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Posted On Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 4:44 PM

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

Stalberg scratch not about ice-time complaint

CHICAGO -- The Viktor Stalberg saga took another little turn Thursday afternoon at United Center, when Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville met with reporters a day after Chicago's 4-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings in the opening game of the Western Conference Semifinal series.

Quenneville denied the accuracy of a report Wednesday by the Chicago Tribune that Stalberg, who was a healthy scratch for Game 1, was being punished. The report, citing an unidentified source, said Stalberg approached an unnamed Blackhawks coach about his diminished role on the power play in the Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Minnesota Wild.

After logging more than two minutes a game on the man-advantage during 47 games of the regular season, Stalberg averaged 11 seconds of power-play time while playing all five games against the Wild. Quenneville, who did have a conversation with the speedy third-line wing about the situation, was asked directly about the report Thursday by the Tribune's Chris Kuc. The coach categorically denied its validity.

"First of all, that story is 100 percent inaccurate," Quenneville said. "Viktor didn't play and he knows the reasons why. It had nothing to do with anything about our conversation. It was strictly nothing to do with that at all."

Posted On Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 4:33 PM

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

Blackhawks' Kruger learning lessons from Toews

CHICAGO -- Marcus Kruger sits next to Jonathan Toews in the Chicago Blackhawks dressing room at United Center, so he doesn’t have to go far to seek advice from his captain.

That works inversely as well. Toews can turn and speak to the 22-year-old Swedish forward when something’s on his mind.

“Every game I get in his ear and tell him to shoot the puck or just go to the net and he's going to get an ugly one, so he scored a nice one last night,” Toews said.

The nice one he was referring to was a goal that put the Blackhawks in front 3-1 against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

Posted On Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 4:30 PM

By Chris Adamski - Correspondent / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators look to Latendresse for physical spark

PITTSBURGH -- Over the 48 hours since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Tuesday night, Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean has taken virtually any opportunity to talk about how his team's competition level and physicality needed to improve if they had a chance of beating the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Enter 6 feet, 2 inches and 230 pounds of competition level and physicality.

Guillaume Latendresse was with the Senators' third line during practice Thursday and appears poised to be part of Ottawa's lineup for Game 2 of the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I'm pretty excited, that's for sure, and very happy to have a chance to play again and be part of the team," Latendresse said.

Posted On Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 3:41 PM

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

No Torres, Stoll means line shifting for Sharks, Kings

LOS ANGELES -- Joe Pavelski will take Raffi Torres' spot, at least at the start, when the San Jose Sharks play the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal series Thursday night.

San Jose coach Todd McLellan also moved Scott Gomez up to third-line center and will insert Tim Kennedy on the fourth line. Torres faced an NHL hearing in New York on Thursday for his hit on Jarret Stoll of the Los Angeles Kings and will not be available.

"We discussed a lot of different options, and I don't know if this is written in stone by an means," McLellan said after the morning skate. "We've got to start somewhere and see where it goes. The majority of their scoring from the Kings have come from their top two lines -- eight of their 14 [goals]. The odds are that they're going to continue to have an impact in games going forward.

"We like [Pavelski] there, we think he's a responsible two-way guy, and he has an ability to help out in the faceoff circle against a [Anze] Kopitar or a [Mike] Richards for the most part, so we think that's important."

Posted On Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Staff -  / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Gryba not practicing with Senators

Based on practice pairings Thursday, it appears defenseman Andre Benoit will replace Eric Gryba in the Ottawa Senators' lineup when the team's Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins resumes Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Gryba left Game 1 of the series Tuesday with an upper-body injury after sustaining a hit from the Penguins' Brooks Orpik.

Posted On Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 12:51 PM

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

Rangers figuring out how to get power play to click

BOSTON -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella sort of hemmed and hawed after getting a question about his team's struggling power play Thursday morning.

He appeared intrigued about the potential of it getting close to coming through, considering the Rangers were able to get the puck into the zone and keep it there against the Washington Capitals, but he wasn't about to argue against the reality that two goals on 28 chances simply isn't good enough.

"Still wasn't good," Tortorella said. "We need to be better right on through it."

Posted On Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 12:31 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Rangers series blog

Marchand injury scare no big deal, Julien says

BOSTON -- The sight of forward Brad Marchand leaving the ice early Thursday during the Boston Bruins' morning skate was the last thing the organization needed to see.

Marchand pulled up lame during a 2-on-1 drill with center Patrice Bergeron and went to the dressing room with the trainer while the rest of the team continued to prepare for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers at TD Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

After the skate, coach Claude Julien wasn't worried about Marchand’s availability.

"He'll be fine. He'll be there tonight," Julien said.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 8:52 PM

By Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor / - Kings-Sharks series blog

Sharks trying to solve Kings goalie Quick

The San Jose Sharks were feeling the same frustration Tuesday night experienced by the St. Louis Blues during the latter's final four games of the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

No matter what the Sharks did in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal against the Los Angeles Kings, they could not solve 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick. The Kings goaltender stopped all 35 shots he faced, including 16 in the third period, to lead Los Angeles to a 2-0 win at Staples Center.

After dropping the first two games of the postseason, the Kings have won five in a row. Much of that is due to the play of their goaltender, who lowered his goals-against average to 1.36 while raising his save percentage to .953.

"He's in a zone right now. He's playing great," Sharks forward Logan Couture said Wednesday. "He's seeing everything, he's compact with the puck. It's hitting him and it's not coming off him. We've got to find a way. The St. Louis series, they were saying the same things that I'm saying right now. We've got to find a way to score."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 8:29 PM

By Staff -  / - Kings-Sharks series blog

Torres' status uncertain, Sharks prepare for Game 2

The San Jose Sharks won't know if they'll have forward Raffi Torres available to play Thursday night until earlier in the day.

But the team is prepared to face the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals with or without him.

"Well, we've got other players if Raffi can't play," coach Todd McLellan told the team's website Wednesday. "We've got other people that we can put in. We'll look at our lines, we'll look at how we can best use those people.

"There's been a number of players that have been skating, and I've been waiting for this opportunity. So if it does come to that, we feel confident."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 6:36 PM

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

Rangers know they have to block Chara's shots

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Zdeno Chara's slap shot travels upwards of 108 miles per hour, but the New York Rangers will throw their bodies in front of it if they can in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

They’re going to have to if they plan on getting past the Boston Bruins in this Eastern Conference Semifinal series, which begins Thursday night at TD Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

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[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.

— Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin on linemate Steven Samkos
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