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(Page 87 of 177)
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Sharks get boost from return of Hertl and Torres

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 6:53 PM / Sharks vs Kings - 2014 SCP First Round

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks had been waiting all season to have rookie forward Tomas Hertl and veteran Raffi Torres in the lineup together for a game. That finally happened Thursday, and the timing couldn't have been better for the Sharks.

After battling back from severe right knee injuries, Hertl and Torres played huge roles in the Sharks' 6-3 victory against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series.

Hertl had a goal and an assist in his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, flashing the offensive skill that made him a strong contender for the Calder Trophy early in the season before being injured. He skated on the third line with center James Sheppard and Tommy Wingels.

Torres scored a goal and had a team-high seven hits, setting the tone for San Jose in a physical game with his wrecking ball style. He skated on the fourth line with center Andrew Desjardins and Mike Brown.

"I think he brings a different element, which is obviously positive," Desjardins said of Torres. "Finishing his checks. It's a presence that I think is important, especially against a team like L.A. It was definitely good to have him out there.

"It's great to see [Hertl] back. He's pretty much at full bore already, just jumping in. It's great to see as well. I think it also adds another completely new dynamic with his offensive ability."

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MacKinnon takes first Stanley Cup Playoffs in stride

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 6:00 PM / Avalanche vs Wild - 2014 SCP First Round

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Patrick Roy has been watching the Nathan MacKinnon show for three years, two in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and as Colorado Avalanche coach since training camp, and it never gets old.

"I've been impressed with him from the first time I saw him play a game," Roy said Friday. "From there to now, his game goes up. He's been so receptive to teaching, he's been working hard and he's always level. I know who's going to show up tomorrow, he's going to be the same guy."

MacKinnon had three assists Thursday in his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, when the Avalanche opened the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round with a 5-4 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild. Game 2 is Saturday at Pepsi Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN, FS-N, ALT).

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Blackhawks coach Quenneville fined $25,000

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 5:50 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League has fined Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville $25,000 for inappropriate conduct during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoff First Round series against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, Apr. 17.

The fine money goes to the NHL Foundation.

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Ramsay: Fine line for Blues defending stretch passes

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 5:44 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, NHL.com has enlisted the help of former NHL coach Craig Ramsay to break down the action. Ramsay will be checking in throughout the series.

Ramsay played in more than 1,000 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres before going on to coach the Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. In the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he led the Flyers to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Final. Ramsay was most recently an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers.

ST. LOUIS -- Patrick Kane's breakaway goal late in the first period Thursday fell 105 seconds short of being the winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series.

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Blackhawks have 'a little bitter taste' after 3OT loss

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 4:33 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ST. LOUIS -- At a time when a less experienced team might dwell on missed opportunities and be shattered after losing a Stanley Cup Playoff game in triple overtime, the Chicago Blackhawks are taking a more ho-hum approach by holding their heads up and talking at length about the opportunity in front of them.

There wasn't a shred of noticeable panic, heartbreak or devastation Friday, when defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, forwards Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp, goalie Corey Crawford and coach Joel Quenneville met the media at the Blackhawks' hotel 13 hours after Alexander Steen scored early in the third overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory in the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series.

Game 2 is Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). The Blackhawks haven't won in four games at Scottrade Center this season, but a victory Saturday means they will steal home-ice advantage in the series before it shifts to United Center for Game 3 on Monday.

"We're in good shape and we're ready to go," said Crawford, who made 48 saves in Game 1. "We have that hunger, a little bitter taste. I think we had a chance to win that hockey game being up in the third period. [We] had a couple opportunities, a bunch of opportunities in overtime. We're ready to go for Game 2."

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Versatile Bennett providing shot in arm for Penguins

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 2:10 PM / Penguins vs Blue Jackets - 2014 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett's second NHL season did not go as planned.

Bennett was expected to play second-line left wing alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal entering training camp. After Jussi Jokinen won the position, Bennett was expected to bring much-needed offensive production to Pittsburgh's bottom six throughout the regular season. After Bennett was sidelined through 61 games with multiple injuries, he was expected to bolster its struggling third line upon return.

The last expectation partially became reality.

The 22-year-old forward began the Stanley Cup Playoffs as Pittsburgh's first-line right wing, but will most likely move to third-line left wing for Game 2 of its Eastern Conference First Round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday (7 p.m., ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, FS-O, ROOT) at Consol Energy Center.

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Colliding in playoffs fulfills Smith brothers' dream

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 1:56 PM / Bruins vs Red Wings - 2014 SCP First Round

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- Growing up, Boston Bruins forward Reilly Smith and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith would often gang up on their older brother, current National Lacrosse League player Rory Smith, because as Brendan explained Friday, "He's got that extra-human strength."

When Reilly and Brendan would fight one another, Rory would be in charge of breaking up the tussle.

Rory won't be able to step in Friday night when the Bruins and Red Wings play Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series at TD Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, FS-D, NESN). Instead, Rory and their parents will get to watch Reilly and Brendan fulfill a childhood dream of squaring off in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Rookie year going right for Blues prospect Rattie

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 12:26 PM / AHL Update

Alyssa Dombrowski - Special to NHL.com

Peruse the leading statistics lists for the American Hockey League and you'll see multiple mentions of 20-year-old forward Ty Rattie, whose 29 goals for the Chicago Wolves rank seventh in the league, third among AHL rookies and at the top of Chicago's roster in just his first professional season.

"Ty has always been that special guy that knows how to score goals," said Kevin McDonald, assistant general manager for the St. Louis Blues, the Wolves' NHL affiliate. "It's such a unique skill and he has so much creativity with the puck. There are times when he gets the puck in the offensive zone and it's just like watching magic happen."

Selected by St. Louis at No. 32 in the 2011 NHL Draft, Rattie starred for the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League and was named league playoff MVP in 2013. Advancing to the professional ranks this season, Rattie enters the final weekend of the AHL regular season with 46 points in 70 games for Chicago.

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Blues' Schwartz a disrupting force for opponents

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 11:57 AM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger might have had time in the neutral zone to turn and go up the left-wing wall had St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz not been closing so quickly. He was, and in a flash Schwartz stripped puck from Kruger and took it into the attacking zone, leading to the game-tying goal Thursday in the first period of their Stanley Cup Playoffs opener.

Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson could have had some space to collect the puck and make a move out of the corner in Chicago's defensive zone had Schwartz not been pinching hard up the wall. Again, he was, and that quick decision created the turnover that led to Schwartz's game-tying goal late with 1:45 left in the third period.

"Fall asleep, he's going to catch you every time," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Schwartz. "He did it five or six times again [Thursday night]."

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Kings pay big price for slow start in Game 1

Friday, 04.18.2014 / 2:42 AM / Sharks vs Kings - 2014 SCP First Round

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The Los Angeles Kings gave up 10 goals in seven games last season in their second-round victory against the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They gave up half that many in the first 36:29 Thursday night in a 6-3 loss to the Sharks in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series.

San Jose jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period on goals by Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau. The Sharks made it 5-0 in the second period when Raffi Torres and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored.

What went so wrong for a Kings team that allowed just 2.05 goals per game during the regular season, the fewest in the NHL?

"I think we weren't ready to start," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "Sloppy play. Turnovers. Bad changes. Odd-man rushes. We probably gave up more odd-man rushes in the first period than we have in the past I don't know [how many games]. When you give a team like that opportunities on the odd-man they're going to make you pay, and that's what they did. It was more of the same in the second."

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Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals