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Stanley Cup Playoffs notebook: Thursday, April 30

Friday, 05.01.2015 / 1:52 AM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

WARD NETS BUZZER BEATER AS CAPITALS STUN RANGERS IN GAME 1

The New York Rangers tied the game with 4:39 left in the third period, but Joel Ward scored the game-winning goal with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation to help the Washington Capitals take a 1-0 lead in their second-round series.

* Elias says only two other game-winning goals have been scored in the final two seconds of regulation in a playoff game, by Jussi Jokinen of the Carolina Hurricanes on April 21, 2009 vs. the New Jersey Devils (19:59 of third period) and Bob Pulford of the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 11, 1964 vs. the Detroit Red Wings (19:58 of third period).

* Ward, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Minnesota Wild in 2006 and played three seasons with the Nashville Predators from 2008-11 before joining the Capitals, scored his third career playoff game-winning goal. The others came in Game 5 of the 2011 WSF at the Vancouver Canucks while with Nashville, and in overtime of Game 7 in the 2012 EQF at the Boston Bruins, moving Washington into the conference semifinals.

Hiller pulled; Hudler leaves Flames game vs. Ducks

Friday, 05.01.2015 / 1:11 AM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

NHL.com

The Calgary Flames replaced starting goaltender Jonas Hiller early in the second period of Game 1 of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday after he allowed three goals on 14 shots.

Hiller, who spent seven seasons with the Ducks before signing with the Flames as a free agent last summer, was replaced by Karri Ramo after Corey Perry's goal 2:13 into the second period gave Anaheim a 3-0 lead. Matt Beleskey and Patrick Maroon scored less than three minutes apart midway through the first period to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead>

The Ducks won the game 6-1.

Ward, Capitals rewarded with buzzer-beating goal

Friday, 05.01.2015 / 12:28 AM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Washington Capitals right wing Joel Ward knew just enough Russian to score the winning goal with 1.3 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

When asked how to say "I'm open" in Russian, Ward smiled and said "Ovi."

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin heard Ward, who was unchecked in the slot, and slid a pass to him as the third period was running out. Ward fired Ovechkin's feed through Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist's legs to give the Capitals a 2-1 victory and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.


Rangers seek better shots, more traffic against Holtby

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 11:58 PM / Rangers vs Capitals - 2015 SCP Second Round

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers were obviously still stunned in the dressing room Thursday after they lost 2-1 against the Washington Capitals on Joel Ward's goal with 1.3 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Madison Square Garden.

It was a tough loss for the Rangers, who will try to bounce back in Game 2 on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports). And if they do, it will likely be the result of capitalizing on more offensive chances.

The Rangers had a strong start, outshooting the Capitals 8-1 before eight minutes passed. But they were unable to solve Washington goalie Braden Holtby (31 saves), who was busier in the first period Thursday than all of Game 7 of the first round against the New York Islanders on Monday, when he made 10 saves in a 2-1 win.

"Our execution in the offensive zone obviously needs to be better," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "We spent quite a bit of time in their end. We had some opportunities to get better looks than we did. We are going to have to [get better looks]. That's going to be one of our focuses for the next game."


Lightning's Bishop gets his chance at Canadiens

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 11:35 PM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Corey Long - NHL.com Correspondent

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was "the other guy" in the first six games of the Eastern Conference First Round. He wasn't great, but he didn't play poorly either.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek was receiving all the accolades. Whether it was his 44 saves in Game 1 or shutouts in Game 3 and Game 5, the 23-year-old Stanley Cup Playoff rookie was starring as the series reached Game 7 at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.

But Bishop made 31 saves for his first NHL playoff shutout, and the Lightning eliminated the Red Wings with a 2-0 win.

"He stepped up like the player that he is," Lightning forward Brian Boyle said. "He's always been our top guy back there, our No. 1 penalty-killer. He's been as good as anyone."

Islanders coach Capuano to return next season: report

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 10:30 PM / News

NHL.com

New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano and his staff will return next season, general manager Garth Snow told Newsday on Thursday.

"Our coaches did a great job, whether it was preparing our players or with the communication between coaches and players, which was outstanding," Snow told the newspaper after the Islanders finished their clean-out day. "There were some aspects of our game, whether it was with our penalty kill that struggled early on and became a strength for us by the end, or our power play, which was a strength at times early on and we didn't have one in the playoffs. That's an area of concern. We'll analyze all different areas of our team and try to get better."

Red Wings target May for Babcock contract: report

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 8:56 PM / News

NHL.com

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Thursday that he would like Mike Babcock to return as coach.

"He's regarded in the industry as one of the top coaches in the game, if not the top coach," Holland told MLive.com. "He's in the prime of his career. Our hope is that Mike wants to stay, but he's positioned himself to have the option to explore."

Babcock has led the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his 10 seasons in Detroit, but his contract expires June 30. Detroit has lost five of its past six playoff series and hasn't advanced past the second round since 2009.

The Red Wings would like to sign Babcock to a long-term contract before his current one expires, but Holland said there is no timetable for when Babcock will make his decision.

"There's an element of urgency, but not hours or days," Holland said. "Probably in the month of May."

Canadiens want to avenge season sweep by Lightning

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 8:50 PM / Canadiens vs Lightning - 2015 SCP Second Round

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens had a team dinner Wednesday and sat down to watch and see who they would face in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

Montreal's players and coaches wined, dined and watched Game 7 of the first-round series between the Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning after hitting the ice for the first time since closing their first-round series against the Ottawa Senators with a win in Game 6 on Sunday.

When all was said and done, the Canadiens learned they will host Tampa Bay in Game 1 at Bell Centre on Friday (7 p.m .ET; CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN).

"That's going to be a huge challenge," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said after practice Thursday. "[Tampa Bay] is the best offensive team in the League and they proved it. They've got a lot of weapons offensively and they've got tremendous speed. We take a lot of pride about making sure that we're solid defensively, that we're taking speed away, and this is something for us we're going to have to focus on. We've got to make sure we play a really sound defensive game."

Dubnyk, Hammond, Letang voted Masterton finalists

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 7:00 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Goaltenders Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild and Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded "to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey," the National Hockey League announced today.

The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season and the top three vote-getters were designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Canadiens' Price credits team for Hart nomination

Thursday, 04.30.2015 / 6:06 PM / 2015 NHL Awards

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price is so in the zone right now he hardly saw his Hart Memorial Trophy nomination coming.

Price learned he was a finalist Wednesday, which is when he said that possibility first occurred to him.

Really?

After all the talk throughout the NHL about his sensational season leading the League in wins (44), which broke the Canadiens record held by Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, goals-against-average (1.96) and save percentage (.933)?

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Quote of the Day

I first met him when I was 19 years old and he coached me for 13 consecutive years. I don't know how many athletes who have had that pleasure. Al Arbour was a man that left us not only feeling like champions, but left us with a lot of great memories that we can carry on through life.

— Islanders Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin on former coach Al Arbour, who passed away Friday at the age of 82