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Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 4:52 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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?

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 2:55 PM

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

Toronto ready to welcome NHL's playoff party

TORONTO – Get ready to rock and roll!

A victory in Boston by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference opening-round series has put this city in a party mood it hasn't felt since April 21, 2004. That was last day this city saw NHL playoff hockey when the Maple Leafs defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime.

Little did anyone know at the time nearly a decade would pass before the Maple Leafs would make it back to the postseason.

"I know everyone in Toronto is excited, eager and anxious," said Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri, who set up Phil Kessel for the game-winning goal in Game 2 which evened the series at 1-1. "The players are excited, too, and we're going to use the fans as the seventh man and, hopefully, we don't disappoint them"

All season, coach Randy Carlyle has talked about trying to not be affected by white noise – the distractions that come from playing in a city where media coverage in at the highest level and fans have been starved for a winner for so long. Carlyle, a former Maple Leafs defenseman, said he is happy to be bringing playoff hockey back to Toronto.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 2:24 PM

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

Eller visits with Canadiens prior to trip to Ottawa

OTTAWA – The Montreal Canadiens got a surprise visit before traveling to Ottawa for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Senators (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN) on Sunday night.

Injured center Lars Eller went to the Canadiens suburban practice facility before the team got on the bus for the short ride to Ottawa, and coach Michel Therrien said it did everyone some good to see him.

"It was just nice to see him," Therrien said. "You can tell our guys care about him, he's such a good kid. It's nice that we know, first of all, that he's out of the hospital, and it was nice to see that he was capable to come to the rink."

Eller is recovering from a concussion and facial fractures from a hit he took in Game 1 from Senators defenseman Eric Gryba, who will serve the final game of his two-game suspension levied by the NHL for the hit by sitting out Game 3.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 2:03 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins hope struggling Jagr can boost offense

BOSTON – In the 11 regular-season games with the Boston Bruins after he was traded from the Dallas Stars, Jaromir Jagr accumulated nine points, including two goals.

So far, through two games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jagr is without a point and has only four shots on net and a minus-2 rating tarnishing his resume.

With the series, tied at one game each, now shifting to Toronto for Game 3 and 4, the Bruins need Jagr -- and his current linemates, Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly -- to produce. That production would be easier to come by if Jagr was at top of his game. After practice Sunday at TD Garden, coach Claude Julien mentioned the possibility Jagr still isn't totally healthy after a flu bug that cost him the final two games of the regular season.

"I think there's a lot of things that come into play here. No. 1, he came, as you know, at the Trade Deadline, he missed the last couple of games, he's never had the same linemates," said Julien, whose team will play Game 3 on Monday night. "To his defense, it's important to have some cohesion with your linemates and stuff like that, and our first two lines have been pretty, I guess, been together for a long time. They're playing well, they're generating stuff, so right now it's about trying to build some chemistry with some players and we keep trying to find players to complement him a little bit.
Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 12:41 PM

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

Rangers' Clowe hoping to return for Game 3

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Just as he was prior to Game 2, injured New York Rangers forward Ryane Clowe is hoping he's able to play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

The Washington Capitals lead the Rangers, 2-0, in the best-of-seven series.

"When I spoke to you guys [Friday] I said I wasn't ruling out that game and I'm not sure either [about Game 3], but it's a possibility," said Clowe, who has missed three straight games dating back to the last game of the regular season. "That's kind of where we're at right now."

Clowe skated on his own prior to the game Saturday and practiced Sunday in a regular contact jersey. However, it was basically a non-contact practice so he still isn't sure if he's able to take a hit or give a hit, which is likely going to be the deciding factor in if he plays or if he sits again.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 12:18 PM

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

Neal, Orpik out of Pittsburgh lineup

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Neither wing James Neal nor defenseman Brooks Orpik accompanied the Pittsburgh Penguins for the team's pre-game warmups prior to Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the New York Islanders. Their absence means they will not dress for the game and that Penguins coach Dan Bylsma will stick to mostly the same lineup that fell 4-3 to the Islanders in Game 2 at Consol Energy Center Friday night.

The only lineup change will be on defense, where Simon Despres will replace Deryk Engelland

Neal skated briefly on Saturday and Orpik worked with team strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar Sunday morning, but neither appears ready to return from their respective lower-body injuries.

Here are the projected lines for the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday afternoon against the New York Islanders:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis

Beau Bennett - Evgeni Malkin - Jarome Iginla

Brenden Morrow - Brandon Sutter - Matt Cooke

Tanner Glass - Jussi Jokinen - Craig Adams

Paul Martin - Kris Letang

Douglas Murray - Matt Niskanen

Mark Eaton - Simon Despres

Marc-Andre Fleury

Tomas Vokoun

Scratched: Deryk Engelland, Tyler Kennedy, Dustin Jeffrey, Eric Hartzell

Injured: Brooks Orpik (lower body), James Neal (lower body), Joe Vitale (lower body)

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 12:13 PM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

MacLean insists all players are available

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators held a morning skate prior to their Game 3 matchup with the Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place Sunday night (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

Captain Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening did not participate, but coach Paul MacLean insisted that all players would be made available if needed.

Left wing Cory Conacher could step in for Guillaume Latendresse, while Patrick Wiercioch may replace Andre Benoit on defense. Here's how the lines might look for Sunday:

Milan MichalekKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson

Colin GreeningMika ZibanejadJakob Silfverberg

Matt KassianZack SmithChris Neil

Cory ConacherJean-Gabriel PageauErik Condra

Marc MethotErik Karlsson

Chris PhillipsSergei Gonchar

Patrick WierciochAndre Benoit

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Injured: Jason Spezza, Mike Hoffman

Scratches: Mike Lundin, Peter Regin, Jim O'Brien, Guillaume Latendresse, Andre Benoit, Mark Stone

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 12:05 PM

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

Buzz spreading prior to Game 3 at Coliseum

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders haven't played a home playoff game since 2007, so you can hardly blame the team's fans for lining up outside Nassau Coliseum at 7 a.m. for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Just one problem: the parking lot didn't open until 8 a.m.

Hours before puck drop, there was still a modest turnout in the parking lot, with loyal fans enjoying what would be an abbreviated tailgate experience before the early noon ET start. Even before ticketholders were allowed in the building, there was a palpable buzz throughout the arena.

"It's going to be sick," one young security guard said.

"I don't think I've ever seen it this busy," one usher said to another as spectators started to file into the building.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 11:59 AM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Power-play woes continue to confound Senators

OTTAWA – An anemic power play has been a thorn in the side of the Ottawa Senators for some time. Now, as the Senators to prepare to face the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS), the team and its coach were forced to address the issue yet again. .

"It's no secret; we're going to try and get shots and bodies in front," team captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "We've had a couple of good looks on and off, but it hasn't been consistent and I believe, especially on the road, it's even more important to have the power play give you a spark. [In Game 2] we had our chances right before the [Canadiens] scored in the second period, and if we had scored there, it could have been the difference in the game."

But that spark never came, leading to more of the same for the Senators this season. During the final eight regular-season games, Ottawa went 2-for-29 on the man advantage -- the Senators were 25-for-157 for the season, leaving it tied with the New Jersey Devils for 20th in the League with a 15.9 percentage rating.

Through two postseason games, the Senators have had nine shots during six power plays. The penalty kill of the Canadiens finished No. 23, in the regular season, with zero shorthanded goals. However, in addition to the lack of power-play success, Ottawa has also faced seven shorthanded shots from Montreal so far in the series. When coach Paul MacLean was confronted with the opinion that his power play has been "horrific", MacLean was forced to agree.

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Quote of the Day

You could feel it. You could feel that they were going after each other and trying to win the game for their team.

— Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom on Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, in which Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and Penguins forward Sidney Crosby each scored hat tricks
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