National Hockey League
NHL News Wire
  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Blue Jackets 4, Penguins 3 (2OT)
    By The Sports Xchange

    PITTSBURGH -- The Columbus Blue Jackets' franchise and their goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky both recorded their first-ever playoff victory as they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in double overtime at Consol Energy Center on Saturday night to tie their first round playoff series at 1 as the series heads to Columbus.

    • Left winger Matt Calvert tallied the game-winning goal for Columbus 1:10 into the second overtime period when he got a second crack at his own rebound and flipped it over down-and-out Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

      Both teams were awarded a rare overtime power-play opportunity in the first overtime, the Blue Jackets, just 1:50 in, and the Penguins, 10:25 in, but neither was able to capitalize.

      Special teams did play a vital role in Game 2, with the teams combining for three power-play goals and two short-handed markers.

      Columbus took advantage of back-to-back penalties by the Penguins in the third period and notched their second power-play goal of the game to knot the game at 3 to complete a comeback from a 3-1 deficit when defenseman Jack Johnson shoveled in a juicy rebound at 13:59.

      The man in the box for Pittsburgh was defenseman Kris Letang, who was whistled for interference after leveling Calvert seconds after he had already released the puck. Letang also found himself in the penalty box twice in Game 1.

      It didn't take long for Pittsburgh to get on the board, opening the scoring just 3:30 into the contest when defenseman Matt Niskanen threw what appeared to be a harmless wrist shot from the right point. It was tipped up and over Bobrovsky by 5-foot-8 Penguins center Brian Gibbons, who stood unobstructed in front of the Blue Jackets net.

      The Blue Jackets tallied a short-handed goal in Game 1 to secure a two-goal lead, and in Game 2 it was Pittsburgh using the same tactic.

      It was Gibbons again 54 seconds later when he skated in all alone on a breakaway, switching from his backhand to his forehand and sliding the puck through Bobrovsky's five hole to put the Penguins ahead 2-0.

      Gibbons made the most of his 2:29 of total ice time, as he would play just two more shifts before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury.

      Just when it looked as though the Penguins had all of the momentum, Columbus answered right back with a power-play goal less than a minute later when center Ryan Johansen blasted home a shot from the point. Forward Boone Jenner provided the screen in front of Fleury.

      After ranking first in the NHL during the regular-season and cashing in twice in Game 1, the Pittsburgh power play was at it again in the first period of Game 2.

      Niskanen wired a shot from the right point that found its way into the upper left corner at 17:52 of the first frame to re-establish a two-goal lead for the Penguins at 3-1. Bobrovsky did not react to the shot, most likely because of the screen being provided in front by Pittsburgh left winger Chris Kunitz.

      While Pittsburgh carried most of the play in the first period, outshooting Columbus 15-4, it was Columbus taking the better of the play in the second, outshooting Pittsburgh 15-8 in the frame and recoding the period's only goal.

      For the second-consecutive game, the Blue Jackets tallied a short-handed goal when Calvert streaked down the wing on a three-on-one break and elected to take the shot himself. He unleashed a laser of a wrist shot over the glove of Fleury to pull Columbus within one, 3-2 at 7:31.

      NOTES: With his assist on Pittsburgh's first goal, Penguins C Sidney Crosby passed LW Kevin Stevens for third place on the franchise's all-time post-season points list. ... The Blue Jackets scored a franchise-record 226 goals in the regular-season. ... The Penguins lost 529 man-games to injury in the regular-season, which was the most in the NHL. For comparison's sake, the Blue Jackets lost 298 man-games, which was seventh-most in the NHL. ... Scratches for the Penguins were D Robert Bortuzzo, D Deryk Engelland, LW Taylor Pyatt, C Marcel Goc (foot), C Jayson Megna and G Tomas Vokoun. ... Scratches for the Blue Jackets were D Dalton Prout, D Nick Schultz, RW Nathan Horton (abdominal), RW Jared Boll, RW Matt Frattin, LW Nick Foligno (lower-body), and G Jeremy Smith. ... The official attendance was 18,619.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Blues up 2-0, but remember last year
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues were in exactly this same position a year ago, and defenseman Barret Jackman said they do not need any reminders about what happened next.

    • Jackman's goal 5:50 into overtime gave the Blues a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, putting them up two games to none in their opening-round playoff series.

      Last year, the Blues also defeated the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Los Angeles Kings, in the first two games at home in the opening round, then promptly lost the next four and the series.

      Jackman thinks the Blues will be better prepared this year when the series moves to Chicago for game three Monday night.

      "We've got to stay on our toes," Jackman said. "We're going into a tough building and it's going to take everybody. Tonight we got a little but lucky. We let our foot off the gas and they got a couple lucky bounces.

      "You've got a team down, 2-0, you’ve got to finish them and that's what we've got to do."

      Jackman's goal, the second of his career in the playoffs, got past goalie Corey Crawford and trickled into the net. Crawford admitted he didn't see it very well.

      "It was a little bit of a screen, but it went straight through," Crawford said. "I had my pads together, but there was a little space there and it just kind of squeezed through."

      For the second game in a row, the Blues got a late goal, this time from right wing Vladimir Tarasenko with 6.8 seconds to play, to send the game to overtime. In the first game Thursday night, left wing Jaden Schwartz scored with 1:45 to play to tie the game, which the Blues eventually won in the third overtime.

      Tarasenko's goal came after Blackhawks' defenseman Brent Seabrook was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for charging Blues' center David Backes with 4:51 to play.

      The Blues, who had a 5-on-3 advantage for 45 seconds after the hit but couldn't score, eventually pulled goalie Ryan Miller with 1:46 to play to have a 6-on-4 advantage when they came up with the tying goal.

      That was the response the Blues wanted to the hit, which left Backes wobbly as he left the ice. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said his captain was "not great" after the game.

      "At some points this year we’ve got too emotional and that kind of hindered our thought process," Jackman said. "We knew it was a five-minute major and we were down by a goal and no time for retaliation.

      "Backes is a big boy and he's a big part of this team, but we've got to go forward."

      Hitchcock would not comment on the Seabrook hit, saying he will let the league deal with it. He also was concerned after the game about the health of center Vladimir Sobotka, who sustained an injury earlier in the game.

      "We needed to just calm down and play the right way again," Hitchcock said. "It's a series filled with a lot of emotion and intensity. Both teams battled like crazy. We're lucky we've held serve and now we've got to take it into Chicago and see if we can get a win."

      Seabrook said he was simply trying to make a play on Backes, who was crunched into the boards with the high hit.

      "I was coming down the wall and I just tried to finish my hit," Seabrook said. "I feel bad seeing a guy like that on the ice. I've been there myself. I wasn't trying to target his head or do anything like that. … It wasn't my intent. I hope he's doing OK, that's all I can say."

      The Blues carried a 2-1 lead into the third period before the Blackhawks got goals from Seabrook and defenseman Michal Rozsival in a span of 1:45 early in the period to take the lead.

      Left wing Chris Porter and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored in the first period for the Blues, and defenseman Duncan Keith scored for the Blackhawks late in the second period to begin their comeback.

      Keith's goal ended a streak of 53 consecutive saves by Miller after he allowed three goals on Chicago's first seven shots in the first period on Thursday night.

      Chicago coach Joel Quenneville still expects a long series.

      "We were right there, six seconds away and to end up losing it is a shame," Quenneville said. "I thought we battled back to get back into the game and did everything we could to win the game.

      "We did a lot of good things. We've got to get back to our building and win a game and get some momentum back."

      NOTES: Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said he will not contest a $25,000 fine imposed by the NHL for his inappropriate conduct in game one. "I can't complain," Quenneville said on Saturday. "It was a stupid move on my part." ... The Blues scratched LW Brenden Morrow to open a spot in the lineup for RW T.J. Oshie, the only change for either team from Game 1. ... Game 1 marked the eighth time in NHL history that the first game of a playoff series went to three overtimes or more. In each of the previous seven times, the team that won the game went on to win the series. ... The third game of the series will be played on Monday night in Chicago.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    NHL roundup: Flyers goalie will miss Game 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason will not play in Game 2 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the New York Rangers on Sunday.

    • Mason did practice Saturday but is listed as day-to-day. He also practiced Friday.

      Mason, the Flyers' No. 1 goalie, missed Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Rangers because of an undisclosed upper-body injury sustained last Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he was knocked over and hit the back of his head on the ice.

      The Flyers have declined to say whether Mason sustained a concussion.

      In 61 games, Mason went 33-18-7 with a .917 save percentage and 2.50 goals-against average.

      ---Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said Saturday he does not expect center Matt Duchene to play in the first-round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild.

      Duchene, the team's leading scorer, has been out since March 29 with a damaged MCL in his left knee.

      Roy said before Saturday's Game 2 of the series that he would be "very, very surprised" if Duchene plays against the Wild. Duchene has not started skating yet.

      Initially, Duchene was expected to miss four weeks, but Roy said it likely will be even longer than that.

      Duchene, 23, led the Avalanche with a career-high 70 points (23 goals and 47 assists) this season.

      Also, Roy said forward John Mitchell, who is out with a head injury, is not ready to return.

      ---The Nashville Predators acquired defenseman Jaynen Rissling from the Washington Capitals for a seventh-round pick in this year's draft.

      Rissling, 20, recently completed his fifth season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. He had 37 points (eight goals and 29 assists) and 105 penalty minutes in 54 games as team captain.

      The Capitals drafted Rissling in the seventh round in 2012. He is the second member of the Capitals' 2012 draft class to be acquired by the Predators, joining Filip Forsberg. The Caps took Forsberg as the No. 11 overall pick.

      ---Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic was fined $5,000 for spearing Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser during Game 1 of the teams' first-round Stanley Cup playoff series in Boston on Friday.

      The incident occurred at 19:55 of the second period. No penalty was assessed on the play.

      The Red Wings defeated the Bruins 1-0.

      ---The Tampa Bay Lightning signed defenseman Jake Dotchin to an entry-level contract Saturday.

      Dotchin, 20, had 11 goals and 25 assists in 63 games this season with Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. He led the team with 121 penalty minutes and was third with a plus-22 rating. He also has three goals and two assists in 11 playoff games.

      The Lightning selected Dotchin in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Blues 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. LOUIS -- Defenseman Barret Jackman scored 5:50 into overtime Saturday to give the St. Louis Blues their second consecutive overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks in their opening round playoff series.

    • Jackman's shot from the point went past a Chicago defender and at least one Blues player, who were in front of Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford.

      The Blues, who needed three overtimes to win Game 1, opened a 2-0 lead over the defending Stanley Cup champion for the second straight year, having led the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 last year in the opening round before losing the next four games.

      Game 3 of the series will be Monday night in Chicago.

      For the second game in a row, the Blues sent the game to overtime with a late goal -- this time, right winger Vladimir Tarasenko scored with 6.8 seconds to go to tie it at 3 while St. Louis was on a power play and had pulled goaltender Ryan Miller for an extra skater.

      A major penalty on Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, who also received a game misconduct for charging center David Backes, with 4:51 to play set up the tying goal.

      The Blackhawks rallied from a 2-0 deficit after the first period and a 2-1 deficit entering the third to take the 3-2 lead. Seabrook's second goal of the series tied the game 4:53 into the third, and then defenseman Michal Rozsival scored at 6:38 to give Chicago its first lead of the game, 3-2.

      Rozsival's shot appeared to deflect off St. Louis left winger Chris Porter and went past Miller.

      Porter, who spent much of the regular season playing for the Blues' Chicago affiliate in the AHL, put the Blues in front 7:08 into the game when he got to a loose puck after a shot by defenseman Jordan Leopold was blocked and fired it past Crawford.

      Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was able to get a shot from the point past a screened Miller at 17:25 to cut the St. Louis lead to 2-1 in the second period.

      The goal ended a streak of 53 consecutive saves by Miller after he allowed three goals on Chicago's first seven shots in the first period on Thursday night.

      NOTES: Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said he will not contest a $25,000 fine imposed by the NHL for his inappropriate conduct in game one. "I can't complain," Quenneville said on Saturday. "It was a stupid move on my part." ... The Blues scratched LW Brenden Morrow to open a spot in the lineup for RW T.J. Oshie, the only change for either team from Game 1. ... Game 1 marked the eighth time in NHL history that the first game of a playoff series went to three overtimes or more. In each of the previous seven times, the team that won the game went on to win the series. ... The third game of the series will be played Monday night in Chicago.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Predators acquire D Rissling
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Nashville Predators acquired defenseman Jaynen Rissling from the Washington Capitals for a seventh-round pick in this year's draft.

    • Rissling, 20, recently completed his fifth season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. He had 37 points (eight goals and 29 assists) and 105 penalty minutes in 54 games as team captain.

      The Capitals drafted Rissling in the seventh round in 2012. He is the second member of the Capitals' 2012 draft class to be acquired by the Predators, joining Filip Forsberg. The Caps took Forsberg as the No. 11 overall pick.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Duchene not expected to play vs. Wild
    By The Sports Xchange

    Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said Saturday he does not expect center Matt Duchene to play in the first-round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild.

    • Duchene, the team's leading scorer, has been out since March 29 with a damaged MCL in his left knee.

      Roy said before Saturday's Game 2 of the series that he would be "very, very surprised" if Duchene plays against the Wild. Duchene has not started skating yet.

      Initially, Duchene was expected to miss four weeks, but Roy said it will likely be even longer than that.

      Duchene, 23, led the Avalanche with a career-high 70 points (23 goals and 47 assists) this season.

      Also, Roy said forward John Mitchell, who is out with a head injury, is not ready to return.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Flyers G Mason out for Sunday
    By The Sports Xchange

    Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason will not play in Game 2 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the New York Rangers on Sunday.

    • Mason did practice Saturday but is listed as day-to-day. He also practiced Friday.

      Mason, the Flyers' No. 1 goalie, missed Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Rangers because of an undisclosed upper-body injury sustained last Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he was knocked over and hit the back of his head on the ice.

      The Flyers have declined to say if Mason sustained a concussion.

      In 61 regular-season games, Mason went 33-18-7 with a .917 save percentage and 2.50 goals-against average.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Bruins F Lucic fined $5,000
    By The Sports Xchange

    Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic was fined $5,000 for spearing Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser during Game 1 of the teams' first round Stanley Cup playoff series in Boston on Friday.

    • The incident occurred at 19:55 of the second period. No penalty was

      assessed on the play.

      The Red Wings defeated the Bruins 1-0.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Lightning sign D Dotchin to entry-level contract
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Tampa Bay Lightning signed defenseman Jake Dotchin to an entry-level contract Saturday.

    • Dotchin, 20, had 11 goals and 25 assists in 63 games this season with Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. He led the team with 121 penalty minutes and was third with a plus-22 rating. He also has three goals and two assists in 11 playoff games.

      The Lightning selected Dotchin in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Getzlaf helps Ducks take 2-0 series lead
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ryan Getzlaf handled the highs and blows with kid gloves.

    • Getzlaf, the Anaheim Ducks' All-Star center, bounced back from a wicked shot to the jaw in Game 1, scoring a goal and adding an assist while leading Anaheim to a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals Friday night before a sellout crowd of 17,426 at Honda Center.

      The top-seeded Ducks took a 2-0 lead over the eighth-seeded Stars in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Monday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

      "Every once in a while, you need your best players to step it up when the rest of the guys lose their composure," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "(Getzlaf), with what's happened to him in the last three days, to come in and get two points and a plus-3 rating, is a sure reason why he's hopefully nominated for the MVP."

      Getzlaf became a father for the third time early Friday morning with the birth of his daughter Willa. That milestone occurred almost 24 hours after he dropped to the ice with a deep facial laceration that required multiple stitches after being nailed by a shot from Dallas center Tyler Seguin with 16 seconds remaining in Wednesday's win.

      Getzlaf, who wore a football-style faceguard to protect the wound, said he had little doubt he would play Friday.

      "Once I went through the warm-up and those type of things, I got my feet under me," said Getzlaf, who recorded his second consecutive multi-point game. "I got hit on my first shift, which helps get the nerves out.

      "It's OK. It is what it is. It's a cut. It's got some swelling, but it's OK."

      Getzlaf and the Ducks made the Stars pay on a short-handed goal in the third period, and it turned out to be the difference. After a sloppy exchange on Anaheim's end of the ice, center Andrew Cogliano gained possession, passed the puck to Getzlaf and then scored off a return pass for a 3-1 advantage at 5:09.

      The Stars cut the gap to one, however, when left winger Ryan Garbutt gathered a pass from center Shawn Horcoff just outside the crease and fired it over the right shoulder of Ducks rookie goalie Frederik Andersen at 9:58 of the third. But Andersen and the Ducks prevented Dallas from scoring again.

      "Part of becoming a good playoff team is to improve from the first game, and I saw the improvement," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "We made some individual mistakes that we are going to have to try and eliminate. They made some big mistakes, too. We didn't capitalize on some of their big mistakes, which was the difference."

      Andersen stopped 34 shots in his second outing of the series, while Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen finished with 16 saves.

      Getzlaf rallied the Ducks from a 1-0 deficit, picking the pocket of left winger Eric Cole and hitting a wrist shot for an unassisted goal with 2:46 remaining in the first. For Getzlaf, it was his second goal of the series, coming on the heels of a goal-and-an-assist performance in Game 1.

      "That was huge," Ducks right winger Corey Perry said. "What a great play by (Getzlaf) stealing the puck and being a beast going to the net. That's the type of player he is, and he showed us what he can do."

      The Stars scored first. After Perry was sent to the box for slashing, right winger Alex Chiasson converted a pass from left winger Jamie Benn for a power-play goal and a 1-0 Dallas lead at 7:40 of the first period.

      Perry, who failed to find the net in last year's first-round series' loss to the Detroit Red Wings, gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead, smoking an unassisted goal past Lehtonen for his first goal of the postseason with 3:45 left in the second period.

      NOTES: Anaheim LW Matt Beleskey, who had a goal and an assist in Game 1, was scratched with a lower-body injury suffered in Wednesday's opening contest. He is listed as day-to-day. ... Dallas D Brenden Dillon, who also has a lower-body injury, missed the second game of the series. Dillon is listed as day-to-day. ... Dallas C Tyler Seguin had six goals, including one in Game 1, in his previous nine games. ... RW Corey Perry is one power-play goal from tying former Duck Scott Niedermayer for fifth on the franchise list. ... The two clubs are among three NHL teams with two players with at least 30 goals and more than 70 points. They are Perry and C Ryan Getzlaf for the Ducks and Seguin and C Jamie Benn for Dallas. ... Game 4 is Wednesday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Ducks 3, Stars 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Center Ryan Getzlaf scored a goal and added an assist, and the Anaheim Ducks recorded a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference quarterfinals Friday night at Honda Center.

    • The victory gave the top-seeded Ducks a 2-0 lead over the eighth-seeded Stars in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Monday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

      Anaheim rookie goaltender Frederik Andersen stopped 34 shots in his second outing of the series, while Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen finished with 16 saves.

      The Ducks made the Stars pay on a short-handed goal in the third period and it turned out to be the difference. After a sloppy exchange on Anaheim's end of the ice, center Andrew Cogliano gained possession, passed the puck to Getzlaf and then scored off a return pass for a 3-1 advantage at 5:09.

      The Stars cut the gap to one, however, when left winger Ryan Garbutt gathered a pass from center Shawn Horcoff just outside the crease and fired it over the right shoulder of Andersen at 9:58 of the third. But Andersen and the Ducks prevailed by preventing Dallas from scoring again.

      The Stars scored first. After Ducks right winger Corey Perry was sent to the box for slashing, right winger Alex Chiasson converted a pass from left winger Jamie Benn for a power-play goal and a 1-0 Dallas lead at 7:40 of the first period.

      Getzlaf, who suffered a deep facial laceration that required multiple stitches after being nailed by a shot by center Tyler Seguin with 16 seconds remaining in Game 1, tied the score by picking the pocket of left winger Eric Cole and hitting a wrist shot for an unassisted goal with 2:46 remaining in the first. For Getzlaf, who wore a football-style faceguard, it was his second goal of the series.

      Perry, who failed to find the net in last year's first-round series' loss to the Detroit Red Wings, gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead, smoking an unassisted goal past Lehtonen for his first goal of the postseason with 3:45 left in the second period.

      NOTES: Anaheim LW Matt Beleskey, who had a goal and an assist in Game 1, was scratched with a lower-body injury suffered in Wednesday's opening contest. He is listed as day-to-day. ... Dallas D Brenden Dillon, who also has a lower-body injury, missed the second game of the series. Dillon is listed as day-to-day. ... Dallas C Tyler Seguin had six goals, including one in Game 1, in his previous nine games. ... RW Corey Perry is one power-play goal from tying former Duck Scott Niedermayer for fifth on the franchise list. ... The two clubs are among three NHL teams with two players with at least 30 goals and more than 70 points. They are Perry and C Ryan Getzlaf for the Ducks and Seguin and C Jamie Benn for Dallas. ... Game 4 is Wednesday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

  • Saturday, April 19, 2014
    Wings take hard-fought opener against Bruins
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- The 57-year span between playoff meetings did nothing to diminish the Original Six rivalry shared by Detroit and Boston.

    • The Red Wings and Bruins exchanged hit after hit and played stifling defense before center Pavel Datsyuk's goal with 3:01 remaining Friday lifted Detroit to a 1-0 win on Friday night in an Eastern Conference playoff series opener that lived up to the historic matchup.

      Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard made 25 saves for his third career playoff shutout and Detroit took a 1-0 lead in its first postseason series against Boston since the 1957 NHL semifinals.

      "You never know how it's going to unfold," Howard said. "You can definitely have a feeling that you're going to play well, but as soon as you get out there, you don't know what is going to happen. Crazy things can happen in this game."

      Crazy like a tipped shot from the slot that hit Howard's glove, drifted wide of the net and started the Red Wings on a rush the other way that ended with Datsyuk's 37th career playoff goal.

      Detroit's move to the Eastern Conference opened the door for the first postseason meeting between the two franchises since they were among just six teams in the league. The Red Wings entered the series as the No. 8 seed against the Bruins, winners of the President's Trophy and defending Eastern Conference champions.

      Detroit was one of the few teams with success against Boston, going 3-1 during the regular season by using speed to overcome the Bruins' physical play. The same formula worked again for Detroit in the opener of the best-of-seven series, which continues Sunday in Boston.

      "Obviously, you want to get in and you want to establish yourself in the series, especially when you're the lower seed," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "Sometimes when the upper seed gets the upper hand right away, you start questioning whether you're good enough. And we know we're good enough."

      Center Johan Franzen assisted on Datsyuk's goal, which came just after Howard made his biggest save of the game on a tip by Bruins left winger Milan Lucic off a shot by right winger Jarome Iginla. The puck got through Howard, but he got just enough of it to keep it out of the net and his teammates scooped up the rebound and started the other way.

      Datsyuk skated across the blue line after skillfully reaching back to collect a pass and beat Boston goalie Tuukka Rask with a snap shot low to the glove side.

      "It's only one game," Datsyuk said. "It's a good start, but we know there are many tough games."

      Rask finished with 23 saves for the Bruins, who went 1-3 against Detroit during the regular season.

      "I don't think there was any secrets in tonight's game. Both teams played really tight defense and that's why there wasn't that many scoring chances in the game," Boston coach Claude Juliene said.

      After two periods dominated by defense, the game opened up a little early in the third. Boston center Brad Marchand got free in the first minute for a shot from the left circle, which Howard steered away with a pad save. Rask answered a few minutes later with a pad save on center Darren Helm from the slot 2:48 into the third.

      Boston had its first power play with 14:43 remaining, but Howard preserved the shutout with two strong saves.

      "It's two teams that play pretty solid systems and they stick to it," Boston forward Patrice Bergeron said. "There wasn't much on both sides of the ice and that's it. We're going to have to expect that for the rest of the series."

      The first two periods were full of tight checking and defense and the game remained scoreless. The Bruins and Red Wings had 16 shots apiece after 40 minutes as the defense continued to grow stronger at both ends.

      After facing 10 shots in the first, Rask was hardly tested in the second as the Bruins held the Red Wings to five shots on goal. Detroit was nearly as strong defensively, allowing only eight shots to reach Howard in the second.

      The Red Wings had the only two power plays through the first two periods, but the Bruins penalty killers held Detroit to one shot on goal in the first and none in the second after Boston defenseman Torey Krug was called for a hold with 4:02 left in the second period.

      The first period featured few scoring chances and lots of hitting, including one that drew the first penalty of the game when Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was called for boarding Wings defenseman Brendan Smith with 3:52 left in the opening period. The Bruins easily killed off the penalty, holding Detroit to one shot before Chara left the penalty box, delivered a hit and went back to Boston's bench.

      NOTES: The Bruins held a moment of silence before the national anthem in honor of the victims and first-responders in the Boston Marathon bombings a year and three days before on April 15, 2013. ... The Original Six rivals are meeting for the eighth time in the playoffs but the first since 1957. The Bruins hold a 4-3 series edge. ... Detroit was without LW and team captain Henrik Zetterberg, who is still recovering from back surgery and is expected to miss the series. ... Boston RW Reilly Smith made his playoff debut against his brother, Brendan, a defenseman for the Red Wings.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Canadiens head home with 2-0 series lead on Lightning
    By The Sports Xchange

    TAMPA, Fla. -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has seen this movie before. It's up to his team to avoid another sequel.

    • Third-seeded in the Atlantic Division playoffs, Montreal used two goals from right winger Rene Bourque and a smothering neutral zone defense to down the second-seeded Lightning 4-1 on Friday and take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

      Tampa Bay held a 3-0-1 series advantage over Montreal in the regular season and won in five of its last six Game 2 situations, but none of that matters now. Tampa Bay faces a near must-win situation Sunday at the Bell Centre. The next two games will be played in Montreal, which would figure to excite the Canadiens, if not for the fact they have blown two 2-0 series leads the past decade in which they won the first two games on the road.

      "I remember three years ago playing Boston," said Subban, who registered two assists Friday. "We take two games on the road and they won three straight and took the series. It's great to feel good about two, but we have two games left we have to win."

      Montreal's defense was especially oppressive and unrelenting after it took a 2-0 lead in the second period. The Canadiens turned two neutral zone turnovers into back-breaking third-period scores to finish it.

      "(We were) suffocating the middle of the ice and making it tough for them to come through," Subban said. "I know as a defenseman who likes to skate the puck, it's tough every time you look up the ice and you're looking at three forwards and two defenseman."

      Lightning center Steven Stamkos, who paced Tampa Bay with two goals in a 5-4 overtime loss in Game 1, said Tampa Bay's woes had more to do with his team's execution and effort level than any Montreal scheme.

      "When we're successful, we're getting speed in the neutral zone. We're getting pucks in deep," he said after going scoreless on four shots. "Lesson learned, hopefully."

      And message conveyed. The Lightning held a closed-door team meeting after the game.

      "We've played 82 games and 14 teams aren't playing any longer," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We worked hard to get home ice and now it's taken away from us. We've got a good group of leadership in there. When you have a team that cares, they take it upon themselves."

      Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback made 20 saves, but was let down by a defense that was highly culpable in Game 1. Foreboding for the Lightning was a standout 26-save effort from Montreal goaltender Carey Price.

      After a scoreless first period, Montreal took a 1-0 lead when center David Desharnais scored six seconds into their second power play just three minutes into the period. After winning a face off, Desharnais found himself alone in front of the net and redirected a deep pass from Subban over Lindback's shoulder. Subban earned his first assist of the playoffs on Desharnais first goal of the postseason. Tampa Bay had killed off all 17 of Montreal's previous 17 power plays this season.

      Montreal surged after a successful penalty kill and took a 2-0 lead with 9:25 left in the second period on right winger Rene Bourque's first goal of the postseason. Bourque recovered a deep pass from left winger Thomas Vanek that Lightning right winger Richard Panik failed to smother at the blue line, then bore into to poke in a goal. Subban earned another assist.

      Right winger Brendan Gallagher made it 3-0 Montreal with nine minutes remaining in the game, wicking a back-hander past Lindback after Lightning defenseman Matt Carle blocked his initial shot.

      Rookie goalie Kristers Gudlevskis replaced Lindback for the remainder of the game, and three minutes later allowed an unassisted goal to Bourque on a wraparound that made it 4-0.

      Lightning right winger Teddy Purcell scored a power-play goal with 1:59 left to break up the shutout bid by Price.

      Montreal blew 2-0 series leads on the road twice in the first round in the past decade, doing so against Boston (2010-11) and Carolina (2005-06). The Canadiens are aware of recent history, according to Price.

      "That's two so far," Price said. "We're certainly not taking anything for granted."

      NOTES: Rookie LW Ondrej Palat, who led the Lightning with 59 regular-season points, was scratched. He left early in the third period of the Game 1 loss to Montreal after knee-to-knee contact with D P.K. Subban but has what the team called an upper body injury. Palat missed the regular-season finale after absorbing a wicked open-ice hit from Columbus Blue Jackets D Jack Johnson in the previous game. RW Alex Killorn replaced Palat on the top line with LW Steven Stamkos and C Tyler Johnson. ... Injured Lightning starting G Ben Bishop skated in full gear on Thursday but is not expected back soon. Bishop injured his left arm falling onto the ice late in the regular season. ... Montreal LW Travis Moen (concussion) did not play. ... The Canadiens squandered a four-minute high-sticking double minor to Stamkos in the first period when they was whistled for having too many men on the ice just 52 seconds into the power play.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Red Wings 1, Bruins 0
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- Center Pavel Datsyuk broke a scoreless tie with a goal with 3:01 left in regulation and the Detroit Red Wings held on for a 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Friday night to take 1-0 lead in the opening round of Eastern Conference playoffs.

    • Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard made 25 saves while picking up the shutout as the eighth-seeded Red Wings won the series opener against the No. 1 seed and defending Eastern Conference champion Bruins.

      Center Johan Franzen assisted on Datsyuk's goal, which came just after Howard made his biggest save of the game on a tip by Bruins left winger Milan Lucic off a shot by right winger Jarome Iginla. The puck got through Howard, but he got just enough of it that it drifted wide of the left post and the Wings stormed the other way for the only goal of the game.

      Datsyuk skated across the blue line after skillfully reaching back to collect a pass and beat Boston goalie Tuukka Rask with a snap shot low to the glove side.

      Rask finished with 23 saves for the Bruins, who went 1-3 against Detroit during the regular season.

      After two periods dominated by defense, the game opened up a little early in the third. Boston center Brad Marchand got free in the first minute for a shot from the left circle, which Howard steered away with a pad save. Rask answered a couple minutes later with a pad save on center Darren Helm from the slot 2:48 into the third.

      Boston had its first power play with 14:43 remaining, but Howard preserved the shutout with a pair of strong saves.

      The first two periods were full of tight checking and defense and the game remained scoreless. The Bruins and Red Wings had 16 shots apiece after 40 minutes as the defense continued to grow stronger at both ends.

      After facing 10 shots in the first, Rask was hardly tested in the second as the Bruins held the Red Wings to just five shots on goal. Detroit was nearly as strong defensively, allowing only eight shots to reach Howard in the second.

      The Red Wings had the only two power plays through the first two periods, but the Bruins penalty killers held Detroit to one shot on goal in the first and none in the second after Boston defenseman Torey Krug was called for a hold with 4:02 left in the second period.

      The first period featured few scoring chances and lots of hitting, including one that drew the first penalty of the game when Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was called for boarding Wings defenseman Brendan Smith with 3:52 left in the opening period. The Bruins easily killed off the penalty, holding Detroit to one shot before Chara left the penalty box, delivered a hit and went back to Boston's bench.

      NOTES: The Bruins held a moment of silence before the national anthem in honor of the victims and first-responders in the Boston Marathon bombings a year and three days before on April 15, 2013. ... The Original Six rivals are meeting for the eighth time in the playoffs, but first since 1957. The Bruins hold a 4-3 series edge. ... Detroit was without LW and team captain Henrik Zetterberg, who is still recovering from back surgery and is expected to miss the series. ... Boston RW Reilly Smith made his playoff debut against his brother, Brendan, a defenseman for the Red Wings.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Canadiens 4, Lightning 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    TAMPA, Fla. -- With home-ice advantage long gone, the Tampa Bay Lightning must find answers quickly to earn another game at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

    • The Montreal Canadiens, the third-seed in the Atlantic Division playoffs, got two goals from right winger Rene Bourque and smothered the second-seeded Lightning 4-1 on Friday to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven first-round series.

      Tampa Bay held a 3-0-1 series advantage over Montreal in the regular season and won in five of its last six Game 2 situations. None of that matters now, as Tampa Bay faces a near must-win Sunday at the Bell Centre. The next two games will be played in Montreal.

      Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback made 20 saves, but was let down by a defense that was highly culpable in a 5-4 overtime loss in Game 1. Foreboding for the Lightning was a standout 26-save effort from Price, who benefitted from a smothering effort from the Canadiens in nullifying the young Lightning squad's speed. Montreal turned two neutral zone turnovers into devastating third-period scores to finish it.

      After a scoreless first period, Montreal took a 1-0 lead when center David Desharnais scored six seconds into their second power play just three minutes into the period. After winning a face off, Desharnais found himself alone in front of the net and redirected a deep pass from defenseman P.K. Subban over Lindback's shoulder. Subban earned his first assist of the playoffs on Desharnais first goal of the postseason.

      The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead with 9:25 left in the period on right winger Rene Bourque's first goal of the postseason. Bourque recovered a deep pass from left wing Thomas Vanek that Lightning right winger Richard Panik failed to smother at the blue line, then bore in to poke in a goal. Subban earned another assist.

      Right winger Brendan Gallagher made it 3-0 Montreal with nine minutes remaining in the game, wicking a back-hander past Lindback after Lightning defenseman Matt Carle blocked his initial shot. Rookie Kristers Gudlevskis replaced Lindback for the remainder of the game and three minutes later allowed an unassisted goal to Bourque on a wraparound that made it 4-0.

      Lightning right winger Teddy Purcell scored a power-play goal for Tampa Bay with 1:59 left to break up the shutout bid by Price.

      NOTES: Rookie LW Ondrej Palat, who led the Lightning with 59 regular-season points, was scratched. He left early in the third period of the Game 1 loss to Montreal after knee-to-knee contact with D P.K. Subban but has what the team called an upper body injury. Palat missed the regular-season finale after absorbing a wicked open-ice hit from Columbus Blue Jackets D Jack Johnson in the previous game. RW Alex Killorn replaced Palat on the top line with LW Steven Stamkos and C Tyler Johnson. ... Injured Lightning starting G Ben Bishop skated in full gear on Thursday but is not expected back soon. Bishop injured his left arm falling onto the ice late in the regular season. ... Montreal LW Travis Moen (concussion) did not play. ... The Canadiens squandered a four-minute high-sticking double minor to Stamkos in the first period when they was whistled for having too many men on the ice just 52 seconds into the power play.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Quenneville fined $25,000 by NHL
    By The Sports Xchange

    Coach Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks was fined $25,000 by the National Hockey League for inappropriate conduct during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoff First Round series against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

    • Quenneville made an obscene gesture toward officials during the second overtime of the Blackhawks' 4-3 defeat.

      "I was definitely excited and disappointed at the call," Quenneville said after the game. "I apologize for my behavior. It wasn't very appropriate at all. It was a bush-league move on my part."

      The fine money goes to the NHL Foundation.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Columbus gets Umberger back for Game 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    Forward R.J. Umberger of the Columbus Blue Jackets has been cleared to play against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series on Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

    • Umberger missed Pittsburgh's 4-3 victory in the series opener because of an upper body injury.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Flyers' Mason hopes to play Sunday
    By The Sports Xchange

    Goaltender Steve Mason of the Philadelphia Flyers practiced on Friday and said he hopes to be able to play in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

    • Mason, the Flyers' No. 1 goalie, missed Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Rangers because of an undisclosed upper-body injury sustained last Saturday against Pittsburgh, when he was knocked over and hit the back of his head on the ice.

      The Flyers have declined to say if Mason sustained a concussion.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Sharks rout Kings in series opener
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Hitting with purpose and scoring with ease, the San Jose Sharks cruised to a win in their playoff opener.

    • The Sharks dumped the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 Thursday night to open a Western Conference quarterfinal series.

      Forwards Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl, Patrick Marleau, Raffi Torres, Brent Burns and defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored, chasing Los Angeles goalie and playoff nemesis Jonathan Quick in the process.

      "We weren't ready to go from the start," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "When you're sloppy against a team like that, and they're good on the forecheck and can cause turnovers when you're not sharp, they're going to get a lot of chances."

      Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is set for Sunday in San Jose.

      "It was a great start, and we'll need that again in Game 2," Vlasic said.

      The Kings scored twice in the first seven minutes of the final period, and once more late to make the final respectable. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 31 shots during the win.

      However, the result was all about San Jose's tenacious start. The Sharks made a statement in the opening period, scoring three times during a very physical start to take a 3-0 lead into the locker room. Two of the goals came in the period's final minute.

      A turnover by Kings center Jeff Carter sprung a Sharks two-on-one in the dying seconds. Marleau tapped in a feed from right winger Matt Nieto with 3.2 seconds remaining to bring the fans to their feet and the building to a fever pitch, capping a period in which the teams combined for 55 hits.

      Hertl scored his first playoff goal with 51.7 seconds remaining in the first. The rookie capped a fortuitous passing play, banging home a puck that squirted his way after center James Sheppard partially fanned on a shot from the left circle.

      "First period, chasing the puck," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "You're not going to beat a team like that chasing the puck around the ice."

      Thornton, San Jose's captain, started the scoring by deflecting left winger Joe Pavelski's soft backhand drive from the slot that had Quick turning late. Burns negated an icing by beating Kings defenseman Robin Regehr to a loose puck, and he fed Pavelski from behind the Los Angeles goal.

      "It was nice to get to (Quick) early," Vlasic said. "Guys found the back of the net."

      San Jose's momentum carried over to the second period, and the hosts padded the lead to five goals after the Kings kept the Sharks quiet during the first 10 minutes.

      Torres picked up a carom of Vlasic's drive that rang off the left post to beat a screened Quick from the high slot at 12:57 to make it 4-0.

      Vlasic, who had a number of close chances earlier, finally found the back of the net with a drive Quick got a piece of, but not enough, for a power-play tally at 16:29.

      Aside from the scoring, the Sharks clamped down during two short-handed situations and also pressured the Kings into penalties that added up to three power plays for the hosts in the opening 40 minutes.

      The hits stood at 52-43 in Los Angeles' favor through two periods, and the Kings held a 24-23 edge in the faceoff circle, but the Sharks certainly took full advantage of their 28-18 edge in shots.

      Facing a five-goal deficit, Sutter opted to pull Quick in favor of rookie Martin Jones for the final period. Jones stopped all four shots he faced.

      San Jose managed only 10 goals in a seven-game series loss to Los Angeles in the second round last spring.

      "We got fortunate to get a couple of those goals," Thornton said.

      Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin beat Niemi with a shot from just above the left circle at 2:01 of the third period, and fellow defenseman Slava Voynov wired a shot past the screened San Jose goalie at 6:55. Center Trevor Lewis redirected a Carter shot in at 13:59.

      "If you sit back against a team like, that that's what they're going to do," Torres said.

      The Sharks' lead was down to 5-3, but Burns' unassisted goal in the final minute sealed the win.

      NOTES: Los Angeles G Jonathan Quick came into the postseason with the most wins (25) and shutouts (six) and the best goals-against average (1.62) and save percentage (.940) over the last two playoff years among all NHL goalies. ... The home team won 17 of the last 18 regular-season and playoff meetings between the two rivals through Game 1. ... Thursday marked the first time both LW Tomas Hertl and RW Raffi Torres were in San Jose's lineup at the same time. Torres missed the final 17 games of the season after appearing in five games between Feb. 27-March 8. Hertl missed 45 games until playing in the final two of the regular season. Both returned from early-season knee surgery. ... San Jose's scratches included RW Marty Havlat, LW Bracken Kearns, RW Tyler Kennedy and D Matt Tennyson. RW Adam Burish is out with a finger injury. ... D Matt Greene, RW Linden Vey and LW Tanner Pearson did not dress for Los Angeles. ... A power outage darkened the building briefly before warmups but did not delay the opening faceoff.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Steen, Blues top Blackhawks in triple OT
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. LOUIS -- As soon as Ken Hitchcock saw the puck hit left winger Alexander Steen's stick, the St. Louis Blues coach knew what was going to happen.

    • "Steen is not going to miss from the ladies' tee there," Hitchcock said.

      Steen, who led the Blues with 33 goals in the regular season, converted a pass from behind the net from right winger Steve Ott 26 seconds into the third overtime Thursday night, giving the Blues a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

      The goal, Steen's fifth in 20 postseason games, ended the longest game in Blues franchise history, with 40:26 of overtime played. The old record was 37:07 set on April 7, 1984, at Detroit. It also was the first opening game of a playoff series to go to triple overtime since 1951 and only the third triple-OT postseason-series opener in NHL history.

      "It was a great play (by Ott)," Steen said. "I think he kind of knew I was coming. We're happy to get the first win."

      The Blues trailed 3-2 after a wild first period. St. Louis left winger Jaden Schwartz scored the first playoff goal of his career with 1:45 to play in the third period to send the game to overtime.

      From there, the Blues relied on goalie Ryan Miller to extend the game. He stopped 21 shots in the first two overtimes, each of which included a Chicago power play when a St. Louis player was called for delay of game.

      The game did not start the way Miller hoped, as he allowed the three goals on Chicago's first seven shots on target.

      "In the first period it didn't seem like it was going to go so well, so I had to hunker down a little bit," Miller said. "You get lucky on a few situations, and you've got to battle through the rest. It's just nice to come out at the end of this with a win."

      Miller, playing his first playoff game since 2011, when he was with the Buffalo Sabres, made 39 saves, 35 of them after the first period.

      "I had to enter the battle sometime," he said. "They had a couple of nice shots in the first. I just tried to shrug it off after the first and keep going. It's not about one period. It's about the culmination of winning four of seven games.

      "We needed it for confidence, I think. We needed it to show that stretch we had to finish the season (six consecutive losses) was behind us. The guys needed this, but we have to understand that they are a very talented team with a ton of talent. They've got the experience of winning. Hopefully we can carry the confidence forward knowing it is going to be a hard-fought series."

      After the teams had traded the first four goals of the game -- with Chicago getting one from defenseman Johnny Oduya and a power-play goal from defenseman Brent Seabrook and the Blues' goals coming from right winger Adam Cracknell and right winger Vladimir Tarasenko -- Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane scored on a breakaway with 1:36 left in the opening period.

      Kane was playing for the first time after missing the final 12 games of the regular season because of a knee injury. Tarasenko was in St. Louis' lineup for the first time since March 15. He had been out with a broken right hand.

      Goalie Corey Crawford (48 saves) made the Blackhawks' lead stand up until Schwartz found a way to tie the game and send it to overtime.

      "I think the big thing for us is we have to realize it's only one game and we've got a quick turnaround coming back, and that's the best part about it -- we get right back at it and we have to figure out what we need to do to get better and hopefully we'll get back at it for Game 2," Kane said.

      Game 2 of the series, the first between the longtime rivals in the playoffs since 2002, will be Saturday afternoon in St. Louis.

      "I think we're going to keep the morale and keep the feeling in the locker room positive and feeling good and let this one sink in and maybe be ticked off for a few minutes about it here, but tomorrow it's time to move on," Chicago center Jonathan Toews said.

      NOTES: The Blackhawks are trying to become the first team to win consecutive Stanley Cups since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. ... Chicago led the NHL with 267 goals during the regular season, but the team that led the league in scoring has not won the Cup since the Pittsburgh Penguins did it in 1991-92. ... While the Blues got many of their injured players back Thursday night, they were still without RW T.J. Oshie and C Patrik Berglund. Oshie missed the last two games of the regular season after taking a hard check to his head against the Minnesota Wild. He could be cleared to play in Game 2 on Saturday. Berglund (upper body) is expected to be out until later in the series.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Stastny leads Avs to comeback win over Wild
    By The Sports Xchange

    DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche believed in themselves all season.

    • After Thursday, the rest of the hockey world might come around.

      Center Paul Stastny scored at 7:27 of overtime, and the Avalanche rallied to beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

      Stastny, who sent the game to overtime with a goal with 13.4 seconds left in regulation, took a pass from rookie center Nathan Mackinnon and beat goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead in the series.

      "That overtime one, all five guys end up touching it, (defenseman Tyson) Barrie tracks a couple of guys and once he gives it to (Nathan) MacKinnon I saw their defense diving in at Razor I was trying to yell at him because I knew I was open," Stastny said. "When you get the puck you want a quick release because you know the goalie's not going to be ready. It was fortunate to squeeze in."

      MacKinnon finished with three assists, two of which came on Stastny's goals.

      Game 2 is Saturday.

      Colorado trailed 4-2 after two periods, but left winger Jamie McGinn cut the margin in half early in the third.

      The Avalanche pulled goaltender Semyon Varlamov for an extra skater with 3:01 remaining, and it paid off with seconds remaining. Defenseman Tyson Barrie's shot bounced to Stastny on the right side, and he beat Bryzgalov to tie it up.

      "Almost did it at four minutes," coach Patrick Roy said of pulling Varlamov with so much time left.

      Center Kyle Brodziak and left winger Erik Haula scored 2:04 apart late in the second to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead.

      Center Charlie Coyle and defenseman Ryan Suter also scored for the Wild.

      "A loss is a loss," Suter said. "It's not the way you want to start out but it is what it is and you have to be better for the next one."

      Bryzgalov made 26 saves for Minnesota, which is trying to duplicate its 2003 first-round upset of the Avalanche, when it was seeded sixth but rallied to beat No. 3 Colorado in seven games.

      Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly had a goal and an assist, and left winger Gabe Landeskog also scored for Colorado. Varlamov stopped 29 shots.

      The Wild looked in control in the second by beating Varlamov three times on 12 shots. Suter gave the Wild a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal midway through the period, and after O'Reilly tied it with a blistering slap shot, Haula and Brodziak put Minnesota ahead by two.

      "Going into the third I felt like we had momentum," Haula said. "I thought we played well the first 10 minutes. It's a 60-minute game and I guess that's just what happens in playoff games sometimes. Now we've got to just forget about it and bounce back Saturday."

      McGinn gave Colorado life in the third. O'Reilly stole a bad pass from Brodziak in the Minnesota end and put a shot on Bryzgalov, who made the save. McGinn knocked in the rebound to cut the deficit to one with 12:47 remaining.

      That set up Stastny's heroics, even though at first he didn't realize he had tied it.

      "I saw something, I don't know if (Bryzgalov) got a piece of it or not. I didn't see it but then I saw everyone erupt. I was excited. It's just one of those you settle and try to shoot as quick as you can. It was a relief."

      The young Avalanche settled some nerves by scoring first. Landeskog delivered a big hit on Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin, then tipped in a pass from Stastny at 13:14 of the first period.

      "A lot of people, when they go into a game, are nervous and they say take a hit or give a hit," Landeskog said. "That's kind of the mentality. You get roughed up and you get right into it. That was the feeling tonight."

      The celebration didn't last long. Coyle beat a sprawling Varlamov less than two minutes later to tie the game at 1.

      NOTES: Minnesota LW Mike Rupp served the second game of a four-game suspension for his hit on St. Louis RW T.J. Oshie last week. He can return for Game 4 of this series. ... Avalanche C John Mitchell (head) did not play, and he is listed as day-to-day. Coach Patrick Roy said he expects Mitchell to play at some point in the playoffs but won't put a timetable on his return. ... The Wild are in the playoffs for consecutive years for the first time since 2007 and 2008. ... Colorado D Cory Sarich, out since sustaining a back injury on April 1, was scratched. He is skating and is improving, Roy said.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Sharks 6, Kings 3
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks scored five times during a blistering first two periods to beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 in the opener of their first-round playoff series at SAP Center on Thursday.

    • Forwards Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl, Patrick Marleau, Raffi Torres and defensemen Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns scored, chasing Los Angeles goalie and playoff nemesis Jonathan Quick in the process.

      Game 2 of the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal is set for Sunday in San Jose.

      The Kings scored twice in the first seven minutes of the final period, and once more late to make the final respectable. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 31 shots during the win.

      Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin beat Niemi with a shot from just above the left circle at 2:01 and fellow Kings defenseman Slava Voynov wired a shot past the screened San Jose goalie at 6:55. And center Trevor Lewis redirected a Jeff Carter shot in at 13:59.

      The momentum San Jose created with a hard-hitting three-goal opening period carried over to the second, and the hosts padded its lead to five goals by scoring two more times after the Kings kept the Sharks quiet during the first 10 minutes.

      San Jose right winger Raffi Torres picked up a carom of Vlasic's drive that rang off the left post to beat a screened Quick from the high slot at 12:57 to make it 4-0.

      Vlasic, who had a number of close chances earlier, finally found the back of the net with a drive Quick got a piece of, but not enough for a power-play tally at 16:29.

      Aside from the scoring, the Sharks clamped down during two short-handed situations and pressured the Kings into penalties that added up to three power plays for the hosts in the opening 40 minutes.

      The hits stood at 52-43 in Los Angeles' favor through two periods, and the Kings held a 24-23 edge in the faceoff circle, but the Sharks certainly took full advantage of their 28-18 edge in shots.

      Facing a five-goal deficit, Kings coach Darryl Sutter opted to pull Quick in favor of rookie Martin Jones for the final period. San Jose managed only 10 goals in the seven-game loss last spring against Los Angeles in the second round.

      The Sharks made a statement in the opening period, scoring three times including twice in the final minute during a very physical start to take a 3-0 lead into the locker room.

      A turnover by Carter sprung a Sharks' 2-on-1 in the dying seconds. Marleau tapped in a feed from right winger Matt Nieto with 3.2 seconds remaining to bring the fans to their feet and the building to a fever pitch to cap a period in which the teams combined for 55 hits.

      Hertl scored his first playoff goal with 51.7 seconds remaining as the rookie capped a fortuitous passing play, banging home a puck that squirted his way after center James Sheppard partially fanned on a shot from the left circle. Right winger Tommy Wingels started the sequence with a pass from the circle.

      San Jose captain Thornton started the scoring by deflecting left winger Joe Pavelski's soft backhand drive from the slot that had Quick turning late. Burns negated an icing by beating Kings defenseman Robin Regehr to a loose puck, and fed Pavelski from behind the Los Angeles goal.

      NOTES: Los Angeles G Jonathan Quick came into the postseason with the most wins (25) and shutouts (six) and the best goals-against average (1.62) and save percentage (.940) over the last two playoff years among all NHL goalies. ... The home team won 17 of the last 18 regular-season and playoff meetings between the two rivals after Game 1. ... Thursday marked the first time both LW Tomas Hertl and RW Raffi Torres were in San Jose's lineup at the same time. Torres missed the final 17 games of the season after appearing in five games between Feb. 27-March 8. Hertl missed 45 games until playing in the final two of the regular season. Both returned from early-season knee surgery. ... San Jose's scratches included RW Marty Havlat, LW Bracken Kearns, RW Tyler Kennedy and D Matt Tennyson. RW Adam Burish is out with a finger injury. ... D Matt Greene, RW Linden Vey and LW Tanner Pearson did not dress for Los Angeles. ... A power outage darkened the building briefly before warmups but did not delay the opening faceoff.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Avalanche 5, Wild 4 (OT)
    By The Sports Xchange

    DENVER -- Center Paul Stastny scored at 7:27 of overtime, and the Colorado Avalanche rallied to beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series Thursday.

    • Stastny, who sent the game to overtime with a goal with 13.4 seconds left in regulation, took a pass from rookie center Nathan Mackinnon and beat goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead in the series.

      MacKinnon finished with three assists, two of which came on Stastny's goals.

      Game 2 is Saturday.

      Colorado trailed 4-2 after two periods, but left winger Jamie McGinn cut the margin in half early in the third.

      The Avalanche pulled goaltender Semyon Varlamov for an extra skater with 3:01 remaining, and it paid off with seconds remaining. Defenseman Tyson Barrie's shot bounced to Stastny on the right side, and he beat goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to tie it up.

      Center Kyle Brodziak and left winger Erik Haula sore 2:04 apart late in the second to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead.

      Center Charlie Coyle and defenseman Ryan Suter also scored for the Wild.

      Bryzgalov made 26 saves for Minnesota, which is trying to duplicate its 2003 first-round upset of the Avalanche, when it was seeded sixth but rallied to beat No. 3 Colorado in seven games.

      Avalanche center Ryan O'Reilly had a goal and an assist, and left winger Gabe Landeskog also scored for Colorado. Varlamov stopped 29 shots.

      The Wild looked in control in the second by beating Varlamov three times on 12 shots. Suter gave the Wild a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal midway through the period, and after O'Reilly tied it with a blistering slap shot, Haula and Brodziak put Minnesota ahead by two.

      McGinn gave Colorado life in the third. O'Reilly stole a bad pass from Brodziak in the Minnesota end and put a shot on Bryzgalov, who made the save. McGinn knocked in the rebound to cut the deficit to one with 12:47 remaining.

      That set up Stastny's heroics.

      The young Avalanche settled some nerves by scoring first. Landeskog delivered a big hit on Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin, then tipped in a pass from Stastny at 13:14 of the first period.

      The celebration didn't last long. Coyle beat a sprawling Varlamov less than two minutes later to tie the game at 1-1.

      NOTES: Minnesota LW Mike Rupp served the second game of a four-game suspension for his hit on St. Louis RW T.J. Oshie last week. He can return for Game 4 of this series. ... Avalanche C John Mitchell (head) did not play, and he is listed as day-to-day. Coach Patrick Roy said he expects Mitchell to play at some point in the playoffs but won't put a timetable on his return. ... The Wild are in the playoffs for consecutive years for the first time since 2007 and 2008. ... Colorado D Cory Sarich, out since sustaining a back injury on April 1, was scratched. He is skating and is improving, Roy said.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Blues 4, Blackhawks 3 (3OT)
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. LOUIS -- Left winger Alexander Steen scored 26 seconds into the third overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night in game one of their first-round playoff series.

    • The Blues won the face off to start the period and sent the puck into the Chicago zone, where it ended up in front of the net and Steen was able to knock it past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford.

      The game was the longest in franchise history for the Blues, breaking their previous mark of 37:07 set on April 7, 1984 at Detroit.

      The Blues sent the game to overtime by rallying from a 3-2 deficit on left winger Jaden Schwartz's first career playoff goal with 1:45 left in the third period.

      Schwartz, playing in only his seventh postseason game, was able to slip a backhand shot past Crawford, who had protected the one-goal lead since the first period.

      Chicago outshot the Blues 14-10 in the first overtime but could not get the puck past goalie Ryan Miller, despite having the only power-play chance of the extra period. St. Louis center Vladimir Sobotka was called for delay of the game for flipping the puck over the glass.

      The Blackhawks built their regulation advantage by scoring three times against Miller on only seven shots on goal.

      Right winger Patrick Kane, returning to the Chicago lineup after missing the last 12 games of the regular season because of a knee injury, capped that flurry when he was able to get behind the Blues defense and convert a pass from center Jonathan Toews on a breakaway with 1:36 left in the first period.

      The first career postseason goal by St. Louis right winger Adam Cracknell opened the scoring at 4:40 of the opening period. Cracknell spent much of this season playing in Chicago -- for the Blues' AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.

      The goal gave the Blues, who lost their last six games of the regular season, their first lead since April 6 in Chicago. The advantage was short-lived, however, as Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya fired a shot under Miller's pads at 11:14 to tie the game.

      Defenseman Brent Seabrook drew an interference penalty against Blues defenseman Barret Jackman two minutes later, and with 17 seconds left in the penalty, Seabrook scored the power-play goal that put Chicago ahead 2-1.

      The Blues tied the score at 15:52 of the first. St. Louis right winger Vladimir Tarasenko, playing his first game since March 15, when he broke his right hand, beat Crawford with a wrist shot off a perfect pass from defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

      After Kane's go-ahead goal, Crawford protected the one-goal advantage until Schwartz's goal. He had to stop only three St. Louis shots on goal in the second period, but two of them were big saves on Tarasenko and left winger Steve Ott. He also made a big save on Cracknell midway through the third period.

      Miller kept the Blackhawks at bay through the second and third periods after his rough start.

      Game 2 of the series, the first between the longtime rivals in the playoffs since 2002, will be Saturday afternoon in St. Louis.

      NOTES: The Blackhawks are trying to become the first team to win consecutive Stanley Cups since Detroit in 1997 and 1998. ... Chicago led the NHL with 267 goals during the regular season, but the team that led the league in goals has not won the Cup since the Pittsburgh Penguins did it in 1991-92. ... While the Blues got many of their injured players back Thursday night, they were still without RW T.J. Oshie and C Patrik Berglund. Oshie missed the last two games of the regular season after taking a hard check to his head against the Minnesota Wild. He could be cleared to play in Game 2 on Saturday. Berglund (upper body) is expected to be out until later in the series.

  • Friday, April 18, 2014
    Rangers continue home dominance of Flyers in Game 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers continued their home ice dominance over their bitter rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, with a 4-1 win Thursday in the opening game of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Madison Square Garden.

    • The Rangers, who scored three third-period goals to break it open, extended their home winning streak against the Flyers to nine straight games. Philadelphia's last win at the Garden was Feb. 20, 2011.

      Rangers' centers Brad Richards and Derek Stepan and left winger Carl Hagelin recorded three unanswered goals, snapping a 1-1 tie.

      New York struck twice on the same four-minute power play in the third period. Richards gave the Rangers their first lead of the night at 2-1 when a rebound of right winger Martin St. Louis' shot came to him and he fired it in from the right circle at 8:22.

      Richards and St. Louis connected again on Stepan's insurance goal 47 seconds later. The Rangers worked the puck around the Philadelphia zone. Richards faked a drive and instead sent a crisp pass to Stepan for a shot into the open left side and a 3-1 edge.

      "We've talked about the power play this time of year and it won us this game," said Richards. "When you can get four minutes in the third period in a 1-1 playoff game and get one goal, that's huge, but to be able to go back out there and get the other one, obviously that won us the game."

      The two assists gave St. Louis 70 career playoff points.

      Flyers right winger Jason Akeson, making his first playoff appearance, took the costly double-minor penalty for high sticking Hagelin at 7:35. The extra two minutes were for drawing blood.

      "He (Akeson) was just trying to make a hard play and his stick comes up," said Flyers' right winger Wayne Simmonds. "I told him you have to have a short memory in this game. If you dwell on things too long they will eat at you."

      Akeson appreciated the pep talk from his teammates.

      "They all had my back and they were all saying that it's a seven game series and you'll forget it easy," he said. "That's the beauty of this sport. There are six more games that we can win."

      Hagelin closed out the third period, scoring with a wrist shot at 15:52.

      Philadelphia managed just one shot on goal in the third period, committing four penalties in the period and six in the game. The Rangers had to kill off just one penalty.

      Flyers goaltender Ray Emery recorded 32 saves. Emery started in place of Steve Mason, who was out with an upper-body injury. It was Emery's 37th appearance in the playoffs, most of them with the Ottawa Senators.

      The Rangers blocked 16 shots in front of goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 14 shots.

      "You're not going to beat (Henrik) Lundqvist with 15 shots," said Simmonds. "We have to do a better job next game. That's why it's a series and not just one game."

      The Flyers' first shot on goal resulted in a 1-0 lead at 7:28 of the first period. Left winger Scott Hartnell finished his check on Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh behind the net, stayed with the puck and sent it to the right point, where defenseman Andrew MacDonald blasted it for his first career playoff goal.

      Left winger Mats Zuccarello got the Rangers even at 1. His shot from the slot was stopped by Emery, but he was left unchecked on the rebound, and he deposited a backhander at 10:53 for his second career postseason goal. Zuccarello led the Rangers in points in the regular season with 59.

      The first period featured a combined 29 hits.

      The physical play continued in the scoreless second period as the two squads combined for 26 hits.

      The Rangers last enjoyed a series win over the Flyers in the 1986 Patrick Division semifinals, eight years before New York broke its 54-year Stanley Cup title drought.

      This is the 11th meeting in the post-season between the teams. Philadelphia won six of the previous 10 series, including the last three. The most recent was a five-game triumph in the 1997 Eastern Conference finals.

      NOTES: The Flyers' 15 shots on goal were the fewest the Rangers allowed in a playoff game since May 23, 2012, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Devils (17). ... New York has outscored Philadelphia 35-10 in its nine-game home winning streak against its rival. ... Flyers C Claude Giroux recorded points in his final four regular-season games, totaling three goals and four assists to give him 86 points, the third-highest total in the NHL. ... Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist allowed two goals on 52 shots in his final two regular-season starts. ... The Flyers entered the playoffs as the NHL's most penalized team, averaging 14.4 penalty minutes a game. ... The Rangers ranked first in the NHL and established a club record for games in which they allowed one or fewer goals (31). ... Seven Flyers scored at least 20 goals this season. ... Flyers coach Craig Berube still ranks seventh in NHL history with 3,149 penalty minutes from his playing days with five teams.