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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.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 10:51 AM

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

Isles stick with Game 2 winning formula for Game 3

UNIONDALE, N.Y.New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano changed up his lines before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins and saw his team rally to beat the Eastern Conference's regular-season champion.

With the series returning to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum for an afternoon Game 3 on Sunday, Capuano said he's not going to change a thing.

"The way we handled our lineup all year was that the guys who played well deserved to play the following game," Capuano said, about two hours before the Islanders took the ice for their first playoff game at the Coliseum since 2007. "We're not going to change our mentality, as far as that goes."

That means Matt Moulson, the regular left wing on a line with John Tavares and Brad Boyes, will play with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo; John Bailey will switch onto Tavares' line. The move paid off in Game 2, with the Islanders rallying from a 3-1 deficit for a series-tying 4-3 victory. Moulson had a goal and assisted on Okposo's game-winner.

Posted On Sunday, 05.05.2013 / 10:50 AM

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

Status of Neal, Orpik for Game 3 remains unknown

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, who is nursing a lower-body injury and has not played since April 23, participated without equipment in solo skating and puck-handling drills with Pittsburgh strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar for at least 30 minutes prior to Pittsburgh's Sunday matinee against the New York Islanders.

Orpik didn't appear to show any major strain or discomfort in the drill but his status remains uncertain for Game 3 of Pittsburgh's Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Islanders. While Orpik skated, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma refused to divulge any information about his lineup, only saying that the game's 12 pm E.T. start (NBC) would not affect his players or his decisions.

"Obviously no morning skate today. But we have and do play a fair amount of odd-timed games," Bylsma said. "This is as early as you get, but we're somewhat accustomed to playing games at a different time."

Pittsburgh saw the return of captain Sidney Crosby on Friday in a 4-3 loss Friday in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Consol Energy Center. And while Crosby scored twice in his first game action since March 30, the team was still without Orpik and James Neal, who played a bit more than eight minutes in Game 1 against the Islanders before leaving with a suspected ankle injury.

Byslma would not comment on the status of either player.

More will be known about the status of these players - as well as forward Joe Vitale, who has been out since April 20 with a lower-body injury - closer to game time.

Just to have some fun with the press, Neal pretended to use a hockey stick as a crutch and walked with a mock limp as he passed by members of the media prior to Bylsma's press conference.

Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 9:40 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

TOR @ BOS - 10:35 of the Third Period

At 10:35 of the third period in the Maple Leafs/Bruins game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Johnny Boychuk's shot deflected off James Reimer's glove and Tyler Bozak's body and into the net in a legal fashion.

Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 8:40 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Marleau comes alive for Sharks

SAN JOSE -- After scoring one goal in his final 16 regular-season games, San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau woke up when the bright lights of the Stanley Cup Playoffs came on.

Marleau scored a goal in each of the Sharks' first two playoff games against the Vancouver Canucks, helping San Jose take a 2-0 lead as the series moves to HP Pavilion for Game 3 on Sunday night (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Marleau scoring goals in the postseason should come as no shock. He has scored 54 playoff goals, a franchise record and the most by any active NHL player other than Jaromir Jagr. Marleau is tied for 40th all-time in playoff goals.
Not bad for a player who has often been criticized for not producing enough in the postseason.

"You just have to look at the stats," Sharks forward Brent Burns said. "The guy is incredible. The only knock on him is he just makes it look too easy. I wish I could do that. He's an unbelievable talent and he's one of the hardest working guys here. It's pretty incredible to see and just follow a guy like that."

Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 8:20 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

TOR @ BOS - 1:56 of the Second Period

At 1:56 of the second period in the Maple Leafs/Bruins game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Nathan Horton's right skate and into the net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 49.2 "A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal." Good Goal Boston.

Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 8:18 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Schneider travels with Canucks; no change in status

VANCOUVER Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider flew with the team Saturday afternoon, but there was no word whether the injured No. 1 would be available for Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

“He’s on the trip,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “He’s day to day.”

Schneider missed the final two games of the regular season with what Vigneault labeled a “body" injury, but was back on the ice Sunday and said Tuesday he was ready to play in the series’ opener Wednesday night.

Roberto Luongo played the first two games instead, and Schneider stayed off the ice Thursday before returning to practice Friday. He has not dressed as the backup in the best-of-7 series, which the Sharks lead 2-0.

Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev, who missed the final 10 games of the regular season, also made the trip to San Jose but was wearing a walking boot on his injured right ankle as he walked through the airport in Vancouver.

Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 8:17 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Canucks look for answers as Game 3 looms

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks arrived at the airport Saturday afternoon with different ideas about how to move on from a stunning loss to the San Jose Sharks the night before and start preparing for Game 3 on Sunday night.

As hard as it was to get over blowing a lead in the final minute and losing 3-2 in overtime on Friday; as devastating as it was be so close to evening the best-of-7 series only to fall behind 2-0 in the Western Conference Quarterfinal, they only have one more day to recover.

Captain Henrik Sedin thought they should "wake up today and look forward to tomorrow," moving on quickly and forgetting a loss goalie Roberto Luongo labeled "a heartbreaker."

Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 7:14 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Sharks could welcome Canucks' goalie change

SAN JOSE -- The Vancouver Canucks have the San Jose Sharks guessing which goalie they'll face Sunday night at HP Pavilion in Game 3 of their first round Stanley Cup Playoffs series (10 p.m. ET, RDS, TSN, NBCSN, CSN-CA).

Goaltender Cory Schneider, who missed the first two games with a mysterious "body" injury, was on the Canucks' flight Saturday to San Jose. Of course, so was goaltender Roberto Luongo, who started and lost the first two games of the series at Vancouver.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan was asked Saturday how Schneider being in net would change the series.

"It might be a great thing for us," McLellan said. "I think Luongo's been tremendous. I really do. I think he's made some great saves in the series, just as [our Antti] Niemi has. If they want to take that quality of goaltender out of the lineup and go to the other one, we'll take our chances with that as well."

Posted On Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 7:02 PM

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

Change in lines changes outcome for Islanders

Matt Moulson and John Tavares have been joined at the hip since they came to the New York Islanders in 2009. It's been a combination that has benefitted both parties -- Tavares has emerged as one of the NHL's top young stars, and Moulson became a three-time 30-goal scorer as his wingman.

The two were apart once in the regular season -- Moulson missed an early April game against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a case of the flu. That's why there were more than a few double takes when Islanders coach Jack Capuano changed his line combinations before Game 2 of New York's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With his team having scored twice in three games, and not at all in a 5-0 loss in Game 1, Capuano switched left wings on his first two lines, moving Josh Bailey onto a line with Tavares and Brad Boyes while putting Moulson with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo.

The result: Moulson was the game's first star after scoring a goal and assisting on the game-winner in New York's 4-3 victory Friday night.

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