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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 12:24 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Stone replacing Conacher in Senators lineup

OTTAWA -- The youth movement for the Ottawa Senators continues; 21-year-old forward Mark Stone will enter the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Ottawa is down 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, and Senators coach Paul MacLean wanted a bigger body around the opposing net, something the 6-foot-2, 188-pound wing can provide.

"We factored in how well [Stone] has played in the American Hockey League [with Binghamton] this year," MacLean said of Stone, who tied for the AHL team lead with 38 points. "He's really had a good season there. He's really good with the puck and without it. He's a big man down around the net."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 12:17 PM

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

Nichushkin preparing for move to North America

Valeri Nichushkin, NHL Central Scouting's second-rated European skater in its final rankings of prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft, told a Russian newspaper that he plans on playing hockey in North America next season.

"I have already decided I will go to the NHL," Nichushkin told R-Sport news agency in Russia. "Dynamo [Moscow] has accepted this calmly and I was told that I can leave if I want to. There are no legal problems. My deal with Dynamo is terminated and I am leaving a free agent."

Nichushkin had four goals and two assists in 18 regular-season games with Traktor Chelyabinsk in the Kontinental Hockey League. He raised his play in the postseason, scoring six goals in 25 games to help Traktor reach the KHL finals. He won the KHL's Alexei Cherepanov Award, given to the league's top rookie.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 12:42 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Lack of power plays doesn't deter Bruins

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers power play certainly needs more work. Their penalty kill, however, hasn't had any of late at Madison Square Garden.

The Boston Bruins did not receive a power play in their 2-1 victory against the Rangers in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal series Tuesday night. New York went 0-for-2 and has received the past 11 man-advantages awarded in its building.

That might be a frustrating statistic for most teams, but the Bruins managed to keep their focus in Game 3 and came away with a victory that has the Rangers on the brink of elimination heading into Thursday's Game 4.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 7:13 PM

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

No lineup changes for Bruins or Rangers

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers will attempt to stay perfect at home in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Bruins. Neither team is making any lineup changes.


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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 5:04 PM

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

Kings look to take control of series on road in Game 4

SAN JOSE -- Playing the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion is never easy, but Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said he welcomes the chance to put a hammerlock on their Western Conference Semifinal series Tuesday night in Game 4 (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"They live off playing in their own arena," Doughty said after the Kings' optional morning skate there. "To be able to get a win in their home rink I think will be a little deflating for them. We know how tough it's going to be to steal one here tonight, but we're determined to do it. If we go back to Staples [Center] up 3-1, we know there's a good chance we can close out the series. Right now it's just one game at a time, and tonight's the most important."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 4:55 PM

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

Faceoffs, puck movement concerns for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks put 40 shots on goal, played much better overall and still lost 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night at Joe Louis Arena.

The loss put Detroit up 2-1 in what's become a heated Original Six Western Conference Semifinal, but Chicago isn't showing signs of panic.

The core group of stars that powers the Blackhawks also was down 2-1 in the conference quarterfinals against the Nashville Predators at one point in 2010 before coming back to win that series and eventually the Stanley Cup.

"I think we played well [Monday night]," said Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who was on the 2010 championship team. "There were a lot of chances that we could've scored on. We battled really hard and I think it was a pretty good effort overall. They just scored more goals than we did. As long as the battle effort is there, you can't really be too upset with the loss."

Game 4 of the best-of-7 series is Thursday night at Detroit (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS2) and each side knows how pivotal it could be.

"We all know the importance of the next game there in [Joe Louis Arena]," Hjalmarsson said. "We’re all focused on that task and looking forward to it."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 4:43 PM

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

Penguins could add Jokinen to aid power play

OTTAWA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins may be welcoming one of their trade-deadline acquisitions back into the lineup for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Center Jussi Jokinen skated on the fourth line and worked on the second unit of the struggling Penguins power play at practice Tuesday, suggesting he likely will be reinserted into the lineup for the first time since being scratched in Game 5 of the first round against the New York Islanders, a span of four games.

"Especially this time of the year, or anytime you're not playing all the time, it's not easy to watch from the press box," said Jokinen, acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes on NHL Trade Deadline day April 3. "I'll try to play to my strengths, try to be good on faceoffs, be a good two-way player and do everything I can to help the team win."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 2:42 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Essensa gets to turn back the clock at morning skate

NEW YORK -- More than a decade has passed since Bob Essensa played in an NHL game. But on Tuesday morning, the 48-year-old was facing shots again.

The Boston Bruins goaltending coach took Tuukka Rask's spot on the ice at Madison Square Garden for the team's optional skate prior to Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

One of the lighter moments came when Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk ripped a slap shot Essensa didn't even try to stop. He wasn't about to make any quick movements that weren't going to agree with his body.

"Anything I had to reach for … yeah," he said to reporters. "Just like the good old days."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 1:13 PM

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

Rangers rely on more Madison Square Garden magic

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers went 3-0 at Madison Square Garden in advancing past the Washington Capitals in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

Now, down 2-0 to the Boston Bruins entering Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS), the Rangers will need that hometown advantage if they hope to get back in this series.

Just don't ask them to explain their remarkable record at home.

"Really, I don't know. It confuses me why some pucks go in at home when they don't go in in certain situations on the road. Who knows why?" Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "I think today's game is a lot different from back in the '70s, when there was a real distinct advantage to playing at home. I don't think there is [an advantage today]. But there must be. The record shows it."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 1:00 PM

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

Rangers hope Brassard at point sparks power play

NEW YORK -- Since being acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline from the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers forward Derick Brassard has done practically everything asked of him.

In 13 regular-season games with New York, he had five goals and 11 points. He then added nine points in the final five games of the Rangers' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, helping them rally past the Washington Capitals.

With New York down 2-0 in their conference semifinal series with the Boston Bruins heading into Game 3 Tuesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS), Brassard may have his most difficult task yet: Bringing the Rangers' dormant power play back to life.

Brassard briefly played the point on the Rangers' first power-play unit in Game 2 and continued to practice his point play with New York's defensemen in an optional skate held Tuesday morning. It's not the first time he's quarterbacked his team's power play, but he admits the dynamic of playing the point with the man-advantage is a significant change from playing down low.

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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter