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Eastern Conference Final begins Saturday, May 17

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 10:03 PM / Canadiens vs Rangers - 2014 Eastern Conference Final

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League today announced that the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals will begin Saturday, May 17, with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers.

The starting time for Game 1 on Saturday is 1 p.m. ET at Bell Centre in Montreal. The game will be televised in Canada by CBC and RDS and seen exclusively on NBC in the U.S.

Further information on the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals schedule will be released soon.

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Sharks owner backs GM Wilson, coaching staff

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 6:41 PM / News

NHL.com Staff

The majority owner of the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday publicly expressed support for general manager Doug Wilson and Wilson's support of the staff led by coach Todd McLellan.

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Five reasons why the Blackhawks advanced

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 6:09 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

The Chicago Blackhawks are back in the Western Conference Final, one series win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for a second straight year.

In the Western Conference Second Round, the Minnesota Wild gave the Blackhawks all they could handle before succumbing in six games, including a 2-1 loss in overtime of the deciding Game 6 at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

"That was a tough team," Chicago goalie Corey Crawford said after Game 6. "They played really hard in this building, in Chicago too. They kept coming at us, tough series, really tough series."

Minnesota got the best-of-7 to 2-2 with back-to-back wins at home in Games 3 and 4, and put huge scares into the defending champions in Games 5 and 6 before falling short by a goal each time.

Here are five reasons the Blackhawks were the better team against the Wild:

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Five reasons why the Wild were eliminated

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 6:02 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- For the first time in a decade, the Minnesota Wild advanced past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. One year after reaching the postseason for the first time in five years, the Wild went one step further, defeating the Colorado Avalanche in seven games before losing in six to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Wild and Blackhawks were tied at two wins apiece in the Western Conference Second Round, and Minnesota led 1-0 on the road after one period of Game 5. But Chicago's veteran stars were too much down the stretch and the Blackhawks rallied to win 2-1 before eliminating the Wild with their first loss at home in the playoffs in Game 6.

Here are five reasons why the Wild failed to reach the Western Conference Final:

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Five reasons why the Rangers advanced

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 5:45 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The New York Rangers looked like a team that had run out of energy four games into their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their 4-2 loss in Game 4 was the culmination of a run of seven games in 11 days, including two sets of back-to-backs.

It included the final three games of their seven-game first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, which had Games 6 and 7 on consecutive days. After a day of rest, the Rangers started the second round against the Penguins in a game that went to overtime. New York won then were shut out in Games 2 and 3 on back-to-back days. In Game 4, the Rangers had 15 shots on goal, a franchise low for a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

From those depths, the Rangers rose up to win three in a row and earn a second trip to the Eastern Conference Final in three years.

How did they do it? Here are five reasons:

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Kings sign LoVerde to one-year contract

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 5:37 PM / News

NHL.com

The Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday signed defenseman Vincent LoVerde to a one-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.

LoVerde, 25, played the past two seasons with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League. He had 20 points (two goals, 18 assists) and 46 penalty minutes in 70 regular-season games this season with a plus-37 rating that was tied for second in the AHL. He split time with Manchester and the Ontario Reign of the ECHL in 2012-13, combining for 30 points in 78 games.

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Czechs shut out Italy, Swiss edge Germany at Worlds

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 5:06 PM / News

NHL.com

Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils and Jiri Sekac scored, and Alexander Salak needed to make 11 saves to give the Czech Republic to a 2-0 victory against Italy in preliminary-round action Wednesday at the 2014 IIHF World Championship at Chizhovka Arena in Minsk, Belarus.

Goalie Daniel Bellissimo made 35 saves for Italy.

Sekac gave the Czech Republic (2-2, six points) a 1-0 lead 2:53 into the second period with assists from Calgary Flames forward Jiri Hudler and Ondrej Nemec. Jagr scored his second goal of the tournament off a hard wrist shot into the top corner with 4:26 remaining in the third off a pass from former Flames forward Roman Cervenka.

"I don't think we were surprised," Nemec told the IIHF website. "If you're playing at the World Championship, every team is really good. They showed us today how good they are. It was a really tough game for us. We wanted to score a goal a little bit earlier."

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Plenty at stake as London Knights host Memorial Cup

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 4:05 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

There's a good chance many of the NHL's brightest future stars will be playing big roles this weekend when the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup commences at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.

The four-team round robin tournament takes place May 16-25 and will feature the host team London Knights along with the Ontario Hockey League champion Guelph Storm, Western Hockey League champion Edmonton Oil Kings and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Val d'Or Foreurs.

Make no mistake, NHL scouts and general managers pay close attention to the tournament and which prospects rise to the occasion in a big spot.

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Penguins face uncertainty after another early exit

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 3:59 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins seemed to be cruising on their way to a second consecutive Eastern Conference Final less than a week ago. After an exit in the Eastern Conference Second Round, they're now faced with uncertainty.

The Penguins responded to a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1 of their second-round series against the New York Rangers with three wins earned in convincing fashion. Pittsburgh outscored the Rangers by a combined score of 9-2 on its way to a 3-1 series lead.

Pittsburgh lost to a lower-seeded team for the fifth consecutive year since winning a Stanley Cup in 2009. But a 2-1 loss in Game 7 Tuesday could have greater implications than simply the end of another disappointing season.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he had not considered what will result from the loss.

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Five reasons why the Penguins were eliminated

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 11:42 AM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins were up 3-1 in their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers. Less than a week later, the Penguins are heading home after another early exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The upcoming offseason could be eventful for Pittsburgh after being ousted by a lower-seeded team for the fifth consecutive postseason since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. But before looking ahead to the changing atmosphere surrounding the Penguins franchise, their first series loss against the Rangers will be analyzed.

After a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1, Pittsburgh rattled off three convincing wins by a combined score of 9-2. They seemed poised to enter the Eastern Conference Final playing their best brand of hockey in several months. That quickly changed and they lost the next three games, scoring one goal in each.

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Quote of the Day

I just think about how much it hurts. The feelings aren't going to go away, probably never. It's just something that sticks with you for a long time.

— San Jose forward Logan Couture to The Canadian Press on the Sharks' first-round loss to the Kings after taking a 3-0 series lead