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Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 1:06 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Islanders must find way to limit Crosby

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – For all of their hard work in Games 2 and 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Islanders still couldn’t find a way to shut down Sidney Crosby.

Pittsburgh’s captain missed the series opener due to the broken jaw he suffered in a game against New York on March 30. But Crosby had two first-period goals in Game 2, just hours after being cleared to play, then set up three goals – including the overtime winner – in Pittsburgh’s 5-4 victory Sunday.

The Islanders know they can’t let Crosby continue to pile up points if they hope to win the series. But knowing that they need to shut him down and doing it are two different things.

“We have to be aware of him on the ice,” Islanders forward Kyle Okposo said after practice Monday. “He’s hurt us the past couple of games. We have to know where he is at all times and try to play him hard, try to finish our checks.

“We know that he’s going to create opportunities, he’s going to have chances. We have to accept that and make sure those second and third opportunities aren’t there. We’re going to try to take away some of his time and space.”

The Islanders aren’t having any more success against Crosby in the playoffs than they’ve had in the regular season. In 41 games against New York, he has 20 goals and 75 points.

Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 12:54 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Despite win, Maple Leafs want to keep improving

TORONTO -- Good is never quite good enough in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

You might think the Toronto Maple Leafs would be sitting on easy street having defeated the Boston Bruins on Saturday to even their best-of-7 opening round series 1-1, but to hear coach Randy Carlyle speak, you'd think they took a pounding.

"Our message as a coaching staff is we're going to have to be better than we were because we know the Bruins are going to be better," Carlyle said. "Our expectation is we're going to have to play the game to a higher level. There are mistakes we are making with the puck as far as turnovers are concerned that are correctable. We need to cut those mistakes down. I don't think any team can afford some of the turnovers and giveaways that we have committed and expect to continue to have success."


Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 12:25 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Red Wings move Samuelsson up to top line

DETROIT -- Mikael Samuelsson returned to the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of this Western Conference Quarterfinals series, and it didn't take him long to earn a promotion.

With Justin Abdelkader suspended for two contests, Samuelsson will start Game 4 next to Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on Detroit's top line Monday night against the Anaheim Ducks at Joe Louis Arena.

"It is a good opportunity. I'm excited about it," Samuelsson said. "I don't know what makes it easier or harder. Let's see tonight. I've been here before and I've played with good players. I know what they're capable of and I'll try to find some open spots."


Posted On Monday, 05.06.2013 / 11:33 AM

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

Clowe calls himself 'game-time decision' for Game 3

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe isn't sure if he will play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Monday.

Clowe, who missed the first two games of the series against the Washington Capitals with an undisclosed injury, called himself a "game-time decision." Rangers coach John Tortorella does not provide lineup or injury updates during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"Obviously you guys [the media] want to know if I'm going to play," Clowe said after the morning skate at Madison Square Garden. "I'm still not sure about that."


Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 5:37 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Martinez makes an immediate impact in return

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – It was difficult not to notice Alec Martinez when he stepped on the ice for an optional skate Sunday.

The sombrero gave him away, for starters. He also wore a green jersey and a red sock and white sock in a presumed homage to the Mexican flag on Cinco de Mayo. A few cheers went up from the sparse crowd.

"We obviously had a little fun with that in the locker room," said Martinez, who actually has Spanish heritage on his grandfather's side. "If you can't laugh at yourself, I don't think you can't laugh at all. We had fun with it but it was back to work once we were on the ice."

Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he bought the sombrero at liquor store in the morning, and Martinez gave the line of the day when told about his coach's, um, shopping habits.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 5:32 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Boudreau: Conditioning fueling Ducks strong finishes

DETROIT -- A theme has developed in the past two games of this Western Conference Quarterfinal Series between the Anaheim Ducks and the Detroit Red Wings.

Or has it?

In each of the past two contests, the Ducks have rattled off three unanswered goals in the third period. Once, it was to erase a 4-1 deficit and force overtime. The next time, it was to turn a 1-0 advantage into a misleading rout.

The results had members of the media quizzing Red Wings players and coach Mike Babcock about a potential issue developing. Babcock was adamant these were two separate incidents, and shouldn't be lumped together.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 5:29 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Etem's speed a boon for Anaheim's attack

DETROIT -- Teemu Selanne didn't earn the nickname "Finnish Flash" for being slow in some sort of ironic joke.

So considering Selanne is something of an expert about being able to move swiftly on a pair of hockey skates, his endorsement of Anaheim Ducks rookie Emerson Etem should be a valued one.

"Obviously his speed is incredible," the 42-year-old Selanne said of Etem. "That's the one thing that he has to take advantage of every night. They always say, ‘Speed kills,' and he has the speed. Everything else is going to come later. That keeps you ... that is the biggest tool, and then, obviously, experience and opportunity is going to help him. But it is fun to watch when young guys do that."

Etem was born in the summer of 1992, just a few months before Teemu mania would sweep through the plains of Manitoba and the NHL. He's the youngest guy on this Ducks roster, but he's proving the extra pressure of the playoffs doesn't faze him.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 5:27 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Lydman likely to miss Game 4 for the Ducks

DETROIT -- The Anaheim Ducks are likely to be without defenseman Toni Lydman for Game 4 of this Western Conference Quarterfinals series, while the Detroit Red Wings are waiting to find out if they will not have forward Justin Abdelkader available Monday night.

Abdelkader received a five-minute major penalty for charging and a game misconduct for a hit on Lydman with a little more than five minutes remaining in the second period of Game 3 here Saturday at Joe Louis Arena. He was slated to have a supplemental disciplinary hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Sunday afternoon.

Should Abdelkader be suspended, the Red Wings would be without a key component of their top line and an unsung hero in the team's drive to earn a 22nd consecutive berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 4:52 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Schneider starts Game 3 for Vancouver

SAN JOSE -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider will start Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Schneider missed the first two game with a mysterious "body" injury, but he declared himself "100 percent" healthy after taking part in the Canucks' morning skate at HP Pavilion.

"I'm playing so I'm 100 percent," Schneider said. "When you play, you're good."

Before Game 1, Schneider said he was healthy enough to play, but Roberto Luongo started the first two games at Vancouver. Luongo allowed only three goals in each game, but the Sharks won both times, 3-1 in Game 1 and 3-2 in overtime in Game 2.

"I felt like I could play, but I took a little bit of time off and that seemed to help," Schneider said. "Fortunately we had the luxury of a guy like Roberto here, so I wasn't pressed into action. That's not something that every team has. Louie's probably been our best player the first two games."

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 2:58 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Carlyle working hard to create favorable line matchups

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle places a great deal of emphasis on matching lines and his ability to get his top goal-scorer, Phil Kessel, away from Boston's top defender, Zdeno Chara, played a huge role in Toronto winning Game 2.

On Saturday night, Kessel was able to play four minutes of hockey in 5-on-5 situations without Chara on the ice, thanks the maneuverings of his coach.

Now, Carlyle will have the last change in Games 3 and 4 in Toronto.

"It's different, but you try to have the people on the ice that match up well against the opposition," Carlyle said. "The one thing you can't do is get caught in the trap of not getting your players out on the ice enough. In that respect, you do have an advantage [at home], but if they decide to, for instance, put Chara out for every defensive-zone faceoff, does that mean Phil Kessel doesn't get an offensive-zone faceoff?

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Quote of the Day

I first met him when I was 19 years old and he coached me for 13 consecutive years. I don't know how many athletes who have had that pleasure. Al Arbour was a man that left us not only feeling like champions, but left us with a lot of great memories that we can carry on through life.

— Islanders Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin on former coach Al Arbour, who passed away Friday at the age of 82