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Leddy, Boychuk, Halak find stability with Islanders

Wednesday, 04.29.2015 / 2:47 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders' three most important acquisitions last offseason, defensemen Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk and goaltender Jaroslav Halak, cleaned out their lockers Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum, still numb from the 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round two days earlier.

After the Islanders failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, Leddy, Boychuk and Halak sparked a resurgence that led to 47 regular-season wins and a third-place finish in the Metropolitan Division.

The three will be integral pieces moving forward. Halak has three years remaining on the contract he signed last May. Leddy and Boychuk, acquired in trades one week before the season started, each signed a seven-year contract to remain in New York.

Islanders' Lee looking ahead, not back at ending

Wednesday, 04.29.2015 / 1:13 PM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Anders Lee may have been a rookie, but the New York Islanders left wing played a major role this season for a team that had 101 points and finished third in the Metropolitan Division.

Yet with New York's season on the line in Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals, Lee, who scored 25 goals during the regular season, was a healthy scratch.

The Islanders survived Game 6 with a 3-1 win at Nassau Coliseum but had 11 shots on goal in a 2-1 loss at Verizon Center in Game 7 on Monday. It was a helpless feeling for Lee, who watched his teammates fail to generate any offense in their biggest game of the season.

"I can't really explain it," Lee said Wednesday at the Coliseum, where the Islanders were cleaning out their lockers permanently as they prepare for their move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season. "It's really hard."

Senators' Murray plans on returning to GM job

Wednesday, 04.29.2015 / 12:57 PM / News

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Bryan Murray, who is battling Stage 4 colon cancer, said he will continue as general manager of the Ottawa Senators.

Murray, 72, will be entering his ninth season as Senators GM this fall. The Senators have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs in five of the eight seasons Murray has been in charge.

"I'm keeping going," he said Wednesday. "I've talked to the doctors, I've talked to my family, I talked to ownership, and if my health holds up and everything, I feel I can keep doing this job. It's better than sitting on the couch at home, I think."

Murray said he offered a contract extension to coach Dave Cameron on Monday, the day after the Senators were eliminated from the Eastern Conference First Round of the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens in six games.

Goaltender Matchup: Inside Hiller vs. Andersen

Wednesday, 04.29.2015 / 11:11 AM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. decided to break down a compelling matchup in the Western Conference Second Round, which starts Thursday when the Calgary Flames visit the Anaheim Ducks (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports): Jonas Hiller against Frederik Andersen, one of the young goaltenders who made Hiller expendable to the Ducks after last season.

Like many goaltending coaches will do before a playoff series, correspondent Kevin Woodley, the managing editor of InGoal Magazine, charted every goal scored against each goalie in the regular season with the help of a program from Double Blue Sport Analytics. The graphics showing where goals went in and shots were taken from on the ice are nice, but the real value is tracking and analyzing the types of plays that led to them and whether they reveal strengths, weaknesses and tendencies that can be targeted.

Islanders' Hamonic, de Haan disclose injuries

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 10:30 PM / News

After weeks of speculation, Islanders defensemen Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan disclosed their injuries at Tuesday's locker clean-out day.

Hamonic told reporters that he suffered a grade-3 tear of his left MCL on April 10 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The injury did not require surgery.

"You could see my facial expression that I knew," Hamonic said of suffering the injury. "It was immediate. I tried to get off the ice as fast as I could. I was in a lot of pain."

Wings' Kronwall suspended one game for charging

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 6:37 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NEW YORK -- Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall has been suspended one game for charging Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov during Game Six of the teams' First Round Eastern Conference series in Detroit on Monday, April 27, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

The incident occurred at 18:55 of the second period.

Moved to top line, St. Louis is Rangers' X-factor

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 4:50 PM / X-Factor

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- It's not new to see New York Rangers right wing Martin St. Louis stay on the ice after practice longer than any of his teammates, as he did Monday and Tuesday. He's built a potential Hall of Fame resume by constantly working on his game, shooting puck after puck after puck to hone his best skill.

This week, though, St. Louis has taken a single-minded approach to the extra work he's putting in before and after practice in preparation for the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Washington Capitals, which begins Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Bolts, Wings cap first round with Game 7 showdown

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 4:13 PM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- The First Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs reaches a dramatic conclusion Wednesday when the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings contest Game 7 in their series finale (7:30 p.m., ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA2). The Lightning will be competing in the fifth Game 7 in franchise history and first since 2011, while the Red Wings will be playing their 25th such game and seventh since 2009.

The winner of Wednesday's game will face the Atlantic Division champion Montreal Canadiens in the Second Round.

Rangers brace for new-look, more physical Capitals

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 3:58 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The rivalry between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals is real. There is no denying that.

It's a rivalry built from four meetings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a span of five years from 2009-13. It's a rivalry built from three seven-game series, from comebacks and from six postseason overtime games, including one that went three extra periods.

But it's also a rivalry that likely will take on a different look in the 2015 Eastern Conference Second Round, which begins with Game 1 on Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Rangers and Capitals have undergone drastic changes in personnel and style since they played in the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

"I can't see it resembling anything from two years ago," Rangers left wing Rick Nash said. "New coaches, new systems, and the game evolves in two years."

Late surge has Senators feeling good about future

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 3:46 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- The numbness the Ottawa Senators felt after the abrupt end of their season Sunday had given way to optimism by Tuesday.

After an unprecedented rally over the final two months of the regular season to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the young Senators were eliminated in the Eastern Conference First Round in six games by the Montreal Canadiens.

The Senators were 14 points out of a playoff spot on Feb. 10, but bolstered by the emergence of goaltender Andrew Hammond, a 27-year-old undrafted free agent, they finished the season 23-4-4 to earn the first wild card.

Hammond started his NHL career 20-1-2 in the regular season before giving way to veteran Craig Anderson after the Senators lost the first two games against the Canadiens.

"A lot of great things that happened, but it's always tough coming to the rink when other teams are still playing," Hammond said as the players gathered for exit and media interviews.

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Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter