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Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 1:38 PM

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

Keith happy to be back in Blackhawks lineup

CHICAGO -- After watching teammates scramble to fill in during a one-game suspension, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is excited to get back in the lineup.

The Blackhawks will try to close out the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). With his team leading the best-of-7 series, 3-1, Keith said he's eager to rejoin the fray.

"I'm looking forward to the game and know it's going to be the biggest game of the series. I want to play a good hockey game," said Keith, who was suspended for one game after hitting Kings forward Jeff Carter in the face with his stick in Game 3. "It's tough to watch. When you're playing every game and then all of a sudden you're watching on TV, it's just a different feeling altogether. I couldn't really tell you, to be honest, if we were playing good or bad in the first period [of Game 4] or not … or what was going on."

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Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 1:03 PM

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

Richards skates with Kings' fourth line

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards was taking rushes with the fourth line Saturday morning at United Center, an indication that he may be in the lineup for the first time since he suffered a concussion in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Game 5 is Saturday night (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series, 3-1.

On Friday, Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Richards was "doubtful at best" for Game 5, but he was centering the fourth line between Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford during the morning skate. Nolan has gone pointless in the postseason and has not played since Game 6 of the Kings' second-round series against the San Jose Sharks.

Richards was injured when he was hit behind the goal line late in Game 1 by Chicago center Dave Bolland. He skated in between Games 3 and 4, but was not on the ice for the morning skate prior to Game 4 at Staples Center on Thursday. The Kings did not practice Friday.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 1:44 AM

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

Penguins' Vokoun good but not good enough

BOSTON -- Under any other circumstances, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun would be a hero. Friday, he just wasn't heroic enough.

With Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask posting a .985 save percentage and two shutouts in their four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Final, Vokoun's performance wasn't enough to allow the Penguins to reach their goal of the Stanley Cup Final.

"Tomas, I thought, was two goals short of brilliant, two goals short of Tuukka Rask in these two games," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said after a 1-0 loss in Game 4 ended Pittsburgh's season. "He was great. Not as many saves as Rask in Game 3, but he was equally up to the task, and he was again tonight. I thought he played outstanding. It was dueling goaltenders there for a lot for Games 3 and 4."

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 9:16 PM

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

Kings center Richards 'doubtful at best' for Game 5

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards (concussion) made the trip here for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), but it's likely he'll miss his fourth straight game.

"Honestly, I couldn't tell you," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "It is doubtful at best."

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 8:55 PM

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

Kings need some goals from power play

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have been brilliant when the opponent has more players on the ice.

That statement is beyond repute at this point in 2012-13. The Blackhawks were third in the NHL in penalty-killing proficiency during the regular season, and they've turned up their PK a few more notches in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Through 16 games, the Blackhawks have erased 54 of 56 power plays (96.4 percent). Chicago's PK prowess is a big reason the Blackhawks can return to the Stanley Cup Final by beating the Los Angeles Kings at United Center in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The Kings have managed one power-play goal in four games -- and that one was a meaningless score after the outcome of Game 2 had long since been decided.

"I think they do an excellent job of blocking shots. I mean, that's plain and simple," Kings forward Justin Williams said Friday. "They get their bodies in shot lanes and you can sometimes fake that you're in the shot lanes when you're actually not, but they're in them every time. They're manning-up and getting behind them.

"We're getting a lot of zone time on the PP. I think we've only had one goal to come of it. We haven't scored a big power-play goal yet. Getting through the first layer is important because we've had a lot of possession time, a lot of zone time, but just getting it through their blockers is key."

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 8:08 PM

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

Kennedy in, Vitale out for Penguins in Game 4

BOSTON -- Still looking for the lineup that will provide a jolt to the anemic attack of the Pittsburgh Penguins, coach Dan Bylsma made another lineup change for Game 4.

Forward Tyler Kennedy, scratched for the past two games, was reinserted into the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. He replaces Joe Vitale.

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 7:14 PM

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

Blackhawks seek answers for power-play struggles

CHICAGO -- It was a problem area for much of the regular season and hasn't really improved from a statistical standpoint for the Chicago Blackhawks during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Chicago's power play continues to struggle -- to put it mildly. After going 0-for-4 in a 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday at Staples Center, the Blackhawks are 1-for-12 in this best-of-7 series (8.3 percent).

They are 7-for-49 (14.3 percent) in the postseason, and 1-for-22 (4.6 percent) in power plays on the road in the playoffs.

"You look at maybe [Game 4] and we trailed for at least half the game there until we tied it up in the second [at even strength]," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Friday. "We feel if you take advantage of a few of your power play chances there, maybe you could take the lead and take a little more control of the game and distance yourself a little bit from the other team."

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 2:10 PM

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

Daugavins to replace Campbell for Bruins in Game 4

BOSTON -- On most hockey teams, the role of fourth-line center is rarely a source of great debate.

But the way the Boston Bruins are built and the way they play the game makes them unlike most hockey teams.

They are a team built on balance and depth, where the role of top-line scorer is no more or less important than a fourth-line grinder or enforcer.

Many teams say that is the case, but few actually put it in practice the way the Bruins do.

So when Gregory Campbell fractured his right fibula in the second period of Wednesday night's 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, it created a hole far larger than it might have on a typical hockey team losing its fourth-line center.

That hole in the lineup will be filled by Kaspars Daugavins, coach Claude Julien confirmed Friday morning ahead of Game 4 of the conference final at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But filling Campbell's role on the team will be done by committee.

"You don't replace a guy like Gregory Campbell by putting another guy in there," Julien said Friday morning. "He brings a lot. When you lose a guy like him, you realize the hole that he's left.”

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 2:06 PM

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

Seguin getting used to playing on Bruins' third line

BOSTON -- Tyler Seguin was chosen by the Boston Bruins with the second pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. At the time, the belief around the League was he would be a top-line player with strong production on the offensive end.

Just under three years after he was drafted, Seguin finds himself on the Bruins' third line in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, filling a role he probably never envisioned himself playing at this stage of his career.

Seguin likely will be lining up against the Pittsburgh Penguins alongside Rich Peverley and Kaspars Daugavins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Bruins lead the best-of-7 series against the top-seeded Penguins 3-0 with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final as soon as Friday. That is exactly why Seguin has no problem with how he's being used by Boston coach Claude Julien.

"It's an adjustment," Seguin said Friday. "But I think in the back of your head all you think about is going all the way and doing it for your team. Someone's got to do it. In the playoffs there's always someone doing something that they're not used to, whether it's injuries or whatnot. I'm doing what I can [while] being moved out of my regular position."

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Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 1:42 PM

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

Campbell injury hurts Bruins' penatly-kill

BOSTON -- After a slow start to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins' penalty kill has been nearly airtight from the second round on.

Heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), the Bruins have killed off 26 of 28 power plays since the start of their second-round series against the New York Rangers.

Now the penalty kill will have a challenge almost as great as trying to stop Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of Pittsburgh's star-studded power play.

Center Gregory Campbell is done for the rest of the postseason with a broken fibula. He usually combines with fourth-line partner Daniel Paille to form one of Boston's three main pairs on their penalty kill, which ranked fourth in the NHL during the regular season.

"It's tough. He plays such a hard game," forward Brad Marchand said of losing Campbell. "He's such a big part of our team. You saw the last couple of rounds, he's been very big. He's not really a guy you can really replace, but everybody has to step up a little bit and hopefully, collectively we can fill that void."

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Quote of the Day

I definitely think going back down helped me, I had a lot of confidence down there, I played a lot of minutes and I think that helped me a lot. With the 37 games up here, that gave me experience as well. I know what it takes to play in the NHL and now it's time for me to show that I'm capable of being a full-time NHL player.

— Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on finishing the 2014-15 season in juniors after playing 37 games with Edmonton to begin the season