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Posted On Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 12:45 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins, Leafs finding it hard to maintain momentum

TORONTO -- Momentum can be a great thing for a hockey team this time of year. That is, if you get it and can maintain it.

Last season the Los Angeles Kings barely made the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but got on a roll in the postseason and rode a wave all the way to their first championship.

Thus far in the first-round Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, neither team has been able to carry momentum from one game into the next. The Bruins won the series opener, but then lost Game 2 at home. The Maple Leafs, in their first playoff appearance in nine years, received huge support from their adoring fans, but were unable to translate that into victory at home, dropping both Games 3 and 4.

Then, with the possibility of concluding the series in five games, the Bruins lost a second straight home game and here we are with Game 6 in Toronto on Sunday night (7:30 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 9:09 PM

By Staff -  / - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Red Wings will draw on Game 7 experience

The Detroit Red Wings hope this Game 7 visit to California goes better than the last one.

Facing a winner-take-all game against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS, TSN, FS-D, FS-W), Detroit will draw on its experience from two years ago.

The Red Wings were bounced from the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-2, second-round, Game 7 loss to the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion.

Twelve current Red Wings played in that game.

"Just the experience of being a part of something like that I think is definitely helpful in the situation coming up right now," defenseman Niklas Kronwall told the team's website after arriving in the Los Angeles area.

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 7:12 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Nielsen, Nelson in lineup for Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen is in the lineup Saturday for Game 6 of his team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Nielsen, who centers the Islanders' second line and plays on both special teams, left Game 5 on Thursday with a lower-body injury and didn't skate Friday.

Rookie Brock Nelson is making his NHL debut, taking the place of healthy scratch Jesse Joensuu.

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 6:41 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Ducks loose, confident heading into Game 7

ANAHEIM -- Viktor Fasth walked over to the stereo and turned up The Who’s “Eminence Front.” A few minutes later, Bob Marley’s voice permeated the room. As Sheldon Souray spoke to reporters, Sami Vatanen playfully joined the scrum and used a water bottle as a microphone.

Yes, the Anaheim Ducks locker room was surprisingly loose Saturday after the team got in at 2 a.m. following an overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Game 7 is Sunday at Honda Center (NBCSN, RDS, TSN, FS-D, FS-W) , and the Ducks appear to have shaken off an unhappy down plane ride home.

“Guys will rise to the occasion,” defenseman Luca Sbisa said. “We’ve been a team that usually plays the best in situations like that. We have a lot of confidence. We don’t need motivation, any energy boost. You’re so amped up, you have to control your energy and your emotions because you’re so fired up to play … but I think everyone is looking forward to it, and it’s going to be a great feeling when [you] come back into this dressing room as the winning team.”

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 3:41 PM

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

Rangers' Clowe, Powe, Staal all likely out for Game 6

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers likely will be missing three players when they face the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (4:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN).

Forwards Ryane Clowe and Darroll Powe, each out with an undisclosed injury believed to be related to a concussion, did not practice Saturday and no update was provided on their status from the team. Clowe was injured in the first period of Game 5 Saturday and did not return. Powe has missed the past two games after leaving in the first period of Game 3.

Defenseman Marc Staal (right eye) practiced for the second straight day but told nothing has changed in his status and he remains day-to-day because of the vision problems he is having.

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:59 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Vokoun, Kennedy provide enviable depth for Penguins

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- With the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins tied 2-2 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the underdog New York Islanders, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma decided it was time to make changes to his lineup. Fortunately for him, his team's deep roster included the kind of veteran players any team would want.

The big move was naming veteran backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun the team's starter for Game 5 on Thursday in Pittsburgh. The switch was made after regular starter Marc-Andre Fleury struggled badly in Pittsburgh's 6-4 Game 4 loss.

For any team, naming a new starting goaltender midway through a Stanley Cup Playoff series would be controversial. But not every team has a backup goaltender with 300 career NHL wins under his belt.

Vokoun made 31 saves for the shutout in Pittsburgh's Game 5 win and will start again for the Penguins in Game 6 Saturday (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

"Throughout this season for us, he's been a guy who, not only in the games but off the ice as well, has been a leader," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said of Vokoun. "When he's gotten in there, he tends to have a calming influence with how he plays and dictates the game. He's been that for us and I thought in Game 5 he gave that for our team."

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs staying on the road at home

TORONTO -- Is it really Home, Sweet Home?

Well, so far the Toronto Maple Leafs have played two home games in the playoffs -- their first two since 2004 -- and have yet to win. Conversely, the Maple Leafs are 2-1 on the road in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So the Maple Leafs are treating Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS) like a road game.

"We have offered our players the opportunity to stay in the hotel the night before and the afternoon of games," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "We think that's something that has been a choice, but as for Sunday afternoon, it will not be an option. We will check into a hotel."

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:09 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Reimer's heroics big part of Maple Leafs' win

TORONTO -- Two nights earlier, at the most critical time in the game, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer let a shot slip past him that looked quite stoppable.

It was in overtime and it meant his team lost the game and fell into a 3-1 series deficit against the Boston Bruins in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Much of the focus after the game was on Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, who had pinched on the play, allowing the Bruins to break away on an odd-man rush. Had Reimer made the save, all would have been well and Phaneuf's indiscretion would have been forgotten.

Fast forward to Friday, and again at a critical time -- this time in a scoreless game -- Reimer produced a game-saving stop, robbing Boston's Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins center cut in front of the net, causing Reimer to do the splits. With his leg stretched to the maximum, Reimer stopped the puck with the toe of his skate.

For Reimer, the spectacular save was all in a day's work.

"Honestly, it's one of those saves that you don't plan," Reimer said. "It just kind of happens. Obviously it's probably mostly just luck. He had a little bit of room on the side, but it went off my toe. It's just a lucky save and hopefully there's a few more of those left."

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 2:04 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

MacArthur making the most of his opportunities

TORONTO -- Veteran Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Clarke MacArthur is learning about the highs and lows of participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Having never been in the playoffs before in his seven-season career, MacArthur suffered the indignity of being a healthy scratch in Games 2 and 3 of Toronto's best-of-7 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Boston Bruins, but now has goals in back-to-back games as the Maple Leafs won 2-1 Friday in Boston to remain alive.

Game 6 is Sunday in Toronto (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS).

"I just wanted to stay ready in practice," MacArthur said. "You never know when you're going to get the chance to play again. It was nice to get back in and help the team."

Posted On Saturday, 05.11.2013 / 1:55 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Penguins looking to close out Islanders in Game 6

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- A convincing 4-0 win against the New York Islanders in Game 5 on Thursday at home shifted momentum squarely toward the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins.

But coach Dan Bylsma made it very clear before Game 6 here Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS) he had no intention of bringing their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series back to Pittsburgh for a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday.

"That is our mentality. We don't have six periods, we just have three," Bylsma said following the team's morning skate Saturday. "The fourth game is the hardest to win and we expect the very best from their team [Saturday]. We have to be ready for that."

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Quote of the Day

Jamie improves every game and every year. I've only been with him for two years, but as a player and as a person it seems like every week he's getting stronger and better, and becoming a better leader and better captain. He wants the team to be so successful that he's making himself better as a player.

— Stars forward Tyler Seguin on teammate Jamie Benn, the '14-15 Art Ross Trophy winner
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