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Five reasons why the Rangers advanced

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 5:45 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

The New York Rangers looked like a team that had run out of energy four games into their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Their 4-2 loss in Game 4 was the culmination of a run of seven games in 11 days, including two sets of back-to-backs.

It included the final three games of their seven-game first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, which had Games 6 and 7 on consecutive days. After a day of rest, the Rangers started the second round against the Penguins in a game that went to overtime. New York won then were shut out in Games 2 and 3 on back-to-back days. In Game 4, the Rangers had 15 shots on goal, a franchise low for a Stanley Cup Playoff game.

From those depths, the Rangers rose up to win three in a row and earn a second trip to the Eastern Conference Final in three years.

How did they do it? Here are five reasons:


Kings sign LoVerde to one-year contract

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 5:37 PM / News

The Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday signed defenseman Vincent LoVerde to a one-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.

LoVerde, 25, played the past two seasons with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League. He had 20 points (two goals, 18 assists) and 46 penalty minutes in 70 regular-season games this season with a plus-37 rating that was tied for second in the AHL. He split time with Manchester and the Ontario Reign of the ECHL in 2012-13, combining for 30 points in 78 games.


Czechs shut out Italy, Swiss edge Germany at Worlds

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 5:06 PM / News

Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils and Jiri Sekac scored, and Alexander Salak needed to make 11 saves to give the Czech Republic to a 2-0 victory against Italy in preliminary-round action Wednesday at the 2014 IIHF World Championship at Chizhovka Arena in Minsk, Belarus.

Goalie Daniel Bellissimo made 35 saves for Italy.

Sekac gave the Czech Republic (2-2, six points) a 1-0 lead 2:53 into the second period with assists from Calgary Flames forward Jiri Hudler and Ondrej Nemec. Jagr scored his second goal of the tournament off a hard wrist shot into the top corner with 4:26 remaining in the third off a pass from former Flames forward Roman Cervenka.

"I don't think we were surprised," Nemec told the IIHF website. "If you're playing at the World Championship, every team is really good. They showed us today how good they are. It was a really tough game for us. We wanted to score a goal a little bit earlier."


Plenty at stake as London Knights host Memorial Cup

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 4:05 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

There's a good chance many of the NHL's brightest future stars will be playing big roles this weekend when the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup commences at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.

The four-team round robin tournament takes place May 16-25 and will feature the host team London Knights along with the Ontario Hockey League champion Guelph Storm, Western Hockey League champion Edmonton Oil Kings and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Val d'Or Foreurs.

Make no mistake, NHL scouts and general managers pay close attention to the tournament and which prospects rise to the occasion in a big spot.


Penguins face uncertainty after another early exit

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 3:59 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins seemed to be cruising on their way to a second consecutive Eastern Conference Final less than a week ago. After an exit in the Eastern Conference Second Round, they're now faced with uncertainty.

The Penguins responded to a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1 of their second-round series against the New York Rangers with three wins earned in convincing fashion. Pittsburgh outscored the Rangers by a combined score of 9-2 on its way to a 3-1 series lead.

Pittsburgh lost to a lower-seeded team for the fifth consecutive year since winning a Stanley Cup in 2009. But a 2-1 loss in Game 7 Tuesday could have greater implications than simply the end of another disappointing season.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he had not considered what will result from the loss.


Five reasons why the Penguins were eliminated

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 11:42 AM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins were up 3-1 in their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the New York Rangers. Less than a week later, the Penguins are heading home after another early exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The upcoming offseason could be eventful for Pittsburgh after being ousted by a lower-seeded team for the fifth consecutive postseason since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. But before looking ahead to the changing atmosphere surrounding the Penguins franchise, their first series loss against the Rangers will be analyzed.

After a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 1, Pittsburgh rattled off three convincing wins by a combined score of 9-2. They seemed poised to enter the Eastern Conference Final playing their best brand of hockey in several months. That quickly changed and they lost the next three games, scoring one goal in each.


Blackhawks find way to win again, take Game 6

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 2:17 AM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It's going to take something special to knock the Chicago Blackhawks off their pedestal.

The Minnesota Wild gave it a serious go in the Western Conference Second Round, but lost in six games. They were eliminated on the cruelest possible bounce of the puck almost halfway through the first overtime of a game they had dominated in virtually every conceivable metric.

Patrick Kane roofed an unexpected and unexplainable carom off one of the stanchions that hold the protective glass in place to give the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks a 2-1 victory in Game 6 on Tuesday. Their reward is a berth in the Western Conference Final against either the Anaheim Ducks or the Los Angeles Kings.

While Chicago contemplates what it will take to advance to a third Stanley Cup Final since 2010, the Wild are left with the pain of pondering what could have been.


Wild's season ends on unfortunate bounce

Wednesday, 05.14.2014 / 2:10 AM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2014 SCP Second Round

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu has played a lot of hockey in his professional life. He's a veteran of more than 600 NHL regular-season games and 29 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But never had Koivu seen a game end like it did Tuesday, when Minnesota suffered a season-ending 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of their Western Conference Second Round series.

"No, I haven't," Koivu said.


Rangers' fourth line contributes to Game 7 victory

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

Adam Kimelman - 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 - 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."

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It's such a privilege to be one of these 80 great players to do this milestone, and it doesn't get better than this doing it where I started. It means a lot to me. A big thanks goes to all the players tonight who helped me to achieve that and also all the players through my career.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa after scoring his 1,000th career point on Thursday night in Ottawa
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