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Blackhawks win emphasizing speed, skill over size

Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 5:55 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Size is a nice characteristic to have in hockey, but the Chicago Blackhawks have proven it's not everything.

The Blackhawks have emphasized speed and skill over size, and they've been successful, winning two of the past five Stanley Cup championships (2010 and 2013).

Chicago is preparing for its fifth Western Conference Final in the past seven seasons and is considered by some as the favorite to defeat the bigger Anaheim Ducks; Game 1 is Sunday at Honda Center (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). That probably wouldn't have happened a decade ago, when giant men on skates clogged the ice surface, but the NHL and game have changed.

Being small isn't a detriment anymore for guys with great hands and the ability to skate fast.

"I would say if it was like the early 2000s or late '90s, it seemed like it was a bigger man's game and it would be tough for guys [my] size to end up even making the NHL," said 5-foot-11, 177-pound right wing Patrick Kane, who leads the Blackhawks with 13 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Five reasons Lightning advanced to Eastern final

Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 12:30 PM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Corey Long - Correspondent

The Tampa Bay Lightning jumped out to a 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Montreal Canadiens and had to survive a scare.

Montreal battled back in the best-of-7 series by winning Games 4 and 5, but Tampa Bay had not lost three consecutive all season and showed their mettle with a 4-1 win in Game 6 on Tuesday to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

The Lightning won nine of 11 games against the Canadiens this season and got a measure of revenge against the team that swept them in the first round a year ago.

Here are five reasons the Lightning advanced:

Dennis: Lightning used anger to eliminate Canadiens

Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 12:10 PM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference Second Round series between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning, has enlisted the help of Chris Dennis to break down the action. Dennis will be checking in throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Dennis spent 10 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, including the past two as an assistant coach under Randy Carlyle and Peter Horachek. Prior to that he was the Maple Leafs' video coach for eight seasons.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he saw an angry group of players after losing Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round to the Montreal Canadiens, and he hoped that anger would carry over to Game 6.

Chris Dennis saw that anger when the Lightning took the ice Tuesday, and it carried them to a series-clinching 4-1 defeat of the Canadiens.

"Tampa took it to them pretty good," Dennis said. "Back and forth to start, but then Tampa just slowly took over. … In Game 6 Tampa came out and said they were going to play their game; we're going to do what we need to do, and they went and did it. That first goal of the game, that tip by [Nikita] Kucherov, that's a Tampa Bay Lightning goal. That's how they play, that's how they score. It was a great goal and got them on their way."

'Triplets' spark Lightning to Eastern Conference Final

Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 12:00 PM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

Reeling from two straight losses that cut their lead in the Eastern Conference Second Round from 3-0 to 3-2, the Tampa Bay Lightning responded in Game 6 by dominating the Montreal Canadiens en route to a 4-1 victory to win the best-of-7 series 4-2.

The Lightning's best line, and one of the best in the NHL, provided the spark to the Eastern Conference Final. Two-thirds of "The Triplets," Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, combined for three goals and two assists, including Palat's beauty of a power-play goal that essentially put away the Canadiens.

Shortly after Canadiens forward Devante Smith-Pelly went to the penalty box for holding, Palat passed the puck to Kucherov in the corner and cut to the net, completing a pretty give-and-go by shooting the puck past Canadiens goalie Carey Price for a 3-0 Lightning lead.

"[Kucherov] just found me," Palat told the Tampa Bay Times. "… I was lucky enough to put it through."

Five reasons Canadiens were eliminated from playoffs

Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 11:40 AM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Sean Farrell - Correspondent

The Montreal Canadiens' season came to an end against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Second Round in much the same way as Montreal ended the Ottawa Senators' season in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After winning two straight elimination games, the Canadiens ran out of comebacks in Game 6 of the second round to lose the best-of-7 series it once trailed 3-0. Montreal had a 3-0 lead in the first round against Ottawa and lost the next two games before winning the series in six.

Carey Price is a finalist for the Vezina and Hart trophies, but not even his sensational goaltending could carry the Canadiens back to a second straight appearance in the Eastern Conference Final.

Here are five reasons the Canadiens were eliminated:

Canadiens must score more to support Price

Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 1:07 AM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

TAMPA -- Carey Price fell on his sword Tuesday, and in many ways, that is what ails the Montreal Canadiens.

On one hand, it is commendable for Price to come out and take the blame for the Canadiens' six-game loss in their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning because he is seen as a team leader, and that's what good leaders do.

On the other hand, it is insane.

The Canadiens were not eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs because of Carey Price. It could be argued the only reason they were even in the playoffs was because of Carey Price.

Lightning's Stamkos comes up big again in Game 6

Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 12:43 AM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos made good on his promise to embrace the challenge in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Montreal Canadiens at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.

Stamkos had at least one point in each of the previous four games, but he hadn't had a signature performance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He did not score in the first eight games, which included a seven-game series victory against the Detroit Red Wings in the first round.

But Stamkos showed the speed, skill and determination Tuesday that have made him one of the NHL's top stars. He seemed to be creating chances on every shift and when Alex Killorn gave Stamkos an opportunity to put a wrist shot past Canadiens goalie Carey Price, he buried it to give the Lightning a two-goal lead in a game they went on to win, 4-1.

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Tuesday, May 12

Wednesday, 05.13.2015 / 12:10 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations


Nikita Kucherov (2-1—3) had three points to propel the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Montreal Canadiens and into the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in franchise history and the first since 2011.

* Kucherov opened the scoring, added an empty-netter and had an assist for his second three-point game and second multiple-goal game of the postseason.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kucherov became the second player in franchise history to have three points in a series-clinching victory. He joined Fredrik Modin, who posted 0-3—3 on April 16, 2004, in Game 5 of the EQF vs. the New York Islanders (3-2 OT W).

Marchessault replaces Callahan for Lightning

Tuesday, 05.12.2015 / 7:43 PM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Marchessault is replacing Ryan Callahan in the lineup for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Montreal Canadiens (CBC, TV-A, NBCSN).

Callahan is day-to-day after having an emergency appendectomy Monday. He was released from the hospital Tuesday.

Flames not content after rejuvenating season

Tuesday, 05.12.2015 / 6:41 PM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving cautioned his team about complacency in final exit meetings Tuesday.

The Flames lost to the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Second Round in five games, and being one of the final eight teams remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs wasn't enough.

"We talked about a quote that I think is something we need to live by: 'Champions behave like champions long before they are champions,'" Treliving said. "For us to grow, it's a mindset, it's a lifestyle. You have to live like a champion before you are a champion. The things that we've done in the past, we have to do it better. We have to get stronger, we have to get better conditioned, we have to grow from the process we went through. There's a lot to look back on, a lot to be proud of, but a lot yet to achieve."

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