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Rangers confident they can contend with core group

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 5:26 PM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - Staff Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers have competed in the Eastern Conference Final in three of the past four seasons, but have yet to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

Despite being older next season, most of the players feel their chance of winning the Cup with the current group is still very high.

"We have the same core guys here for the last six or seven years and built the team around that," defenseman Dan Girardi said Monday. "Just kind of brought guys in the last 3-4 years. It just seems this team jells. We get a couple of guys at the deadline and they just fit right in. … Hopefully we will be able to get a lot of guys back for next year and have another good run."

Five reasons Lightning can win Stanley Cup

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 12:06 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The Tampa Bay Lightning have already made history in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs by becoming the first team to defeat three Original Six teams to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Four more wins and they'll break that record.

The Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings in seven games, the Montreal Canadiens in six, and the New York Rangers in seven to earn their chance to compete against the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup. They even have home-ice advantage.

Game 1 is Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

In defeating the Canadiens, the Lightning knocked off a team that lost the Eastern Conference Final last season. In defeating the Rangers, they dethroned last year's Eastern Conference champs (New York defeated Montreal in six games in the 2014 conference final).

If the Lightning are to win the Stanley Cup, they'll have to defeat a team that closest represents a modern-day dynasty. The Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice and have made four trips, including three in a row, to the Western Conference Final since 2010.

It'll be challenging, no doubt, but the Lightning certainly have the wherewithal to defeat the Blackhawks four times in two weeks. Here are five reasons:

Goaltender Matchup: Inside Blackhawks' Crawford

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 11:28 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so broke down the Stanley Cup Final battle between Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Today the focus is on Crawford.

Much like many goaltending coaches do before a series, correspondent Kevin Woodley, the managing editor of InGoal Magazine, charted every goal scored with the help of a program from Double Blue Sport Analytics. Regular-season goals were recorded in their original Save Review System, and playoff goals, including how they were scored, were tracked in the soon-to-launch SRS 2.0. The graphics showing where goals went in and shots were taken from are nice, but the real value is analyzing the plays that led to them and whether they reveal strengths, weaknesses and tendencies that can be targeted.

Preview: Blackhawks face youthful Lightning in Final

Sunday, 05.31.2015 / 10:49 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen and Corey Masisak - Staff Writers

The Chicago Blackhawks might feel like they're looking at a younger version of themselves when they step onto the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Each team is driven by star power. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford have carried the Blackhawks through three rounds in the Western Conference, including a 5-3 victory against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the conference final on Saturday. Tampa Bay's top-six forwards, led by the "Triplets" line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, and captain Steven Stamkos, have scored more than 80 percent of the Lightning's goals in the first three rounds, and Ben Bishop leads all goaltenders in this year's playoffs with three shutouts, including 2-0 victories on the road in Game 5 and Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

Each team relies on speed and puck possession but can shut down opponents when the game is on the line. Chicago is 32-0-0 in the regular season and playoffs when leading after two periods. The Lightning are 9-0-0 this spring when scoring first, and each of Bishop's three shutouts has been a 2-0 win.

The one major edge Chicago has is postseason experience; the core of this team won Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2013. Tampa Bay hasn't made the Final since 2004, when it won its only championship.

The Lightning have won three playoff rounds for the first time in a decade, but Bishop knows there's still much left to do.

Chabot: Hawks' stars were at their best in Game 7

John Kreiser - Managing Editor

For additional insight into the Anaheim Ducks during the Western Conference Final, has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.

Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.

The Chicago Blackhawks are headed to the Stanley Cup Final because their stars were at their best when it counted most, in Games 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Final, and the Anaheim Ducks' best players were not, according to Frederic Chabot.

"The last two games, Chicago's best players were better than Anaheim's; to me, that was the difference," Chabot said. "They were clutch, they made the big plays, the goalie made the big saves and their D was really good too.

Five reasons Blackhawks advanced to Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

Prior to the Western Conference Final, the Chicago Blackhawks knew it would be difficult to eliminate the Anaheim Ducks from the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The best-of-7 series that followed was even more difficult than expected. The Blackhawks never held a series lead until clinching it in Game 7 with a 5-3 victory at Honda Center on Saturday.

They needed triple overtime to tie it in Game 2, needed double overtime to tie it in Game 4 and won the final two games consecutively after losing in Game 5 on a Ducks goal 45 seconds into overtime.

Chicago leaned heavily on its top four defensemen in lieu of the ankle fracture that knocked veteran Michal Rozsival out in the second round, took a physical beating from the bigger Ducks and still came out of it with a third trip to the Stanley Cup Final in a six-season window.

The Blackhawks got their redemption for falling an overtime goal short of playing in last season's Cup Final, but it wasn't easy. How did they pull it off?

Here are five reasons the Blackhawks advanced:

Five reasons Ducks were eliminated from playoffs

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

Determining what would be the difference between the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks seemed like a futile exercise early in the Western Conference Final.

The teams were so close. Three of the games went to overtime. The aggregate score was 19-19 through the first six games.

But Anaheim ceded control after a Game 5 win and was not up to the task of eliminating the more experienced Blackhawks, who powered through shorthanded on defense to advance to their third Stanley Cup Final in six years.

Anaheim sustained its third straight Game 7 loss at home.

Here are five reasons the Ducks failed to advance:

Noel: Playoff experience the difference for Blackhawks

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

For additional insight on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, has enlisted the help of Claude Noel to break down the action. Noel will be checking in throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Noel was coach for the Winnipeg Jets from 2011-14 and interim coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2009-10. He also coached many years in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. In addition, Noel, a former forward, had 138 points in 353 regular-season games in the AHL and played seven games in the NHL with Washington Capitals in 1979-80.

There might not be a team capable of rallying around big-game experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs quite like the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks will play for their third NHL championship in six seasons after a 5-3 victory against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday. After falling behind 3-2 in the best-of-7 series, the Blackhawks outscored the Ducks 10-5 over the final two games to advance.

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Saturday, May 30

Sunday, 05.31.2015 / 2:43 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations


The Chicago Blackhawks built a 4-0 lead in the second period – triggered by two goals from captain Jonathan Toews in the opening frame – and stifled a rally by the Anaheim Ducks to claim a Game 7 victory and a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

* The Blackhawks advanced to the Final for the 13th time in franchise history and for the third time in the past six seasons (also 2010 and 2013). Via Elias, Chicago is the third team in the last 24 years to reach the Stanley Cup Final at least three times in a six-year span. The others: the Detroit Red Wings (1995-97-98 and 1997-98-2002) and the New Jersey Devils (2000-01-03).

* The Blackhawks improved to 7-6 in 13 all-time Game 7s, including 2-3 on the road. Their only other Game 7 win on the road was in the 1965 Semifinals, when they beat the Red Wings 4-2 before losing to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final (4-0 L at Montreal in Game 7).

Ducks loss is latest Game 7 defeat for Boudreau

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM -- Game 7s have not been kind to Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.

But the loss in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday may hurt a little bit more and a little bit longer than the previous Game 7 losses he has suffered while coaching the Ducks and the Washington Capitals.

"It was closer to winning the Cup, so of course," Boudreau said minutes after the Ducks' 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in a winner-take-all game for the right to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Boudreau has an ignominious relationship with Game 7s. He is the first coach in the NHL to lose six such games in his career, and he is the only coach to lose Game 7 at home in three consecutive seasons. It happened to him in Washington and again with the Ducks. His career record in Game 7s dropped to 1-6.

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