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Five reasons why the Canadiens advanced

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 3:30 PM / Lightning vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP First Round

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

The Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning appeared to be two evenly matched teams entering their Eastern Conference First Round series.

They finished one point apart in the standings and three of their four regular-season games were decided after regulation time. The fourth was decided in the third period.

A seven-game series was expected, but the Canadiens completed a four-game sweep with a last-minute 4-3 win at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Health is a big reason for the dramatic change from the tight season series. The Canadiens, for the most part, had it and the Lightning didn't, losing one of their most important players, goaltender Ben Bishop, to a dislocated elbow before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But injuries were far from the only factor working in favor of the Canadiens. Here are five more:

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Experienced Flyers confident playing from behind

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 3:30 PM / Rangers vs Flyers - 2014 SCP First Round

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

VOORHEES, N.J. -- In October, with the Philadelphia Flyers sitting at the bottom of the NHL standings, captain Claude Giroux proclaimed his team would make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He made another prediction after his team lost to the New York Rangers in Game 3 to fall behind 2-1 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference First Round series, and reiterated it after an optional practice Wednesday.

"I personally think we did a lot of good things [in Game 3], and if we play the same way we're going to win here Friday," Giroux said. "If we play our game, if we play the right way, we're going to win. We just have to make sure we play like that."

The Flyers will host the Rangers in Game 4 of the series Friday (7 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN, MSG, CSN-PH).

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Five reasons why the Lightning were eliminated

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 2:16 PM / Lightning vs Canadiens - 2014 SCP First Round

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame so much this season to author a special story of perseverance and promise.

Goaltender Ben Bishop resurrected his career, turning in a regular season worthy of Vezina Trophy consideration. Leading scorer Steven Stamkos went down for a majority of the season after sustaining a broken leg in November. Yet the Lightning refused to fold and finished second in the Atlantic Division, holding off a challenge from the Montreal Canadiens at the end of the regular season.

However, the Lightning could not find the same level of perseverance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They did not overcome the hardships placed in their path during an Eastern Conference First Round series against the Canadiens and were eliminated in a stunning four-game sweep, the first in the history of the franchise.

Here are the five biggest reasons Tampa Bay's season came to an earlier-than-expected end:

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Start times set for Round 1 games on Saturday

Wednesday, 04.23.2014 / 1:43 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League today announced updated start time information for the First Round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

The starting time for Game 5 of the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets has been set for 7:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 26, in Pittsburgh. The game will be seen on NBC Sports Network and CBC.

The starting time for Game 5 of the series between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild has been set for 9:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, April 26 in Colorado. The game will be seen on NBC Sports Network and TSN.

The starting time for a potential Game 5 of the series between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks has been set for 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 26 in San Jose. The game will be seen on CNBC and CBC.

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