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Wild's Cooke suspended seven games for kneeing

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 8:50 PM / Department of Player Safety News

NEW YORK -– Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke has been suspended seven games for kneeing Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie during Game Three of the teams' First Round Stanley Cup Playoffs series in St. Paul on Monday, April 21, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety announced today.

If the term of the suspension is not fully served during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the remaining games will be served at the beginning of the 2014-15 regular season.


Kings calling on experienced Richards, Carter

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 6:38 PM / Sharks vs Kings - 2014 SCP First Round

Curtis Zupke - Correspondent

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The additions of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter helped propel the Los Angeles Kings to the 2012 Stanley Cup. The two are supposed to be major pieces in what was expected to be a long run as championship contenders.

It hasn't turned out as scripted, but Richards and Carter aren't done telling the story of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The forwards were factors in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round against the San Jose Sharks, a 4-3 overtime loss, and it's something the Kings need to tap into down 3-0 in the best-of-7 series going into Game 4 on Thursday at Staples Center (10:30 p.m. PT; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, CSN-CA, FS-W).

Richards, a former captain with the Philadelphia Flyers, said it's a challenge the Kings should embrace.

"It's easy to say," Richards said. "But I think, as a group, you just have to know that one, it's not going to be easy, and two, it is possible.

"It's a good opportunity for us to show -- everybody's kind of writing us off right now -- a good opportunity to show how resilient we are right now as a group. We've done good things in the past and this is just another thing we have to be excited to accomplish."


Coyle finding comfort with Wild in playoffs

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 5:57 PM / Avalanche vs Wild - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Myers - Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Charlie Coyle's first full season with the Minnesota Wild hasn't gone poorly. It hasn't gone as well as some expected either.

Inconsistent would be a fair assessment, although the forward's game got better as the Stanley Cup Playoffs crept closer.

The Wild trail the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series, with Coyle stepping up offensively heading into Game 4 Thursday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30pm ET; CNBC, TSN2, RDS2, FS-N, FS-WI, ALT).

After scoring one goal during a 23-game stretch between Jan. 12 and March 20, Wild coach Mike Yeo met with Coyle to relay a simple message: Play physical. It was an important part of his game Coyle knew he had strayed from.

"He said to stay simple to my game and work to my strengths," Coyle said.


Red Wings look to up tempo, pressure on Rask

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 5:02 PM / Bruins vs Red Wings - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

DETROIT -- Mike Babcock's feelings about the Detroit Red Wings' struggling offense might be best summed up by the coach's analysis of the impact Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has had on the Eastern Conference First Round series.

"He's a world-class goalie, skates great, looks great in warm-up," Babcock said. "That's where he's getting his most shots."

In fairness, Rask faced 35 shots in Game 2 and 82 through three games in the best-of-7 series; he's stopped 80 of them, including 57 of the past 58, for a .976 save percentage and 0.67 goals-against average. He's second in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in both categories to Minnesota Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper, who hasn't allowed a goal but has faced only 36 shots.

The fewest goals Detroit has scored in a series which lasted at least five games is eight (twice, in five-game series in 1944 and 2000). The Red Wings, who trail the series 2-1, managed only 23 shots on goal in a 3-0 loss in Game 3 Tuesday, but the number of times they tested Rask fell far short of their total number of shots.

Game 4 is Thursday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, NESN, FS-D).


Five reasons why the Canadiens advanced

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 3:30 PM / Lightning vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning appeared to be two evenly matched teams entering their Eastern Conference First Round series.

They finished one point apart in the standings and three of their four regular-season games were decided after regulation time. The fourth was decided in the third period.

A seven-game series was expected, but the Canadiens completed a four-game sweep with a last-minute 4-3 win at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Health is a big reason for the dramatic change from the tight season series. The Canadiens, for the most part, had it and the Lightning didn't, losing one of their most important players, goaltender Ben Bishop, to a dislocated elbow before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But injuries were far from the only factor working in favor of the Canadiens. Here are five more:


Experienced Flyers confident playing from behind

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 3:30 PM / Rangers vs Flyers - 2014 SCP First Round

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- In October, with the Philadelphia Flyers sitting at the bottom of the NHL standings, captain Claude Giroux proclaimed his team would make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He made another prediction after his team lost to the New York Rangers in Game 3 to fall behind 2-1 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series, and reiterated it after an optional practice Wednesday.

"I personally think we did a lot of good things [in Game 3], and if we play the same way we're going to win here Friday," Giroux said. "If we play our game, if we play the right way, we're going to win. We just have to make sure we play like that."

The Flyers will host the Rangers in Game 4 of the series Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN, MSG, CSN-PH).


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:


Start times set for Round 1 games on Saturday

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

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.


Johnson, MacKinnon, Palat voted Calder finalists

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

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.


Sharks-Kings series casts spotlight on California kids

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

Corey Masisak - 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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