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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:59 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Vokoun, Kennedy provide enviable depth for Penguins

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- With the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins tied 2-2 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the underdog New York Islanders, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma decided it was time to make changes to his lineup. Fortunately for him, his team's deep roster included the kind of veteran players any team would want.

The big move was naming veteran backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun the team's starter for Game 5 on Thursday in Pittsburgh. The switch was made after regular starter Marc-Andre Fleury struggled badly in Pittsburgh's 6-4 Game 4 loss.

For any team, naming a new starting goaltender midway through a Stanley Cup Playoff series would be controversial. But not every team has a backup goaltender with 300 career NHL wins under his belt.

Vokoun made 31 saves for the shutout in Pittsburgh's Game 5 win and will start again for the Penguins in Game 6 Saturday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

"Throughout this season for us, he's been a guy who, not only in the games but off the ice as well, has been a leader," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said of Vokoun. "When he's gotten in there, he tends to have a calming influence with how he plays and dictates the game. He's been that for us and I thought in Game 5 he gave that for our team."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs staying on the road at home

TORONTO -- Is it really Home, Sweet Home?

Well, so far the Toronto Maple Leafs have played two home games in the playoffs -- their first two since 2004 -- and have yet to win. Conversely, the Maple Leafs are 2-1 on the road in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So the Maple Leafs are treating Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS) like a road game.

"We have offered our players the opportunity to stay in the hotel the night before and the afternoon of games," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "We think that's something that has been a choice, but as for Sunday afternoon, it will not be an option. We will check into a hotel."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:09 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Reimer's heroics big part of Maple Leafs' win

TORONTO -- Two nights earlier, at the most critical time in the game, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer let a shot slip past him that looked quite stoppable.

It was in overtime and it meant his team lost the game and fell into a 3-1 series deficit against the Boston Bruins in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Much of the focus after the game was on Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, who had pinched on the play, allowing the Bruins to break away on an odd-man rush. Had Reimer made the save, all would have been well and Phaneuf's indiscretion would have been forgotten.

Fast forward to Friday, and again at a critical time -- this time in a scoreless game -- Reimer produced a game-saving stop, robbing Boston's Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins center cut in front of the net, causing Reimer to do the splits. With his leg stretched to the maximum, Reimer stopped the puck with the toe of his skate.

For Reimer, the spectacular save was all in a day's work.

"Honestly, it's one of those saves that you don't plan," Reimer said. "It just kind of happens. Obviously it's probably mostly just luck. He had a little bit of room on the side, but it went off my toe. It's just a lucky save and hopefully there's a few more of those left."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:04 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

MacArthur making the most of his opportunities

TORONTO -- Veteran Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Clarke MacArthur is learning about the highs and lows of participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Having never been in the playoffs before in his seven-season career, MacArthur suffered the indignity of being a healthy scratch in Games 2 and 3 of Toronto's best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins, but now has goals in back-to-back games as the Maple Leafs won 2-1 Friday in Boston to remain alive.

Game 6 is Sunday in Toronto (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS).

"I just wanted to stay ready in practice," MacArthur said. "You never know when you're going to get the chance to play again. It was nice to get back in and help the team."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:55 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Penguins looking to close out Islanders in Game 6

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- A convincing 4-0 win against the New York Islanders in Game 5 on Thursday at home shifted momentum squarely toward the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins.

But coach Dan Bylsma made it very clear before Game 6 here Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS) he had no intention of bringing their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series back to Pittsburgh for a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday.

"That is our mentality. We don't have six periods, we just have three," Bylsma said following the team's morning skate Saturday. "The fourth game is the hardest to win and we expect the very best from their team [Saturday]. We have to be ready for that."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:49 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Islanders have confidence in Nabokov

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Evgeni Nabokov's first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2010 has had its ups and downs. Though he's been pulled by New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano in Games 1 and 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nabokov will be back in goal for Game 6 on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Capuano left no doubts that Nabokov remains his man, even though he has a 4.69 goals-against average and .847 save percentage.

"He's gotten us here. He's played a lot of hockey for us down the stretch," Capuano said of Nabokov, who was 23-11-7 in the regular season, with a 2.50 GAA and .910 save percentage. "He's a veteran guy with experience. I think if you look at the last two months, I thought defensively we were pretty good, pretty solid, and he was a big reason why."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:44 PM

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

Bruins vow to not lean on past road success

BOSTON -- At the conclusion of the regular season, the Boston Bruins had the second-best home record in the Eastern Conference, and the Toronto Maple Leafs and Bruins were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in road record.

So it's not a surprise that home-ice advantage has meant little to the teams in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals through five games. The Bruins, who lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS), won the two games played in Toronto. The Maple Leafs are 2-1 on Boston's home ice.

"I guess you often think that it [home ice] should work to your advantage, but somehow it hasn't in this series and it's really hard to explain why," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after his team's optional practice Saturday. "I think both teams are playing hard, and besides talking about [Game 5] game again, we've played extremely well in Toronto and they've played pretty well in our building, as well. I don't know what it is as a coach, not the players, but we hope that trend continues [Sunday]."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:39 PM

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

Bruins defenseman Redden optimistic for Game 6

BOSTON -- Wade Redden waited four years to get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so only something serious could force him to miss a game.

"Yeah, it was pretty much an obvious thing," the Boston Bruins defenseman said Saturday after he took part in an optional practice at TD Garden. "But like I said, it's turned the corner. So, you know, obviously games are coming quick, so that's a good sign."

Redden missed the Bruins' Game 5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Friday. His status for Game 6 Sunday in Toronto (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS), where the Bruins will try for a second time to end the series, will be determined on the day of the game; Bruins coach Claude Julien classified Redden as day-to-day. Redden said he felt pretty good after skating Saturday.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:22 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Islanders expect another boost from home crowd

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders' return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs has brought the noise back to Nassau Coliseum. They hope the roars that raised the roof of the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike in Games 3 and 4 will help them win Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The Coliseum is the oldest non-renovated facility in the NHL. It's small (16,170 capacity) and lacks the amenities of newer buildings. But its low roof means that the noise generated by a packed house has nowhere to go but back toward the ice. The result is the kind of noise you rarely hear in a newer, larger building.

"Playing at home for us has been great," Islanders captain Mark Streit said after the morning skate Saturday. "The fans have been unbelievable. It's been so loud and energizing in here. It's a big advantage for us."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 12:38 AM

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

Sharks trying to stay physical during down time

SAN JOSE -- After two days off, the San Jose Sharks got back to work Friday, and coach Todd McLellan put them through the gauntlet.

Actually, "the old gauntlet" drill," as Sharks forward TJ Galiardi called it.

One by one, each player fought his way past every other teammate, who was lined up along the boards.

"It's a fun drill," McLellan said. "Most of them enjoy doing it, have a lot of fun with it. We haven't practiced for so long, and the physicality part of the game right now is something you can't lose. After taking a couple days off we wanted to bump and grind."

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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