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Features

Blackhawks' Versteeg focused on returning to lineup

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 3:33 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks got back on the ice Wednesday after taking two days off between series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Forward Kris Versteeg skated on the fourth line at right wing during line rushes and looks to get back in the lineup for the start of the Western Conference Second Round.

Versteeg, who was reacquired during the first quarter of the regular season in a trade with the Florida Panthers, was a surprising scratch Sunday in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues. Instead, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville went with rookie forward Joakim Nordstrom, who made his postseason debut at right wing on the fourth line.

"You just have to get ready for the next one," Versteeg said. "Obviously you always want to play, but you have to understand what the coach feels and what's best for the team. It's something you want to fight through and come back and be a factor in helping the team."

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Bruins' hatred of Canadiens not openly returned

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 3:09 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The rivalry between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens appears to be rather one-sided.

Not necessarily in terms of wins and losses, even though the Canadiens have won six of their past seven games against the Bruins, but more in the sense of how emotional the rivalry is in each camp.

The Bruins are not shy to say they hate the Canadiens, with coach Claude Julien openly saying so Tuesday and forward Milan Lucic admitting as much Wednesday as the teams prepared for the start of their Eastern Conference Second Round series Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

“Yeah, I mean I do,” Lucic said Wednesday in Boston. “If you ask them the same question, I’m sure they’d give you the same answer about if they hate us. You know it’s just natural for me being here for seven years now, and just being a part of this organization."

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McCarthy: Home ice has its disadvantages for Bruins

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 12:56 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, NHL.com enlisted the help of longtime NHL assistant/associate coach Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy played in more than 500 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins, then spent a decade as an assistant and associate coach with the Carolina Hurricanes, where he was a member of the staff that led them to a Stanley Cup championship in 2006. He joined the Flyers as an assistant during the 2009-10 season and stayed in Philadelphia until October 2013.

Teams play the regular season in order to not only earn a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but also to have home-ice advantage.

Except in the case of the Eastern Conference Second Round series between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens, Kevin McCarthy thinks home ice might in fact be a disadvantage for the Bruins, at least to start the series.

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'Cupnappers' help NHL find new commercial voice

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 11:42 AM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Davis Harper - NHL.com Staff Writer

Like the majority of New York Rangers fans this time of year, Nick Kroll had been dreaming about Mark Messier lifting the Stanley Cup in 1994.

"I had a dream one night that Mark Messier came to me and he was holding the Stanley Cup, the '94 Cup," Kroll said. "It was like when I was kid, but I was my age now. And he said to me, 'Go find this, and take this.'"

With a little help from the NHL and NBC, Kroll did exactly as The Captain commanded. The comedian and actor teamed with longtime comedy cohorts Seth Morris and Charlie Sanders to "lift" the Cup from its velvet-lined case as part of a viral video released on April Fools' Day to promote the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Jagr, Malhotra and Moore named Masterton finalists

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 11:00 AM / 2014 NHL Awards

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils, Manny Malhotra of the Carolina Hurricanes and Dominic Moore of the New York Rangers are the three finalists for the 2013-14 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded "to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey," the National Hockey League announced today.

A $2,500 grant from the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minn., in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.

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Triple-header of Game 7s set for Wednesday

Long-time rivals Rangers, Flyers to clash in Game 7 for first time since 1974

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 9:43 AM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers will contest Game 7 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round series tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York (7 p.m., ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS), opening a triple-header that also features the Colorado Avalanche hosting the Minnesota Wild (9:30 p.m., ET, CNBC, TSN2, RDS) and the San Jose Sharks welcoming the Los Angeles Kings (10 p.m., ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS2). It marks the fifth time in NHL history and first time since April 22, 2003, that three or more Game 7s will be played on the same day.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that at least three Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series have extended to the limit, capping a thrilling two weeks that have featured 27 comeback wins in the 45 games contested (60%), including a first-round record 10 multi-goal comeback victories, six game-tying goals in the final 2:00 of regulation and 13 overtime games spread over seven series. The 20 seven-game series in the first round since 2008 is nearly triple the number of four-game sweeps (seven) over the same span.

For the first time in 40 years, the long-time division-rival Rangers and Flyers will meet in a Game 7. On May 5, 1974, the Flyers defeated the Rangers 4-3 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia to win their Semifinal series and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history. Two weeks later, the Flyers became the first expansion team to claim the championship in a six-game triumph over Boston.

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Busy Mason thwarts Rangers, leads Flyers to win

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 12:18 AM / Rangers vs Flyers - 2014 SCP First Round

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- The scoring chances were coming fast at Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason, and the shots were piling up in the first 20 minutes.

That's just what he wanted.

Mason made 13 saves in the first period and allowed the Flyers, despite nine giveaways, to lead 1-0 after one period en route to a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers on Tuesday in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round series.

"He's done it time after time this year. They came in waves, and he made some huge saves for us," said Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds, who scored three goals. "It allowed us to get our footing under us, and we went from there. We got our offensive opportunities and we capitalized tonight. If it wasn't for Mason, I don't know if those plays would have happened."


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Rangers miss chance to avoid another Game 7

Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 12:03 AM / Rangers vs Flyers - 2014 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Rangers find themselves in the all-too-familiar situation of needing to win a Game 7 to clinch a series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Missed opportunities in the early going, a lifeless power play and an opposing goalie possessing ice water in his veins proved to be the demise of the Rangers on Tuesday in a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center.

The loss sets the stage for a Game 7 showdown between the Metropolitan Division rivals at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN2, CSN-PH, MSG).


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Three Game 7s cap first round of playoffs

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 11:35 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

For the third season in a row, the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs will be capped with a trio of Game 7s. For the first time in 11 years, all three will take place on the same night.

The Philadelphia Flyers made sure of that Tuesday when they beat the New York Rangers 5-2 in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at Wells Fargo Center, continuing a pattern that has seen the Rangers win the odd-numbered games and the Flyers take the even-numbered ones.

Neither team will get much rest; the teams will determine the series winner Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in the only games being played on back-to-back nights in the opening round of the playoffs.

The other two first-round series to go seven games are in the Western Conference. The Central Division-champion Colorado Avalanche host the Minnesota Wild in a series that has seen the home team win each of the first six games, and the Los Angeles Kings will try to become the fourth NHL team ever to win a series after falling behind 3-0 when they visit the San Jose Sharks.

Here's a quick look at all three Game 7s:


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Roy's early empty-net moves getting noticed

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 10:04 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy might be setting a trend by going to an empty net early enough in games to turn what once was a regular coaching decision into a bigger storyline in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Roy also might be showing NHL coaches what can go wrong when taking a gamble as big as pulling the goaltender in favor of the extra attacker with between two-and-a-half and three minutes remaining.

The verdict is out while the coaching community weighs the pros and cons of Roy's strategy of using the extra attacker earlier than conventional wisdom suggests.

"Since he gave up two in the empty net [Monday], I'm not so sure it's all that wonderful an idea," longtime NHL coach Craig Ramsay told NHL.com. "I think there is nothing wrong with it. I'm certainly not against it. But for me, that's a little early. That's a hope or two."

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Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness