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Stanley Cup Final
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Features

Five reasons Jets clinched playoff berth

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff preached that patience and prospect development would anchor his management philosophy from his first day on the job in June 2011.

Nearly four years later, Cheveldayoff's patience combined with strong work at this season's NHL Trade Deadline to send the Jets to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The franchise will make its first playoff appearance since 2007, when it played as the Atlanta Thrashers, and Winnipeg fans will see playoff hockey live in their city for the first time since 1996, when the original Jets left the city for Arizona.

Here are five reasons the Jets clinched a playoff berth:


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Five reasons Red Wings clinched playoff berth

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

Six Detroit Red Wings weren't even born the last time they didn't make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Red Wings clinched a playoff berth for the 24th straight season Thursday, tied for the fourth longest streak in NHL history. They haven't missed the postseason since the 1989-90 season.

"People talk about 24 years, but for me 10 years since the lockout, we're the only team in the National Hockey League to make it all 10 times," coach Mike Babcock said Thursday. "The last three years, we've been grinding to get in. We changed our group totally, and to find a way has been incredible."

Here are five reasons the Red Wings clinched a playoff berth:

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Stamkos needs little space to create big offense

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Closer Look

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

When Steven Stamkos is on the ice, he is the focus. Not only of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but of their opponents.

Stamkos is one of the best goal-scorers on the planet, meaning not only are the Lightning constantly looking to get him the puck, but other teams are game-planning to deny him possession.

It's a chess match, and one that requires coach Jon Cooper to create ways to get Stamkos the time and space he needs to be successful.

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Malkin looking to lead Penguins back to playoffs

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins' offense has lived and died by center Evgeni Malkin.

Sidney Crosby has returned to form with seven goals and 17 points in his past 14 games, his most productive stretch since scoring 23 points in the first 13 games of the season.

But that hasn't led to team success. In those 14 games, the Penguins went 4-8-3, not including a 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins with Crosby injured.

Malkin fully played in five of the 14 games, the first three ending with a win before losing two straight when he returned April 5 from an undisclosed injury. In the nine games Malkin was injured, including the shutout loss to Boston on March 14 when he sustained a lower-body injury on his first shift, Pittsburgh won once, putting the Stanley Cup Playoffs in some doubt.

"There are a lot of good hockey teams that have had good years that are in the exact same position as us," Crosby said. "It's going to be about who handles it the best and who plays the best at the right time."

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Five teams that bolstered defense at trade deadline

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / Expert Picks

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Starting with the blockbuster trade that brought Tyler Myers to the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 11, the run-up to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline was essentially a race among contending teams to bolster their blue lines.

The Jets, Anaheim Ducks, Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators and Los Angeles Kings all acquired defensemen before the deadline.

In the case of trades the Penguins made with the Blues and Ducks, defensemen were swapped because of the different elements of the game they offer.

Considering what went on in the trade market more than a month ago, it's no surprise now that the defensemen traded have a chance to make a huge impact on their respective teams in the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are the five teams that have appeared to benefit the most by bolstering their blue lines before the deadline:

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Bond helped Suter, Parise navigate difficult season

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Ryan Suter can finally smile and even allow himself to laugh about what will always be an odd coincidence, because he can laugh about a lot of things now.

Time heals, winning helps, and friendship goes a long way toward turning your world right side up again after feeling like everything was falling apart.

Suter and Minnesota Wild teammate Zach Parise know this all too well.

"It's kind of weird actually if you think about that, how it's everything we've gone through together," Suter said. "But what are the odds of something like this last year happening? That's how I feel when I think about it, like, really, this is just weird."

Suter and Parise created a lasting link when they signed matching 13-year, $98 million contracts on July 4, 2012; they formed a bond only they can understand this season because each lost his father in a tragic way.

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Price focused on winning Cup, not individual honors

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 2:14 AM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The history of the Montreal Canadiens can be suffocating at times for the players trying to live up to it.

The franchise’s NHL-record 24 Stanley Cup banners watch over each of their home games,as do the banners commemorating the 18 players who have had their numbers retired,each of them a member of the Hall of Fame.

In the dressing room,the photos of the 44 players in team history who are in the Hall of Fame watch over them as well,their photos lined above the players’ lockers.

That history can be a burden when things are not going well.

But it also makes becoming a part of that storied history that much sweeter.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price did that Thursday in a 4-3 overtime win against the Detroit Red Wings. It was his 43rd victory of the season setting a franchise record on a team that takes records more seriously than most.

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Western Conference playoff field set; pairings TBD

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 1:20 AM / Expert Picks

NHL.com

The eight Western Conference teams in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been determined, although the pairings have not.

The Calgary Flames earned a playoff berth for the first time since 2009 by defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday, eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champions. The victory assured the Flames of finishing no worse than third in the Pacific Division.

Calgary's victory also assured the Winnipeg Jets of their first playoff berth since 2007, when the franchise was known as the Atlanta Thrashers. The Jets earned one point in a 1-0 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche, a game that ended five minutes before the Flames finished the Kings.

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Five reasons Islanders clinched playoff berth

Thursday, 04.09.2015 / 11:00 PM / Expert Picks

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, the New York Islanders led the Metropolitan Division for a large portion of 2014-15 and clinched a berth in the postseason on Thursday.

Additions in goal and on defense, and a captain who is a Hart Trophy candidate are reasons the Islanders' last season at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island was a memorable one. New York's 43-year run there will come to an end this season.

Here are five reasons the Islanders clinched a playoff berth:

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Playoff Countdown: Jets among teams that can clinch

Thursday, 04.09.2015 / 12:22 PM / Expert Picks

NHL.com

Saturday, April 11, marks the conclusion to the 2014-15 regular season. Yet, much remains to be decided in the frantic run to the finish line, including playoff positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones. To celebrate the countdown to the end of the season and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, NHL.com will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

It's been nearly two decades since the Stanley Cup Playoffs came to Manitoba. The Winnipeg Jets control their destiny Thursday when it comes to changing that.

If the Jets (42-26-12) win at the Colorado Avalanche (37-31-12) in any fashion, they will clinch the second playoff berth in franchise history and first since the Atlanta Thrashers won the Southeast Division title in 2006-07.

Fans in Winnipeg haven't had a playoff game there since the previous incarnation of the Jets lost in the first round to the Detroit Red Wings in 1996. That summer, the franchise relocated to Phoenix.

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Quote of the Day

You know what? We've played in some pretty special buildings along this playoff run so far. You start in Detroit, you go to Montreal, you come here … I think it's the first team to beat three Original Six teams to get to the Final if I'm not mistaken. That says how tough the road has been. Those are tough places to win.

— Lightning forward Steven Stamkos after Game 7 win vs. Rangers on Friday in New York