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Matchup: Inside Game 4 for Vasilevskiy, Crawford

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 4:38 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

A huge part of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final has been the battle between 2013 Cup winner Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning. A new wrinkle was added to the battle Wednesday when rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy replaced Bishop as the Game 4 starter. Bishop is day-to-day because of an unspecified injury. scouted the goalies before the series and is tracking their performances each game, identifying attack trends and shot quality. Kevin Woodley, managing editor of InGoal Magazine, uses Double Blue Sports Analytics software to chart goals and shots in each game. Here are his findings from Game 4, a 2-1 victory by the Blackhawks.

The spotlight may have been on Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was making his first start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but for the second straight game Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks was the busier of the two goaltenders, by shot quantity and quality.

The Lightning continue to make life more difficult for Crawford than the Blackhawks have done for Ben Bishop or Vasilevskiy, who started for the injured Bishop in Game 4.

Just as Chicago failed to generate a lot of lateral chances against a clearly hobbled Bishop in Game 3, there wasn't much pressure placed on Vasilevskiy, a 20-year-old Russian rookie, in Game 4. The Blackhawks had two shots on goal in the first period and 19 for the game.

Penguins forward Dupuis cleared to take contact

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 4:36 PM / News

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis, who was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung on Nov. 19, said Thursday he has been cleared for full-contact workouts.

"It's exciting. It's a day I've been waiting a long time for," Dupuis told the Penguins website. "It just feels great. It feels right, the right time."

Dupuis' struggles began before the early-season diagnosis. He tore his ACL/MCL in a game against the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 23, 2013, and a blood clot formed in his knee. The right wing missed the remainder of that season, treating the clot with blood thinners and rehabbing his leg during the summer.

Dupuis, 36, returned to the Penguins for the first 16 games of this season, but the blood clot traveled to his lung.

"The blood clot has dissolved, and the doctors have recommended a blood-thinner medication that will allow him to play," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday. "It's a big step forward for Pascal, and we're all excited for him."

Blackhawks enter Game 5 still seeking complete effort

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 4:12 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks got the win they needed in Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, tying the best-of-7 series 2-2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but that doesn't mean they're pleased with the performance.

The Blackhawks will look to play a complete game as the series shifts to Amalie Arena for Game 5 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"Well, I mean, we're in the winning business," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said at a press conference Thursday at United Center. "I don't think you should ever be satisfied with the way things go. I think you want to find ways where you can better yourselves, better the situation. I think after four games there's been some progress, some areas where we need to improve. We know we have to be better. We're looking to get better as we go into Game 5."

Sabres' Hodgson remains buyout candidate: report

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 3:20 PM / News

Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson is a candidate for a contract buyout, Sabres general manager Tim Murray said Thursday, according to Buffalo radio station WGR-550.

Murray said Hodgson is in Sweden working with a skating coach, and said Hodgson had to improve his skating and conditioning. Murray said Hodgson would like to stay with the Sabres, but a buyout is a possibility.

USA Hockey names Jim Smith as new president

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 2:56 PM / News

Jim Smith was unanimously elected the fifth president of USA Hockey during the organization's Board of Directors four-day annual congress in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Smith, who has served as part of USA Hockey's executive committee the past 20 years, succeeds Ron DeGregorio, who retired last week after 12 years as president.

"I'm honored and humbled for the opportunity to serve as president of such a wonderful organization," Smith told "To follow in the footsteps of Walter Bush and Ron DeGregorio is a difficult task, but with the help of our board and everyone involved, I look forward to continuing to build on the solid foundation that is currently in place."

Desjardins: Blackhawks must keep focus on checking

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 12:54 PM / Player's Blog with the Blackhawks' Andrew Desjardins

Andrew Desjardins - Special to

Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins will be blogging for periodically throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In this edition, he explains the Blackhawks' focus on playing well defensively and how that helped protect their lead in Game 4.

CHICAGO -- We're halfway through the series now and it's down to a best-of-3.

We didn't know much about the Lightning when the series began other than what we saw on video and the few times we get to play them in the [regular season], but we're starting to learn a lot about them.

First of all, we've realized how good of a checking team they can be and how we have to be good with the puck. We have to out-battle them. They battle hard along the walls and they're good in the gritty areas. They're not a super-big team, but they're gritty in those areas.

I can't say we're really that surprised about that. Maybe we didn't know exactly how good they were at checking, but I think the perception everyone had that this would be a big offensive series was wrong. That checking game is really important in the playoffs, and you're seeing that.

Stars place goalie Rynnas on unconditional waivers

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 12:05 PM / News

Dallas Stars goaltender Jussi Rynnas was placed on unconditional waivers Thursday, the Stars announced.

Rynnas, 28, played two games with the Stars this season, including one start, a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 4. In 39 games with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, he was 22-6-8 with a 2.53 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

Blackhawks survive late Lightning surge to tie series

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 11:30 AM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

With each game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final ending in a one-goal differential, the outcome has hung in the balance until the final seconds of play.

Game 4 Wednesday in Chicago was no exception.

The Chicago Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead thanks to a lucky goal, as forward Brandon Saad described it, 6:20 into the third period. The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for an extra attacker in the final minutes to try and create a bit of their own luck.

With a little more than a minute left in the game, Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya blocked a shot in front of his goalie Corey Crawford and the puck bounced to Lightning forward Alex Killorn. He settled the puck and passed to forward Steven Stamkos in the slot. Stamkos one-timed it with Crawford sprawling above his crease, leaving the net wide open. Stamkos' shot looked as though it would even the score, but Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook waved his stick in the lane just in time to deflect the puck and send it left of the goal post.

Blues parting with Jackman after 13 seasons: report

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 10:00 AM / News

Barret Jackman will not return to the St. Louis Blues next season, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday.

The 34-year-old defenseman has played his entire 13-season NHL career with the Blues. He will be an unrestricted free agent July 1, and the Blues told him they will not attempt to sign him, the newspaper said.

Cup Final reunites Maine alumni Bishop, Darling

Thursday, 06.11.2015 / 9:20 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

TAMPA -- Ben Bishop was a junior goaltender at the University of Maine, the starter for a highly ranked team with national championship aspirations, when he spent a weekend as the host for a potential recruit, a tall kid like himself who also hailed from a non-traditional source of amateur talent.

Bishop, a 6-foot-7 goaltender from just outside St. Louis, connected pretty quickly with Scott Darling, a 6-foot-6 goalie from just outside Chicago. Darling enjoyed the recruiting trip and eventually committed.

Seven years later, they are on opposite sides of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks, which is tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 at Amalie Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). Bishop started the first three games for Tampa Bay before missing Game 4 with an unspecified injury; Darling has not seen action in the series for Chicago.

"[Bishop] really took care of me," Darling said. "I was really nervous. He took me out for some food, showed me kind of the ins and outs of campus. [The hockey players] were the big guys on campus, so it was fun to hang out with them. I watched them play that weekend, and he had two great games. I experienced the college life a little, and it made me excited to go there."

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Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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