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Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 4:41 PM

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

Wings found way to clog middle, slow Hawks' attack

CHICAGO -- Mike Babcock wasn't happy with the way his Detroit Red Wings defended the middle of the ice to start their Western Conference Semifinals series against the Chicago Blackhawks this past week, so the coach changed it up.

After dropping the opening game 4-1 at United Center, a better-rested Detroit team paid more attention to the middle of the ice, particularly in the neutral zone, in Game 2 on Saturday. The Red Wings won 4-1 to even the best-of-7 series at a game apiece, but how they did it was impressive.

Detroit made sure the middle of the ice was accounted for almost all game, from the neutral zone all the way back to its net, and pressured Chicago forwards sooner -- gumming up the Blackhawks' rush game before it got started.

"They do a good job of clogging things up and making it tough to skate," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said after practice Sunday, prior to leaving for Detroit. "Both teams skate really well and both teams are dangerous when their skill players have the puck in open ice. They've always been good at making it tough to get to the net and making it tough to get pucks back on the forecheck. They're a good team at [doing] that."

Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 3:11 PM

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

Penguins' penalty kill about to face new challenge

OTTAWA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins began Sunday with the third-best penalty kill in the Stanley Cup Playoffs at 88.9 percent, but will face a brand-new challenge in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Senators will be welcoming back Jason Spezza to the lineup after he missed more than three months recovering from back surgery, and the No. 1 area where he is likely to help Ottawa will be on the power play.

The Senators scored a power-play goal in four of the five regular-season games Spezza played. They scored with the man advantage in 18 of their remaining 43 games, so his introduction to a power play that has scored once in seven chances in the series is a major development.

"He brings a skill dynamic to their power play that isn't there otherwise," said Penguins forward Matt Cooke, one of his team's primary penalty killers. "We have to limit his time and space, but we can't change really much. We just have to stay with our approach and just recognize when he's on the ice."

Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 2:50 PM

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

Rangers sticking with same lineup for Game 2

BOSTON -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella isn't letting an overtime loss in Game 1 affect his lineup for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday at TD Garden against the Boston Bruins.

Like the Bruins, New York isn't making any changes to its lineup for Game 2. The forward lines and defense pairs the Rangers showed in pre-game warm-ups were exactly the same as they were in Game 1 as well as for the last two games of the conference quarterfinals against the Washington Capitals.

What may change is the Rangers' personnel on the power play. Although Tortorella repeated used the word "stinks" to describe Carl Hagelin on the power play on Saturday, he did offer the possibility that he would use the speedy left wing in that situation.


Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 2:45 PM

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

Speedy Stalberg likely to return to Blackhawks lineup

CHICAGO -- It's not a guarantee, but it looks like Viktor Stalberg will re-enter the Chicago Blackhawks lineup Monday night for Game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinals series against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The best-of-7 series is knotted 1-1 with the next two games in Detroit, and the Blackhawks are looking to rebound from a lackluster 4-1 loss in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon at United Center.

Stalberg, a fast-skating right wing, appears on track to get back in the lineup at that position after practicing there Sunday with the linemates he's spent most of the season with: left wing Bryan Bickell and center Andrew Shaw.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after practice Stalberg is likely playing Monday night.

"I think you just keep playing the way I have all year," Stalberg said. "If we get to play together again, we've been effective all year, so I don't think you want to change too much.

"I don't want to make too big of a deal of it. I just want to get back in playing and hopefully that's [Monday]. We'll see what happens. If I get a chance to play, I'll do anything I can to make a difference and help us win these games."

Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 2:07 PM

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

Bruins still without three veteran defensemen

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien confirmed Sunday morning that defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden would not be available for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers at TD Garden.

The Bruins lead the series 1-0, and won Game 1 without Redden, Seidenberg or Andrew Ference in the lineup. Julien said that Redden and Seidenberg skated on their own. Ference has not skated since he was injured in Game 5 of the Bruins' first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Redden practiced with the Bruins on Saturday, but was limited in what he could do. Seidenberg skated on his own Saturday.

Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 1:24 PM

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

Thornton wants to see energy line chip in offensively

BOSTON -- Even as they take a 1-0 series lead into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers on Sunday (3 p.m., NBC, TSN, RDS), the Boston Bruins are still searching for secondary scoring.

And if it's up to Shawn Thornton, the Bruins' energy line will be supplementing the offense a bit more as this series unfolds.

"I'm still waiting for us to try and chip in," Thornton said prior to Game 2 at TD Garden. "We've talked about it. And we've been close; we've had a ton of chances we're not putting in right now. It would be nice to maybe take some of the pressure off some of the big boys with a couple of goals from our line."


Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 1:19 PM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes coaches floorball game at Maple Leaf Gardens

Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 12:51 PM

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

Penguins without Vitale in Game 3

OTTAWA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without left wing Joe Vitale when they face the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Vitale did not play in the first four games of Pittsburgh’s first-round victory against the New York Islanders, but coach Dan Bylsma said he has become an important member of his team who will be missed.

"His speed was really evident," Bylsma said. "In those third- and fourth-line situations he brought that speed, he brought that tenacity. He was a difference-maker."

Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 12:45 PM

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

Senators hope Spezza's return gets Michalek going

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators are hoping the return of Jason Spezza for Game 3 on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins may also mean the re-emergence of his linemate, Milan Michalek.

The struggles of Michalek during the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been difficult to ignore. The 28-year-old missed 24 regular-season games with a right knee injury, eventually requiring arthroscopic surgery in March to clean out debris around the joint. In 23 games, Michalek scored four goals and 10 assists. Since his return on April 12, Michalek has rarely participated in practices, electing instead to rest and recuperate.


Posted On Sunday, 05.19.2013 / 11:51 AM

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

Senators announce Spezza part of Game 3 lineup

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators find themselves down 2-0 in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series with the Pittsburgh Penguins heading into Game 3 Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But the Senators are hoping the return of Jason Spezza to their lineup provides the spark they desperately need.

Spezza has been out of the lineup since Jan. 27, and a herniated disc in his back forced the 29-year-old to undergo surgery.

"[Spezza] gives us more depth," coach Paul MacLean said. "He's a legitimate No. 1 center."

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