The Islanders are familiar with the scenario, playing almost an entire month of must-win games as they battled for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
LOS ANGELES -- As coach of the Dallas Stars in 1999, when he led his team to the Stanley Cup, Ken Hitchcock was in this familiar position: down 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and facing elimination on the road.
Not only did Hitchcock's Stars go into Denver and defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals, they won Game 7 at home, and that run was culminated with a victory over the Buffalo Sabres in six games to win the Stanley Cup.
So what can these Blues draw from their veteran coach that they must apply against a Kings team that has won three straight in the series?
"You have to outplay the team," Hitchcock said after Friday's morning skate. "You can't expect to play at the same level and win the hockey game. It doesn't happen. I've been in this situation a number of times and come through, and it's been the same similar landscape. We have to outplay them today. If we play at the same level, it's not going to be good enough"
"He gets here before you guys," Sutter said. "Then he was doing a Geico commercial, and then he was doing the weather with Channel 4 this morning up in the helicopter."
Sutter expanded to say Clifford "had … what does [St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock] call it? A maintenance day, the day of the game."
If Clifford can't play, that would seem to be the only significant change for the Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Blues at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
ARLINGTON, Va. -- When the Washington Capitals were faced with a 10-point deficit in the Southeast Division standings in mid-March and were in danger of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years, Alex Ovechkin turned his season around.
Beginning March 14, Ovechkin had a League-high 23 goals and 36 points in the final 23 games of the regular season as the Capitals went 17-4-2 to clinch the division title.
Ovechkin's efforts were recognized Friday when he was named one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded annually to the "player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team." Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and John Tavares of the New York Islanders are the other finalists.
"It's nice and I'm sure I'm going to have time to celebrate later, but right now it's all about business and focus on the game," Ovechkin said as the Capitals prepared Friday for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).
"It's big. It means like I'm still [a factor]," he said of his fourth career Hart Trophy nomination, his first since 2009-10. "It was a hard year, it was hard season for all of us, and I'm happy to be in that kind of position."
DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings will get a key component of the team's top line back from suspension, but that isn't the only lineup tweak from coach Mike Babcock as an elimination game beckons.
Veteran defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will make his debut in the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 on Friday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN2), replacing rookie Brian Lashoff. Detroit, down 3-2 in the series, needs a win to force Game 7 in Anaheim on Sunday.
"We didn't move the puck," Babcock said of the reason for his switch on the blue line. "I thought we struggled, particularly with that pair, in a lot of the game, from the opening shift to a number of shifts. We weren't good enough so we're making a change."
Van Riemsdyk was part of the Philadelphia Flyers team that rallied from a 3-0 deficit in 2010 to beat the Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The mentality the Flyers used while making history might apply now to the Maple Leafs, who trail the Bruins 3-1 in the teams' first-round series entering Game 5 Friday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NHLN-US).
In non-Game 7 situations where the Bruins have had a chance to put a team away under coach Claude Julien, the Bruins are 3-6.
"Again, it's just not looking at the grand scheme of things," van Riemsdyk said after his team's morning skate. "You just want to take it, kind of compartmentalize it and take it one game at a time and go from there. That's what we're going to have to do [in Game 5], is just look at the here and now. Today's game, treat it as one individual thing and then just go from there."
Here’s a look at the Maple Leafs’ projected lineup (click here for the Bruins' potential lineup):
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby went to the dressing room with two minutes to play in the second period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Islanders after blocking a shot with his left foot.
The team provided no immediate update on his condition or status.
At 11:29 of the second period in the Senators/Canadiens game, the referee initiated a review to determine if the puck entered the Montreal net in a legal fashion. The Toronto Situation Room upheld the referee's call on the ice that Erik Condra's shot deflected off Kyle Turris' body and entered the net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 78.4 "if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed." Good Goal Ottawa.
Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary will be evaluated Friday morning before his status for Game 6 that night against the Anaheim Ducks is determined, coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit News on Thursday.
Cleary was injured late in the second period of Game 5 on Wednesday when he was hit into the boards by Anaheim's Daniel Winnik. Cleary was helped off the ice but returned to play in the third period.
“I’m sore,” Cleary said after the game. “My whole left side was sore -- shoulder, hand, ribs, neck, head. I didn't see him coming at all.”
The Red Wings face elimination, trailing the best-of-7 Western Conference Quarterfinal 3-2 after a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 5.
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