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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 10:26 PM

By Staff -  / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Pirates to wear Penguins jerseys on road trip

The Pittsburgh Pirates will be wearing a different kind of black and gold when they travel to Milwaukee and Detroit this weekend -- they'll don Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys to show their support.

"There's a large contingency that have their fingers on the pulse of Penguins hockey," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told "And they pull the other ones in regardless of whether they want to be pulled in or not."

Hurdle got his own custom Penguins jersey, with his No. 13 and name on the back, delivered to his office at PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 7:12 PM

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

Lack of scoring pushes Brown to Kings' 3rd line

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings were able to grind out a low-scoring first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, but the past two second-round games against the San Jose Sharks have forced coach Darryl Sutter to make changes.

Kings captain Dustin Brown was dropped to third line right wing while Kyle Clifford took his spot on the first line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams at practice Wednesday.

Los Angeles has scored one goal in each of the past games, each a 2-1 loss to the San Jose in that evened the Western Conference Semifinal series at two games each.

Game 5 is Thursday at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN).

"We've scored two goals in 120 minutes, so I'm not surprised by any changes," Brown said.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 5:19 PM

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

Blackhawks tweak lines, power-play combinations

CHICAGO -- It appears Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville might stick with a slight change in his forward lines that he put together during Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinal series Monday against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Blackhawks lost 3-1 at Joe Louis Arena and trail 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But Quenneville saw something he liked from flip-flopping his top two left wings, rookie Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.

Saad dropped to the second line to play with center Dave Bolland and right wing Patrick Kane, and Sharp moved up to play the left side of the top line with center Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa.

They stayed that way for line rushes during practice Wednesday at United Center, but Quenneville was still non-committal, officially, when asked about it afterward.

"We'll see on the lines," he said. "I know that it's something we'll talk about going into the game."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 5:03 PM

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

Bruins' fourth line can provide more than just energy

NEW YORK -- On a team known for its remarkable consistency, the Boston Bruins benefited in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers from a trio not known for filling the net.

In a 2-1 win Tuesday, Boston's fourth line of Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille accounted for both goals in an unexpected show of offensive flair. Thornton's two assists in the game doubled his career point total accumulated over 76 previous Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Even if offensive outbursts like the one they had in Game 3 aren't an every-game occurrence, the Bruins' fourth line has been known to set the tone for the rest of their team, thanks mostly to their contagious energy and physicality.

"When those guys come up large for us, it really ignites our dressing room. Guys are really happy for them," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "In a team sport, sometimes you have players that have more attention than others. These guys don't get the attention they probably deserve on a lot of occasions. So when they get that opportunity, everyone kind of rallies around them."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 4:22 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Krug fast tracks from college to Stanley Cup Playoffs

NEW YORK -- Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Torey Krug is certainly living the good life.

It's amazing when you consider the undrafted 5-foot-9, 180-pound lefty was just finishing up his final season at Michigan State University a season ago before signing an entry-level contract with the Bruins on March 25, 2012.

Now he's playing a key role for the team in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers. Despite the fact he didn't experience the thrill of hearing his name announced at the NHL Draft, he told it was probably a blessing in disguise.

"Yes, it's your childhood dream to hear your name called [at the draft], but it's not the end of the world," Krug said. "If you're going to make it to the NHL, you're going to make it, there's nothing that will stop you. You have to have that mindset, and maybe use it for motivation and work harder. But if you're out there, they're going to find you and you have to have faith in yourself."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 4:14 PM

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

Julien encouraged by progress of Seidenberg, Redden

NEW YORK -- After contending with a depleted defensive unit for the entirety of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien could be getting some help in the near future.

Veteran defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden, neither of whom has dressed for the series against New York, participated in an optional skate Wednesday. Julien sounded encouraged by their performance in practice.

"Every day they're better. That's progress," said Julien, who gave no word on whether either player would be available for Game 4 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; CNBC. RDS, TSN). "That decision will be made [Thursday]. I like the direction both those guys are going in now, so we'll keep our fingers crossed."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 3:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Bruins understand fourth win will be the hardest

NEW YORK -- There is no need to remind the players and coaching staff of the Boston Bruins that winning the fourth game of a best-of-7 series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is never easy.

The Bruins failed to secure that fourth win in 2010 after gaining a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, losing in seven games. This year's team almost blew a 3-1 series lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the conference quarterfinals but rallied for a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 7 on May 13 at TD Garden.

Boston now finds itself in familiar territory against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Bruins, who hold a 3-0 series lead over the Rangers, are hoping to seal the deal Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS).

"You learn from the past and live in the moment, but you don't live in the past," Bruins coach Claude Julien said following his team's optional practice Wednesday at MSG. "So right now, we're living in the moment and I like where our team is -- the attitude and approach.

"If we don't take the same attitude we did [Tuesday in a 2-1 victory], we shouldn't expect to win the hockey game."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 2:51 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Season might not be over for Red Wings' DeKeyser

DETROIT -- When Danny DeKeyser learned he had a broken thumb after Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said the rookie defenseman was done for the remainder of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Well, that might not end up being accurate.

DeKeyser's thumb is healing faster than expected, and the surprising Red Wings keep winning. DeKeyser was set to meet with a team doctor Wednesday after practice at Joe Louis Arena, and his expectation was the hard cast that was protecting his thumb, hand, wrist and part of his forearm was coming off.

"I'm pretty sure," DeKeyser said. "The doc said last week that it looked good and when I saw him [Wednesday] he was going to make a decision on whether it was going to come off but he was pretty sure it was going to be."

The Red Wings will face the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). It will be three weeks to the day of DeKeyser's injury.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 2:19 PM

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

Penguins likely to go to Jokinen for faceoff, PP ability

OTTAWA -- It would appear Jussi Jokinen will be back in the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma does not confirm his lineup decisions, but he did at least speak in hypothetical terms Wednesday morning about what Jokinen would bring to his lineup if he dressed.

"Jussi is a guy who's been out of our lineup and you're sitting on a guy who can make plays, score big goals, he's a faceoff guy," Bylsma said. "He's also a guy who would see time on our second power-play unit as well."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 2:08 PM

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

Stralman doesn't practice, could miss Game 4

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers appear to be bracing themselves for what will likely be an even further depleted blue line corps in a must-win Game 4 against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

Anton Stralman did not participate in the optional practice Wednesday after sitting out the third period in Game 3 Tuesday. Stralman was crunched into the end boards in the Rangers' defensive zone by Bruins left wing Milan Lucic with 6:54 to play in the second period. He returned for one more shift roughly three minutes later but didn't play again.

The Rangers have already been playing without Marc Staal (eye), but he has been skating for the past several days with the scratches. Matt Gilroy and Roman Hamrlik are the other options for coach John Tortorella if Stralman is unable to play in Game 4.

"Losing Stralsy is a big blow to us," Tortorella said. "He puts himself in a situation there where he's playing in an area to try and make a play and gets hurt. And he's done that really through the playoffs here. To a defense that's lacking a little depth right now, it hurts us."

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