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(Page 115 of 161)
Features

Five reasons why the Kings advanced

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 7:35 PM / Sharks vs Kings - 2014 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Saying that a feat is the least improbable of the group when it has happened four times in NHL history might seem strange, but what the Los Angeles Kings accomplished in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs might not be as crazy as it seems.

The Kings were able to shrug off a 3-0 deficit in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the San Jose Sharks and complete an improbable four-game winning streak to advance to the second round. That San Jose won the first three games by a combined margin of 17-8 might seem to make it even more unlikely.

The truth is, the series had already turned for Los Angeles by the time Patrick Marleau scored in overtime for the Sharks in Game 3. The players in the Kings dressing room already believed they had fixed much of what ailed them early in the series, and they were confident they could rally.


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Five reasons why the Sharks were eliminated

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 7:10 PM / Sharks vs Kings - 2014 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Quite possibly the most interesting offseason in the history of the San Jose Sharks has begun.

That it started in the first week of May instead of sometime in June is part of the reason the Sharks will be an intriguing team to monitor in the coming days and weeks. The other is obviously the way their 2013-14 season ended.

The Sharks were a dominant team in the regular season, with 111 points, and by most advanced metrics were one of the top three or four teams in the NHL. They also took a 3-0 lead in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series.

Unfortunately for San Jose, the opponent was another one of the top teams in the League, and the Los Angeles Kings came all the way back to win the series in seven games. The final blow came Wednesday at SAP Center, when the Kings scored the final five goals in a 5-1 victory.

What went wrong for the Sharks? How did San Jose look so dominant then so meager? While fans and media might be calling for changes within the organization, deciding which parts actually need fixing is going to be a challenge.

The Sharks have to figure that out this offseason. Here are five reasons that process is starting now and not in June.

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Sharp certain goals on way for Blackhawks

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 6:35 PM / Blackhawks-Wild Series Blog - 2014 SCP Second Round

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp wasn't going to be denied.

In a Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues full of scoring chances thwarted and shots missed, the Chicago Blackhawks' leading scorer from the regular season scored a breakaway goal in the third period of Game 6 at United Center.

After blocking Kevin Shattenkirk's shot, Sharp bolted for the neutral zone behind the Blues defenseman. He took a short pass from teammate Patrick Kane, zeroed his focus on St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller, and hit the afterburners.

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X-Factors: Talent of Toffoli, Pearson energizes Kings

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 4:57 PM / Ducks vs. Kings - 2014 SCP Second Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The third goal Wednesday night at SAP Center for the Los Angeles Kings not only provided separation early in the third period of an eventual 5-1 victory in Game 7 to push the franchise into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it also provided some symbolism of how the team has changed since winning a championship in 2012.

Tyler Toffoli scored after a slick pass from Tanner Pearson, and the second assist was awarded to Jake Muzzin.

"That's just chemistry I think between Tanner and Tyler that they've built up probably playing in the minor leagues for the last couple years together," captain Dustin Brown said. "Tanner makes a really nice play on that, going wide and finding him. And Ty, that's what Ty is. He gets the puck in a scoring area and it's in the back of the net. That was a big, big goal."

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Friendship on hold for Bruins' Lucic, Habs' Gallagher

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 2:55 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Everyone thinks the relationship between Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic and the Montreal Canadiens is adversarial.

Some might be disappointed that Lucic actually has a friend who wears a Canadiens sweater and will be battling him for every inch of ice in the upcoming Eastern Conference Second Round series, which gets underway with Game 1 at TD Garden on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Lucic and Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher are alums of the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. They work out together in the offseason. But the upcoming best-of-7 series won't be a time to reminisce about Vancouver or summer fun time.

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Five reasons why the Avalanche were eliminated

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 2:53 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

As crushing as the Colorado Avalanche's Game 7 loss to the Minnesota Wild was in the Western Conference First Round, they have plenty to be excited about moving forward.

In Patrick Roy's first season as Colorado coach, he took a team that had the worst record in the Western Conference last season and transformed it into a first-place group in 2013-14. Rookie Nathan MacKinnon was a revelation, and along with teammate Paul Stastny, a pending free agent, tied for the Stanley Cup Playoffs lead with 10 points. Franchise goaltender Semyon Varlamov is signed for the next five years, and there is a core of bright young talent.

But in a close series that ended with Nino Niederreiter's overtime goal in Game 7, a few glaring issues tipped the balance.

Why were the Avalanche eliminated by the Wild? Here are five reasons:

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Five reasons why the Wild advanced

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 2:41 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

Game 7 of the Minnesota Wild's Western Conference First Round series against the Colorado Avalanche was a microcosm of their regular season.

The Wild's message was put into focus during a seesaw battle Wednesday in Denver: You knock us down, we get back up. Again and again.

In late December, the Wild lost six straight games before bouncing back with a 7-2-0 run and finished the season 6-1-1 to clinch the first wild-card spot in the West.

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Lundqvist among Rangers causing Penguins concern

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 2:34 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The New York Rangers will have played five games in seven days by the time Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins ends.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma doesn't think that will matter.

"It catches your eye. It's a lot of hockey in a short amount of time," Bylsma said. "Both teams are traveling. The schedule always seems to have its quirks, whether you have two days off in between [games] and you're worrying about too much rest and a break in between. This one, you're playing back-to-back nights.

"It's a lot of hockey for both teams. I don't think it's an advantage or a disadvantage."

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Wild entering unfamiliar territory against Blackhawks

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 2:02 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Dan Rosen and Shawn Roarke - NHL.com Staff Writers

For the Chicago Blackhawks, it's a familiar scenario. For the Minnesota Wild, it's territory unchartered for a significant period of time.

The defending Stanley Cup champions are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sixth straight season and have advanced past the first round for the fourth time in that span. They're 3-0 in the previous second-round series.

Until a Game 7 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, the Wild hadn't been out of the first round since 2003, when they came back from 3-1 deficits in consecutive series against the Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks to go all the way to the Western Conference Final, where they were dispatched by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

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X-Factor: Rangers rely on Girardi for shutdown play

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 12:28 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

On a New York Rangers roster featuring its fair share of NHL stars, defenseman Dan Girardi is one of the more unassuming names. But his contributions at both ends of the ice could potentially swing New York's Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As they have the entire season, the Rangers will rely on Girardi to combine with defense partner Ryan McDonagh to shut down Pittsburgh's top offensive weapons. Considering the Penguins' top two lines are centered by two of the world's best players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Girardi could have his work cut out for him.

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Quote of the Day

Because of the way they play and their skill set I don't think they're fourth-line players, so in my mind I'm looking at one of those guys I'll have to move over to the wing.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on his four-player battle for second-line center