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Bergeron, Kopitar, Toews voted Selke Trophy finalists

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 7:00 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded "to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game," the National Hockey League announced today.

All three were Selke finalists in 2013-14, when Bergeron, Kopitar and Toews finished 1-2-3, respectively, in balloting. This marks the first time in 18 years that the same trio has swept finalist berths for a trophy in consecutive seasons: Paul Kariya, Adam Oates and Teemu Selanne were the top three contenders for the Lady Byng Trophy in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association submitted ballots for the Selke Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Start time set for Game 5 between Rangers, Penguins

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 5:15 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League today announced the start time and national television information for Game 5 of 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round series between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins scheduled for Friday, April 24.

· The start time for Game 5 of the series between the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins has been set for 7 p.m. ET in New York. The game will be seen on NBCSN in the U.S. Canadian national broadcast information will be released later this evening.

Stamkos focused on producing, rallying Lightning

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 5:08 PM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Paul Harris - Correspondent

DETROIT -- With the Tampa Bay Lightning down 2-1 to the Detroit Red Wings in the Eastern Conference First Round, all eyes are on Steven Stamkos.

The Lightning center and captain had 43 goals during the regular season, but has been held to two assists in the first three games of the best-of-7 series.

"I just think, personally, I've got to be better, like all of us," Stamkos said after practice Wednesday. "Take a good look in the mirror … like all of us. We can be better."

Tampa Bay was shut out 3-0 in Game 3 on Tuesday, when Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek made 22 saves. Game 4 is Thursday at Joe Louis Arena (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, FS-F, FS-D).

More settled at home, Capitals' Holtby thriving in net

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 5:06 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is 25 years old but he's becoming quite familiar with how to work through drama at home during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Holtby missed Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Islanders because a virus swept through his house. Not only was he trying to fight off the illness, he and his wife, Brandi, were trying to shepherd their two young children through it as well.

Holtby is recovered now and will be in goal when the series resumes with Game 5 on Thursday at Verizon Center in Washington (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, CSN-DC). The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2.

Senators goalie Anderson to start must-win Game 4

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 3:17 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Chris Stevenson - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Facing elimination, the Ottawa Senators are turning again to goaltender Craig Anderson for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens at Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports).

Senators coach Dave Cameron said he chose Anderson rather than Andrew Hammond, who started the first two games of the series, because of Anderson's experience.

Anderson started Game 3 and made 47 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss.

"He has a proven playoff record of being a real good goalie," Cameron said.

Noel: Lightning must have depth on their forecheck

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 2:20 PM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings has enlisted the help of Claude Noël to break down the action. Noel will be checking in throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Noel was coach for the Winnipeg Jets from 2011-2014 and interim coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2009-10. He also coached many years in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. Noel a forward during his playing days, had 138 points in 353 regular-season games in the AHL, and he played seven games in the NHL with Washington Capitals in 1979-80.

The ebbs and flows of every hockey game are inevitable, but the fine line between winning and losing usually comes down to which team is able to take advantage of that golden opportunity when it presents itself.

Claude Noel believes the Tampa Bay Lightning failed to capitalize on that moment when presented a 5-on-3 power play for 56 seconds early in the second period of an eventual 3-0 loss against the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference First Round series Tuesday. The win gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 with Game 4 set for Thursday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit (7 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports, FS-F, FS-D).

"I felt Detroit really carried the play and was really coming at Tampa Bay hard early in the second and the Lightning weren't able to generate any offense, but then they got the power play and then a 5-on-3 advantage," Noel said. "That to me was one of the turning points of the game or could have been. Tampa did get a shot off the crossbar (by Tyler Johnson), but beyond that had a couple of non-executed plays that resulted in not getting much done on the 5-on-3. I thought that could have been a turning point that they could take advantage."

Islanders reviewing options if Visnovsky can't play

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 1:35 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Less than 24 hours after the New York Islanders failed to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals, they were trying to figure out how to replace another veteran defenseman.

The Islanders could be without Lubomir Visnovsky for Game 5 at Verizon Center on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, CSN-DC). Visnovsky was hit hard behind the Islanders net by Capitals forward Tom Wilson and did not return to the 2-1 overtime loss.

The Islanders played the first four games of the series without veteran defenseman Travis Hamonic because of an undisclosed injury.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano did not have an update on Visnovsky's condition when he spoke with reporters Wednesday morning but was hoping to know more later in the day. He said he did not know if Visnovsky would be able to make the trip to Washington.

Sabres sign BU forward Rodrigues to contract

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 12:43 PM / News

The Buffalo Sabres have signed free-agent forward Evan Rodrigues to a two-year, entry-level contract.

Rodrigues recently finished his senior season at Boston University, recording 61 points while helping the Terriers advance to the championship game of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. An assistant captain of the 2014-15 Terriers squad, he ranked second in the nation in assists per game (0.98) and in total points (61). His four points in two games played in this year’s NCAA Tournament earned him Most Outstanding Player of Northeast Regional and All-Regional Team honors in the NCAA Tournament.

Blackhawks center Vermette comes up big in Game 4

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 12:00 PM / "Obvious Choice" Moments

Center Antoine Vermette was acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks prior to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline to bolster an offense that was missing Patrick Kane because of a broken collarbone. After scoring 13 goals and 35 points in 62 games with the Arizona Coyotes, Vermette had three assists in 19 regular-season games for the Blackhawks and was a healthy scratch for the first two games of the Western Conference First Round series against the Nashville Predators.

Given a shot at redemption after coach Joel Quenneville called his number for Game 3, Vermette played 13:35 in 17 shifts of Chicago's 4-2 win. But in Game 4, Vermette made the most of his second chance with a big goal in a game the Blackhawks would eventually win 3-2 in the third overtime.

Inside the numbers on longest game of 2015 playoffs

Wednesday, 04.22.2015 / 11:56 AM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville probably best summed up the longest game to date in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I don't think I've ever played a game this late. Ever," Quenneville said.

Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook ended it when his one-timer from the blue line got past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne for the game-winner 1:00 into triple overtime to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 victory against the Predators in Game 4 of their Western Conference First Round series.

The Blackhawks, who lead the best-of-7 series 3-1, will look to close the series in Game 5 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports 3, CSN-CH, FS-TN).

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You could feel it. You could feel that they were going after each other and trying to win the game for their team.

— Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom on Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, in which Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin and Penguins forward Sidney Crosby each scored hat tricks
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