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(Page 79 of 166)
Features

Three keys for Rangers, Lightning to winning Game 4

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning feel if they keep their foot on the pedal Friday in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), they'll be able to push themselves to within one win of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Lightning lead the New York Rangers 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

The Rangers, meanwhile, feel if they get can back into their structured game and figure out a way to slow the Lightning, they'll go home for Game 5 with the series tied 2-2 and their home-ice advantage back intact.

Tampa Bay won the last two games by scoring six goals in each of them.

Here are three keys for each team:

Kings' Weal leading AHL affiliate through playoffs

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 11:02 AM / AHL Update

Kinsey Janke - Special to NHL.com

From the start the American Hockey League season, the Manchester Monarchs have been a force to be reckoned with.

They had 109 points, the most in the league, and the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings hasn't slowed down in the playoffs, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2010. The Monarchs have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series against the Hartford Wolf Pack, AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers; Game 2 is Saturday.

Jordan Weal, a third-round pick (No. 70) by the Kings in the 2010 NHL Draft, has been an instrumental part of the Monarchs' success. His 69 points were third in the league in the regular season; in the playoffs he has 10 goals and a league-high 15 points.

"These first two series have been really hard battles and kind of two different dynamics," Weal said prior to the start of the conference final. "It was a big rivalry against Portland [in the first round], and then it was more of a systematic series against Wilkes-Barre [in the second round]. Whoever we play, I don't think it’s going to change our game."

Despres steps up with game-winning goal for Ducks

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 10:00 AM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Despres is becoming less of a mystery to his team every day.

Despres made one of his bigger reveals Thursday, finally illustrating in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final the goal-scoring touch that was part of the reason he was so coveted by Anaheim general manager Bob Murray as the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline approached.

Despres scored the first Stanley Cup Playoff goal of his career on a well-placed one-timer with 55 seconds remaining in the second period at United Center, breaking a tie and providing the winning margin in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Special teams play defining role for Ducks in Game 3

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- The Anaheim Ducks believe failures on their penalty kill cost them Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.

An improved penalty kill may have won them Game 3.

Special teams played a defining role Thursday at United Center in the Ducks' 2-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks, which gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 4 is Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Ducks were shorthanded five times in Game 3, including a first-period double minor to Jakob Silfverberg. But Chicago couldn't capitalize; the Blackhawks managed one shot during 9:18 of man-advantage time for the game.

Meanwhile, Anaheim got one power play and scored on it. Patrick Maroon deflected a shot past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford 27 seconds after Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa negated a power play with a holding penalty in the offensive zone.

'Fresh legs' don't help Blackhawks in Game 3

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Joel Quenneville likes options, so the Chicago Blackhawks coach used two Thursday in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks.

Rather than sticking with the lineup that won Game 2 3-2 in triple overtime on Tuesday, he replaced center Antoine Vermette and rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen with Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom.

The moves changed Chicago's bottom two lines but failed to pay dividends in a 2-1 loss at United Center that put the Blackhawks behind 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.

Quenneville said the changes weren't related to injuries, but the length of Game 2 did play a role.

"We just wanted to get some fresh legs in there," Quenneville said. "We felt that [Versteeg] never played over a long stretch there in the last series and we wanted to get him back in there. Tough game the other day with travel and we wanted to bring some new guys in."

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Thursday, May 21

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 12:27 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

DUCKS PULL AHEAD IN WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

Frederik Andersen stopped 27 shots, including all 21 he faced after the opening period, and Simon Despres scored the go-ahead goal at 19:05 of the second period to power the Anaheim Ducks past the Chicago Blackhawks and to a 2-1 series lead.

* The Ducks improved to 10-2 in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including a 4-1 mark on the road. Elias says Anaheim also won 10 of its first 12 playoff games when it advanced to its first Stanley Cup Final in 2003. The Los Angeles Kings were the last team to accomplish the feat, opening with an 11-1 run en route to their first Stanley Cup in 2012.

* The Ducks handed the Blackhawks their first home loss of the playoffs (5-1), just two nights after Chicago did the same to them. Anaheim also improved to 5-1-0 in its last six visits to United Center dating to Feb. 12, 2013, including 2-0-0 in 2014-15 (regular season and playoffs).

Strangis: Morrow sacrificing for another Cup chance

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 9:20 PM / Strangis' Stories

Ralph Strangis - Special to NHL.com

I'll tell you a story. It's a good story. Late May 2000; second straight Western Conference Final between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche.

The Stars are the defending Stanley Cup champion but needed seven games to get past the Avalanche on the way to winning it. The Avalanche add defenseman Ray Bourque to help them get over the hump. Epic stuff.

Patrick Roy and Ed Belfour; Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Milan Hejduk against Mike Modano, Brett Hull, Jere Lehtinen. Sergei Zubov, Derian Hatcher; Sandis Ozolinsh, Adam Foote.

This time Colorado takes a 2-1 series lead with a Game 3 win at home. It's May 20, a day off between games. The Stars have a 21-year-old rookie who wears No. 45; his name is Brenden Morrow. Nobody sees him doing much in the series because he had broken his ankle in Game 1 a few days earlier. The Stars bring him on the trip but leave his gear in Dallas. He ain't a player.

Rangers look to slow down Lightning in Game 4

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TAMPA -- The New York Rangers have thrived all season on being one of, if not the fastest team in the National Hockey League. After being opened up and exposed by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the past two games of the Eastern Conference Final, they realize speed won't get them to the Stanley Cup Final.

"We don't want to play this way, a track-meet game, back and forth," defenseman Dan Girardi said after the Rangers lost 6-5 in overtime in Game 3 on Monday. "They're fast, we're fast, but I think we want to make it a little more tight checking next game."

Girardi said he doesn't think the Rangers need to necessarily slow themselves down to win Game 4 on Friday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), but they need to be better in their structure and more precise in their decision making if they want to even the best-of-7 series at 2-2.

Farrish: Lightning's speed getting in Rangers' heads

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning 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.

The New York Rangers know they have to get back to playing their structured, tight-checking game in order to even their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dave Farrish isn't quite sure if they'll be able to do it after watching the Lightning pick them apart in the past two games of the Eastern Conference Final.

"I don't know if they can," Farrish said. "I don't know if Tampa is just too fast for them to be able to do that. I think they're caught between gears of what they're trying to accomplish. They've been confronted with a different animal and they're not sure of the best way to handle it."

Babcock intends to change culture of Maple Leafs

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 3:59 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Mike Babcock, introduced as coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, warned Maple Leafs fans to be ready for some pain.

Babcock was hired Wednesday after 10 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. Terms of his contract were not released but Sportsnet and TSN reported it to be an eight-year contract worth about $50 million.

"I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey," Babcock said. "It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming."

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Quote of the Day

I'm going into this with an open mind. This is a very young player (23) with a tremendous, tremendous amount of upside.

— Rangers coach Alain Vigneault on Emerson Etem's potential