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Lightning lament 'unlucky breaks' in Game 4 loss

Saturday, 05.23.2015 / 12:50 AM / Rangers vs Lightning - 2015 Eastern Conference Final

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Whether it was untimely defensive breakdowns or an unlikely bounce off of the leg of a teammate, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop will need to put a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final behind him quickly.

The best-of-7 series is now tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Bishop gave up five goals for the second consecutive game, but this time the Lightning offense couldn't bail him out. The Rangers scored two power-play goals during a four-goal barrage in a 16-minute span and are 6-for-15 in the series.

"You look at the last couple of games and the penalty kill has to be better, and that starts with me," Bishop said. "Six [power-play] goals in three games is just unacceptable. You look at some of the other goals and there's a couple things you might do different and a couple of unlucky breaks."

Rangers' St. Louis gets first goal, some confidence

Saturday, 05.23.2015 / 12:21 AM / Rangers vs Lightning - 2015 Eastern Conference Final

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

TAMPA -- When New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis scored his first goal of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday, he couldn't hide his emotions.

It took him 16 games, but St. Louis one-timed Derick Brassard's feed past Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop for a power-play goal 5:08 into the third period of the Rangers' 5-1 victory in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena.

Nearly seven weeks had passed since St. Louis scored a goal. His attitude and approach remained positive throughout, but he admitted after the win that the process was difficult to endure.

Murray, Sather, Yzerman voted GM of Year finalists

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 8:00 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks, Glen Sather of the New York Rangers and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2014-15 NHL General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today.

Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Following are the NHL General Manager of the Year Award finalists, in alphabetical order:

Blackhawks' experience tells them Game 4 is pivotal

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have enough experience in tough spots during the Stanley Cup Playoffs to know they'd better win Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at United Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

If they don't, they'll be down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series and face elimination in Game 5 at Honda Center on Monday, where the Anaheim Ducks have lost once in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"This game coming up is huge," Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad said Friday, a day after the Ducks' 2-1 victory in Game 3 put them up 2-1 in the series. "It's pretty much a must-win for us, especially going back to Anaheim where they have a lot of success. We play well at home. We let one slip away [in Game 3], so we’ve got a big one coming up."

Pass-first Getzlaf setting Ducks up for success

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- When Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was asked Friday about his coaches wishing he would shoot more sometimes, he didn't need to hear the rest of the question.

"Sometimes?" he responded.

Getzlaf is one of the game's premier players. He is a prototype for what a franchise player can be, from his size and ability on the ice to how he represents the organization off it.

He also is having an incredible 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping the Ducks get within six victories of a championship and earning praise as a Conn Smythe Trophy contender. The Ducks have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game 4 will be played Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

All Getzlaf's success, however, doesn't mean there isn't room for some constructive criticism.

Detail-oriented Ducks learned lessons from losses

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- Comfort has led to prosperity for the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks, who lead the best-of-7 Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-1, are excelling because of their attention to detail in this series.

That attention to detail was brought into focus by previous heartache in this tournament, particularly the second-round upset at the hands of Los Angeles Kings in 2014, which went seven games.

As preparations for Game 4 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) began Friday at United Center, several holdovers have talked about the lessons learned in that Kings series; about how every individual decision and battle has the potential to be the difference when two teams are evenly matched.

"I think it's more of a mindset that you figure out that that little play matters, that little chip matters, taking the hit to make a play, getting the puck deep so you can make a good line change," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "Those things are very minor when you look at them individually, but on the scale of a game, when you're talking about not making mistakes in a Game 7, those are part of them."

Noel: Blackhawks continue to activate defensemen

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.

Claude Noel said he believes that when everything else becomes equal during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the details of the game make such a huge difference in the outcome.

The Anaheim Ducks were detail-orientated in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final at United Center in Chicago on Thursday. The win gives the Ducks a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 4 is Saturday in Chicago (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Chabot: Ducks' wins in crease led to win in game

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

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.

When things get tight, as they normally do in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, games can be won and lost in the high-danger areas. The space around the goal crease, where it can be costly physically to enter or defend, can be a difference maker when it comes to the outcome of a game.

Three keys for Rangers, Lightning to winning Game 4

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning feel if they keep their foot on the pedal Friday in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), they'll be able to push themselves to within one win of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Lightning lead the New York Rangers 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

The Rangers, meanwhile, feel if they get can back into their structured game and figure out a way to slow the Lightning, they'll go home for Game 5 with the series tied 2-2 and their home-ice advantage back intact.

Tampa Bay won the last two games by scoring six goals in each of them.

Here are three keys for each team:

Kings' Weal leading AHL affiliate through playoffs

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 11:02 AM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to

From the start the American Hockey League season, the Manchester Monarchs have been a force to be reckoned with.

They had 109 points, the most in the league, and the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings hasn't slowed down in the playoffs, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2010. The Monarchs have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series against the Hartford Wolf Pack, AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers; Game 2 is Saturday.

Jordan Weal, a third-round pick (No. 70) by the Kings in the 2010 NHL Draft, has been an instrumental part of the Monarchs' success. His 69 points were third in the league in the regular season; in the playoffs he has 10 goals and a league-high 15 points.

"These first two series have been really hard battles and kind of two different dynamics," Weal said prior to the start of the conference final. "It was a big rivalry against Portland [in the first round], and then it was more of a systematic series against Wilkes-Barre [in the second round]. Whoever we play, I don't think it’s going to change our game."

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It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy.  Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.

— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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