Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 
SHARE
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 3:24 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Flyers know they need better starts

PITTSBURGH -- Although they've made a habit of getting down early in games and coming back, the Flyers understand it's not exactly the greatest formula for success in the playoffs, especially against a team with as much firepower as the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So what do they have to do to combat what has been a problem for a large portion of the season but has seemed to swell in the last month?

Well, it's simple really.

"We have to find a way to be ready from the get-go," Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "That hasn't been the case the last few weeks. Games are getting tighter and tighter and we have to find a way to get better starts. That's why I say we got lucky [Wednesday], because against a really good team, down 3-0, you don't usually get back into the game."

For the third time in the last month the Flyers came back to beat the Penguins after falling into an early hole. This time it was 3-0. The last two times it was 2-0.

Philadelphia, though, now has won four games this season after trailing by at least three goals and has come back to win 10 games when trailing by at least two.

"It says a lot about the youth and firepower on our team that we can score goals and never be out of a game," Scott Hartnell said. "But I've said it once and I'll say it a hundred times, we can't be down 2-0 or 3-0 and expect to win."

The Flyers fell behind 3-0 in Game 1 because the Penguins took it to them with their speed. Granted, the Flyers had six rookies in the lineup and maybe that was a reason why they seemed to have that deer-in-the-headlights look in the first, but Timonen said that argument isn't valid because everybody had that look.

"Everybody was standing still," he said. "We were looking around and waiting to see what is going to happen. That's not a way to start the game. We need to come at these guys and make sure we're the ones to dictate the pace. [Friday] we have to be totally different from the first period on."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 3:20 PM

By Alan Robinson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Penguins hope changes energize power play

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins player agree that their power play needs some work. So it's not surprising that barely 12 hours after they surrendered a three-goal lead and Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Flyers, the Penguins concentrated on their power play at practice Thursday.
 
Almost every player worked on it, too. Coach Dan Bylsma tried a variety of combinations and alignments in an effort to kick-start a unit that was 0-for-3 against the Flyers in that 4-3 overtime loss Wednesday.
 
In the Penguins’ last two playoff series dating to last season, the power play is 1-for-38 (2.6 percent) – and 0 for 28 at Consol Energy Center. By comparison, the Penguins were much better with a man advantage during the regular season, finishing tied for fifth -- with Philadelphia -- at a 19.7-percent conversion rate.
 
That might explain why forward Steve Sullivan, a power-play fixture until Bylsma began experimenting late in the season, was back on the point during the practice Thursday.
 
"Obviously, the power play needs to do a better job,” said defenseman Kris Letang, another point man on the power play. “That’s the reason we practiced it this morning. We could have put the game away with a power-play goal [while leading 3-0 in the second period]. We have to work on it and learn from it and make sure we do the right things.”
 
Bylsma explained the multiple combinations as simply making sure multiple players know how to play the same position. That became a concern when most of the players on the top power-play unit had just been out for a shift and substitutions had to be made on the fly during one of the three failed power plays in Game 1.
 
“We’re struggling a little bit with the units we do have so we’re trying to mix and match a little bit to make sure everyone’s comfortable at everyone’s position,” Sullivan said.
 
Bylsma also worked with multiple combinations, rather than keeping the top unit led Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out for most of a power play.
 
“We want to try to use two units, two sets of players that can play a minute and get us going and get us a goal,” Letang said.
 
Bylsma began tinkering with the power play after Crosby returned in mid-March, with the most radical change being an all-forwards unit. However, the Penguins had four different games down the stretch in which they went 0-for-4 on the power play.
 
Letang went back to the point late in the season, and now it appears Sullivan will return there, too, which allows Malkin and Crosby to try to find openings down low.
 
“He's played there all year and shown he's pretty comfortable there,” Crosby said of Sullivan. “He can make plays and he's a smart player. He distributes the puck well so he brings all of that to the power play. He's pretty familiar with that area.”
 
Sullivan often was used during the season to carry the puck out of the defensive zone and establish the power play. In Game 1, the Flyers were successful in disrupting that flow, one reason the Penguins' extra-man units sometimes looked ragged.
 
“It felt like we'd take a shot and they'd clear it,” Crosby said. “We didn't really get set up and really try to expose anything there. We were trying to get shots, which is always a good mentality to have on any power play, but sometimes I think we could have been a bit more patient to try to set something up.”
 
Pittsburgh also didn’t have much success during the season against the Flyers’ penalty kill, going 3-for-22 (13.6 percent).
 
“They’re a very pressure-first mentality of a penalty kill over there, and they’re not giving us much time,” Sullivan said. “So we’ve got to make sure we execute the passes we make, that we’ve got some support and we’ve got some clean entries so we have as much zone time as we can.”
 
The Flyers had only one power play and took advantage of it, with Brayden Schenn’s goal at 12:23 of the third tying the game. Philadelphia has scored a power-play goal in all seven games against the Penguins this season, counting Game 1, and is 7-for-30 overall against Pittsburgh (23.3 percent) despite going 1-for-6 in three different games.
 
“We let the special teams get away from us,” Chris Kunitz said.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 3:11 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Toews returning to lineup for Game 1

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews will return to the lineup Thursday night for Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes the Blackhawks confirmed on their official Twitter feed Thursday.

Toews, the Blackhawks captain, hasn't played since Feb. 19 due to a concussion. He scored 29 goals and finished with 57 points and a plus-17 rating in 59 regular-season games this season.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 3:00 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Kubina could return to Flyers' lineup for Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- Flyers rookie defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon did not practice Thursday because of an the upper-body injury he sustained in Game 1 of the team's first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Peguins. While Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette would not comment on injuries or his lineup, it's possible veteran blueliner Pavel Kubina -- a healthy scratch in Game 1 -- could return to the lineup for Game 2 Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

Laviolette said he would have no problem inserting Kubina into the lineup despite the fact that his struggles since coming to the Flyers from Tampa Bay in February likely were among the reasons why he was a healthy scratch Wednesday.

Kubina has four assists and a minus-3 rating in 17 games.

"Well, he is effective," Laviolette said. "Pavel has done a terrific job since he's been here, a welcome addition. Because he didn't play last night is not a reflection of him."

Kubina, who also would not reveal if he is going to play Friday, said while it was tough, he enjoyed watching the Flyers come back from a 3-0 deficit to win Game 1.

"It was an unbelievable effort in the second half and it was fun to watch that," Kubina said. "When you see the guys do so well and battling like that, it's fun to watch that even when you're not in."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 2:00 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Rangers didn't allow trying first half to distract them

NEW YORK -- There wasn't an NHL team that had more of a chance to use distractions as an excuse for poor play this year than the New York Rangers.

They opened the season with a two-week trek through Europe as part of the NHL Premiere Series. Upon their return to the United States, their home, Madison Square Garden, was still undergoing renovations, which meant another long road swing through Western Canada.

That wasn't the end of it, as the Rangers welcomed HBO's "24/7" cameras into their lives for a month in the buildup to the Winter Classic, another event that takes players out of their routines.

Rangers coach John Tortorella said Thursday that when his team's hockey life finally returned to normal in January and there wasn't a letdown, he knew he was involved in something special.

"When they left, that's when we gained some normalcy in our room," Tortorella said. "We still have three and a half months to play, and I just watched how our guys went about their business. I was worried about a letdown when the cameras left. I was happy with the way we won (the Winter Classic). That really helped our confidence, and then we just kept on going. That's when I felt we could do something."

The Rangers went on to win the Atlantic Division and capture the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and Tortorella said it all started with the trip to Europe to open the season.

"I think that really helped us as a team and to speed up the process of trying to win consistently and being consistent," Tortorella said. "I thought we were consistent in how we went about our gameday business. That's one thing about this group. Not once this year -- and coaches do it all the time -- did we have to go out there and kick the hell out of them because you didn’t get enough out of them the night before to just make sure you get the message across."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 1:51 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins vs. Capitals series blog

Seguin ready for increased role in this postseason

BOSTON – An afterthought in terms of the Boston Bruins’ lineup a year ago, forward Tyler Seguin is heading into his second Stanley Cup Playoffs as a focal point.
               
As an NHL sophomore, Seguin led the Bruins in goals (29) and points (67) during the 2011-12 regular season. Still, the 20-year-old has some of the feelings of a less-important player.
               
“It’s still kind of like even during the pregame skate there, I’m still thinking my head ‘maybe I won’t even play tonight; maybe I’ll get scratched.’ Just from last year and obviously it was a year ago but it really doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. It’s nice to be in different shoes this time around,” Seguin said Thursday after the Bruins’ morning skate at TD Garden in preparation for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Washington.
               
Seguin admitted he slept better Wednesday night than he did last year on the eve of the postseason. And he’s better prepared to contribute this season after playing a small part – three goals in two games of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay – of the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship drive.
               
“It’s almost a night-and-day difference from going into the playoffs last year to going into the playoff this year,” he said. “It’s just the whole ride that we went on and seeing everything that I saw both on the ice and off the ice, it just makes me a lot more comfortable and a lot more confident.”

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 1:50 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Neil happy if Canada wants to get behind Senators

NEW YORK -- Are the Ottawa Senators "Canada's Team?"

Only two teams from Canada reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year -- the Senators and the Vancouver Canucks. If Canada is looking to pull for one of the two, forward Chris Neil is fine if the nation wants to get behind the Senators.

"We've been there before, going to the Cup Final in '07, so it's fun whenever the whole country gets behind you and cheers for you," Neil said. "We don't really look at it like that. It's the group of guys in here that we pay attention to. You try not to pay attention to what's going on on the outside, who's cheering for who. You just hope when you go out, you're going out and working hard. If you're doing that, fans will come out and support you and cheer loud and get them on your side."

Neil said he didn't get a chance to see the Canucks lose 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their series late Wednesday night.

"I was in bed," Neil said. "I didn't even really watch it. I was getting rested up for tonight."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 1:42 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Projected Game 1 lineups

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers will ice the same lineup as they did in their regular-season finale, while the Ottawa Senators will insert Chris Neil into the lineup for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Thursday.

The goaltending matchup will be Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers against the Craig Anderson of the Senators.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

SENATORS
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Nick Foligno - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Zack Smith - Jesse Winchester - Chris Neil
Erik Condra - Jim O'Brien - Kaspars Daugavins

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Sergei Gonchar - Jared Cowen
Chris Phillips - Matt Gilroy

Craig Anderson
Ben Bishop

RANGERS
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Brandon Dubinsky - Brian Boyle - Ruslan Fedotenko
Mike Rupp - John Mitchell - Brandon Prust
 
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel
 
Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 1:40 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Panthers vs. Devils series blog

Larsson expects to return to lineup soon

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils rookie defenseman Adam Larsson does expect to get into the lineup at some point during his team's best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Florida Panthers that begins Friday.
 
It just won't be Game 1 at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise.
 
"For sure [we expect Larsson will play at some point]," Devils coach Peter DeBoer told the media following his team's practice on Thursday. "There's an opportunity for him to play. We've got seven defenders here and the way playoff hockey works, there's no doubt in my mind we're going to have to use all seven at different points."
 
Larsson was on the ice for practice Thursday, but told NHL.com he doesn't expect to suit up against the Panthers on Friday. The rookie Swede has been a healthy scratch for five of the team's last six regular-season games, as New Jersey has won six consecutive contests.
 
"The coaching staff told me that I hadn't come up to my level that I was before after my injury so it was couple of points they made defensively," Larsson told NHL.com. "I had a good talk with them and now I'm trying to prepare myself to get in there."
 
Larsson missed 10 games from Feb. 4-24 with a bruised lower back after taking a hit from Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban in a Feb. 2 game at Prudential Center.
 
He did play in the team's 4-2 regular-season finale against the Ottawa Senators on April 7, earning 12:39 of ice time on 17 shifts.
 
"I do believe I'll play in this series," Larsson said. "You know, after one game, we could be down one or two defensemen because of injury, so I need to stay focused and in good shape and wait for my chance."
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale


Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 1:14 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Panthers vs. Devils series blog

Panthers lines in practice

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Here are the lines the Florida Panthers used in practice Thursday:

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson
Scottie Upshall - Shawn Matthias - Wojtek Wolski
Krys Barch - John Madden - Tomas Kopecky

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson

Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen occupied the nets.

The Panthers had an extra line of forwards, with Jerred Smithson centering Marco Sturm and Mike Santorelli.

Keaton Ellerby skated as the extra defenseman.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Print ›
First | Prev | 927 | 928 | 929 | 930 | 931 | 932 | 933-938 | Next | Last
Quote of the Day

We've got a team filled with captains, that's what I think. With these first two games we got in, we're really dominating and moving the puck really fast, and it's worked out really good.

— U.S. goalie Brandon Halverson after a 6-0 win against Germany in the World Junior Championship on Sunday