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Features

Ducks' third line plays major role in Game 1

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- It's usually forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry who are surrounded by huge postgame media scrums, but the scene was quite different in the Anaheim Ducks' dressing room after a 4-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final at Honda Center on Sunday.

In one corner, there was forward Kyle Palmieri, who hadn't scored in more than six weeks. Across from him was forward Nate Thompson, who missed the first round because of an injury. In between them was Andrew Cogliano, the iron-man forward with a tenacious forecheck.

They comprise Anaheim's third line, which combined for two goals and two assists Sunday. It was a rare occurrence in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when Anaheim won without major contributions from Getzlaf or Perry, who appeared on the score sheet in the form of Getzlaf's empty-net assist at 18:42 of the third period.

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Lightning aim to protect puck, play tighter D in Game 2

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- Coach Jon Cooper wasn't happy Saturday with how the Tampa Bay Lightning played in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Saturday.

He felt even worse the next day.

"It's funny watching games," Cooper said Sunday. "You can play the game and you can watch it and say ... you look at the game and not think you played very well, and then you watch the tape and it's actually a little better than you thought. But then there's the times that you think you played OK, and you watch the tape and you want to vomit. And that was a little bit how last night went."

Cooper said Saturday that he thought the Lightning played better in the final two periods of the 2-1 loss. But after a second viewing Sunday, he saw something very different.

"For two periods I thought we were a little bit better than we were until I watched the tape," Cooper said. "I think the Rangers played extremely well. But there are so many things ... we just kept stubbing our toe all night. We were just handing them tickets to the movie and we were a turnstile and watching them go by. We can't do that. We can't be giving pucks away, we can't be turning them over, we can't not make them go the 200 feet."


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Rangers D-men look to be involved in offensive end

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- It doesn't typically get easier the deeper a team advances into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but life on the ice might be a little simpler for New York Rangers defensemen against the Tampa Bay Lightning than it was against the Washington Capitals.

It appeared that way in the Rangers' 2-1 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Saturday, when New York's defensemen, particularly Ryan McDonagh, Dan Boyle and Keith Yandle, were consistently joining the rush, up in the attack, and interchanging with forwards to go deep into the offensive zone.

If they're able to consistently do that for the rest of the series, the Rangers' chances of moving on to the Stanley Cup Final for a second straight season grow exponentially because defensive depth and a blue-line attack can and should be an advantage for them against the Lightning.

"We'll see," Boyle said. "Ask me in about four or five games."


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Farrish: Score didn’t reflect Rangers' domination

Saturday, 05.16.2015 / 11:42 PM / Rangers vs Lightning - 2015 Eastern Conference Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the New York Rangers during the Eastern Conference Final series, NHL.com 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.

Dave Farrish didn't feel the score in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final was indicative of how well the New York Rangers played on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

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Russia to defend World title against Canada

Saturday, 05.16.2015 / 8:12 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

NHL.com Staff

Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin were part of one of the most famous international showdowns in hockey history, the championship game between Canada and Russia at the 2005 World Junior Championship.

Crosby and Canada defeated Ovechkin and Russia 6-1 that day. Since then, they've faced each other dozens of times during the NHL regular season, as well as in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the 2010 and '14 Olympics. But they haven't met with a championship on the line. That will change Sunday when Crosby and Canada try to dethrone Ovechkin and defending champion Russia by winning in the gold-medal game at the IIHF World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic (2:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN). It follows the bronze-medal game between the United States and the Czech Republic (10:15 a.m. ET).

Each player is in Prague because his team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers. Crosby was named Canada's captain shortly after the Pittsburgh Penguins lost in five games in the first round; Ovechkin flew to Prague in time to score a goal and add an assist in Russia's 4-0 semifinal victory against the United States on Saturday after he and the Washington Capitals lost Game 7 of their second-round series in New York on Wednesday.

Crosby had an assist in undefeated Canada's 2-0 victory against the Czech Republic in the first semifinal. Though Crosby hasn't been among the team’s top scorers, Canada has scored a tournament-high 60 goals in winning each of its nine games.

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Well-rested Blackhawks eager for Game 1 vs. Ducks

Saturday, 05.16.2015 / 7:57 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM – For the better part of a week, observers have been trying to divine how the Chicago Blackhawks will survive the long layoff before the start of the Western Conference Final.

The speculation continued Saturday as the Blackhawks ran through a brisk practice at Anaheim Ice, making final preparations before Game 1 against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

As the Blackhawks performed some line rushes and took part in a short scrimmage, the hunt was on for signs of rust or ennui in their game. But Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was not worried, even though his team's last game was on May 7, a 4-3 victory against the Minnesota Wild that finished off a second-round sweep.

“We had two really good practices prior to flying out here [Friday],” Quenneville said. “I liked our practice [Saturday]. But we want to play hockey, play real games. I think our team gets measured way better on how we play than practice.”

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Toews-Kesler matchup is key in West Final

Saturday, 05.16.2015 / 7:35 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- The 2015 Western Conference Final might be the first playoff matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks, but for a couple of the key combatants it will be just like old times.

Jonathan Toews and Ryan Kesler were a featured matchup when the Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks met for three consecutive years in the Stanley Cup Playoffs from 2009-11, and they’ve seen plenty of each other in Canada-United States games at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2014 Sochi Olympics.

They're sure to see a lot of each other during the next two weeks, beginning with Game 1 at Honda Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"Toews is a good player. We always seem to match up against each other," Kesler said Saturday. "So when you play him in the playoffs and you play against the same guy for six-seven games in a row, obviously there’s going to be rivalry there. If I’m playing against him this series, I’m sure we won’t hug each other after draws, let’s just say that."

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Veteran Moore plays hero for Rangers in Game 1

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Dominic Moore wore the Broadway Hat signifying the players' choice for the New York Rangers' player of the game. He was also named the first star of the game Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

These accolades, all well-deserved, only came Moore's way because he scored the winning goal for the Rangers on Saturday in their 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

If somebody else scored, that player would have gotten the accolades, but if it were up to Moore's teammates, every story written about the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs would include at least a passing mention of No. 28 in blue, white and red.

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Rangers defense stymies Lightning in Game 1 win

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK - Coach Alain Vigneault believes defending well will ultimately lead to quality scoring chances for his New York Rangers.

While the goals haven't come in bunches during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Rangers have certainly done enough defensively to provide the impetus in the opposing end while stalling some of the top offenses in the Eastern Conference.

The Rangers exhibited one of those sterling defensive performances once again Saturday in a 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden.

Game 2 is Monday at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The win was the 13th straight one-goal decision and ninth 2-1 game the Rangers have played in the playoffs. They are 7-2 in 2-1 games.

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Bishop, Lightning don't get bounces in Game 1

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop did his part to keep his team in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden, but two unlucky bounces ended up being the difference in a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.

Bishop made 21 saves to keep the game scoreless in the opening 39:47. But with 13 seconds remaining in the second period, Bishop's stick was knocked out of his hands by Rangers forward Chris Kreider, who took a shot from in close that was blocked. The rebound went right to Derek Stepan at the left side of the net, and he roofed a shot to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

"There was some contact, battling in front, and I lost it and then I don't know if [the puck] went off of the stick or off of somebody and then [Stepan] was right there," said Bishop, who also said he didn't think he was interfered with on the play.

Tampa Bay tied the game 6:45 in the third period on a power-play goal by Ondrej Palat, but Rangers forward Dominic Moore was in the right place at the right time when Kevin Hayes threw a puck at the net with 2:35 remaining in regulation. The puck hit Moore's leg and went past Bishop to give the Rangers the win and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

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Quote of the Day

I don't think it's really truly going to sink in until we drop the puck, to be honest. I know there's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the media attention and all that. We came [Monday] and it was sort of a light day to get things organized. We just want to focus in on the business aspect, the game itself. That's what we're preparing to do. Get these next couple of days out of the way and it's game on.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on playing in his first Stanley Cup Final