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Lightning X-factor Boyle key on faceoffs, penalty kill

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 3:12 PM / X-Factor

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- After signing forward Ryan Callahan to a new contract and picking up defenseman Anton Stralman in free agency, the signing of center Brian Boyle did not get the big headlines for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

However, the value of the 6-foot-7, 244-pound forward was well known in the locker room, and Boyle's versatility and leadership has proven to be crucial to the Lightning's success in the regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Boyle was one of the players who spoke to the team before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. His experience on the ice and leadership in the locker room makes him revered by teammates.

"We appreciate everything Brian brings to this team," Callahan said. "He's one of the best teammates you can have. He plays the game the right way and he's an important part of what we do here."

2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge update

71 percent year-over-year increase; 17 fans tied atop leaderboard; zero 'perfect' brackets

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 3:00 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – Hockey fans submitted more than 800,000 brackets in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Samsung, up 71% from last year. With the entire playoff field separated by just 16 points -- the narrowest gap in a half-century -- fans were tasked with predicting the winner of each series through the Stanley Cup Final, and the number of games for each First Round series.

During the First Round, 16 teams vying for the Stanley Cup netted 16.8 million possible outcomes in the Bracket Challenge, and zero 'perfect' brackets – correctly choosing every series winner, and the number of games in each of those series – remain in the challenge. After a dramatic First Round that included two Game 7s, several momentum-swinging overtimes and third-period comebacks, 17 fans are tied for first place atop the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge powered by Samsung leaderboard, having correctly predicted all eight series winners and the correct number of games in seven of the eight series.

Goaltender matchup: Inside Lundqvist vs. Holtby

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 1:29 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. decided to break down the highest profile matchup in the Eastern Conference Second Round: Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals.

Much like many goaltending coaches will do before a playoff series, correspondent Kevin Woodley, the managing editor of InGoal Magazine, charted every goal scored against each goalie in this matchup this season with the help of a program from Double Blue Sport Analytics. The graphics showing where goals went in and shots were taken from on the ice are nice, but the real value is tracking and analyzing the types of plays that led to them, and whether they reveal strengths, weaknesses and tendencies that can be targeted.

Five reasons Red Wings were eliminated from playoffs

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 12:14 PM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Paul Harris - Correspondent

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings lost a closely contested Eastern Conference First Round playoff series to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, capped by a 2-0 loss in Game 7.

Detroit played better as the series wore on. They were outshot 46-14 but won 3-2 in Game 1. Then goaltender Petr Mrazek shut out Tampa Bay in Games 3 and 5, and Detroit dominated Game 4 for all but the final 7:25 of the third period and overtime.

Mrazek's shutout in Game 5 gave the Red Wings a chance to win the series in Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena, but the Lightning won 5-2 to force Game 7 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Detroit was without two of its regular defenseman Wednesday. Niklas Kronwall was suspended by the NHL Department of Player Safety for charging in Game 6, and Marek Zidlicky sat out because of an upper-body injury sustained in Game 6.

The Red Wings outshot the Lightning 31-17 in Game 7 but couldn't beat goaltender Ben Bishop. Defenseman Braydon Coburn's goal in the third period was all the Lightning needed; defenseman Anton Stralman added an empty-net goal with 1:18 remaining.

Games 6 and 7 were the only time in the series when a team won two games in a row.

Here are five reasons the Red Wings were eliminated:

Coburn's knuckler lifts Lightning into second round

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 12:00 PM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't acquire defenseman Braydon Coburn prior to the NHL Trade Deadline for his offensive prowess. But on a night when their stars couldn't dent Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek, it was Coburn that solved him and lifted the Lightning into the Eastern Conference Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Coburn, who had one goal in 43 regular-season games, picked the precise time to strike when he one-timed Ryan Callahan's feed past Mrazek at 3:58 of the third period to lift Tampa Bay to a 2-0 win in Game 7. The Lightning rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the best-of-7 series to eliminate the Red Wings and will face the Montreal Canadiens in the second round beginning with Game 1 Friday at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Stanley Cup to guest star on CBS drama 'Elementary'

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 11:46 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Stanley Cup will serve as a special guest star on the CBS show "Elementary" on Thursday (10 p.m. ET).

In the episode Sherlock Holmes, played by Jonny Lee Miller, explains how he discovered the Cup during an investigation and conducts a series of tests to determine if it's actually hockey's most iconic trophy or a duplicate.

Five reasons Lightning advanced to second round

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 10:50 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Long - Correspondent

The Tampa Bay Lightning showed resolve and mental toughness to rally from 3-2 down in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round. The Lightning struggled at times against the Detroit Red Wings, but they never folded, and the personnel moves Tampa Bay made over the past two years paid off in Game 7 on Wednesday.

The Lightning advanced to the second round for the first time since 2011 and will play the Montreal Canadiens in a rematch from the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Canadiens swept the Lightning in the first round last year.

Here are five reasons the Lightning advanced:

Noel: Experience paid off for Lightning in Game 7

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 10:08 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings, 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 Tampa Bay Lightning proved even the highest-scoring team in the regular season will sometimes need to check and defend all over the ice to win the big game.

First round of playoffs revealed these 16 things

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs enter the second round Thursday, but before the eight teams begin their battle for the final four spots, let's take a look back at a first round that featured two series that went the distance and one that ended in four games.

Here are 16 things we learned in the first round:

Boudreau, Ducks hope to learn from playoff failures

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 3:00 AM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- It has been the stumbling block for Bruce Boudreau and the Anaheim Ducks the past two seasons, and it is in place again for these Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Anaheim is the higher-seeded team facing a challenge in the Western Conference Second Round series that starts Thursday against the Calgary Flames at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN).

This hasn't gone well for the Ducks, who were eliminated by the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings last season and by the Detroit Red Wings in 2013. Each came in Game 7. Each was at the hands of a lower-seeded team.

Is there something to be said about learning from losing?

"Well, I've learned a lot," Boudreau said with a laugh.

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It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy.  Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.

— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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