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(Page 12 of 13)
Stanley Cup Playoffs

The day the Isles' dynasty almost died

Friday, 04.13.2012 / 12:12 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

John Kreiser - Columnist

In their four years as Stanley Cup champions, the New York Islanders faced only one game in which their dynasty could have ended with a single loss. Thirty years later, longtime Isles forward Bob Nystrom and then-Pittsburgh defenseman Randy Carlyle both have vivid memories of April 13, 1982 -- albeit for different reasons.

The Islanders had stormed through the regular season, finishing first in the overall standings and setting an NHL record by winning 15 straight games. The Penguins had finished fourth in the Patrick Division with 75 points, 43 behind New York.

"We were a young hockey club, and that was the first or second year of Eddie Johnston as coach. We were an offensive team and we were really the underdog to go in against the Islanders and that dynasty of a hockey club they had," Carlyle, now the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, told's Neil Acharya.


Overtime hockey the norm to begin playoffs

Friday, 04.13.2012 / 11:03 AM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

If the first two nights of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs are any indication, there is going to be a lot of bonus hockey this spring.

Four of the first seven games in this postseason have gone to overtime, including three contests Thursday night. It was the first day with three overtime playoff games since April 18, 2001.

Overtime goals come from anyone, from stars like Martin Havlat to role players like Chris Kelly and Jakob Voracek. They also help cement a player's place in a team's history, especially for guys in their first season with the franchise like Havlat in San Jose and Voracek in Philadelphia.


NBC's David Gregory talks Caps on 'NHL Hour'

Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 7:54 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

David Gregory has reported on the O.J. Simpson and Timothy McVeigh cases, covered three presidential campaigns and served as moderator of the NBC news program "Meet the Press" for the past four years. But he's also an avid hockey fan who grew up on the West Coast watching Wayne Gretzky during the Great One's days with the Los Angeles Kings and subsequently became a Washington Capitals fan thanks to his 9-year-old son.

Gregory was on the other side of the interviewing process Thursday night, appearing as a guest on "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman" shortly before the Capitals and Boston Bruins dropped the puck on Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series at TD Garden.

"The Caps have been on a great streak here over the past five years and so it really caught him at such an early age," Gregory said. "He was getting more and more into it and dragging me into it, and then I became the big fan of the family -- and now we are a hockey family, for sure."


Playoffs celebrated with Cup replica in Times Square

Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 2:12 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- As people crowded around the Stanley Cup to take pictures Wednesday in Times Square, a much larger replica of the revered trophy towered over them.

A 21-foot-tall, 6,600-pound Cup was unveiled with a ceremony to celebrate the start of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs and a partnership between the NHL and NBC Sports that promises expanded coverage of what NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called "the best two months in sports."

"We believe that we are about to see the most exciting, the most well-covered and presented Stanley Cup Playoffs in the history of our game because of our friends at the NBC Sports Group," Bettman said during the ceremony. "Having every game on television nationally in the United States for the first time in the history of our League is unprecedented and it is something that we know will bring our great game to more fans than ever before."


EA simulator favors Rangers, Bruins in first round

Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 1:16 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

David Kalan - Staff Writer

When Gary Kasparov sat down with a chess-playing computer named Deep Blue in 1996, Kasparov managed to pull out the victory. A year later, however, a revamped Deep Blue knocked off a man considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time, showing that on occasion artificial intelligence can outwit the actual variety.

Deep Blue was programmed by IBM, but after watching the outcome of last spring's Stanley Cup Playoffs one has to wonder if the folks at EA SPORTS also had a hand in it.

A year ago EA SPORTS ran each NHL postseason series through its NHL 11 Simulation Engine and churned out remarkable results. The simulations correctly predicted the winners of 13 of the 15 series played in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs -- a number that would have been 14 had the Canucks been able to protect home ice in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. In 2010, EA's simulation engine correctly predicted the Chicago Blackhawks would end their 49-year Cup drought.

All of that correct prognosticating has given EA some tough acts to follow, but that doesn't mean the sports video game developers aren't trying. EA SPORTS released its predictions for the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday, using its updated NHL 12 Simulation Engine, a computerized simulation that factors in variables such as statistics, player ratings, line combinations, injuries and streaky play.


Thirty years ago, Kings pulled off playoff miracle

Tuesday, 04.10.2012 / 4:40 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tuesday is not only the eve of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs -- it's also the 30th anniversary of the greatest comeback in NHL history.

The "Miracle on Manchester" happened April 10, 1982, when the Los Angeles Kings erased a 5-0 deficit against the Edmonton Oilers to claim a 6-5 overtime victory in Game 3 of an opening-round playoff series.

Edmonton, led by young superstars Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, took a 5-0 lead into the second intermission and appeared poised to grab a 2-1 lead in a series the Oilers were heavy favorites to win. The Kings, in part motivated by some laughing and joking coming from the Edmonton bench during the second period, stormed back in the final 20 minutes and tied the contest at 5-5 with five seconds left in regulation.


NHL officials for Stanley Cup Playoffs announced

Tuesday, 04.10.2012 / 2:48 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

The NHL on Tuesday released the complete list of referees and linsemen for the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs that get under way Wednesday night.

Here are the 20 referees and 20 linesmen and standby officials who will be on the ice over the next two months.


Paul Devorski

Eric Furlatt


Simulation site sees repeat in Bruins' future

Tuesday, 04.10.2012 / 2:41 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

David Kalan - Staff Writer

The 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs open Wednesday, and aside from being the best part of the hockey season, it's also the time for postseason predictions. Each spring there is no end to prognostications from all corners of the hockey media --'s staff writers posted theirs Monday.

Each spring, however, takes a different tack from the standard hunches and presumptive conjecture, running a simulation of the NHL postseason 1,001 times while taking into account current rosters, statistics and home-ice advantage. No simulation is perfect, but a year ago pegged it right on the nose, tabbing the Bruins to top the Canucks in a seven-game Stanley Cup Final.

This season's picks aren't identical, but if's computer has its say, the duck boats will be rolling through Boston again this June after the Bruins win their second consecutive Stanley Cup in a seven-game tug of war with the Detroit Red Wings.

That the Wings are projected to make it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final is impressive considering they don't even have home ice in their first-round series with Nashville, and that certainly seems to have been taken into account. Detroit's 63.24 percent success rate in the opening round, which predicts to go the full seven games, is the lowest of any team predicted to advance to the conference semifinals.


Goalie rotation in playoffs could be popular choice

Tuesday, 04.10.2012 / 2:05 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

This week, St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock once again declined to name his goalie for Thursday's Game 1 against San Jose. He wants to delay for as long as possible the decision on which half of the Blues impressive goaltending tandem will get the call to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It won't be an easy call.

Brian Elliott leads in the NHL in save percentage and goals-against average, and Jaroslav Halak, just two years from a magical playoff run in Montreal, isn't far behind him. Together they've matched a post-expansion record with 15 shutouts, so it's easy to understand why Hitchcock continues to run both out there, saying the real thinking starts with the playoffs.

The question is whether it really has to?

NBC bringing unprecedented exposure to playoffs

Monday, 04.09.2012 / 6:38 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- For the first time in the history of the NHL, the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be broadcast in their entirety nationally.

That was the overarching message Monday from League Commissioner Gary Bettman and NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus in a roundtable discussion with gathered media at the NHL offices that featured NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, NHL CEO John Collins and NBC Sports Group's Sam Flood, Seth Winter, John Miller and Jon Miller.

In the past, it was impossible to show four, or sometimes five, first-round games if they were taking place on the same night, but that's no longer the case.

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Quote of the Day

You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals