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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 1:01 PM

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

Blackhawks have positive mindset for Game 4

DETROIT -- Patrick Kane described the mood in the Chicago Blackhawks dressing room as light the morning of Game 4 in the Western Conference Semifinals. Captain Jonathan Toews said it is a happy group.

These quotes wouldn't seem very newsworthy throughout most of the 2012-13 season, considering the way the Blackhawks rolled to the Presidents' Trophy and into the second round of the postseason. But the Blackhawks now are behind the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in this best-of-7 Western Conference Semifinal series, and there was plenty of attention Thursday morning paid to how the Blackhawks would handle the situation.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville switched rookie Brandon Saad and veteran Patrick Sharp on the top two forward lines during Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena, and though Quenneville didn't confirm it, all indications have been that is how the lineup will start for the Blackhawks in Game 4 Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 12:53 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins expecting to face a desperate opponent

NEW YORK -- Shortly after a brief morning practice heading into Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers, the Boston Bruins were expecting a desperate effort from an opponent looking to avoid a series sweep.

Hearing about the Rangers' announcement that forward Brad Richards would be scratched and Arron Asham could be out as well in favor of bigger players Kris Newbury and Micheal Haley did nothing to change that.

"Doesn't matter to me," Bruins coach Claude Julien said when asked about the Rangers' lineup changes. "We're here to win the hockey game tonight. We're going to do whatever it takes."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 12:38 PM

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

Rangers will turn to Hamrlik for injured Stralman

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Roman Hamrlik has been practicing in the morning and watching games at night for the past seven-and-a-half weeks. Hamrlik better have been working hard and watching closely because he is expected be smack dab in the middle of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Hamrlik likely will replace injured defenseman Anton Stralman in the Rangers lineup for their must-win Game 4 against the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS). Stralman was injured late in the second period in Game 3 Tuesday, when Bruins forward Milan Lucic crunched him into the end boards in the defensive zone.

Boston leads the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal series 3-0.

"I've been watching the games from upstairs and that's a different view," Hamrlik said after the morning skate Thursday. "During the game you see lots of mistakes, but when you're on the ice or on the bench, it's much faster and quicker. Your brain has to [react] really quickly about what you're going to do. For me, I just have to read the play and use my stick, do what I do the best, make the first pass and play good defense."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 11:26 AM

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

Rangers make Brad Richards a healthy scratch

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers center Brad Richards said he will not be in the lineup for a must-win Game 4 Thursday at Madison Square Garden against the Boston Bruins (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS).

Richards said Rangers coach John Tortorella called him Thursday morning to give him the news that he will be a healthy scratch for the elimination game. The Bruins lead the Rangers 3-0 in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

"I'm disappointed," Richards said.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 8:57 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes: Red Wings adopting Blackhawks' style

What is so interesting about this Western Conference Semifinal series between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings are the similarities between the two organizations.

Chicago has been able to turn its franchise around by emulating Detroit. By that I mean puck possession, good two-way play, making plays offensively, being good offensively, not necessarily running guys through the boards but playing more of a puck possession and skill-type game.

The Hawks rebuilt their team through the draft and with some good trades and those great kids, of course, but it was all with an eye toward playing the Detroit Red Wings' style. Obviously with Scotty Bowman coming aboard as a senior advisor and having his son Stan run the show there as GM, certainly there is a lot of Detroit DNA in the Chicago Blackhawks, and it has shown in how they rebuilt the team and won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and how great they were in the regular season.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 12:21 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Drouin candidate for CHL player of the year award

No NHL Draft-eligible player has won the Canadian Hockey League player of the year award since 2008, but that could change when the CHL announces its award winners for the 2012-13 season.

Halifax Mooseheads left wing Jonathan Drouin, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, is one of three finalists for the CCM Player of the Year award. He was second in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 105 points in 41 games. He scored 41 goals, and had a league-best 29-game streak with at least a point. He was named the league's MVP and top professional prospect.

Jonathan Drouin

Other nominees for the award are Vincent Trocheck of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, a Florida Panthers prospect, and Adam Lowry of the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League, a Winnipeg Jets draft pick.

The previous draft-eligible player to win it was Justin Azevedo of the Kitchener Rangers in 2008, but he was 20. The last first-time draft-eligible player to win it was Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic in 2005.

Drouin also is a finalist for the Jack Link's Top Prospect of the Year. Joining him as finalists are two other players likely to hear their names called early when the 2013 draft is held June 30 -- defensemen Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks (WHL) and Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL).

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 10:26 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Pirates to wear Penguins jerseys on road trip

The Pittsburgh Pirates will be wearing a different kind of black and gold when they travel to Milwaukee and Detroit this weekend -- they'll don Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys to show their support.

"There's a large contingency that have their fingers on the pulse of Penguins hockey," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told MLB.com. "And they pull the other ones in regardless of whether they want to be pulled in or not."

Hurdle got his own custom Penguins jersey, with his No. 13 and name on the back, delivered to his office at PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 7:12 PM

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

Lack of scoring pushes Brown to Kings' 3rd line

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings were able to grind out a low-scoring first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, but the past two second-round games against the San Jose Sharks have forced coach Darryl Sutter to make changes.

Kings captain Dustin Brown was dropped to third line right wing while Kyle Clifford took his spot on the first line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams at practice Wednesday.

Los Angeles has scored one goal in each of the past games, each a 2-1 loss to the San Jose in that evened the Western Conference Semifinal series at two games each.

Game 5 is Thursday at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"We've scored two goals in 120 minutes, so I'm not surprised by any changes," Brown said.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 5:19 PM

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

Blackhawks tweak lines, power-play combinations

CHICAGO -- It appears Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville might stick with a slight change in his forward lines that he put together during Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinal series Monday against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Blackhawks lost 3-1 at Joe Louis Arena and trail 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But Quenneville saw something he liked from flip-flopping his top two left wings, rookie Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.

Saad dropped to the second line to play with center Dave Bolland and right wing Patrick Kane, and Sharp moved up to play the left side of the top line with center Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa.

They stayed that way for line rushes during practice Wednesday at United Center, but Quenneville was still non-committal, officially, when asked about it afterward.

"We'll see on the lines," he said. "I know that it's something we'll talk about going into the game."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 5:03 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins' fourth line can provide more than just energy

NEW YORK -- On a team known for its remarkable consistency, the Boston Bruins benefited in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers from a trio not known for filling the net.

In a 2-1 win Tuesday, Boston's fourth line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille accounted for both goals in an unexpected show of offensive flair. Thornton's two assists in the game doubled his career point total accumulated over 76 previous Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Even if offensive outbursts like the one they had in Game 3 aren't an every-game occurrence, the Bruins' fourth line has been known to set the tone for the rest of their team, thanks mostly to their contagious energy and physicality.

"When those guys come up large for us, it really ignites our dressing room. Guys are really happy for them," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "In a team sport, sometimes you have players that have more attention than others. These guys don't get the attention they probably deserve on a lot of occasions. So when they get that opportunity, everyone kind of rallies around them."

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Quote of the Day

We have no doubt how he can play. You don't, with four teams that are left, you're not getting here without good goaltending. All great goalies left, and [Bishop] is a top-tier goaltender in this league and he's shown it.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper on goalie Ben Bishop, who shut out the Rangers in Game 5