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Kings rally behind top forwards to force Game 7

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 7:44 PM / Sharks vs Kings - 2014 SCP First Round

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

SAN JOSE -- Although the San Jose Sharks' fourth line generated plenty of attention for its play in the first couple games, the reason the Los Angeles Kings were facing a 3-0 deficit in the Western Conference First Round series was the lopsided disparity between the performances by the top forwards on each team.

The same can be said about why there will be a Game 7 in this series Wednesday at SAP Center (10 p.m. ET; CBC, RDS2, NBCSN, PRIME, CSN-CA). In the past three games, the top forwards wearing black and silver jerseys have outproduced the ones wearing black and teal.

"When I look at this series, our core, our high-end players if you will, got the better of theirs in the first two to three games, and it certainly has swung in their favor now," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "The series as a whole is created that way so we get an opportunity to settle it all here in Game 7. For us, we believe in that group, and if we want to have success, it has to go through our core. They have to find ways to elevate their play and carry the team, and everybody else has to follow them. Some of those players have had good looks, some open nets, in fact, that they haven't scored on.

"That's all in the past now. We have to get a winning performance out of a lot of players who maybe have not had that over the last little bit, but we're counting on it [Wednesday]."


Wild face crossroads as they prepare for Game 7

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 7:41 PM / Avalanche vs Wild - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

DENVER -- The Minnesota Wild have been climbing the ladder to contender status since Zach Parise and Ryan Suter changed the expectations around the team and the perception of the franchise by signing matching 13-year, $98 million contracts two summers ago.

The next step is the Wild's toughest yet.

The result of Game 7 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN2, RDS, FS-N, ALT) will either raise the expectations around the Wild even higher or potentially alter the perception of the team going into the offseason.


Avalanche ready for emotions of Game 7 vs. Wild

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 6:23 PM / Avalanche vs Wild - 2014 SCP First Round

Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- When the Colorado Avalanche acquired Max Talbot from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Steve Downie on Oct. 31, it was for precisely the kind of experience the young team will face Wednesday at Pepsi Center: Game 7 against the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference First Round (9:30 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN2, CNBC, FS-N, ALT).

The 30-year-old forward has played in far more Stanley Cup Playoff games (83) than any of his teammates, including four Game 7s.

Talbot scored both goals when the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup in 2009, so he understands what it takes to win a game of this magnitude.

"It's definitely intense emotions," Talbot said Tuesday. "Game 7, you know that everybody's watching. I feel like it's a little bigger stage. You have to take it in. Every Game 7 I've played, you remember the guys that scored the goals, you remember little plays, the saves and the blocked shots, the things that made you win this game, made you move on to have a chance at the Stanley Cup."


Lightning's Bishop has successful wrist surgery

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 5:17 PM / News

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop had a successful procedure to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist Tuesday at the Cleveland Clinic.

Bishop, who was named a Vezina Trophy finalist last week, will require 3-4 months of rehabilitation and is expected to be ready for Lightning training camp at the start of the 2014-15 season.

Bishop had battled the injury throughout the second half of this season and it was unrelated to the dislocated elbow that caused him to miss the entirety of the Eastern Conference First Round series against the Montreal Canadiens, in which the Lightning were swept in four games.


Taste of playoffs leaves Blue Jackets hungry for more

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 5:05 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- It was 366 days ago that the Columbus Blue Jackets players and coach Todd Richards met with the media, less than 24 hours after failing to qualify for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs by a point.

The anguish was apparent when they spoke of the missed opportunities that cost them their second postseason appearance in franchise history.

After a rough start to the lockout-shortened season, the Blue Jackets' 19-5-4 (.750) record over the final two months was the second-best in the NHL behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (.852).


Krejci, linemates focus on coming up big for Bruins

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 4:51 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins need their top line of David Krejci centering Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla to produce if they want to not only beat the Montreal Canadiens in the upcoming Eastern Conference Second Round series but advance well into June.

Krejci, who was limited to two assists by the Detroit Red Wings in the Bruins' five-game victory in the first round, plans on being a difference-maker against the Canadiens when the best-of-7 series gets underway.

"They obviously got some little guys, so they like to play with the puck. They play fast and shifty. But I feel like, especially my line, I know we're going to be the line that's playing with the puck a lot," Krejci said after practice Tuesday at TD Garden. "So it's going to be up to them to stop us. We're going to be trying to make something happen and I'm going to try to have the puck on my stick all the time. That's going to be the difference between Detroit and this series."


Blues bemoan lack of killer instinct, consider changes

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 4:34 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

Louie Korac - Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- What now?

That's the million-dollar question the St. Louis Blues must answer as they head into another offseason of uncertainty after an early Stanley Cup Playoff exit.

Doug Armstrong and Ken Hitchcock both sat at a table Tuesday in front of media members two days after the Blues, who set a franchise record for wins in a season with 52, were eliminated in a six-game Western Conference First Round series by the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. And their consensus response was simple: The Blues lack a killer instinct.

For the second consecutive season, the Blues led a series 2-0 before losing four straight and were left thinking, "What if?"


X-Factor: Canadiens' Emelin gets under Bruins' skin

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 3:55 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin has only played 164 regular-season games in the NHL, the equivalent of exactly two full seasons stretched out over three years, and in that time he has become a central figure in his team's heated rivalry with the Boston Bruins.

Though defenseman P.K. Subban is the one who gets booed every time he touches the puck at TD Garden, or any time he does just about anything for that matter, it is in fact Emelin that has successfully managed to drive the Bruins to fits of distraction over his short career.

Emelin has done so by going toe-to-toe with Boston's most physical forces, captain Zdeno Chara and power forward Milan Lucic, and not backing down once.


X-Factor: Bruins' Marchand at best playing on edge

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 3:29 PM / Bruins vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP Second Round

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

Few forwards in the NHL can go an entire five-game series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs without any points and still have a positive impact on his team's victory.

That's what Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand did in their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Detroit Red Wings, and why he will likely be a factor in the second round against the Montreal Canadiens.

Marchand is a valuable piece of Boston's best defensive line with center Patrice Bergeron and wing Reilly Smith. Marchand is also a key penalty killer along with Bergeron, but there are some extracurricular activities he does well too that make him a menace to opponents.


Injuries, inconsistency create questions for Penguins

Tuesday, 04.29.2014 / 1:43 PM / Penguins vs Rangers - 2014 SCP Second Round

Wes Crosby - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins might have created more questions than answers while advancing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Penguins won their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games, but did so in less than convincing fashion. The inability to play a full 60-minute game forced the Penguins to come back from two two-goal deficits, caused them to lose two games after holding multigoal leads and had them escape with a 4-3 win in Game 6 Monday after leading 4-0 midway through the third period.

"We didn't play right," forward Evgeni Malkin said. "It's the playoffs. We need to understand how important it is to play 60 minutes. We just a little bit lost focus."

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Quote of the Day

There's no discouragement in that room. There's no issues there at all to be honest with you. It's more about, 'Hey, it's opportunities for players.' And if we become that bad of a team because of one player, it's not a real good sign for our hockey club. So this is part of sports. It's part of hockey.

— Bruins coach Claude Julien on the loss of Zdeno Chara to injury
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