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Five Questions: Leetch talks Rangers past, present

Tuesday, 05.27.2014 / 3:00 AM / Five Questions With…

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's weekly Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game today and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch, who became a Stanley Cup champion with the New York Rangers in 1994 and now is a director in the NHL Department of Player Safety:

Brian Leetch and his New York Rangers teammates became icons in the Big Apple 20 years ago.

Leetch and the Rangers made everyone stop chanting "19-40" by winning their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years. They paraded down the Canyon of Heroes. They lived the life of a star on Broadway, in the biggest city in the world.

They were legendary. In many ways they still are.

The current version of the Rangers is five wins away from getting the same treatment. They are one win away from reaching the Cup Final for the first time since that magical New York spring in 1994.

The Rangers have a 3-1 series lead on the Montreal Canadiens in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final heading into Game 5 at Bell Centre on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Leetch, watching from afar while living in Boston and doing his work as a member of the NHL Department of Player Safety team, spoke about the Rangers' past and present during a phone conversation with NHL.com on Monday.

Here are Five Questions with … Brian Leetch:

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Scoring second goal gave Kings big advantage

Tuesday, 05.27.2014 / 2:06 AM / Winning Ingredients

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- On several occasions during a Western Conference Second Round series against the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter was asked about the importance of the first goal in a game.

There were a couple of instances when Sutter responded by saying the second goal Anaheim scored in quick succession after the first was the most important goal in a Los Angeles loss.

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Blackhawks have won from down 3-1 before

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Blackhawks have played 30 Stanley Cup Playoff games since they've faced a 3-1 series deficit. They also won and celebrated their second Stanley Cup in four seasons during that time.

Yet they haven't forgotten the hollow feeling they felt in the second round last season after dropping Game 4 to the underdog Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. They remember the pit of fear in their stomachs when they boarded the plane for a short flight home and an uncertain future after being outscored 9-2 in three straight losses.

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Kings score two more on power play in Game 4

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

LOS ANGELES -- Recent history says teams that struggled heavily on the power play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs still went on to win the Cup. The Boston Bruins scored 10 power-play goals during their 2011 run. The Los Angeles Kings scored 12 in 2012, and three of those came in a series-clinching blowout win in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Kings remain a suffocating defensive team in these playoffs like they were in 2012, and they've added a potent power play that is capitalizing against what was one of the better penalty-killing units in the NHL.

Defenseman Jake Muzzin and captain Dustin Brown scored power-play goals in a three-goal first period Monday that led Los Angeles to a 5-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. Game 5 of the best-of-7 series, which the Kings lead 3-1, is Wednesday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Desperate Blackhawks know they can be better

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

LOS ANGELES -- For the better part of five days, the Chicago Blackhawks have been looking for answers to why the Los Angeles Kings have been the better team in the Western Conference Final since the third period of Game 2.

The Blackhawks advanced several theories, suggesting it stemmed from a lack of discipline on their part, as well the need to win more of the 50-50 battles which define a series. They dismissed others, insisting fatigue was not an issue and denying the suggestion Los Angeles was the faster team.

Monday, during Game 4 at Staples Center, the answer was right in front of their faces after absorbing a 5-2 loss to the Kings and falling behind 3-1 in the best-of-7 series.

"Credit that team, they're a good team," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "But we know we've got more."

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Avalanche goalie Giguere to retire: report

Monday, 05.26.2014 / 10:56 PM / News

NHL.com

Colorado Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere is expected to announce his retirement in mid-June, the Toronto Sun reported Monday.

"I do not see a reason to remain in the League," Giguere said, according to the QMI Agency. "I just want to be sure to do it right, to meet my agent Bob Sauve and talk to the Players' Association."

Giguere was 11-6-1 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .913 save percentage this season as the backup to Semyon Varlamov.

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Ramsay: Team-first play helps Subban, Canadiens

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens, NHL.com has enlisted the help of former NHL coach Craig Ramsay to break down the action. Ramsay will be checking in throughout the series.

Ramsay played in more than 1,000 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres before going on to coach the Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. In the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he led the Flyers to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Final. Ramsay most recently was an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers.

Craig Ramsay watched P.K. Subban's end-to-end rushes, his attempts to put the Montreal Canadiens on his back in the first three games of the Eastern Conference Final. Ramsay's final assessment was that Subban was playing selfish hockey.

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Capitals name Trotz coach, MacLellan GM

Monday, 05.26.2014 / 6:27 PM / News

NHL.com

The Washington Capitals named Barry Trotz coach and promoted Brian MacLellan to senior vice president and general manager, majority owner Ted Leonsis and president Dick Patrick announced Monday.

"I am very excited to join the Washington Capitals and want to thank Ted Leonsis, Dick Patrick and Brian MacLellan for this opportunity," Trotz said. "This is a great organization with a strong foundation and a tremendous fan base. I look forward to working with this group of talented players and the quality front-office staff this team has assembled."

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Canadiens seek spark to extend series with Rangers

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien expects his friendship with New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault will return to normal soon enough. He just hopes it isn't too soon.

The opposing coaches in the Eastern Conference Final crossed paths prior to the Rangers' 3-2 overtime win Sunday at Madison Square Garden that gave New York a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series.

Television cameras caught Vigneault lowering the passenger window of his car to speak with Therrien, who smiled.

"When I saw him coming I said I made sure to move away, and so what I told him was that I didn't want him to hit me, and he laughed about it," Therrien said Monday after the Canadiens held an optional practice at their suburban practice facility. "I thought it was funny."

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Quote of the Day

When somebody goes out and is there to score goals, but is also there to make some big hits, fight, do all of those things, and he has a great mustache, it was great to see him get that hit and get everybody going.

— Colin Wilson on teammate Eric Nystrom, who scored a goal in Predators' win vs. Kings
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