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Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Monday, 04.16.2012 / 12:30 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins vs. Capitals series blog

Projected Game 3 lineups

Here are the projected lineups for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Monday night between the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals at Verizon Center:

BRUINS
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Rich Peverley
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference - Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon - Joe Corvo

Tim Thomas
Anton Khudobin

Injured goaltender Tuukka Rask was on the ice for the morning skate and put in some extra work, but coach Claude Julien said he is not ready to return. Jordan Caron and Mike Mottau will be healthy scratches, while injured defenseman Adam McQuaid did not travel to Washington with the team.

CAPITALS
Alex Ovechkin - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alexander Semin
Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Mathieu Perreault
Keith Aucoin - Matt Hendricks - Joel Ward

Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik - Mike Green
Jeff Schultz - Dennis Wideman

Braden Holtby
Dany Sabourin

Both injured goalies, Michal Neuvirth and Tomas Vokoun, were on the ice after the morning skate was over. Mike Knuble, Cody Eakin, Jeff Halpern, Dmitry Orlov and John Erskine will be healthy scratches.
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POSTED ON Monday, 04.16.2012 / 10:00 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Bracket Challenge Blog

Can Kings complete improbable sweep?

It's happened only eight times in 19 years, but the Los Angeles Kings are a solid 60-minute effort away from becoming No. 9.

Thanks to a 41-save performance from Jonathan Quick and another tremendous effort from team captain Dustin Brown, the Kings -- who haven't won a playoff series since 2001 -- took a 3-0 lead on the Vancouver Canucks in their Western Conference Quarterfinal with a 1-0 win at the Staples Center on Sunday night.

Jonathan Quick
Goalie - LAK
RECORD: 3-0-0
GAA: 1.33 | SVP: 0.965
Only eight teams that finished eighth in the conference have managed to knock off a No. 1 seed since the National Hockey League adopted the format in 1993. But the Kings, who didn't even know they were playing the Canucks until the final night of the regular season, can eliminate the Canucks with another victory in Game 4 on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

Vancouver's special teams have struggled in this series, as the Canucks clearly miss injured winger Daniel Sedin. Vancouver went 0-for-4 on the power play Sunday night and is now 0-for-14 in the series.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, treated its fans to something they hadn't seen in quite some time -- a playoff victory on home ice. With Sunday's win, the Kings snapped a five-game playoff skid at Staples Center.

A long time coming -- Fifteen years since their last playoff victory, the Florida Panthers had reason to celebrate after Sunday's 4-2 win against the New Jersey Devils in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal at the BankAtlantic Center.

When Tomas Fleischmann scored an empty-net goal in the game's final second, it sealed Florida's first postseason win since a 3-0 triumph against the New York Rangers on April 17, 1997 -- a span of 5,478 days.

Sunday's win didn't come easily for the Panthers. The club held a 3-0 lead, but the Devils scored twice in the third period and nearly tied it with just under 10 seconds to go before Fleischmann's tally helped Florida even the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.

It's probably a good thing Florida won Sunday, too -- New Jersey is 10-0 all-time when it wins the first two games of a playoff series.

Fleury of goals
-- What's happened to Marc-Andre Fleury?

Marc-Andre Fleury
Goalie - PIT
RECORD: 0-3-0
GAA: 6.34 | SVP: 0.798
Easily one of the top goaltenders in the League during the regular season, the Pittsburgh Penguins' netminder has struggled mightily against the Philadelphia Flyers and was pulled after allowing six goals on 28 shots in the first two periods of Sunday's 8-4 loss at Wells Fargo Center.

Fleury won 42 games during the regular season while boasting a 2.36 goals-against average and .913 save percentage. But, in three appearances in the playoffs, he has a 6.34 GAA and .798 save percentage.

Seventh time's a charm -- The Nashville Predators finally won a playoff game at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.

After going winless in their first six postseason games in Detroit, the Predators squeaked out a 3-2 victory against the Red Wings in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Nashville now has a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series, with Game 4 to be played in Motown on Tuesday.

The Preds also finally experienced some success on the power play against the Wings. Nashville was 0-for-12 with the man advantage in the series before captain Shea Weber found the back of the net 2:48 into Sunday's contest.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 10:29 PM

NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Rangers respond to Hagelin suspension

New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin was suspended for three games Sunday night for elbowing Ottawa Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in New York on Saturday.

The incident occurred at 10:32 of the second period. Hagelin was assessed a major penalty for elbowing. Alfredsson suffered an injury as a result of the hit and his status for Monday's Game 3 is unknown. Hagelin will miss Monday's Game 3, as well as Game 4 on Wednesday and Game 5 next Saturday.

Sunday night, the Rangers issued the following statement regarding the suspension:

"The New York Rangers accept the NHL's three-game suspension of Carl Hagelin and will not pursue an appeal. However, we are thoroughly perplexed in the ruling's inconsistency with other supplementary discipline decisions that have been made throughout this season and during the playoffs.  We will have no further comment on this decision."

Ottawa's Matt Carkner was suspended one game for a separate incident in Game 2.
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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 8:19 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues vs. Sharks series blog

Sharks hope to capitalize on their chances

SAN JOSE – Two games. Zero points.

That's not the type of production the San Jose Sharks expected from their top line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against St. Louis. But that's the reality approaching Game 3 on Monday night at HP Pavilion. Thornton's line has matched up against St. Louis' top line of David Backes, David Perron and T.J. Oshie, which has produced just three points.

"Both lines have had their chances," Thornton said Sunday after practice. "I think me and [Pavelski] had a couple of chances last night. We're feeling good, we're feeling comfortable. Hopefully we can be on the score sheet tomorrow."

Most of those good scoring chances Saturday night in Game 2 came in the first period.

"I thought our first period was our best period of the series so far and we come out of it [trailing] 1-0," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "They did create some opportunities. Where their polish has to come a little better or a little more is on the power play. If [the Blues are] going to take some penalties, undisciplined penalties, we have to make them pay for it. Last night, we weren't as good as we were in Game 1. We were a little disjointed, so we'll look at fixing that."

The Sharks, who went 1-for-15 on the power play against St. Louis during the regular season, went 0-for-4 in Game 2. They went 1-for-3 in Game 1, a 3-2 San Jose victory in double overtime.
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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 7:22 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Tough-luck day for rookie Emmerton

DETROIT -- Just one game after scoring his first career goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to help his team get a win, Detroit Red Wings rookie Cory Emmerton sat at his locker stall on Sunday afternoon soaking in a very different feeling.

The Red Wings lost Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Nashville Predators 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena and Emmerton wound up being the only guy on his team not to record a shot on goal.

Detroit launched a whopping 45 shots on goal, had 19 others blocked and missed the net 15 times, but it was a play by Nashville's Kevin Klein in the third that had Emmerton shaking his head a little bit.

Emmerton was about to cap a rush early in the third by putting home a rebound of Drew Miller's shot into a wide open net when Klein somehow blocked the shot from the low slot with just the shaft of his stick at the last second.

"We had a good breakout there, I tried to beat my guy up the ice and [Miller] did a good job," Emmerton said. "It was a tight spot to make a pass, so he passed up the pass and the puck went off the pads and I just tried to wire it. But the D-man just kind of did like a spin or something with his stick and I don't know how, but I hit him right in the middle of the shaft. It's unbelievable, but it's a tough break."
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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 7:20 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Wings again unable to stay out of the box

DETROIT -- It's become a constant mantra now for the Detroit Red Wings, who've suddenly become prone to taking penalties in their first three games of a Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinal series against Nashville.

Detroit has committed 20 penalties, served 43 minutes in the penalty box and given the Predators a whopping 16 power plays already -- including a costly one by Drew Miller just 1:35 into Sunday's 3-2 Game 3 loss at Joe Louis Arena.

Miller was called for goaltender interference on a one-man rush after it appeared he tried to stop and was nudged into Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

"I for sure bumped into him, but it's not on purpose," said Miller, who went to the box and watched Shea Weber put the Preds up 1-0 at 2:48 of the first on Nashville's first power-play goal of the series. "It's skating as fast as I can down the ice to try to get to the puck and then shoot it at the net. So, I don't know if I was pushed from behind a little bit or what, or hit him hard. I couldn't even tell you."

Regardless of intent, it was just the start of another penalty-filled game for the Red Wings -- who wound up getting whistled for six infractions overall. Detroit finished the regular season behind only Nashville as the second least penalized team in the NHL, but suddenly has an issue with parading to the box.

It's starting to eat at the Red Wings, too -- whether they're taking their frustrations out on the calls or themselves.

"You've got to be more aware, but you can't use your stick, you can't tug someone [and] you can't, you know, interfere with someone," Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "You've got to be a lot smarter and you've got to think about it, too. Sometimes you've got to take a penalty to stop the scoring chance, but just be more aware of what they're calling out there."

What the officials have called, however, is starting to be a touchy subject in the Detroit locker room. Several Red Wings players were asked leading questions about the officiating in the series overall, but none really took the bait a day after Johan Franzen had some harsh comments about it.

Franzen was also the recipient of two slashing calls on Sunday, with the first one leading to a Nashville 5-on-3 situation for almost half a minute in the second period.

"The regular season, we're not really that kind of team," Henrik Zetterberg said. "All of a sudden in the playoffs we get a lot of penalties. [The] PK's been good, but we knew it [wouldn't] last forever. They've got a good power play. If you keep giving them chances, they will eventually score."
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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 7:17 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Wings continue to fall behind

DETROIT -- It's a disturbing trend that can't be ignored when talking about the Detroit Red Wings.

Including the final six games of the regular season plus their first three Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinal series contests, the Red Wings have fallen behind eight times and had to fight their way back.

It happened again on Sunday against the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of Detroit's opening-round series and led to a 3-2 loss -- the same score as the first two games. The Wings also fell behind in Game 1 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena and were scrambling late trying to tie it.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said a big issue related to the trend is happening in the faceoff circle, where the Red Wings were beaten soundly in the first period on Sunday.

"I thought we had to win faceoffs off the start, we were 0-for-4 in our first faceoffs, so they got on top of us," Babcock said. "We'd like to do a better job in the faceoff circle. The team that wins the draw, ends with the forecheck and gets on top of the other team, so that's something we'd like to do better."

Plus, there's the whole matter of actually playing against somebody. The Predators are also adept at sitting on leads, which is what happened Sunday after Shea Weber potted a power-play goal 2:48 into the game and Kevin Klein scored early in the second for a 2-0 lead.

"The thing I find is the other team is trying, too," Babcock said. "You're trying to get off to a good start, they're trying to get off to a good start. They got the power play early and made us pay."

Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom agreed with his coach and said that continually chasing the lead is no way to win in the postseason.

"It's so much harder to score those goals [to tie it] and get those chances in the playoffs," he said. "They make it harder to get in front of the net. It just shows how playoff hockey is so different than the regular season."
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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 6:44 PM

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

Rask will travel with Bruins to Washington

BOSTON – After playing nearly eight periods of hockey over the course of two of the last three days, the Boston Bruins held a team meeting and did some off-ice work instead of practicing on the ice as a group Sunday.

The only players who took the ice at TD Garden were backup goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, along with healthy scratches Mike Mottau and Jordan Caron.

Rask, who is still working on getting up to full strength after injuring his groin in early March, will travel with the Bruins to Washington, where the Bruins will play Game 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals this week against the Capitals. The series is tied 1-1.

Rask was scratched for the first two games of the series and Khudobin dressed as Tim Thomas' backup.

Defenseman Adam McQuaid, who has been out since April 5 with an upper-body injury, will not travel with the team.

"He's going to stay here and continue to get treatment," Julien said about McQuaid. "You know, right now he's not ready to go on the ice. So he's going to continue treatment, and when he's ready to start working out with the team, we'll bring him with us."
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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 6:41 PM

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

Bruins hope to regain home-ice advantage

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins missed an opportunity to put a stranglehold on their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with Washington by dropping a double-overtime thriller in Game 2 Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.

But they know from their own experience and by looking at the rest of the League that a split in the first two games is a fortunate circumstance. Last year they lost the first two games at home to Montreal in the first round, and Pittsburgh and Vancouver dug themselves that same hole this season. Home teams struggled during the first week of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Yeah, I think everybody so far has lost home-ice advantage, but that doesn't mean you can't regain it. You get two more games to go there and regain that so it's, hopefully it's temporary for us anyways," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after his team held a meeting an off-ice workout at TD Garden on Sunday. "The other part is, that's parity in this League. When you look at the number of wins the top team has versus the eighth-place team, regulation wins, there's not that big of a difference. So I think people have to understand that it's a lot close than (No.) 1 against (No.) 8, as far as the gap's concerned. There's not that big of a difference."

Boston forward Brad Marchand believes that when it comes down to it, the venue has little impact on the events between the two teams.

"Even if you play at home, it's the same game on the ice. It really comes down to who wants it more and who has more heart and desire out on the ice," Marchand said. "Home-ice advantage just means you're in front of your home crowd, but really it's up to the guys in the room and that's really what it all comes down to. It's the same game on the ice."
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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 6:36 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Predators vs. Red Wings series blog

Ellis latest to fill in for injured Gill

DETROIT -- The Nashville Predators won a hard-fought 3-2 game at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday afternoon and did it with a pair of rookie defensemen on the back end.

Ryan Ellis joined fellow rookie Roman Josi in the starting lineup for Game 3 of a Stanley Cup Playoffs Quarterfinals series between the Predators and Detroit Red Wings -- which was his NHL playoffs debut.

Josi played in the first two games, while Ellis replaced Jack Hillen on Sunday in a continuing effort to replace veteran defenseman Hal Gill -- who missed his third playoff game and fourth game overall with a lower-body injury that happened blocking a shot in the second to last game of the regular season.

Ellis played just 7:50, but delivered three hits and had one of 19 blocked shots for the Preds.

"I was a little nervous," Ellis said. "It's quick out there, a faster pace than a regular game. It's nice to win. Whether it be big or small, it's better to win."

Like Josi, Ellis also made his NHL debut this season facing the Red Wings.

"It’s definitely nice to make the debut here," said Ellis, who played junior hockey just across the Detroit River for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires. "It would have been nice to play the first two, but whatever the team has to do to win. I’m just here to be a part of that."

Nashville coach Barry Trotz was just glad the talented rookie blueliner got his playoff debut out of the way.

"I thought he played pretty well," Trotz said. "He’s a young guy playing in 'The Joe.' I know he's from across the river, so I know he's very familiar with 'The Joe' and the atmosphere. I thought he played pretty well. He's one of the most intelligent players you'll come across. More than anything, he's a winner. He's been a winner at every level. I was real happy for his first game. I know he was excited, but I don't think he gets too rattled. He was very composed."
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We're certainly happy we got the win, but we feel we have a long way to go obviously. We're going take another step in San Jose and it is going to be a tough one.

— Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams said after his team's Game 4 win vs. the San Jose Sharks