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Five reasons Penguins were eliminated from playoffs

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 11:20 AM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

After earning a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on the final day of the regular season, the Pittsburgh Penguins' stay was cut short. Pittsburgh struggled in the final two weeks leading into its Eastern Conference First Round Series against the New York Rangers and carried a bulk of its issues into the postseason.

The Penguins did play competitively in their five playoff games, each decided by one goal.

With a few adjustments, Pittsburgh might have upset the Presidents' Trophy winners. Instead, the Penguins lost a second playoff series to the Rangers for the second straight season.

Here are five reasons the Penguins were eliminated:

Five reasons Rangers advanced to second round

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 9:32 AM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers did what they were expected to do in the Eastern Conference First Round, which was advance against the Pittsburgh Penguins with little adversity.

That doesn't mean it was easy to eliminate the Penguins in five games. The Rangers won four games each by a 2-1 score and all five games were decided by one goal.

Here are five reasons the Rangers advanced to the second round:

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Friday, April 24

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 1:51 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations


Carl Hagelin scored at 10:52 of overtime to lift the New York Rangers to a Game 5 victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins and into the Eastern Conference Second Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

* The Rangers clinched a series in overtime for the first time since May 11, 1997 (Game 5 of ESF at the New Jersey Devils; GWG: Adam Graves). The last time they accomplished that feat at Madison Square Garden was May 27, 1994 (Game 7 of EF vs. New Jersey; GWG: Stephane Matteau). Via Elias, New York has clinched 10 all-time series in overtime -- three on home ice.

* Hagelin has scored each of his playoff game-winning goals against the Penguins. He also had the decisive goal in Game 6 of their second-round matchup last year, when the Rangers erased a 3-1 series deficit en route to a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

Fleury's heroics not enough to save Penguins

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 12:47 AM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury did everything he could to help the Pittsburgh Penguins extend their season against the New York Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

As he did throughout the series, Fleury again proved to be quite the obstacle for the Presidents' Trophy-winning Rangers, who averaged 3.02 goals per game during the regular season, third in the NHL.

Fleury was rock-solid in each game. But that wasn't enough to overcome his team's offensive shortcomings in the five-game series loss to the Rangers, capped by a 2-1 overtime defeat on Friday. Fleury allowed two goals in four of the five games, including the last two, each of which the Penguins lost in overtime.

Pressure shifting to Canadiens after two losses

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 12:17 AM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban was calmly answering questions about their predicament following a second consecutive loss to the Ottawa Senators on Friday in their Eastern Conference First Round series.

The Canadiens lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 but have scored one goal on 74 shots in the two losses and three times on 123 shots in the three games since goaltender Craig Anderson took over for Andrew Hammond.

Subban did not seem overly concerned.

"It takes a lot to make me uncomfortable," he said. "You'd have to put some bugs, insects in my underpants to make me uncomfortable."

As Subban continued speaking, goaltender Carey Price was talking to the media in another corner of the Canadiens dressing room.

Starting time set for Blues-Wild Game 6

Friday, 04.24.2015 / 10:26 PM / Blues vs Wild - 2015 SCP First Round

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League today announced that the starting time of Game 6 of the series between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild has been set for 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT in Minnesota on Sunday, April 26.

Blues scratch forward Lehtera for Game 5 vs. Wild

Friday, 04.24.2015 / 9:31 PM / Blues vs Wild - 2015 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues center Jori Lehtera was scratched for Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round against the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

Lehtera did not participate in the morning skate because of a lower-body injury that he sustained midway through the third period of Game 4 on Wednesday. He was hit on the right leg with a power-play shot by teammate Jay Bouwmeester and didn't return.

Marcel Goc took Lehtera's spot in the lineup after being a healthy scratch Wednesday. Paul Stastny moved up and centered a line with Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, and Goc played between Dmitrij Jaskin and Patrik Berglund.

Perfectionist Miller just wants to help Canucks

Friday, 04.24.2015 / 7:25 PM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Ryan Miller has always been a perfectionist.

The Vancouver Canucks goaltender will spend hours fidgeting with every aspect of his equipment, even driving an hour out of his way after a recent Stanley Cup Playoff practice to visit a hockey store in search of new options. The same thing goes for his game and style tweaks made in his first season with Canucks goaltending coach Roland Melanson.

Miller is meticulous in his preparation, but it wasn't possible for him to take his usual approach given he was a late entry into an emotionally charged Western Conference First Round series against the Calgary Flames.

Coming off a right-knee injury that kept him out most of two months, Miller came on in relief of Eddie Lack in Game 4 on Tuesday, and then made his first playoff start with the Canucks on Thursday with Vancouver down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. Forget no margin for error -- Miller had little of the timing and rhythm his game has relied on for so long. His knee wasn't even 100 percent.

For an admitted perfectionist, it was far from ideal.

"Oh yeah, I felt that," Miller said. "It's an odd situation for me not to have the flow and timing. You generally get this deep into the season and you have a lot of games under your belt. I am just trying to take the approach it's all about the mentality at this point. It's not about timing. It's not about the physical side of things. It's all about mentally: Can I get into the fight, and how long can I stay there?"

Dubnyk, Price, Rinne voted Vezina Trophy finalists

Friday, 04.24.2015 / 7:00 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

NEW YORK -- Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded "to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position," the National Hockey League announced today.

The general managers of the 30 NHL clubs submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Lightning forward Johnson knows how to win

Friday, 04.24.2015 / 6:51 PM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Long - Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson said he got a few more text messages after his game Thursday, and the plane ride back to Tampa was a little nicer.

Otherwise there wasn't much that changed for the second-year player who scored two goals, including the game-winner 2:25 into overtime, to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round and save the Lightning from being on the brink of elimination.

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Amalie Arena on Saturday (6 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN, FS-D, FS-F).

"I don't think I did anything out of the ordinary," Johnson said Friday. "We knew that we had to continue to work and if we could get one past [Red Wings goalie Petr] Mrazek we would have a chance."

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Quote of the Day

I spent a long summer thinking about that playoff series and what could have been. [The Blackhawks] ended up being the Stanley Cup champions, so we know we lost to a very good team. It's tough to know how close we were, and it motivates us for this year.

— Nashville captain Shea Weber in an interview with the Predators website