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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 5:49 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

B's faceoff dominance leaves Pens seeking answers

PITTSBURGH – Prior to the start of the Eastern Conference Final, it was no secret the Boston Bruins held a decided edge over the Pittsburgh Penguins in winning faceoffs.

It just wasn't clear how dramatic that edge would be.

The Bruins as a team won 32 of 48 faceoffs in Game 1 Saturday night, including 22 of 30 at even strength, giving them an opportunity to start with the puck two thirds of the time.

The Penguins have not been a great faceoff team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, sitting at 48.2 percent, but the dominance in other areas of their game allowed them to perhaps sweep that weakness under the rug.

Now, facing a series deficit for the first time this postseason, this one wart in Pittsburgh's game is a bit more exposed and it's something the Penguins want to improve on for Game 2 Monday night (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 4:26 PM

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

Bylsma not losing faith in Vokoun after Game 1 loss

PITTSBURGH -- When Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma made a switch of goalies early in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he did it with no preconceived notions on how long it would last.

It's been 25 days so far.

And just because Tomas Vokoun finally lost his second game -- his first while allowing more than two goals -- it doesn't mean Bylsma is prepared to turn back to erstwhile starter Marc-Andre Fleury, who lost his spot after Game 4 of the first round against the New York Islanders.

"We don't get this win, (but) the win and the loss isn't necessarily an indicator of what we're going to do with the goaltending situation," Bylsma said early Sunday afternoon, about 14 hours after the Penguins lost, 3-0, to the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

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Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 1:31 PM

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

Blackhawks' Bickell having breakout postseason

CHICAGO -- Bryan Bickell was a popular interview subject Sunday morning at United Center.

Bickell has been a breakout star for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring five goals in the first two rounds and being a physical force on a new-look top line in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday before Game 2 against the Los Angeles Kings he could see this type of player in Bickell a long time ago -- during his first extended time with the team during the 2009-10 season.

"We played him with [Jonathan] Toews and [Patrick Kane] that year," Quenneville said. "We gave him a little bit more opportunity with the Nashville series, played a little bit. There's ability there. You like his size, his speed. He can shoot and be physical. He's got all the elements that you look for in a power forward. Putting it all together has been a process."

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Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 12:49 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference solid in return to Bruins' lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference wasn't sure he was ready to join the Eastern Conference Final after being idled three weeks with an injury.

But, he was eager to give it a try Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 at Consol Energy Center.

It turned out he was ready. Ference played a little more than 17 minutes and assisted on the game-opening goal by David Krejci in a 3-0 victory.

“It’s kind of like jumping on a moving train obviously to come in at this point in the season," Ference said.


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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 10:29 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks' Hossa says hello to friends back home

CHICAGO Marian Hossa had quite the night Saturday at United Center.

The Slovakian star forward scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final -- but he also did something noteworthy before the game started.

As the Blackhawks’ starting five skaters lined up on the blue line during the singing of the national anthem, Hossa looked into a TV camera that panned across them and gave a wink. It was shown live on the scoreboard’s big screen, but the intended targets for it were located much farther away.

“Lots of my friends back home were watching at the bar,” Hossa said. “I was just giving them some signal. They called me before the game, said they were going to watch. Hopefully they got the signal.”

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 10:07 PM

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

Kings' Stoll glad to be back for Game 1

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll already felt confident he was healthy enough to play in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, but it didn't bother him that roughly five minutes into the game he took a hard hit in the corner from Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw.

Stoll, who missed the final six games of the conference semifinals with a concussion, popped right back up and skated back into the play. He played 15:14 in his return after missing six games after being injured by a high hit from San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 9:31 PM

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

Bolland helps Blackhawks finish off Game 1

CHICAGO -- Dave Bolland laid a big hit on Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards near the end of Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, then drew a penalty at the other end that effectively sealed a victory for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Richards carried the puck behind the Chicago net with his team down a goal, then tried to stop and come back towards the goal line to the left of goalie Corey Crawford. Instead, Bolland connected with a big hit that Richards was slow to get up from.

The Blackhawks went the other way with the puck, and eventually Bolland ended up with it. Los Angeles forward Jeff Carter tripped Bolland with 1:41 left in regulation, and the Blackhawks were able to play keep-away for most of the final 101 seconds to run the clock out for a 2-1 victory.
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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 8:20 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference in Bruins lineup for Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is in the Game 1 lineup for the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After taking part in the pregame warmups Saturday, Ference was inserted into the lineup by Boston coach Claude Julien, who scratched young defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who is from the Pittsburgh area.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 4:51 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Stoll back in Kings lineup for Game 1

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll returned to the lineup for Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks after sitting out the final six games of the conference semifinals.

Stoll was injured in Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks when he was hit high by Raffi Torres, who was suspended for the duration of that series.

Stoll took line rushes in pregame warmups as the third-line center between Dwight King and Trevor Lewis. Tyler Toffoli, who played in Game 7 against the Sharks, had to be scratched in order for Stoll to return.

Stoll shed his non-contact jersey and practiced in his normal spot Friday.

Faceoffs, where he won 56 percent of his draws during the regular season, and penalty killing was where Stoll was missed most.

"If you look at our faceoff percentage last series, it's down quite a bit … and he's a big part of that," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "I think we only got above 50 percent in one game. He still has an effect on our team when he’s not in the lineup, but from an X's and O's standpoint we're strong up the middle and a lot of that's because he's in the [third center] spot."

Here are the lineups for the Kings and Blackhawks based on pregame warmups:

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 3:36 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings sharing hotel with 'Star Trek' convention

CHICAGO -- During the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks, the Los Angeles Kings shared hotel space with a large Anime convention while playing their games at San Jose's HP Pavilion.

When the Kings checked into their hotel Thursday for the start of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, they weren't even fazed by the "Star Trek" convention being held there this weekend.

"Actually, this is pretty tame compared to what we saw in San Jose," Kings captain Dustin Brown said Saturday morning prior to the series opener at United Center (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS). "That was Anime, so that one was a little more bizarre."

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Quote of the Day

For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday