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Sloppiness, missed chances cost Capitals in Game 1

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 11:57 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Nicklas Backstrom surveyed his options but when he was ready to distribute the puck near the offensive blue line, it disappeared on him. He whiffed, and it floated into the neutral zone.

Alex Ovechkin crept in from his typical spot on the power play and the puck came right to him, in a broken play no less. The goaltender scrambled, but the puck tumbled and Ovechkin wasn't able to snap off a shot before Jaroslav Halak was ready.

It was two moments in a game that featured many more, but the two best players for the Washington Capitals having their world-class skills elude them at an inopportune time because of unfortunate luck or an unpredictable hop by the puck was symbolic of the rest of this night.

Washington turned over the puck too much, missed connections on too many passes, and flubbed away too many opportunities in a 4-1 defeat against the New York Islanders on Wednesday in Game 1 of this best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series at Verizon Center.

Predators' Fisher leaves game with lower-body injury

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 10:29 PM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators forward Mike Fisher left early in the second period with a lower-body injury and will not return to Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

Canadiens' Subban given game misconduct

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 9:47 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban received a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for slashing Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone at 8:23 of the second period.

Stone left Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series Wednesday at Bell Centre briefly with an apparent arm injury but returned to play.

Blackhawks pull Crawford against Predators

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 9:40 PM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford allowed three goals in the first period of Game 1 of a first-round series against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday and was replaced by Scott Darling to start the second.

Crawford, who had a 2.27 goals-against average during the regular season, allowed two goals in a span of 2:13 late in the period after Colin Wilson scored 6:07 into the game. Viktor Stalberg made it 2-0 at 17:20 and Wilson scored on a power play at 19:33.

Crawford faced 12 shots in the first period.

Chiarelli fired as Bruins GM after nine seasons

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 6:32 PM / News

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Stanley Cup Playoffs won't include the Boston Bruins for the first time in eight years, but CEO Charlie Jacobs and president Cam Neely said Wednesday the decision to fire general manager Peter Chiarelli after nine seasons was about more than the Bruins' 41-27-14 season and ninth-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

"I can appreciate the fact that our fans would probably like us to get a little more specific as to why," Neely said during a press conference at TD Garden, "but we believe that we made the decision moving forward to help improve the hockey club. I don't want to take away anything that Peter accomplished here. I mean, he's going to go down in history as the GM that brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston, the first time in 39 years, so that says a lot about his abilities as a general manager.

"You know, we just felt, and it's not just this particular year not making the playoffs … we just felt moving forward was the best thing for us to do. It was not an easy decision to come to. A lot of conversations about it, but we felt it was the best thing to do moving forward."

The Bruins went 386-233-85 after Chiarelli was hired in the summer of 2006. Chiarelli's tenure included the Stanley Cup championship in 2011, a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 and a Presidents' Trophy for the 2013-14 season.

Sharks coach McLellan needs time to ponder future

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 5:33 PM / News

Eric Gilmore - Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks cleared out their lockers Wednesday, but coach Todd McLellan's future with the organization remained unclear.

McLellan, the winningest coach in Sharks history, has one year left on his contract. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson plans to review McLellan's performance before making a decision, and McLellan said he still needs to further discuss with his family before he decides what he wants to do.

"I need a little more time," McLellan said. "I'm sure the organization needs a little more time."

McLellan was named Canada's coach for the 2015 IIHF World Championship earlier this week. He said he expects a decision on his fate with the Sharks well before he leaves San Jose on April 24 to join the Canadian team.

Wilson, on the other hand, said there is no timetable for making that decision.

Rangers face pressure of being top seed in playoffs

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 5:20 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Being the team with the best record in the NHL entering the Stanley Cup Playoffs is new for the New York Rangers. It's not for coach Alain Vigneault, who doesn't think the Rangers have any reason to feel differently than they did in the regular season.

"I believe that we've been hunted since Day One," Vigneault said. "Any time you've got the Stanley Cup champions or the Stanley Cup finalists, any team playing against them, and I used to do the same thing, you're telling your team, 'We've gotta use them as a benchmark.' I'm sure that's what the other 28 teams were doing when they were playing against us."

Vigneault speaks from experience. Twice he took the Vancouver Canucks into the playoffs after they won the Presidents' Trophy; the second time he did it the season after they reached the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers reached the Stanley Cup Final last season after finishing second in the Metropolitan Division with 96 points. This season, New York won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time since 1993-94, when it last won the Cup, and set Rangers records for wins (53) and points (113).

What did 53 wins and 113 points get the Rangers? The opportunity to face Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins in a best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series that starts Thursday at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, ROOT, MSG).

Berube's future as Flyers coach remains undecided

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 4:50 PM / News

A decision has not been made on Craig Berube's future as Philadelphia Flyers coach, general manager Ron Hextall said Wednesday.

"He's our head coach and if something changes I'll let you guys know," Hextall said during a press conference in Voorhees, N.J. "At this point in the process ... we're going to evaluate everything, as I said, and at this point the decision hasn't been made."

Hextall said he and Berube spoke Sunday and the coach "was fine with it."

Lack to start Game 1 for Canucks against Flames

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 3:42 PM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

VANCOUVER – Goaltender Eddie Lack will make his first Stanley Cup Playoff start for the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday in Game 1 of the Western Conference First Round against the Calgary Flames (10 p.m. ET; CBC, USA, TVA), coach Willie Desjardins confirmed after the morning skate.

Most expected Lack to start because No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller is not fully recovered from a knee injury sustained on Feb. 22, but Desjardins wouldn't confirm it earlier in the week.

Now that he has, the questions shift to Lack not having any playoff experience. The easygoing Swede isn't worried about it.

"Not yet, no," Lack said when asked if he felt any extra nerves. "I've been trying to prepare as I have all season here and obviously there's a little more media in here but other than that I kind of feel normal."

Flames sign Providence goalie Gillies to contract

Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 3:00 PM / News

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed goaltender Jon Gillies from Providence College of the Hockey East Conference.

The South Portland, Maine native played three seasons with Providence in Hockey East and was drafted by the Flames in the third round (75th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In 38 games during the 2014-15 season the 6'6", 225 lb. netminder led Hockey East in goals against average (2.01) and save percentage (.930), he was honoured as the 2014-15 Hockey East Goaltender of the Year, and he was named the NCAA Division 1 Tournament Most Outstanding Player in leading Providence to the national championship. Over his 108-game NCAA career he recorded 60 wins, 13 shutouts, a 2.08 goals against average and a .931 save percentage.

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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