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Kane Helps Chicago Force Game Seven

Kane Helps Chicago Force Game Seven

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal with less than four minutes remaining in the third as Chicago forced a decisive Game Seven in the NHL's Western Conference Finals. Kane's second goal of the game gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

"There's still not much room out there in this series," said Kane, who also assisted on Duncan Keith's game-tying tally. "Right now, you have to take advantage of your opportunities when you do get space."

Los Angeles took the lead after the first period after a goal from Dwight King late in the frame. The Blackhawks scored two consecutive goals less than three minutes into the second. Kane's first tally helped tie things up when, 1:37 later, Ben Smith gave Chicago their first lead of the game.

A frantic third period saw a combined four goals and two lead changes. Drew Doughty knotted up the score for the Kings before Alec Martinez scored on a power play goal with just over 12 minutes to play. That advantage would not hold long as Kane found Keith for the goal that made it 3-3 in the waning moments of regulation. 

Kane, last year's Conn Smythe winner, scored his second goal of the game five minutes later and ultimately gave Chicago the win. The Blackhawks have now come back from being down 3-1 in the series to force a decisive Game 7 to be play in Chicago on Sunday. 

Corey Crawford made 22 saves for Chicago while Jonathan Quick stopped 25 shots in the loss. The winner of Game 7 will face the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final.

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Todd Richards Gets Extension from Blue Jackets

Todd Richards Gets Extension from Blue Jackets

Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- The Columbus Blue Jackets agreed to a contract extension with head coach Todd Richards Tuesday that will keep him with the club through the 2016-17 season. “Todd has done an outstanding job for the Columbus Blue Jackets and we’re pleased that he will continue to lead our team,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said on the team's website. “We believe he is one of the top young coaches in the NHL because of his knowledge of the game, work ethic and ability to communicate well and bring out the best in our players. He’s played a significant role in our recent success and we look forward to having him continue to be a big part of our franchise moving forward.”The 47-year-old Richards took over as the Blue Jackets coach interim coach in Jan. 2012 and was named the team's head coach in May 2012. During his time as head coach, Richards has led the team to a 85-70-16 record -- including a franchise-best 43-32-7 mark this past season that took the team to the playoffs, where Columbus won their first postseason games in club history.

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Capitals Introduce Trotz and MacLellan

Capitals Introduce Trotz and MacLellan

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Washington Capitals introduced their 17th head coach, Barry Trotz, and new general manager, Brian MacLellan, on Tuesday.

Trotz and MacLellan were hired on Monday and will have the task of turning around a team that has failed to bring home a Stanley Cup.

MacLellan replaces long-time general manager George McPhee, who spent 17 seasons with the team.

"I am a different person," MacLellan said on Tuesday.  "I have different experiences, different education, different playing experience.  I think all of that stuff forms your attitudes and philosophies."

Trotz coached in Nashville for 15 seasons, but was fired in April.  Prior to Nashville, Trotz served as Washington’s AHL bench boss in Baltimore and Portland from 1992-97.

"I was looking for someone that had those same high standards of qualities," Trotz said.  "When I met this group, I was pretty well sold."

Trotz is also looking forward to working with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who has three league MVP's and led the league in scoring this season with 51 goals. 

"My job as a coach is to find a way to allow Alex and the other players to reach their potential as a group and be able to play together," Trotz said.

The Capitals finished 38-30-14 this season and missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

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Early Outburst Leads Kings to 3-1 Series Lead

Early Outburst Leads Kings to 3-1 Series Lead

Harry How/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) -- After coming from behind in each of the last two games, Los Angeles scored four straight goals to beat Chicago 5-2 and take a 3-1 series lead Monday night. The Kings, who rallied from 3-0 and 3-1 deficits in their previous matchups, are now one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in three years.

Los Angeles scored three goals in the first period, including power play goals from Jake Muzzin and Dustin Brown to take control over the defending Stanley Cup champions. Drew Doughty then added a fourth goal to the barrage just under 13 minutes into the second frame.

"To come into every game with that confidence, to have that mojo that you can win every game, that's the difference," said Marion Gaborik, who scored his 10th goal of the playoffs in the first. "It's great to come to a team like this and be part of a winning culture."

The Blackhawks scored two goals, closing the gap to 4-2 halfway through the third, but Jonathan Quick was strong in net and Tanner Pearson added an empty-net goal late to seal the win. Quick finished with 22 saves in the game while four players had multi-point efforts.

Los Angeles defeated the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals back in 2012 before winning their only Stanley Cup trophy. Game 5 will be played Wednesday in Chicago.

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St. Louis Overtime Winner Gives Rangers 3-1 Edge

St. Louis Overtime Winner Gives Rangers 3-1 Edge

Al Bello/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Martin St. Louis scored six minutes into overtime, giving the New York Rangers a 3-2 win Sunday and a 3-1 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference Finals. St. Louis has now registered a point in six-straight playoff games, helping to put the Rangers on the verge of the Stanley Cup Finals.

"I just got open,'' said St. Louis. "I tried to trust my instincts. I hit some good shots, he made some good saves. I was fortunate this one got by him.''

Carl Hagelin started the scoring in the first with a short-handed goal and ended up assisting St. Louis on the game winner. The two teams traded goals over the final two periods of regulation with Derick Brassard giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead after the second period. P.K. Subban tied things up on a power play two minutes into the third, helping to send the game in overtime.

In the extra frame, the Rangers controlled possession in the attacking zone. As the puck drifted its way along the boards, Montreal turned it over and Hagelin found St. Louis at the right circle. The 14-year veteran sniped one over the right shoulder of Dustin Tokarski, sending the Madison Square Garden crowd into a frenzy.

Despite giving the Canadiens six power plays, New York's penalty kill allowed just one goal in the game. The Rangers had not allowed a goal in 27 straight penalty kills prior to Subban's tying tally. Both teams had 29 shots on goal but Henrik Lundqvist made one more save than Tokarski to earn the win.

New York can clinch their first berth into the Stanley Cup Finals since winning it all in 1994 on Tuesday night. 

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Kings Rally Again to Upend Blackhawks

Kings Rally Again to Upend Blackhawks

Jeff Gross/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Jonathan Toews scored twice in the first period, but the Los Angeles Kings found a way to rally again to beat Chicago, 4-3, in Game 3 of their Western Conference Final. The Kings now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one.

Los Angeles trailed 2-0 in Game 2, but reeled off six straight goals to rout the Blackhawks and tie up the series. On Saturday, a similar effort was turned in after LA found themselves trailing 2-1 after on period. Toews opened the scoring just over five minutes in before Slava Voynov tied it up less than a minute later.

Another Toews tally gave Chicago the lead back heading in to the second period. However, the Kings scored three unanswered goals to gain a 4-2 lead midway through the third. Jeff Carter knotted the score at 2-2 12 minutes into the second. He then assisted on the go-ahead goal by Tyler Toffoli six minutes later.

"I'm having so much fun with these guys," said Toffoli, who notched his sixth goal of the postseason. "Getting to play with a guy like Carter is a great opportunity."

Drew Doughty would put the game out of reach with his second goal of the playoffs just over halfway through the third. The Blackhawks went more than 46 minutes of playing time without a goal after Toews made it 2-1 in the first. Patrick Sharp scored a meaningless goal with five seconds to play for the final score line. 

Jonathan Quick made 24 saves for the Kings while Corey Crawford stopped 28 shots in a loss. Game 4 is Monday night in California.

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Islanders Agree on Four-Year Contract with Goalie Jaroslav Halak

Islanders Agree on Four-Year Contract with Goalie Jaroslav Halak

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In hopes of solidifying their goalie situation, the New York Islanders have agreed on a four-year contract with Jaroslav Halak.

ESPN is reporting that the deal will pay Halak $18 million during the length of his new deal.

Halak was set to become a free agent this offseason, but the Islanders acquired his rights from the Washington Capitals back on May 1 for a fourth-round draft pick.

The 29-year-old Halak split time last season with the Capitals as well as the St. Louis Blues. Last season he wound up going 29-13-7 with a 2.25 GAA and a .921 save percentage.

The Islanders relied on Evgeni Nabokov, who will turn 39 in July. He went 15-14-8 last season for the Islanders with a 2.74 GAA.

For his career, Halak has gone 144-85-29 with a 2.38 GAA while a member of the Blues, Capitals, and the Montreal Canadiens.

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Galchenyuk’s OT Goal Lifts Canadiens over Rangers

Galchenyuk’s OT Goal Lifts Canadiens over Rangers

Scott Levy/NHL/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  Alex Galchenyuk scored a goal 1:12 into overtime as the Montreal Canadiens topped the New York Rangers 3-2 on Thursday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Canadiens still trail the series 2-1, but they can pull even with a Game 4 win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

Dustin Tokarski stopped 35 shots for Montreal while filling in for the injured Carey Price. He was playing in only his second career NHL playoff game, but after Thursday's performance he seems to be embracing the challenge.

"I did everything I could." said Tokarski. "I played the same game all the way. I felt more comfortable as it went along.

"So glad we overcame that late bounce and got the winner."

Daniel Briere scored with 3:02 remaining in the third period to give Montreal a 2-1 lead. After the Rangers pulled goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Chris Kreider scored to tie the game at 2 with 29 seconds to play.

The Rangers had their five-game winning streak snapped as they fell to 1-1 in overtime in these playoffs.  The Canadiens are 3-1.

"We played really well, but we just have to forget about it, move on, and get ready for the next one," Lundqvist said after stopping 22 of 25 shots.

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Carter’s Hat Trick Helps Kings Even Series with Blackhawks

Carter’s Hat Trick Helps Kings Even Series with Blackhawks

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Another day, another comeback playoff win for the Los Angeles Kings.

Jeff Carter netted a hat trick as the Kings rallied to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2 on Wednesday night to even the NHL Western Conference final at a game apiece.

Tyler Toffoli and Jake Muzzin each added goals in the Kings' five-goal third period to help Los Angeles become the first road team to win in Chicago this postseason.

The Blackhawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Carter helped ensure it would go on to be a difficult night for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"Just sticking with what we need to do," Carter said. "You know, we got a good group of leaders in our room. We've been through comebacks and whatnot a lot lately. Obviously, not something we want to do. But we stick with it, grind it out, get the job done."

Jonathan Quick made 23 saves for the Kings, including a stop on Brent Seabrook with the Blackhawks going for a 3-0 lead in the second period.

Nick Leddy and Ben Smith scored goals for the Blackhawks, who won 3-1 in Game 1.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series will be played on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

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Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin Injures Leg in World Championships

Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin Injures Leg in World ChampionshipsG Fiume/Getty Images(MINSK, Belarus) -- Washington Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin is expected to miss at least one game after sustaining a right leg injury over the weekend, which at first appeared like a potentially devastating injury. Ovechkin wa...

Rangers Top Canadiens 3-1, Take 2-0 Series Lead

Rangers Top Canadiens 3-1, Take 2-0 Series Lead

Francois Lacasse/National Hockey League/Getty Images(MONTREAL) -- Henrik Lundqvist made 40 saves as the New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference final series.

"I thought we played well, and the only reason we lost was Lundqvist," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "He stole that game."

The Canadiens found out before the game that star goalie Carey Price will miss the remainder of the postseason with a lower body injury.  In a surprising move, Dustin Tokarski started the game over backup Peter Budaj.

Ryan McDonough, Rick Nash, and Martin St. Louis all scored on Tokarski to help New York took a commanding lead in their best-of-seven series.

Max Pacioretty scored 6:14 into the first period to give Montreal a 1-0 lead.  McDonough answered with his own goal 17 seconds later to tie the game, and that was all the momentum the Rangers needed.

"We knew they were going to come hard, but we put ourselves in a tough spot there by not getting pucks out," Lundqvist said. "They were all over us.

Game 3 will be played on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

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Crawford Leads Blackhawks to 1-0 Series Lead

Crawford Leads Blackhawks to 1-0 Series Lead

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images(CHICAGO, Ill.) -- Duncan Keith scored the go-ahead goal twelve minutes into the second period, and Corey Crawford made 25 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated Los Angeles, 3-1 on Sunday. The win gave the defending champs a 1-0 series lead. 

"I think (he) just keeps getting better and better," said teammate Jonathan Toews. "As a team we have to give raising our level of play as the stage gets bigger and bigger. I think if anyone is doing that, it's (him)."

The Chicago netminder leads the NHL with a 1.90 goals against average and a .933 save percentage during the postseason. Crawford has allowed just one goal in each of his last three games.

Chicago opened the scoring on Brandon Saad's power play goal late in the first and looked to have a 2-0 lead after the puck trickled into the back of the net off the skate of Kings' defenseman Slava Voynov. However, upon video review, officials ruled that Toews made incidental contact with goalkeeper Jonathan Quick and waved off the goal.

That allowed Tyler Toffoli a chance to things up five minutes into the second period. As LA looked to take a lead, Crawford came up with multiple big saves before Keith netted his third of the playoffs. Toews would add another goal in the third to give the Blackhawks a two-goal advantage.

Quick made just 17 saves in the loss, even though his team outshot the Hawks 26-20. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks improved to 7-0 at home in the playoffs. Game 2 is set for Wednesday night in Chicago.

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Kings Rout Anaheim in Game Seven

Kings Rout Anaheim in Game Seven

Jeff Gross/Getty Images(ANAHEIM, Calif.) -- Justin Williams scored four and a half minutes in to the start of Game Seven and the Los Angeles Kings never looked back. Six different players scored as the Kings polished off the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 to advance to their third straight Western Conference Finals.

"I think we just focused on trying to have a good start," said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. "If you score the first goal it's been an advantage in this series."

So far in the NHL Playoffs, the team that scores first has won 25 of 26 games. Los Angeles has also won six straight games this postseason when facing elimination, including rallying from down 3-0 in their opening round series with San Jose.

The Kings jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period and added another goal thanks to Anze Kopitar just two minutes into the second. That chased rookie goalkeeper John Gibson but a change in net did not deter Los Angeles. Marion Gaborik would eventually score on Jonas Hiller to make the score 5-0 before Anaheim finally got on the board thanks to Kyle Palmieri.

Jonathan Quick allowed just two goals and made 25 saves in the win. Los Angeles will face the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks for the second consecutive season. The Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2012.

Friday's game also marked the end of the career of Anaheim's Teemu Selanne. Affectionately known as "The Finnish Flash", Selanne played 15 of his 21 season with the Ducks and helped bring the franchise its only championship in 2007. Both teams stayed on the ice following the game as fans in Anaheim saluted the soon-to-be retired forward.

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Canadiens Bounce Bruins from Playoffs with 3-1 Game 7 Victory

Canadiens Bounce Bruins from Playoffs with 3-1 Game 7 Victory

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images(BOSTON) --  The Montreal Canadiens are heading to the Eastern Conference finals.

Dale Weise, Max Pacioretty, and Daniel Briere all scored goals as the Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins 3-1 on Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Bruins came into the playoffs as the defending Eastern Conference champions and the NHL's top team in the regular season.  They took a 3-2 series lead after Game 5, but were unable to close out their heated rivals.

"You have an opportunity to get one step closer to the Stanley Cup," said Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban. "We deserve it. We played hard. Nothing has come easy for us all year."

Carey Price made 29 saves for the Canadiens, who will face the New York Rangers in the conference finals. Game 1 will be played on Saturday in Montreal.

"Carey Price was outstanding. Gave them a chance to win every night," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of the goalie who backstopped Canada to Olympic gold in February. "You play the way he did, it gives his team a lot of confidence and one of the keys to their success."

It's just the second time since 1993 that the Canadiens have reached the third round of the playoffs.

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Kane’s OT Goal Vaults Blackhawks into Western Conference Finals

Kane’s OT Goal Vaults Blackhawks into Western Conference Finals

Bruce Kluckhohn/National Hockey League/Getty Images(ST. PAUL, Minn.) --  Patrick Kane lives for the dramatic moments.

Kane scored the game-winning goal 9:42 into overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Minnesota Wild 2-1 in Game 6 on Tuesday night to advance to the Western Conference finals.

"He's a special player, and guys have that instinct, have that knack of finding pucks, wanting to be out there, wanting to score," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Kris Versteeg scored 1:58 into the first period to set the tone for Chicago.  Corey Crawford made 34 saves, but in the end, the story was all about Kane's heroics.

"We probably didn't play our best tonight, but just finding a way to win is something this team has done for many years now," Kane said. The 25-year-old now has four playoff overtime game-winning goals in his career.

Erik Haula scored a goal during the second period to tie the game at 1, but it wasn't enough as the Wild were eliminated from the playoffs.

"We really believe that we were capable of doing more than just winning this game," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Our guys did everything that we asked and they laid it on the line, and that's what hurts."

The Blackhawks will face either the Anaheim Ducks or the Los Angeles Kings in the next round.

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Rangers Rally to Advance to Eastern Conference Finals

Rangers Rally to Advance to Eastern Conference FinalsElsa/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) --  Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves as the New York Rangers topped the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Tuesday night to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. Brian Boyle and Brad Richards scored goals for the Rangers, w...

Scoreboard Roundup – 5/10/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 5/10/14Getty Images/Hemera(NEW YORK) -- NHL Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinals: Boston Bruins 4 - Montreal Canadiesn 2 (Bruins lead series, 3-2)  NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinals: Brooklyn Nets 104 - Miami Heat 90 (Heat lead series, 2-1) ...

Scoreboard Roundup – 5/9/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 5/9/14Getty Images/Hemera(NEW YORK) -- NHL Playoffs - Eastern Conference Second Round: New York Rangers 5 - Pittsburgh Penguins 1 (Penguins lead series, 3-2) Minnesota Wild 4 - Chicago Blackhawks 2 (Blackhawks lead series, 2-1) NBA Playoffs - Eastern Co...

Maple Leafs Extend Head Coach Randy Carlyle

Maple Leafs Extend Head Coach Randy CarlyleLen Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images(TORONTO) -- Despite an early playoff exit, the Toronto Leafs are hanging onto head coach Randy Carlyle as the two sides have agreed on an extension. Carlyle agreed on a two-year extension with the club, but assistants...

Predators Hire Peter Laviolette as New Coach

Predators Hire Peter Laviolette as New CoachLen Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images(NASHVILLE) -- The Nashville Predators have hired Peter Laviolette as their new coach, the team announced on Tuesday. He will replace Barry Trotz, who served as the Predators coach since the club’s inception into...

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