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(Page 141 of 147)
Features

Blue Jackets can't overcome slow start

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 12:35 AM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Craig Merz - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Truth be told, it was the beginning of Game 6 that proved to be the demise of the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena on Wednesday night that ended their season.

Needing to tie the Eastern Conference First Round best-of-seven series at 3-3, the Blue Jackets promised a better effort than Game 5 on Saturday when they lost 3-1 at Pittsburgh and were outshot 51-24.

Playing before another energized crowd in Columbus, the Blue Jackets did not deliver in the opening 20 minutes. Evgeni Malkin scored twice and the Penguins grabbed a 2-0 lead that would rise to 4-0 on a goal by Brandon Sutter and another by Malkin.

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Penguins' Malkin ends drought with hat trick

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 11:08 PM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Evgeni Malkin delivered when the Pittsburgh Penguins needed him most.

Malkin earned his second career hat trick in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Pittsburgh's 4-3, series-clinching win against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference First Round at Nationwide Arena on Monday night. The 2009 Conn Smythe Trophy winner was criticized for his lack of production through the first five games of the series, which included a shot-less performance in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 4.

"Another hat-trick performance from Malkin when you need it," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

Malkin joined Mario Lemieux (3) and Sidney Crosby (2) as the players in franchise history to record multiple postseason hat tricks. Malkin's first playoff hat trick came in Game 2 of Pittsburgh's sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2009 Eastern Conference Final.

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Canadiens may be as deep up front as Bruins

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 6:50 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Boston Bruins have long been the gold standard when it comes to the depth of their forwards, something that has been at the root of much of their success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in recent years.

Several teams have attempted to replicate that blueprint. But in order to do so, it's imperative to find a way to replicate the volume of talent at the forward position the Bruins have boasted for many years.

The Montreal Canadiens believe they might have done just that.

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Five reasons why the Stars were eliminated

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 6:23 PM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

So much has changed about the future of the Dallas Stars in the past 12 months then when the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs is complete, it will be hard to argue that members of any of the other seven eliminated franchises will feel better about how this season went.

That doesn't mean there isn't disappointment in Texas after the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Stars in six games in a Western Conference First Round series. Though the Stars had the fewest points of any playoff team, they played well enough against the Ducks to spring the upset and advance.

There were lessons to be learned from this experience, and a future with Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin at the core of a contending team with general manager Jim Nill and coach Lindy Ruff in charge is one people in Dallas should be excited about.

Here are five reasons fans of the Stars are focusing on that future instead of a second-round opponent:

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Collision course pits Bruins vs. Canadiens again

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 5:23 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Shawn P. Roarke and Arpon Basu - NHL.com

The NHL's biggest postseason rivalry is back for another installment.

The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will meet for the 34th time in Stanley Cup Playoff history when they get together in an Eastern Conference Second Round series. The Canadiens have been off since completing a first-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 22; the Bruins held up their end by completing a five-game blitz of the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Though the Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top team during the regular season, they lost three of four games against the Canadiens, including two played in Boston (one in regulation, one in a shootout). The Canadiens have won six of the past seven games and are 351-264-103-7 in the regular season against the Bruins.

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Five reasons why the Anaheim Ducks advanced

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 4:42 PM / Ducks vs Stars - 2014 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Narratives can change pretty quickly during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Anaheim Ducks were a strong example of that in the past few days.

The Ducks were a couple of minutes away Sunday night from losing for the third time in four games to the Dallas Stars in their Western Conference First Round series, and facing a Game 7 at Honda Center in the opening round for the second straight season.

Instead, Anaheim forged an incredible comeback, scoring twice in the final 130 seconds of regulation to force overtime and again at 2:47 of the extra period in Game 6 to finish off the Stars and advance to the second round of the postseason for the first time since 2009.

Anaheim will face one of its California rivals in the Western Conference Second Round. The Ducks haven't advanced past the second round since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007, and Bruce Boudreau has yet to do so in his first six seasons as an NHL coach.

Here are five reasons they will have a chance to do so:

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Canadiens' Vanek expects Bruins to make life difficult

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 4:32 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek has earned the reputation as a thorn in the side of the Boston Bruins since he entered the NHL in 2005-06 with the Buffalo Sabres.

Vanek has 30 goals and 62 points in 55 career games against the Bruins. He had just one goal in the Canadiens' sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round, and knows he will need to find that scoring magic again when the Canadiens and Bruins start a best-of-7 series in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"In the first round I don't think our line played good," Vanek said of himself, Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. "In Games 1, 2 and 3, I thought we created a lot of chances but just didn't connect. Even in Game 1, I think if [Pacioretty] scores in overtime and doesn't hit the post there's a different vibe for us. So we have to do a better job in this series to kind of just stick with it because we know our chances will be limited."

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Undrafted Girardi is now Rangers' defensive stalwart

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 4:10 PM / Rangers vs Flyers - 2014 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- There's no better way to celebrate a birthday than by eliminating a division rival from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the midst of a hostile environment.

That's precisely what New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi will have in mind when his team visits Wells Fargo Center to battle the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS, MSG, CSN-PH).

Girardi, who turns 30 on Tuesday, hopes his team can officially close out the Flyers. The Rangers hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.

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Bruins' Chara committed to protecting own end first

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 3:32 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- When he won his only Norris Trophy following the 2008-09 season, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara had 50 points. In the three full seasons since, the award has gone to defensemen with no fewer than 62 points for a full season.

Last year's winner, the Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban, had 38 points in 42 games during the shortened season. That put him on pace for 74 in an 82-game schedule.

Still, Chara, who was among the three finalists for the award in three of the past four seasons and finished eighth in 2009-10, hasn't altered his approach to the game to suit the desire of the voters to throw their support behind defensemen with a little more offensive punch.

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Five reasons why the Blues were eliminated

Monday, 04.28.2014 / 2:18 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- The end result was not exactly indicative of how the Western Conference First Round series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks was played out, but in the end, it's another disappointing and bitter pill for the Blues to swallow with an early Stanley Cup Playoffs exit.

Though their season ended with a 5-1 loss in Game 6 on Sunday, where the Blackhawks broke the game open with four third-period goals, four of the first five games were decided in overtime and Game 3 was a down-to-the-wire 1-0 game until Chicago added an empty-netter.

The series was a brand of contrasting styles, with the defending Stanley Cup champions going more for skill against the Blues' grit and physical nature.

The Blues lost the series 4-2 in similar fashion to the way they lost in the first round in 2013 against the Los Angeles Kings. Here are five reasons the Blues are again on the outside looking in:

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— 29-year-old Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare after scoring his first NHL goal
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