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Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 6:36 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Kings-Sharks series blog

Greene brings big presence back to Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- From opening day to the end of April, the Los Angeles Kings' dressing room was quieter. They are not a chatty bunch to begin with, and when defenseman Matt Greene was gone, his deep tone was noticeably absent.

"He's a big voice in the locker room, and when he was missing this year, you could really feel it in the atmosphere in the dressing room," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "It's not something that is necessarily needed to play well, but it lightens the atmosphere and it keeps things loose, which is a big part of a season and the playoffs. It can't be serious all the time. We certainly missed him in that way, and certainly what he brings to us on the ice. We've missed his experience and leadership."

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 5:54 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Toews, Blackhawks seek 'controlled emotion'

CHICAGO -- After Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews picked up his third penalty in less than six minutes Thursday night, defenseman Brent Seabrook skated over and settled him down while he sat in the penalty box.

The normally staid Toews came a little unglued in the second period of Game 4 in Chicago's Western Conference Semifinal against the Detroit Red Wings, especially after the first infraction, a high-sticking call he adamantly disputed, resulted in what turned out to be the winning goal in a 2-0 result.

After picking up another high-sticking call for his third straight penalty -- this one much more blatant -- Toews angrily headed toward the box while Seabrook, who's had his own struggles, took action.

"He looked frustrated and I don't know if that was a reason for the penalties," said Seabrook, whose ice time has dropped dramatically the past two games. "It was a little bit of bad luck with his stick. I just tried to calm him down and we need him. He's the best player on the team and our leader. If the rest of the group sees him like that it's going to trickle down.

"We need him to be focused and ready and I just told him to sit down and take a couple of deep breaths and get ready to be back out there because we need him."

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 3:47 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

McDonagh key to Rangers' power-play improvement

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh played more than 29 minutes in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Bruins on Thursday, marking the fourth time in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs he's logged at least that much ice time in a game.

However, for the first time in the playoffs, McDonagh had a regular role on the power play. Rangers coach John Tortorella said McDonagh was good in that role, and Tortorella took the blame for not putting him on the power play sooner.

"I think he helped us [in Game 4] on the power play," Tortorella said. "It's me. I [messed] that up not using him early enough and I should have."

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 3:39 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins' power play suddenly an area of strength

BOSTON -- Often a weakness the past several seasons, especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins' power play has become a driving force for the team that leads the Eastern Conference Semifinals with the New York Rangers, 3-1, heading into Game 5 on Saturday at TD Garden (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The Bruins are 3-for-9 with the man-advantage, led by rookie defenseman Torey Krug. The playoff call-up from Providence of the American Hockey League has scored two of those three goals.

"I think that we're just not passing up those good opportunities," Krug said after practice Friday at TD Garden. "You'd see sometimes in the past we'd be passing the puck and we'd want to make that extra pass. But this time, we're shooting pucks, we're getting pucks to the net, and guys are taking away Henrik's [Lundqvist] ice."

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 3:30 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins' Seidenberg, Redden working way back

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg continued to progress toward a return from an undisclosed injury during practice Friday at TD Garden.

The Bruins were on the ice for about 30 minutes the afternoon after they lost to the New York Rangers 4-3 in overtime in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, failing to sweep.

"It went better again," said Seidenberg, who was injured in Game 7 of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs. "But now it's still day to day. I have to talk to the doctors and trainers and consult with them and go from there."

Injured defenseman Wade Redden also skated with the team.

Bruins coach Claude Julien wouldn't reveal how close either blueliner was to getting back into the lineup for Game 5 Saturday (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS) or beyond.

"[They] skated today. I keep telling guys they're progressing every day. That's why you see them on the ice," Julien said.

Only defenseman Andrew Ference, who hasn't played since Game 5 of the first round, wasn't on the ice. The forward lines remained the same.

Here was the Bruins' lineup for practice:

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 2:49 PM

By Chris Adamski - Correspondent / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators not focused on Alfredsson's future

PITTSBURGH -- If the Ottawa Senators are at all worried about the possibility of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Friday being the final game of their captain's career, they aren't talking as if they are.

"Well, if it is, we'll make it a fun one," defenseman Erik Karlsson said with a smile about Daniel Alfredsson.

"He was dangling me in 'keep away' all morning," defenseman Marc Methot said, referring to the common morning-skate drill. "So if you ask me, he's got a couple years left under his belt."

The Senators kept a loose, upbeat posture throughout the morning skate and after it Friday, but a loss in Game 5 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS) would have serious ramifications. Not only would it eliminate Ottawa from the Stanley Cup Playoffs and end its season, it could end the career of the franchise's longtime captain.

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 1:56 PM

By Chris Adamski - Correspondent / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators set to unite Spezza, Alfredsson, Michalek

PITTSBURGH -- If the Ottawa Senators are going down, they're going down with their most talented and experienced forwards skating together to start a game in which they're facing elimination.

Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek have combined for 2,338 regular-season NHL games and 2,084 points. The trio was united for line rushes during the morning skate in advance of Friday's Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

With Ottawa down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series, coach Paul MacLean said he'd have his tenured trio out on the ice for the opening faceoff in an attempt to steer momentum the Senators' way.

"That's a line we can always go back to," MacLean said. "Obviously they're a veteran threesome that's played a number of games in the League. We've always felt we could go to that, just because they're veteran players. The start of the game hasn't been very good for us these first four games; maybe if we start veterans out on the ice at the beginning of the game it can have a calming effect on the rest of the group."

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 1:21 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins shrug off Alfredsson's remarks

PITTSBURGH -- Not surprisingly, the comments made by Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in the aftermath of Game 4 were still a primary topic of discussion 36 hours later on the morning of Game 5.

After absorbing a 7-3 shellacking in Game 4 Wednesday, on home ice, no less, Alfredsson was asked if he could see his team winning three straight games to wriggle free of the elimination situation they now face for the duration of this best-of-7 series, starting Friday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

His answer sent shockwaves across the province of Ontario and many other hockey-mad communities across North America.

"Probably not," Alfredsson said in the Ottawa dressing room Wednesday night. "I mean, with their depth and power play right now, you know, it doesn't look too good."

Many saw that statement as a concession speech of sorts from the Ottawa leader. Others saw it as a motivational ploy. Alfredsson has since tried to clarify his comment but has not backed off it.

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 1:11 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins likely to stick with same lineup in Game 5

PITTSBURGH -- It does not appear Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is going to mess with a good thing.

Judging from line rushes during the morning skate Friday in preparation for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS), it appears the Penguins will ice the same lineup that dominated the final 40 minutes of Game 4 Wednesday in Ottawa.

The biggest questions revolved around forward Brenden Morrow, who missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury, and forward Chris Kunitz, who barely played in the third period of Game 4.

They were on the ice Friday morning at Consol Energy Center. Kunitz took a regular turn on his normal line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. Morrow was relegated to the collection of extra forwards during the line rushes.

Morrow said he felt good during the skate and that his participation in Game 5 would be a game-time decision, but it appears Bylsma will stay with veteran Jussi Jokinen and rookie Beau Bennett, each of whom joined Craig Adams on a reconstituted fourth line.

Here is how the Penguins lined up at the morning skate:

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 11:42 AM

By Staff -  / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Morrow possibility for Penguins for Game 5

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brenden Morrow, who sat out Game 4 of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Ottawa Senators with an undisclosed injury, skated with the team Friday and said he would be a game-time decision for Game 5 Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Morrow has a goal and two assists in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games.

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— Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom in an interview with Washington Post about whether he will be able to play in 2015-16 opener