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Rangers' Nash misses practice because of flu

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 1:46 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers forward Rick Nash missed practice Wednesday because of the flu, a team spokesperson said.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he expects Nash will be able to play Thursday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA, ROOT, MSG).

"He'll be fine [Thursday]," Vigneault said. "He just wasn't feeling well."

Canadiens' Pacioretty won't play Game 1 vs. Senators

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 12:42 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Sean Farrell - Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens will not have leading scorer Max Pacioretty in their lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA, ROOT, MSG).

Montreal coach Michel Therrien confirmed Pacioretty will not play after the Canadiens morning skate at their suburban practice facility.

Pacioretty led the Canadiens this season with 37 goals and 67 points and had a plus-38 rating that tied for the NHL lead. Therrien said it was possible the 26-year-old left wing would be able to return for Game 2 on Friday.

"Like I said at the beginning of the week, we'll take him when he's back at 100 percent," Therrien said. "It was possible that it would have been [Wednesday], but that's obviously not the case. It could be Friday, it could be Sunday, so as soon as we get the OK from the medical team we'll be very happy to have him back in the lineup."

Goaltender Matchup: Inside Price vs. Hammond

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 12:00 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. decided to break down perhaps the most interesting goaltending matchup in the Eastern Conference First Round: Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens vs. Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators.

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 the goals went in 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.

Sense of humor helps Senators coach Cameron

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 3:00 AM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Dave Cameron is a funny guy.

No, really, he is.

The Ottawa Senators coach often projects an all-business approach behind the bench, eyes steely behind his metal-framed glasses, with a couple of fiery rants thrown in during the unprecedented late-season run to a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

When the Senators clinched with a win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, Cameron unleashed an enthusiastic fist pump.

He was asked if he was pretty emotional at that moment.

"I'd say human? I am human," he said. "You don't see it, but we show it a lot. That's one of the things in this business is that you get portrayed a certain way because people see you periodically. Unless you spend every day with somebody, you really don't really know what they're like. My perception has always been that I'm real stern. I call it matter-of-fact. I tell you what I think.

"I think if you talk to most people they'd tell you one of my biggest strengths is my sense of humor."

Canucks back dealing with playoff goalie questions

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 10:24 PM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- It wouldn't be the Stanley Cup Playoffs here without questions about goaltending.

With memories of Roberto Luongo-Cory Schneider controversies lingering, first-year Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins wouldn't reveal his starting goalie for Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday (10 p.m ET; CBC, USA, TVA Sports).

All signs point to Eddie Lack starting ahead of Ryan Miller, if for no other reason than Miller said he is not fully recovered from spraining his right knee Feb. 22. Desjardins said Miller is ready to play when needed, but the coach isn't about to reveal whether that will be in Game 1.

"It makes a difference knowing which goaltenders are going to start, and this time of year you look for all the advantages you can get," Desjardins said. "It's not that you don't want to share information, but you want to win, so you try to find every edge."

First playoff trip for most of Flames roster

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 9:12 PM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

Aaron Vickers - Correspondent

CALGARY -- It's about enthusiasm, not inexperience. Open minds, not star-struck eyes.

It's the message Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley delivered to his players about to skate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time.

"Our team is built on passion. Willingness to compete, willingness to suffer, and that's our DNA, that's our culture," Hartley said. "I wish I could go to the local pharmacy and buy some experience, but I can't. You have to earn this, but that's the only part missing. On the other side, we have great leadership and we have great will. That's been our story all year and we're not going to change it."

The Flames, in the playoffs for the first time since 2009, have little experience on their side heading into Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round at the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, USA, TVA Sports).

NBC's Emrick, McGuire say wild cards can go far

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 6:37 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Be very aware of the wild-card teams when the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins Wednesday.

NBC Sports Group will provide extensive coverage of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs on NBC, NBCSN and NHL Network, and on NBC Universal's USA Network and CNBC. It is the fourth straight year NBC Sports Group will cover every playoff game.

"There's no better time in the year; it's that time when overtimes can go until 2 or 3 in the morning and the excitement just reigns supreme," NBC Sports Group executive producer Sam Flood said.

Flood and the broadcast team of play-by-play man Mike "Doc" Emrick and "Inside the Glass" analyst Pierre McGuire previewed the playoffs Tuesday.

Penguins putting rough finish to season in the past

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 4:35 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Johnston never has been a coach in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and doesn't want his first trip to end prematurely.

After an inconsistent first regular season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Johnston will lead them into Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Rangers on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, ROOT, MSG). Pittsburgh limped to the playoffs in a way they hadn't experienced under Dan Bylsma and Michel Therrien, who each led Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup Final, with Bylsma winning a championship in 2009.

Johnston said he isn't looking at the success his predecessors brought to the organization. He's looking at Thursday.

2015 NHL Awards to be held on June 24 in Las Vegas

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 4:30 PM / NHL Awards

NEW YORK – The NHL Awards™ will return to Las Vegas this summer at the world-famous MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, the National Hockey League announced today. The NHL Awards will be held on Wednesday, June 24, at the renowned MGM Grand Garden Arena.

It marks the first year that the NHL Awards will be held at the MGM Grand, home to world-class entertainment, dining and nightlife, as well as concerts, championship boxing and premier sporting and special events. When the biggest stars from the NHL® and hockey fans from around the world descend on the MGM Grand in June, it will mark the seventh year of a successful partnership with Las Vegas and the sixth time the NHL will honor the best hockey players in the world and the top performances of the season in Las Vegas.

Blackhawks' Kane to return in Game 1 vs. Predators

Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 4:23 PM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane made it official after practice Tuesday that he will play against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN360, CSN-CH, FS-TN).

Kane will play seven weeks after surgery Feb. 25 to repair his fractured left collarbone. He'll be in his familiar spot at right wing on the second line and take a spot on the Blackhawks' top power-play unit.

"Yeah, that's the plan," Kane said of playing Game 1. "It's exciting. It's been a long 50 days here so it's a credit to a lot of hard work from, obviously, the doctors and the trainers and just listening to them and trying to heal as fast as possible."

It was a speedy recovery.

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