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Features

Mason nearly gets Flyers into second round

Thursday, 05.01.2014 / 12:06 AM / Rangers vs Flyers - 2014 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason did all he could to bail out his team one last time in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

His 31 saves weren't enough. The Rangers advanced to the second round with a 2-1 victory in the series finale.

The Rangers again got the best of the Flyers at 5-on-5, and New York’s offense onslaught in the second period that produced two goals on 18 shots proved just enough. If Mason's sterling performance in this series proved anything, it was that Flyers players, coaches and fans can say in  earnest that the future is bright between the pipes in Philadelphia.

In the City of Brotherly Love, where goaltending is traditionally taken to task each offseason, that's a major accomplishment.

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Carcillo contributes again for Rangers in Game 7

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 11:35 PM / Rangers vs Flyers - 2014 SCP First Round

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault didn't make many changes to his lineup as the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers progressed. But the changes he did make reaped instant rewards.

The latest example was Vigneault's decision to dress Daniel Carcillo for Game 7 after the forward was a healthy scratch the previous two. Carcillo rewarded his coach by scoring in the second period and sparking the Rangers' 2-1 series-clinching win at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

"I just felt that in a Game 7 like this I'd rather go with experience. He had been in those situations before," Vigneault said. "He came up and did a good job and scored that first big goal for us."

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Rested Penguins ready for Rangers in second round

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 11:28 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won all four Stanley Cup Playoff series they've played against the New York Rangers. They'll try to make it 5-for-5 when the teams meet in the Eastern Conference Second Round, beginning with Games 1 and 2 at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins have had a few days to rest after finishing off the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday to win their first-round series in six games, though they blew multiple-goal leads in each loss and nearly saw a 4-0 lead completely vanish in Game 6. The Rangers played Games 6 and 7 of their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers on back-to-back nights; they advanced by outlasting the Flyers 2-1 at home Wednesday, one night after a 5-2 road loss.


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Goaltender matchup: Inside Price vs. Rask

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 7:10 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the competition intense and so even, the men protecting each goal often are the difference in a series. NHL.com decided to break down perhaps the most interesting goaltending matchup in the Eastern Conference Second Round: Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens vs. Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins.

Much like many goaltending coaches will do before a playoff series, NHL.com correspondent Kevin Woodley, the managing editor of InGoal Magazine, charted every goal scored against each goalie in this matchup this season and came to some interesting conclusions about their strengths and weaknesses.

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Tennessee teenager boasts perfect playoff bracket

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 5:23 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

More than a half-million entries were submitted for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge. Heading into the trio of Game 7s on Wednesday, only one participant has a chance to claim they correctly predicted each of the teams that would advance in the first round and in how many games.

A student and hockey player at Father Ryan High School in Nashville, Colin Fitts stands alone. And if the New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings all win Wednesday, he'll have successfully filled out a perfect bracket for the opening round of the playoffs.

Fitts, 16, is an aspiring journalist who covers the Nashville Predators for the HockeyWriters.com. But he didn't exactly draw on his experience covering his favorite team when it came time to file his bracket.

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X-Factor: Penguins' Letang rounding back into form

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 5:00 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The perception was the Pittsburgh Penguins would be without defenseman Kris Letang at the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Instead, Letang is playing and rounding into shape entering the Eastern Conference Second Round.

Letang had a stroke in late January that put his hockey future into doubt. A little over two months later, he returned against the Detroit Red Wings on April 9. His performance was surprisingly crisp in Pittsburgh's final three regular-season games, with one goal and four points.

That did not carry into the first few games of the Penguins' Eastern Conference First Round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Letang was criticized following his Game 1 performance after committing two turnovers, one that led to a shorthanded goal for Columbus forward Derek MacKenzie, and two reactionary penalties in the offensive zone.

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X-Factor: Ducks' Bonino used to scoring big goals

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 5:00 PM / Ducks vs. Kings - 2014 SCP Second Round

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

If the Anaheim Ducks need a big goal in their Western Conference Second Round series, don't be surprised if Nick Bonino scores it.

The 26-year-old forward had three goals in the Ducks' first-round series win against the Dallas Stars, but two of them came in Anaheim's 5-4 victory in Game 6, which clinched the series for the Ducks. He triggered a late-game comeback by scoring with 2:10 left in regulation to cut Anaheim's deficit to 4-3, then got the overtime winner at 2:47.

"It's tough to describe," Bonino said Tuesday at Honda Center. "It's almost like your mind goes blank. You're just so happy. There's euphoria, just pure happiness."

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Blues see latest first-round exit as 'a big letdown'

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 4:42 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- The St. Louis Blues gathered at the rink one final time before heading their separate ways, their feelings leaning toward disappointment and frustration after another exit in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

It was locker cleanout day at the Ice Zone inside St. Louis Outlet Mall on Wednesday, and it came sooner than they expected.

A pick by some to win their first Stanley Cup, the drought will go into a 48th season in 2014-15. But a year after learning the hard lesson of losing a 2-0 series lead in the first round against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, the Blues suffered the same fate in 2014 against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

After losing four straight in the six-game Western Conference First Round series, players Wednesday echoed the sentiment expressed by general manager Doug Armstrong and coach Ken Hitchcock the day before: There was a lack of killer instinct.

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Quote of the Day

It's such a privilege to be one of these 80 great players to do this milestone, and it doesn't get better than this doing it where I started. It means a lot to me. A big thanks goes to all the players tonight who helped me to achieve that and also all the players through my career.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa after scoring his 1,000th career point on Thursday night in Ottawa
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