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Three keys for Ducks, Blackhawks to winning Game 7

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM – The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have spent the past two weeks writing one of the most epic scripts ever authored in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The first six games of the Western Conference Final have been filled with unexpected plot twists, twists of fate, heroic efforts and the occasional appearance by a villain or two.

"For sure, it's been great," Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said Friday. "We've had a blast with this series, this playoff in general. Going into Game 7], I think we were well aware these are two hockey teams that have a lot of top-end talent, right through the lineup. That's one thing we were definitely looking forward to, those matchups."

Erie's McDavid nominated for three CHL awards

Friday, 05.29.2015 / 5:11 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Center Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League was named a finalist for three Canadian Hockey League year-end awards, the CHL announced Friday.

The award winners will be announced Saturday in conjunction with the 2015 Memorial Cup tournament being held in Quebec City, Quebec.

McDavid, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters and the expected No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, is a finalist for the Sportsnet Player of the Year award, the Jack Link's Top Draft Prospect award and the Subway Scholastic Player of the Year award.

Ducks cornerstone players face defining moment

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf has embraced the big stage since early in his professional career.

He won the Stanley Cup at 22 as the Anaheim Ducks' second-line center in 2007. He helped Canada win gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and successfully defend it at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

But there has been a lull in Stanley Cup Playoff success, and how Getzlaf responds in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) will be the latest chapter of his legacy and that of Anaheim's other cornerstone players.

Getzlaf is coming off probably his worst game of the playoffs, a 5-2 loss in Game 6. He was on the ice for three Chicago goals and lost 11 of 15 faceoffs. Afterward, he owned up to it.

"Anyone who read my quotes after the last game, I obviously wasn't happy with myself and the way that I carried myself throughout that game," Getzlaf said. "I've played in many big games. It's a matter of drawing back on things, and it's getting back to doing the things that we do well. That includes myself, going out there and just playing, not worrying so much about line matchups and where I am on the ice, those kind of things. It's just a matter of going out and playing and pushing things forward."

Reebok named presenting sponsor and exclusive outfitter of 2015 NHL Scouting Combine

Authentic training attire provided to 120 top prospects for fitness tests

Friday, 05.29.2015 / 2:41 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

TORONTO – The National Hockey League (NHL) today announced that Reebok, the Authentic Outfitter of the NHL®, will serve as the presenting sponsor and authentic outfitter of the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine™ taking place at the First Niagara Center and HARBORCENTER in Buffalo from May 31- June 6. In addition to outfitting all draft-eligible players in the weeklong NHL Scouting Combine, Reebok also will serve as the presenting sponsor of NHL Network™ and's coverage of the event.

The NHL Scouting Combine, held annually in the weeks leading up to the NHL Draft, features the top 120 draft-eligible players from North America and Europe. All participating prospects will be outfitted exclusively in Reebok's authentic training attire which is custom identified by number and position for all fitness and medical tests completed throughout the week. NHL Scouting Combine event staff also will be outfitted in Reebok apparel, headwear and other products.

Three keys for Rangers, Lightning to winning Game 7

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- While he sees it as a great event and agrees that there is nothing quite like it in sports, New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault believes the best way to approach Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) is to not overdramatize it or give it any preferential treatment.

"This is just one of many games," Vigneault said.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper respectfully disagrees.

"I don't think it's just another game," Cooper said. "This is Game 7. You win this game and you're going to go play for the Stanley Cup. So I'm not going to sit here and hide this from our guys saying, 'Oh, fellas, this is one of 103 or 104 or whatever we're playing.'

"I don't want to hide behind the clichés of it's just another game. This is an unreal game to be a part of."

It would be an unreal feeling if they can win it. Vigneault, for as tempered as he is with his emotions, can't deny that.

Here are the keys to advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for each team:

2015 Cup Final TV spot ponders 'What's in a name?'

Friday, 05.29.2015 / 9:58 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League (NHL®) will unveil its 2015 Stanley Cup® Final national TV spot today exclusively on the NHL Facebook page. The spot will make its national television debut during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup® Final on Wednesday, June 3.

This year's spot, "Name," celebrates some of the greatest players in NHL history including: Jean Beliveau, Ray Bourque, Martin Brodeur, Bobby Clarke, Sidney Crosby, Ken Dryden, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Brett Hull, Patrick Kane, Mario Lemieux, Nicklas Lidstrom, Ted Lindsay, Stan Mikita, Lanny McDonald, Mark Messier, Mike Modano, Bobby Nystrom, Bobby Orr, Denis Potvin, Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, Teemu Selanne, Scott Stevens, Jonathan Toews, Bryan Trottier, Steve Yzerman and others.

NHL Scouting Combine to add new testing, technology

Friday, 05.29.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The top prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft will be put to the test June 1-6 at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo.

Dan Marr, the Director of NHL Central Scouting, said he anticipates having 120 players, 99 North American prospects and 21 from Europe, at the Combine, which will be held at HarborCenter and First Niagara Center.

"The Combine not only is moving to the new HarborCenter but it is also implementing a new format and testing as a result of a Combine review that was conducted with the 30 NHL clubs," Marr said. "The fitness testing will be moved into an arena offering an increased viewing area, better sight lines and live result monitors, allowing for the testing to be captured on video."

Edmonton Oilers head amateur scout Stu MacGregor, whose team has the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, said he looks forward to the Combine each year.

Lightning's Stamkos relishes chance for Game 7 glory

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning were a Game 7 win from reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, an opportunity most players never get in their careers.

Stamkos will get his second opportunity to advance to the Cup Final with a Game 7 win when the Lightning and New York Rangers play the decisive game of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final on Friday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Lightning lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final.

"For us, you just never know where hockey is going to take you next," Stamkos said Thursday after the Lightning arrived in Manhattan. "[Brenden Morrow] has been to the Finals before, Brian [Boyle] has been to the Final before. When I was one game away, you think you're going to be right back there next year.

Ducks believe they can avoid third Game 7 heartbreak

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 6:21 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The psychological aftermath of two Game 7s the past two years is not the favorite topic for the Anaheim Ducks, but they acknowledged the pain Thursday.

"You know," defenseman Francois Beauchemin said, "losing those last two Game 7s has been hard on everybody."

Left wing Andrew Cogliano said, "[The] last Game 7 took a toll on us."

Cogliano and Beauchemin went on to say the Ducks are a different team going into Game 7 of the Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Rangers feel Game 7 experience gives them edge

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers are a close-knit team with a core that has seen a lot and won a lot when the stakes have been high. They're together, all on the same page. You get the picture.

The point is that the Rangers are so harmonized that even when they don't all agree with a concept they return to the same message. That much is true heading into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Even though some players disagree with how their experience in these winner-take-all situations comes into play, if it gives them a psychological edge on the Lightning, there's no doubt the Rangers at large believe they have an advantage going into Game 7 because they know better than Tampa Bay how to prepare for, play in, and win Game 7s.

No team in recent history has been better in Game 7 or potential elimination games than the Rangers.

"There's a lot of experience in this dressing room and we have a lot of confidence," center Derick Brassard said.

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Jamie improves every game and every year. I've only been with him for two years, but as a player and as a person it seems like every week he's getting stronger and better, and becoming a better leader and better captain. He wants the team to be so successful that he's making himself better as a player.

— Stars forward Tyler Seguin on teammate Jamie Benn, the '14-15 Art Ross Trophy winner
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