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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 6:09 PM

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

Bruins get final chance to close out Maple Leafs

BOSTON - For the eighth time in six seasons under coach Claude Julien, the Boston Bruins will play a Game 7 when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night in the final game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

The Bruins' record is 3-4 in their previous seven Stanley Cup Playoff series finales, but this year they're in a Game 7 because they failed to close out the Maple Leafs after taking a 3-1 series lead.


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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 5:11 PM

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

Kings happy with rare home-ice advantage

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The sexy Southern California matchup dissipated into the warm air here, but the Los Angeles Kings still will have their hands full with an in-state divisional rival.

The Kings gathered at their practice facility with an opponent and a date: Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Jose Sharks is Tuesday at Staples Center.

The alternative would have been playing an epic inaugural Stanley Cup Playoff series against the rival Anaheim Ducks.

"I would have liked to have played the Ducks," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "I think we match up well with them, and it would have been good for California to have that rivalry because everyone kind of makes that rivalry so big around California. But to us, we haven't really had to battle with them like a playoff series so I think a playoff series would have made that rivalry a lot deeper."

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 3:58 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins reward restaurant workers for late-night service

There will be at least three Toronto Maple Leafs fans packed inside TD Garden when the Boston Bruins host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7 p.m. ET, CBNC, CBC, RDS).

And they'll be there courtesy of the Bruins.

A mechanical problem with the team's plane meant the Bruins had to stay overnight in Toronto after losing Game 6 on Sunday. Tired and hungry, the team wanted a bite to eat before returning to the hotel, so a member of the organization called the Canyon Creek Chophouse in Mississauga, near the hotel the Bruins were booked into.

Restaurant service manager Lauren Grenier said she received the call at 11 p.m., when she and the staff was closing, asking if they could accommodate a party of about 50.

"I had literally closed the till for my bartender and we were closing in five minutes and I get this phone call," Grenier told the (Toronto) Globe and Mail. "And they’re like, hey, there's about 50 of us coming down to your restaurant, it's the Boston Bruins. And I'm like, sure it is. I didn't believe them because we're always playing pranks on each other here at work late at night."

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 3:57 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Report: Bozak not traveling with Leafs, out for Game 7

Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak didn't travel with the team to Boston for Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal on Monday against the Bruins (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS), according to a report by Darren Dreger.

Bozak scored a goal in Game 5 for the Maple Leafs, but was a late scratch for Game 6 with an undisclosed injury.

Toronto went on to win without him and extend the series to a seventh game, and they'll have to do without his services again Monday at TD Garden.

Bozak had 12 goals and 28 points in 46 games during the regular season.

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 3:13 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins, Cooke solely focused on winning

PITTSBURGH -- If people still are talking about a feud between the Ottawa Senators and Matt Cooke, no one in the Pittsburgh Penguins' locker room is.

With the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the teams starting Tuesday, issues surrounding Cooke and the Senators -- Cooke is blamed for the Achilles injury that sidelined Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson for more than two months -- have become an afterthought among the players.

"That's all outside the locker room," Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis said. "It's media, it's Twitter, it's Facebook. It's not stuff that [concerns us]."

"The off-ice stuff and accusations and that stuff, it does not play into the series for our team," added Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma. "We're definitely not going to make it a part of the series for our team. Whether there's emotion there on their side -- I don't think so. I think they'll be focused on winning four hockey games."

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 2:02 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose: Top storylines from conference quarters

Another week of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs is in the books and it's almost time to start Round 2. With the first round set to wrap up Monday night with Game 7s between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, and the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs, here are some things that have stuck out to me from the conference quarterfinals.

ISLE BE SEEING YOU SOON

The New York Islanders might be done after losing in Game 6, but they leave looking far different from how they did six months ago or even three weeks ago. This is a good hockey team. I think it showed at the end of the season when they finished strong, and then the way they played the Pittsburgh Penguins. You could easily argue New York was the better team in this series and the Penguins are lucky to have won. This team has definitely grown by leaps and bounds the last three or four weeks, and if you're an Islanders fan, it's got to be the best you've felt about this team in 20 years.

John Tavares
Center - NYI
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 5
SOG: 21 | +/-: -4
I think this postseason was a sign of things to come for New York. If you look at the Islanders, they're all young, they've got some good veterans like Mark Streit and Lubomir Visnovsky, and I don't see any reason to think the young guys aren't just going to get better. They've found out there are a lot of great kids in their feeder system, like Brock Nelson, who came up and played very well. Finally, of course, they have John Tavares. This guy is for real and there's no doubt that he'll do next year what he did this year as long as he's healthy. Are they going to fight for first overall next year? I don't think so, but the Islanders are certainly a team that will be fighting for a playoff spot next year.
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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 1:44 PM

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

Rangers ignoring past Washington woes

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is fond of saying home-ice advantage doesn't mean anything unless you get to a Game 7.

Well, the Rangers are in another Game 7 against the Washington Capitals, only this time it's on the road at Verizon Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2), where they lost Game 7 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

So how does Tortorella feel now?

"I think there is an advantage to the home team," he said Monday morning, "but quite honestly we're the visiting team and we really don't care."

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 1:32 PM

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

Spezza not traveling with Senators

The Ottawa Senators announced Monday that center Jason Spezza would not travel with the team to for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, instead remaining in Ottawa ton continue his rehabilitation from back surgery.

Spezza had surgery Feb. 1 to repair a herniated disc. On May 10 he began skating with the team's "black aces," its extra players, with the hope that he could return to the team at some point in the series.

In five games this season, Spezza had two goals and three assists. His last game was Jan. 27.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 9:15 PM

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

In tight series, bad bounces play large role

NEW YORK -- In the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals' evened-up Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Capitals hold a slim 12-11 scoring advantage in what has been the closest series so far of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Two games have ended overtime and most contests have been decided by the slightest of bounces.

Heading into Game 7 Monday night in Washington, that likely means that one player's bad bounce could mean the difference between advancing to the second round and going home for the summer.

That was the case in Sunday's Game 6, as Derick Brassard's point shot deflected off the glove of Capitals rookie Steve Oleksy and into the Capitals’ net. That one bad bounce would be the deciding play in New York's 1-0 victory.

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Posted On Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 4:38 PM

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

Red Wings put Eaves back in Game 7 lineup

ANAHEIM -- Patrick Eaves didn't know what his personal record in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was until a member of the media told him Sunday morning at Honda Center.

He did know that he played in several (four), and that experience is supplemented by the many he played out in his mind during his childhood in Fairbault, Minn. Eaves' Detroit Red Wings will face the Anaheim Ducks here Sunday night and the winner will advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Both teams have several young players who will be playing in a Game 7 in the NHL playoffs for the first time. Detroit coach Mike Babcock's message on that matter is clear, and alluded to what Eaves meant when he mentioned all those Game 7s as a kid.

"You've got to excited to play on this stage," Babcock said. "You grow up dreaming about it, scoring the winning goal in overtime. Anybody who's been involved in hockey knew who they were and who you tried to emulate at the time. You've done it a million times. Just play the game.

"You spend your whole life growing up -- like for me it was Leaf Rapids, Manitoba, road hockey games, I was always Bobby Orr. They were the team, and I loved Bobby Orr. You're always the guy scoring the winning goal in overtime. You've done it your whole life, so just go do it."


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It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract