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Stanley Cup Final
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Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Friday, May 22

Saturday, 05.23.2015 / 12:55 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

NASH, RANGERS EVEN SERIES AT 2-2

Rick Nash (2-1—3) had his first career three-point performance in the postseason to help the New York Rangers even their series against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 2-2.

* Nash opened the scoring with an even-strength goal and added another goal on the power play for his first two goals of the Eastern Conference Final. It was also Nash’s first career multiple-goal game in the playoffs.

* Nash led the Rangers in the 2014-15 regular season with a career-high 42 goals in 79 GP. He also led the club with 69 points (42-27—69).

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Lundqvist, Nash, St. Louis lead Rangers in Game 4

Saturday, 05.23.2015 / 12:53 AM / Rangers vs Lightning - 2015 Eastern Conference Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

TAMPA -- For two games, the Tampa Bay Lightning had the New York Rangers manically spinning their heads, gasping for their breath and searching for answers to questions they had never faced before.

It happened in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. It happened again in Game 3. The Rangers were simply unable to stop the Lightning's top players from being their best players. It was somewhat shocking coming from a team as structured, sound, smart and skilled as the Rangers, who thrived all season on shoving their speed game right down the throats of the opposition.

So they entered Game 4 on Friday at Amalie Arena with a crystal clear understanding that without a big response from the best they've got they would be in a hole too deep to dig out from. What happened next changed the storyline in this unpredictable series that is now a best of three.

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Lightning lament 'unlucky breaks' in Game 4 loss

Saturday, 05.23.2015 / 12:50 AM / Rangers vs Lightning - 2015 Eastern Conference Final

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Whether it was untimely defensive breakdowns or an unlikely bounce off of the leg of a teammate, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop will need to put a 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final behind him quickly.

The best-of-7 series is now tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Bishop gave up five goals for the second consecutive game, but this time the Lightning offense couldn't bail him out. The Rangers scored two power-play goals during a four-goal barrage in a 16-minute span and are 6-for-15 in the series.

"You look at the last couple of games and the penalty kill has to be better, and that starts with me," Bishop said. "Six [power-play] goals in three games is just unacceptable. You look at some of the other goals and there's a couple things you might do different and a couple of unlucky breaks."

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Rangers' St. Louis gets first goal, some confidence

Saturday, 05.23.2015 / 12:21 AM / Rangers vs Lightning - 2015 Eastern Conference Final

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

TAMPA -- When New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis scored his first goal of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday, he couldn't hide his emotions.

It took him 16 games, but St. Louis one-timed Derick Brassard's feed past Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop for a power-play goal 5:08 into the third period of the Rangers' 5-1 victory in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena.

Nearly seven weeks had passed since St. Louis scored a goal. His attitude and approach remained positive throughout, but he admitted after the win that the process was difficult to endure.

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Bowman not surprised Babcock left Red Wings

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 11:20 PM / News

NHL.com

Former Detroit Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman said Friday he can see why Mike Babcock is now coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I wasn't surprised Mike left Detroit," Bowman told the Edmonton Journal. "The offers were high in Buffalo (and Toronto). I don't know if Detroit wanted to go that high."

Babcock was hired by the Maple Leafs on Wednesday after 10 seasons with the Red Wings. Detroit gave Babcock permission to look elsewhere with his contract expiring June 30 and failing to sign him to a new one before that.

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Murray, Sather, Yzerman voted GM of Year finalists

Friday, 05.22.2015 / 8:00 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks, Glen Sather of the New York Rangers and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the three finalists for the 2014-15 NHL General Manager of the Year Award, the National Hockey League announced today.

Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Following are the NHL General Manager of the Year Award finalists, in alphabetical order:

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Blackhawks' experience tells them Game 4 is pivotal

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have enough experience in tough spots during the Stanley Cup Playoffs to know they'd better win Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at United Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

If they don't, they'll be down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series and face elimination in Game 5 at Honda Center on Monday, where the Anaheim Ducks have lost once in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"This game coming up is huge," Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad said Friday, a day after the Ducks' 2-1 victory in Game 3 put them up 2-1 in the series. "It's pretty much a must-win for us, especially going back to Anaheim where they have a lot of success. We play well at home. We let one slip away [in Game 3], so we’ve got a big one coming up."

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Pass-first Getzlaf setting Ducks up for success

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- When Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was asked Friday about his coaches wishing he would shoot more sometimes, he didn't need to hear the rest of the question.

"Sometimes?" he responded.

Getzlaf is one of the game's premier players. He is a prototype for what a franchise player can be, from his size and ability on the ice to how he represents the organization off it.

He also is having an incredible 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, helping the Ducks get within six victories of a championship and earning praise as a Conn Smythe Trophy contender. The Ducks have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. Game 4 will be played Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

All Getzlaf's success, however, doesn't mean there isn't room for some constructive criticism.

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Detail-oriented Ducks learned lessons from losses

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

CHICAGO -- Comfort has led to prosperity for the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks, who lead the best-of-7 Western Conference Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, 2-1, are excelling because of their attention to detail in this series.

That attention to detail was brought into focus by previous heartache in this tournament, particularly the second-round upset at the hands of Los Angeles Kings in 2014, which went seven games.

As preparations for Game 4 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) began Friday at United Center, several holdovers have talked about the lessons learned in that Kings series; about how every individual decision and battle has the potential to be the difference when two teams are evenly matched.

"I think it's more of a mindset that you figure out that that little play matters, that little chip matters, taking the hit to make a play, getting the puck deep so you can make a good line change," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "Those things are very minor when you look at them individually, but on the scale of a game, when you're talking about not making mistakes in a Game 7, those are part of them."

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Noel: Blackhawks continue to activate defensemen

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

For additional insight on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Claude Noel to break down the action. Noel will be checking in throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Noel was coach for the Winnipeg Jets from 2011-14 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. In addition, Noel, a former forward, had 138 points in 353 regular-season games in the AHL and played seven games in the NHL with Washington Capitals in 1979-80.

Claude Noel said he believes that when everything else becomes equal during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the details of the game make such a huge difference in the outcome.

The Anaheim Ducks were detail-orientated in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final at United Center in Chicago on Thursday. The win gives the Ducks a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. Game 4 is Saturday in Chicago (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Quote of the Day

For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday