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Rangers' Girardi sustains injury in Game 1 win

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 10:58 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi was injured with 9:29 remaining in the third period Thursday at Madison Square Garden after he was struck on the right side of his face by a deflected shot from Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz.

Girardi did not return to the game. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said Girardi was being seen by the team dentist, but he did not have any further update.

The Rangers protected their one-goal lead while playing with five defensemen in the final 9:29 of the third to defeat the Penguins 2-1 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round. The Rangers have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series, which continues on Saturday with Game 2 at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA).

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Flames rookie Bennett impressive in playoff debut

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 8:21 PM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Rookie center Sam Bennett impressed Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley with his play Wednesday in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Vancouver Canucks. He had already impressed Hartley with his character.

Bennett, in his second NHL game, was one of Calgary's best players in the 2-1 victory at Rogers Arena. When asked after practice Thursday about Bennett's performance, Hartley referenced the 18-year-old center's inability to do a single pull-up at the NHL Draft Combine last May. Though it was seen as an indictment of Bennett's fitness and commitment at the time, Hartley now views it as a sign of his character.

"There was many reports the kid was not a good worker and couldn't do pull-ups," he said. "When your shoulder is broken in pieces but you won't tell no one because you are a competitor and you want to be there, that speaks volumes about his character."

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is Friday in Vancouver (10 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Islanders' young players benefiting from patience

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 5:00 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- During the first half of the 2013-14 season, Ryan Strome had to watch and wait for his NHL dream to come true.

Every other player selected in the top 10 of the 2011 NHL Draft had reached the League. The New York Islanders preached patience and sent Strome, the No. 5 pick, to Bridgeport, Conn., for further development in the American Hockey League.

No player's path to the NHL and success at the highest level is ever the same. Strome may have had to wait a little longer than some of his peers, but he's now a top-line forward for a 101-point team and a key contributor for a franchise on the rise.

"It feels like my road was a little longer," Strome said. "I just wanted to do the right thing and they wanted to do the right thing for me. It was frustrating at times, watching the other guys play in the NHL, but all in all it is about the big picture and our team is in the playoffs my first full year. I think things have worked out pretty well.

"I took a little bit of time to develop. I don't think I was quite ready. It was frustrating to see at the time, but looking back at it, it was probably the best thing."

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Blackhawks stick with goalie Crawford for Game 2

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 4:40 PM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Scott Darling rescued the Chicago Blackhawks with a great relief appearance in Game 1 of a Western Conference First Round series against the Nashville Predators, but Corey Crawford will be back in goal to start Game 2 at Bridgestone Arena on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, CSN-CH, SPSO).

During a conference call Thursday, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville doused the notion of a goalie controversy brewing one game into the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He's standing firmly by Crawford, who was replaced by Darling on Wednesday after allowing three goals on 12 shots in the first period; Chicago rallied for a 4-3 double-overtime victory.

"I think it kind of was an easy decision," said Quenneville, who gave the Blackhawks a day off. "He [Crawford] is our starting goalie. He's been our strength all year long. It was one period and it was won collectively as a team, goaltending all the way out through the forwards. I thought our first period was ordinary at best and we look forward to him getting back in the net [Friday]."

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Senators forward Stone has microfracture in wrist

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 4:14 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone sustained a microfracture and ligament damage to his right wrist in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday and his availability for the remainder of the series is unknown, Senators general manager Bryan Murray said Thursday.

"He came back [Wednesday] night as a courageous guy after being hurt," Murray said. "I listened to some people talk that he sold it pretty good, but he was hurt."

Murray could not say with any clarity what the chances are of Stone returning in the series and couldn't confirm that he would miss Game 2 of the series at Bell Centre on Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Flames never let adversity slow their path to playoffs

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 2:01 PM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

It took seven months and 83 games, but the Calgary Flames have gone from expected to compete for Connor McDavid to stealing home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Expected to be among the candidates for the first pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, the Flames instead earned a berth in the playoffs for the first time in six years. And in winning 2-1 against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Wednesday, have stolen home-ice advantage in the Western Conference First Round series.

Game 2 is in Vancouver on Friday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, CNBC, TVA Sports).

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#MyPlayoffsMoment presented by GoPro to share fan-perspective video stories throughout the playoffs

NHL invites fans to share Stanley Cup playoffs videos using #MyPlayoffsMoment

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 12:30 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – On its social and digital platforms, the National Hockey League is inviting fans from around the world to submit their unique videos to the NHL Social™ team using the official hashtag #MyPlayoffsMoment as they watch -- and capture -- the most riveting moments of the 2015 Stanley Cup® Playoffs and 2015 Stanley Cup® Final. Fans also will have the chance to watch their favorite moments included in a match-up preview video broadcast nationally.

The #MyPlayoffsMoment presented by GoPro campaign encourages fans worldwide to share their fandom and how they are experiencing each game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs: live at a sold out arena with thousands of fans; at home in front of their televisions and second screens; or at the bar with friends and rivals. Fans are encouraged to capture every moment using video captured with their GoPro, mobile, or tablet devices, and to submit this content through social media using the official hashtag #MyPlayoffsMoment.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Wednesday, April 15

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 9:10 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

DARLING PERFECT, KEITH THE OT HERO IN BLACKHAWKS' COMEBACK

Scott Darling made 42 saves in relief and Duncan Keith scored at 7:49 of the second overtime to help the Chicago Blackhawks rally from a three-goal deficit for a 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators, taking a 1-0 series lead.

* Darling, a sixth-round pick (No. 153, PHX) in the 2007 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks on Oct. 26 (2-1 W vs. OTT) and went 9-4-0 with a 1.94 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and one shutout in 14 appearances. Prior to that, the Lemont, Ill., native split time among the Southern Professional Hockey League, ECHL and American Hockey League.

* Via Elias, Darling is the first Blackhawks goaltender to make his NHL debut and win a Stanley Cup Playoff game in the same season since 1940-41 (Sam LoPresti). He also is the first rookie goaltender to win his playoff debut in a Chicago uniform since Ed Belfour on April 6, 1990 (5-3 W vs. MNS).

* Darling became the first goaltender from any NHL team to win while making his playoff debut in relief since April 21, 1997 (Steve Shields: 11 SV, 24:27, 3-2 W at OTT w/ BUF). His 42 saves were the most by a rookie goaltender in his first playoff appearance since April 24, 1997 (Jose Theodore: 56 SV, 4-3 3OT W vs. NJD w/ MTL).

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Lightning GM Yzerman not excited to face Red Wings

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- General manager Steve Yzerman is pleased to have the Tampa Bay Lightning back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season.

However, the 2009 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee isn't so excited the opponent for their Eastern Conference First Round series, which begins at Amalie Arena on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, FS-D, FS-F), is the Detroit Red Wings.

Yzerman scored 762 goals and had 1,178 assists in 1,710 regular-season and playoff games in his 23 seasons in Detroit, where he won the Stanley Cup three times as a player and once as a member of the front office before departing for Tampa Bay in 2010.

"I'd prefer to play other teams, but obviously I have tremendous respect for the [Detroit] organization from the top to the bottom," Yzerman said. "They've been one of the elite franchises in professional sports for a long time and continue to be and will continue to be beyond this year. So I have great admiration for them."

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Hedman key cog for Lightning defense in playoffs

Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 3:00 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman wouldn't want to deal with another outcome like the four-game sweep the Montreal Canadiens handed them in the Eastern Conference First Round last season.

Hedman, however, said the experience was good for the Lightning, who this year play Game 1 of the first round against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, FS-F, FS-D).

"Everyone knows what to expect now," Hedman said. "We've gotten that disappointment out of the way and got that experience out of the way. Everyone's excited to get back. We're hungry to win. I think every team in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs] is hungry. At the same time, we have to go in there and be prepared. It's going to be a tough challenge but we're healthy and ready to go."

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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract