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Farrish: Rangers, Capitals need focused forecheck

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 4:12 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference Second Round series between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Dave Farrish to break down the action. Farrish will be checking in throughout the series.

Farrish was an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs from 2005-14. He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He also coached 1,027 games in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. In addition, Farrish, a former defenseman, played 430 games over seven seasons in the NHL.

Dave Farrish has closely watched six games between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Second Round to draw a conclusion that the team that wins Game 7 will be the one that wins the majority of the battles on the wall and doesn't crack in its structure on the forecheck.

Game 7 of the best-of-7 series is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"That's where the battles are going to be and that's where the test of wills is going to come, winning those one-on-one battles that result in a good forecheck for both teams," Farrish said. "It's going to really come down to which team is going to be able to execute that and not get caught with too many men in deep to give up those 2-on-1s or 3-on-1s going the other way. That's something I'm going to be looking for, which team cracks and gives up the offensive chances against."

Capitals coach Trotz endorses Ovechkin's prediction

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 2:23 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- In the aftermath of losing Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round to the New York Rangers on Sunday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin took a page from legendary Rangers captain Mark Messier's handbook.

Ovechkin boldly predicted the Capitals would win Game 7 on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). It is Washington's final chance to reach the Eastern Conference Final after losing Games 5 and 6.

Washington is 4-9 in Game 7 since 1987 and has played five of them in its past five Stanley Cup Playoff appearances. On Wednesday, Washington will play in its second Game 7 after defeating the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference First Round.

If the Capitals win this Game 7, they would play either the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Montreal Canadiens in their first conference final since 1998.

Five reasons Ducks advanced to Western Final

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 1:45 PM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

The last time the Anaheim Ducks made it this far, Bruce Boudreau hadn't yet coached a game in the NHL and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were baby-faced second-line forwards.

For the first time since they won the Stanley Cup in 2007, Anaheim will play in the Western Conference Final after it eliminated the Calgary Flames in Game 5 of the second round on Sunday.

It has come together impressively and efficiently for Anaheim to set up a showcase series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boudreau advanced to a conference final for the first time, and Getzlaf and Perry lead a team that is 8-1 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It hasn't been easy, though: Six of the Ducks' eight wins came after Anaheim trailed at any point in the game.

"They're determined," Boudreau said. "We talked about it before the game [Sunday]. We're committed and we're determined. Not to say that Chicago is not committed or determined, and they're going to prove to be as tough a foe as you could possibly get. But at the same time … these guys have had a chance all year, that's why our third-period record is so good and [our] one-goal situations are so good. When they get that opportunity, they dig deep."

Here are five reasons the Ducks advanced:

Seven matchups to watch in Rangers-Capitals Game 7

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 12:34 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Here they are again, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, in a Game 7, in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, for the fourth time in the past seven seasons.

There was some doubt it would happen again this year; the Capitals took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series, but the Rangers rallied to win Game 5 in overtime and held on to win Game 6 in regulation to force the series back to Madison Square Garden for Game 7 on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Rangers have won five consecutive Game 7s, going back to the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators. Two of those Game 7 wins have come against the Capitals, including 5-0 in the 2013 conference quarterfinals.

The Rangers have won five consecutive Game 7s, going back to the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators. Two of those Game 7 wins have come against the Capitals, including 5-0 in the 2013 conference quarterfinals.

Washington has won two of its past four Game 7s, including 2-1 against the New York Islanders in the first round this year.

New York is 13-3 in its past 16 games when facing elimination, including 7-1 in six playoff rounds under coach Alain Vigneault. The Capitals are 3-10 in their past 13 games when they have the ability to close a series, including 1-3 under coach Barry Trotz this season.

The following seven matchups could decide who moves on to the Eastern Conference Final:

Kreider scores twice to spark Rangers to Game 6 win

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 11:56 AM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

NHL.com Staff

Chris Kreider helped save the New York Rangers' season last Friday when his goal tied Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals with 1:41 left in regulation. He wasted no time imposing his will in Game 6 on Sunday, scoring twice in the first period to spark the Rangers to a 4-3 win that evened the best-of-7 series at 3-3.

Game 7 is Wednesday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) and Kreider is a big reason why the Rangers have rallied from down 3-1 in the series. He scored 40 seconds into Game 6 after picking up a loose puck at the red line and powering past Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen before lifting a backhand shot over the blocker of goaltender Branden Holtby.

"When he gets the puck wide with speed like that, he's one of the tougher players to defend, and I hope I never have to do it, because it looks miserable," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal told the New York Post.

Five reasons Flames were eliminated from playoffs

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 10:54 AM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

The improbable run of the Calgary Flames has come to an end.

Making their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2009 and advancing beyond the first round for the second time since winning Stanley Cup in 1989 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, the Flames were eliminated by the Anaheim Ducks in five games in the best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round. They lost Game 5 on Sunday 3-2 in overtime.

"The investment that we put in in those young players in those playoffs, whether against the Canucks or against the Ducks, it's priceless," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said Sunday. "Now they know how hard you need to suffer to win some games and the pace, how unbelievable the pace is. Now they know. It doesn't mean that it's guaranteed success, but at least it's another page in our book, and obviously I like the way that this group moved forward this year."

"We still have a long way to go. But those playoffs are certainly a huge investment for them and also for the entire organization."

Here are five reasons the Flames were eliminated:

Babcock meets with Sabres GM, owner: report

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 9:58 AM / News

NHL.com

Mike Babcock met with Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula on Sunday to discuss a possible future with the organization, according to The Associated Press.

Babcock flew to Buffalo on Sunday and spent the afternoon with Pegula and general manager Tim Murray. The Sabres are one of five teams with a coaching vacancy after firing Ted Nolan on April 12.

Approached Sunday by a reporter at Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, Babcock refused to comment and Pegula only said, "Hello."

The Detroit Red Wings granted Babcock permission to speak with other NHL teams May 8. Babcock's contract with the Red Wings expires June 30. The Red Wings want to bring back Babcock and are aiming for a resolution by May 25.

Ducks' Boudreau in conference final for first time

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ANAHEIM -- Minutes after one of the biggest victories of his professional coaching career Sunday, Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was honest, self-deprecating, insightful and folksy, everything he's been known for during a long and successful life in hockey.

He's also been known to do a lot of winning. He's won championships in the American Hockey League and ECHL, reached the finals of the International Hockey League, and became the fastest coach to 300 victories in the NHL. But the level of postseason success he expects, and people expect of his teams after witnessing their regular-season excellence, has eluded him in the NHL.

The 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs may change that. After the Ducks defeated the Calgary Flames 3-2 in overtime Sunday to win the best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round series in five games, Boudreau has coached a team to the conference final for the first time in eight seasons in the NHL.

The Ducks will play the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final.

"It's a relief that I won't get asked that question anymore," Boudreau said about failing to advance past the second round. "I'm sure now it will be, 'Well, you've never been to the Cup Final.' For tonight I'm really happy that question won't be asked of me too often anymore."

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Sunday, May 10

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 3:27 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL.com

PERRY'S OVERTIME-WINNER POWERS DUCKS TO WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL

Matt Beleskey's tying goal at 0:59 of the third period set the stage for Corey Perry to score the overtime-winner at 2:26 of the extra frame to power the Ducks to the Western Conference Final.

* The Ducks advanced to the Western Conference Final for the fourth time in their history and for the first time since 2007.

* Perry, who briefly left the game in the later stages of the second period with a lower-body injury, scored his second game-winning goal of the postseason and his first career playoff overtime goal. Perry paces the League with 7-8—15 in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Despite loss, Flames goalie Ramo shows top form

Monday, 05.11.2015 / 2:54 AM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo briefly protested and hung around his crease as though he didn't want to leave the ice. He certainly had a lot more saves in him, judging from the first 60 minutes Sunday.

But Ramo's 44 saves weren't enough to keep the Flames alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round at Honda Center. Thirty-two of those saves were made after the first period.

Ramo was terrific late. He got a piece of Ryan Kesler's wrist shot from a steep angle in overtime and stopped Matt Beleskey on a partial breakaway. Ramo made six saves in overtime before he could do little to stop Corey Perry from punching in the puck from a scramble in front at 2:26. His frustration was evident while Anaheim celebrated.

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Quote of the Day

I'm going into this with an open mind. This is a very young player (23) with a tremendous, tremendous amount of upside.

— Rangers coach Alain Vigneault on Emerson Etem's potential