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Rangers' fourth line contributes to Game 7 victory

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 12:14 AM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said prior to Game 7 of his team's Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins that he wanted to get a solid start and be able to roll all four forward lines the entire game.

He was able to check off each item on one shift 5:25 into the game when fourth-line forward Brian Boyle scored the game's opening goal.

It sparked the Rangers to a 2-1 victory Tuesday night and a trip to the Eastern Conference Final for the second time in three years.

Generally a fourth line is used to spell the top players and hopefully generate energy. Boyle and Dominic Moore have done more than that during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, supplying a surprising amount of offense (each has two goals and four points in 14 games), along with sturdy defensive play and penalty killing.


Lundqvist's heroics win Game 7 for Rangers

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 12:10 AM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal has seen his teammate, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, do some pretty sensational things in their time together, almost enough to make the amazing look routine.

But the saves Lundqvist made late in the third period of Game 7 in the Rangers' Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday left Staal stunned on the bench. They were also the pivotal moments in New York's 2-1 victory.

With New York clinging to a one-goal lead during Pittsburgh's furious late push, the Penguins charged into the crease with 5:16 remaining. Lundqvist dropped to his knees and fanned out his right pad to get a piece of James Neal's low shot from the crease and held strong with Evgeni Malkin jamming away at the puck. After Kris Letang's attempt on the rebound was blocked, Lundqvist fought through bodies to get his left pad on Paul Martin's backhand attempt that changed direction after hitting a stray stick in front. And as Penguins converged en masse at the Rangers net, Lundqvist covered the puck for a whistle.

"That's three or four of the biggest saves I've seen [Lundqvist] make since I've played with him," Staal said. "Five minutes left to go, 2-1 hockey game and he comes up with that ... that's massive. Stepped up and made a bunch of huge saves. Battle hard for us. That got us the win."


Penguins' Crosby generates little vs. Rangers

Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 11:50 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby didn't look like the NHL scoring champion.

The Pittsburgh Penguins captain was held scoreless through the final three games of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers. Pittsburgh scored one goal in each of the three losses, culminating with a 2-1 loss in Game 7 Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center.

Crosby was not the only player who failed to produce during Pittsburgh's failure to close out the series after holding a 3-1 lead, but his lack of production left the most noticeable hole.

"It's just disappointing. Tonight was one of our better games," Crosby said. "We worked hard and generated some good chances. I think ultimately, the two we lost and this one hurt as a lot and we put ourselves in this position. But tonight, we worked hard and tried to generate a lot and unfortunately didn't find a way to win."

Forwards Chris Kunitz and James Neal, who finished second and third in goals on the Penguins respectively during the regular season, were also contained. But coach Dan Bylsma said the lack of scoring could not be placed on one player.


Penguins' offense goes silent against Lundqvist

Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 11:15 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- A lack of offense for the third straight game Tuesday night led to the Pittsburgh Penguins being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs after having a 3-1 series lead for the second time in four years.

The Penguins finished their Eastern Conference Second Round series with the New York Rangers by scoring one goal in each of the final three games, culminating with a 2-1 loss in Game 7 at Consol Energy Center. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was the primary reason behind Pittsburgh's failure to capitalize on a lively crowd and a noticeable edge in puck possession through the first two periods.

"I knew we probably weren't going to score three or four on him," defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "But I thought we threw a lot of rubber at him today. We had guys diving and getting their faces in the crease and trying to will it into the net. He was good.

"In these tight playoff games, it comes down to those types of things. One little play, one little inch, one save."


Seven questions for Bruins-Canadiens Game 7

Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 5:38 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

This should come as no surprise.

When the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins each won in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to set up this classic Eastern Conference Second Round series, having it go the distance was practically a given.

When the two longtime rivals face off in Game 7 on Wednesday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS) it will be the ninth do-or-die game between the Canadiens and Bruins, the most of any two teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues.


Bruins can rely on energy, but need scorers to step up

Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 5:26 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are about to play their ninth Game 7 in the past seven seasons when they host the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Second Round at TD Garden on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Bruins and Canadiens have split their past eight do-or-die games.

In some of their more recent series finales, Boston has turned to the fourth line of Gregory Campbell centering wings Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton, which is known as the Merlot Line because of the color of their practice sweaters. They have made the most of limited ice time and used energy and physicality to turn the momentum in the Bruins' favor. They're expected to do the same against Montreal, but someone will have to pick up the scoring slack.

Through the past three games against the Canadiens, including a 4-0 loss in Game 6 on Monday, the reunited fourth line has failed to make that sort of impact. With a trip to the Eastern Conference Final on the line in Game 7, the Bruins' biggest source of energy hopes to provide the necessary juice for a victory.

"Hopefully we can get out there early, get a rhythm going and get on top of them. We have to get on the forecheck. That's when we're at our best. We know that," Thornton said Tuesday during an off day for most of Boston's regulars. "We have to get pucks into areas where we can get them back. Hopefully we can create some momentum for our team; that's the goal."


Rinne leads Finland past Germany at Worlds

Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 4:54 PM / News


Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne made 20 saves to lead Finland to a 4-0 victory against Germany in preliminary-round play at the 2014 IIHF World Championship at Minsk Arena in Belarus on Tuesday.

The victory was the first for Finland (1-2, three points) in the Group B field. In the previous two games between these countries at the World Championship in 2011 and 2013, each game was won by Finland in overtime.

The extra period wasn't needed Tuesday, when Petri Kontiola had a goal and an assist and won 61 percent of his faceoffs.


Capitals sign 2009 pick Mitchell to one-year contract

Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 2:11 PM / News

The Washington Capitals on Tuesday signed forward Garrett Mitchell to a one-year, two-way contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Mitchell, 22, had two assists and 44 penalty minutes in 17 games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League this season, and has 47 points (21 goals, 26 assists) in 160 career AHL games. From 2006-11, he had 112 points (51 goals, 61 assists) in 264 games with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League while serving as captain in 2010-11.


Bruins, Canadiens set for ninth Game 7 in rivalry

Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 12:48 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round


NEW YORK -- For the ninth time in their 34 lifetime Stanley Cup Playoff series, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will face off in a winner-take-all Game 7 Wednesday night at TD Garden in Boston (7 p.m., ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The winner will advance to the Eastern Conference Final against the winner of the Second Round series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, who contest Game 7 tonight in Pittsburgh.

No rivalry in major pro sports has featured as many Game 7 showdowns as Bruins-Canadiens. Other longtime "Original Six" rivals, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, have squared off six times in a Game 7, as have the NBA's Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.


Blues hire Kirk Muller as assistant coach

Tuesday, 05.13.2014 / 12:04 PM / News


The St. Louis Blues on Tuesday hired Kirk Muller as an assistant coach.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported Muller, who was fired last week as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, will receive a two-year contract to join veteran Blues coach Ken Hitchcock.

"We are excited to add Kirk to our staff," general manager Doug Armstrong said. "He was a Stanley Cup-winning player, and as a coach has shown excellent communication skills and the ability to relate to both young and veteran players."

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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season