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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 3:07 PM

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

Melrose: What went wrong with the Leafs

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 2:48 PM

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

Senators to focus on their strengths

PITTSBURGH -- The raw numbers are striking -- and strikingly simple.

The Pittsburgh Penguins led the NHL in goals during the regular season; the Ottawa Senators were the Eastern Conference's best team at preventing them.

So the seventh-seeded Senators know what style of play they will turn to in hopes of succeeding in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. Game 1 is Tuesday ((7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN) here at Consol Energy Center.

"Giving them odd-man rushes, with their skill, is not going to work to our favor," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "So we want to play a disciplined game -- but also not just play a passive game. We want to get engaged and get the forecheck going. That's how we're going to generate our chances."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 2:08 PM

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

Kennedy, Vitale staying in Penguins' lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Tyler Kennedy will be keeping his spot in the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup when the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators opens Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said it's not just because of Kennedy's inspired play late in the previous round, either.

During the morning skate in advance of Game 1 Tuesday, Pittsburgh showed the same line combinations and defense pairings it did during practice Monday. That means the only apparent change from the lineup Bylsma employed for victories in Games 5 and 6 of the first-round win against the New York Islanders is Deryk Engelland in for Simon Despres on defense.

"It's not just what happened in the first round for our team and the players who played in the first round when it comes to our lineup and the decisions we make," Bylsma said.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 1:49 PM

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

Vokoun starting in goal for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The man at the forefront might have been the only person explicitly and formally informed of a decision from Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma that everyone awaited.

Tomas Vokoun informed reporters Tuesday morning that he would be the team's starting goaltender against the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

"I'm not surprised," defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "He played really well in what was a tough situation to come into like he did last series. He came in after having not played in a while and shut the door."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 12:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Nurse, Barkov to sit out fitness portion of Combine

Barkov
Nurse

Injuries late in the season and subsequent surgery for prospects Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland and Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League will keep both players from participating in the fitness portion of the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine, scheduled May 31 and June 1 at Toronto International Centre.

Both players currently are rehabilitating from postseason surgeries and will attend the Combine to interview with NHL scouts and general managers during the six-day event that begins May 27. While both players will undergo medical examinations, they will forego any physical fitness testing.

Barkov, a center, sustained an upper-body injury on the first shift of his team's playoff game against IFK Helsinki on March 27 and was sidelined the remainder of the postseason. He had 21 goals, 48 points and a plus-18 rating in 53 regular-season games for Tappara. NHL Central Scouting's No. 1-ranked European skater had four assists and a plus-3 rating in five playoff games.


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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 10:43 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Elite 2013 draft prospects highlight Memorial Cup

Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones is anticipating one heck of a tournament this weekend when he heads an impressive group of top 2013 NHL Draft-eligible prospects at the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon, NHL Draft (Getty Images / Halifax Mooseheads)

The event, hosted by the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, will have the WHL champion Winterhawks, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Halifax Mooseheads and Ontario Hockey League titlist London Knights joining the Blades for a chance at winning the Canadian Hockey League's ultimate crown. The quartet of teams will play May 17-26 at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The tournament opens Friday when the Knights face the host Blades. Last year, the Knights lost the Memorial Cup final in overtime 2-1 to Shawinigan.

The Knights completed the four-team field Monday in dramatic fashion when center Bo Horvat, No. 15 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, scored with 0.1 seconds left in the third period to give his team a 3-2 victory against the Barrie Colts in Game 7 of the OHL championship series.

"You dream as a kid about scoring a goal like that in a Game 7," Horvat told Canadian Press. "I knew I had to get to the net and look for a rebound."

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 7:50 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

No lineup changes for Rangers or Capitals

WASHINGTON -- There will be no changes to either lineup for Game 7 at Verizon Center between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. Both Capitals coach Adam Oates and Rangers coach John Tortorella are sticking with the same forward lines and defense combinations from Game 6.

The Capitals are confident having Game 7 in their own building, where they are 3-0 in this series and 10-1 against the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since Game 5 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 6:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Laich, Erat will not play for Capitals in Game 7

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates said there may be one change to his lineup for Game 7 Monday night at Verizon Center, but he did not disclose what it would be.

"We're waiting to see," Oates said.

However, Oates did confirm that injured forwards Brooks Laich and Martin Erat will not play. He also said Mike Green, who was roughed up in the scrum after the final buzzer in Game 6 Sunday, is fine.

The Capitals are confident having Game 7 in their own building, where they are 3-0 in this series and 10-1 against the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since Game 5 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

"We're going to talk about trying to control our emotions," Oates said. "It's our building, our crowd, it's going to be exciting and you know what, you've gotta be able to try and take that energy in and just control yourself."


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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 6:09 PM

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

Bruins get final chance to close out Maple Leafs

BOSTON - For the eighth time in six seasons under coach Claude Julien, the Boston Bruins will play a Game 7 when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night in the final game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

The Bruins' record is 3-4 in their previous seven Stanley Cup Playoff series finales, but this year they're in a Game 7 because they failed to close out the Maple Leafs after taking a 3-1 series lead.


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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 5:11 PM

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

Kings happy with rare home-ice advantage

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The sexy Southern California matchup dissipated into the warm air here, but the Los Angeles Kings still will have their hands full with an in-state divisional rival.

The Kings gathered at their practice facility with an opponent and a date: Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks is Tuesday at Staples Center.

The alternative would have been playing an epic inaugural Stanley Cup Playoff series against the rival Anaheim Ducks.

"I would have liked to have played the Ducks," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "I think we match up well with them, and it would have been good for California to have that rivalry because everyone kind of makes that rivalry so big around California. But to us, we haven't really had to battle with them like a playoff series so I think a playoff series would have made that rivalry a lot deeper."

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Quote of the Day

It was a big dream. [Messi] is probably the best athlete out there, so it's a big honor, for [Kuznetzov] as well. It's maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the best player in soccer right now. I'm a big Barcelona fan and Messi fan, so it's huge. You can take [Michael] Jordan, [Mark] Messier, [Wayne] Gretzky, those kinds of [people]. It's an honor to meet. It's nice to be in that position.

— Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin told told Monumental Network after meeting soccer star Lionel Messi prior to Argentina's practice at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. on Friday