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NHL Conference Finals Capsules @NHL

Capsules of the NHL conference finals series:

PHILADELPHIA: Comeback kids became third NHL team to rebound from 3-0 series deficit to win series and third to overcome 3-0 hole in Game 7. ... G Michael Leighton reclaimed starting job he lost due to injury, coming on in Game 5 for the injured Brian Boucher. He finished off a combined shutout in Game 5, allowed only a last-minute goal in Game 6, and stopped 66 of 70 overall shots by Boston in Philadelphia's final three wins. ... Flyers were bolstered by earlier-than-expected return of forward Simon Gagne, who had four goals and five points after rejoining lineup in Game 4 vs. Boston. Gagne had two screws placed in his toe to fix an injury sustained in first round. He netted winning goal in Games 4 and 7 of Boston series. ... Captain Mike Richards has a team-high 17 points - including five goals. He has had at least one point in seven of last eight games, and 10 of 12 overall in playoffs. ... The back end is anchored by D Chris Pronger, who is averaging 29 minutes, 39 seconds of ice time in the postseason. ... Flyers outscored Canadiens 10-8 during regular-season series and finished tied in standings with 88 points. Philadelphia earned higher seeding based on wins tiebreaker (41-39). ... Flyers and Canadiens were last two teams to earn playoff berths on final weekend.

MONTREAL: Jaroslav Halak had 2.38 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in series against defending champion Penguins. He stopped 37 shots in Game 7 win that completed rally from 3-2 series deficit. He also had success against Flyers, making 35 saves in 1-0 victory at Philadelphia on April 2 in final regular-season meeting between the clubs. ... The offense has been powered by Michael Cammalleri, who leads NHL with 12 postseason goals. He scored seven against Pittsburgh to tie franchise record. The team record for goals in playoff year is 15 by Yvan Cournoyer in 1973. ... Canadiens overcame series deficits of 2-1 and 3-2 against Pittsburgh after becoming first No. 8 seed to rebound from 3-1 series hole against Washington. ... Montreal has advanced despite absences by defensemen Andrei Markov, who missed six games against Penguins after injuring knee in series opener, and Jaroslav Spacek (virus). Spacek sat out four games against Washington and five against Pittsburgh before returning. ... Canadiens are in conference finals for first time since 1993, the year of their record 24th Stanley Cup victory. ... Montreal snapped Philadelphia's two-year reign as Stanley Cup champion with four-game sweep in 1976 finals.

OUTLOOK: Philadelphia outlasts Montreal in series of unlikely opponents. Flyers in 7.


SAN JOSE: Sharks' only other appearance in Western Conference finals was six-game loss to Calgary in 2004. ... Got past Detroit in second round with four one-goal victories. ... Joe Pavelski, who leads Sharks with nine goals and 15 points in playoffs, had team-high three goals in season series with Blackhawks. He tied Dany Heatley for club lead with five points against Chicago. ... Joe Thornton took big step toward shedding label of poor postseason performer by leading San Jose with career-best eight points in series - including three goals. He is on a six-game point streak and has scored a goal in three of previous four games. ... G Evgeni Nabokov played in all four regular-season games against Chicago, allowing 14 goals and posting 3.78 goals-against average. ... Sharks 40-year-old defenseman Rob Blake has 26 goals and 73 points in 142 career NHL playoff games. He has a goal and assist in these playoffs. ... General manager Doug Wilson played 14 seasons with Blackhawks. He is Chicago's highest-scoring defenseman - fifth overall - and fifth in games played with the club. After moving to San Jose, Wilson became Sharks' first captain. ... No Sharks have matched up against any Blackhawks players in the playoffs.

CHICAGO: Blackhawks haven't been to Stanley Cup finals since being swept by Pittsburgh in 1992. They have gotten that far only three times since the NHL expanded in 1967, and haven't won the title since 1961. ... Captain Jonathan Toews has nine-game point streak, posting six goals and 13 assists in the run. Has NHL-best 20 playoff points. ... Blackhawks outscored Sharks 17-11 in regular-season series. D Duncan Keith led with seven points, all coming on assists. Troy Brouwer had three goals and five points - including goal and assist in overtime games. ... Starting goalie Antti Niemi has never faced the Sharks in any game. Cristobal Huet had 2.73 GAA against Sharks in the four regular-season games. He has played only one period in the postseason. ... D Brian Campbell, who recently returned from injury, is in the conference finals for fourth time in five seasons. He briefly played for the Sharks after being acquired at trade deadline in 2008. ... Forward Marian Hossa is in conference finals for third straight year, all with different teams. Hossa reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2008 with Pittsburgh and 2009 with Detroit, losing both times. ... Blackhawks are 5-1 on the road in playoffs, with 26-14 scoring edge.

OUTLOOK: Sharks finally swim away from disappointment, reach finals for first time. San Jose in 6.


End Capsules

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