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Coach says Rangers won't win if Nash slump persists

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has stressed the need for more from his top players but has done all he can do to avoid calling them out by name in his two sessions with the media since the end of a 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

But Vigneault couldn't duck the obvious in his press conference Tuesday.

Asked specifically about slumping left wing Rick Nash, who has two goals on 50 shots in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Vigneault basically said the Rangers won't win if they don't get more out of the player who scored 42 goals in the regular season.

"He's working extremely hard, he's getting physically involved, he's getting some looks," Vigneault said of Nash. "Would I like him to finish on some of those looks? Yes. Do we need him to finish on those looks if we intend to win? Probably yes. He knows that. But this is a team game, a team concept. We need all to be better from our goaltender out. Our defensive group needs to be better. These guys (the Lightning) have obviously got great offensive lines and our forwards need to challenge their group, not just Rick Nash."

Todd McLellan named coach of Edmonton Oilers

Tuesday, 05.19.2015 / 7:13 PM / News

Derek Van Diest - Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Todd McLellan was introduced Tuesday as Edmonton Oilers coach.

He replaces Todd Nelson, who took over after Dallas Eakins was fired 31 games into the 2014-15 season, and will be Edmonton's seventh coach in eight seasons.

"Todd was at the top of my list for a number of reasons," Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "I thought the fit was right with our personnel. I thought the fit was right with the way I manage, and in this business when you want to get a top coach, you have to act quickly. It's almost like a free agent for players; if you're not in there first, you're probably not going to get that guy. I made it an effort that he was a guy we were going to go after and we were going to go after hard."

McLellan, 47, was 311-163-66 the past seven seasons with the San Jose Sharks. He coached San Jose to six consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff berths before failing to qualify this season. In April, McLellan and the Sharks agreed to part.

"I'm happy here. I didn't need to go to other places," McLellan said. "It wasn't about money or anything like that. It was about opportunity and family for me. I'm comfortable in Edmonton. Family-wise, my wife has family here, I have family here. I'm a Western Canada guy (born in Melville, Saskatchewan). I feel good about being here. After all those years in California, I think I still like the snow a little bit, so that will have to come into play. It felt right; your gut sometimes tells you that you're doing the right thing, and my gut was telling me that."

Lightning stress there's no time for letdown in Game 3

Corey Long - Correspondent

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning solved the riddle of New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final and will try to ride the momentum of the 6-2 win into Game 3 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

Despite the strong offensive showing Monday, the Lightning don't want to be satisfied with one good performance, defenseman Victor Hedman said.

"We don't have time for a [letdown]," Hedman said. "There's four teams left and we have to stay focused and play like we did [Monday]. We took some penalties and got some momentum off those kills, and being able to score that shorthanded goal was huge. Now we're excited to go back home and play in front of our fans."

Farrish: Rangers weren't ready for Lightning's push

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

For additional insight into the New York Rangers during the Eastern Conference Final series, 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.

Dave Farrish had a gut feeling before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

"It's funny because I said to my wife before the game, 'I bet you the Lightning win 6-2 tonight,'" Farrish said. "Honestly."

Farrish was spot on. The Lightning beat the Rangers 6-2 behind Tyler Johnson's hat trick that featured a shorthanded goal, a power-play goal, and an even-strength goal. Alex Killorn scored twice, Steve Stamkos had a goal, and Ben Bishop made 35 saves.

Three keys for Ducks, Blackhawks to winning Game 2

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks made a statement with their 4-1 Game 1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, but they know it will mean little if they don't follow it up with another strong performance Tuesday.

"We're happy with the win, but we are going to have to be a lot better in Game 2 if we want to win that one," Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler said Monday.

Chicago, meanwhile, is a veteran club that has been through every conceivable situation, including being down in a series, during the current seven-season run which has seen it reach the Western Conference Final five times and win two Stanley Cups.

For the Blackhawks, one loss is no reason to panic. But they know they will have to be better in Game 2 at Honda Center (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). If they can steal a win Tuesday, the best-of-7 series goes to Chicago with the Blackhawks owning home-ice advantage.

"We have to have some urgency right here right now, and try to put some pressure on them in their building and go home feeling good about ourselves," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said.

Johnson, Lightning answer challenge with Game 2 win

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Lightning looked overmatched and out of place on the big stage of the Eastern Conference Final in Game 1 on Saturday. They jumped on Tyler Johnson's diminutive shoulders in Game 2 on Monday and looked like they could be good enough to win the Stanley Cup in a 6-2 victory against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"In Game 1, we participated in the hockey game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said, "and in Game 2 we came to win a hockey game. That was the difference."

Rangers hit the road after another home split

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The good news for the New York Rangers is that they've traveled this road before in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For the third straight series, the Rangers hit the road after splitting the first two games at Madison Square Garden. The Tampa Bay Lightning evened the Eastern Conference Final on Monday with a 6-2 victory in Game 2. Game 3 is scheduled Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Rangers found themselves in a 1-1 series deadlock with the Pittsburgh Penguins before winning three straight games in the Eastern Conference First Round. They split the first two games against the Washington Capitals in the second round, then fell behind 3-1 before winning the series in seven games.

But each of the games in the opening two rounds was decided by one goal. In contrast, the Lightning became the first team this spring to score more than four goals against New York. Tampa Bay won the special-teams battle, going 3-for-6 on the power play and scoring a shorthanded goal.

Special teams help Lightning win Game 2, tie series

David Satriano - Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman knew what he was talking about going into the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

"I said before the series I think special teams [were] going to be a difference-maker in this series, and tonight [the Rangers] scored two power-play goals. … We scored three and one [shorthanded goal], so that's huge," Hedman said. "That's going to give you momentum."

The Lightning rode the momentum from those four special-teams goals to even the best-of-7 series with a 6-2, Game 2 win at Madison Square Garden on Monday.

Game 3 is at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Monday, May 18

Tuesday, 05.19.2015 / 12:20 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations


Tyler Johnson scored a shorthanded goal and a power-play goal in the first period and added an even-strength goal for his first career hat trick in the postseason, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning even its series against the New York Rangers at 1-1.

* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Johnson (3-0—3) became the first player in Lightning franchise history to have a hat trick in the postseason.

* Johnson paces all scorers in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 goals and 16 points (11-5—16). Johnson’s third goal of the night also became his League-leading fourth game-winning goal of the postseason.

Sharks get OK to interview Bylsma: report

Monday, 05.18.2015 / 11:14 PM / News

The San Jose Sharks have been given permission to interview Dan Bylsma for their coaching position, reported Monday.

The website also said Mike Babcock was scheduled to speak with the Sharks this week to discuss a possible future with the organization, but Babcock said he is done speaking with teams. It is unknown if he interviewed with the Sharks.

Bylsma was fired by the Pittsburgh Penguins after last season with two years remaining on his contract. The Penguins reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the six seasons he coached, and he led Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup in 2009. He was 252-117-32 in the regular season.

ESPN reporter Craig Custance said Bylsma turned down two jobs before this season; Custance did not identify the teams.

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