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Winnipeg fans ready to bring back the whiteout

Monday, 04.20.2015 / 3:00 AM / Ducks vs Jets - 2015 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

WINNIPEG – There's snow in the forecast here Monday.

How appropriate.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are returning to Winnipeg for the first time in 19 years, and there's a whiteout in the air.

When the Winnipeg Jets host the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series at MTS Centre on Monday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, PRIME), nearly two decades of pent-up playoff fanaticism will be unleashed

Anticipation here is high. And just like his fellow residents, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman can't wait.

"We've waited about two decades for this, 19 years to be exact, to celebrate our Jets in the playoffs," Bowman told last week. "The excitement's pretty thick in the air. You can really feel it across the city."

Bowman, 43, said he was in the crowd at the old Winnipeg Arena in 1996, the last time the Jets were in the playoffs, attending one of the home games of their first-round series loss to the Detroit Red Wings. He cut up some white garbage bags back then to make homemade pompoms as part of the whiteout, a playoff tradition that began in Winnipeg and has since been adopted in other NHL cities.

Senators, down 3-0 to Canadiens, staying optimistic

Monday, 04.20.2015 / 12:33 AM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Sean Farrell - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators dug themselves out of a big hole with a spectacular stretch run to make the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Three games into their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Senators are down in another hole and need to win four straight games to keep their season going.

Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson put as positive a spin as he could on what he and his teammates need to accomplish to overcome Montreal's 3-0 series lead in the wake of the Canadiens' second straight overtime win, 2-1 in Game 3 at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday.

Weber's absence hurts Predators in Game 3 loss

Sunday, 04.19.2015 / 8:24 PM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Nashville Predators struggled to slow down the Chicago Blackhawks without defenseman Shea Weber in a 4-2 loss in Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series.

Weber left Game 2 with a lower-body injury in the second period and did not make the trip to Chicago for Games 3 and 4.

Chicago took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series and was able to capitalize against Nashville's top defense pairing of Roman Josi and Seth Jones, who was promoted in Weber's absence.

The Blackhawks scored three times in the second period to grab a 4-2 lead, and Jones and Josi were on the ice for the first two, as well as Andrew Desjardins' first-period goal.

Islanders deliver dramatic overtime win at Coliseum

Sunday, 04.19.2015 / 5:20 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Cars began entering the parking lot at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum not long after dawn Sunday, with fans eager to take full advantage of a beautiful spring morning before heading into one of the few remaining Stanley Cup Playoff games this 43-year-old facility will ever host.

Bill Torrey, the architect of the New York Islanders' four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-83, was in the building. He joined 16,169 other fans who are hoping for a few more Coliseum memories before the Islanders begin play at Barclays Center in Brooklyn this fall.

They got one when John Tavares, the face of the franchise, scored 15 seconds into overtime to give the Islanders a 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference First Round.

It's the first time the Islanders have been ahead 2-1 in a best-of-7 series since 1993. They'll bring it to the Coliseum for Game 4 on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; USA, SN360, TVA Sports 2, CSN-DC, MSG+).

Third-line center Sutter important for Penguins

Sunday, 04.19.2015 / 3:25 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins' top two centers are well regarded, but their third should not be overlooked.

Brandon Sutter plays in the shadows cast by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. He is compared to former Penguins third-line center Jordan Staal, who won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009 before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes three years later for Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin, and the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

When compared to Crosby and Malkin, Sutter isn't as skilled. Some believe that holds true when measuring him against the standard Staal set on the Penguins' third line as well. But Sutter has been quietly productive, sometimes deadly, and oftentimes clutch through his first three seasons in Pittsburgh.

"I think you just go play, and hopefully good things happen," Sutter said. "You don't think too much about what exactly is going on. You just go play and try to do your part and if you get a goal that's great, but by no means do you measure your game on your goals and assists.

"You just go out and as long as you're playing well and doing things right, then hopefully you get rewarded."

Farrish: Rangers must become hunters in Game 3

Sunday, 04.19.2015 / 2:03 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Pittsburgh Penguins andNew York Rangers, 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.

Former NHL assistant coach Dave Farrish noticed shortly after the opening faceoff Saturday night at Madison Square Garden how much different the Pittsburgh Penguins' attack is when an effective Chris Kunitz is playing alongside Sidney Crosby instead of Daniel Winnik.

"They have good chemistry and they know where each other are," Farrish said. "Kunitz's speed and also with [Patric] Hornqvist's aggressiveness make them a really good match [with Crosby] and I thought they opened the game up. They were so aggressive and really persistent on the puck, and they created a lot of good scoring opportunities just through that."

Crosby scored twice and Kunitz had three points on a goal and two assists to help the Penguins defeat theNew York Rangers 4-3 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round series.

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1 with Game 3 set for Monday at Consol Energy Center (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA, ROOT, MSG).

Chabot: Jets need to make neutral-zone adjustments

Sunday, 04.19.2015 / 12:59 PM / Ducks vs Jets - 2015 SCP First Round

Evan Sporer - Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Western Conference First Round series between the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets, has enlisted the help of Frederic Chabot to break down the action. Chabot will be checking in throughout the series.

Chabot was the goaltending coach for the Edmonton Oilers from 2009 to 2014. He played in the NHL for five seasons, spending time with the Montreal Canadiens, the Philadelphia Flyers, and the Los Angeles Kings.

For the second straight game, the Winnipeg Jets took a lead into the third period against the Anaheim Ducks. For the second straight game, the Ducks prevailed after a third-period comeback, winning 2-1 on Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series.

"Anaheim was the better team for most of the game," Chabot said. "They have three lines playing well and their special teams have been very good.

"Without [goaltender Ondrej] Pavelec's performance this would not have been a one goal game."

Crosby finds scoring touch for Penguins in Game 2

Sunday, 04.19.2015 / 1:02 AM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- In typical Sidney Crosby fashion, he downplayed his game-changing two-goal effort Saturday. The thing is, this was hardly a typical performance for the Pittsburgh Penguins' captain, at least when you judge it against his recent past in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Crosby ended his scoring slump in the playoffs with two goals in the Penguins 4-3 win against the New York Rangers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Madison Square Garden.

He had scored one goal in his previous 19 playoff games; he had two in a span of 4:39 late in the second period Saturday.

"It's nice to score," Crosby said after helping the Penguins even the best-of-7 series at 1-1. "I mean, you want to contribute and there are so many details in the playoffs, but when you're able to score it definitely feels good."

Rangers plagued by power-play problems

Sunday, 04.19.2015 / 12:50 AM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- There will come a point when the New York Rangers will need to make the Pittsburgh Penguins pay the price for taking careless penalties in their Eastern Conference First Round series.

The Rangers' power play had plenty of opportunities to deliver a knockout blow against the Penguins in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday but instead failed miserably in a 4-3 loss. The best-of-7 series, now tied 1-1, shifts to Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh for Game 3 on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, MSG, ROOT).

The Rangers managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities in Game 2 and are 2-for-12 in the series. Quite simply, their power play needs to be better.

Chance at McDavid 'spectacular feeling' for Oilers

Saturday, 04.18.2015 / 11:38 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Joe Yerdon - Correspondent

TORONTO -- For the fourth time in the past six years, the Edmonton Oilers will have the first pick in the NHL Draft.

The Oilers won the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery on Saturday and have the opportunity to select one of the most highly regarded prospects in the past decade, Erie Otters center Connor McDavid.

"Exciting time for our organization," Oilers assistant general manager Bill Scott said. "We're obviously very excited for our fans, too, that have stuck with us over a number of years where we haven't had the success and that's why we're in this position now. Obviously we feel very happy about the future and where this team is going. We're certainly going to get a tremendous player here with the first pick overall this year."

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It's an incredible feeling just to see it go in and see the Joe go pretty crazy.  Ever since the introduction there, I was kind of feeling the nerves, and to put that one home, I started to feel comfortable and I thought my play started to pick up.

— Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin after scoring a goal in his NHL debut
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