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Rangers feel Game 7 experience gives them edge

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers are a close-knit team with a core that has seen a lot and won a lot when the stakes have been high. They're together, all on the same page. You get the picture.

The point is that the Rangers are so harmonized that even when they don't all agree with a concept they return to the same message. That much is true heading into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Even though some players disagree with how their experience in these winner-take-all situations comes into play, if it gives them a psychological edge on the Lightning, there's no doubt the Rangers at large believe they have an advantage going into Game 7 because they know better than Tampa Bay how to prepare for, play in, and win Game 7s.

No team in recent history has been better in Game 7 or potential elimination games than the Rangers.

"There's a lot of experience in this dressing room and we have a lot of confidence," center Derick Brassard said.

Ducks, Blackhawks vie for Cup Final in Game 7

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 4:06 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks will decide the Western Conference Final in Game 7 Saturday night at Honda Center (8 p.m., ET, NBC, CBC, TVA). The winner will advance to the Stanley Cup Final and face the winner of the Eastern Conference Final, also tied 3-3, between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Both Conference Final series have extended to a Game 7 for just the second time during the NHL's expansion era (since 1967-68). In 2000, the New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to capture the Eastern Conference title, while the Dallas Stars topped the Colorado Avalanche to win Western Conference honors.

The Ducks-Blackhawks showdown will be the fifth Game 7 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs and the 17th since the start of the 2013 postseason - the most frequently-occurring series length in that span (4 games: 5; 5 games: 9; 6 games: 13).

Chabot: Ducks must be better at both nets in Game 7

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 3:30 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Anaheim Ducks during the Western Conference Final, 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.

Part of the Anaheim Ducks' identity is using their size to play a physical, in-your-face brand of hockey. It begins with the Ducks' top forward line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon, three players with an average size of 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds.

It's part of what helped the Ducks win the net-front battles against the Chicago Blackhawks through the first five games of the Western Conference Final. But in Game 6 on Wednesday it was the Blackhawks who flipped the script, according to Frederic Chabot, winning the battles in the trenches en route to a 5-2 win that evened the best-of-7 series at 3-3 and forced Game 7 on Saturday in Anaheim (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Blackhawks back in Game 7 with Cup Final at stake

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 3:30 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- The marketing slogan for the Chicago Blackhawks for the past several seasons has been "One Goal."

The Blackhawks were one goal short of the reaching the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. They want to avoid that feeling again in 2015.

"I was on the left side. [Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec] Martinez shot it from the other side and it got deflected and went in," Sharp said of the Kings' Western Conference Final-clinching overtime goal in Game 7 last season at United Center. "You could just feel the air kind of go out of the building. You feel your heart drop a little bit, being that close, and we had a couple leads in that game as well. Battling back from being down in that series to the Kings, it was a tough way to go out on home ice. You kind of learn from it and use it as hunger to get back to the same situation."

Chicago is back in Game 7 of a Western Conference Final after defeating the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 on Wednesday. When the Blackhawks arrive at Honda Center for this series-deciding contest Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), they will be hoping to inflict the same pain the Kings delivered to them a year ago with a 5-4 loss.

Rangers defenseman McDonagh sits out practice

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh did not practice Thursday in advance of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he had no concern about McDonagh's health.

McDonagh has not missed a game in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs; he has three goals, nine points and a plus-3 rating in 18 games, and leads the Rangers with 23:50 of ice time per game.

He did not participate in the morning skate prior to Game 6 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday but played 34 shifts totaling 21:57 in the Rangers' 7-3 win.

Blackhawks' Keith takes hits, makes pivotal plays

Thursday, 05.28.2015 / 12:00 PM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith doesn't express much emotion on the ice. But he certainly found a positive way to react to any anger he had for being hit hard by Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler in the second period of Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Wednesday.

Keith responded to being rocked by Kesler by assisting on three Blackhawks goals in a 3:45 span, and early in the third period he saved a goal by pulling a loose puck off the goal line to preserve the Blackhawks' 3-2 lead.

Chicago went on to win 5-2 and force Game 7 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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