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  • Leafs' Rielly hit in face with slap shot
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly briefly left Game 7 against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday after getting his face bloodied by a first-period slap shot, but he returned to action at the start of the second period.

    • Rielly was hurt with 8:55 remaining in the opening period after being struck by the puck on a Zdeno Chara shot.

      Rielly instantly dropped to the ice, and members of both the Bruins and Maple Leafs immediately waved to the referees to stop play.

      After being tended to by the Maple Leafs' trainer, Rielly skated off the ice under his own power holding a towel to his face. There was blood on the ice where he fell.

      Rielly, 24, had five assists through the first six games of the series. The former No. 5 overall pick ranked second on the team with 46 assists during the regular season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Flyers' G Neuvirth to have surgery on both hips
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth will have arthroscopic surgery on both hips this offseason, he told reporters Wednesday as players cleared out their lockers.

    • Neuvirth, 30, said he wasn't fully healthy during the Flyers' first-round series loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but added, "It's the playoffs, you play through the pain."

      Neuvirth led Philadelphia to a 4-2 win in Game 5 over Pittsburgh, allowing two goals on 32 shots, but coughed up seven goals on 27 shots in Game 6 as the Penguins eliminated the Flyers. He finished the regular season with a .915 save percentage and 2.60 goals-against average, both slightly better than his averages during his 10-year career.

      Flyers goaltender Brian Elliott might also need a minor "cleanout medical procedure," depending on an exam to see how he is healing following core muscle surgery in February. He told reporters that he came back "a little ahead of schedule" in order to get ready for the playoffs but never felt fully like his normal self.

      Elliott, 33, stopped 34 of 35 shots in the Flyers' 5-1 win in Game 2, but he allowed 13 goals on 62 shots combined in Games 1, 3 and 4, getting pulled midway through Game 4 and watching Neuvirth start the final two games. He finished the regular season with a .909 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average, both slightly better than his averages during his 11-year career.

      Meanwhile, defenseman Ivan Provorov revealed he played with a Grade 3 left shoulder separation in Game 6, losing feeling in his arm at times during the third period. The injury typically requires a six- to eight-week recovery and he should be fully healthy before the start of training camp.

      --Field Level Media

  • Penguins' Malkin, Hagelin will miss start of series vs. Capitals
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin have been ruled out for Game 1 by the Pittsburgh Penguins ahead of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Washington Capitals.

    • Malkin could return for Game 2, but Hagelin isn't making the trip to Washington and isn't expected to be available before Game 3.

      Malkin is sidelined by a leg injury that caused him to miss the Penguins' Game 6 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Meanwhile, Hagelin sustained an upper-body injury in the series-clinching victory when he was hit by Flyers forward Claude Giroux during the second period on Sunday. He sat out the third period of the 8-5 win as a result of the ailment.

      Malkin had five points (three goals, two assists) in five games against the Flyers while Hagelin had three points (two goals, one assists) in six games. Malkin usually centers Pittsburgh's second line, with Hagelin on his left.

      With Malkin out Sunday, coach Mike Sullivan moved Riley Sheahan from the fourth line to center the second. It appears he'll center that line again on Thursday.

      "It's playoff time. So we have a lot of guys who are ready to step into different roles," Sheahan said, per NHL.com. "The depth of our lineup is important for us. ... We just have to move on and get ready for this series."

      The Capitals advanced to the second round by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets in six games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Malkin, Hagelin day-to-day for Penguins
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin each sat out practice Tuesday and have been deemed day-to-day by the Pittsburgh Penguins ahead of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Washington Capitals.

    • Malkin is sidelined by a leg injury that caused him to miss the Penguins' Game 6 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Meanwhile, Hagelin sustained an upper-body injury in the series-clinching victory when he was hit by Flyers forward Claude Giroux during the second period on Sunday. He sat out the third period of the 8-5 win as a result of the ailment.

      Malkin had five points (three goals, two assists) in five games against the Flyers while Hagelin had three points (two goals, one assists) in six games. Malkin usually centers Pittsburgh's second line, with Hagelin on his left.

      The Penguins did not hold line rushes Tuesday, so it's unclear how they might line up if Malkin and Hagelin are each out in Game 1 against the Capitals. With Malkin out Sunday, coach Mike Sullivan moved Riley Sheahan from the fourth line to center the second.

      "You can't lose a guy like that. You can't replace it," third-line center Derick Brassard said of Malkin, via NHL.com. "As a group, we're going to have to step up the way we did in [Philadelphia]."

      --Field Level Media

  • Bruins find themselves in another Game 7 vs. Maple Leafs
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, April 24, 2018

    A do-or-die Game 7 involving the Boston Bruins?

    • Say it isn't so.

      It is once again true: The Bruins find themselves in another anxiety-filled, playoff-pressure series finale when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday at TD Garden.

      It will mark the 10th time in the past 11 seasons that Boston will play in a Game 7. And this Eastern Conference first-round series wasn't appearing to be one that goes the distance after the Bruins scored 12 goals in the first two games and eventually built a 3-1 series lead.

      But the Maple Leafs notched two straight victories, including a 3-1 victory in Toronto on Monday.

      So Game 7 it is once again for the Bruins.

      "If anybody would have told us at the start of the year that we're going to be in Game 7, first round, at home, we'd take it," forward Brad Marchand told reporters. "Obviously it's tough, given the position we were in. But we're going to look forward to the next game. That's all we can control. Same with them. Whatever's happened the last six games really doesn't mean anything."

      Boston coach Bruce Cassidy is aware of the history. He also points toward the franchise's most recent Stanley Cup-winning season as proof the hurdle can be overcome.

      "Listen, it's Game 7," Cassidy said. "The Bruins won the Cup in 2011, they went through it three times. So our guys have certainly lived it."

      The Maple Leafs have an awareness of Boston's Game 7 history but are much more concerned with their own situation.

      The pivotal Game 6 victory came several hours after the city of Toronto faced a tragic occurrence as 10 were killed and 15 injured by a wayward driver plowing into people on the sidewalks just 12 miles north of the arena.

      "You see things like this on CNN happen in other cities, but you never imagine it would happen here," Toronto-native forward Zach Hyman told reporters. "Never here. And then it does. And then you're in shock."

      But the Maple Leafs evened the series in the aftermath, and suddenly hot goalkeeper Frederik Andersen (74 saves in the two wins) places them in good position as they enter a winner-take-all contest.

      Toronto coach Mike Babcock is hoping it will be his squad that survives Game 7 and advances to face the Tampa Bay Lightning.

      "You want to be in these moments in your life. You don't remember everything in your life. What you do is you remember moments," Babcock told reporters. "You remember, and you want to create, those moments. You want to create memories. Here's an opportunity for us to create memories with a good group of guys who like each other a lot."

      --Field Level Media

  • Avs extend coach Bednar through 2019-20
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The Colorado Avalanche agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season with head coach Jared Bednar, general manager Joe Sakic announced Monday.

    • "He's done an amazing job, the entire staff," Sakic said. "Working with the players, the respect that the coaching staff and the players have for one another, they did an amazing job in keeping this team at an even keel and never letting it slip."

      Bednar, who succeeded Patrick Roy, was signed to a three-year contract in August 2016. He led the team to a 47-point improvement from where it was last season. Colorado finished 43-30-9 to make the Western Conference playoffs as a wild card.

      The Avalanche were eliminated from the postseason by the Nashville Predators on Sunday after six games.

      "I liked the way he coached last year, the way he held our guys, especially our young guys, accountable," Sakic said. "We really believe in Jared, we think he's a great coach and he's done a tremendous job."

      Sakic said the Avalanche, one of the youngest teams in the NHL, will look to build on their youth this offseason. The team is led by 22-year-old center Nathan MacKinnon, who scored 97 points (39 goals, 58 assists) in 74 games this season.

      "The key for us is we're going to stay the course," Sakic said. "We had an amazing year from our guys. We have a young team, we expect growth from them. We're going to stay young. In the next couple years we may even get younger. If we can, even try to get a little bit quicker and faster."

      --Field Level Media

  • Wild parting ways with GM Fletcher
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The Minnesota Wild will not renew the contract of executive vice president and general manager Chuck Fletcher, the team announced Monday.

    • Minnesota was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs in five games by the Winnipeg Jets -- the third straight year the Wild have lost in the first round of the postseason.

      "Very agonizing,'' team owner Craig Leipold told reporters of the decision. "I like Chuck. Probably more than I like Chuck, I respect him tremendously. I didn't decide on this definitely until a couple of days ago. In our new practice facility, we have a motto. It's the first thing you see when you walk in the door: 'Good is not good enough.' I went through the practice facility about two weeks ago, and I felt that was a signal for me. It starts with me.

      "I know that we're not good enough right now. What I want is a new set of eyes and take a look at where our strengths and our weaknesses are."

      The Wild say their search for a new general manager will begin immediately, with senior vice president of hockey operations Brent Flahr serving as the acting GM until the position is filled.

      Fletcher became the second GM in Wild history when he took over the job in 2009. Minnesota has qualified for the playoffs in each of the past six seasons under his guide but has advanced no further than the second round.

      Leipold said parting ways with Fletcher had to do with the team's lack of playoff success as a whole more than this season's early exit directly.

      "My antenna's been up,'' Leipold said. "Chuck and I have had numerous conversations all year. I wanted to wait until the end of the year to assess everything, to understand how I feel about where we're going. Are we still in the window to win the Stanley Cup? I believe we are. He believed we are. But my personal feeling was that I wanted someone new to come in and kind of shake it up.''

      Leipold indicated coach Bruce Boudreau's job is safe, saying "I'd say our coaching staff right now is not going anywhere." Boudreau will be consulted as part of the team's search for a new GM but not involved in the interview process.

      The Wild finished the regular season third in the Central Division at 45-26-11 (101 points).

      --Field Level Media

  • Peters returns home to take Flames' coaching job
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    Three days after leaving one coaching job, Bill Peters has landed another.

    • The Calgary Flames announced Monday that Peters has been hired as the organization's 19th head coach.

      The 51-year-old Peters spent the four seasons as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes. He resigned on Friday and he wasn't unemployed long before being tabbed as Calgary's replacement for recently fired Glen Gulutzan.

      Peters grew up in the small Alberta town of Killam, located approximately 200 miles northeast of Calgary. So when the Flames' post opened on April 17, he was immediately interested.

      "I'm an Alberta boy," Peters told the team website. "It's God's Country. It's beautiful. That bright blue sky ... it's different. A different color. You look out in southern Alberta, you see the snow-capped Rocky Mountains and it's breathtaking. Walk outside and there's some of the best country in the world."

      Peters wasn't hired to look at the outdoor scenery but to improve the scene inside the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames missed the playoffs this season with a 37-35-10 record.

      "Being home is important. Of course, a great bonus for me," Peters said. "But you make a decision like this one based primarily on opportunity. Ownership group is very strong. Relationship with the general manager (Brad Treliving), who I have a lot of respect for, along with everyone else in hockey, and I believe in what they're trying to accomplish."

      Peters was the only coach Treliving considered.

      "I was very familiar with the field that was out there," Treliving said at the introductory news conference. "There are some great candidates. I was focused on Bill."

      Peters compiled a 137-138-53 record with the Hurricanes and the team missed the playoffs in all four seasons.

      He is looking forward to helping revamp the Flames.

      "You've got to build relationships with these guys, get on the same page and accomplish things as a team," Peters said during the press conference. "There's a lot of good talent and a lot of good pieces on this roster."

      --Field Level Media

  • Islanders' Barzal headlines Calder finalists
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The NHL announced the finalists for the Calder Trophy, the award given to the league's top rookie -- who this season could be the biggest runaway winner of all the awards.

    • The three finalists tabbed Sunday are Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders, Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks and Clayton Keller of the Arizona Coyotes.

      Boeser, the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 draft, finished second among rookies with 29 goals this season despite missing 20 games. Keller, the youngest of the three finalists at 19 years old and the No. 7 pick in 2016, played in all 82 games. His 65 points were the most by a Coyotes rookie since the franchise relocated from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996.

      But the favorite to win the award in the eyes of most is Barzal. The No. 16 pick in 2015 also played in 82 games. And while his 22 goals were only sixth among rookies, he far outpaced the field in numerous measures and accomplishments:

      --His 63 assists were 21 more than the next-closest rookie, and his 85 points cleared runner-up Keller by 20.

      --He is the seventh rookie in NHL history with at least 20 goals and 60 assists -- and the first since Sidney Crosby 12 seasons ago.

      --He is the second rookie ever to collect three five-point games -- the other was Montreal's Joe Malone in 1917-18 ... the inaugural season of the NHL.

      The winner will be announced at the 2018 NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 20.

      --Field Level Media

  • Flyers' Couturier played through torn MCL in Games 5 and 6
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    The Philadelphia Flyers were eliminated from the playoffs with Sunday night's loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but not for a lack of effort from Sean Couturier.

    • The top-line center and Selke Trophy finalist delivered a hat trick and two assists for a five-point Game 6, two days after he tallied the game-winning goal with 1:15 remaining in a must-win Game 5 in Pittsburgh.

      He did all of that despite playing the past two games on a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee, Couturier revealed to reporters after Sunday's loss. While he will not need surgery, Couturier said the injury would likely have kept him out for four weeks if it happened during the regular season.

      "It's tough, because we lost, obviously," he told reporters. "I just tried to lay it all out there, and give it all I had. It's too bad we didn't come out with the result we wanted."

      Couturier suffered the injury in a nasty collision with defenseman Radko Gudas in Tuesday's practice, flipping head over heels from the impact after his knee made contact with Gudas. The players were participating in separate drills and did not see each other.

      With Couturier out in Game 4 in Philadelphia, rookie Nolan Patrick joined Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek on the first line, but the trio finished a combined minus-8 in the loss.

      Couturier, 25, enjoyed a breakout regular season, registering 31 goals and 45 assists to nearly double his previous career high in points with 76. He led the Flyers in points (nine) and goals (five) in the postseason despite missing a game.

      Couturier wasn't the only player to fight through pain as Philadelphia tried to stave off elimination. Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov played through a shoulder injury, logging a series-high 30:07 of ice time on Sunday despite being listed as questionable for the contest.

      "As long as my arm was attached to me, I was playing," he told reporters afterward.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL roundup: Lightning eliminate Devils with 3-1 win
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves as the host Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the New Jersey Devils with a 3-1 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

    • The Lightning won the series four games to one and await the winner of Boston-Toronto.

      Vasilevskiy did not see much action until the third period as the Lightning controlled possession throughout the second due to four straight power plays. He stepped up with saves on Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri and Pavel Zacha during New Jersey's first power play midway through the third.

      Mikhail Sergachev scored his first career playoff goal in the first period, Nikita Kucherov netted the game-winner with about 8 1/2 minutes remaining and Ryan Callahan added an empty-net goal. Patrick Maroon scored for the Devils, who stayed in the game by keeping the Lightning scoreless in five power plays.

      Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 3

      James van Riemsdyk capped a two-goal second period for Toronto, which held on against host Boston in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

      Van Riemsdyk added an assist. Tyler Bozak, Connor Brown and Andreas Johnsson also scored, and Frederik Andersen made 42 saves for the Maple Leafs, who trail the best-of-seven series 3-2.

      David Backes, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari each scored goals for the Bruins, but goalie Tuukka Rask allowed four goals on 13 shots before being replaced by backup Anton Khudobin (eight saves). Game 6 is Monday in Toronto.

      Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 3 (OT)

      Nicklas Backstrom scored his second goal of the game 11:53 into overtime and gave host Washington a victory over Columbus in Game 5 of its Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

      The Capitals now have won three straight after dropping the first two in the series. Washington has a 3-2 lead and can close it out in Game 6 on Monday at Columbus.

      Backstrom simply deflected a shot from Dmitry Orlov past Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky from between the circles for the game-winner. Backstrom finished with two goals and one assist.

      --Field Level Media

  • Malkin's status for Game 6 uncertain
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Evgeni Malkin is expected to be a game-time decision for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference series with the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.

    • Malkin was the only player who missed the Penguins' practice Saturday. When asked about Malkin's status, coach Mike Sullivan replied, "All players are game-time decisions," which has been his standard response regarding injuries this postseason, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

      Malkin appeared to sustain a left leg injury late in the first period of the Penguins' 4-2 loss in Game 5 Friday when he got tangled up with the Flyers' Jori Lehtera and fell awkwardly into the boards.

      He went to the dressing room but returned for the second period, playing sparingly. However, Malkin took regular shifts in the third period.

      If Malkin is a Game 6 scratch, Derick Brassard would likely center the second line and Riley Sheahan would move to the third line.

      The Penguins lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.

      --Field Level Media

  • Devils' Boyle, Panthers' Luongo and Hurricanes' Staal named Masterton finalists
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle, Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo and Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal were named as the three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced Saturday.

    • The award goes to "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

      The winner will be announced during the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 20.

      Boyle, 33, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a bone marrow cancer, during training camp and was back in the lineup by Nov. 1. He scored 10 goals in his first 25 games, made the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, and finished the season with 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in 69 games.

      Luongo, 39, dealt with hand and groin injuries that caused him to miss more than two months and then went 9-3-1 with a 2.44 goals-against average in his first 13 games back in the net to finish 18-11-2 with a 2.47 GAA in 35 games. The resident of Parkland, Fla., delivered a powerful pregame speech at the Panthers' first home game after 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Feb. 14.

      Staal, 29, totaled 46 points (19 goals, 27 assists) in 79 games, the second-highest goals and points totals of his six seasons with the Hurricanes. In late February, his wife Heather delivered a stillborn daughter named Hannah who was born with a terminal birth defect.

      The trophy is named after former Minnesota North Stars player Bill Masterton, who in 1968 became the only NHL player to die from injuries suffered during a game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Maple Leafs shake up lines ahead of must-win Game 5
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Down 3-1 in their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs are shaking things up.

    • In a bid to generate some offense, coach Mike Babcock is moving Connor Brown to the top line with Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman, dropping William Nylander from the top line to the fourth line, alongside Andreas Johnsson and Tomas Plekanec.

      James van Riemsdyk leads a newly formed line that also features Tyler Bozak and Kasperi Kapanen.

      Patrick Marleau, Nazem Kadri and Mitchell Marner make up the other line.

      "The bottom line is [the first line] wasn't going," Babcock said Saturday. "We got to change something and try to get it going."

      Matthews and Nylander totaled 124 points for the Maple Leafs in the regular season, but have been held to just two points between them through four games in this series.

      The Maple Leafs also must contend with the Bruins adding some firepower in Game 5, with center Patrice Bergeron penciled in to return from an upper-body injury and rejoin Boston's top line. Riley Nash, who replaced Bergeron in Game 4, would anchor the third line.

      Game 5 is at 8 p.m. ET in Boston.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bruins' Bergeron 'optimistic' he can go in Game 5
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is hopeful he can return for Saturday's Game 5 of the playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs after missing Game 4 due to an upper-body injury.

    • Bergeron was scratched shortly prior to Thursday's game.

      However, he did do some skating on Friday's off day and early Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena ahead of Game 5 and says he's "optimistic" he can play, so long as he can convince the team's medical staff.

      "I'm optimistic. Again it's about now ... selling it to the other side," Bergeron said.

      Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who has said Bergeron would be a game-time decision, also seems convinced after watching Bergeron skate.

      "I anticipate he will play," Cassidy said.

      Cassidy said Friday that the fact the Bruins lead the series 3-1 will have no bearing on Saturday's decision-making process.

      "The last game, 90 percent of the time, is the hardest one," Cassidy said. "I can pretty much tell you if he's cleared to play, he'll be in the lineup. But that's a medical decision that he has to be comfortable with, as well."

      The 32-year-old Bergeron had five assists in the first three games of the series before the injury.

      Bergeron had 30 goals and 33 assists in 64 games this season. He missed a portion of the campaign with a broken foot.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL roundup: Avalanche stage late rally to edge Predators
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Sven Andrighetto's goal at 18:32 of the third period Friday night capped a stunning rally that gave the Colorado Avalanche a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of their first-round Western Conference series at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

    • Andrighetto got to the rebound of J.T. Compher's shot that was saved by Pekka Rinne and roofed it for his first career playoff goal, ultimately cutting the Predators' series lead to 3-2 and forcing a Game 6 to be played Sunday night in Denver.

      Andrew Hammond was the star for Colorado, stopping 44 shots to record his first win in three career playoff starts. Hammond, who replaced Jonathan Bernier (lower-body injury) after the second period of Wednesday night's 3-2 loss in Game 4, made 18 saves in the third period.

      Rinne made 24 saves for Nashville, which lost for just the third time in its last 18 home games in the playoffs.

      Jets 5, Wild 0

      Connor Hellebuyck's second consecutive shutout and a four-goal first period powered host Winnipeg past Minnesota to complete a series sweep.

      Jacob Trouba, Bryan Little, Brandon Tanev and Joel Armia scored in the game's opening 12 minutes to complete the first postseason series triumph for the Jets in franchise history.

      Hellebuyck, named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy earlier in the week, made 30 saves. Three nights earlier, he also stopped all 30 shots he faced for his first career postseason shutout.

      Flyers 4, Penguins 2

      Sean Couturier scored the game-winning goal with 1:15 left in the third period to lift Philadelphia past Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena.

      Valtteri Filppula, Claude Giroux and Matt Read also scored as the Flyers staved off elimination and now trail 3-2 in the series. Game 6 will be Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.

      Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopped 30 shots in the win.

      --Field Level Media

  • NHL notebook: Hurricanes coach Peters resigns post
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Carolina coach Bill Peters resigned after four seasons with the Hurricanes, the team announced on Friday.

    • The Hurricanes missed the playoffs in all four seasons under Peters, making it nine consecutive seasons they have failed to reach the postseason.

      Peters guided the Hurricanes to a 137-138-53 record during his tenure in Carolina, his first stint as an NHL coach.

      "I have a lot of respect for Bill as a person and coach," Tom Dundon, who bought the team in January, said in a statement. "We thank him for his time with the Hurricanes and wish him success in whatever comes next."

      --Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is a game-time decision for Saturday's Game 5 of the team's first-round playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs due to an upper-body injury.

      Bergeron, who scored 30 goals in the regular season, was scratched shortly prior to Game 4 due to the injury. However, he did do some skating on Friday's off day.

      "We won't rule him out and we won't say he's definitely in," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters. "But it is a positive he's back on the ice."

      Cassidy said the fact the Bruins lead the series 3-1 will have no bearing on Saturday's decision-making process.

      --Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky will undergo minor surgery and miss the rest of the first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach Barry Trotz said.

      The Capitals haven't divulged the nature of the injury other than disclosing that it is an upper-body ailment. Burakovsky suffered the injury in Sunday's Game 2 when he was hit by Columbus forward Boone Jenner near the boards.

      Trotz indicated Burakovsky could return to action if the Capitals advance to the next round. The series is tied at 2-2 entering Saturday's Game 5 in Washington.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bruins C Bergeron a game-time decision for Game 5
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is a game-time decision for Saturday's Game 5 of the playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs due to an upper-body injury.

    • Bergeron was scratched shortly prior to Game 4 due to the injury.

      However, he did do some skating on Friday's off day.

      "We won't rule him out and we won't say he's definitely in," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters on Friday. "But it is a positive he's back on the ice."

      Cassidy said the fact the Bruins lead the series 3-1 will have no bearing on Saturday's decision-making process.

      "The last game, 90 percent of the time, is the hardest one," Cassidy said. "I can pretty much tell you if he's cleared to play, he'll be in the lineup. But that's a medical decision that he has to be comfortable with, as well."

      The 32-year-old Bergeron had five assists in the first three games of the series before the injury.

      Bergeron had 30 goals and 33 assists in 64 games this season. He missed a portion of the campaign with a broken foot.

      --Field Level Media

  • Capitals F Burakovsky out rest of series vs. Blue Jackets
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky will undergo minor surgery and miss the rest of the first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach Barry Trotz said Friday.

    • The Capitals haven't divulged the nature of the injury other than disclosing that it is an upper-body ailment.

      Burakovsky suffered the injury in Sunday's Game 2 when he was hit by Columbus forward Boone Jenner near the boards.

      Trotz indicated Burakovsky could return to action if the Capitals advance to the next round. The series is tied at 2-2 entering Saturday's Game 5 in Washington.

      Burakovsky, 23, had 12 goals and 25 points in 56 regular-season games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Peters resigns as coach of Hurricanes after four seasons
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Carolina head coach Bill Peters resigned on Friday after four seasons with the Hurricanes, the team announced on Friday.

    • The Hurricanes missed the playoffs in all four seasons under Peters, making it nine straight seasons they've failed to reach the postseason.

      Peters guided the Hurricanes to a 137-138-53 record during his tenure in Carolina, his first stint as an NHL head coach.

      The Carolina opening is the fourth in the NHL since the season ended. The Calgary Flames and New York Rangers both fired their coaches and Dallas Stars coach Ken Hitchcock retired.

      "I have a lot of respect for Bill as a person and coach," Tom Dundon, who bought the team in January, said in a statement. "We thank him for his time with the Hurricanes and wish him success in whatever comes next."

      The Hurricanes have only made the playoffs once since winning the Stanley Cup in the 2005-06 season.

      The team is also in the market for a general manager after reassigning Ron Francis to president.

      "I want to thank Tom Dundon, Peter Karmanos and Ron Francis for the trust they put in me to lead the team," said Peters in the team statement.

      "I feel the incoming general manager should have the ability to hire his own head coach. I also want to thank Don Waddell and the entire front office and PNC Arena staff. This business requires hard work and long hours, and I greatly appreciate the efforts of the many people I have worked alongside during the past four years."

      The team says an immediate coaching search is underway.

      --Field Level Media

  • Doughty, Subban, Hedman named as Norris finalists
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings, Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and P.K. Subban of the Nashville Predators are the finalists for the Norris Trophy, the NHL announced Thursday.

    • The award, voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is presented each year to the defenseman showing the greatest all-round ability in the position. The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards show on June 20 in Las Vegas.

      Subban, a finalist for the third time, captured the honor in 2013. Doughty, now a four-time finalist, won in 2016.

      Doughty, 28, finished sixth in regular-season scoring among defensemen with 60 points, which included 10 goals. He led all NHL players in ice time.

      Subban, 28, finished with a career-high 16 goals and racked up 59 points. He was the only Nashville player to appear in all 82 games this season.

      Hedman, 27, tied for the lead among defensemen in goals scored with 17 and finished fourth in points with 63. He set a career high in ice time.

      --Field Level Media

  • Predators F Hartman draws one-game suspension
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Nashville Predators right wing Ryan Hartman was suspended on Thursday by the NHL for Game 5 of the playoff series with the Colorado Avalanche after delivering an illegal check to the head of Carl Soderberg in Game 4.

    • The NHL's Department of Player Safety ruled for the suspension after holding a hearing.

      Video released by the NHL displayed Hartman forcefully thrusting his shoulder into the head of Soderberg shortly after the Colorado center passed the puck during the third period of Wednesday's Game 4. The league said Hartman took a poor angle and chose Soderberg's head as the point of contact.

      Hartman drew a charging penalty for the hit.

      Hartman had 11 goals and 20 assists in the regular season. He has one goal through four games this series while averaging just over 11 minutes of ice time per game.

      The Predators hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and will attempt to close out the series on Friday in Nashville.

      --Field Level Media

  • Flyers' Couturier could play must-win Game 5
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    The Philadelphia Flyers might have Sean Couturier available for their must-win Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday after the top-line center missed Game 4 on Wednesday with a lower-body injury.

    • Couturier, named a Selke Trophy finalist Wednesday, was injured in a collision with defenseman Radko Gudas in practice Tuesday. Couturier said he is day-to-day after skating on his own Wednesday and Thursday.

      The Penguins beat the Flyers 5-0 in Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

      "I'm just coming to the rink every day, getting treatments and trying to feel better," said Couturier, who will travel with the team to Pittsburgh. "I guess the thing is see how I feel tomorrow morning.

      "It's really up to my body. See how it keeps progressing and how I feel. Hopefully I'm good tomorrow."

      The 25-year-old was caught expressing his frustration after the practice collision with Gudas but was sure not to blame his teammate for what he called "a bad accident."

      "It's frustrating, I'm not going to lie," Couturier said. "You want to be out there battling with your teammates, especially at this time of year. It's an accident. It's stuff that happens in hockey, I guess."

      Couturier enjoyed a breakout regular season, registering 31 goals and 45 assists and nearly doubling his previous career high in points with 76. He's scored three points (one goal, two assists) in the first-round series against the Penguins, all coming in a Game 2 win.

      Without Couturier in Game 4, rookie center Nolan Patrick moved to the first line alongside Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. The trio went a combined minus-8 in the loss.

      "I don't know that we saw enough of the chemistry there," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "Such a short sample, but that's the time of year that it is."

      Valtteri Filppula skated between Giroux and Voracek during practice Thursday, with Patrick on the second line.

      --Field Level Media

  • Avs to start G Hammond in must-win Game 5
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    The Colorado Avalanche will start Andrew Hammond in net facing elimination in Game 5 against the Nashville Predators on Friday.

    • Jonathan Bernier had started the Avs' previous four games of the first-round series, allowing 14 goals on 120 shots faced. He left Game 4 after two periods with a lower-body injury; Hammond stopped eight shots in a scoreless third period in his stead.

      Colorado lost the game 3-2, giving Nashville a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

      The Avalanche have yet to announce whether Bernier will be available as a backup on Friday. Regular No. 1 goaltender Semyon Varlamov is out for at least the first round of the playoffs as he recovers from a knee injury suffered March 30.

      Hammond, 30, appeared in one NHL game during the regular season, a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on March 28. He stopped 31 of 33 shots faced in the contest.

      The 30-year-old has a 27-15-6 record, 2.31 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in his five-year career.

      "He's been working hard, doing the right things on and off the ice," Avs coach Jared Bednar told reporters Thursday. "He'll be excited for the opportunity."

      --Field Level Media

  • Lightning's Kucherov not suspended for hit on Devils' Vatanen
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 19, 2018

    Tampa Bay Lightning star forward Nikita Kucherov will not be suspended for his hit on New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen in Game 4 of the two teams' first-round playoff series Wednesday.

    • Vatanen left the game and did not return after a high check delivered by Kucherov with just under four minutes remaining in the first period. Kucherov wasn't penalized for the hit, which the NHL's department of player safety deemed legal after determining Vatanen's head was not the main point of contact during the encounter.

      Though the hit appeared similar to the one Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty landed on Vegas Golden Knights forward William Carrier to earn a one-game suspension, the difference, as outlined by the league, was the contact with the head.

      Vatanen's status for Game 5 on Saturday is unknown. The Lightning lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 after taking Wednesday night's game by the same margin.

      Kucherov, 24, led the Lightning with 39 goals and 61 assists during the regular season, reaching 100 points for the first time in his career. His nine points (four goals, five assists) in the playoffs are tied with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Boston's David Pastrnak for the most.

      --Field Level Media