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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Saturday, 06.22.2013 / 2:26 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Julien dares Blackhawks to challenge Chara

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien essentially dared the Chicago Blackhawks to try to expose Zdeno Chara in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

"If that's what they think, then they should try it again," Julien said.

Julien was responding to a question about comments Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews made Thursday. Chara was on the ice for five goals against in Chicago's 6-5 overtime win in Game 4, and it prompted Toews to say the Blackhawks found a way to "expose" the towering Bruins captain.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.22.2013 / 2:15 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Success rate down, but Blackhawks happy with PK

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have allowed more power-play goals to the Boston Bruins through the four games of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final than they did against the three other teams they eliminated coming into this series.

Chicago's success rate prior to facing the Bruins was 94.8 percent (55 of 58), tops in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but it is 71.4 percent (10 of 14) in the Cup Final heading into Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

Is there something to it, or is that 23 percent drop more of an aberration than it might seem?

The Blackhawks said they feel it's more of the latter than the former.

"I think our penalty kill's been pretty good," Chicago center Dave Bolland said Saturday after the morning skate. "They've had four goals, but you're going to have breakdowns. It's going to happen. I think we've still stayed strong. We've still stuck to our game plan. We haven't gotten away [from] it. We've had some goals against, but I think those are going to come. You have to go over those and see what happened, but I think overall our PK has been pretty good."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.22.2013 / 2:11 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins undecided on fourth-line configuration

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien would not reveal who will play fourth-line left wing for the Bruins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Julien did admit what already was obvious, that the decision is between Kaspars Daugavins and Carl Soderberg.

Daugavins has played in all four games of the Cup Final; Soderberg, who signed with the Bruins late in the regular season, has not played in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They rotated with Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley during line rushes in the morning skate Saturday, with Daugavins going first.

"We're trying to find the best fit possible so I have to look at whether I feel comfortable staying with Daugavins or, as you know right now it's been between Soderberg and Daugavins," Julien said. "They're two different players. Size-wise they're different. One is obviously real gritty along the walls [Daugavins], and the other one is probably more of a playmaker [Soderberg]. There is a difference there, and that's where I have to make my decision, what I feel I may need for [Game 5]."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.22.2013 / 10:24 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Has Bickell discovered a solution for Chara?

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic revealed a sheepish smile when asked if he felt players on the Chicago Blackhawks were beginning to get the best of captain Zdeno Chara.

It was two days ago that Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell sprinkled a little fuel onto the fire when he declared Chara "doesn't like getting hit."

"Not a lot of guys attempt it, but to get a hit on him and to see him fall down, it's rare," Bickell said.

There isn't a player in the NHL who relishes being on the receiving end of a thunderous body check. Bickell, who was in Chara's face for much of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, had a first-period hit on the 6-foot-9 defenseman that sent him to the ice and, in effect, may have set the physical tone for the entire game.

Bickell, a 6-foot-4, 233-pound left wing for the Blackhawks, likely will continue to target Chara in Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 7:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins power play has improved during Final

CHICAGO -- In case you haven't noticed, the Boston Bruins are suddenly becoming a force to be reckoned with on the power play.

That's certainly music to the ears of coach Claude Julien. Though the Bruins had the worst power play percentage of any Stanley Cup champion when they won in 2011, there's no question coaches and players would feel more at ease if success with the man advantage came with regularity.

Despite the fact the Chicago Blackhawks entered the Final owning the best penalty-killing efficiency (94.8 percent) in the 2013 playoffs, the Bruins have managed four power-play goals in 14 opportunities. To put that in perspective, the Blackhawks had allowed three power-play goals in 58 times short through the opening three rounds.

Obviously, the Bruins hope the trend continues Saturday when they visit United Center for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). The best-of-7 series is tied, 2-2.

"We've added some new personnel in there and we're moving the puck well and playing with a lot of confidence," Julien said. "Like anything else, confidence is a big part of the game. When you start feeling it, you try and hold on to it as long as you can, and right now I think our guys are feeling it. We feel confident about how we're handling the puck and moving it around and we're making some good decisions and it has gotten better.

"For all the struggles we had with it, what better time than now to be pretty decent on it."

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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 6:40 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Crawford admits glove-side adjustment could be made

CHICAGO -- Despite the ongoing discussion and analysis of his glove side, and why the Boston Bruins appear to be targeting it, Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford said after practice Friday he has not talked to goalie coach Stephane Waite about any adjustments.

Crawford would not rule out the possibility of he and Waite sitting down to discuss potential technical adjustments before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Boston has scored eight of its 12 goals in the Cup Final on Crawford's glove side.

"Sometimes you need your goalie coach to look and see," Crawford said. "As a goalie, it's tough sometimes to really know if you're fine, if there's nothing to change or if there's something to change. Sometimes you need that extra set of eyes to figure that out for you.

"If there is an adjustment we can make that will help us, yeah, for sure [we will make it]."

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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 2:38 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Stalberg hopes to stay with Saad, Shaw for Game 5

CHICAGO -- Earning minutes in the Stanley Cup Playoffs hasn't come easy for Chicago Blackhawks right wing Viktor Stalberg, but he's certainly making the most of it.

After being a healthy scratch in the opening two games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins, he was reinserted into the lineup for Games 3 and 4 in Boston and proved effective on a line with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad.

Stalberg, who has averaged just under 11 minutes of ice time in 17 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, told NHL.com he expects to be in the lineup for Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The Saad-Shaw-Stalberg line combined for three shots, seven hits and two blocked shots in a 6-5 overtime victory against the Bruins in Game 4 Wednesday at TD Garden that evened the best-of-7 series 2-2.

"However you want to quantify or qualify that line, it's a very dangerous line for us," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're all dangerous when they have the puck, and they all can make plays around the net. It's a line we hadn't gone to all year, but it's a line that is dangerous both on the attack and in the [offensive] zone, and defensively they do the right things."

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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 2:30 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Hossa misses practice, expected to play in Game 5

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa did not participate in practice Friday at United Center but he is expected to play in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

"Hossa is fine," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Hossa was a late scratch Monday for Game 3 against the Boston Bruins. He practiced Tuesday, sat out the morning skate Wednesday but was in the lineup for Game 4 at TD Garden and had one assist and four shots on goal during 19:07 of ice time in Chicago's 6-5 overtime win. Hossa has an unspecified upper-body injury.

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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 1:43 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins might use Soderberg, reconfigure fourth line

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien used his team's practice at TD Garden on Friday to test out a new fourth line.

Rookie Carl Soderberg wore a merlot-colored sweater along with Shawn Thornton and Rich Peverley during the 35-minute session in preparation for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. EST, NBC, CBC, RDS). The rest of the Bruins lines remained the same from Game 4.

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2.

"Just trying something else here," Julien said before boarding the bus in front of a throng of fans outside the Garden. "Again, I'll make that decision [Saturday]. But just get a different look at what that would look like, that's all."

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Posted On Friday, 06.21.2013 / 9:00 AM

By NHL Green -  /NHL.com - NHL Green Slapshots™

At the NHL, water is in our DNA

Since 2010, the League has worked in partnership with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) to restore over 20 million gallons of water to streams and rivers in the Northwest, directly aiding in the recovery of the economic, recreational and ecological viability of waterways.

For the third consecutive year, the Stanley Cup Final will be “water neutral.” Total water used in the United Center and TD Garden will be tracked, from the faucets to the ice surface, and the equivalent will be restored through BEF’s Water Restoration Certificates.

With the end of the 2013 regular season, NHL Green wrapped up the second year of Gallons for Goals, a regular-season initiative focused on combating water scarcity in critically dewatered ecosystems. Beginning in the 2011-2012 season, NHL Green pledged to restore 1,000 gallons of water to a river or stream in critical shape for every goal scored.

The 2013 NHL regular season was not lacking in the scoring department. Beginning with a 5-on-3 powerplay goal from Patrick Kane in January, and ending with a goal from Bruins’ center Rich Peverley in April, skaters League-wide scored 3,822 goals, effectively restoring 3.8 million gallons of water.

The League and its Clubs are also working proactively to reduce water waste throughout League headquarters and Club arenas. Through the implementation of NHL Green Metrics, an online tracking tool for all 30 Clubs to input and track their energy and water consumption and waste output, the League works to promote positive environmental change. This initiative is the first step toward reducing hockey’s environmental footprint and ensuring a future for hockey’s birthplace on the frozen ponds and lakes of North America.

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Quote of the Day

I don’t know if it was more relief for me that [Stamkos] scored or the power play scored. It was a whole compilation of Alka Seltzer.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Steven Stamkos broke a long scoring drought and Tampa Bay's struggling power play scored four times in Game 2 at Montreal