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Stanley Cup Final
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Features

Goaltender Matchup: Inside Lundqvist vs. Bishop

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so NHL.com broke down the Eastern Conference Final battle between Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Much like many goaltending coaches do before a playoff series, NHL.com correspondent Kevin Woodley, the managing editor of InGoal Magazine, charted every goal scored with the help of a program from Double Blue Sport Analytics. Regular-season goals were recorded in their original Save Review System, and playoff goals, including how they were scored, were tracked in the soon-to-launch SRS 2.0. The graphics showing where goals went in and shots were taken from on the ice are nice, but the real value is analyzing the plays that led to them and whether they reveal strengths, weaknesses and tendencies that can be targeted.

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Canadiens praise leadership they got from Price

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 8:19 PM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens had four alternate captains in 2014-15, but one unequivocal leader.

"When Carey speaks, everybody listens," Montreal right wing Dale Weise said Thursday of goalie Carey Price. "He doesn't talk a lot, but when he does, I think his voice carries a lot of weight in this room."

Price's comments after the Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday resonated with his teammates and throughout the NHL.

Price, who is a finalist for the Hart and Vezina trophies, took full blame for the Canadiens' six-game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

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Ducks plan to stick to game, not adapt to Blackhawks

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 7:55 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- It's not as if the Anaheim Ducks have had it easy in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They needed their share of ice packs against the Winnipeg Jets. They were taken to overtime twice and had to come from behind in six of their eight wins.

But Anaheim will really be tested when it plays the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. Game 1 is at Honda Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Chicago is considerably more skilled than Anaheim's first two postseason opponents, the Jets and Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks are averaging 3.20 goals, third most in the playoffs (Anaheim's 3.89 per game is first); Calgary averaged 2.46, and Winnipeg 2.25.

Chicago is one of the few teams that can match Anaheim in skill, speed and depth, and it figures to stretch what has been a solid Ducks defense in front of goalie Frederik Andersen.

"They definitely have a team that can skate, that's for sure," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "They love to really stretch you out defensively. They get a couple of guys to blow the zone and push our defense back, and that gives them a lot of areas for their skill guys to get to work and make some plays. The more we can keep things compact and keep people in their face, that's advantageous for us. But they make it difficult because they like to stretch things out, and that's what makes them so dynamic."

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Lighter Jagr helps Czechs reach semifinals at Worlds

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 6:10 PM / NHL Insider

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- Jaromir Jagr has benefited from his size throughout his career. When he turns his back to the play to shield the puck, it's very difficult for defenders to get around his big body to his long stick.

Jagr decided to give up some of that advantage during the 2014-15 NHL season. In an effort to keep pace with his young Florida Panthers linemates, the 43-year-old lost more than 20 pounds, trading size for speed.

"I'm still somewhere around 105 kilograms (230 pounds) and I used to have 115 (253)," he said. "It's hard to skate with so much weight, when other players have 80 (176). I'd be happy to see them moving with a 30-kilogram vest."

The benefits of Jagr's weight loss were obvious at the end of the NHL regular season, and they've been evident at the IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic, where Jagr has adjusted to the larger international rink and had no problem skating past much younger defensemen while leading the host country to the semifinals.

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Preview: Rangers face Lightning in return trip to ECF

NHL.com Staff

The New York Rangers are in the Eastern Conference Final for the third time in the past four seasons and have a chance to become the first team since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008 and 2009 to win the Prince of Wales Trophy two years in a row.

The Rangers earned this appearance with a 2-1 overtime win Wednesday in Game 7 of the second round against the Washington Capitals.

New York became the first team in NHL history to win a best-of-7 series after trailing 3-1 in back-to-back seasons. The Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round last season by winning the final three games.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2011, when they lost in seven games to the Boston Bruins. The Lightning haven't reached the Stanley Cup Final since 2004, when they won the championship with forward Martin St. Louis as their leading scorer and Dan Boyle as their top defenseman.

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Sharp, scoring again, integral to Blackhawks' success

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 4:50 PM / Ducks vs Blackhawks - 2015 Western Conference Final

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp is scoring goals on a regular basis in the Stanley Cup Playoffs again, and that's good news for the Chicago Blackhawks heading into the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks.

Sharp has four goals, five assists and a plus-3 rating in the Blackhawks' 10 playoff games. He's one goal shy of matching his total from 19 games in last season's playoffs. Game 1 of the best-of-7 series against the Ducks is at Honda Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"It's always nice to score and contribute offensively," Sharp said after practice Thursday. "You look at every series, and they all present challenges in their own way. I'm playing a little bit of a different role [now], but I still try to get to the net and score as much as possible. Hopefully it can continue in the next round."

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Crosby hoping to help Canada end drought at Worlds

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 4:34 PM / 2015 IIHF World Championship

Michael Langr - NHL.com Correspondent

PRAGUE -- Canada has won gold at consecutive Olympics, but hasn't been successful at the IIHF World Championship in recent years. Since 2009, when they brought home silver medals from Bern, Switzerland, the Canadians had been eliminated in the quarterfinals five times in a row.

On Thursday in the Czech Republic, a group of Canadian stars led by captain Sidney Crosby managed to break the quarterfinal spell in a spectacular way, defeating Belarus 9-0 to advance to the semifinals.

"It's nice," Crosby said after the quarterfinal win. "We put ourselves in a position to get to the finals. The important thing is to get better every game, and at this point it's win or go home. So we did a good job today doing that."

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Farrish: Lundqvist, Rangers unbreakable, resilient

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 3:53 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the New York Rangers during the Eastern Conference Final series, NHL.com has enlisted the help of Dave Farrish to break down the action. Farrish will be checking in throughout the series.

Farrish was an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs from 2005-14. He won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He also coached 1,027 games in the minor leagues, including the American Hockey League. In addition, Farrish, a former defenseman, played 430 games over seven seasons in the NHL.

From watching the New York Rangers closely through two rounds featuring 12 games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, former NHL assistant coach Dave Farrish has found three things about them that impress him the most.

Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers' overall team speed and their remarkable resiliency.

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Lightning's Callahan has motivation to be X-factor

Thursday, 05.14.2015 / 2:18 PM / X-Factor

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- It was no surprise Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan was starting to feel better shortly after his emergency appendectomy Monday and wanted to participate in an optional practice Thursday in hopes of playing in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, NBC, TVA Sports).

"[The surgery] was tough news," Callahan said. "I didn't know what to expect, but each day it's felt tremendously better even though it's only been two days. You want to get back as soon as possible but you also want to make sure you can help the team. I think every guy in the room would do the same."

Although Callahan said playing the conference final is exciting regardless of who the opponent is, it's understandable if he's a little more motivated to face the Rangers. Even if he doesn't want to admit it.

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Lightning's Callahan possible for Game 1 vs. Rangers

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

BRANDON, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan participated in an optional practice Thursday and will be a game-time decision for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Callahan missed Game 6 of the second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens after having an emergency appendectomy Monday. He was released from the hospital Tuesday and said he watched the game from his home.

"It was tough to watch," Callahan said. "But the guys made it easy on me. There were a couple of times I jumped around a little, but I thought they played their best game of the playoffs."

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Quote of the Day

That's the biggest goal I've ever scored. It's a great feeling any time you do that, especially at home. We're one game away from a Stanley Cup berth. It was a huge goal and it felt unbelievable.

— Anaheim forward Matt Beleskey on scoring the overtime winner Monday to give the Ducks a 3-2 series lead against the Blackhawks