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Wild ready for different style of play from Blackhawks

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 2:30 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2015 SCP Second Round

Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild are preparing for a much different challenge than they faced in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Wild will open their best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

Minnesota will jump headfirst into the series Wednesday. The players had off entirely Monday and had an off-ice workout and optional skate Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center.

Wild coach Mike Yeo said they escaped their six-game win against the St. Louis Blues relatively healthy, but the days off between the end of that series and the start of the next one will help heal some bumps and bruises.

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Rangers set to renew playoff rivalry with Capitals

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 2:25 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

NHL.com

Familiar opponents in the Stanley Cup Playoffs will meet again, this time in the Eastern Conference Second Round. The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals will play in a playoff series for the fifth time since 2009.

No teams have played against one another more in the playoffs the past seven seasons.

The Rangers got to the second round by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games. The Capitals needed a goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov late in the third period of Game 7 on Monday to eliminate the New York Islanders.

The Rangers haven't played since Friday. They took the weekend off and kept waiting and watching to find out who they'd play next. Now that they know it's the Capitals, they'll try to defeat them in a playoff series for the third time in four years. Game 1 is at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
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Flames goalie Hiller intrigued to face Ducks

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 1:38 PM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- After spending seven seasons trying to help the Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup, the opportunity to eliminate the Ducks from the Western Conference Second Round is intriguing to Calgary Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller.

"I can't deny that it's definitely something special," Hiller said with a bit of a grin. "It's going to be different than playing any other team. At the same time, you have to prepare yourself to play as well as you can and hopefully win as many games as possible.

"It's almost like going back to somewhere where you felt at home. You've been away and you come back and it's going to be a different situation, but certain things are going to feel really familiar. Knowing a lot of people in hockey and outside of hockey there, I think that makes it a little special. I don't know if it's different emotion or anything, but it will be different than playing any other team."

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Blackhawks' Crawford puts difficult first round in past

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 1:11 PM / Blackhawks vs Wild - 2015 SCP Second Round

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Corey Crawford is ready to move forward.

The Chicago Blackhawks goalie will start Game 1 of their best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round series against the Minnesota Wild on Friday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports), and hitting the reset button is all he cares about.

A turbulent series against the Nashville Predators in the first round is history to Crawford, who was pulled after one period in Game 1, lost his starting job to rookie Scott Darling for four games, and relieved Darling in Game 6 to close the series.

"I think I've answered enough questions about that," Crawford said after practice Monday. "It's done … it's done. We're moving on. Me and Scotty are both pushing each other. We want to push each other to be at our best, and we're just going to do the same thing we've done all year."

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Rutherford sees Penguins headed in right direction

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 12:58 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said he doesn't expect sweeping organizational changes this offseason.

Rutherford said Tuesday he was never concerned with his job status following his first season in Pittsburgh. After replacing Ray Shero in June, Rutherford said he planned on remaining the general manager for a few seasons while younger candidates were groomed.

He now does not have a definite timeline for his stay in Pittsburgh.

"We went through periods of time that were difficult. But it's part of my job," Rutherford said. "But overall, I haven't been here a full year yet and I do have a better lay of the land as to how things work here now. I have a much better handle on the team. How long do I plan on staying here? I don't know.

"But I certainly plan on staying here as we speak, and going into next season."

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Five reasons Capitals advanced to second round

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 12:04 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

Katie Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

The Washington Capitals' ability to rebound from losses during the regular season served them well in the Eastern Conference First Round. The Capitals won every game following a loss during their best-of-7 series against the New York Islanders, which Washington won in seven games.

And for the first time since 2012, the Capitals advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where they'll play the President's Trophy-winning New York Rangers.

Here are five reasons the Capitals advanced:

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Flames doing their homework to prepare for Ducks

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 11:28 AM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

Aaron Vickers - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- After the Calgary Flames eliminated the Vancouver Canucks in six games in the Western Conference First Round, coach Bob Hartley took a moment to savor the victory.

Then he went back to work, scouting the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary's second-round opponent. Game 1 is Thursday at Honda Center (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

"We were at the office all day," Hartley said. "There is no time for celebrations for us. We already started our meetings [Monday]. We're going to have meetings until we leave for California. Our job is to prepare our team. They work so hard for us. Our job is to make sure that we dig for details, try to design a plan that will fit our team the best possible way, and after that, they are the performers.

"They've been the performers all year. It's been fun to watch them, to push them and to be around them. We're not going to change."

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Noel: Speed, skill of Lightning showed in Game 6

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 10:00 AM / Lightning vs Red Wings - 2015 SCP First Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings, 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.

The Tampa Bay Lightning rediscovered their offense against the Detroit Red Wings and center Tyler Johnson was the beneficiary when he struck for his third two-goal game of this best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series in a 5-2 Game 6 victory at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.

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Red Wings' Kronwall faces Player Safety hearing

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 9:49 AM / Department of Player Safety News

NHL.com

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall will have a telephone hearing Tuesday with the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit against Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday.

Kucherov was hit by Kronwall at 19:00 of the second period. No penalty was assessed on the play and Kucherov remained in the game.

The following grounds are being considered for supplemental discipline: charging/illegal check to the head. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to the infraction upon review.

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Five reasons Islanders were eliminated from playoffs

Tuesday, 04.28.2015 / 9:30 AM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

The New York Islanders started the 2014-15 season as one of the hottest teams in the NHL, but their struggles down the stretch cost them home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference First Round against the Washington Capitals, and Washington won 2-1 in Game 7 at Verizon Center on Monday to eliminate New York.

It was the eighth straight playoff series loss by the Islanders, who last won a series in the Patrick Division Final in 1993, when they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in seven games.

The loss Monday ended the Islanders' 43-year run at Nassau Coliseum. They will play their home games at Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning next season.

A successful regular season when they had 101 points, their most since 104 in 1983-84, again ended in a first-round loss.

Here are five reasons the Islanders were eliminated:

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Quote of the Day

It's a great feeling. I can't be more excited to be a part of a team that I absolutely love.

— Center Derek Stepan after agreeing to terms on a six-year contract with the New York Rangers