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  • Friday, April 25, 2014
    Wild defeat Avalanche at home to even series
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- For the Minnesota Wild and the Colorado Avalanche, and pretty much everyone else in the Western Conference, there is indeed no place like home.

    • In keeping with the playoff trend in the Western Conference, the Wild dominated at home Thursday, beating the Avalanche 2-1 to even their first-round playoff series 2-2.

      Western Conference teams, playing at home, were 13-1 entering Thursday night's games. The Wild made that number 14-1 on the strength of goals by defenseman Jared Spurgeon and center Charlie Coyle, along with 11 saves by goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Despite the domination in shots by the Wild, it was a nail-biter right to the end.

      "When the game's on the line, you have to execute or you have to make a play or you have to defend, whatever the situation calls for, and you have to do it when the stakes are that high, those are growing moments for your team, and that's what we have to look at," said Wild coach Mike Yeo. "We kind of saw a lot of that late in the season to help us get ready for the playoffs and obviously it's a new level now and so they'll continue to go out and do that and hopefully these are growing moments."

      Colorado got a goal from center Ryan O'Reilly, and goalie Semyon Varlamov had 30 saves to keep the game close, but the Avalanche offense struggled, generating just a dozen shots on goal. Despite getting dominated in two games in Minnesota, Avalanche coach Patrick Roy took some solace in keeping both games close.

      "Think about it, one power play and we could've won game three, and tonight one power play and we might still be on the ice," Roy said. "When you have the type of performance we had from our goaltender, there's no reason for us not to believe in ourselves, coming back home."

      The Wild, who thoroughly dominated Game 3 on Monday, out-shooting the Avalanche 46-22 and winning 1-0 in overtime, started Thursday's game like they had not missed a beat. They recorded the game's first seven shots on goal, whipping the already-enthusiastic audience into a frenzy, and got the only goal of the first period.

      Wild left winger Zach Parise kicked a puck back to Spurgeon, who was on the blue line. Spurgeon launched a shot on net that sailed just inside the post for a 1-0 Minnesota lead and the defenseman's first career playoff goal.

      Past the midway point of the game, Coyle gave the Wild a 2-0 lead on a power play. A point-blank shot by right winger Jason Pominville deflected over the net and hit a stanchion above the end boards, then landed at the side of the net. Coyle was there to sweep the puck past Varlamov before the goalie could get back in position.

      "It's crazy how momentum shifts in a series like this," Coyle said after the game. "We go down 0-2 in the first two games, and now we're tied 2-2 and things are looking bright. But we just need to stay on that kind of even keel there. We can't get too high. It's gonna be a new game in a couple days, and we've just got to approach it the same way we have the last two."

      The Avalanche answered just 30 seconds after Coyle's goal, when O'Reilly's long-range shot from the top of the right circle fooled Kuemper, pulling the Avalanche back within a goal on just their seventh shot of the game.

      They needed more than 14 minutes to get another shot, as Minnesota continued to frustrate the Colorado offense and their special teams. The Avalanche power play, which was one of the NHL's most effective during the regular season, was 0-for-4 on Thursday and is now 1-for-15 in the series.

      "We've been a good road team all year and for some reason we just haven't played our best," said Avalanche center Paul Stastny. "It's execution. Sometimes you've got to simplify and get the puck to the net. Even if it's from the goal line or a bad angle, maybe a rebound will do something to open it up."

      The 12 shots by the Avalanche tied a franchise low for a playoff game. The previous low of 12 was set on June 2, 2001, in a Stanley Cup Finals loss to the New Jersey Devils.

      NOTES: Wild LW Matt Cooke, who was suspended by the NHL for seven games on Wednesday for his knee-on-knee collision with Avalanche D Tyson Barrie, read a statement to the media prior to Thursday's game. "It was not my intent to collide with him knee on knee. I think it was my intent to finish my check. Playoffs are a hard, physical time, and it's my job to be physical," Cooke said. It is the sixth time he has been suspended by the league. ... Colorado rookie C Joey Hishon made his NHL debut in Thursday's game, after being called up from their Lake Erie minor league team. He had 10 goals and 24 points in 50 AHL games this season. ... Wild LW Zach Parise assisted on Minnesota's first-period goal, extending his career-best playoff streak of consecutive games with an assist to four. ... Game 5 in the series will be Saturday night in Denver.

  • Friday, April 25, 2014
    Bruins go up 3-1 on Red Wings after OT win
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- The Boston Bruins withstood an early surge, battled back and are now one game away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

    • Right winger Jarome Iginla's goal with 6:28 left in overtime gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 comeback win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 of the playoff series at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night.

      Boston holds a 3-1 series lead. Game 5 is Saturday afternoon in Boston.

      Iginla was credited with the goal after Dougie Hamilton shot the puck from along the right wing boards and it appeared to go in off the stick of Detroit center Luke Glendening and the leg of Red Wings defenseman Dan DeKeyser.

      "(Left winger Milan) Lucic was already in front of the net before Dougie just shot it," Iginla said. "And after it went by Lucic and their guy, I just tried to tip it."

      The Red Wings jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period, but the Bruins got one back in the second and equalized just 1:15 into the third.

      "We weathered the storm in the first period. They had the extra step," said Bruins' goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 35 saves. "But I thought we got better as the game went on."

      Defenseman Niklas Kronwall and center Pavel Datsyuk each had a goal and an assist for Detroit. Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was a late replacement for No. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard, who came down with the flu during the pre-game skate. He made 37 saves.

      "We feel like when we play our game we can beat any team. Boston is a strong team but we feel like we can play with them," Gustavsson said. "For us, we need to bring our A game and focus on that next game and we'll take it from there."

      Red Wings center and captain Henrik Zetterberg returned after being out since Feb. 8 (30 games) because of back surgery.

      "Obviously it was tough to lose the game. I think it was a step forward though from the last two games, and we got the lead early and got the second one," Zetterberg said. "It's a good team that we're playing. We knew it was going to be tight. Not surprising that the game went to overtime and it's a one-shot game there in the end. Unfortunately they got it."

      The Bruins are focused on closing the series out in Game 5.

      "The next game is huge. You don't want to come back here for Game 6, 3-2," lefty winger Brad Marchand said.

      Defenseman Torey Krug and Lucic scored in regulation for Boston.

      Lucic tied it at 2-2 early in the third period when he was left open in front of Gustavsson. It was Lucic's second goal of the series.

      Krug, who is from the Detroit suburb of Livonia, put the Bruins on the board and made it 2-1 with a power-play goal with 9:46 left in the second period. He beat Howard with a slap shot from the high slot area.

      Datsyuk gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead 4:27 into the middle period with his second goal of the series. Stationed at the side of the net, he put a pass from Kronwall -- who was behind the net -- into the empty side of cage.

      The goal came about a minute after Gustavsson made a big save on Bruins center Gregory Campbell at the other end.

      Kronwall opened the scoring with a power-play goal with nine minutes left in the first period. He beat Rask with a slap shot from the right point four seconds after Boston left winger Justin Florek went off with a double minor for highsticking. The goal was Kronwall's first in 25 playoff games.

      The Red Wings had been 0-for-9 on the power play in the series before the goal.

      NOTES: Boston C Patrice Bergeron is a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which goes to the NHL's top defensive forward. The two other finalists are Chicago C Jonathan Toews and Los Angeles C Anze Kopitar. .... LW Todd Bertuzzi replaced RW Tomas Jurco in the Red Wings' lineup. ... Red Wings RW Daniel Alfredsson missed his second consecutive game due to a sore back. ... Boston assistant coach Doug Houda played with Detroit in the late 1980s and early '90s. ... Detroit C Joakim Andersson was also a healthy scratch. ... Red Wings C Pavel Datsyuk's wife gave birth to a girl Wednesday while D Niklas Kronwall's girlfriend delivered their son Thursday afternoon.

  • Friday, April 25, 2014
    Wild 2, Avalanche 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- In keeping with the playoff trend in the Western Conference, the Minnesota Wild dominated at home Thursday, beating the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 to even their first round playoff series 2-2.

    • Western Conference teams, playing at home, were 13-1 entering Thursday night's games. The Wild made that number 14-1 on the strength of goals by defenseman Jared Spurgeon and center Charlie Coyle, along with 11 saves by goaltender Darcy Kuemper.

      Colorado got a goal from center Ryan O'Reilly, and goalie Semyon Varlamov had 30 saves to keep the game close, but the Avalanche offense struggled, generating just a dozen shots on goal.

      The Wild, who thoroughly dominated Game 3 on Monday, out-shooting the Avalanche 46-22 and winning 1-0 in overtime, started Thursday's game like they had not missed a beat. They recorded the game's first seven shots on goal, whipping the already-enthusiastic audience into a frenzy, and got the only goal of the first period.

      Wild left winger Zach Parise kicked a puck back to Spurgeon, who was on the blue line. Spurgeon launched a shot on net that sailed just inside the post for a 1-0 Minnesota lead and the defenseman's first career playoff goal.

      Past the midway point of the game, Coyle gave the Wild a 2-0 lead on a power play. A point-blank shot by right er Jason Pominville deflected over the net and hit a stanchion above the end boards, then landed at the side of the net. Coyle was there to sweep the puck past Varlamov before the goalie could get back in position.

      But the Avalanche answered just 30 seconds later, when O'Reilly's long range shot from the top of the right circle fooled Kuemper, pulling the Avalanche back within a goal on just their seventh shot of the game.

      They needed more than 14 minutes to get another shot, as Minnesota continued to frustrate the Colorado offense and their special teams. The Avalanche power play, which was one of the NHL's most effective during the regular season, was 0-for-4 on Thursday and is now 1-for-15 in the series.

      The 12 shots by the Avalanche tied a franchise low for a playoff game. The previous low of 12 was set on June 2, 2001, in a Stanley Cup Finals loss to the New Jersey Devils.

      NOTES: Wild LW Matt Cooke, who was suspended by the NHL for seven games on Wednesday for his knee-on-knee collision with Avalanche D Tyson Barrie, read a statement to the media prior to Thursday's game. "It was not my intent to collide with him knee on knee. I think it was my intent to finish my check. Playoffs are a hard, physical time, and it's my job to be physical," Cooke said. It is the sixth time he has been suspended by the league. ... Colorado rookie C Joey Hishon made his NHL debut in Thursday's game, after being called up from their Lake Erie minor league team. He had 10 goals and 24 points in 50 AHL games this season. ... Wild LW Zach Parise assisted on Minnesota's first period goal, extending his career-best playoff streak of consecutive games with an assist to four. ... Game 5 in the series will be Saturday night in Denver.

  • Friday, April 25, 2014
    Bruins 3, Red Wings 2 (OT)
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- Right winger Jarome Iginla's goal with 6:28 left in the first overtime period gave the Boston Bruins a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 of the playoff series at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night.

    • Boston takes a three games-to-one series lead. Game 5 is Saturday afternoon in Boston.

      Iginla was credited with the goal that appeared to go in off the leg of Detroit defenseman Dan DeKeyser.

      The Red Wings jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period, but the Bruins got one back in the second and equalized just 1:15 into the third.

      Defenseman Niklas Kronwall and center Pavel Datsyuk each had a goal and an assist for Detroit. Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson was a late replacement for No. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard, who came down with the flu during the pre-game skate. He made made 37 saves in his first career playoff game.

      Red Wings' center and captain Henrik Zetterberg returned after being out since Feb. 8 (30 games), because of back surgery

      Defenseman Torey Krug and left winger Milan Lucic scored in regulation for Boston. Goalie Tuukka Rask stopped 35 shots to earn the win.

      Lucic tied it a 2 early in the third period when he was left side open in front of Gustavsson. It was Lucic's second goal of the series.

      Krug, who is from the Detroit suburb of Livonia, put the Bruins on the board and made it 2-1 with a power-play goal with 9:46 left in the second period. He beat Howard with a slap shot from the high slot area.

      Datsyuk gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead 4:27 into the middle period with his second goal of the series. Stationed at the side of the net, he put a pass from Kronwall -- who was behind the net -- into the empty side of cage.

      The goal came about a minute after Gustavsson made a big save on Bruins center Gregory Campbell at the other end.

      Kronwall opened the scoring with a power-play goal with nine minutes left in the first period. He beat Rask with a slap shot from the right point four seconds after Boston left winger Justin Florek went off with a double minor for highsticking. The goal was Kronwall's first in 25 playoff games.

      The Red Wings had been 0-for-9 on the power play in the series before the goal.

      NOTES: Boston C Patrice Bergeron is a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which goes to the NHL's top defensive forward. The other two finalists are Chicago C Jonathan Toews and Los Angeles C Anze Kopitar. .... LW Todd Bertuzzi replaced RW Tomas Jurco in the Red Wings' lineup. ... Red Wings RW Daniel Alfredsson missed his second consecutive game due to a sore back. ... Boston assistant coach Doug Houda played with Detroit in the late 80's and early 90's. ... Detroit C Joakim Andersson was also a healthy scratch. ... Red Wings' C Pavel Datsyuk's wife gave birth to a little girl Wednesday while D Niklas Kronwall's girlfriend delivered his son on Thursday afternoon.

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Mason to start Game 4 for Flyers
    By The Sports Xchange

    Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason will start in Game 4 of the first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers after being out since April 12 with an upper-body injury.

    • The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

      "You don't want to be sitting on the sidelines come playoff time," Mason said. "If you can be something that helps a team win a hockey game, then that's a good feeling. But I think everybody realizes there's a lot of hockey to be played and we're not worried too much."

      It will not be Mason's first playoff action this season after he played the final 7:15 of the Flyers' 4-1 loss in Game 3 in relief of Ray Emery. Emery allowed 10 goals in the first three games.

      "He's a talented goalie. We all knew that," Flyers coach Craig Berube said of Mason. "He's gotten better and better throughout the year. He's just a battler. He's come up big all year for us."

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Wild's Cooke issues statement after suspension
    By The Sports Xchange

    Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke, suspended seven games for a knee-on-knee hit to Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Monday, issued a statement Thursday.

    • "First and foremost, I want to say that I am disappointed and sorry that Tyson Barrie cannot play for the Colorado Avalanche tonight," Cooke said in the statement. "I wish he could. Unfortunately, it was not my intent to collide with him knee-on-knee. It was my intent to finish my check. The playoffs are a hard and physical time and it's my job to be physical. I've led my team in hits all three games and it's an intense time. I've led my team this year in hits, and in this series."

      The suspension is the sixth of Cooke's NHL career, but first since 2011.

      "Since March 20, 2011, I've been a changed player," Cooke continued in the statement. "I've approached the game differently. I think differently about the game. The stats I've collected over those three seasons prove that I am a changed player. And the plays that I make and the plays that I don't make prove to that point as well.

      "At the end of the day, this situation was not my intent."

      Barrie is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with an MCL injury in his left knee.

      Game 4 of the series is Thursday in Minnesota. Colorado leads the best-of-7 series 2-1.

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Wings' Zetterberg returns for Game 4 vs. Bruins
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Detroit Red Wings received a big boost for the Game 4 playoff matchup with the Boston Bruins on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

    • Team captain Henrik Zetterberg, who last played for the Red Wings on Feb. 8 because of a herniated disk in his back, was in the lineup. The winger is a needed reinforcement for a team down two games to one in the first-round series prior to Game 4 on Thursday.

      The Swedish forward started the game on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader.

      Zetterberg scored 16 goals while adding 32 assists in just 45 games this season. He has 114 points in 123 career playoff games.

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Kane's OT goal helps 'Hawks even series with Blues
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Wednesday's Game 4 of the first round Western Conference playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks was not over until forward Patrick Kane emphatically said it was over.

    • Kane's second goal of the night and third of the series at 11:17 of overtime was the game-winning score, lifting Chicago to a 4-3 victory at the United Center, evening the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

      Both teams have won two games at home in the series. Coupled with Monday's 2-0 shutout of St. Louis, the Blackhawks now have a two-game winning streak heading into what is now a best-of-three series.

      "I thought we got a little bit more comfortable as the game progressed," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "But you can't say enough about how competitive it's been for four games: the battles, the resiliency and the will.

      "It was a huge win for us and it got us back to even. We've got the momentum. Let's go in there and look to sustain it."

      It was the third overtime game in the first four meetings of series and guarantees at least a six-game series now. Had Chicago lost, the Blues could have wrapped things up at home on Friday in Game 5.

      Instead, the series will return to Chicago for a Game 6 afternoon matinee on Sunday. If necessary, Game 7 would be played Tuesday in St. Louis.

      "There's no surprise, you're playing the Stanley Cup champions," said St. Louis forward Maxim Lapierre, who scored one of the Blues' goals. "Obviously you're going to have a tight battle.

      "You're not going to just take the wins and go home. It's fun. You want to be part of that. It's a tight series and it's physical. Three overtimes. It's fun to be part of."

      Even worse for St. Louis, the Blues are now 4-8-0 in April (regular season and playoff games), while Chicago is 6-4-0 in the month, including a 3-2 record solely against the Blues.

      Chicago looked like it was en route to an easy win Wednesday, taking a 2-0 lead in the second period. But St. Louis rallied to tie the score with two goals just 65 seconds apart in the final 69 seconds of the same period.

      The teams exchanged goals in the third period, setting up Kane's winner in overtime.

      "Where the game was lost was when we took it over and were up 3-2 and we missed those four chances," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We could've been up 4- or 5-2.

      "(We) left it out there and got caught in our zone. Then in the overtime, we had chances to shoot the puck three times in the zone and didn't put it on the net -- (his players) wanted to stick handle it one more time."

      Chicago goalie Corey Crawford stopped 30 of St. Louis' 33 shots and St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller stopped 30 of Chicago's 34 shots.

      "It's a hard-fought game right now," Crawford said. "Both teams are playing well. Our top guys -- top guys on both sides -- are really bringing it and bringing their best, so it's going to be a fun next game."

      After a scoreless first period, Chicago scored twice in the second period. Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw juggled the puck on his stick and then flicked a quick wrist shot past Miller to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 8:40.

      Chicago made it 2-0 at 16:09 when defenseman Johnny Oduya skated up the left side of the ice and sent a cross-ice pass through the Blues' goal crease, right to the waiting stick of Kane, who flicked a wrist shot above Miller's left shoulder for the goal.

      Kane also figured in St. Louis' first goal, having been sent to the penalty box at 18:44. Seven seconds later, the Blues avoided a second straight shutout when right winger Vladimir Tarasenko pushed a power-play slap shot past Crawford.

      Tarasenko's goal seemed to invigorate the Blues as Lapierre scored 65 seconds later -- and with just four seconds remaining in the period -- to tie the score at 2.

      Tarasenko scored his second goal of the game at 12:26 of the third period, giving the Blues a 3-2 lead.

      Chicago rallied to tie at 16:08 when forward Bryan Bickell tipped in a shot from defenseman Michal Rozsival. It was Bickell's first goal of the playoffs.

      NOTES: For the second straight game, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville started his two biggest stars on the first line, team captain C Jonathan Toews and RW Patrick Kane. Also starting on the first line: LW Bryan Bickell. ... The Blues were forced to scratch RW David Backes, injured in Game 2 by Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook, who still has one more game remaining on his three-game suspension for the high hit on Backes. ... Fans gave a big round of applause for former Blackhawks great and NHL Hall of Famer Tony Esposito, celebrating his 71st birthday at the United Center. ... Attendance was 22,123. ... Quenneville now has 90 career playoff wins, most among active NHL coaches. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock was looking for his 75th playoff win, third most among active NHL coaches.

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Blackhawks 4, Blues 3 (OT)
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- In the third overtime game in the first four meetings of their first-round Western Conference playoff series, the Chicago Blackhawks rallied to defeat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Wednesday night at the United Center.

    • Forward Patrick Kane's wrist shot at 11:17 of overtime -- his second goal of the game and third of the series -- proved to be the winner as Chicago evened the best-of-seven series at 2-2.

      Game 5 will be Friday in St. Louis and Game 6 on Sunday in Chicago. If necessary, Game 7 would be played Tuesday in St. Louis.

      Having won Game 3 at home on Monday night, Chicago looked like it was en route to a second straight win, taking a 2-0 lead in the second period of Game 4.

      But St. Louis rallied to tie the score with two goals just 65 seconds apart in the final 69 seconds of the second period.

      The teams exchanged goals in the third period, setting up Kane's winner in overtime.

      Chicago goalie Corey Crawford stopped 30 of St. Louis' 33 shots and St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller stopped 30 of Chicago's 34 shots.

      After a scoreless first period, Chicago broke through at 8:40 of the second period. Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw juggled the puck on his stick and then flicked a quick wrist shot past Miller to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.

      It was Shaw's first goal of the playoffs and came on the power-play, just 11 seconds after St. Louis center Maxim Lapierre was sent to the penalty box for tripping Chicago forward Patrick Sharp.

      Chicago made it 2-0 when defenseman Johnny Oduya skated up the left side of the ice and sent a cross-ice pass through the Blues' goal crease, right to the waiting stick of Kane.

      Kane flicked a wrist shot above Miller's left shoulder for the goal at 16:09 of the second period.

      Kane figured in St. Louis' first goal, having been sent to the penalty box at 18:44. Seven seconds later, the Blues avoided a second straight shutout when right winger Vladimir Tarasenko pushed a power-play slap shot past Crawford.

      Tarasenko's goal seemed to invigorate the Blues as Lapierre scored 65 seconds later -- and with just four seconds remaining in the period -- to tie the score at 2.

      Tarasenko scored his second goal of the game at 12:26 of the third period, giving the Blues a 3-2 lead.

      But Chicago rallied to tie at 16:08 when forward Bryan Bickell tipped in a shot from defenseman Michal Rozsival. It was Bickell's first goal of the playoffs.

      NOTES: For the second straight game, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville started his two biggest stars on the first line, team captain C Jonathan Toews and RW Patrick Kane. Also starting on the first line: LW Bryan Bickell. ... The Blues were forced to scratch RW David Backes, injured in Game 2 by Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook, who still has one more game remaining on his three-game suspension for the high hit on Backes. ... Fans gave a big round of applause for former Blackhawks great and NHL Hall of Famer Tony Esposito, celebrating his 71st birthday at the United Center. ... Attendance was 22,123. ... Quenneville was seeking his 90th career playoff win, most among active NHL coaches. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock was looking for his 75th playoff win, third most among active NHL coaches.

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Stars even series with Ducks
    By The Sports Xchange

    DALLAS -- After dropping the first two games of their Western Conference first-round series with the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center, the Dallas Stars just wanted to pull the series even on home ice.

    • And after a 4-2 victory over the Ducks in Game 4 on Wednesday at American Airlines Center, the Stars did exactly that, tying the best-of-seven series at 2 in a game Dallas trailed 2-0 after one period.

      "All year we've been good at putting stuff behind us," Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "Things haven't been going well, we've been able to put periods behind us. We just stuck with the plan, kept going, kept getting in their zone and it paid off."

      Dallas received goals from left winger and captain Jamie Benn and center Vernon Fiddler in the second period. Center Cody Eakin and Goligoski scored in the third.

      Benn had a second goal, an apparent empty-netter with 1:04 remaining in regulation, nullified after the whistle blew before he scored.

      Anaheim took an early 2-0 lead when defenseman Bryan Allen and left winger Patrick Maroon scored in the first period.

      The Ducks were missing captain and center Ryan Getzlaf, who was a late scratch with an upper-body injury.

      "(We missed him) everywhere, he's one of the elite players in the NHL," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You miss him in the offensive zone. You miss him on the boards. You miss him as a leader. You miss him in a lot of ways."

      Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 20 of the 24 shots he faced. Fiddler (goal, assist) and fellow center Shawn Horcoff (two assists) each had two points for the Stars.

      Anaheim struck first when Allen connected for his first career playoff goal, a slap shot from near the Dallas blue line that beat Lehtonen top shelf at 12:17 of the first period, a sequence where Lehtonen appeared to be screened by Dallas rookie right winger Alex Chiasson.

      The Ducks then doubled that advantage to 2-0 at 18:16 when Maroon scored when a shot by center Mathieu Perrault deflected off his midsection and went over Lehtonen's head before landing in the back of the Dallas net.

      Dallas was down to five healthy defensemen to begin the second period while rookie defenseman Patrik Nemeth was being evaluated. Nemeth did not return for the final two periods.

      Despite trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes, the Stars quickly pulled one back in the second period as Benn scored his third of the postseason 27 seconds into the second. After Benn won a faceoff with Perreault near the Anaheim blue line, Benn rushed up the ice and beat Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen top shelf on the short side to make it 2-1.

      The Stars pulled even at 6:33 when Fiddler got the better of Andersen on the short side for his third career playoff goal. It initially appeared that Andersen had stopped the shot, but Fiddler's wrister struck him in the chest before going over the line.

      Anaheim had a great opportunity at 10:57 of the second when Maroon launched a wrister from the right circle that found the right post.

      Dallas outshot Anaheim 16-3 in the second period.

      The Stars continued that momentum early in the third when Eakin fired a wrister off the far post 58 seconds into the period.

      Eakin would not miss on his next attempt, beating Andersen far post with a wrister over his glove at 6:22 of the third, Eakin's first career playoff goal.

      Goligoski then joined the fray at 7:44 of the third with a wrister from the slot that Andersen was late on. That was the last shot that Andersen, who stopped 19 of 22 shots, would face as he was lifted for goaltender Jonas Hiller right after Dallas' fourth goal.

      "After the second goal, I certainly did (think about pulling Andersen)," Boudreau said. "After they scored their second goal, I told (Hiller) to get ready because I didn't think he (Andersen) was that sharp. In the third period when they got that goal (by Goligoski), I just thought it was time."

      Hiller stopped both shots he faced in relief of Andersen.

      Game 5 is Friday in Anaheim.

      NOTES: Ducks LW Matt Beleskey (lower body), C Ryan Getzlaf (upper body), RW Tim Jackman (hand), D Stephane Robidas (leg fracture), D Luca Sbisa and RW Teemu Selanne were scratched. ... Stars LW Erik Cole, D Brenden Dillon (lower body), C Dustin Jeffrey, C Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat) and D Aaron Rome were scratched. ... Ducks D Mark Fistric replaced Robidas in Anaheim's third defensive pairing alongside D Bryan Allen. ... Dallas trailed 2-0 after the first period, the second time in the series the Stars have trailed by multiple goals after the opening 20 minutes. Dallas was down 3-0 after one period in Game 1. ... The first-period goal by Ducks D Bryan Allen was his first since Feb. 28, 2012, a span of 128 games. Allen's last goal came as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes and was scored against the Nashville Predators. ... Announced attendance was 18,962, a sellout.

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Jackets rally for first home win in playoffs
    By The Sports Xchange

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The first home playoff win in Columbus Blue Jackets history was one for the ages.

    • Center Brandon Dubinsky forced overtime by scoring with 23.2 seconds remaining in regulation and left winger Nick Foligno scored the winner at 2:49 of the extra period to give the Blue Jackets a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night before a sellout crowd of 18,970 in Nationwide Arena.

      "Oh, man, the noise in the building when that went in," Foligno said. "Chills.

      "It's been a long time coming for a lot of the people out there. A lot of this win was for them."

      The Blue Jackets trailed 3-0 after only 11 minutes, but -- in keeping with the theme for both teams so far in this series -- came back to win. The winning team in each game has allowed the first goal and trailed 3-1 at some point during each game.

      The best-of-seven series is now tied 2-2 and headed back to Pittsburgh on Saturday for Game 5.

      "This is playoff hockey," Dubinsky said. "You just keep going. You just keep going and you pray the hockey gods are going to smile on you.

      "As long as there are seconds on that clock, you keep going because you never know when you're going to get the bounce you need."

      The bounce, aided by a curious play by Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, happened with time ticking away and Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky off for an extra skater.

      Fleury, whose playoff struggles are well-chronicled, went behind the net to play a puck that had been rimmed around. It bounced over his stick and shot right to Blue Jackets center Ryan Johansen, who fired it off his backhand into the slot.

      Dubinsky fired the puck through two Penguins defenders as Fleury scrambled back to the net.

      "It's perfect that it's Dubinsky," Johansen said. "He's been defending their top players all series. It was deserved."

      Fleury was pulled during the fourth game of the playoffs last season, but has been mostly solid so far in this series.

      But Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said it was a mistake, in that instance, to play the puck behind the net.

      "If the puck comes around flat and he stops the puck and makes a different play," Bylsma said. "But this one ... it was bouncing the whole way. He never really had a chance to play it."

      The Blue Jackets came into the dressing room with new life, and came back out for the overtime with a vow to shoot at every opportunity on Fleury.

      Foligno was sprung free with the puck after Blue Jackets left winger R.J. Umberger laid down in front of Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen to block a shot.

      Foligno beat Fleury from 65 feet with a slap shot.

      Johansen and rookie center Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets, and Bobrovsky had 22 saves.

      Wingers Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Craig Adams scored for the Penguins, and defenseman Paul Martin had two assists. The Penguins did all of their scoring in the first period.

      Columbus outshot Pittsburgh 32-14 after the first period.

      "I'm not sure you'd ever want to script being down 3-0 to Pittsburgh," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "But I'm pretty sure you couldn't script a better ending."

      NOTES: Blue Jackets D Ryan Murray was a late scratch from the lineup, and the club did not say why. Murray left the morning skate early, but coach Todd Richards said he expected him to play. Murray had his left knee scoped in early March. ... The Penguins switched defensive pairs in the second period of Monday's Game 2 win and decided to stick with the combos last night. Kris Letang was paired with rookie Olli Maatta, Rob Scuderi with Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik with Paul Martin. ... Blue Jackets D Fedor Tyutin missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. He has not skated leaving Saturday's Game 2 after one period.

  • Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Stars 4, Ducks 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    DALLAS -- Not even trailing 2-0 in their own building after one period was enough to deter the Dallas Stars in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series with the Anaheim Ducks.

    • Dallas responded with four consecutive goals in a 4-2 win on Wednesday at American Airlines Center, tying their best-of-seven series at 2-2.

      Dallas received goals from left winger and captain Jamie Benn and center Vernon Fiddler in the second period. Center Cody Eakin and defenseman Alex Goligoski scored in the third.

      Benn had a second goal, an apparent empty-netter with 1:04 remaining in regulation, nullified after the whistle blew before he scored.

      Anaheim took an early 2-0 lead when defenseman Bryan Allen and left winger Patrick Maroon each scored in the first period.

      Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 20 of the 24 shots he faced. Fiddler (goal, assist) and fellow center Shawn Horcoff (two assists) each had two points for the Stars.

      Anaheim struck first when Allen connected for his first career playoff goal, a slap shot from near the Dallas blue line that beat Lehtonen top shelf at 12:17 of the first period, a sequence where Lehtonen appeared to be screened by Dallas rookie right winger Alex Chiasson.

      The Ducks then doubled that advantage to 2-0 at 18:16 when Maroon scored when a shot by center Mathieu Perrault deflected off his midsection and went over Lehtonen's head before landing in the back of the Dallas net.

      Dallas was down to five healthy defensemen to begin the second period while rookie defenseman Patrik Nemeth was being evaluated. Nemeth did not return for the final two periods.

      Despite trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes, the Stars quickly pulled one back in the second period as Benn scored his third goal of the postseason 27 seconds into the second. After Benn won a faceoff with Perreault near the Anaheim blue line, Benn rushed up the ice and beat Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen top shelf on the short side to make it 2-1.

      The Stars pulled even at 6:33 when Fiddler got the better of Andersen on the short side for his third career playoff goal. It initially appeared that Andersen had stopped the shot, but Fiddler's wrister struck him in the chest before going over the line.

      Anaheim had a great opportunity at 10:57 of the second when Maroon launched a wrister from the right circle that found the right post.

      Dallas outshot Anaheim 16-3 in the second period.

      The Stars continued that momentum early in the third when Eakin fired a wrister off the far post 58 seconds into the period.

      Eakin would not miss on his next attempt, beating Andersen far post with a wrister over his glove at 6:22 of the third, Eakin's first career playoff goal.

      Goligoski then joined the fray at 7:44 of the third with a wrister from the slot that Andersen was late to make a play on. That was the last shot that Andersen, who stopped 19 of 22 shots, would face as he was lifted for goaltender Jonas Hiller right after Dallas' fourth goal.

      Hiller stopped both shots he faced in relief of Andersen.

      Game 5 is Friday night in Anaheim.

      NOTES: Ducks LW Matt Beleskey (lower body), C Ryan Getzlaf (upper body), RW Tim Jackman (hand), D Stephane Robidas (leg fracture), D Luca Sbisa and RW Teemu Selanne were scratched. ... Stars LW Erik Cole, D Brenden Dillon (lower body), C Dustin Jeffrey, C Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat) and D Aaron Rome were scratched. ... Ducks D Mark Fistric replaced Robidas in Anaheim's third defensive pairing alongside D Bryan Allen. ... Dallas trailed 2-0 after the first period, the second time in the series the Stars have trailed by multiple goals after the opening 20 minutes. Dallas was down 3-0 after one period in Game 1. ... The first-period goal by Ducks D Bryan Allen was his first since Feb. 28, 2012, a span of 128 games. Allen's last goal came as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes and was scored against the Nashville Predators. ... Announced attendance was 18,962, a sellout.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Blue Jackets 4, Penguins 3 (OT)
    By The Sports Xchange

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Winger Nick Foligno scored at 2:49 of overtime to send the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, tying their first-round series at two games apiece on Wednesday.

    • Game 5 will be played Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

      Foligno came with speed through the left circle and beat Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with a hard wrist shot. The goal came just seconds after Blue Jackets winger R.J. Umberger laid down to block a shot, starting the rush the other direction.

      The Penguins did all of their scoring in the first 11 minutes of the game, taking a 3-0 lead, then tried to hang on the rest of the way, but the Blue Jackets chipped away and eventually got the equalizer in the final minute.

      The Blue Jackets rode the wave of momentum in the second period, outshooting the Penguins 18-6 in the period.

      They finally got the equalizer in the final minute.

      Fleury left his net to play the puck below the goal line, then watched the puck skip over his stick and go right to center Ryan Johansen.

      Johansen's pass went through a wave of Penguins before center Brandon Dubinsky scored to make it 3-3 into the net with 23.2 seconds remaining, just as Fleury dived toward his net.

      Wingers Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Craig Adams scored for the Penguins, while defenseman Paul Martin had two assists.

      Johansen and Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets.

      The Penguins seemed poised to blow the Blue Jackets right out of the series in the first period, scoring a short-handed, even-strength and power-play goal in a blitzkrieg that lasted 5:01.

      Adams scored to make it 1-0 on a short-handed rush from the right circle, a sequence that started in the Penguins' zone with an turnover by Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisneiwski.

      The Penguins pushed the lead to 2-0 on a power-play goal at 10:37 of the first. Kunitz scored his first of the series by redirecting a point shot by defenseman Matt Niskanen.

      Only 33 seconds later, it was 3-0 Penguins. Neal scored from the doorstep off a feed from winger Jussi Jokinen.

      The Blue Jackets stopped the bleeding late in the first period when Jenner potted his second goal of the series, a power play redirection of a shot by center Mark Letestu.

      After Jenner's goal, the play began to tilt sharply in favor of the Blue Jackets, and the Penguins could only slow them by taking penalties.

      It was a flurry of whistles in the second period -- including a two-minute 5-on-3 for Columbus at 13:36 -- that led to the goal that made it 3-2.

      At 14:20 of the second, Johansen buried a puck that had gotten behind Fleury after a center pass by Dubinsky.

      NOTES: Blue Jackets D Ryan Murray was a late scratch from the lineup, and the club did not say why. Murray left the morning skate early, but coach Todd Richards said he expected him to play. Murray had his left knee scoped in early March. ... The Penguins switched defensive pairs in the second period of Monday's Game 2 win, and decided to stick with the combos last night. Kris Letang was paired with rookie Olli Maatta, Rob Scuderi with Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik with Paul Martin. ... Blue Jackets D Fedor Tyutin missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. He hasn't skated leaving Saturday's Game 2 after one period.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Wild's Cooke draws seven-game suspension
    By The Sports Xchange

    Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke was suspended for seven games by the NHL on Wednesday for kneeing Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie during Game 3 of a first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

    • The suspension was announced by the Department of Player Safety after a meeting with Cook and new league disciplinarian Stephane Quintal in New York. It would extend into the 2014-15 regular season if the Wild are eliminated from the postseason before Cooke serves the three games.

      The 35-year-old Cooke received a minor penalty for the knee-on-knee hit on a play at 2:02 of the second period of Tuesday night's game. Barrie is expected to be out for four to six weeks as a result of the collision.

      The suspension was Cooke's fifth during his career but the first in three years. The last time was during the 2011 playoffs when he was suspended for 10 games after elbowing New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the head.

      In 82 regular-season games, Cooke had 10 goals and 28 points for the Wild after spending the previous five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Blues lose F Morrow for remainder of series
    By The Sports Xchange

    St. Louis Blues forward Brenden Morrow will miss the remainder of the opening-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks because of a foot injury, head coach Ken Hitchcock announced Wednesday.

    • Morrow, who was brought in this season because of his veteran leadership and playoff experience, suffered a foot injury on April 10 that has lingered throughout the postseason.

      He played in the Game 1 triple overtime win before sitting out Game 2, then played in Monday's Game 3 loss. However, he could only manage to play 8:34, receiving just eight shifts in the second and third periods after playing seven in the opening frame.

      The Blues lost 2-0 in Game 3, but still lead the series 2-1. The Blues face the Blackhawks in Game 4 on Wednesday night.

      The 35-year-old scored 13 goals and 25 points in 71 games this season.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Three voted Calder Trophy finalists
    By The Sports Xchange

    Forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche are the three finalists for the 2013-14 Calder Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced Wednesday.

    • The trophy is awarded "to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition."

      Tampa Bay is the first club to boast multiple Calder finalists since Chicago's Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews finished first and third, respectively, in 2008.

      Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Tuesday, June 24, during the 2014 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.

      Johnson scored 24 goals to set a Lightning rookie record and tie MacKinnon for the lead among NHL rookies. He tied for the overall League lead in shorthanded goals (five) and tallied five power-play goals, becoming the second rookie in NHL history to record five of each in one season (Dennis Maruk, 1975-76).

      MacKinnon topped all first-year players in points (63), goals (24-tied), assists (39), power-play goals (8), game-winning goals (5-tied) and shots (241). The first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft tallied at least one point in 13 consecutive games from Jan. 25 to March 6 (5-13--18), breaking Wayne Gretzky's NHL record for the longest single-season point streak by a player age 18 or younger (12 games).

      Palat ranked second among rookie scorers with 23-36--59, three points shy of Brad Richards' Lightning rookie record of 62 points in 2000-01.

      Palat was the league's top rookie threat over the second half of the season, leading all first-year players in scoring after Jan. 1 (17-27--44 in 42 games played, including 14 multiple-point games) and earning NHL Rookie of the Month honors for January and March.

      From 1936-37 until his death in 1943, NHL president Frank Calder purchased a trophy each year to be given permanently to the NHL's outstanding rookie. After Calder's death, NHL presented the Calder Trophy in his memory.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Sharks back Kings into corner
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- A blend of youth and experience powered the San Jose Sharks to the brink of a sweep of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings.

    • After two rookies helped the Sharks forge a third-period tie, one of the team's trusted veterans pushed the Kings to the point of elimination.

      Winger Patrick Marleau scored at 6:20 of overtime and goaltender Antti Niemi made 28 saves as the Sharks defeated the Kings 4-3 on Tuesday night.

      Marleau took possession off a turnover and backhanded a shot toward the Los Angeles net that deflected off Kings defenseman Slava Voynov's stick and past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. The win gave the Sharks a commanding 3-0 series lead with a possible Game 4 clincher in Los Angeles on Thursday.

      "The Kings played well. It was their best game this series," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "We matched them goal for goal, and then we got a good goal from Patty at the end there."

      With Couture and Joe Pavelski kept off the scoresheet, wingers Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto stepped up and kept the Sharks in the game against a desperate Los Angeles team.

      "Nieto gives us speed and Hertl gives us tenacity around the net," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We really do not consider them rookies at this point of the season."

      In a series that was thought to be a toss-up, San Jose found different ways to win the first three games of the series. Its explosive offense was featured in Games 1 and 2 in San Jose and Tuesday night a grinding third period that saw it outshoot Los Angeles 23-8 eventually wore down the Kings.

      "I mean, there were times in the first two game where we had momentum," Quick said. "We just need to keep working and win a game. It doesn't matter yet, up three or down three."

      Though the Kings got two power play goals and the first goal of the series by winger Marian Gaborik, their inability to hold the lead in the third period was the deciding factor. They took three minor penalties with one indirectly leading to the tying goal.

      "There were times in the first two game where we had momentum," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "We just need to keep working and win a game, It doesn't matter yet, up three or down three."

      With the score tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, winger Jeff Carter gave the Kings the lead 51 seconds into the third period with his first goal of the series on the power play. Center Anze Kopitar took a wrist shot from the right boards and Carter was positioned to the left of Niemi to deflect the puck home.

      The Sharks forged the third tie of the game when winger Tomas Hertl converted his own rebound at 9:17 as a penalty to Kings defenseman Alec Martinez was expiring to set the stage for overtime. Hertl's second goal of the series was assisted by winger Tommy Wingels and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

      San Jose opened the scoring at 3:16 of the first period on a power-play goal by winger Brent Burns. Center Joe Thornton fed Burns and his wrist shot from 42 feet deflected off Kings winger Trevor Lewis past Quick for his second goal of the series with defenseman Dan Boyle drawing the secondary assist.

      The Kings evened the score with a power-play goal of their own at 4:48 of the second period. Center Jarret Stoll converted a cross-ice pass from winger Tyler Toffoli for his first goal of the series with defenseman Drew Doughty drawing an assist.

      The Kings took their first lead of the game on Gaborik's first goal of the playoffs at 7:59 of the second period. Gaborik took possession in the Kings defensive zone and went end to end to finish a three-on-two rush.

      The Sharks rallied to tie the score just 1:18 later on rookie winger Matt Nieto's first goal of the series. Nieto was positioned in the slot to deflect a shot by defenseman Jason Demers at 9:17, with Marleau drawing the secondary assist.

      NOTES: Sharks LW Patrick Marleau was announced as one of the finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy along with Rangers RW Martin St. Louis and Avalanche C Ryan O'Reilly. The Byng is awarded to the player who is "adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." The winner will be named at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 24. ... San Jose scratched RW Marty Havlat, RW Adam Burish, C Bracken Kearns, D Mirco Mueller, RW Matt Pelech, D Matt Irwin, C Ttavis Oleksuk, D Dylan Demelo, C Freddie Hamilton, RW Eriah Hayes, D Taylor Doherty, D Matt Tennyson, C Tyler Kennedy, G Troy Grosenick and G Harri Sateri. ... Marleau and C Joe Thornton reached 100 career postseason points. ... The Kings recalled C Colin Fraser from their Manchester AHL affiliate. ... Los Angeles did not dress D Matt Greene, LW Kyle Clifford and C Colin Fraser. ... The Kings are 2-10 all time when trailing 0-2 in a postseason series. They executed comebacks against Detroit in 2001 and St. Louis in 2013.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Sharks 4, Kings 3 (OT)
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- Winger Patrick Marleau scored at 6:20 of overtime and goaltender Antti Niemi made 28 saves as the San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on Tuesday.

    • Marleau took possession off a turnover and backhanded a shot toward the Los Angeles net that deflected off by Kings defenseman Slava Voynov's stick and past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. The win gives the Sharks a commanding 3-0 series lead with a possible Game 4 clincher in Los Angeles on Thursday.

      With the game tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, Kings winger Jeff Carter gave the Kings the lead 51 seconds into the third period with his first goal of the series on the power play. Center Anze Kopitar took a wrist shot from the right boards, and Carter was positioned to the left of Niemi to deflect the puck home.

      The Sharks forged the third tie of the game when winger Tomas Hertl converted his own rebound at 9:17 as a penalty to Kings defenseman Alec Martinez was expiring to set the stage for overtime. Hertl's second goal of the series was assisted by winger Tommy Wingels and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

      San Jose opened the scoring at 3:16 of the first period on a power-play goal by winger Brent Burns. Center Joe Thornton fed Burns and his wrist shot from 42 feet deflected off Kings winger Trevor Lewis past Quick for his second goal of the series with defenseman Dan Boyle drawing the secondary assist.

      The Kings evened the game with a power-play goal of their own at 4:48 of the second period. Center Jarret Stoll converted a cross-ice pass from winger Tyler Toffoli for his first goal of the series with defenseman Drew Doughty drawing an assist.

      The Kings took their first lead of the game on right winger Marian Gaborik's first goal of the playoffs at 7:59 of the second period. Gaborik took possession in the Kings defensive zone and went end to end to finish off a 3-on-2 rush.

      The Sharks rallied to tie the game just 1:18 later on rookie winger Matt Nieto's first goal of the series. Nieto was positioned in the slot to deflect a shot by defenseman Jason Demers at 9:17 with Marleau drawing the secondary assist.

      NOTES: Sharks LW Patrick Marleau was announced as one of the finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy along with Rangers RW Martin St. Louis and Avalanche C Ryan O'Reilly. The Byng is awarded to the player who is "adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." The winner will be named at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 24. ... San Jose scratched RW Marty Havlat, RW Adam Burish, C Bracken Kearns, D Mirco Mueller, RW Matt Pelech, D Matt Irwin, C Ttavis Oleksuk, D Dylan Demelo, C Freddie Hamilton, RW Eriah Hayes, D Taylor Doherty, D Matt Tennyson, C Tyler Kennedy, G Troy Grosenick and G Harri Sateri. ... Marleau and C Joe Thornton reached 100 career postseason points. ... The Kings recalled C Colin Fraser from their Manchester AHL affiliate. ... Los Angeles did not dress D Matt Greene, LW Kyle Clifford and C Colin Fraser. ... The Kings are 2-10 all time when trailing 0-2 in a postseason series. They executed comebacks against Detroit in 2001 and St. Louis in 2013.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Rangers open 2-1 series lead with road win
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- Seconds after leaving the penalty box, Daniel Carcillo scored a goal, whacked the glass with his stick and taunted the fans.

    • Take that, Philadelphia. The New York Rangers have reclaimed control of the series.

      Right winger Martin St. Louis and defenseman Dan Girardi each had a goal and assist, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves and the Rangers beat the Flyers 4-1 on Tuesday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

      Center Derek Stepan also scored a goal as the Rangers took a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series is Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

      "We knew coming in this building was going to be loud. It's a great atmosphere," Girardi said. "We just played a lot harder than we did in Game 2 and that shows through desperation."

      Defenseman Mark Streit had the only goal for the Flyers, who spotted the Rangers a 2-0 lead for the second straight game. They could not rally the way they did at Madison Square Garden in a 4-2 win on Sunday.

      Goalie Ray Emery made his third straight start for injured Steve Mason but was pulled after allowing four goals on 20 shots. Mason, who was healthy enough to be the backup for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on April 12, made three saves in the final 7:15.

      Flyers coach Craig Berube said he will choose his starter in the next couple of days.

      "I'm sure he wants a couple back," Berube said of Emery.

      The Rangers took a 1-0 lead just 3:54 into the first period when Stepan scored on a rebound after Emery failed to catch left winger Rick Nash's slap shot from the left circle. The puck bounced off Emery's glove and right to Stepan in front, and he flipped it in for his second goal of the series.

      St. Louis scored his second goal in three games to put New York up 2-0 midway through the first. Girardi fired a slap shot from the point that St. Louis deflected on a backhand.

      "That line obviously set the tone," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "They made really good plays. In the playoffs, you need the top guys to play at a high level."

      Emery stoned center Brian Boyle on a breakaway to keep it 2-0 late in the first. Boyle's shot hit Emery's chest and bounced off the post.

      Streit scored shortly afterward during a four-on-four to cut it to 2-1. He pinched into the offensive zone on a rush, took a perfect pass from right winger Jakub Voracek and wristed it past Lundqvist.

      Girardi blasted a one-timer from the right point over Emery's shoulder to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead early in the second period.

      Carcillo skated onto the ice in time to score on a breakaway to make it 4-1 in the third period. The left winger and former Flyer enjoyed sticking it to the fans who used to cheer for him.

      "It was a good moment for him," Vigneault said.

      The Rangers were outstanding defensively in a gritty, physical contest between the longtime rivals. New York killed off all four of Philadelphia's power plays and blocked an astounding 28 shots.

      "We have to get the pucks through, even move it sideways," Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "We have to watch tape and find a way to get them through. We have to find a way to move it around quicker."

      NOTES: The Rangers led the Eastern Conference with 25 road wins during the regular season. ... The Flyers have a goal from a defenseman in each game of the series. ... The Flyers committed six penalties in each of the first two games but killed off nine of New York's 12 power plays. ... RW Martin St. Louis had one goal in 19 regular-season games for the Rangers after being acquired from Tampa Bay before the trade deadline. He already has more goals in the playoffs. ... Flyers C Claude Giroux did not have a shot in the first two games. ... Flyers RW Steve Downie (upper body) remained out of the lineup. ... Rangers LW Chris Kreider (hand) also was out.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Rask, Bruins shut out Wings, take 2-1 series lead
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- Boston is wary of the Detroit Red Wings' speed, but it was the Bruins who were the swifter team on Tuesday night.

    • Goaltender Tuukka Rask made 22 saves for his fourth career playoff shutout and Boston beat Detroit 3-0 on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena in Game 3 of the first-round playoff series.

      The Bruins take a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 in Detroit on Thursday.

      "We were skating well tonight ... I thought we were closing gaps and able to be physical," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "You know, we can talk about being a physical team but you can't be physical if you can't skate and you can't get there."

      Center Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and added an assist and defenseman Dougie Hamilton and right winger Jordan Caron also scored for Boston, the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.

      "I think it was similar to the way we played at home (in Sunday's 4-1 win in Game 2). Everyone was going and making plays," Rask said.

      Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard stopped 31 shots in the loss. The Red Wings only scored two goals in the series, winning Game 1 by a 1-0 score before losing Game 2, 4-1.

      Detroit's lineup is dominated by younger players.

      "I don't know why we were rattled, nervous or excited or whatever. I'm a veteran coach, I've been around a long time, maybe I should have known we'd be like that at home," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I was excited to start on the road. I thought it would be good for a young team to start on the road and you wouldn't get all wound up. I had no idea we'd start like we did tonight."

      Bergeron's empty-net goal with 1:59 left clinched it for the Bruins.

      "That's how we play. We do those things when we have success," Bergeron said. "We are first on the puck and bothering their breakout."

      Boston left winger Brad Marchand hit the goal post from the bottom of the left circle 2:18 into the third period.

      Detroit center Darren Helm hit the goal post almost eight minutes into the second period.

      Boston led 2-0 after dominating the first period.

      "We made some uncharacteristic mistakes there in the first and it gave them some life," Red Wings defenseman Danny Dekeyser said. "They put home a couple goals right away there that took some life out of our sails right away there. We just have to be better. I thought we got better as the game went on. We still need to generate more quality chances and get to the net."

      Hamilton's power-play goal nine minutes into the game opened the scoring when he beat Howard with a wrist shot from the left circle. It was the Bruins' third power-play goal of the series.

      "I just saw the shot availability and took it," Hamilton said.

      Caron made it 2-0 with 4:12 left in the opening period when he put in left winger Shawn Thornton's rebound after a bad line change by Detroit.

      "A good shot by Thornie and the puck came back in the slot and just tried to put it in," Caron said.

      NOTES: Boston last won a game in Detroit on March 11, 2007. ... Detroit RW Daniel Alfredsson did not play because of a sore back. He was replaced in the lineup by C Joakim Andersson. ... Boston RW Reilly Smith and Detroit D Brendan Smith are brothers. ... Boston D Matt Bartkowski played his first game of the series after missing the first two with the flu. He replaced D Andrej Meszaros. ... The Bruins have three players who are from Michigan and played college hockey in the state. Defensemen Torey Krug (Detroit suburb of Livonia) and Corey Potter (Lansing) played at Michigan State, and LW Justin Florek is from Marquette and played at Northern Michigan. ... Red Wings D Jonathan Ericsson, who has been out since March 18 with a broken finger, hopes to have screws removed from his surgically repaired left hand this week. ... Former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov was in attendance at the game.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Canadiens complete series sweep of Lightning
    By The Sports Xchange

    MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens finished off their first four-game sweep in 21 years to move on to the second round while disposing of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who were dispatched from the playoffs in four straight for the first time ever.

    • Montreal left winger Max Pacioretty scored a power-play goal with 42.6 seconds remaining in the third period as the Canadiens completed their first series sweep since 1993 with a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

      Montreal, which will face the winner of the Boston-Detroit series in the second round, swept Buffalo in the second round in 1993 and went on to win its 24th and most recent Stanley Cup.

      Canadiens center Daniel Briere, who opened the scoring with his first Montreal playoff goal 2:24 into the first period, recalled watching that series while he was growing up.

      "I didn't know it was the last time," Briere said. "I was a little surprised about that. It's a pretty cool tidbit."

      Pacioretty pushed right winger Thomas Vanek's shot between Lightning goalie Kristers Gudlevskis pads for the winner after Tampa Bay forward Cedric Paquette was called for tripping left winger Michael Bournival with 2:11 remaining.

      "I thought the refs did a great job of putting the whistles away in the third, and then a penalty like that, 200 feet from our net, it doesn't result really in a scoring chance, I don't think," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "I know they were tangled up. Their guy was kind of holding our guy down and he gives him a little -- was it a trip? Yeah, probably, but the way things were going you probably don't expect that to be called, so it's tough.

      "You learn from those situations. You never know what's going to be called. It's tough to be in that situation but it is a tough way to lose a game."

      Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 20 saves.

      The Lightning swept the Canadiens in the only previous playoff meeting between the two Atlantic Division opponents in the second round in 2004, when Tampa Bay went on to win its first and only Cup to date.

      Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman and Lightning center Tyler Johnson scored 3:02 apart early in the third period to draw the Lightning even at 3-3.

      "We have character. We're never going to quit, that's our attitude," Stamkos said. "That was our focus in between the periods was to give ourselves a chance and we did, so we're proud of that, but it's a little bit of a case of too little, too late. We needed to play with that urgency throughout the whole series, and we found out why it is tough to win in these playoffs."

      Hedman cut the deficit to 3-2 at 3:29 with his first goal in 22 career playoff games. Johnson tied it with his first playoff goal at 6:31.

      That's when Canadiens coach Michel Therrien used his timeout.

      "We could smell the next round and we got a little too passive and we were back on our heels," Pacioretty said. "They made a great push. They had nothing to lose and they played some great hockey and they had a lot of players step up, but that timeout calmed us down a lot and we got back to our game."

      Montreal had taken a 2-0 lead when center Lars Eller scored his second goal of the series at 15:21 of the first period.

      Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat took advantage of a careless turnover by Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emeline to score a short-handed goal 4:32 into the second.

      Right winger Brendan Gallagher scored for a third straight game at 5:42 to restore Montreal's two-goal lead at 3-1 and chase Tampa Bay starting goalie Anders Lindback from the net.

      Lightning backup goalie Gudlevskis made 16 saves in his playoff debut after taking over for Lindback, who allowed three goals while stopping 17 of 20 shots.

      NOTES: The Lightning were swept for the first time in 13 playoff series. ... Lightning G Kristers Gudlevskis was playing for Latvia in the 2014 Sochi Olympics when he faced Canadiens G Carey Price, who led Canada to a 2-1 quarterfinal win on its way to winning the gold medal. Gudlevskis made 55 saves in the loss. ... Tampa Bay D Sami Salo missed his second game in a row because of an upper-body injury. ... Canadiens C Daniel Briere's first-period goal was his 51st in 112 playoff games.

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    Rangers 4, Flyers 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- Right winger Martin St. Louis and defenseman Dan Girardi each had a goal and assist, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves and the New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 on Tuesday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

    • Center Derek Stepan and left winger Daniel Carcillo also scored goals as the Rangers took a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference series is Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

      Defenseman Mark Streit had the only goal for the Flyers, who spotted the Rangers a 2-0 lead for the second straight game. They could not rally the way they did at Madison Square Garden in a 4-2 win on Sunday.

      Goalie Ray Emery made his third straight start for injured Steve Mason but was pulled after allowing four goals on 20 shots. Mason, who was healthy enough to be the backup for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on April 12, made three saves in the final 7:15.

      The Rangers took a 1-0 lead just 3:54 into the first period when Stepan scored on a rebound after Emery failed to catch left winger Rick Nash's slap shot from the left circle. The puck bounced off Emery's glove and right to Stepan in front, and he flipped it in for his second goal of the series.

      St. Louis scored his second goal in three games to put New York up 2-0 midway through the first. Girardi fired a slap shot from the point that St. Louis deflected on a backhand.

      Emery stoned center Brian Boyle on a breakaway to keep it 2-0 late in the first. Boyle's shot hit Emery's chest and bounced off the post.

      Streit scored shortly afterward during a four-on-four to cut it to 2-1. He pinched into the offensive zone on a rush, took a perfect pass from right winger Jakub Voracek and wristed it past Lundqvist.

      Girardi blasted a one-timer from the right point over Emery's shoulder to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead early in the second period.

      Carcillo came out of the penalty box and scored on a breakaway to make it 4-1 in the third period.

      The Rangers were outstanding defensively in a gritty, physical contest between the longtime rivals. New York killed off all four of Philadelphia's power plays and blocked an astounding 27 shots.

      NOTES: The Rangers led the Eastern Conference with 25 road wins during the regular season. ... The Flyers have a goal from a defenseman in each game of the series. ... The Flyers committed six penalties in each of the first two games but killed off nine of New York's 12 power plays. ... RW Martin St. Louis had one goal in 19 regular-season games for the Rangers after being acquired from Tampa Bay before the trade deadline. He already has more goals in the playoffs. ... Flyers C Claude Giroux did not have a shot in the first two games. ... Flyers RW Steve Downie (upper body) remained out of the lineup. ... Rangers LW Chris Kreider (hand) also was out.

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    Bruins 3, Red Wings 0
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- Goaltender Tuuka Rask made 22 saves for his fourth career playoff shutout and the Boston Bruins beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena in Game 3 of the first round playoff series.

    • The Bruins take a 2-1 series lead in Game 4 in Detroit on Thursday.

      Center Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and added an assist and defenseman Dougie Hamilton and right winger Jordan Caron also scored for Boston, the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.

      Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard stopped 31 shots in the loss. The Red Wings only scored two goals in the series, winning Game 1 by a 1-0 score before losing Game 2, 4-1.

      Bergeron's empty-net goal with 1:59 left clinched it for the Bruins.

      Boston left winger Brad Marchand hit the goal post from the bottom of the left circle 2:18 into the third period.

      Detroit center Darren Helm hit the goal post almost eight minutes into the second period.

      Boston led 2-0 after dominating the first period.

      Hamilton's power-play goal nine minutes into the game opened the scoring when he beat Howard with a wrist shot from the left circle. It was the Bruins' third power-play goal of the series.

      Caron made it 2-0 with 4:12 left in the opening period when he put in left winger Shawn Thornton's rebound after a bad line change by Detroit.

      Hamilton hit the goal post on a shot 3:30 into the game after an uncharacteristic turnover in his own zone by the Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk.

      NOTES: Boston last won a game in Detroit on March 11, 2007. ... Detroit RW Daniel Alfredsson did not play because of a sore back. He was replaced in the lineup by C Joakim Andersson. ... Boston RW Reilly Smith and Detroit D Brendan Smith are brothers. ... Boston D Matt Bartkowski played his first game of the series after missing the first two with the flu. He replaced D Andrej Meszaros. ... The Bruins have three players who are from Michigan and played college hockey in the state. Defensemen Torey Krug (Detroit suburb of Livonia) and Corey Potter (Lansing) played at Michigan State, and LW Justin Florek is from Marquette and played at Northern Michigan. ... Red Wings D Jonathan Ericsson, who has been out since March 18 with a broken finger, hopes to have screws removed from his surgically repaired left hand this week.

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    Canadiens 4, Lightning 3
    By The Sports Xchange

    MONTREAL -- Left winger Max Pacioretty scored with 42.6 seconds remaining in the third period as the Montreal Canadiens completed their first playoff series sweep in 21 years with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

    • Pacioretty pushed Thomas Vanek's shot between Lightning goalie Kristers Gudlevskis pads for the winner after Tampa Bay forward Cedric Paquette was called for tripping left wing Michael Bournival with 2:11 remaining.

      Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman and Lightning center Tyler Johnson scored 3:02 apart early in the third period to draw the Lightning even at 3-3.

      Hedman cut the deficit to 3-2 at 3:29 with his first goal in 22 career playoff games. Johnson tied it with his first playoff goal at 6:31.

      Canadiens center Daniel Briere scored his first Montreal playoff goal 2:24 into the first period, and center Lars Eller increased the lead to 2-0 with his second goal of the series at 15:21.

      Lightning left winger Ondrej Palat took advantage of a careless turnover by Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emeline to score a short-handed goal 4:32 into the second.

      Right winger Brendan Gallagher scored for a third straight game at 5:42 to restore Montreal's two-goal lead at 3-1 and chase Tampa Bay starting goalie Anders Lindback from the net.

      Lightning backup goalie Gudlevskis made his playoff debut as he took over for Lindback, who allowed three goals while stopping 17 of 20 shots.

      Montreal goalie Carey Price made 20 saves.

      NOTES: The Lightning had not been swept through its 12 previous playoff series. Tampa Bay swept Montreal in four straight in the second round in 2004 on its way to winning the Stanley Cup in the only prior playoff series between the two Atlantic Division opponents. ... Lightning G Kristers Gudlevskis was playing for Latvia in the 2014 Sochi Olympics when he faced Montreal G Carey Price, who led Canada to a 2-1 quarterfinal win on its way to winning the gold medal. Gudlevskis made 55 saves in the loss. ... Tampa Bay D Sami Salo missed his second game in a row because of an upper-body injury. ... Canadiens C Daniel Briere's first-period goal was his 51st in 112 playoff games. ... Montreal's last playoff sweep was in 1993, when it beat Buffalo 4-0 in the second round on the way to its 24th and most recent Stanley Cup.

  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014
    Predators sign two to entry-level deals
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Nashville Predators signed defenseman Garrett Noonan to a two-year entry-level contract and defenseman Jaynen Rissling to a three-year entry-level contract, the team announced Tuesday.

    • Noonan, 23, spent the past four seasons at Boston University, amassing 81 points (30 goals, 51 assists) and 271 penalty minutes in 145 games.

      Nashville's fourth choice -- 112th overall in the fourth round -- in the 2011 Entry Draft, Noonan helped the Vernon Vipers capture the 2010 RBC Cup, Doyle Cup and Fred Page Cup in his lone junior season.

      Rissling, 20, recently completed his fifth season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, posting 37 points (8 goals, 29 assists) and 105 penalty minutes in 54 games while serving as team captain.

      In 273 WHL games from 2009-14, the 6-foot-4, 204-pounder amassed 117 points (23 goals, 94 assists) and 465 penalty minutes.

      Washington's ninth choice -- 197th overall in the seventh round -- in the 2012 Entry Draft, Rissling was acquired from the Capitals in exchange for Nashville's seventh-round selection in the 2014 Entry Draft on Saturday.