point

LOS ANGELES – It was a game saving save and perhaps a series-changing save, and it also meant much more to the Los Angeles Kings.

Late in the third period with a 2-1 lead to protect, Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell found himself with the puck on his stick and a gaping chance to tie the score and send Game 3 of the Western Conference Final into overtime.

Kings goalie Jonathan Quick somehow got his right leg down and his blocker up to stop the shot. The sellout crowd might still be digesting it and enjoying it on replay. Quick did not have that benefit.

"On the initial shot, I kind of got bumped a little and spun a little off angle, so I wasn't really able to put the rebound where I wanted to, so it ends up on his stick," Quick said. "You're just trying to cover net and get fortunate and it hits your blocker. Obviously, it was a big save at the time. You got to get lucky sometimes. It was good."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 9:56 PM

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

Kings without Richards again in Game 3

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards is not playing in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks (NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Richards, who is the Kings' leading scorer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 10 points, did not take part in the morning skate at Staples Center.

"Yes, absolutely," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said when he was asked if Richards definitely is out. "He's done a little bit every day but it's the same -- no progress."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 8:49 PM

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

Kings move Kopitar from first to third line

LOS ANGELES -- Anze Kopitar's struggles have cost him his job as the Los Angeles Kings' No. 1 center.

Kopitar, who two goals and five assists through 15 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, began Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final as the Kings' third-line center between Dwight King and Trevor Lewis. Jarret Stoll traded places with Kopitar and started Game 3 skating in between Justin Williams and Dustin Brown.

Stoll has played the past two games after missing six in a row with a concussion. Kopitar has no points in the conference final.

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series, 2-0.


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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 4:44 PM

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

With early start time, Blackhawks skip morning skate

BEVERLEY HILLS, Calif. -- Hockey teams, and the players on them, are creatures of habit.

Players like to keep the same daily routine whenever possible. So Game 3 of the Western Conference Final will be a bit of a unique situation for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks played in games on back-to-back days Saturday and Sunday. They did not practice Monday, because almost all teams do not after back-to-backs to conserve energy and heal.

But with Game 3 against the Los Angeles Kings being a 6 p.m. local time start, the Blackhawks had a decision to make: Stick with their normal routine for 6 p.m. starts and not having a morning skate, or go on the ice at an abnormal time on a game day.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said it would be the former, so the Blackhawks will not go on the ice between Games 2 and 3, other than the pregame warm-up skate.

"Personally, I kind of like it," Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "It's nice. It's been a lot of hockey here. Back-to-back, obviously, and travel days. Personally, I don't mind it. Just try to be mentally ready when the puck drops. That's what it's all about at this point, I think."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 4:09 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Expect bounce back from Quick

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 4:07 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Pens need to keep it simple

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Which 0-2 team has best chance at a comeback?

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 3:38 PM

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

Bruins surging since Game 7 vs. Maple Leafs

BEDFORD, Mass. -- It still runs the risk of becoming the Boston Bruins' version of Carlton Fisk's extra-inning home run for the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series or the Boston Celtics' comeback from 21 points down in the 2002 conference finals.

Both of those great Boston postseason sports accomplishments of the past ultimately failed to pay off in a championship.

So as we wait to see how the Bruins' run through the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs ends, their comeback after trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 in the third period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on May 13 can only be classified as the wake-up call that sparked the Bruins to a deep postseason run.

The Bruins' improved quality of play from that night has continued forward into the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Including their wins in the first two games of this series, the Bruins have won seven of eight games and outscored their opponents 29-11 since they were behind the Maple Leafs 4-1.

Game 3 is Wednesday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"It seems like it. It seems like we have to have a bad experience in order to get going," Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said after the team arrived at Hanscom Field from Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning. "Like two years ago (when the Bruins rallied from two games down against Montreal), we came out on top again. Once that happens, it seems like everybody starts playing better and rolling, and the whole team starts to fire."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 3:23 PM

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

Sutter expects more from Kings in Game 3

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter decided to take it easy on center Jarret Stoll after Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Sutter already knew Stoll was being hard enough on himself after posting a minus-2 rating in the 4-2 loss at United Center, his second game back after missing six in a row with a concussion.

"I think, you know him, he was disappointed in himself more than I was in him, so I think you'll see a much better Jarret [Tuesday night]," Sutter said in advance of Game 3 at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS), where the Kings have won 14 games in a row.

"It's not easy," Sutter continued. "He's coming back from a concussion, bottom line. He was pretty much knocked out. To come back in and be 100 percent confident, I don't think it's that easy. He expects a lot of himself and I think he'll do a lot better [Tuesday night]."

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 3:11 PM

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

Bruins able to manage ice time of top defensemen

BEDFORD, Mass. -- One of the perks of winning the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final comfortably has been the opportunity for the Boston Bruins to limit the ice time of their top defensemen.

After Zdeno Chara averaged more than 29 minutes per game in the first two rounds, the Bruins stalwart has averaged 25 minutes of ice time against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dennis Seidenberg, Chara's usual partner, hasn't had to log more than 24:38 in this series, right around the amount of time he averaged through six games in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs before he was injured.

A rested corps of defensemen not only has the energy during a game to slow down the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla, but should also have more in the tank later in the series if things get tougher or if overtime is necessary.

Game 3 is Wednesday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"It definitely helps. If you have everybody going, you can do that. So not having to play too many minutes keeps you fresh and ready to go for the following games," Seidenberg said.

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Quote of the Day

Now we have an 'X' next to our name, which is nice. Now we have to keep trying to climb and catch these guys.

— Lightning goalie Ben Bishop on clinching a Stanley Cup Playoff berth and trailing the Canadiens by one point for the division lead
AMP No Bull Moment of the Week