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(Page 71 of 163)
Features

Devils will be fast, attacking, supportive, Shero says

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 2:22 PM / NHL Insider

Evan Sporer - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Before New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero introduced coach John Hynes at Prudential Center on Tuesday, he spelled out the blueprint for what the Devils will look like under his leadership.

"Since this is really the first time I've had a chance to address everybody here, I think it's important for me to establish and say what I think exactly the identity of this hockey team is going forward," said Shero, who was hired May 4. "There are three things that I think you can identify the New Jersey Devils with moving forward, and that's going to be fast, that's going to be attacking, and that's going to be supportive."

Goaltender Matchup: Inside Lightning's Bishop

Tuesday, 06.02.2015 / 9:53 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so NHL.com broke down the Stanley Cup Final battle between Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning. After starting with Crawford, it’s Bishop's turn in the spotlight.

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.

Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

OVERVIEW

Bishop has put himself in the history books during this playoff run by becoming the first goalie to backstop his team to the Cup Final with a road shutout in Game 7 of the conference finals, which Bishop did in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers. He also is the first goaltender with road shutouts in Games 5 and 7 of the same playoff series, and the first to win his first two Game 7 starts, a run that started in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Detroit Red Wings. But Bishop's first playoff experience hasn't all been positive, which is fitting because there are ups and downs that come with being a 6-foot-7 goaltender in the NHL.

Farrish: Lightning's Bowness key against Blackhawks

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 9:00 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

In breaking down the coaching matchup in the Stanley Cup Final, former NHL assistant coach Dave Farrish concluded that the X-factor for the Tampa Bay Lightning could be the guy standing next to coach Jon Cooper behind the bench.

Farrish is talking about associate coach Rick Bowness, who was on Alain Vigneault's staff with the Vancouver Canucks during the heyday of their Stanley Cup Playoff rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Canucks and Blackhawks played each other in three straight postseasons (2009-11). Vancouver lost to Chicago in 2009 and 2010 but won their first-round series in seven games in 2011.

"Rick has had a lot of experience in the West with Vancouver, so he's got a pretty good track record," Farrish said. "I'm sure Cooper will be leaning heavily on Rick."

Blackhawks have plan for big goalies like Bishop

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 8:15 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Almost as impressive as advancing to the Stanley Cup Final three times in six seasons is the list of big goalies the Chicago Blackhawks have defeated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in that span.

The Blackhawks, who will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Cup Final on Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), hope to add a new one to the list: 6-foot-7, 209-pound Ben Bishop.

To do so, Chicago plans to stick to its usual game plan, captain Jonathan Toews said.

"I've definitely watched quite a bit these playoffs, and we know [the Lightning are] fast and skilled, they play a good team game," Toews said Monday before the Blackhawks traveled to Tampa. "[Their defensemen join] the play, great goaltending ... we know they don't have a whole lot of weaknesses. I think we'll have to be prepared for that and do as we normally do: talk about making things difficult on their goaltender, getting to him and making them play in their own end."

Five reasons Blackhawks can win Stanley Cup

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 5:50 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

TAMPA -- The Chicago Blackhawks have staked claim to the title of best franchise in the salary-cap era, but four more wins in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs will put them in some exclusive company.

Chicago faces the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, which begins Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). If the Blackhawks prevail, it will be their third championship in six seasons.

Five franchises have accomplished that in NHL history. The Detroit Red Wings were the most recent, winning in 1997, 1998 and 2002. The Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders did so in the 1980s. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are the other teams to win the Cup three times in a six-season span.

Chicago nearly had a chance to win three times in five years, but it lost Game 7 in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 Western Conference Final and then had to watch the Kings dispatch the New York Rangers in a five-game Cup Final.

The Lightning should be a more formidable opponent. The Blackhawks should still be the favorite. Here are five reasons:

Rangers confident they can contend with core group

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 5:26 PM / NHL Insider

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The New York Rangers have competed in the Eastern Conference Final in three of the past four seasons, but have yet to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

Despite being older next season, most of the players feel their chance of winning the Cup with the current group is still very high.

"We have the same core guys here for the last six or seven years and built the team around that," defenseman Dan Girardi said Monday. "Just kind of brought guys in the last 3-4 years. It just seems this team jells. We get a couple of guys at the deadline and they just fit right in. … Hopefully we will be able to get a lot of guys back for next year and have another good run."

Five reasons Lightning can win Stanley Cup

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 12:06 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The Tampa Bay Lightning have already made history in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs by becoming the first team to defeat three Original Six teams to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Four more wins and they'll break that record.

The Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings in seven games, the Montreal Canadiens in six, and the New York Rangers in seven to earn their chance to compete against the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup. They even have home-ice advantage.

Game 1 is Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

In defeating the Canadiens, the Lightning knocked off a team that lost the Eastern Conference Final last season. In defeating the Rangers, they dethroned last year's Eastern Conference champs (New York defeated Montreal in six games in the 2014 conference final).

If the Lightning are to win the Stanley Cup, they'll have to defeat a team that closest represents a modern-day dynasty. The Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice and have made four trips, including three in a row, to the Western Conference Final since 2010.

It'll be challenging, no doubt, but the Lightning certainly have the wherewithal to defeat the Blackhawks four times in two weeks. Here are five reasons:

Goaltender Matchup: Inside Blackhawks' Crawford

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 11:28 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so NHL.com broke down the Stanley Cup Final battle between Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Today the focus is on Crawford.

Much like many goaltending coaches do before a 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 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.

Preview: Blackhawks face youthful Lightning in Final

Sunday, 05.31.2015 / 10:49 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen and Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writers

The Chicago Blackhawks might feel like they're looking at a younger version of themselves when they step onto the ice against the Tampa Bay Lightning for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Each team is driven by star power. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford have carried the Blackhawks through three rounds in the Western Conference, including a 5-3 victory against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the conference final on Saturday. Tampa Bay's top-six forwards, led by the "Triplets" line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, and captain Steven Stamkos, have scored more than 80 percent of the Lightning's goals in the first three rounds, and Ben Bishop leads all goaltenders in this year's playoffs with three shutouts, including 2-0 victories on the road in Game 5 and Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

Each team relies on speed and puck possession but can shut down opponents when the game is on the line. Chicago is 32-0-0 in the regular season and playoffs when leading after two periods. The Lightning are 9-0-0 this spring when scoring first, and each of Bishop's three shutouts has been a 2-0 win.

The one major edge Chicago has is postseason experience; the core of this team won Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2013. Tampa Bay hasn't made the Final since 2004, when it won its only championship.

The Lightning have won three playoff rounds for the first time in a decade, but Bishop knows there's still much left to do.

Chabot: Hawks' stars were at their best in Game 7

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

For additional insight into the Anaheim Ducks during the Western Conference Final, NHL.com 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, Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings.

The Chicago Blackhawks are headed to the Stanley Cup Final because their stars were at their best when it counted most, in Games 6 and 7 of the Western Conference Final, and the Anaheim Ducks' best players were not, according to Frederic Chabot.

"The last two games, Chicago's best players were better than Anaheim's; to me, that was the difference," Chabot said. "They were clutch, they made the big plays, the goalie made the big saves and their D was really good too.

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Quote of the Day

It's obviously not fun to not know, but on the other hand, I'm not in a rush. I'm going to be back to 100 percent before I start playing. I'm not going to play on 90 percent.

— Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom in an interview with Washington Post about whether he will be able to play in 2015-16 opener
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