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Handzus' 2OT goal saves Blackhawks' season

Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 2:03 AM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2014 Western Conference Final

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Michal Handzus has been maligned for his play during in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the goal he scored Wednesday for the Chicago Blackhawks was literally a season-saver.

Handzus scored his second goal of the postseason 2:04 into double overtime to beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 at United Center and force the Western Conference Final to a Game 6 on Friday at Staples Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Kings lead the best-of-7 series 3-2.

Handzus played 14:30 in Game 5 but saw the ice for 1:38 in the third period, 2:43 in the first overtime and 19 seconds in the second OT. He came into the game minus-6 with two points (one goal) in Chicago's 16 previous postseason games.

"You still have to have a lot of confidence in yourself," the 37-year-old center said. "I'm not real happy how [I've] played, but [I've] just got to be confident. It's a lot of fun to be playing in the playoffs. It's conference finals. You cannot just look at yourself all the time, be down [and] be disappointed. You just got to be positive. If you don't want be positive, then probably you won't get out of the slump or anything. I stay positive. I'm [a] better player than [I've] showed. [I'll] try to show it next game again."

Blackhawks show heart, resiliency in Game 5 win

Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 1:51 AM / Blackhawks vs Kings - 2014 Western Conference Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks believed they were going to pull themselves off the proverbial canvas and deliver a night to remember in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at United Center.

Sure, the Los Angeles Kings had delivered three straight haymakers with a run of three straight wins to take a stranglehold in this best-of-7 series, rocking the defending champions to the very limit of their endurance in the process.

When the puck dropped for Game 5, the Blackhawks had no goal other than to play their best game, something they believe they have not come close to doing yet in this series. It was as much about delivering a statement about who they are as an organization as it was about winning the game and getting the series back to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Friday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

In the end, they did both.

Yes, they won an instant classic with a 5-4 victory in double overtime, delivered by the unlikeliest of heroes, Michal Handzus. But they also delivered a vintage Blackhawks performance along the way, turning in a showing which will be added to the lore of what has been accomplished at the Madhouse on Madison.

"It's a special group," Chicago forward Patrick Kane said. "I think we know that in the locker room. It seems like in a lot of games we find ways to win, whether we should or not."

Most goals per game in conference finals since '91

Thursday, 05.29.2014 / 12:55 AM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL.com

The 20 goals scored in the past two nights have made this the highest-scoring conference finals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 23 years.

The 10 games played thus far -- five each between the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers in the East and the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks in the West -- have produced a total of 69 goals, an average of 6.9 per game. That's the most since 1991, when the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins and the Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota North Stars generated an average of 7.2 goals per game.


Ramsay: Canadiens' defense must stay aggressive

Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 6:08 PM / Canadiens vs Rangers - 2014 Eastern Conference Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Aggressive pinches from the point and defenseman joining the rush are necessities for the Montreal Canadiens if they want to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final, longtime NHL coach and player Craig Ramsay said.

The New York Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 3-2. Game 6 is Thursday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Ramsay said he thought the Canadiens' defensemen, particularly Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban, were effective when they pinched in Game 5. He thought their pinches put pressure on the Rangers and gave Montreal more offensive options.

Markov had three assists. Subban had an assist and was plus-3 with four shots on goal. The Canadiens won 7-4.


Five things Rangers must do to clinch in Game 6

Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 5:28 PM / Canadiens vs Rangers - 2014 Eastern Conference Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

MONTREAL -- The New York Rangers spent Wednesday traveling home and digesting one of their worst performances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, all the while knowing they have another chance to accomplish something they haven't done in 20 years.

Technically the Rangers have two more chances to book a trip to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1994, but they'll enter a Montreal minefield if they don't get it done Thursday at Madison Square Garden in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"It's a desperate time," Rangers center Brad Richards said. "You don't want to go back to a Game 7, where anything can happen."

Rangers defenseman Moore suspended two games

Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 5:25 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

NEW YORK – New York Rangers defenseman John Moore has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise during Game 5 of the teams' Eastern Conference Final series in Montreal on Tuesday, May 27, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 10:41 of the third period. A match penalty for illegal check to the head was assessed to Moore.

Manufacturing desperation problematic for Rangers

Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 4:55 PM / Canadiens vs Rangers - 2014 Eastern Conference Final

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The New York Rangers may have found the desperation they needed by seeing what happens when they don’t have it.

The Rangers departed for home Wednesday a day after squandering their first of up to three opportunities to advance to the Stanley Cup Final with a 7-4 loss in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Rangers still lead the best-of-7 series 3-2, and if they want to avoid wasting their second chance to close it out, in Game 6 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), they will need to find a way to manufacture some of the desperation the Canadiens had Tuesday.

Flyers offering free tickets to 2014 NHL Draft

Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 4:42 PM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

NHL.com

Fans will have access to free tickets to the 2014 NHL Draft starting Friday in a special drawing held by the Philadelphia Flyers.

Starting at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, May 30, fans can go to PhiladelphiaFlyers.com/NHLDraft and sign up to receive free tickets. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first served basis.

The draft will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

In addition to seeing future NHL stars selected, fans attending the draft will be able to take their photo with a collection of NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup, and shop from vendors selling one-of-a-kind collectibles at the 2014 NHL Draft Trading Card Show.

Canadiens enjoy Bourque's strong playoff showing

Wednesday, 05.28.2014 / 3:00 PM / Canadiens vs Rangers - 2014 Eastern Conference Final

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The difference between Rene Bourque's play for the Montreal Canadiens during the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs has been astounding.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien is enjoying Bourque's recent results and not concerned about explaining how the left wing's startlingly increased production has come about.

"Before solving Bourque's mystery, I'll let him play a bit more because he's on a roll," Therrien said Wednesday after the Canadiens held an optional practice at their suburban practice facility.

Bourque scored twice Tuesday to complete a hat trick after Montreal blew a 4-1 lead against the New York Rangers. The Canadiens won 7-4 in Game 5 at Bell Centre to stave off elimination for the third time in the playoffs.

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Quote of the Day

The old saying in hockey is 'weather the storm.' I put the notion in their heads that we don't want to weather the storm, we want to push just as hard and matched their work ethic. I thought our guys exceeded that in the first period.

— Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins after their loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday
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