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Failure to hold leads doomed Predators in series

Sunday, 04.26.2015 / 12:36 AM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

Robby Stanley - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Nashville Predators lost three games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference First Round after holding a lead.

The latest, 4-3 in Game 6 on Saturday -- after leading 3-1 -- ended Nashville's season.

Earlier in the best-of-7 series, the Blackhawks came back to win two games that went to double overtime or beyond. 

"Throughout the series, I felt like in some of the games the puck had eyes," Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne said. "You look at at least three games, the winners, a couple of [overtime] games and then tonight, just generated from the point and just find a way through the maze.

"Obviously that feels disappointing when you feel like maybe you get a break one of these games. It hit something and doesn't go in. Obviously those ones, I mean it's frustrating. I'll have way too much time on my hands to think about these things."

Flames pull Hiller in Game 6 against Canucks

Sunday, 04.26.2015 / 12:01 AM / Canucks vs Flames - 2015 SCP First Round

The Calgary Flames changed goaltenders in the first period of Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series Saturday, replacing Jonas Hiller with backup Karri Ramo after the Vancouver Canucks scored on two of their first three shots.

Brandon McMillan gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead when he beat Hiller 2:36 into the game. Jannik Hansen weaved into the Calgary zone and took a shot from the slot that beat Hiller at 7:32.

Coach Bob Hartley replaced Hiller with Ramo at that point. Ramo allowed two goals on 19 shots, and the Flames rallied for a 7-4 win that ended the series.

Flames, Ducks will meet in second round

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 11:55 PM / Ducks vs Flames - 2015 SCP Second Round

John Kreiser - Managing Editor

The Calgary Flames will face the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Second Round after eliminating the Vancouver Canucks with a rousing 7-4, Game 6 win on Saturday.

The Flames' reward for advancing past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 11 years could be as many as four games in an arena that's been a house of horrors for them.

The Pacific Division champion Anaheim Ducks, who are coming off a first-round sweep of the Winnipeg Jets, will have home-ice advantage in the second-round series.

Calgary has lost 20 regular-season games in a row at Honda Center (0-15-5), including two this season. The Flames' last regular-season win there came on Jan. 19, 2004, and Calgary is 8-24-6-7 in Anaheim since the Ducks entered the NHL in 1993.

Start times, TV info set for Monday playoff games

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 11:47 PM / 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League today announced updated start time and national television information for the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round games scheduled for Monday, April 27.

· The starting time for Game 6 of the series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings has been set for 7 p.m. ET in Detroit. In the U.S., the game will be televised on CNBC. In Canada, the game will be televised on CBC and TVA Sports.

· The starting time for Game 7 of the series between the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders has been set for 7:30 p.m. ET in Washington, DC. In the U.S., the game will be televised on NBCSN. In Canada, the game will be on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

Crawford back in goal for Blackhawks; Darling pulled

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 11:40 PM / Predators vs Blackhawks - 2015 SCP First Round

The Chicago Blackhawks changed goaltenders in the first period of Game 6 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Nashville Predators on Saturday, with Corey Crawford relieving Scott Darling after he allowed three goals in the first 11:16.

Crawford made 13 saves, giving the Blackhawks a chance to rally for a 4-3 win that ended the series.

Islanders' persistence created Game 6-winning goal

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 8:51 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

David Satriano - Staff Writer

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Coaches always tell their team to play to the whistle, and there was a prime example why in the New York Islanders' 3-1, Game 6 win against the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday.

John Tavares found Nikolay Kulemin for the game-winning goal in the third period with several Capitals perhaps backing off thinking there would be a whistle.

The result tied the best-of-7 Eastern Conference First round series 3-3, causing the need for Game 7 at Verizon Center on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2, MSG+, CSN-DC).

With less than 10 minutes remaining in the third period, Capitals forward Joel Ward and Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk were tied up near the benches, and Alex Ovechkin and Brock Nelson also were jousting. But there wasn't a whistle, and Tavares skated into the Capitals zone and took a shot on goal that was saved by Braden Holtby.

Ovechkin checked Tavares behind the net, with Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner nearby, and the puck went to Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy along the boards. He passed to Nikolay Kulemin wide open in the slot, where he scored the goal that made it 2-1 with 9:27 remaining.

"It was a war zone in front of the bench there, and I just realized I had a lot of room and there was a lot more ice because of what was going on," Tavares said. "I tried to get to the net, I got hit there, the puck kind of popped out. Two guys were on me, so I think [Leddy] had time and fed Kulemin, and Kulemin made a nice move."

Capitals facing poor Game 7 history at home

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 8:06 PM / Capitals vs Islanders - 2015 SCP First Round

David Satriano - Staff Writer

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Washington Capitals couldn't end their Eastern Conference First Round series against the New York Islanders, losing 3-1 at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday. The best-of-7 series is tied 3-3, and Washington will host Game 7 on Monday at Verizon Center, but that might not be a good thing.

Washington is 3-9 in Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including 2-7 at home. Since 2008, they are 1-4 on home ice.

"Winning is hard," Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said. "It's not going to be easy. It's going to be a seventh game Monday and it's going to be fun. I think our fans are going to give us very good confidence."

Braden Holtby, who made 35 saves Saturday, was in goal for Game 7 when the Capitals lost to the New York Rangers 5-0 at home in the first round of the 2013 playoffs, the last time they played a Game 7.

"We have a different team now," Holtby said.

Farrish: Extra rest will help Rangers in next round

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 7:44 PM / Rangers vs Penguins - 2015 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers, 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.

The New York Islanders earned the right to play another game with their 3-1 win against the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum, but former NHL assistant coach Dave Farrish said the New York Rangers also have to consider themselves big winners on Saturday.

While the Islanders and Capitals engage in what will likely be another physical game in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference First Round series on Monday at Verizon Center, the Rangers will get to relax, watch, heal any lingering injuries and know that no matter who they play in the second round they should be the fresher, healthier team.

"It really is [a big advantage]," Farrish said. "Game 7 is going to be a takeoff of [Game 6] I think, so it's going to be just as physical, if not more physical, and then the winner will turn around and start probably two or three days later [against the Rangers]. That's a huge advantage for the Rangers."

Canadiens may shuffle lines to seek offensive boost

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 4:14 PM / Canadiens vs Senators - 2015 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens do not want to play another home game in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. More importantly, they don't want to be thinking about it either.

The Ottawa Senators have climbed back into the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Canadiens by avoiding elimination in two straight games and now trail 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Sunday at Canadian Tire Centre (6 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVA Sports).

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty, asked Saturday about the potential for some line changes in Game 6 from coach Michel Therrien, said that might be welcomed.

But he had to catch himself from making an admission he didn't quite want to make heading into a game when the Canadiens can eliminate their opponents.

"When you play the same team seven [times]," Pacioretty began, before catching himself, "or however many times in a series in a row, things get repetitive and you get maybe a little bit comfortable. So I think it's important for us to get a little bit out of our comfort zone. And when we do try new things make sure we get a little energy and focus on having fun playing together."

Rutherford, Johnston returning for Penguins: report

Saturday, 04.25.2015 / 3:30 PM / News

General manager Jim Rutherford and coach Mike Johnston will return for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015-16, CEO David Morehouse told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Saturday.

The Penguins did not secure a place in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs until the final day of the regular season, then lost to the New York Rangers in an Eastern Conference First Round series in five games.

"I know there's been a lot of speculation out there, but [co-owners] Ron [Burkle] and Mario [Lemieux] never once considered a change," Morehouse told Jason Mackey of the Tribune-Review. "Jim Rutherford's our general manager, and Mike Johnston's our coach."

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Quote of the Day

That group is not satisfied until we win a Stanley Cup. When we do win that Stanley Cup, I don't think we'll be satisfied then either. We're going to want another one. We have the group to do it. We have all the pieces. We just need to put them together.

— Ducks forward Ryan Kesler after signing a six-year extension with Anaheim this past July