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Ducks know they can't keep relying on comebacks

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 7:22 PM / Ducks vs Jets - 2015 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

WINNIPEG –- The Anaheim Ducks are playing a dangerous game and they know it.

The Ducks are ahead 3-0 in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the Winnipeg Jets despite trailing in the third period of each game.

The fact the Ducks have been able to come back in the third period should come as no surprise considering they were the best team in the NHL when it came to winning games they trailed after two periods. They won 12 of those 35 games in the regular season, a winning percentage of .343, considerably higher than the League average of .206. But even then, the odds were against the Ducks winning those games.

They've won three in a row against the Jets, but Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau knows this is not a trend that can continue, especially not Wednesday when they try to close out the series at MTS Centre in Game 4 (9:30 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVA Sports, FS-W).

Datsyuk, Hudler, Kopitar voted Lady Byng finalists

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 7:00 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Forwards Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Jiri Hudler of the Calgary Flames and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability," the National Hockey League announced today.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association submitted ballots for the Lady Byng Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Following are the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Farrish: Rangers' backcheck gives Penguins problems

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 6:04 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, has enlisted the help of Dave Farrish to break down the action. Farrish will be checking in throughout the series.

Farrish was an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs from 2005-14. He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He also coached 1,027 games in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. In addition, Farrish, a former defenseman, played 430 games over seven seasons in the NHL.

The New York Rangers' speed up the ice is a staple of their game and noticeable whenever they're playing well. But it was New York's speed on the back check in Game 3 Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center that caught the attention of former NHL assistant coach Dave Farrish.

Farrish said the Rangers were dominant in the first two periods en route to a 2-1 win and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series in part because they were so quick on the back check that it disabled any rush up the ice the Penguins were hoping to have.

"Their back pressure was really incredible and they didn't give Pittsburgh really anything at all off the rush," Farrish said. "It caused the Penguins to turn the puck over at the blue line or just inside the blue line when they were looking for help. I thought that was a big part of the game."

Start times announced for Friday playoff games

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 5:15 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League today announced updated start time and national television information for two potential 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round games scheduled for Friday, April 24.

The remainder of Friday's schedule will be announced at a later date.

· The starting time for the potential Game 5 of the series between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators has been set for 7 p.m. ET in Montreal. In Canada, the game would be televised on CBC and TVA Sports. In the U.S., the game would be televised on CNBC.

Senators' Karlsson emerging as a leader in playoffs

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 3:16 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- There could be a scenario in the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens when a top defenseman knocked an opposing player out of the series with a big body check.

It probably wouldn't have been thought to be 6-foot, 180-pound Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson as the one who has delivered the biggest hit of the series.

Karlsson hit Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu in the second period of Game 3 on Sunday when he caught Beaulieu accepting a pass inside the Montreal blue line and stepped into him. The Canadiens said Tuesday that Beaulieu will be out for the duration of the best-of-7 series with an upper-body injury.

"That open-ice hit was perfect, a textbook body check. It gets the momentum going for your team," Senators forward Curtis Lazar said.

Senators defenseman Cody Ceci said, "I've seen him make a couple of big hits before, but that was probably one of the biggest. It definitely got us going. That's kind of out of his element. He stepped up and made a big hit like that."

Penguins see need to test Lundqvist with more shots

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 3:15 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins preach getting an abundance of shots on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston pledged he expects 35 shots per game midway through the regular season. Pittsburgh had stretches when it met Johnston's expectation but often came up short, which the Penguins felt partially led to their lackluster offensive output as the season neared its end.

Three games into the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round Series against New York, not much has changed, and Pittsburgh trails 2-1. The Penguins had their first shot on goal in Game 3 at 15:10 of the first period, when defenseman Ben Lovejoy sent a slap shot on Lundqvist from center ice following a power play.

The Penguins cannot repeat their Game 3 performance if they wish to tie the series in Game 4 at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA2, MSG, ROOT).

"Last night, we talked about shots allowed," Johnston said Tuesday. "Anytime you go through the first 10 minutes, or 11 minutes, of the first period and don't get a shot, when you look at our shot attempts last night, we had 35 shot attempts that were blocked or missed. Those are the ones we have to get eight or nine of those to the net, for sure. You can't have 35 that are blocked or missed.

"Certainly, some teams block a lot of shots, but that's far too many. We had some early that were blocked or missed that could have given us some real momentum in the first 10 minutes. And then you miss them, and obviously, you're looking at the clock and you don't have any shots at the 10-minute mark."

Chabot: Home crowd may have also affected Jets

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 3:00 PM / Ducks vs Jets - 2015 SCP First Round

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Western Conference First Round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets, 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.

Leading up to Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round series between the Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks, the anticipation and focus was on playoff hockey returning to Winnipeg for the first time since 1996 and what the crowd and atmosphere would be like at MTS Centre.

McDonagh fully acclimated to role as Rangers captain

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 2:36 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Ryan McDonagh felt earlier this season that if he figured out how to marry being the New York Rangers captain and their top defensemen he'd start to resemble the player who earned each of those titles through his performance last season.

It was a union that took some time to develop and came with some internal struggles for McDonagh, but it's become the perfect marriage for the Rangers, who have a 2-1 lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series heading into Game 4 Wednesday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 2, ROOT, MSG).

"He's done so many great things for us and now you see it," Rangers center Derek Stepan said. "He's a big part of what we do as a group."

Pominville, Wild top line asserts itself in Game 3

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 2:01 PM / Blues vs Wild - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- When judging the season of Minnesota Wild forward Jason Pominville, be sure to look further than his statistics.

Despite a 12-goal decline from last season, Pominville has been an important piece all season for the Wild, who are leading a Stanley Cup Playoff series for the first time in their history.

Pominville scored the game-winning goal in Game 3 of Minnesota's Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues on Monday, giving the Wild a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series with Game 4 on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NCBSN, SN360, TVA3, FW-MW, FS-N).

"From a goal-scoring standpoint, you always want more," Pominville said. "From a point-production, I'm pretty much where I was last year (60-54). I went through a stretch [this season] where maybe I was making more plays and not shooting as much, but when you look at my total shots, I had more this year."

Islanders defense raising game in Hamonic's absence

Tuesday, 04.21.2015 / 12:22 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- When defenseman Travis Hamonic sustained an undisclosed injury in the second-to-last game of the regular season, the rest of the New York Islanders blue line knew it would have to step it up a notch in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Brian Strait, who was shuffled in and out of the lineup during the season, has arguably been one of the Islanders' best defensemen through the first three games of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals, which continues Tuesday with Game 4 at Nassau Coliseum (7:30 p.m. ET; USA, SN360, TVA Sports 2, CSN-DC, MSG+).

The Islanders lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Strait was playing alongside Hamonic at the time of the injury and has since been paired with Calvin de Haan. Strait doesn't have a point in the series but he's helped limit a potent Capitals offense to one goal in two of the three games.

There is no timetable for Hamonic's return.

"It's tough because I was playing with him at the time and we were playing really well together," Strait said Tuesday. "More from a team standpoint, the things that he does physically and against top players, it's something that we miss. But I think everybody's stepped up pretty well and done a pretty decent job so far. I think we've got to keep progressing and getting better."

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You could feel it. You could feel that they were going after each other and trying to win the game for their team.

— Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom on Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, in which Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and Penguins forward Sidney Crosby each scored hat tricks
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