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RIP Marcel Pronovost; Isles-Caps Game 7; Price gets pranked (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:21:24 PDT)
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com . Accurate depiction of this #Flames / #Canucks series @Sean_Leahy pic.twitter.com/buU1f3n6Em — Brian Kaufman (@bkaufman729) April 26, 2015 • You can't stop the power of Scorch. • Five-time Stanley Cup winner and Hockey Hall of Famer Marcel Pronovost has passed away at the age of 84. [ Windsor Star ]  • Facing elimination tonight, can the Lightning’s big guns come through? [ Raw Charge ]  • “Through 87 games (82 regular season and five playoff games) the Lightning — who lead the NHL in goals scored — have been shutout three times. Mrazek has all three shutouts, two in the playoffs and one in the regular season.” [ Detroit News ]  • The New York Islanders have a pretty storied Game 7 history. [ Lighthouse Hockey ] • Meanwhile, home ice in Game 7s hasn’t done any good for the Washington Capitals. [ Peerless Prognosticator ]  • What's next for the Vancouver Canucks, and what can they learn from the Calgary Flames? [ National Post ] • Sam Bennett could burn a year of his entry-level contract if he plays three more playoff games. Here’s why that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Flames. [ Flames Nation ] • A sobering read by former NHL tough guy Mike Peluso on the concussion-related issues he faced during his career and after he retired. [ Globe and Mail ] • The Boston Bruins have reportedly contacted the New York Rangers about Jeff Gorton for their open GM job. [ Boston Herald ] • The Corey Griffin Pro-Am Tournament raised over $875,000 for Boston Children’s Hospital this past weekend. [ Bruins Daily ] • Dallas Eakins has appeared on the radar in the Philadelphia Flyers’ head coaching search. [ Daily News ] • Doug Wilson appears to be staying on as GM of the San Jose Sharks. So what’s the deal with his rebuild plan? [ Fear the Fin ] • Connor McDavid pulled the Nilsson/Forsberg move on Sunday during a shorthanded breakaway, and it was sweet. [ Buzzing the Net ] • It’s not just Jack Eichel who will help guide the future Buffalo Sabres. Add Sam Reinhart to that mix. [ What’s Going on in Buffalo? ] • The Sedins won’t be going to the Czech Republic to represent Sweden at the Worlds due to injury. [ Canucks Army ] • Congrats to the USA Hockey, who won gold at the U-18 World Championships thanks to an overtime goal by Colin White vs. Finland. [ USA Hockey ]  • The Las Vegas Black Knights jersey concepts keep rolling in! [ The Hockey Writers ] • Time to give up the dream of having NHL hockey, Houston. [ Houston Press ] • Who are the top 10 upcoming unrestricted free agents from a fantasy hockey standpoint? [ Dobber Hockey ] • Finally, Carey Price was fantastic in Game 6, so naturally his teammates gave him the silent treatment afterward: MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Calgary Philharmonic salutes Flames' first-round win during encore (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 27 Apr 2015 09:45:35 PDT)
The city of Calgary spent Saturday night celebrating the Flames’ series-clinching win over the Vancouver Canucks. Fans took to the streets with giant cut-out heads of Bob Hartley, Brian Burke and players as the party on the Red Mile went all night. While the celebrations were on-going, The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra had a sold out show of their own minutes away from the Saddledome and congratulated the Flames in their own special way during the encore of Carmina Burana. Via Damian Gillies : Did you ever think in your life you’d hear the names of Deryk Engelland, Josh Jooris or Brandon Bollig during a performance of O Fortuna ? Aside from showing some city pride, a number of the Philharmonic’s musicians and staff are big hockey fans, even competing in an annual playoff pool where Lord Stanley’s Nacho Platter has been handed out every postseason since 1989. We’re looking forward to the Flames eliminating the Anaheim Ducks in Round 2 and wondering how the Calgary Philharmonic can work in a Boring Monahan bit into the William Tell Overture next. Stick-tap Reddit - - - - - - - Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:    

Canucks pick Jake Virtanen suspended for headshot in WHL playoffs (Buzzing The Net)
(Mon, 27 Apr 2015 08:48:17 PDT)


What We Learned: How bad is NHL officiating in Stanley Cup Playoffs? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 27 Apr 2015 06:51:01 PDT)
(Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.) The big complaint about these playoffs is that a lot of penalties are going uncalled, and how much that's affecting play. Anecdotally, this is happening a lot. Guys get taken out of the play, or even slowed up, by a hook or obstruction in the neutral zone, and what should have been a 3-on-2 that might have resulted in a scoring chance all of a sudden becomes a 2-on-2 that very much doesn't. Now, what isn't mentioned when people complain about this stuff is that this is part of a larger trend that's been going on for a while now. In terms of what is and is not being called, it's become pretty obvious over the last few years that refs are putting the whistles away, to an extent never before seen in the league. We don't have data from earlier than 1962-63 on this kind of stuff, but this year's 3.06 power plays drawn per team per game is the lowest in that time — we're talking 52 years — by a pretty wide margin. Only 1977-78, at 3.19 power plays each comes close. So it's fair to say that refs are letting a lot go to begin with. And as a result, the number of power play goals scored per team per game has slowly slumped as well (the blue line below), while there has been next to no change in teams' ability to score on power plays (the green line is league-wide power play percentage).

Dose: Calgary burns Vancouver (Rotoworld)
(Sun, 26 Apr 2015 01:14:00 PDT)
Sunday's Dose says goodbye to the Predators and Canucks in four recaps.

NHL Three Stars: Hudler sends Flames onward; Keith's late heroics advance Hawks (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 25 Apr 2015 22:20:10 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Jiri Hudler, Calgary Flames The Flames forward was a dynamo against the Canucks in Calgary’s 7-4 come-from-behind series clinching win. He scored two goals and added two assists to help Calgary make the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04. That season the Flames went to the Stanley Cup Final. No. 2 Star, Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks The star blueliner notched his second game winning goal of the Chicago’s series against Nashville, which sent the Blackhawks into the second round in a deciding 4-3 Game 6 win over the Predators. Keith also played 28:00 and was a plus-2. His goal came at the 16:12 mark of the third period. Check out this sweet goal celebration to the tune of “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis. Maybe you’ve heard of that song a few times most recent springs. No. 3. Star: Peter Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings The Red Wings rookie goaltender stopped 28 of 28 Tampa shots on goal in a 4-0 shutout of the Lightning. The victory put the Wings up 3-2 in its series at it heads to Detroit for Game 6. It also offered a little redemption for Mrazek after Detroit blew a two-goal third period lead in Game 4  Honorable Mention: New York defenseman Nick Leddy notched two assists and was a plus-3 in the Islanders' 3-1 win over Washington … Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped 38 of 39 Caps shots on goal …  The victory forced a Game 7 … Detroit forwards Riley Sheahan, Drew Miller and Pavel Dastsyuk each scored a goal … Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson notched two assists … Chicago forward Jonathan Toews scored a goal and added two assists in the win over Nashville … Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane scored a goal and added an assist … Calgary forwards Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau each scored a goal and added two assists … Calgary’s David Jones (three assists), Matt Stajan (one goal and two assists) and Michael Ferland (two goals and one assists) also had three points for the Flames ... Watch Islanders forward John Tavares take a massive hit by Alex Ovechkin to set up the game winner.  Did You Know?: Mike Babcock’s 82nd playoff win tied him with Toe Blake for ninth all time in NHL history. He is 82-60 in the playoffs.     Dishonorable Mention: Ovechkin was a minus-3 … Tampa forward Steven Stamkos was held pointless and has just two assists in five games for the Lightning …  Chicago’s Scott Darling was yanked after allowing three goals in 12 shots on goal in the Hawks’ series clinching win over Nashville … The Predators held leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in the loss … Nashville’s Pekka Rinne stopped 28 of 32 shots on goal in the loss … Vancouver goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 26 of 31 shots on goal against the Flames … Calgary netminder Jonas Hiller was also yanked after stopping one of three shots on goal.   MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Flames come back twice to beat Canucks, move on to face Ducks (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 25 Apr 2015 22:13:41 PDT)
Just as everyone predicted, Karri Ramo was the change the Calgary Flames needed to push them over the edge and into the second round. Wait. What? Just 7:32 into the game, Bob Hartley made a decision. A decision that could have very easily blown up in his face. He decided to pull starter Jonas Hiller after 2 goals against, and replace him with backup Karri Ramo. The only playoff action Ramo had seen as of late was for five minutes of garbage time of Game 2 when the game was out of hand. About two minutes after entering the game, Ramo gave up a power play goal to Radim Vrbata, extending the Canucks lead to 3-0. From the beginning to the series to now, Calgary rookie Michael Ferland had gone from virtual unknown to that guy in the office who talks too loud on his phone (i.e. annoying) to the Canucks. So much so, the always cordial Kevin Bieksa made a comment about him after Game 2: From Sportsne t: "That Ferkland, or whatever his name is," Bieksa said, "was running around trying to get something going. It’s not the first time we’ve seen that in playoffs. We’ve played against Ben Eager and some other dumb-dumbs like that before. We know how to handle that." And handle him they did. That is, until Saturday night. Kept off the score sheet since Game 1, Ferland started the scoring for Calgary with his first playoff goal towards the end of the period.    Energized by the Ferland goal, or the crowd, or possibly an intermission untied-tie lashing by team president Brian Burke, Calgary's top line of Sean Monahan, Jiri Hudler, and Johnny Gaudreau took over offensive responsibilities in the second. It started with a goal just 1:02 into the period. Dennis Wideman sent a slapshot on net that bounced off Ryan Miller. Hudler corralled the rebound and tried a wrist shot. No go. Both incredible saves by Miller, until Sean Monahan grabbed the puck on his backhand and scored. Calgary now down 3-2. The Flames game plan for scoring on Ryan Miller has been the same since he entered the series. Get him moving from side-to-side, put as much pressure on that iffy knee as possible. Following a similar pattern to the Monahan, boy-wonder Johnny Gaudreau received a quick shot-pass from linemate Hudler on the far post and tipped it in past Miller. Game tied 3-3. The tie would be short lived. Midway through the period, much maligned Vancouver defenseman Luca Sbisa scored his first playoff goal, putting the Canucks back up by one. The score would stay 4-3 Canucks through the end of the second. All season, the third period had been where the Flames had earned their money. In the regular season, Calgary tied with Tampa Bay for the most third period goals at 99. They were third in the league with 10 wins when trailing after two periods. Calgary emerged from the locker room with that third period magic at full power. And once again, it was the top line of Hudler, Gaudreau, and Monahan who took over.  Vancouver forward Brandon MacMillan was whistled for a goaltending interference penalty at 14:35. He and the Canucks faithful were not happy about it, and they might have a point. Judge for yourself. From Steph : this was the penalty that lead to Hudler's game tying PPG. goalie interference pic.twitter.com/flpzOpcJ7c — Stephanie Vail (@myregularface) April 26, 2015 Less than a minute after the power play started. Gaudreau, Monahan, and Hudler strike on a tic-tac-toe power play goal. Flames and Canucks tied, for a second time in the game. The play was back and forth for a majority of the period. Both Miller and Ramo played one helluva game. Ultimately it would be upstart Flames who would emerge victorious. With 4:17 to go in the third, Matt Stajan nabbed his first playoff goal, and it was a HUGE one. (That's what she said.) Initially, Miller makes two incredible saves, but he couldn't get to Stajan's wrist shot out in front. Stajan waited just long enough to have a clear lane to Miller's glove side. For the first time in the entire game, the Flames were leading the game. Up 5-4, Calgary did not stop pressuring. As desperation time set in, Willie Desjardins pulled Miller for the extra attacker. The Flames went on to score two empty net goals. Hudler hit the first for his second goal of the game, and fourth point of the night. Ferland netted the next for his second goal. Flames win 7-4. For their troubles, they're GOING TO DISNEYLAND! Maybe not literally, but they'll be down the street from it at Honda Center as they take on the Ducks. Anaheim has been resting defeating the Jets this past Wednesday. Should be an interesting series. Brian Burke and Jonas Hiller versus their old club. Has to mean a little more to Hiller given the way his former coach handled the goaltending situation in last season's playoffs. We'll have more on the series as it draws near. Until then, enjoy the Ryan Miller vs. Eddie Lack 'what-if' scenarios bound to come about in Vancouver. - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Flames beat Canucks 7-4 to advance in Stanley Cup playoffs (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 25 Apr 2015 22:11:11 PDT)
The Calgary Flames never blinked after falling into a quick 3-0 hole - and the Sea of Red never stopped cheering. ''What about the crowd?'' Flames coach Bob Hartley said. Matt Stajan broke a tie with 4:17 left and Calgary beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-4 on Saturday night to win the Western Conference playoff series 4-2. I'm just happy it didn't go to overtime and we found a way here.'' Calgary will face the Anaheim Ducks in the second round.

NHL-Highlights of Saturday's National Hockey League games:
(Sat, 25 Apr 2015 21:28:17 PDT)
(Adds late games) April 25 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Saturday's National Hockey League playoff games: - - - Flames 7, Canucks 4 Calgary center Matt Stajan made the first playoff goal of his 12-year career count as the Flames secured a series-clinching 7-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Stajan notched the winner at 15:43 of the third period and the Flames won the Western Conference playoff series 4-2 to set up a second round match-up against Anaheim. After erasing a 3-0 first-period deficit, the Flames were down 4-3 in the third period when right winger Jiri Hudler tied it up and set the scene for a wild finish. The Flames peppered Canucks goalie Ryan Miller before Stajan found a loose puck and fired home the winner.

Success in NHL playoffs hinges on star players at their best (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 24 Apr 2015 23:46:10 PDT)
A group of young, emerging prospects are moving to the forefront in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Daniel Sedin and Vancouver are hoping to draw even in their first-round series against Calgary when they take on the Flames in Game 6 tonight. Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson, Nashville's Filip Forsberg and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov also are back in action in their respective series.

Success in NHL playoffs hinges on best players being stars (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:35:12 PDT)
A group of young, emerging prospects are moving to the forefront in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Daniel Sedin and Vancouver are hoping to draw even in their first-round series against Calgary when they take on the Flames in Game 6 on Saturday night. Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson, Nashville's Filip Forsberg and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov also are back in action in their respective series.

Canucks-Flames Preview (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:12:00 PDT)
The Vancouver Canucks are brimming with confidence after a season-saving win. The Calgary Flames are headed home with a chance to advance to the next round. Facing elimination on Thursday, the Canucks beat the Flames 2-1 in Game 5 to stay alive in their Western Conference playoff series. Now they are talking up the pressure on the Flames to close it out Saturday night and avoid a return trip to Rogers Arena for a winner-take-all Game 7.

NHL Three Stars: Predators, Canucks live to play another game (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:39:05 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning The Lightning looked like they were headed straight for a 3-1 series deficit when their offense finally kicked in. Johnson got the rally going with 5:26 to go, and Ondrej Palat scored the tying goal just 1:17 later. Having played a mere 2:25 in OT, Johnson was the hero sending the winner past Petr Mrazek . The series shifts back to Tampa tied 2-2.  No. 2 Star: Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators No nomination for the Calder? No problem. Forsberg scored goals when the Predators needed them the most - in an elimination game. The rookie forward picked up a hat-trick in Nashville's 5-2 win over the Blackhawks. The Preds will be playing for their playoff lives again on Saturday in Chicago. No. 3 Star: Ryan Miller, Vancouver Canucks Miller was given the honor of saving the Canucks (Canadian) bacon as they went into an elimination game against the Calgary Flames. Playing on home-turf, the goalie made 20 saves in the 2-1 win . It doesn't seem like much, but the Flames game plan was pretty clear - get Miller moving side-to-side to test that bad knee. He held up and the Canucks are headed to Calgary for Game 5. Honorable Mention: Gustav Nyquist set up his own goal by getting the puck to the offensive zone. Justin Abdelkader grabbed the puck and fired a pass over to Henrik Zetterberg who in turn sent the puck to Nyquist for the goal. Too beautiful of a play to put into words: ... Dennis Wideman and T.J. Brodie played over 27-minutes on the ice against Vancouver ... Capitals youngster Evgeny Kuznetsov notched his first and second ever playoff goals in Washington's 5-2 victory against the Islanders. With the win, the Caps pull ahead in the series 3-2 . The Isles could find themselves playing their last game at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday ... Unfortunately for other playoff teams, it appears that Patrick Kane is back to his inhuman hockey self. Check out this tremendous pass to Kris Versteeg: Not to be out done, James Neal had some showing off to do on his own: Did You Know? Forsberg's hatty is the first in Predators playoff history. Dishonorable Mention: Not the best moment for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop as he bats the puck off the cross bar and into his own net . Luckily his team would bail him out later. Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm were on the ice for all Tampa Bay goals ... Lubomir Visnovsky did not play in Game 5 after a vicious check from Tom Wilson in Game 4. After giving up 5 goals, Jaroslav Halak was pulled in favor of Michael Neuvirth for the final 11-minutes of the game ... Andrew Shaw received a double minor for roughing Paul Gaustad and an unsuspecting Seth Jones, plus a game misconduct. Given the way discipline is being handled right now, it's highly unlikely anything will come of it. - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Daniel Sedin scores game winner to keep Canucks playoff hopes alive (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:05:49 PDT)
“I knew they're not just going to give their game away and go on vacation. We knew they would be coming. I knew I would face a few shots. I thought I was able to stop quite a few good ones early and help the team to stay in it, but you can't just sit back and wait to get scored on.”  That's Jonas Hiller, goaltender for the Calgary Flames, aptly describing Game 5 between his team and the Vancouver Canucks to The Calgary Sun .  Coming into Thursday's game, the Flames had the opportunity to end the Canucks season, and they just didn't play like it. Calgary lacked the cliche "killer instinct" to stomp on the hearts of Vancouver in front of their home crowd, and lost 2-1. The game started well for the Flames as they scored 2:25 into the first. Alexander Edler and Matt Stajan chopped at a puck sent up the boards, and David Jones caught it right in front of the Canucks goaltender. Jones set the puck down on the ice and fired a wrist shot past Ryan Miller.   And that's about where the Flames lost their mojo. The Canucks controlled a majority of the play, showering Hiller with 43 shots on goal. In comparison, Miller, selected as the starter to save Vancouver's season, was met with only 21 shots. Vancouver got on the board in the second when Nick Bonino sent a snipe top-shelf on his former teammate Hiller. When the third period rolled around, it was time for some twin magic. Just 1:47 into the frame, Henrik Sedin won the face-off and got the puck to Dan Hamuis. Hamuis fired a rolling pass through traffic, and somehow Daniel Sedin buries it by Hiller. The rest of the period was controlled by Vancouver. Even when Henrik was called for hooking child up past his bedtime Johnny Gaudreau with less than five minutes to go, the Flames just didn't have their usual third period magic. The power play was unsuccessful and the Canucks have lived to play another game.  As for that other game, Mikael Backlund is old enough to know better than to create 'bulletin board material' for the Canucks. While talking to reporters in the post game, Backlund, 26, was frank ,  "There's no way we're losing at home." Sounds like a guarantee. They'd better hope the Flames from earlier in the series show up to make sure it happens. - - - - - - - Jen Neale is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow her on Twitter! Follow @MsJenNeale_PD . MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

Daniel Sedin scores tiebreaker to lift Canucks past Flames (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 23 Apr 2015 23:56:49 PDT)
After falling behind early in a must-win game, the Vancouver Canucks persevered and extended their first-round series. Daniel Sedin scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the Canucks avoided elimination Thursday night with a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 5 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series. We've had some good periods, but tonight was a 60-minute effort.'' Nick Bonino had the other goal for Vancouver, and Ryan Miller had 20 saves in his first start in the series after replacing Eddie Lack in Game 4. We created enough to win.'' David Jones scored and Jonas Hiller stopped 41 shots for Calgary, which will have to wait at least another game to secure its first series win since the team's run to the 2004 Stanley Cup final.

NHL-Highlights of Thursday's NHL playoffs games
(Thu, 23 Apr 2015 22:15:43 PDT)
(Adds late games) April 23 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Thursday's National Hockey League playoffs games. - - - Lightning 3, Red Wings 2 (overtime) Tyler Johnson's second goal of the game 2:25 into overtime completed Tampa Bay's comeback from a two-goal deficit against Detroit and tied their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at two games all. Johnson also had an assist while Ondrej Palat had a goal and a helper and goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 22 shots. The Red Wings held a 2-0 lead deep into the third period but let it slip away as the Lightning scored twice in a span of about a minute.

Dose: Lightning strike late (Rotoworld)
(Thu, 23 Apr 2015 22:05:00 PDT)
In Friday's Dose, Johnson spurs Lightning rally, a rookie leads Caps' rout, Forsberg nets a hat trick and a Sedin keeps Canucks alive.

Ryan Miller will start Game 5 for Canucks (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:11:37 PDT)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks will turn to veteran goalie Ryan Miller for Thursday's must-win Game 5 against the Calgary Flames.

Flames-Canucks Preview (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 23 Apr 2015 07:04:10 PDT)
The Calgary Flames are well aware that the most difficult win of a playoff series is the final one. Another solid performance from Jonas Hiller, however, could make that goal significantly more attainable. The Vancouver Canucks might make a change in net as they face elimination. On the brink of their first postseason series victory in more than a decade, the Flames will leave the comforts of home Thursday night and attempt to eliminate the Canucks, who could turn to Ryan Miller as they try to rebound from two lackluster performances in Calgary.

Max Lapierre fakes injury, draws penalty, is completely devious (Video) (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 23 Apr 2015 06:53:18 PDT)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are down 3-1 in their series against the New York Rangers, which means they’re one loss away from a summer of second-guessing, major re-tinkering and a full evaluation of GM Jim Rutherford’s performance. (That David Perron trade … woof.) Rutherford was tasked with adding essential depth players to the Penguins forward group, and the results have been inconsistent. But one addition has made a difference in the playoffs: Max Lapierre, the devious veteran forward, whom they acquired for Marcel Goc from the St. Louis Blues. Look, he’s not what you’d call a “measurably good player.” He was an epic drag on possession in the regular season , he had 11 points in 80 games and he only skated 11:10 per game. But he’s doing that “Max Lapierre thing” in the playoffs, which is why Rutherford acquired him: Other than Steve Downie, there’s not another crap-stirrer on the roster, not another player whose antics make an opponent’s blood boil. Case in point: Game 4 between the Pens and Rangers, and a Dominic Moore penalty that should have never been. At 17:58 of the first period, Lapierre skated over to Moore near the Penguins bench. Moore raised his arm and pushed into Lapierre’s sternum.  Lapierre then grabbed his face and leaned over the Penguins bench, feigning injury. Moore was given two minutes for roughing. How amazing was that sell job? His own teammates were concerned for his well-being! Alain Vigneault went nuts on the Rangers bench. The announcers crucified Lapierre’s antics. But again: It’s the playoffs. You win by any means necessary. Embellishment is a tactic. Diving is a tactic. The fact is that an adult film star, Lapierre’s greatest talent is faking it. Back in 2011, when the Vancouver Canucks were playing the Boston Bruins for the Stanley Cup, Lapierre had one of the Lapierre’est games of his career: Scoring the lone goal of a 1-0 win, and embellishing a spearing call against Zdeno Chara that remains an Academy Award-level performance: This led to an exchange after the game with Scott Burnside of ESPN, one that we actually just recalled with Burnside on Marek Vs. Wyshynski:   Q. Max, looked like you were mortally wounded when you had that encounter with Zdeno Chara. I wondered how you were able to carry on after that. Describe the emotion of being one win away from the Stanley Cup. MAXIM LAPIERRE:  I think we know it's going to be the biggest game of our life in Boston, and Boston is going to be ready.  We're going to have to be ready for a challenge. Ouch. If you listen to the Chara clip, you’ll hear the announcers claiming that the referees are on to Lapierre and that he has a reputation and won’t be able to get away with this stuff. THAT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO. Again, he’s a diving, conniving rat. He’s not, ahem, among our elite hockey talents – the ultimate image of him from Game 4 was lying on his stomach, watching Kevin Hayes scoring the game-winning in overtime. But for what he does, and what the Penguins needed, he’s been one of the few effective depth players in the roster in this series, love’em or hate’em. But mostly hate’em. s/t Tony Vela

NHL Three Stars: Kesler advances Ducks; Tarasenko dazzles Wild (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:49:25 PDT)
No. 1. Star: Ryan Kesler, Anaheim Ducks His two third period goals pushed Anaheim past the Winnipeg Jets and into the second round of the playoffs in a 5-2 win. Kesler notched three goals in this series, all on the road, proving his worth as an offseason acquisition for Anaheim from the Vancouver Canucks. He was also a plus-3 and won 54 percent of his face offs in Game 4.   No. 2. Star: Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues There is absolutely no way Tarasenko could pull another ‘Forsberg’ move in the middle of a game again. No … wait … he did what? Tarasenko dazzled with the below one-handed goal score in the Blues’ 6-1 blasting of the Wild. His two goals helped tie the series at 2-2. No. 3 Star: Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators In his second start of the postseason, the Senators netminder stopped 28 of 28 Montreal shots on goal to keep Ottawa alive this playoff. The series is now 3-1 in favor of the Canadiens as it heads back to Montreal for Game 5. Anderson lost his starting job down the stretch of the season to Andrew Hammond, but has now started the last two games for Ottawa in the playoffs. Honorable Mention: St. Louis defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk notched three assists in the drubbing of Minnesota … Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was a plus-4 in 20:36 of action … St. Louis forward David Backes scored one goal and added one assist … Rangers forward Kevin Hayes scored a goal in overtime to help give New York a commanding 3-1 series lead over Pittsburgh in a 2-1 win  … Rangers forward Derick Brassard also scored … Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman scored a goal in the Sens’ win … Anaheim forward Corey Perry notched two assists. Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen scored a goal and added one assists. Did You Know?: Hayes is the first Rangers rookie to score his first career playoff goal in overtime since Don Murdoch in 1978.   Dishonorable Mention: Pittsburgh forwards Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby were each held without a point in the Penguins’ Game 4 loss to the Rangers … Jets defensemen Tyler Myers and Tobias Enstrom were each a minus-3. Fellow Winnipeg blueliner Dustin Byfuglien was a minus-4 and had just one assist in the series … Minnesota defenseman Jordan Leopold and forward Jason Pominville were each a minus-3. Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk was yanked after allowing six goals on 17 shots on goal.  MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

Sweep for Stanley: Ducks' playoff quest just beginning as Jets roar out (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:16:56 PDT)
The Winnipeg Jets' return to the NHL playoffs was short but raucous, while the Anaheim Ducks are already looking ahead to Round 2 and beyond. “We didn’t come here to win one series. We came here for the whole thing."

Anaheim Ducks show playoff depth in ousting Winnipeg Jets (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:59:57 PDT)
The Winnipeg Jets were the solid upset pick in the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. Size, speed, good puck possession numbers? Add what was supposed to be an absurd home ice advantage at the white out crazed MTS Centre and the Jets seemed a tough out . But it didn’t play out that way in the first round against Anaheim. And wow was I so wrong on the prior linked column.  Though the series felt much closer than the final game score indicated, the Ducks swept the Jets out of the playoffs in a 5-2 victory Wednesday night at the MTS Centre. Via the Winnipeg Sun: “They just seemed a little more confident in one-goal games. The first three could have gone either way. For a good portion, we were in control but they were able to come back every time we got up on them,” said Jets defenceman Mark Stuart. “We just weren't able to get over the hump, but I'm proud of the way we played.” Ryan Kesler scored two third period goals in the victory, including the game winner. Overall, the Ducks top players showed up in a major way while the Jets’ best guys were mostly silent. Dustin Byfuglien was a minus-4, and Blake Wheeler and Drew Stafford scored one goal each. Corey Perry finished the series with seven points and Kesler had three goals, all scored on the road.  Love Kesler's goal celebration – it’s like wrestling villain taunting the crowd. Only he’s wearing skates and not roided up. Via the Orange County Register: Kesler scored three goals in the two road games, saying the taunts directed his way from the sellout crowd of 15,016 “energized me.” “Amazing,” Kesler said. “Especially when they’re heckling and yelling and booing. Obviously I wanted to silence this crowd tonight. And that’s what we did.” The Jets organization – which goes back to the Atlanta Thrashers, even though many Canadians seem to often forget this obvious fact – has still never won a playoff game in eight tries. They're young, strong, mostly under contract and they should be back next season. They just needed a taste of the playoffs. Per the Winnipeg Free Press on what the Jets need to do going forward: More than one pundit, this one included, picked the Jets to win this series. Were we tricked by a late-season mirage? An experienced and balanced Ducks squad made the Jets look bad. But is this a temporary case or a permanent malaise, which only amputation can correct? Today, they’re a beaten group having been exposed by a superior team with more top-end talent, poise and smarts. The Ducks showed how deep and talented they are in this series between Perry and Ryan Getzlaf on the top line and Kesler on the second center position. Now comes the big test for coach Bruce Boudreau – beating either the Calgary Flames or Vancouver Canucks to get to a conference final. Boudreau has never been past the second round as a head coach. But this Ducks team might be the deepest all-around group he’s ever had. Pressure's on Bruce (as usual) ... but enjoy this win first.  - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY

Goaltending always a mystery in NHL postseason (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:47:56 PDT)
Detroit's Petr Mrazek shut out Tampa Bay on Tuesday night - but he was pulled during the previous game with the Red Wings losing handily. Chicago, meanwhile, has taken a 3-1 series lead over Nashville thanks to backup Scott Darling, who has stopped 127 of 131 shots in three appearances. ''You've got to play good every night,'' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. ''That's how you get to be a starting goalie in the National Hockey League.

Miller or Lack? Canucks won't reveal starting goalie (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:05:35 PDT)
With the Vancouver Canucks' season on the line, coach Willie Desjardins has decided on his starting goalie for Game 5 against the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. The Canucks practiced at Rogers Arena on Wednesday, a day after a 3-1 loss in Calgary put them down 3-1 in the Western Conference first-round series. Eddie Lack played the first four games of the series, but allowed three goals on seven shots in Game 4 before getting the hook in favor of veteran Ryan Miller, who stopped all 15 shots he faced.

Vancouver's Alex Burrows out remainder of first round playoff series (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:30:20 PDT)
The Vancouver Canucks are down 3-1, which is a pretty poor spot for a team in any series. And now comes official word that Alex Burrows is out for the rest of the first round, which could only go one more game. What is Burrows’ problem? A broken rib was a report. The Canucks have not said, other than the forward, who was taken via ambulance to a Calgary area hospital after Game 4’s morning skate, is not seriously hurt but done for the first round. Though coach Willie Desjardins (from Climax, Saskatchewan, as we should always reference him) did tell reporters that Burrows’ issue was “nothing serious.” Burrows did not travel with the Canucks back to Vancouver per the team.  And with Eddie Lack being pulled in Tuesday’s playoff loss that put Vancouver in a 3-1 hole, there’s now somewhat of a goaltending controversy with Ryan Miller stepping in and stopping 15 of 15 shots on goal. Miller was the team’s starter until a late February knee injury. Who is going to start Game 5? Our money is on Miller. Changing goaltenders tends to be the ultimate panic – or genius – move. Meanwhile, the Flames are humming along with one of the best lines in hockey with Jiri Hudler, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. They’re in control of this series, and the Canucks are falling apart. - - - - - - - Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @joshuacooper MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

NHL-Highlights of Tuesday's NHL games
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 02:31:17 PDT)
(Adds later games) April 21 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Tuesday's National Hockey League games: - - - Blackhawks 3, Predators 2 (triple overtime) Chicago goalie Scott Darling played like an All-Star, while defenseman Brent Seabrook's goal exactly one minute into a third overtime led the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in a four-plus hour game on Tuesday at the United Center. The Blackhawks now lead the Predators 3-1 in the best-of-seven first round Western Conference playoff series. ...

Dose: After the Marathon (Rotoworld)
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 01:24:00 PDT)
Pondering the Blackhawks beating the Predators in a triple-OT classic and more in Wednesday's Hockey Dose.

NHL Three Stars: Mrazek blanks Bolts; Hawks, Caps win in OT (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 22 Apr 2015 00:12:11 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings   The Detroit goalie bounced back from getting pulled in Game 2 with a 22-save shutout over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3. He made a Pavel Datsyuk first-period goal stand up until Riley Sheahan made it 2-0 in the third. Detroit won the game, 3-0, and leads the series 2-1. No. 2 Star: Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks Seabrook’s goal one minute into triple overtime gave the Blackhawks the 3-2 win and the 3-1 series lead over the Nashville Predators. It’s his second goal of the playoffs. No. 3 Star: Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals Backstrom assisted on Alex Ovechkin’s first-period goal and then scored the OT game-winner for the Caps in their 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. Braden Holtby made 36 saves in their Game 4 win, going back to D.C. tied at 2-2. Honorable Mention: Jiri Hudler had a goal and an assist while Johnny Gaudreau scored his first of the playoffs in the Calgary Flames’ 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4, going up 3-1. … Colin Wilson scored his fourth of the postseason.    Did You Know? Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith made his 2015 playoff debut after being a healthy scratch in the first two games. (NHL.com) Dishonorable Mention: Tampa was 0-for-6 on the power play. …  Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy were minus-2. … Eddie Lack was pulled in after the first period, giving up three goals on seven shots. MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY  

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