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2015 NHL Draft
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Features

Blackhawks' Crawford bounces back from benching

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa has seen enough goalie meltdowns in his career to truly appreciate what Corey Crawford routinely does for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Crawford's resilience has become one of his biggest assets, right up there with tracking pucks, timing shots and body position. He's developed it incrementally the past five seasons, and it's now to a point matched by few goalies.

"He's one of those goalies who's [very] strong mentally," Hossa said. "One or two weaker games, or whatever you want to call it, it seems like he just forgets and starts looking for a new challenge. He can just shake off whatever, and it's amazing to see because not many goalies can do that."

Crawford's start to the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs was so turbulent that it probably would've crushed the confidence of many goalies.

Closer Look: Ducks must use size at Blackhawks net

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

Before the 2014 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Anaheim Ducks captain and then-Hart Trophy finalist Ryan Getzlaf was interviewed by NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes on the red carpet.

After asking Getzlaf a series of questions about his season, Weekes inquired about something Getzlaf had been rumored to tell his teammates: "Go to the net, and I'll make you rich."

"That's true. When I'm talking to [Corey] Perry and my linemates, that's 100 percent true," Getzlaf said.

Though the question may have been asked in jest, watching the Ducks’ top line and mapping out where it does its damage, it's true: When Getzlaf, Perry and Patrick Maroon are on the ice, many of the goals they score are from the home-plate area around the goal crease. With Perry at 6-foot-3, 213 pounds, and Maroon at 6-foot-2, 231 pounds, the Ducks have two large forwards who can cause trouble near the blue paint.

Rangers' Fast making smart plays to be X-factor

Friday, 05.15.2015 / 4:40 PM / X-Factor

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- It was the morning of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Washington Capitals when New York Rangers center Derek Stepan was answering a question about right wing Jesper Fast.

"He seems to be on pucks really fast," Stepan said of his linemate. "He anticipates well and he's made some big plays when he's had the puck on his stick."

Call Stepan clairvoyant if you want to, because he might as well have been describing Fast's impact on Stepan's overtime winning goal hours later, the goal that sent the Rangers into the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Strangis: For Hawks' Richards, past defines present

Friday, 05.15.2015 / 4:29 PM / Strangis' Stories

Ralph Strangis - Special to NHL.com

Glen Richards is a lobsterman, as was his father. It's an honest and excruciating job. His son worked the boat a bit whenever Glen could urge him out there, but the boy was not inspired to carry on the family trade.

Getting up in the middle of the night, standing at the stern near the hauler with icy salt water spitting, and yanking trap lines held no romance or allure for young Brad Richards.

He had other plans.

Former Rangers on Lightning look forward to series

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning center Brian Boyle, right wing Ryan Callahan and defenseman Anton Stralman will face a very familiar opponent in the Eastern Conference Final.

Boyle, Callahan and Stralman each have their sights set on winning the Stanley Cup, and play the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final, with whom they each spent at least three seasons with.

"This is a unique thing," Boyle said Friday. "It's certainly interesting how it's all kind of unfolded. But I really didn't expect anything else to be honest with you."

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final is Saturday at Madison Square Garden (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Ovechkin to help Russia challenge U.S. in semifinals

Friday, 05.15.2015 / 3:30 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- An evening before the semifinals of the 2015 IIHF World Championship, Prague's O2 Arena turned into a skating session for two NHL standouts who had come to help their countries in the medal round.

Before Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec took the ice after joining the host Czech Republic ahead of their semifinal against Canada, left wing Alex Ovechkin of Russia skated for about 20 minutes concluding a day when he landed in Prague, Czech Republic after an overseas flight.

The Russians cancelled their practice Friday, but Ovechkin wanted to adjust and shake off jetlag.

"The ice here is different. You have to prepare yourself for bigger ice, so it's normal for me," the Washington Capitals captain told a big crowd of reporters Friday in Prague. "I'm sleepy, but I know this situation. I'm gonna stay up until 10 or 11 and deal with the time difference."

Rangers' St. Louis all business with Lightning on tap

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Martin St. Louis walked into the New York Rangers dressing room following practice Friday to find a swell of cameras and reporters forming a crowded semicircle around his stall, so big the media invaded space reserved for goalie Henrik Lundqvist and defenseman Dan Girardi.

Under normal circumstances the media wouldn't be looking to document every word said by a player who has no goals in 12 games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but these aren't normal circumstances for St. Louis heading into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday at Madison Square Garden (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

St. Louis played 972 games with the Lightning from 2000 until he was traded to the Rangers on March 5, 2014. He won the Stanley Cup and Hart Trophy as a member of the Lightning in 2004, and  twice finished as the NHL's regular-season scoring champ.

St. Louis was the one of the faces and arguably the heart and soul of the Lightning for nearly a decade and a half as the undrafted, small right wing who built a Hall of Fame resume. Now he has to go up against his former team and teammates for the right to play in the Stanley Cup Final.

Goaltender Matchup: Inside Lundqvist vs. Bishop

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so NHL.com broke down the Eastern Conference Final battle between Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Much like many goaltending coaches do before a playoff series, NHL.com correspondent Kevin Woodley, the managing editor of InGoal Magazine, charted every goal scored with the help of a program from Double Blue Sport Analytics. Regular-season goals were recorded in their original Save Review System, and playoff goals, including how they were scored, were tracked in the soon-to-launch SRS 2.0. The graphics showing where goals went in and shots were taken from on the ice are nice, but the real value is analyzing the plays that led to them and whether they reveal strengths, weaknesses and tendencies that can be targeted.

Canadiens praise leadership they got from Price

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 8:19 PM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens had four alternate captains in 2014-15, but one unequivocal leader.

"When Carey speaks, everybody listens," Montreal right wing Dale Weise said Thursday of goalie Carey Price. "He doesn't talk a lot, but when he does, I think his voice carries a lot of weight in this room."

Price's comments after the Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday resonated with his teammates and throughout the NHL.

Price, who is a finalist for the Hart and Vezina trophies, took full blame for the Canadiens' six-game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

Ducks plan to stick to game, not adapt to Blackhawks

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 7:55 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- It's not as if the Anaheim Ducks have had it easy in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They needed their share of ice packs against the Winnipeg Jets. They were taken to overtime twice and had to come from behind in six of their eight wins.

But Anaheim will really be tested when it plays the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. Game 1 is at Honda Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Chicago is considerably more skilled than Anaheim's first two postseason opponents, the Jets and Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks are averaging 3.20 goals, third most in the playoffs (Anaheim's 3.89 per game is first); Calgary averaged 2.46, and Winnipeg 2.25.

Chicago is one of the few teams that can match Anaheim in skill, speed and depth, and it figures to stretch what has been a solid Ducks defense in front of goalie Frederik Andersen.

"They definitely have a team that can skate, that's for sure," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "They love to really stretch you out defensively. They get a couple of guys to blow the zone and push our defense back, and that gives them a lot of areas for their skill guys to get to work and make some plays. The more we can keep things compact and keep people in their face, that's advantageous for us. But they make it difficult because they like to stretch things out, and that's what makes them so dynamic."

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Quote of the Day

Hopefully [Jonathan] has a year that pushes us, that is the organization, to speak to him next summer and looking for [a long-term contract]. Because the thought process is trying to get a goaltender, and hopefully it's Jonathan, to be the stabilizer for this franchise.

— Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello on goaltender Jonathan Bernier