ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Just 24 hours after receiving bad news regarding the candidacy of rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin for the Calder Trophy, the Minnesota Wild got some good news about Ryan Suter and the Norris Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL's best defenseman.
Suter, along with the Pittsburgh Penguins' Kris Letang and the Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban, are the three finalists for the award, which is presented annually to the blueliner who "demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability" at the position, as voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
"It's a huge honor for me. I feel very fortunate to be on that list," Suter said Tuesday. "It says a lot about our team and the guys I play with."
The growing rivalry between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens continues Tuesday night with Game 4 at Scotiabank Place. Steve Mears and EJ Hradek on Cisco NHL Live at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network will preview that matchup and the rest of tonight's Stanley Cup Playoff games. CBC analyst Cassie Campbell-Pascall will join us via the Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Ottawa to set the scene.
We'll also have pregame reports from the Penguins-Islanders, Blackhawks-Wild and Canucks-Sharks matchups from our reporters on site and give you a live look-in on the early games in our Ice Pass.
Remember to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks all four playoff games being played tonight.
It wasn't. Nope, it was Boston Bruins fourth-line right wing Shawn Thornton, a player who normally makes his exclamation point with his fists. The right-shooting Oshawa native who grew up a stone's throw away from Toronto, accepted a pass at the Maple Leafs blue line, cruised in along the left boards and made a beeline for the net, causing goaltender James Reimer to make a splits save.
Didn't know you had it in you, Shawn.
"You act surprised," Thornton said. "You don't have the NHL Network? You didn't see my penalty shot goal last year?"
TORONTO -- Phil Kessel is used to hearing chants of, "Thank you, Kessel! … Thank you, Kessel!"
But that's when his Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston, where he got his start in the NHL. Kessel joined Toronto in a trade Sept. 18, 2009, and the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup less than two years later. Bruins fans love to jeer the Maple Leafs' top goal-scoring threat.
So it was with pure delight that Kessel heard the same chant, "Thank you, Kessel! … Thank you, Kessel!" from the rabid fans in Toronto during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Monday. It was their way of showing appreciation for his offensive exploits.
"The fans here have always been great to me," Kessel said. "I love playing in this city. We have great fans and they supported us well Monday night."
That being the case, Toronto's No. 1 center, Tyler Bozak, must have been trying really, really hard Monday night in the Maple Leafs' 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at Air Canada Centre. Bozak, who is the Maple Leafs' best faceoff man, was repeatedly kicked out of the circle by linesmen Shane Heyer and Don Henderson in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
At the end of the night Bozak won 12 of his 29 faceoffs, and the Bruins as a team won 60 percent of the draws.
"It's tough in the game, but it's over now," Bozak said. "Both sides were cheating quite a bit in the circle, and I was getting caught a lot more than they were. There's nothing you can do about it now."
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe finally got to test himself in some battle drills Tuesday afternoon and said he felt good, but there is still no indication if he is going to play in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.
Clowe has been practicing since last Friday but has missed the past four games dating to the regular season with an undisclosed injury.
"I was hopeful for Game 2, but that's just how I think," Clowe said. "Sometimes you've gotta be smart when you've got an injury, you don't want to push it. If you asked around to people who know me, I don't like missing games, and if it's an opportunity to play I'm going to play"
NEW YORK -- Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr said he feels the first team that's able to break serve in this best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals might have the best chance at taking the series.
Fehr spoke to reporters Tuesday morning outside his hotel during a rare off day to discuss how important home ice has been for his club and the New York Rangers in the opening three games of what has become an intriguing showdown between two very evenly matched clubs.
"I don't think there was any difference in the way the Rangers played [on Monday], but they played with the crowd behind them which is what we did at Verizon Center and that's a big difference," Fehr said. "Momentum plays a big part in the games and when you have the fans cheering you on, it's a lot easier to play."
So after a tough 4-3 loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the New York Rangers on Monday, that's exactly what Oates gave his players in preparation for Game 4 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).
"At this time of the year I'm not worried about conditioning," Oates said. "It's more fatigue and getting better prepared mentally. So we'll take [Tuesday] off and recharge the battery."
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For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.