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Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 9:16 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings center Richards out for Game 4

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards is not playing in in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks (NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Richards did not take part in the team's morning skate at Staples Center on Thursday, and coach Darryl Sutter said he would not play.

Chicago leads the best-of-7 series, 2-1.

Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 8:47 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Hjalmarsson moves up to top defense pair for Chicago

LOS ANGELES -- Niklas Hjalmarsson will move into Duncan Keith's spot on the top defense pairing for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday at Staples Center (NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Keith, the 2010 Norris Trophy winner, is suspended for the game because of a high-sticking infraction on Kings center Jeff Carter in the second period of Game 3. Based on the pregame warmup line rushes, Hjalmarsson will skate with Brent Seabrook on the top pairing.

Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival, who were the team's third pairing at the start of the postseason, will be the second duo. Oduya moved to the second pair for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals when Chicago coach Joel Quenneville reunited Keith and Seabrook on the top pair against the Detroit Red Wings.

Nick Leddy, who dropped from the second pair to the third for Game 5 against the Red Wings and has seen his ice time reduced in the second half of this postseason run, will skate with Sheldon Brookbank, who is making his 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs debut in place of Keith.

Based on warmups, the Kings' lineup will remain the same from Game 3. Center Mike Richards remains out with a concussion.

Here is Chicago's projected lineup for Game 4:

Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 5:59 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Blackhawks ready for Game 4 without Keith

BEVERLEY HILLS, Calif. -- When the Chicago Blackhawks dropped three of the first four games in the Western Conference Semifinals, it was the first dose of adversity for a team that stormed through a shortened regular season as the NHL's top team.

Now the Blackhawks will face another test in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). Chicago will be without top defenseman Duncan Keith, who was suspended for one game for high-sticking Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter in Game 3.

"Big loss for us," Chicago defenseman Michal Rozsival said Thursday. "But it is what it is. We all have to go out and step up our game and be a little better. We'll see what the defensive pairing will be for tonight. That's a big loss, but you have to deal with it. That's the way it is."

Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 3:18 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Stoll staying on Kings' top line for Game 4

LOS ANGELES -- Jarret Stoll was good enough as the Los Angeles Kings' top-line center in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final that he will find himself again in between Dustin Brown and Justin Williams at the start of Game 4 Thursday at Staples Center against the Chicago Blackhawks (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Stoll played 28 shifts totaling more than 17 minutes and was a plus-1 with two shots on goal in the Kings' 3-1 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday. It was the most he played and the most effective he's been in three games since returning from a concussion that cost him the final six games of the conference semifinals against the San Jose Sharks.

"That's the best I felt since I came back for sure," Stoll said. "I definitely wasn't happy with my Game 2 and a lot happier with my Game 3, but we know we have to be even better than we were in Game 3 to get a win here in Game 4."

Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 2:31 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Blackhawks-Kings series blog

Kings won't change plan because Keith isn't playing

LOS ANGELES -- Though it may be a relief for the Los Angeles Kings to know they don't have to deal with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final on Thursday, they said nothing changes for them despite the fact the Blackhawks won't have their top blueliner.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety suspended Keith for Game 4 for high-sticking Kings forward  Jeff Carter during Game 3 on Tuesday. Sheldon Brookbank will play in Keith's place when the Blackhawks attempt to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"Spend time in their zone -- that's our game, so really do nothing different," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said when asked what his team can do to take advantage of Keith being out. "Just get pucks behind their D no matter who is playing, whether it's Keith or Brookbank, if that's who they're tossing in there. You've gotta be ready and we've gotta establish our game, which is a grinding game, offensive-zone-time game, and that's it."

Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 2:13 PM

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

Toffoli made magazine cover in unusual way

LOS ANGELES -- Tyler Toffoli first got a text message from his father, Rob. Then the texts came in from his friends.

Toffoli made news.

No, this wasn't after a big goal or a big play. The Los Angeles Kings forward was on a regional cover of this week's Sports Illustrated -- upside down, to be exact, on the receiving end of a hit by Marcus Kruger of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Yes, Toffoli has been posterized.

"I think my dad maybe texted me and everyone else texted me so it was kind of funny," Toffoli said after the morning skate Thursday. "It's not a big deal. It's hockey. You get hit. It's a pretty funny picture, to be honest."

Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 11:37 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins' Campbell to miss rest of playoffs

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell broke his right fibula Wednesday night, blocking a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Campbell is out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That's the bad news -- and it is extremely bad news for a team that is the spitting image of Campbell's tenacity and grit.

"That's the way he is," said Boston center Patrice Bergeron, who scored the winning goal to end Game 3 in double overtime, 2-1 in favor of the home team. "He sacrifices the body always for the team, for the better of the team. Obviously, we tried to rally behind that and do it for him because he's a big part of our team on and off the ice."

The good news is that Boston won the game in which Campbell was injured to put the Penguins on the brink of elimination in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final. Boston needs to win one of the next four games, beginning Friday with Game 4 at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three seasons.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 9:23 PM

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

Penguins stick with Vokoun as Game 3 starter

BOSTON -- Two days of speculation and debate about who would start in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins (NBCSN, CBC, RDS) turned out to be for nothing.

Tomas Vokoun started for the Penguins, as he has in every game for the past month.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma generally does not discuss his lineups with the media, but he did confirm beforehand Vokoun would be in goal for a 10th straight game.

"We're looking for a solid game from our goaltender," Bylsma said. "We've gotten that from Tomas in virtually every game he's played, a real solid performance. He's done that for us, and that's what we need [Wednesday] night. We don't need perfection. We're looking for a solid game in between the pipes and for our goaltender to allow our team to win a hockey game."

Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 8:21 PM

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

Penguins juggle forward lines for Game 3

BOSTON – Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma juggled his forward lines for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS) at TD Garden.

Forward Jussi Jokinen was scratched and rookie Beau Bennett re-entered the lineup after a three-game absence. It was Bennett’s second game since May 5, when the Penguins played Game 3 of their first-round series against the New York Islanders.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 4:43 PM

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

Penguins' character to be tested in Game 3

BOSTON -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have not been in this situation in years.

No, not the situation where they find themselves down 0-2 to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final heading into Game 3 on the road Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Penguins were in this very predicament in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs just last season, and it didn't turn out very well; they dropped Game 3 in Philadelphia to the Flyers 8-3 before going on to lose the series in six games.

Rather, it is the Eastern Conference Final itself that has been a foreign place for the Penguins since they last won the Stanley Cup in 2009, and their ability to remain in this series will be on the line Wednesday.

Though it is far from ideal, it is a test of character that is somewhat welcomed by the Penguins.

"You don't plan to be in this situation," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said, "but you definitely see what you're made of in these types of scenarios."

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