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Subban inspired by words from Jean Beliveau's widow

Saturday, 04.18.2015 / 1:11 AM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL – P.K. Subban is not someone who needs extra motivation this time of year. He got it anyway, and it came from a source that is unique to being a player for the Montreal Canadiens.

Subban has consistently shown, ever since his rookie season, that when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin he becomes a difference-maker.

But the type of difference Subban nearly made for the Canadiens in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Ottawa Senators is not what people are used to seeing from him.

Subban was ejected from the game on Wednesday and given a major penalty for slashing Senators forward Mark Stone on the wrist at 8:23 of the second period. The Canadiens won the game 4-3 without their best defenseman, and Subban became the focal point of the series, as he usually does.

The pressure was on him to perform Friday in Game 2, a situation he’s always thrived in.

Senators' Stone earns respect by playing with injury

Saturday, 04.18.2015 / 12:20 AM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone earned the respect of his teammates in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday.

The 22-year-old rookie had two assists in a 3-2 overtime loss while playing with a microfracture and ligament damage in his right wrist after he was slashed by Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban in Game 1 on Wednesday.

Stone had the primary assist when Clarke MacArthur scored to give the Senators a 1-0 lead in the first period and on Patrick Wiercioch's game-tying power-play goal with 6:35 left in the third period.

"[Stone's] a character guy for us," MacArthur said. "He's going to battle through it and do what he has to do. That's all you can ask of a teammate. For him to step in there as a young guy, it's gritty of him. Hats off to him.

Grubauer steps in, leads Capitals to Game 2 win

Saturday, 04.18.2015 / 12:15 AM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- For the third time in the Washington Capitals' past six trips to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they needed a second goaltender during Game 2 of their first-round series

Philipp Grubauer was preparing for the final weekend of the regular season in the American Hockey League on Thursday, but his plans changed because Washington goaltender Braden Holtby was sick. Grubauer made his NHL playoff debut Friday, stopping 18 shots to help the Capitals rally for a 4-3 win and tie their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series with the New York Islanders at 1-1.

"Amazing. [It was] amazing," Grubauer said. "All I can say is a [great] game, [great] comeback. Guys did an amazing job of keeping the pucks to the outside."

Holtby led NHL goaltenders in games played this season, but he was not on the ice Thursday and Grubauer was officially recalled Friday morning. Coach Barry Trotz said after the morning skate the plan was for Holtby to participate in warm-ups, but that never materialized.

Goaltender Matchup: Inside Lundqvist vs. Fleury

Friday, 04.17.2015 / 11:47 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. decided to break down the highest profile matchup in the Eastern Conference First Round: Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Much 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 this matchup this 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 pay price for sitting back in Game 2

Friday, 04.17.2015 / 11:38 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The New York Islanders had a two-goal lead in the second period Friday and a chance to return home with a commanding lead in their Eastern Conference First Round series.

Several Islanders said it was at this point, after Kyle Okposo put them in front 3-1, that things went awry. Though the Washington Capitals were down on the scoreboard, they had dominated the puck to that point and continued to do so, eventually taking control of Game 2 in a 4-3 victory at Verizon Center and evening the best-of-7 series at 1-1.

"We had a 3-1 lead, so there is an opportunity but only half the game is done," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "There’s 60 minutes, and we just weren’t as aggressive. There are ups and downs and you’ve got to overcome challenges and adversity. We would have loved to take this one as well. That was our mindset, and obviously after we took the lead, but now we’ve got to bounce back at home."

Farrish: Penguins should put Crosby, Malkin together

Friday, 04.17.2015 / 7:34 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, 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. 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.

The Pittsburgh Penguins need a jolt of offense if they're going to get even with the New York Rangers in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series on Saturday.

Former NHL assistant coach Dave Farrish thinks the Penguins will have a better chance of getting it by putting Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the same line to start Game 2 at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA).

Stone, Pacioretty in lineups for Senators, Canadiens

Friday, 04.17.2015 / 7:04 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Forwards Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators and Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens will play in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Bell Centre on Friday.

Stone sustained a microfracture and ligament damage in his right wrist, according to the Senators, in Game 1. He was slashed by Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban.

Stone had 47 points in the last 46 games of the regular season to help the Senators reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Pacioretty, who led the Canadiens in goals (37) and points (67), missed the last two games of the regular season and Game 1 of the series with an upper-body injury.

Montreal won Game 1 of the best-of-7 series 4-3.

Holtby out, Grubauer in goal for Capitals vs. Islanders

Friday, 04.17.2015 / 6:45 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Katie Brown - Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby will not start Friday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Islanders (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, CSN-DC).

Philipp Grubauer will start for Washington.

Holtby is listed as day-to-day with an illness. Washington coach Barry Trotz told reporters Friday morning that Holtby felt ill prior to Game 1 on Wednesday and would take warm-ups before his starting status was decided.

Grubauer will make his Stanley Cup Playoff debut. He was recalled from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League on Friday morning.

Devils' Schneider done playing but excited to watch

Friday, 04.17.2015 / 5:06 PM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The New Jersey Devils and goaltender Cory Schneider failed to qualify for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that hasn't stopped Schneider from paying attention to what's going on across the NHL.

Schneider set a personal best and was fourth in the League with 69 games in 2014-15, but he's still excited to watch hockey.

"I find the first to be the most interesting round," Schneider said. "Everyone sort of has the optimism that they're going to go far and everyone comes out a million miles an hour. So some of the physicality and the pace of the game is pretty incredible, especially the early games, when you might catch a team off and win a game or two and then that changes the series.

Predators 'D' add new dimension to offensive attack

Friday, 04.17.2015 / 3:14 PM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

When Peter Laviolette was hired to be the new coach of the Nashville Predators, one of the things general manager David Poile charged him with was improving the offense.

The Predators had a distinct defensive identity under former coach Barry Trotz, and are still a team built from the net out. With goaltender Pekka Rinne and a defensive corps that features Shea Weber (who is out Games 3 and 4 with a lower-body injury), Roman Josi, Seth Jones and Ryan Ellis, Nashville has plenty of talent from the blue line down.

What Laviolette has done is taken those assets and re-appropriated them. The Predators defensemen combined to score 193 points this season, up from the 171 they scored last season. Laviolette has used the same ingredients but changed the recipe, and the results for the Predators have been nearly half a goal more averaged at even-strength per game (2.52, up from 2.25), the highest-scoring even-strength blue line in the League, and a team that no longer has to keep a game low-scoring for it to win.

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