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Five reasons why the Lightning were eliminated

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 2:16 PM / Lightning vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP First Round

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame so much this season to author a special story of perseverance and promise.

Goaltender Ben Bishop resurrected his career, turning in a regular season worthy of Vezina Trophy consideration. Leading scorer Steven Stamkos went down for a majority of the season after sustaining a broken leg in November. Yet the Lightning refused to fold and finished second in the Atlantic Division, holding off a challenge from the Montreal Canadiens at the end of the regular season.

However, the Lightning could not find the same level of perseverance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They did not overcome the hardships placed in their path during an Eastern Conference First Round series against the Canadiens and were eliminated in a stunning four-game sweep, the first in the history of the franchise.

Here are the five biggest reasons Tampa Bay's season came to an earlier-than-expected end:

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Start times set for Round 1 games on Saturday

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 1:43 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League today announced updated start time information for the First Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

The starting time for Game 5 of the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets has been set for 7:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 26, in Pittsburgh. The game will be seen on NBC Sports Network and CBC.

The starting time for Game 5 of the series between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild has been set for 9:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, April 26 in Colorado. The game will be seen on NBC Sports Network and TSN.

The starting time for a potential Game 5 of the series between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks has been set for 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 26 in San Jose. The game will be seen on CNBC and CBC.

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Johnson, MacKinnon, Palat voted Calder finalists

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 11:00 AM / 2014 NHL Awards

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- Forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche are the three finalists for the 2013-14 Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition," the National Hockey League announced today. The Lightning is the first club to boast multiple Calder finalists since Chicago's Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews finished first and third, respectively, in 2008.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Tuesday, June 24, during the 2014 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2014 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBCSN in the United States and CBC in Canada.

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Sharks-Kings series casts spotlight on California kids

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 10:13 AM / Sharks vs Kings - 2014 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- When Matt Nieto watched games during the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, there was a good chance one of his old pals was on the television screen.

Three of Nieto's former teammates with the L.A. Hockey Club, a traveling youth team in Southern California, made their NHL postseason debuts in 2013. Emerson Etem of the Anaheim Ducks, Beau Bennett of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild were all on that big stage a year ago, while Nieto had just completed his junior season at Boston University and signed his first professional contract.

Just as Nieto had to wait an extra year to be drafted because of his November birthday, he had to wait a year to join in on the Stanley Cup Playoffs fun. And just as Etem became a surprise star for the Ducks in 2013, Nieto's postseason career is off to a great start with a goal and four points in three games for the San Jose Sharks, who lead the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 in a Western Conference First Round series.

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It was pretty unbelievable...I think (my family in France) is pretty much in front of the TV right now. I don't think I have to wake them up.

— 29-year-old Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare after scoring his first NHL goal
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