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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.

Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 11:05 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators learned how to come back with Binghamton

OTTAWA -- When a team faces a 3-1 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the way the Ottawa Senators do in their Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the first step to overcoming it is a belief it can be done.

As the Senators prepare to embark on that monumental challenge when they play Game 5 at Pittsburgh on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), they do so loaded with players who have that belief firmly lodged in their minds because they’ve done it before.

In the first round of the 2011 American Hockey League playoffs, the Binghamton Senators fell behind 3-1 in a best-of-7 against the Manchester Monarchs. But Binghamton won Game 5 in overtime, Game 6 in double overtime, and Game 7 in overtime to win the series.

The Baby Sens went on to win the Atlantic Division Finals in six games, the Eastern Conference Finals in a sweep, and the Calder Cup final in six games.

There are 12 members of the Senators organization in these Stanley Cup Playoffs who were members of the 2010-11 Binghamton Senators.

Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 10:41 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Alfredsson stands behind postgame comments

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson did not back down Thursday from what he said following his team's 7-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Wednesday, but he did feel his sentiments were taken somewhat out of context.

Following the loss that put the Senators in a 3-1 series hole heading into Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS), Alfredsson was asked if it was feasible to beat the Penguins three times in a row.

"Probably not," Alfredsson responded. "I mean, with their depth and power play right now, you know, it doesn't look too good.”

Alfredsson later spoke about how the Senators have had a never-quit attitude all season and that maybe they will thrive on the steep odds they were facing in the series, saying "maybe that's the way we like it."

He said Thursday he felt the second part of his comments were overshadowed by the first part, but he stuck to his belief that the Senators have a difficult road ahead.

"There's no denying we're in tough," Alfredsson said. "Was it taken out of context? Probably, but that's fine. I can handle that. We're down 3-1 to a very good team and going back to their building. We're just going to go in there and give them a hell of a game. We've always responded really well when our backs are against the wall and this is no different. The good thing is we're still in the playoffs, it's not over. So we're going to go in there and give them everything we have."

Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 6:54 PM

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

Richards, Asham out; Haley, Newbury in for Rangers

NEW YORK -- Facing elimination in Game 4 at Madison Square Garden, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella decided to sacrifice 165 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience from his forward group for one.

Micheal Haley and Kris Newbury replaced Brad Richards and Arron Asham in the Rangers lineup Thursday night against the Boston Bruins, who have a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 3:55 PM

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

Clifford likely starting on Kings' top line

LOS ANGELES -- The faces will be the same although some will be rearranged, so to speak, for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The Kings stuck with their new look at the morning skate, with captain Dustin Brown dropped to the third line and Kyle Clifford on the top line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Wednesday that Clifford might not stay with the top line, but for now it appears he will -- at least at puck drop.

How will Clifford mesh with Kopitar and Williams?

"Ask me at the end of 10:15 [Pacific time]," Sutter said. "Or later."

Sutter said it wasn't really about Clifford so much as the need to get better play from all his forwards. The Brown-Kopitar-Williams line has two points in the series, which prompted a change.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan stuck with his same lines and said forward Martin Havlat is out for Game 5. "And we'll just go day-by-day with him," he said.

McLellan said he didn't know if it was an advantage to see an opponent make changes.

"It's probably best to answer that later on in the series," McLellan said. "We looked at our lineup after two games and wondered if we needed to move some people around. Sometimes injuries dictate that. You guys don't know what's going in our room as far as injuries and bumps and bruises. We don't know what's going on in theirs. Sometimes minutes are cut back … because guys are hurt. We really don't know what's going through either of the locker rooms, and I'm only worried about mine right now."

Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Bruins' Dougie Hamilton shares draft memories

NEW YORK -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton may be two years removed from hearing his name called at the NHL Draft, but he still remembers it as if it were yesterday.

The Bruins selected the 6-foot-5, 199-pounder with the ninth choice in the first round of the 2011 Draft at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Hamilton realizes that draft day will be a whirlwind for many of the top prospects, particularly those at the top end of everyone's draft board.

He took the time out of his busy Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule to discuss that memorable moment with

"I think most importantly, players just need to try and enjoy it as much as you can," Hamilton told "I think it's definitely a different process where you don't really know where you're going and, obviously, it means a lot where you're going to be living and things like that.

"But most of all, you have to soak it in and really enjoy it."

Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 1:36 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins have turned around play in third period and OT

NEW YORK -- In a regular season that saw the Boston Bruins demonstrate a variety of strengths, third-period scoring wasn't exactly one of them. Boston's 39 third-period goals during the season ranked them 19th in the League and they posted an even third-period goal differential. They also posted a 15-4-4 record when leading after two periods, good for a .652 win percentage that ranked 29th.

That alarming trend continued in their opening-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where Boston was outscored 6-5 in the third period and overtime through the series' first six games. But that suddenly changed with the Bruins facing elimination in Game 7, as they scored three times in the third and again in overtime to win it. Since that memorable run, the team has since outscored its opposition 10-3 in the third and overtime.

"I think the biggest criticism for our team was we weren't getting a lot of goals in the third period late in the season," forward Daniel Paille said. "We really wanted to try to fix that. We've done a good job of that in this series, but every game is different."

Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 1:14 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Now opponents, Paille and Girardi have deep bonds

NEW YORK -- After he scored the game-winning goal in Game 3 of the Boston Bruins' Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, it's fair to say that Daniel Paille's friends and family were thrilled for the forward's big moment on the biggest of stages. But one of Paille's closest friends wasn't so thrilled about the game's final score.

That would be Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, whose team now faces a steep 3-0 series deficit heading into Thursday's Game 4 at Madison Square Garden. The pair grew up in Welland, Ontario and started playing hockey together as eight-year-olds. They were also junior hockey teammates with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League and even served as the best man at each other's weddings, along with friend and former Ranger Andre Deveaux.

With all that history, Paille doesn't see his recent success at Girardi's expense putting a strain on their relationship.

"I'll see after the series," Paille told "I'm sure when this series is done we'll have a good talk and see how things were during the series. For now we both know it's all about business."

Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 1:03 PM

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

Staal still struggling to get vision issues under control

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal is still waiting for the day when he can just be another hockey player wearing a visor. It's not Thursday.

Staal skated again Thursday morning at Madison Square Garden, but he isn't expected to play in Game 4 against the Boston Bruins. He hasn't played since Game 3 against the Washington Capitals on May 6 -- and that was his first game since he suffered his right eye injury two months earlier against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"My belief is that in a certain amount of time I'll never have to answer another question about this again," Staal said.

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