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Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Monday, May 18

Tuesday, 05.19.2015 / 12:20 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations


Tyler Johnson scored a shorthanded goal and a power-play goal in the first period and added an even-strength goal for his first career hat trick in the postseason, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning even its series against the New York Rangers at 1-1.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Johnson (3-0—3) became the first player in Lightning franchise history to have a hat trick in the postseason.

* Johnson paces all scorers in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 goals and 16 points (11-5—16). Johnson’s third goal of the night also became his League-leading fourth game-winning goal of the postseason.

Linesman Kovachik leaves Game 2 with knee injury

Linesman Brad Kovachik left Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday in the second period with a sprained knee after a collision along the boards.

The NHL said he will be out indefinitely.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos checked New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein, who hit Kovachik with 7:41 left in the period.

Ducks finding success with young, skilled defense

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Each of the past two postseasons have ended in familiar fashion for the Anaheim Ducks, a disappointing defeat in a Game 7 at Honda Center after a successful regular season.

The 2014-15 Ducks have already progressed further than the previous two teams. One of the biggest reasons is their young, skilled defensemen.

General manager Bob Murray has overhauled the defense over the past couple of seasons, moving away from a collection of low-risk veterans to a swift skating group. For a team with such high expectations, it has taken courage to commit to fielding a lineup with four defensemen who have not reached their 24th birthday, but Anaheim has been rewarded with a late-season spike in its possession statistics and a deep run in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I think with all of the young guys, we are in a good organization that lets you develop at the pace that you can do," Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm said. "They have great guys around the organization to help as well. There’s [Scott Niedermayer], who I talk to a lot. He’s been really good for me. Being paired with Francois [Beauchemin] has been great too as a veteran guy to kind of rely on. They’ve been doing a great job of shaping us the way they want."

Blackhawks may make change on defense for Game 2

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM -- The Chicago Blackhawks may make a change on their blue line for Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks.

Although Chicago coach Joel Quenneville refused to confirm it Monday, multiple signs point to journeyman Kyle Cumiskey replacing David Rundblad, who had a rugged Game 1 as a replacement for injured Michal Rozsival.

Game 2 is Tuesday at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). Anaheim leads the best-of-7 series 1-0 after winning 4-1 on Sunday.

Analysis: Hakstol can develop Flyers' young talent

Monday, 05.18.2015 / 5:36 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The idea that general manager Ron Hextall went off the board and stunned the hockey world Monday by hiring Dave Hakstol to be coach of the Philadelphia Flyers is true only because of how rare it is for teams to go outside of the NHL's insular network of coaches.

Sixteen coaches in the NHL are in at least their second stop in the League, including four who are coaching with their fourth organization. Six of the nine coaches who haven't been coaches elsewhere were at least assistants in the NHL at one point.

The three who weren't are Patrick Roy of the Colorado Avalanche, Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and now Haksol. Roy won the Jack Adams Award last season. Cooper has the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final and was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award last season.

Ducks' fourth line has unlikely yet successful reunion

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Jiri Sekac had not played a game in over a month. Emerson Etem was benched the previous two games. Rickard Rakell was recovering from the flu.

That's not the ideal recipe for a line to get thrown into the Western Conference Final, but it worked for the Anaheim Ducks against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1.

The fourth-line trio was reunited and coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't disappointed in a 4-1 win at Honda Center. Game 2 is Tuesday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"Well, they really gave us good energy at the proper time, before we scored our second goal," Boudreau said. "They were on the ice before Nate Thompson's line. They created the buzz in their zone. We followed that up with that shift. We ended up scoring the goal. I mean, I got to believe they'll be together at least [Tuesday]. Beyond that, I don't know what's going to happen."

Worlds gave Eichel valuable experience as draft nears

Monday, 05.18.2015 / 3:50 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - Correspondent

PRAGUE -- When Jack Eichel arrives in Florida for the 2015 NHL Draft next month, he'll bring with him valuable experience from top-level international hockey. Eichel, NHL Central Scouting's No. 2-rated North American skater for this year's draft, performed well at the IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic, where he helped the United States win a bronze medal.

"It means a lot. I don't think anyone really thought we would be here at this position," Eichel said Sunday after he had an assist in a 3-0 win against the Czech Republic in the bronze-medal game. "For us to overcome a lot of odds and win a bronze medal in a tournament with a lot of skill and a lot of talent, it's really good for the confidence. We had a really young team. Our goaltender (Winnipeg Jets prospect Connor Hellebuyck) stepped up to play huge this entire tournament. For me personally it's really nice to get a medal from my first men's World Championship."

The 18-year old forward finished the tournament third on the United States in scoring with seven points in 10 games. Coach Todd Richards (Columbus Blue Jackets) put him on a line with forwards Trevor Lewis (Los Angeles Kings) and Brock Nelson (New York Islanders), and they developed into the best American line.

"Obviously there was a lot of good players around me that made me pretty successful here," Eichel said. "I've played with two NHLers and they helped me a lot. Not only them but everybody in the locker room. The coaches put me in really good situations."

Chabot: Andersen gave Ducks a chance in Game 1

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Anaheim Ducks during the Western Conference Final series, 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 Anaheim Ducks are in the Western Conference Final for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007. Save for forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, and defenseman Francois Beauchemin, no other current Ducks players were on that 2007 roster.

That may have been why the Ducks got off to a slow start in Game 1 on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, but goalie Frederik Andersen made several key saves to lead the Ducks through the rough patch and instill confidence in his teammates, according to Frederic Chabot.

Three keys for Rangers, Lightning to winning Game 2

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said Sunday that watching the replay of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final made him want to vomit because of how poorly he felt his team played against the New York Rangers.

The Lightning have a chance in Game 2 on Monday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) to put on a better show and even the best-of-7 series at 1-1 before it shifts to Tampa for Game 3 and 4 later this week.

Here are three keys for the Lightning in Game 2 that, if executed properly, will give them a chance to make their coach feel better and, more importantly, an opportunity to show the Rangers this will be a difficult series.

Below also are three keys for the Rangers that, if executed properly, give them their best chance to move within two wins of their second consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Palmieri delivers to spark Ducks to Game 1 win

Monday, 05.18.2015 / 12:08 PM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division and owned the best record in the Western Conference powered by their one-two punch of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. But in the Ducks' 4-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, they showed off their depth with the third line combining for two goals and two assists.

The win was especially sweet for third-line right wing Kyle Palmieri, who scored 14 goals in 57 regular-season games but none in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games. When Palmieri connected at 4:17 of the second period, it was his first goal since March 28.

Trailing by a goal, the Blackhawks were making a push until Nate Thompson collected the puck and found Palmieri, who made it 2-0 Anaheim with a sliding shot that beat goalie Corey Crawford.

"It started with [linemate Andrew Cogliano]," Palmieri said after the game. "He had some good speed on the entry. I threw a puck at the net and it bounced off their pads and it kind of just cycled off that. We got the puck low and Nate made a great play taking the puck to the net and throwing it from a bad angle. The puck popped out, I was lucky enough to get it over his shoulder."

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