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The Big Rig comes up huge for Oshawa in Memorial Cup win over Rimouski (Yahoo Sports)
(Sun, 24 May 2015 07:25:48 PDT)
Hunter Smith redeemed himself for an earlier penalty by scoring the game-winner for the Generals against the QMJHL-champion Oceanic on Saturday.

Oshawa Generals edge Rimouski Oceanic 4-3 at Memorial Cup (Buzzing The Net)
(Sat, 23 May 2015 15:09:09 PDT)


How the Ducks soared so far this postseason (Puck Daddy)
(Sat, 23 May 2015 12:02:37 PDT)
Before Anaheim's Western Conference Final series with the Blackhawks, the Ducks were seen as a pretty good team and an even match for Chicago.  Now, after three games in the Western Conference Final and a 2-1 series lead, one has to wonder if the Ducks were underrated going into this match up. Anaheim is 10-2 in these playoffs. One loss was against Calgary, and came off a fluky set of events that led to an OT winner. Anaheim’s other defeat was in triple overtime against the Blackhawks in Game 2 that was a post or two from a Ducks win. Twelve games two losses, and it took extra sessions to beat Anaheim, which goes into Game 4 at Chicago up 2-1 in its series. It doesn’t take a ton of advanced metrics to know that’s pretty good. Though we will get into some of the advanced stuff further down in the story.  “The will on this team, I've said all year from day one, you could see it in training camp, you could see it in the pre-season games,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “You guys would talk to me and say there's a different aura about this group. We haven't won anything, but there is a resiliency that's as good as most.” Center Ryan Getzlaf and winger Corey Perry are both tied for the second-most points this playoff with 16. Second-line winger Jakob Silfverberg has turned into a two-way threat with 13 points in 12 games.  Frederik Andersen has a 1.75 goals against average and .935 save percentage. After that triple overtime letdown against Chicago, he came back with 27 saves on 28 Blackhawks shots on goal. When he has been beaten this postseason, rarely has it looked bad. The Ducks lead the playoffs with 3.58 goals per-game. They’ve allowed a postseason best 1.92 goals per-game. Their CF% is 51.91 per Natural Stat Trick. Their SAT close is plus-47 according to the NHL's enhanced stats site. Why is this? Size? Strength? Speed? Depth? Probably all of the above. “I think we got bigger this year. Our depth got stronger. Our D got bigger. They're a little bit harder to play against in our zone and throughout the series,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. There are so many reasons why this Ducks team is tough, beyond the aforementioned facts.  They’re healthy, and they can confidently roll four lines, which is a huge advantage this deep in the playoffs. Plus, coach Bruce Boudreau has players on his bench he can use if he wants to change the look on his bottom pairs or forwards. Jiri Sekac has been excellent this series, after sitting out the first two rounds of the playoffs.  If any of Boudreau’s D get hurt, he can counter with James Wisniewski, who has yet to play this playoff.  Who knew the Ducks were this good besides themselves? Having talent is one thing, having the right mindset to win in the playoffs is another. So many teams are even. Though the Ducks had better personnel than the Calgary Flames, a bounce or two could have changed that second-round series. Winnipeg was a sexy upset pick to beat the Ducks in the first-round, but was swept.  The Blackhawks are a veteran group that’s won two Stanley Cups since 2010. They know a good team when they see one, and they know going back to Anaheim down 3-1 could spell catastrophe for their playoff run.  “We've done it in the past before. It's never a situation you want to be in, especially with a team like Anaheim, the caliber they have on that team. They're a deep team, they're deadly,” Chicago forward Brandon Saad said. “We don't want to get in a position where we have to fight and crawl out of a hole. We want to even it up and score on home ice here.” Granted, all teams are prone to stinkers, even in the playoffs. The Ducks included. A horrible loss in Game 4 on Saturday at United Center and the complexion of the series changes again. But that’s just the nature of the postseason. At this moment, few teams have played better this postseason than Anaheim. - - - - - - - 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

Rimouski Oceanic-Oshawa Generals Memorial Cup chatravaganza, Saturday 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT! (Buzzing The Net)
(Sat, 23 May 2015 09:31:45 PDT)


After triple-OT defeat, determined Ducks pass character test with Game 3 win over Blackhawks (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 21 May 2015 22:14:43 PDT)
The Anaheim Ducks held on for a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference final, two days after the 'Hawks outlasted the Ducks in a triple-overtime thriller.

NHL-National Hockey League roundup
(Tue, 19 May 2015 17:29:46 PDT)
The Edmonton Oilers filled their head coaching vacancy on Tuesday, naming Todd McLellan to the position. The 47-year-old McLellan guided the San Jose Sharks to six playoff appearances and two Western Conference finals in seven years. - - Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is ready to make a decision about his future, and an announcement is expected Wednesday.

Ducks say Freddie Andersen 'good and steady' this playoff (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 18 May 2015 15:16:21 PDT)
ANAHEIM, Calif. – So far Frederik Andersen has mostly been known as a goaltender who is just ‘good enough’ for Anaheim to sweep the Winnipeg Jets in the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and take out the Calgary Flames in five games of the second-round. It wasn’t really until Andersen’s absurd paddle save on Patrick Kane in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final where you had to take a step back and say to yourself ‘maybe this guy is a little better than we initially thought.’ “He picked up a loose puck there. I didn't really see how much time he had at the beginning. I played aggressive, but he was patient, tried to get me moving laterally,” Andersen said. “I knew I had to try to throw my stick over and take as much of the net as I could. Luckily he hit the stick.”  C’mon dude, give yourself a little more credit than saying that Kane just flung the puck at your stick. Andersen’s inability to give up on the play took away that path for Kane and led to the save of the game. In Anaheim's 4-1 victory, Andersen stopped 32 of 33 Blackhawks shots on goal. The only score was a near-perfect shot by Brad Richards off a bad Francois Beauchemin turnover.  In goaltending when athleticism, positioning and mental toughness come together, solid netminding tends to be the end result. Has Andersen reached that level yet? It’s tough to tell simply because the body of work isn’t there. But he certainly appears headed in that direction.  “I think he's getting more confidence,” Ducks coach Brude Boudreau said. “He's played through two rounds now. He's seen the pressure that comes with it.” And the pressure that comes with just making it in the NHL. Andersen wasn’t exactly handed an NHL job. In some sense, he’s like Pekka Rinne or Henrik Lundqvist – a European goaltender who had to adjust to become a solid pro goaltender in North America. According to a story by NHL.com earlier this year, it was noted that Andersen has lost about 20 pounds down to 235 from 255 when he started in the Ducks organization. While 235 isn't exactly a low number for a 6-foot-3 goaltender (for example the 6-foot-5 Rinne weighs 204), there is precedent for prolific larger goalies from a movie near and dear to this organization's heart.  The 25-year-old native of Herning, Denmark was drafted in the third round in 2012 by Anaheim and played 28 games a rookie a year ago. This season he played 54 with a 2.38 goals against average and .914 save percentage. Via the piece by Kevin Woodley : Andersen recognized during his first rookie camp that he needed to improve his conditioning. So instead of getting on a return flight to Denmark, he spent the rest of the summer in Anaheim working with Roloson's former coach, Scott Prohaska, a nationally recognized strength consultant based in Newport Beach, Calif. "It was an investment in myself," Andersen said, "and it paid off." Andersen now spends summers training in California, and it has given him more power on his already smooth lateral movements, especially from the knees. Coming into the Western Conference Final, Andersen and Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford were on equal footing. Both were fine, but neither was deemed a gamechanger. As Crawford has dealt with all sorts of ups and downs this playoff, including being yanked in parts of Chicago’s first-round win over Nashville, Andersen has stayed stable with a 1.86 goals against average and .930 save percentage. The Ducks haven’t exactly played the postseason’s best competition so far, but Andersen has made all the necessary stops. “Freddie’s been good and steady for us all the time,” Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “He makes most of the saves that he should and some that he shouldn’t. Those are what you need out of your goaltender. When you can take a team like that and keep them to the outside more and not allow them those second and third opportunities, we have faith in our goalie.” Part of this has to do with the strange amount of confidence Boudreau has shown in Andersen, which has been somewhat by default. An injury to 1Aish goaltender John Gibson at the end of the regular season forced Boudreau, who is known to play postseason goaltender roulette, to go with Andersen.  What will happen if Andersen has two straight stinkers and the Ducks find themselves down 2-1 to Chicago going into Game 4? In his limited sample size, has he earned the right to stay in net for the Ducks? Or will all doubt be silenced if he wins a Stanley Cup? “He's another year older. He now knows what to expect from himself,” Boudreau said. “He's not afraid of the league.” - - - - - - - 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   

What We Learned: Why is Rick Nash so bad in the playoffs? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 18 May 2015 08:05:40 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.)   Each year, the New York Rangers make the playoffs. Each year, Rick Nash is criticized for not producing. This kind of thing is common in hockey, of course. Sidney Crosby has faced it. Alex Ovechkin has faced it. If you put up a lot of points in the regular season and then not-a-lot in the playoffs, especially if your team is unceremoniously bounced, then you get called out. No one would ever mistake Nash for a player of Crosby’s or Ovechkin’s level; he’s long been an All-Star but never has he been in the conversation for “best in the world."  But as far as Rangers go, he’s certainly the best they’ve got up front. He averages 0.47 goals per game over his career on Broadway, and he’s pushing 400 in the regular season since he broke into the league in 2002. Not world-beating, but always respectable, and when he’s got actual talent around him —which he does to some extent with the Rangers —he can produce. He has eight 30-goal performances out of his 11 full seasons. The playoffs have been a different story, as everyone has learned time and again when watching pregame, between-periods, and postgame chats on the Rangers’difficulties putting the puck into the net in each of the last three postseasons (during which time they’ve always advanced at least to the second round). Nash has 50 playoff games in New York. He also has just six goals, or 0.12 per game. It’s a major problem. But the question, then, is whether this is just another Ovechkin/Crosby/Stamkos run of bad luck; that is to say: Those players basically play at the same level and have suffered playoff difficulties because of hot goalies, bad luck, and maybe a few undisclosed injuries, so does Nash fall into the same boat? And if you look at his even-strength performances in both the regular- and postseason in his career —Nash has only made it four times due to having languished in Columbus so long —you see the drop-off at 5-on-5 is about as stark as can be. (These numbers include only the first two rounds this year, and worse performances are indicated in red, better in green.)

Ducks' depth halts Blackhawks stars in Game 1 victory (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 17 May 2015 16:52:42 PDT)
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The stars in Anaheim’s locker room were strangely absent after the Ducks’ 4-1 vanquishing of the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final.  Guys like Kyle Palmieri, Andrew Cogliano and Nate Thompson had massive media scrums around them asking about beautiful looking scoring plays from their conquest. This is not normal for Anaheim, a team with Hart Trophy winner (and playoff leading scorer) Corey Perry and star centers Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. All three have contributed in some form or fashion in Anaheim’s nine playoff wins this season. Sunday afternoon against Chicago, the Ducks showed their depth with their lower lines leading the way against the stifled Blackhawks. Right now, the Ducks are healthy, and they’re deep – which as Chicago of the two Stanley Cups since 2010 knows, is a powerful combination in the playoffs. “We’ve always had pretty good depth throughout the season,” said Thompson, who was a heat-seeking third line missile on the forecheck during the game. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve been successful all year and throughout the playoffs when one line isn’t scoring another line picks it up, and manages to pick up the slack for the other guys.”  Hampus Lindholm’s opening score, assisted by Jakob Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey, was really the only goal by Anaheim’s top-six forwards, unless you count the empty netter by Silfverberg assisted by Getzlaf. Palmieri’s rocket over Corey Crawford’s glove for Chicago made the game 2-0 for the Ducks 4:17 into the second. Brad Richards’ goal late in the second period put the game at 2-1, but really it was the only huge slip-up by the Ducks, who kept Chicago’s big guns in check. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad were all held without a point.   Kane had a great first period chance that Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen deflected out of play at Honda Center. Toews won a one-on-one battle from his behind in the first, which was actually really impressive, but also was kept quiet. “That’s one of the best parts of their team is they have that depth,” Kane said. “They have four lines that can score goals. That’s one of our strengths too. They obviously had the edge in that department tonight.” Kane also referred to the Ducks as the “best team we’ve faced yet.” The same could be said of Chicago for the Ducks, who’ve breezed through these playoffs with a sweep of the Winnipeg Jets in the first-round and a 4-1 series win over the Calgary Flames in the second-round. They haven’t faced threats like Toews, Kane and the embarrassment of riches up-and-down Chicago’s lineup. The Blackhawks have depth at forward and stars on D, but Anaheim is built differently. There are few match-ups that coach Bruce Boudreau needs to hide from. Forward Jiri Sekac played the fewest amount of minutes for Anaheim with 9:00 – which is pretty normal for a fourth line forward. Chicago used defenseman Kimmo Timonen for just 5:15. David Rundblad, another defender who is stepping in for the injured Michal Rozsival played just 10:45, and was beat on Palmieri’s goal. Feeling the need to hide defensemen this deep in the playoffs is a bad sign. Fortunately for Chicago, it has the talent to overcome this, or at least it has so far in these playoffs. Also, per War on Ice , Chicago obliterated Anaheim 70-53 from a Corsi perspective. Andersen stopped 32 of 33 Chicago shots on goal. The puck possession was there, the final execution was not.  Then again, you could say the same about Getzlaf, Perry and Kesler. If they produce in Game 2, and the Ducks get similar performances out of Cogliano, Palmieri, Thompson and the rest of the lower two lines, how will Chicago counterpunch? Hope that Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger and Antoine Vermette pick up their play as well, is the best answer. “They have four lines that play, and three really skilled lines that can score at any time,” Cogliano said. “It needs to be guys like myself and guys in the lower end of the lineup that need to play like we can.”  - - - - - - - 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

Puck Daddy predicts the Stanley Cup Conference Finals (Puck Daddy)
(Fri, 15 May 2015 13:46:18 PDT)
It’s the Tampa Bay Lightning against the New York Rangers in the East, and the Chicago Blackhawks against the Anaheim Ducks in the West, as the Stanley Cup Playoffs reach the conference final round! Who wins? Glad you asked. Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy Editor Lightning in 7 Blackhawks in 7 I'm sticking with my Lightning-Blackhawks final prediction from before the playoffs. While Henrik Lundqvist has been amazing in these playoffs, his teammates have had a hard time scoring. You can't win every game 2-1, and facing a Lightning offense that has been rolling thanks to "The Triplets," all while waiting for Steven Stamkos to get going, will give the Rangers fits.  Ben Bishop will be under the microscope again this series as his counterpart does what he does on a regular basis. Bishop's played well despite moments to forget through two rounds. As long as he doesn't fall apart, the Lightning should continue their run and get back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2004. Despite picking them to rep the West pre-playoffs, part of me wants to go with the Anaheim Ducks here. This isn't your typical Bruce Boudreau team that flames out in the playoffs. These Ducks have been dominant through nine games and but Chicago's depth has brought them success in the past and will do so at least one more time.  Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf has led the way, but can Patrick Maroon, Jakob Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey continue what they've done? Aside from Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks know they can rely on Patrick Sharp, Marian, Hossa, and Brandon Saad for secondary scoring, while hoping Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell can channel their previous playoff production. We're about to get two weeks of fantastic hockey. Jen Neale, Puck Daddy Editor Lightning in 7 Blackhawks in 7 I honestly have no idea who has the better chance at winning this series because I counted both teams out long ago. I went with a gut feeling. I see Tampa as a sleeper because they can outscore their opponents into submission. Look at what they did to Carey Price! Henrik Lundqvist is back to his old form, but his team isn’t providing him the run support needed to keep up with Tampa. No Rangers player has more than 8points total in the playoffs; Tampa has five players with 8 points or more. As much as it pains me to admit it, the Blackhawks are the better team in this series. Their depth scoring far outweighs the Ducks, who will put up a fight, but ultimate fall due to their inability to win Game 7 at home. Playoff numbers-wise the Ducks are better in most categories, but they haven’t faced the quality of competition that Chicago brings. And really, if Tampa wins in the East, is the NHL going to let Anaheim win the West? That is a Stanley Cup Final ratings disaster waiting to happen. /takes off tinfoil hat. Josh Cooper, Puck Daddy Editor Lightning in 6 Ducks in 6 The Blackhawks will be Anaheim’s greatest test this playoff, but I think the Ducks will prevail. The Ducks have the best 1-2 center punch left in the postseason. Their defense goes three pairs deep. Frederik Andersen has been steady the whole playoff. Coach Bruce Boudreau has kept his emotions in check. The Blackhawks seem to always figure out a way to win and have that sort of mojo about them. But the Ducks seem primed and ready for this challenge. Except for maybe a couple of minutes in Game 3 against Calgary in the second-round, they’ve been the most focused team in the NHL these playoffs. Jon Cooper is a smart tactician and a mindful coach. He’ll figure out ways to maximize his teams’ speed against an equally fast group of Rangers. All teams are exhausted in the playoffs, but that Washington second-round seven-game series probably took a toll on New York. It was physical and gut-wrenching.  Tampa did go six games against Montreal in Round 2, but it held a 3-0 lead before the Canadiens won two straight games. It wasn’t nearly as tough as New York’s second-round comeback from down 3-1. Also, the absence of shifty forward Mats Zuccarello will really hurt New York against a speed team like the Lightning. Ryan Lambert, Columnist Lightning in 7 Blackhawks in 7 I literally flipped a coin on these. I see very little difference between the two teams in the East, in terms of the likelihood they win this series. Basically it boils down to: Is Lundqvist enough to cancel out the Tampa offense? That's it. The Rangers can't really score too well and Ben Bishop has been pretty damn good in this postseason, so I have little faith that there's going to be some huge breakthrough for Rick Nash and Co. But Lundqvist is playing some of the best hockey of his life these days and the Tampa offense has occasionally faltered. God help them if Steven Stamkos gets going, though. God help us all if that happens. Out West, Anaheim and Chicago are, I think, still viewed a little bit through the prism of what they have been rather than what they are. The matchups at the top of each lineup are fascinating; does Boudreau go Getzlaf and Perry against Toews and Hossa, or does he put the Kesler group out there to shut them down and hope his Big Bads can push Brad Richards around? No doubt Corey Crawford can outduel Frederik Andersen, but the Ducks are scoring a lot of goals in this postseason and that's a major cause for concern. Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, Fantasy Columnist Rangers in 6 Ducks in 7 The Lightning probably lack the experience to take this over the top. The Rangers, meanwhile, were just in the Final last year and I believe that experience counts for something. Rangers/Ducks were my Cup Final picks before the postseason began, so I should stick with those teams. But the Blackhawks have put a scare in me, that's for sure. That series has the potential to be absolutely epic. Right now the Hawks seem unbeatable - it's only loyalty to my original pick that has me still hanging my hat on Anaheim. Sam McCaig, Yahoo Hockey Editor Rangers in 5 Ducks in 7 It's the Rangers' veteran experience versus the Lightning's youthful exuberance -- and we're going with the old guys. New York made it to the Stanley Cup Final last spring and followed up with the Presidents' Trophy this season. The Rangers are built for the playoffs, with great goaltending and a stout defense corps, plus a championship blend of skill and grit up front. The Lightning's best chance to emerge rests with Ben Bishop outdueling Henrik Lundqvist -- not impossible, but not likely. A great matchup between two high-octane teams, and it's a true toss-up. We'll take the Ducks in a series that goes the distance -- but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final because, hey, they're the Blackhawks. The Getzlaf-Perry line is a beast, and Anaheim can come back with Ryan Kesler on the second unit. The Ducks are deep and mobile on defense and Frederik Andersen has been solid in net. Not to mention, Anaheim is pretty rested for a team in the conference final after sweeping the Jets in Round 1 and eliminating the Flames in five games in Round 2. Nick Cotsonika, Yahoo Sports columnist Rangers in 7 Blackhawks in 6 Why Rangers in seven? Because winning seven-game series is what they do, and they have the best goaltender left in the playoffs. They've been here before. The Bolts are skilled and deep. They're a legit Cup contender. But they're still growing.  The Ducks were built to beat the Kings, the team that has rivaled the Blackhawks and beat them in an epic series last year. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are elite, and Ryan Kesler gives them a great one-two punch at center, an advantage in this matchup. But the Ducks struggle with speed, and the Hawks have speed and even more depth, not to mention experience. Greg Wyshynski, Puck Daddy Editor Lightning in 7 Blackhawks in 6 Yeah, I say the Lightning buck the roughly 10,000 Game 7 trends in the Rangers’ favor and the Blackhawks find a way to slow the Ducks’ various attacks. Lightning vs. Blackhawks for the Cup. Please begin writing your Brad Richards think pieces now. 

Different routes lead to same Stanley Cup destination
(Fri, 15 May 2015 11:39:14 PDT)
The East's New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning have endured a long and bumpy road to reach the last four of the Stanley Cup playoffs while the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have barely been tested in the West. The Western Conference's top-seeded Ducks needed nine games, one over the minimum, to get through the first two best-of-seven rounds after sweeping the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 and dispatching the Calgary Flames in five games.

NHL-Different routes lead to same Stanley Cup destination
(Fri, 15 May 2015 11:32:30 PDT)
(Corrects fourth paragraph to show Chicago beat Nashville, not St. Louis) By Steve Keating May 15 (Reuters) - The East's New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning have endured a long and bumpy road to reach the last four of the Stanley Cup playoffs while the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have barely been tested in the West. The Western Conference's top-seeded Ducks needed nine games, one over the minimum, to get through the first two best-of-seven rounds after sweeping the Winnipeg Jets 4-0 and dispatching the Calgary Flames in five games.

Stanley Cup Playoff Preview: Western Conference Final (Puck Daddy)
(Thu, 14 May 2015 18:57:45 PDT)
For the third straight year, the Chicago Blackhawks will play a team in the Southern California area for the Western Conference championship and the chance to look really weird not touching the Clarence Campbell Bowl.

Ducks' Perry misses another practice, but should play Sunday (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 14 May 2015 16:21:10 PDT)
Corey Perry has missed his second straight practice with the Anaheim Ducks to rest for the Western Conference finals. Perry stuck to a stationary bike Thursday, but coach Bruce Boudreau expects him to play when the Ducks open the series Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Perry is the top scorer in the Stanley Cup playoffs with 15 points in nine games for the Ducks, who went 8-1 in the first two rounds. Perry left Game 5 against the Flames last Sunday after a leg-on-leg hit from Calgary's Matt Stajan in the second period, but returned moments later.

Eulogy: Remembering the 2014-15 Calgary Flames (Puck Daddy)
(Wed, 13 May 2015 13:21:42 PDT)


Chicago vs. Anaheim Preview (Rotoworld)
(Wed, 13 May 2015 10:10:00 PDT)
Ryan Dadoun takes a look at the Western Conference Final.

Montreal comeback?; Therrien's future; Rangers in Game 7s (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 12 May 2015 10:07:00 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 .  

Why Calgary Flames can't buy their own hype (Trending Topics) (Puck Daddy)
(Tue, 12 May 2015 06:22:25 PDT)
So the Calgary Flames were eliminated on Sunday night and that's fair enough. The Anaheim Ducks were and are a much better team. But the important part here is the lesson they can take from that opponent. For the last few years, the Ducks were criticized heavily for their inability to get too deep in the playoffs. They'd rack up a bunch of points in the regular season (an average of 102 per 82-game season in the last four) then lose in the playoffs, often in embarrassing fashion, and then work to figure things out over the summer with little success. It wasn't until this year, when a stock of young talent shored up the team's depth while Bob Murray went out and got a legitimate, defensively responsible No. 2 center in Ryan Kesler to help ease the usage on the Ryan Getzlaf/Corey Perry duo. And it worked. The Ducks posted the third-best regular season in franchise history, and have now gone 8-1 in two playoff series (albeit against a banged-up Jets team and a poor Flames club). While it's tough to say they're better than Chicago, they're certainly better positioned to give a team of such power a legitimate run for their money. Murray continually tried to identify areas of weakness in his club, and despite the fact that they finished with a franchise-record 116 points, he actually went out and made a significant, bold move to further improve the club, swapping out a No. 1 pick, a mediocre defenseman, and a 20-goal-scoring 25-year-old center who many thought could be a major contributor going forward. The Ducks got the better of that deal by far. Now, the Ducks learned this lesson the hard way over a period of a handful of years: Just because you have good regular seasons built on success in the percentages doesn't guarantee you're all that close to a Cup. Last year was the first one in four in which the Ducks advanced out of the first round. This is the first time they've moved out of the second since they won the Stanley Cup eight years ago. Put another way, the Ducks weren't convinced that just because they got good regular seasons and then were bounced unceremoniously from the playoffs didn't mean they were actually Cup-competitive. And that's a pitfall the Flames need desperately to avoid. The biggest question, then, is whether they buy their own hype. All season the mantra out of Calgary has been that hard work and good systems were what led to the amount of success they had relative to expectations; most people had them picked to finish in the Edmonton-Buffalo-Arizona area but they knocked down 97 points to finish with the eighth-most points in the Western Conference. Many have noted that this shows that a team so young may not have been smart enough (or whatever line of BS the media decided to shovel about them) to believe they were as bad as they ought to have been, or that Bob Hartley's systems — which were not very effective last season — were somehow revelatory this year. It's been said a lot, but the Flames are now the latest team to “solve corsi” and figure out how to drive “shot quality” long-term. And while you'd have to say that they kept up the mystique of that notion longer than the Maple Leafs or Avalanche did in the two years prior, reality did come crashing down around them in this second round, all afire. Average attempts per game in the five-game series came to about 48.8-39.4, a huge difference even if it doesn't look like one (by way of comparison, the Rangers/Caps series is currently at about 54.8-53.5). But the thing is, apart from Game 1 all these games were close enough that a team like Calgary, a team with Brian “Analytics Are Like a Lamppost for a Drunk” Burke at the helm, might be able to say they deserved better. Excluding empty nets, after all, the Flames were only outscored 11-8 after that initial blowout. And given Burke's stated fascination with adding “beef” around smaller skill players with high ceilings like Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau, one wonders about the mandate Brad Treliving will have this summer. The good news is that Treliving has made a lot of comments that indicate he might believe this is all a mirage, but could also be interpreted as simply seeing the team as being “ahead of schedule” in this admitted rebuild. If he actually means the latter, that strikes me as deeply troublesome. The Flames are the worst possession team to make the playoffs since they invented the shootout, and that infamous corsi share of 44.5 was infamously third-worst in the league. They got by on the fifth-highest PDO in the league, and most of the teams ahead of them (apart from second-worst corsi team Colorado, who were predictably awful) got elite-level goaltending from elite-level goaltenders. Only Tampa had a higher shooting percentage. And so Treliving has to ask himself: What happens when 10.5 percent shooting regresses to the league average of 8.9 percent? If the Flames take the same number of shots next season (a 28th-best 2,252) and only shoot in the neighborhood of this year's league average — let's be nice and say 9 percent — their goals-for number drops from 237, which was tied for sixth in the NHL, to about 203. That's a loss of 34 goals, and given that we know about 5.5 goals worth of goal differential equals a win, that costs the Flames a little more than 12 points in the standings. They go from a 97-point team to an 85-point team. And look at the situations in which they exceeded the league average:

With Blackhawks, Ducks there's no shortage of star power (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 11 May 2015 15:41:23 PDT)
No team in the NHL is on a bigger roll than the Anaheim Ducks and none is more tested than the Chicago Blackhawks. These two powerhouses are about to meet in a Western Conference final full of star power and intriguing matchups. ''It's going to be one heck of a series,'' Ducks captain Corey Perry said. They've got a lot of speed, a lot of skill, and you've got to be ready to step in front of them and eliminate their time and space, and if we do that, we'll be all right.'' The top-seeded Ducks just might be the deepest and most physical team in the conference, if not the NHL, but they haven't won a Stanley Cup since 2007 - the last time they got advanced past the second round.

Were the Calgary Flames a fluke this season? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 11 May 2015 14:34:06 PDT)
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Calgary Flames were the lesser team in their second-round playoff tilt against the Anaheim Ducks. They were younger, less experienced, less prolific … oh and their advanced stats weren’t great – which is  always the case it seems. But were they a fluke, or are they a team with staying power? Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau seemed to think the latter.  “You give that big line a chance and they put it in, and (Johnny) Gaudreau scares you every time he touches the puck,” Boudreau said. “I think they’re a team that in the future when those guys get a little bit more experienced (depending on) what they do in the offseason as a team … is going to be very good next year. “ Just the eyeball test would indicate that this could indeed happen. Between Gaudreau, center Sean Monahan of the 31 goals, rookie Sam Bennett and forward Micheal Ferland, this Flames team has a nice little core up front.  Mark Giordano will be solid next season on defense, though Calgary’s depth on the lower pairs of its blueline is ‘meh’ at best.  But really was this a team that just needed a taste of the playoffs to move forward, or is it next year’s Colorado, which made the postseason and then fell off as many predicted. Unlike the Avalanche, which doubled-down on its philosophies and missed the playoffs this year – though they did have a ton of injuries – the Flames have the chance to adapt. They saw first-hand what a big, strong team that possesses the puck like Anaheim can do through a seven-game series. Calgary was a garbage goal here and there from winning maybe one more game, but that type of play was unsustainable against the Ducks, and probably wouldn’t have led to a 3-1 'games deficit' comeback or a series victory over Chicago in the next round.  There’s something that needs to be changed. Do they know this, or are they going to continue the same principles? Even for a hockey writer who sits in the press box, it was clear this type of rope-a-dope style without a game-stealing goaltender couldn’t sustain. The management group surely knows this . Flames coach Bob Hartley may have his series of detractors around the league, but he has been around hockey long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. “The investment that we put into those young players in the playoffs, whether against the Canucks or this one against the Ducks, it’s priceless,” Hartley said. “Now they know how hard you need to suffer to win some games. The pace, how unbelievable the pace is. Now they know. It doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed success. It’s another page in our book. Obviously I liked the way this group moved forward this year. We still have a long way to go. This playoffs was a huge investment for them and also for the entire organization.” What can the Flames do this offseason to improve? It may sound crazy, but Jiri Hudler, the team’s leading scorer is going to be an unrestricted free agent after next season. He’s 31 years old and makes $4 million – which is actually reasonable. But do you deal him when his value is high to get multiple pieces that can help? He just set a personal best by 19 points with 76 in 2014-15.  In all honesty, that’s a better question for the Flames to have this summer than bemoaning a loss in the draft lottery, which is where we all expected them at the start of the year.  - - - - - - - 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

Matthews' future; Habs vs. history; Kovalchuk's no-look goal at Worlds (Puck Headlines) (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 11 May 2015 11:13:26 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 .  @Steve_Dangle Actual NHL headline tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/OtP2Gcx1Sx — Sascha Lichtenstein (@justcrazyenough) May 11, 2015 • Of course the Mighty Ducks movies predicted this.  • Despite a report that 2016 top prospect Auston Matthews will play in Switzerland next season, no decision has been made on his future. [ Buzzing the Net ]  • A great visual breakdown of the Montreal Canadiens’ success on the power play vs. Tampa. [ Habs Eyes on the Prize ] • The Canadiens are halfway to making history, something they haven't done in a long time. [ Grantland ] • Fun read about a Tampa Bay Lightning fan making the trek to Montreal for Game 5. [ Raw Charge ] • What’s been sinking the Washington Capitals? Slow starts. [ Washington Post ] • “In the future, that’s a team that’ll be very, very good.” On the impressive run of the Calgary Flames. [ Calgary Herald ] • It’s playoff time; so where’s Bryan Bickell been for the Chicago Blackhawks? [ Second City Hockey ] • The Ottawa Senators won the Matt O’Connor sweepstakes, signing the free agent netminder out of Boston University to a two-year deal. [ The 6th Sens ] • Speaking of the goaltending situation in Ottawa, it’s expected Andrew Hammond will be offered a two-year deal. [ Ottawa Sun ]  • Is Corey Perry on track for enshrinement in the Hockey Hall of Fame? [ The Hockey Guys ] • A couple of Chicago Blackhawks fans took brooms to their Minnesota college class on Friday to celebrate the series sweep. [ DNA Info ] • What now for the Minnesota Wild? [ Star Tribune ] • Jonas Gustavsson will likely be moving on from the Detroit Red Wings. [ Freep ] • Boston Bruins backup goalie Niclas Svedberg has inked a one-year deal with Salavat of the KHL. [ CSNNE ] • Could Matt Beleskey be a forward who could help the Pittsburgh Penguins next year? [ HockeyBuzz ] • What does the future hold for Andrew Ladd and the Winnipeg Jets? [ Arctic Ice Hockey ] • Cristobal Huet is still kicking around and currently playing in his 18th World Championships with France. [ IIHF ]  • Here’s the ultimate top prospect list for fantasy hockey. [ Dobber Hockey ] • What fanbase is the most tortured in the NHL? [ The Blue Line ] • Finally, here’s a sweet Ilya Kovalchuk no-look goal during Russia’s 7-0 rout of Belarus on Saturday: MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY:

What We Learned: Are bigger nets really answer to NHL scoring woes? (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 11 May 2015 06:02:00 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 difference is just 1.21 inches. That's about the size of a U.S. half-dollar. And yet in the NHL, it seems to be everything. Or so people would have you believe. That number is the difference in size between the average NHL goaltender in 1983-84 to present. And among many other things, that has lately been attributed to the much, much smaller number of goals being scored in the average NHL game. Over that same span — and this is a bizarre coincidence — the average number of goals scored per team per game is down... 1.21. Yup, add in everything from bigger pads and better training to larger players and improved theory, and goaltenders today have become dominant, near-invincible juggernauts who loom over results like malevolent clouds, ready to render the game boring. The average save percentage in the league this year was an all-time high .915. Back in '84, it was just .873. Meaning that on every 1,000 shots, the average goaltender gives up 42 fewer goals than he did 31 years ago. Goalscoring is, in fact, at stultifying low levels for a lot of observers in the game. While the 2-1 wins being eked out on a near-nightly basis in these playoffs might leave fans' nerves frayed, they also leave grouchy neutrals grumbling about where the hell all the goals they used to see 20 years ago went. The size of the goalies is certainly being blamed; the two guys in Saturday's game check in at 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-3, and the other goalies who were still alive for Sunday's games are all at least 6-foot-1. These are large men, who in most cases are sizable even by NHL standards The average player has been about 6-foot-1 for a while now , and goalies tend to be the tallest among them. It's almost impossible to believe that anyone would look at 1.21 inches and say to themselves, “Well this is the problem with the damn sport now,” but they might actually be right. These lines fit together pretty convincingly (all this data from Hockey Reference ): That increasing goaltender size would negatively impact goal-scoring stands to reason to some extent: bigger guys are typically going to have better save percentages because they take up more of the net. In theory anyway, because Anders Lindback is the second-tallest goalie in the league and he sucks. But what's interesting is that these larger goaltenders with better save percentages also tend to play a lot more. In 1983-84, only 20 goalies played more than 40 games for their teams, meaning that there were guys who were clear starters for their clubs. This season that number was 30. Vancouver was the only team to double up exclusively, because they pulled and sat Ryan Miller (45 appearances) so many times that Eddie Lack got into 41 games. Arizona used Mike Smith in 62, and also gave Devan Dubnyk (58) some reps before trading him and allowing Minnesota to start him in many consecutive games. But again, we're dealing with the size of a half-dollar, a little bit more than the tab on a can of soda (or beer if you like to party). So that can't be the only reason. Again, though, 1983-84 — as far back as save percentage statistics go — is, coincidentally, the same year in which the Capitals hired the first goalie coach in league history. Now all 30 teams have them, and one would have to think there's no coincidence there. Goaltenders now get specialized training not only at this level but throughout their playing careers, and kids can attend goaltending-specific hockey camps at a very young age. The reason NHL goalies back in the mid-80s were so bad by today's standards (the league leader back then was Roland Melanson at a .903 that would have gotten him drummed out of today's NHL faster than he could say “Pavelec”) that many highlights from back then featured goals being scored against netminders just standing there five feet out of their crease and kicking futilely at the puck, or simply laying down on the ice. Obviously the butterfly changed everything by the mid-1990s, as did the trap, as teams practiced a more defensive approach. And while I don't think team play is appreciably more conservative throughout the league now, we clearly see that goals per game is down about 10 percent from the “Oh my god the Devils are murdering everything we love about the sport!!!” days. Can you blame that entirely on the fact that goalies are bigger? Probably not. Is that a contributing factor? The closeness of the trends in the above chart are also reflected below. Simply put, there's a lot of mathematical correlation here (even if the height issue is one of about a billion ways the sport is different now than it was even a decade ago).

Weekend Sports In Brief (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 11 May 2015 01:13:17 PDT)
LeBron James watched his coach draw up the final play - and then nixed it. James overruled Cleveland coach David Blatt's idea for a last-second inbounds play and drained a jumper from the corner at the buzzer to give the Cavaliers an 86-84 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, evening the Eastern Conference semifinal series at 2-2. The four-time NBA MVP has been in enough pressure situations that he vetoed his coach. LOS ANGELES (AP) - Houston's strategy of intentionally fouling poor free-throw shooter DeAndre Jordan backfired in a big way.

Dose: Perry douses Flames (Rotoworld)
(Mon, 11 May 2015 00:56:00 PDT)
Monday's Dose discusses the Ducks dispatching the Flames and the Rangers pushing the Capitals to a Game 7.

Bruce Boudreau jumps into first NHL Conference Final (Puck Daddy)
(Mon, 11 May 2015 00:20:44 PDT)
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau pulled a Van Halen in overtime of Anaheim’s 3-2 Game 5 second-round series clinching win over the Calgary Flames. His feet somehow caught air, after defenseman Francois Beauchemin sailed a shot wide of the net.  “I jumped a solid four inches and said, 'Well maybe I’m not so calm,' I better settle down here,” Boudreau said. Go ahead, JUMP! Whether he could make it past the second-round has been a long-standing question with Boudreau. He could never do it with some of his most powerful Washington Capitals teams from 2007-08 through 2011-12 before he got fired. He hadn’t done it in Anaheim from his time here that started in 2011-12 … until now. “It’s a relief that I won’t get asked that question,” Boudreau said in his postgame news conference. “I’m sure it’ll be, ‘Well you’ve never been to a Cup Final’ but for tonight I’m really happy that question won’t be asked too often anymore.” Really it was only a matter of time before it happened. Boudreau is too good a coach, but for a while, Boudreau was Captain Ahab. The Conference Final was his cup of Haagen Dazs, if he was on a diet. So close, but just couldn’t eat it.  I hope that clip lives on forever.  Boudreau has a 363-167-69 regular season record between the Caps and Ducks. That’s clearly really good. But his lack of playoff success, where he is now 35-31, seemed like a failure. After Anaheim defeated the Flames 6-1 in Game 1, it became obvious if Boudreau didn’t make it past Calgary, this could possibly be his greatest flop. Maybe even more than his 121 point team in Washington from 2009-10 that lost to Montreal in the first-round of the playoffs. That Canadiens team had a hot goalie. This Flames team was not better than Anaheim (109 points this year and had the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed) at all.  This group has arguably the best 1-2 center punch in the playoffs with Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. Frederik Andersen has proved a capable goaltender. With this team there’s no difference between its top defensive pair and its third grouping. And interestingly, some players wanted this win for him. Both Matt Beleskey and Kyle Palmieri chuckled when asked about Boudreau finally making the Conference Final. “I think he enjoyed (the win) the most out of everybody,” Palmieri said. “I didn’t see his celebration on the bench, but it’s going to be tough to get that smile off his face the next couple of days." This is because he’s a smart coach systems-wise, but he lets his players play. Some teams need a coach that creates a lot of structure. When they hired Boudreau, the Ducks needed someone who could help them enjoy hockey again after the iron fisted Randy Carlyle regime, one that did yield a Stanley Cup.  “We work hard for him, that’s what it’s all about,” Ducks forward Patrick Maroon said. “He’s not worried about if you make a mistake. He can trust a guy. If he makes a mistake he can put him back out there.”  Coaches like these, who command the respect of their players provided they’re not aging superstars , tend to go far. We know Boudreau has upped his prior limit. Now can he go further? Just give the man some ice cream and let him enjoy this for at least a day.  - - - - - - - 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  

Perry returns to score overtime winner for Ducks
(Sun, 10 May 2015 23:46:59 PDT)
Anaheim's Corey Perry, who had to leave the game in the second period after a controversial hit, scored in overtime as the Ducks edged Calgary 3-2 to reach the NHL playoff semi-finals. Forward Perry was involved in a controversial hit by Flames' Matt Stajan late in the second period. The Ducks' star player was blindsided by Stajan who stuck out his hip at the last second and the two skated past each other. Perry hobbled to the Ducks' bench and went immediately to the dressing room but eventually returned.

Corey Perry's overtime heroics push Ducks to Western Conference Final (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 10 May 2015 23:42:22 PDT)
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Corey Perry looked slow shift after shift in the second half of Anaheim’s 3-2 Game 5 series-clinching win over Calgary. At the 4:13 mark of the second period Flames forward Matt Stajan slammed into Perry with a hip check that sent the Ducks star limping to the bench. He threw his gloves in the air and yelled in pain. Weight was absent from his leg. A knee injury? Hip injury?  Perry returned, but he didn’t look quite up to speed … until he scored the game-winning goal at the 2:26 mark of overtime. When Perry finished jamming the puck under Flames goaltender Karri Ramo, he celebrated like a maniac. It was Perry's playoff-leading 15th point.  “It was huge, you see him go down and hold your breath and hope he’s fine,” Ducks forward Matt Beleskey said. “He’s a guy who takes a beating every night, comes back and scores big goals, that’s why he’s one of the best players in the league.” There was a certain aura around Perry after the Stajan hit. Was Perry hurt? Was he faking it? After he returned, would he score the game winning goal and give the perfect ending, from a Ducks perspective, to this game? And he delivered. Though Perry didn’t skate well after the play, his hands, which are his best asset as a player anyway, still worked fine. Also to note, Perry did not have a noticeable limp from the press podium after the game. “The shifts were short by they were effective,” Perry said of how he got his legs back under him. What was his problem? He wouldn’t say. Did he harbor ill will on the Stajan hit? “Just incidental” Perry added. When Perry stepped back on the ice near the end of the second period, the 17,284 people at Honda Center erupted and chanted his name. In some ways, Perry’s goal saved the Ducks this game, and maybe this series. Anaheim has been the better team than Calgary throughout this series. The Flames’ only win came after a fluky set of events triggered an altering in the space-time continuum in Game 3.  On Sunday, Anaheim again was better. Calgary’s only real, legit goal was Jiri Hudler’s power play score on the second part of a four-minute double-minor on Ryan Kesler for high sticking in the first period. Johnny Gaudreau’s goal at the 5:55 mark of the second period that put Calgary up 2-1, deflected off Ryan Getzlaf’s stick and past Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen. It was a good hockey goal, but not a clean goal. Matt Beleskey equalized for the Ducks at the 59 second mark of the third period.  The Ducks out-shot the Flames  47-19. From an advanced stat perspective, the Ducks’ out-Corsi’d the Flames 76-32 even strength per Naturalstattrick . They beat the Flames in advanced metrics except for Game 3.    In the NHL, the margin of victory and defeat is so small that all teams have a chance. The Flames did and were a goal in overtime away from sending this series back to Calgary for a Game 6. Fortunately for Anaheim, the Ducks players realized this and knew it was probably a bad idea. “In the third period and OT, we had no answers,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. The Ducks now face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. The Winnipeg Jets were supposed to be a test for the Ducks in the first round, and Anaheim swept them in four games. The Flames weren’t and the Ducks showed they were a better team. The old adage on good teams is that you beat the teams you’re supposed to beat. The Ducks have done so.  The Ducks haven't been this far since 2007, the year of their only Stanley Cup win. This is virgin land for coach Bruce Boudreau. The Western Conference Final will be a toss-up. But at least, the Ducks know that if Perry’s legs can’t work, he can still score goals, and that should give them some confidence. - - - - - - - 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      

Perry puts Ducks past Flames 3-2 in OT, into conf. finals (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 10 May 2015 23:14:35 PDT)
Corey Perry crumpled to the ice and crawled to the bench in the second period, his right leg hanging limply from his torso after a leg-on-leg hit. Just a few minutes later, Anaheim's top goal-scorer willed himself back onto the ice. A period or so after that, Perry bounced up off his knees and leaned into a goalmouth scramble to score the goal that propelled the streaking Ducks into the Western Conference finals. ''Textbook Perry,'' Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen said with a grin.

Ducks snuff out Flames threat to reach West final
(Sun, 10 May 2015 23:08:49 PDT)
(The Sports XChange) - The Anaheim Ducks beat Calgary 3-2 in overtime on Sunday to reach the Western Conference final for the first time since their Stanley Cup winning season in 2007. Ducks winger Corey Perry, who left the game briefly in the second period with a leg injury, swept home the Game Five winner in a goalmouth scramble 2:36 into overtime to book Anaheim's place in the conference final against Chicago. Calgary’s Jiri Hudler opened the scoring in the first period before Anaheim center Ryan Kesler tied the game five minutes into the second. Rookie Johnny Gaudreau restored the Flames lead almost two minutes later but the Ducks drew level once more early in the third through Matt Beleskey, who scored in a franchise playoffs record fifth consecutive game.

NHL Three Stars: Lundqvist leads Rangers to Game 7; Ducks eliminate Flames (Puck Daddy)
(Sun, 10 May 2015 23:07:22 PDT)
No. 1 Star: Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers King Henrik came up huge for the Rangers in their 4-3 win over the Capitals to force a Game 7 back in New York. The goaltender made 42 saves including an onslaught by Washington at the end of the game. No. 2 Star: Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks Towards the end of the second period, it looked the like the Ducks could be without the services of the playoffs leading scorer when he collided with Matt Stajan . Luckily, he emerged for the third as the Ducks tied the game and took it to OT. Perry scored the game winner 2:26 in to the extra frame. The Flames wanted goaltender interference... No. 3 Star: Karri Ramo, Calgary Flames Ramo played one helluva series after relieving original starter Jonas Hiller in Game 1. Game 5 was no different. Ramo was hit with 47 shots on goal by the Ducks and only allowed 3 to get past him.  Honorable Mention: Chris Kreider scored the first and second goals of the game for the Rangers. The first came 40-seconds into the match, and the second, on the power play, with about 00.3-seconds left in the first: Joel Ward had a hand in all 3 Caps goals. He assisted on the first 2 and scored the third to bring Washington within one. Brooks Orpik was credited with 9 hits ... Anaheim's power play was 2-for-4 with Matt Beleksey and Ryan Kesler, from the second PP-unit, scoring the goals. Kesler was 83% on the faceoff dot. Tiny human Johnny Gaudreau is good right now; he's going to be scary good as he continues to mature. Take a look at his goal in the game: Did You Know? The Ducks advancing to the Western Conference Finals marks the first time in Bruce Boudreau's NHL coaching career he's made it past the second round. Dishonorable Mention: Tom Wilson played a team-low 5:32 for the Capitals ... Sean Monahan was 23% on faceoffs. Brandon Bollig played 4:59 for Calgary, and Tim Jackman was on the ice for 3:32 for Anaheim. - - - - - - - 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:

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