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Ducks, Blackhawks vie for Cup Final in Game 7

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 4:06 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks will decide the Western Conference Final in Game 7 Saturday night at Honda Center (8 p.m., ET, NBC, CBC, TVA). The winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Final and face the winner of the Eastern Conference Final, also tied 3-3, between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Both Conference Final series have extended to a Game 7 for just the second time during the NHL's expansion era (since 1967-68). In 2000, the New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to capture the Eastern Conference title, while the Dallas Stars topped the Colorado Avalanche to win Western Conference honors.

The Ducks-Blackhawks showdown will be the fifth Game 7 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the 17th since the start of the 2013 postseason - the most frequently-occurring series length in that span (4 games: 5; 5 games: 9; 6 games: 13).

Chabot: Ducks must be better at both nets in Game 7

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 3:30 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

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.

Part of the Anaheim Ducks' identity is using their size to play a physical, in-your-face brand of hockey. It begins with the Ducks' top forward line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon, three players with an average size of 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds.

It's part of what helped the Ducks win the net-front battles against the Chicago Blackhawks through the first five games of the Western Conference Final. But in Game 6 on Wednesday it was the Blackhawks who flipped the script, according to Frederic Chabot, winning the battles in the trenches en route to a 5-2 win that evened the best-of-7 series at 3-3 and forced Game 7 on Saturday in Anaheim (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Blackhawks back in Game 7 with Cup Final at stake

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 3:30 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- The marketing slogan for the Chicago Blackhawks for the past several seasons has been "One Goal."

The Blackhawks were one goal short of the reaching the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. They want to avoid that feeling again in 2015.

"I was on the left side. [Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec] Martinez shot it from the other side and it got deflected and went in," Sharp said of the Kings' Western Conference Final-clinching overtime goal in Game 7 last season at United Center. "You could just feel the air kind of go out of the building. You feel your heart drop a little bit, being that close, and we had a couple leads in that game as well. Battling back from being down in that series to the Kings, it was a tough way to go out on home ice. You kind of learn from it and use it as hunger to get back to the same situation."

Chicago is back in Game 7 of a Western Conference Final after defeating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 on Wednesday. When the Blackhawks arrive at Honda Center for this series-deciding contest Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), they will be hoping to inflict the same pain the Kings delivered to them a year ago with a 5-4 loss.

Rangers defenseman McDonagh sits out practice

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh did not practice Thursday in advance of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he had no concern about McDonagh's health.

McDonagh has not missed a game in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs; he has three goals, nine points and a plus-3 rating in 18 games, and leads the Rangers with 23:50 of ice time per game.

He did not participate in the morning skate prior to Game 6 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday but played 34 shifts totaling 21:57 in the Rangers' 7-3 win.

Blackhawks' Keith takes hits, makes pivotal plays

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 12:00 PM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith doesn't express much emotion on the ice. But he certainly found a positive way to react to any anger he had for being hit hard by Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler in the second period of Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Wednesday.

Keith responded to being rocked by Kesler by assisting on three Blackhawks goals in a 3:45 span, and early in the third period he saved a goal by pulling a loose puck off the goal line to preserve the Blackhawks' 3-2 lead.

Chicago went on to win 5-2 and force Game 7 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Noel: Keith had elite effort for Blackhawks in Game 6

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 9:02 AM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

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.

The defense of the Chicago Blackhawks proved too much for the Anaheim Ducks in a 5-2 victory in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Wednesday at United Center in Chicago.

McDavid deserves all the comparisons to Crosby

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid has earned the reputation as a generational talent.

It's a label rarely used by NHL scouts. It's never easy to predict how effective any draft prospect will be once he arrives in the NHL, but McDavid appears to be an exception.

Not only is the forward likely to be the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, but many believe he is the best prospect since Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby in 2005.

"Is McDavid the best prospect since Sid?" David Gregory of NHL Central Scouting asked. "Yes, because just about everything he does he does great, and he also wants to get better at it."

Crosby was asked by if it's a fair comparison.

"That's for everyone else to decide," he said. "I think it's human nature. It's hockey; it's what we all do and what we all grow up understanding. So I think the biggest thing for Connor is just to enjoy this whole thing as much as he can."

Top prospect Eichel conjures memories of Kariya

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Jim Montgomery said he'll never forget the caliber of talent he had skating alongside him as a senior at the University of Maine two decades ago.

It was 1992-93, and the Black Bears had one heck of a freshmen class, with New York natives Chris and Peter Ferraro and 5-foot-11, 180-pound Vancouver native Paul Kariya in the fold.

"Paul was special because here's a guy coming in who played for Canada at the World Junior Championship the year before on a line with Eric Lindros, so everybody knew of the talent," Montgomery said. "But you don't know how talented a player is until you see him on the ice."

Montgomery, now coach at the University of Denver, didn't need to watch many line rushes during practice to conclude Kariya was pretty unique.

A similar scenario took place at Boston University this season when freshman Jack Eichel walked on campus after representing the United States at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. Eichel, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, had a similar presence, demeanor and impact in his first collegiate season.

"I jokingly say he's kind of like the Secretariat of a hockey player," Boston University coach David Quinn said. "If you ever watch Secretariat run, he just looks so different than all the other horses.

"Jack is very much in that mold."

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Wednesday, May 27

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 1:38 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations


Duncan Keith (0-3—3) sparked the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-0 lead in a span of 3:45 during the second period, and Andrew Shaw scored two insurance goals after the Anaheim Ducks had pulled within one to help Chicago stave off elimination and force Game 7 in the Western Conference Final.

* The Blackhawks moved within one victory of their 13th all-time appearance in the Stanley Cup Final and third in the past six seasons (2010, 2013).

* The Blackhawks are 13-1 in their past 14 Game 6s dating to the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That includes a 4-1 record in such games when facing elimination.

* The Blackhawks, who lost Game 5 after forcing overtime with two goals in the final two minutes of regulation, have not lost consecutive games this postseason, responding with a win in all five such instances (including three times in this series).

Getzlaf says Ducks' Game 6 loss 'started with me'

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 1:20 AM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was blunt and to the point about what went wrong in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final at United Center on Wednesday.

"It started with me," Getzlaf said. "I was terrible tonight and that's on me. I've got to be better and calm our group down as we go."

Getzlaf's line was on the ice for three of Chicago's five goals, but two of them were in the final four minutes of the third period. He was talking more about his play earlier in the game, which evened the best-of-7 series 3-3.

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Quote of the Day

Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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