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Rangers hit the road after another home split

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The good news for the New York Rangers is that they've traveled this road before in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For the third straight series, the Rangers hit the road after splitting the first two games at Madison Square Garden. The Tampa Bay Lightning evened the Eastern Conference Final on Monday with a 6-2 victory in Game 2. Game 3 is scheduled Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Rangers found themselves in a 1-1 series deadlock with the Pittsburgh Penguins before winning three straight games in the Eastern Conference First Round. They split the first two games against the Washington Capitals in the second round, then fell behind 3-1 before winning the series in seven games.

But each of the games in the opening two rounds was decided by one goal. In contrast, the Lightning became the first team this spring to score more than four goals against New York. Tampa Bay won the special-teams battle, going 3-for-6 on the power play and scoring a shorthanded goal.

Special teams help Lightning win Game 2, tie series

David Satriano - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman knew what he was talking about going into the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

"I said before the series I think special teams [were] going to be a difference-maker in this series, and tonight [the Rangers] scored two power-play goals. … We scored three and one [shorthanded goal], so that's huge," Hedman said. "That's going to give you momentum."

The Lightning rode the momentum from those four special-teams goals to even the best-of-7 series with a 6-2, Game 2 win at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

Game 3 is at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Monday, May 18

Tuesday, 05.19.2015 / 12:20 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations


Tyler Johnson scored a shorthanded goal and a power-play goal in the first period and added an even-strength goal for his first career hat trick in the postseason, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning even its series against the New York Rangers at 1-1.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Johnson (3-0—3) became the first player in Lightning franchise history to have a hat trick in the postseason.

* Johnson paces all scorers in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 goals and 16 points (11-5—16). Johnson’s third goal of the night also became his League-leading fourth game-winning goal of the postseason.

Sharks get OK to interview Bylsma: report

Monday, 05.18.2015 / 11:14 PM / News

The San Jose Sharks have been given permission to interview Dan Bylsma for their coaching position, reported Monday.

The website also said Mike Babcock was scheduled to speak with the Sharks this week to discuss a possible future with the organization, but Babcock said he is done speaking with teams. It is unknown if he interviewed with the Sharks.

Bylsma was fired by the Pittsburgh Penguins after last season with two years remaining on his contract. The Penguins reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the six seasons he coached, and he led Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup in 2009. He was 252-117-32 in the regular season.

ESPN reporter Craig Custance said Bylsma turned down two jobs before this season; Custance did not identify the teams.

Linesman Kovachik leaves Game 2 with knee injury

Linesman Brad Kovachik left Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final on Monday in the second period with a sprained knee after a collision along the boards.

The NHL said he will be out indefinitely.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos checked New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein, who hit Kovachik with 7:41 left in the period.

Babcock done meeting teams, decision soon: report

Monday, 05.18.2015 / 9:12 PM / News

Mike Babcock said Monday he is done speaking with NHL teams about becoming their coach and will announce a decision Wednesday.

The Detroit Red Wings coach will meet with general manager Ken Holland on Tuesday, Babcock told

"Just going to revisit everything one more time," Babcock said. "I've talked to all the teams I'm talking to."

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues asked permission to speak with Babcock, according to the website.

"I learned a lot. I talked to lots of good people," Babcock told writer Ansar Khan. "I kept Kenny abreast the whole time. We'll talk one more time [Tuesday] and then I'll sit down with my family one more time [Tuesday] night and make a decision."

Blue Jackets will name captain on Wednesday

Monday, 05.18.2015 / 8:57 PM / News

The Columbus Blue Jackets will name their next captain at a press conference Wednesday.

"We know who it's going to be," Davidson told Columbus Business First in an interview published April 30. "... He's popped, he's a person that's carried himself with outstanding leadership."

The Blue Jackets alerted season-ticket holders in an email and announced it on their website Monday.

The Columbus Dispatch said it is expected only the captain, not any alternate captains, will be revealed.

Boyle returns to Lightning lineup for Game 2

Monday, 05.18.2015 / 8:13 PM / News

David Satriano - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brian Boyle is in the lineup for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

Boyle, who did not play in the Lightning’s 2-1 loss in Game 1 on Saturday because of an undisclosed injury, took line rushes with Brenden Morrow and J.T. Brown before the game.

In 13 Stanley Cup Playoff games, Boyle has a goal and an assist, and Lightning captain Steven Stamkos discussed Boyle's importance to the team Monday.

Ducks finding success with young, skilled defense

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Each of the past two postseasons have ended in familiar fashion for the Anaheim Ducks, a disappointing defeat in a Game 7 at Honda Center after a successful regular season.

The 2014-15 Ducks have already progressed further than the previous two teams. One of the biggest reasons is their young, skilled defensemen.

General manager Bob Murray has overhauled the defense over the past couple of seasons, moving away from a collection of low-risk veterans to a swift skating group. For a team with such high expectations, it has taken courage to commit to fielding a lineup with four defensemen who have not reached their 24th birthday, but Anaheim has been rewarded with a late-season spike in its possession statistics and a deep run in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I think with all of the young guys, we are in a good organization that lets you develop at the pace that you can do," Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm said. "They have great guys around the organization to help as well. There’s [Scott Niedermayer], who I talk to a lot. He’s been really good for me. Being paired with Francois [Beauchemin] has been great too as a veteran guy to kind of rely on. They’ve been doing a great job of shaping us the way they want."

Blackhawks may make change on defense for Game 2

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM -- The Chicago Blackhawks may make a change on their blue line for Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks.

Although Chicago coach Joel Quenneville refused to confirm it Monday, multiple signs point to journeyman Kyle Cumiskey replacing David Rundblad, who had a rugged Game 1 as a replacement for injured Michal Rozsival.

Game 2 is Tuesday at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). Anaheim leads the best-of-7 series 1-0 after winning 4-1 on Sunday.

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Quote of the Day

I think when you build a team, you look at pairs, and I think the pair of [Voracek and Giroux] is very good, certainly one of the top pairs in the League.

— Flyers GM Ron Hextall on Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek after giving Voracek a multiyear extension Thursday