Avalanche

Avalanche’s Matt Duchene breaks scoreless string, has goal in Canada’s win over Finland
Avalanche center Matt Duchene got his first point in seven games at hockey’s world championships Tuesday in Paris, scoring a goal as Canada closed out Group B play with a 5-2 win over Finland. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon had an assist for the Canadians and finished the seven-game, round-robin group play tied for second in tournament scoring, with five goals and seven assists for 12 points. Russia’s Vadim Shipachyov also had 12 points, and he and MacKinnon were one behind Russia’s Artemi Panarin. Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard, getting his fourth start of the tournament, stopped 18-of-20 shots in Canada’s net. Canada finished with six wins and an overtime loss (to Switzerland) in group play and will face Germany in the quarterfinals Thursday. “I hope we’re peaking at the right time,” Duchene, who is playing in the world championships for the sixth time, told reporters in Paris. “This is the time to peak right now. We have three games left in our season and we want to make them count. We go 3-0 and we’ve got a three-peat here. It’d be huge.” Also on Tuesday, New York Islanders center Anders Lee scored at 12:57 of the third period to break a 3-3 tie and the United States went on to take a 5-3 win over Russia, claiming first place in Group A. Brock Nelson added an empty-netter for the Americans with 22 seconds remaining. Related ArticlesMay 15, 2017 Nathan MacKinnon collects three more assists in Canada’s rout of Norway May 13, 2017 Frei: Good news is, Avalanche reps doing well in world championships. Bad news is, they’re there. May 12, 2017 Avalanche signs Russian defenseman Andrei Mironov May 11, 2017 Nathan MacKinnon, Canada get to 4-0 at World Championships with win over France May 11, 2017 Rally for Rylie: Hockey community to aid critically injured seventh-grader and her family Kevin Hayes, a late addition to the roster after the New York Rangers were eliminated in the NHL’s Eastern Conference semifinals, had two goals for the U.S., and Dylan Larkin also scored. Avalanche center J.T. Compher didn’t have a point. In Group A, Sweden beat Slovakia 4-2 in Cologne, Germany. Avalanche forwards Gabe Landeskog and Carl Sodeberg didn’t have points as the Swedes finished 5-1-1, in third place, in Group A. Under the three-points-per-game format, the U.S. had 18 points, Russia 17 and Sweden 16, and Germany beat Lavia Tuesday to claim the fourth quarterfinal spot from the group. In addition to Canada vs. Germany, the other Thursday quarterfinals will be Finland vs. U.S., Russia vs. Czech Republic and Sweden vs. Switzerland. The semifinals are Saturday and the medal games Sunday. [...]
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Predators rally, beat Ducks to take 2-1 Western finals lead
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Nashville Predators are so confident right now that not even having two goals in eight seconds waved off for goaltender interference can shake them. Especially not on home ice. Roman Josi scored a power-play goal with 2:43 left , and the Predators rallied to beat the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 Tuesday night in their first-ever home game in the Western Conference finals. The Predators grabbed a 2-1 lead in the series with their 10th straight home win in the postseason going back to last season. The Predators are the first NHL team to win 10 straight playoff games at home since Detroit in 1997-98. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm said the team feels comfortable on home ice. “That’s really it,” Ekholm said. “Our fans, I really didn’t think they could bring it to a new level, but I really thought they did tonight. It helps us so much, especially with those two goals. Boxscore: Nashville 2, Anaheim 1 “We have our fans standing up the whole third period literally and cheering us on. It gives us that extra boost and that extra energy that we needed.” Filip Forsberg tied it up at 3:54 of the third as the Predators rallied for the win against an Anaheim team that has notched four comeback victories already when trailing by multiple goals this postseason. Both goals were waved off within three minutes of Forsberg’s goal, but the Predators kept pressing with Josi scoring Nashville’s first power-play goal of the series for the win. “Going out for the third, I think our guys stepped on the gas a little bit more,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. Ducks goalie John Gibson made 38 saves, and Corey Perry scored a power-play goal in the second period for Anaheim. “Gibby played well for us,” Perry said. “He kept us in that game.” Game 4 is Thursday night in Nashville. Forsberg tied it up with his third goal in as many games. When officials first waved off a would-be goal by Colton Sissons at 6:25 and then Ryan Johansen’s goal at 6:33, fans started tossing towels onto the ice. Chris Wagner went to the box for high-sticking Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis with 3:55 left in the Ducks’ offensive zone. Nashville had been 0 of 11 on the power play in this series. Josi ended that drought with his wrister from the right circle off an assist from Viktor Arvidsson. Nashville, 10-3 this postseason, has yet to lose consecutive games. “We’re a confident team,” Josi said. “We know what we can do in the room … Nobody panicked. We knew we played a good game, and we had a lot of chances, a lot of shots. We need to play the same way, and they’re going to go in some time.” The Predators didn’t hold back on star power for the biggest game in franchise history. Keith Urban performed the national anthem, the latest country star to take a turn, and his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, joined him in the stands decked out in her own Predators’ sweater. Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota waved the rally towel along with his offensive linemen from the band stage. Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan held up a big catfish, and Urban later was shown on the video board holding up a big catfish. It’s Nashville’s answer to the octopus Detroit fans traditionally throw on the ice for good luck. The Ducks finally got the faster start they missed in the first two games in Anaheim, outshooting Nashville 8-4 to open the game. But the Predators took the next 11 shots and outshot Anaheim 40-20 for the game. Related ArticlesMay 16, 2017 Avalanche’s Matt Duchene breaks scoreless string, has goal in Canada’s win over Finland May 16, 2017 U.S. comes back to beat Russia 5-3 at ice hockey worlds May 15, 2017 Pittsburgh Penguins knot series with Game 2 victory over Ottawa Senators May 15, 2017 Harvard study suggests some NFL health and safety changes May 14, 2017 Energized Anaheim Ducks even Western finals, beat Nashville Predators “We didn’t play anywhere near where we’re capable of playing,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “And we received the game a lot. But we still had a chance. And that’s the most encouraging part, because we can play better than what we played tonight. We know that.” The Predators held the Ducks without a shot throughout the second period until 8:12 left when Brandon Montour put a backhand on Rinne, a puck that went across the goal line. But the net came off its moorings at the same time with Ekholm crashing into it. Referee Brad Meier immediately waved off the goal, which was upheld on review. Anaheim got the man advantage after Predators forward Cody McLeod fought Jared Boll of the Ducks, upset at a hard hit on teammate Harry Zolnierczyk. That earned McLeod an instigator pen [...]
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Pittsburgh Penguins knot series with Game 2 victory over Ottawa Senators
PITTSBURGH — Mike Sullivan calls the energetic back-and-forth on the Pittsburgh Penguins bench “a man’s argument.” If his players have something to say, Sullivan wants them to get it out. Enter Phil Kessel, the mercurial forward with the blistering shot and occasionally blistering tongue. Frustrated by an inability to get anything by Ottawa’s Craig Anderson, cameras caught Kessel pounding his fists and ordering his teammates to look for him. Consider the message delivered. Kessel took a feed from Evgeni Malkin and zipped a wrist shot by Anderson 13:05 into the third period as the Penguins evened the Eastern Conference final with a 1-0 victory in Game 2 on Monday night. Game 3 is Wednesday in Ottawa.Related ArticlesMay 14, 2017 Energized Anaheim Ducks even Western finals, beat Nashville Predators May 13, 2017 Frei: Good news is, Avalanche reps doing well in world championships. Bad news is, they’re there. May 12, 2017 James Neal’s OT goal puts Predators past Ducks to open West final May 11, 2017 Ducks eager for rematch with Pekka Rinne’s Predators in West final May 11, 2017 Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin finished playoffs with lower-body injury “To be honest I think I yelled more than once tonight, so I don’t remember that time,” Kessel said with a laugh. That’s just Kessel being Kessel. If anything, his outburst was simply the physical manifestation of Sullivan’s order to stop looking for the perfect shot and just start peppering Anderson looking for a sliver of space. The moment came with just less than 7 minutes remaining when Malkin gained the zone and found Kessel in the slot. Kessel’s first shot smacked off Jean Gabriel Pagueau and came right back to him. It happened so quickly Anderson didn’t have enough time to reset, his left pad flailing as Pittsburgh’s game-long domination finally resulted in something tangible: a lead and a tie series. “I caught an edge, simple as that,” said Anderson, who finished with 28 saves. “A defenseman or forward catches an edge, he falls down, nothing happens. I catch an edge, it’s in the net.” That was enough for Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 23 shots for his second shutout of the playoffs and 10th of his postseason career. Fleury’s 62nd playoff win moved him ahead of Henrik Lundqvist for the most by an active goaltender, heady territory for a guy who lost his starting job to Matt Murray during the course of the season. Now Fleury is the main reason the Penguins are three wins from a return trip to the Cup finals. This victory, however, wasn’t the byproduct of 60 minutes of brilliance. Fleury spent long stretches with nothing to do as the Penguins hemmed Ottawa in its own end. The Senators went nearly 19 minutes between the second and third period without recording a single shot, a testament to Pittsburgh’s ability to play keepaway on the other end of the ice. “We were pleased with the way we dictated the terms out there,” Sullivan said. A marked departure from Game 1, as Pittsburgh struggled to generate any sort of extended pressure in a 2-1 overtime loss. The Stanley Cup champions responded by heavily tilting the ice at times, remarkable considering they spent most of the night down two men after forward Bryan Rust and defenseman Justin Schultz left in the first period with injuries. Rust was on the losing end of a clean check by Ottawa’s Dion Phaneuf 4:58 into the game. Schultz, who has become Pittsburgh’s most important blue liner with Kris Letang and Trevor Daley out, slid awkwardly into the end boards after getting bumped off the puck by Senators forward Mike Hoffman about midway through the first. Sullivan offered no updates on either player. Somehow, the Penguins found a way to make it work. The five remaining defensemen all played at least 20 minutes, including 24:49 from 37-year-old Ron Hainsey, who is in the playoffs for the first time in his career. Gene J.Puskar, The Associated PressPittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (87) and Ottawa Senators’ Erik Karlsson look for the puck from along the boards during the second period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Monday, May 15, 2017, in Pittsburgh. “After a while the rotation is kind of set and away you go,” Hainsey said. “You don’t have time to really mentally think about any mistakes good or bad, because you’re going right back out there. You don’t have any other choice.” Pittsburgh’s ability to hog the puck hardly seemed to bother the Senators, who have proven repeatedly during their deepest playoff run in a decade they’re just fine sitting back and waiting for an opening to counter. It’s a style that produ [...]
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U.S. makes quarterfinals at ice hockey worlds with 5th win
COLOGNE, Germany — The United States defeated Slovakia 6-1 Sunday to book its place in the quarterfinals at the ice hockey world championship ahead of its Group A showdown with Russia. Johnny Gaudreau finished with two goals to take his tournament tally to six, and an assist, while Jimmy Howard made 19 saves on his fourth start for the Americans, whose confidence seems to be growing as they stretched their winning run to five games. Still, U.S. head coach Jeff Blashill saw room for improvement before the final group game against Russia on Tuesday. “One thing we have to clean up is puck management and turning pucks over,” Blashill said. Kevin Hayes and Brady Skjei played their first game on joining the side following the New York Rangers‘ elimination from the NHL playoffs. Hayes, who was named player of the game, picked up two assists and Skjei had one. Clayton Keller, the youngest player at the tournament, opened the scoring, assisted by Anders Lee and Skjei. It was the 18-year-old Keller’s fifth goal of the championship. Gaudreau followed suit early in the second period, set up by Hayes before Martin Gernat pulled one back. Two quick-fire goals from Christian Dvorak, assisted by Gaudreau, and Jacob Trouba put the U.S. in a comfortable position. Gaudreau grabbed his second of the game to start the third period – Hayes again with the assist – before Lee scored on a power play. The U.S. moved top of Group A, one point ahead of Russia, which has a game in hand. The Russians, who also safely progressed to the quarterfinals, face Latvia on Monday, when the U.S. is idle. Sweden, which was boosted by the arrival of center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, booked its quarterfinal place later Sunday with a 4-2 win over Scandinavian rival Denmark. An early goal from Joel Lundqvist followed by two from William Nylander put the Swedes in a commanding position before Morten Madsen and Markus Lauridsen pulled Denmark back in the third period. Backstrom sealed the win on a power play as Sweden ensured it cannot finish any lower than fourth in Group A. The top four in each group go through to the quarterfinals. Related ArticlesMay 14, 2017 Energized Anaheim Ducks even Western finals, beat Nashville Predators May 13, 2017 Bobby Ryan lifts Senators past Penguins in OT in Game 1 May 13, 2017 Frei: Good news is, Avalanche reps doing well in world championships. Bad news is, they’re there. May 12, 2017 James Neal’s OT goal puts Predators past Ducks to open West final May 12, 2017 Predators’ postseason run has turned Music City into Smashville The Czech Republic ended France’s hopes of making the quarterfinals from Group B with a 5-2 victory in Paris. The tournament co-hosts failed to make the most of two 5-on-3 chances and more power play time, 10:35 compared to just 2:43 for the Czechs. Finland came from two goals down to beat the Swiss 3-2 in overtime in Group B. Fabrice Herzog and Joel Genazzi put Switzerland two goals up before Juuso Hietanen pulled one back on a power play before the end of the first interval and Mikko Rantanen equalized in the third to send the game to overtime. Valtteri Filppula scored the winner as Finland consolidated fourth place in the group. [...]
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Energized Anaheim Ducks even Western finals, beat Nashville Predators
ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Anaheim Ducks were down a game in the Western Conference finals and down 2-0 in Game 2 against Pekka Rinne, the most dominant goalie in these Stanley Cup playoffs. That’s when Sami Vatanen got the puck and thought he saw a sliver of room over Rinne’s shoulder. “So I just closed my eyes and shot it in there,” Vatanen said with his usual Finnish deadpan delivery. After every slow start and tight game over their past month, not much can ruffle these Ducks. Once they coolly opened a crack in Rinne and the Nashville Predators, they started a deluge that evened the series. BOX SCORE: Ducks 5, Predators 3 Nick Ritchie broke a tie late in the second period, and Anaheim roared back from that early two-goal deficit for a 5-3 victory Sunday night. Related ArticlesMay 13, 2017 Frei: Good news is, Avalanche reps doing well in world championships. Bad news is, they’re there. May 12, 2017 James Neal’s OT goal puts Predators past Ducks to open West final May 11, 2017 Ducks eager for rematch with Pekka Rinne’s Predators in West final May 11, 2017 Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin finished playoffs with lower-body injury May 11, 2017 Penguins just now finding their groove going into East final Just when the Ducks appeared to be in serious danger of losing two straight home games to start their second straight series, they made a thrilling surge of four goals in less than 19 minutes. “Everybody says we go about it the hard way, but as long as we get the job done,” shrugged John Gibson, who stopped 30 shots. Vatanen, Jakob Silfverberg and Ondrej Kase also scored for the Ducks before Antoine Vermette added an empty-netter. The Predators hadn’t allowed four goals in any game during their excellent Stanley Cup playoff run before Anaheim got five in front of its sellout crowd. “I wish we didn’t get down in the first place, but I think we have three or four lines that get going and just keep punching through,” Ducks forward Rickard Rakell said. “It’s almost like we feel, ‘Oh, we’ve got nothing to lose now.’ It’s almost like that’s when we play our best game. Maybe sometimes we shouldn’t wait for that to get going.” Game 3 is Tuesday night in Nashville. Rinne made 22 saves and Ryan Johansen, James Neal and Filip Forsberg scored for the Predators. They faced relatively little adversity while steamrolling Chicago and St. Louis in the first two rounds on the way to the first conference finals in franchise history. Nashville has a serious challenge now, and adversity has arrived in the form of Ryan Kesler, the Ducks’ defense-minded center. Johansen had a goal and an assist, but Kesler’s well-known style of physical play already has burrowed under his skin. “I mean, it just blows my mind watching,” Johansen said. “I don’t know what’s going through his head over there. Like his family and his friends watching him play, I don’t know how you cheer for a guy like that. It just doesn’t make sense how he plays the game. I’m just trying to go out there and play hockey, and it sucks when you’ve got to pull a stick out of your groin every shift.” Two days after Nashville’s 3-2 overtime victory at Honda Center in the series opener, Johansen and Neal scored in the opening 8:32 of Game 2. The Ducks eventually got around to replying with high-octane hockey — and a few fortunate bounces — that was too much even for Rinne, who hadn’t given up four goals in a game since March 13. “The second (period), they got to control the tempo of the game and had the puck a little bit more, and obviously that plays into their hands,” Rinne said. “But we still battled back. Obviously, disappointed personally in that second period.” Ritchie, the power forward making his first career playoff run, scored the winning goal in Game 7 against Edmonton. Four days later, he got his next major goal on an exceptional high shot that appeared to glance off Rinne’s mask on the way in. Anaheim hung on through a frenetic third period, surviving a few mad scrambles before captain Ryan Getzlaf got his third assist of the night on Vermette’s empty-netter. Although Honda Center was much fuller and louder than it was for the traffic-affected series opener, Johansen scored on a breakaway just 4:18 in. Neal doubled the lead on a power play with one of the easiest goals in recent NHL history, escorting the puck unimpeded into the net when Gibson completely lost sight of the play. Harry How, Getty ImagesRyan Getzlaf #15 of the Anaheim Ducks reacts after the puck goes into the net for a goal on a shot by Ondrej Kase #86 as Colin Wilson #33 and goaltender Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashvill [...]
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Bobby Ryan lifts Senators past Penguins in OT in Game 1
PITTSBURGH — By his own estimate, it took Ottawa’s Bobby Ryan a full 82 games to adjust to first-year coach Guy Boucher’s system. Consider the forward all caught up. The rest of the consistently surprising Senators, too. Ryan broke in alone on Marc-Andre Fleury and deked the Pittsburgh goalie before flipping a backhand into the open net 4:59 into overtime to give Ottawa a 2-1 victory Saturday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. “I knew at some point those pucks I’d been chasing all year long, they were going to come,” Ryan said after picking up his fifth goal of the playoffs. “You just want to redeem yourself. You let your teammates down (during the regular season). Now I’m getting to redeem myself a little bit. That’s all I’m trying to do.” The Senators improved to 6-1 when pushed beyond regulation during the postseason to give them early control of the best-of-seven series against the defending Stanley Cup champions, a matchup few outside of the guys in the red, white and black jerseys gave them a shot of winning. Not that it seems to bother Ottawa. One game in and the Senators have already done to the Penguins what Washington and Columbus could not: grab control of the series. “There’s a lot of things to like but it’s just one game,” Boucher said. “We won’t get too excited.” Boucher hasn’t backed away from the underdog role. If anything, he’s embraced it. A year ago the Senators missed the playoffs while the Penguins sprinted to the franchise’s Cup. Now Ottawa finds itself on equal footing and hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Ryan assisted on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s first-period goal, Craig Anderson made 27 saves and the Senators turned away five Pittsburgh power plays. Evgeni Malkin’s goal late in the third period forced the extra period, but Pittsburgh struggled to generate any consistent pressure on Anderson. The problem wasn’t Ottawa’s neutral zone trap designed to slow teams down but a decided lack of aggression once Malkin, captain Sidney Crosby and company crossed the Senators’ blue line. Boxscore: Ottawa 2, Pittsburgh 1 “We’re looking for that next play instead of putting pucks at the net,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. The Penguins only managed 17 shots in five-on-five situations, compared to 32 by Ottawa. Pittsburgh also gave it away 17 times, two of which led to goals. “We understand, they wait,” Malkin said. “They need one chance, two-on-one or three-on-two to score.” The Penguins only had 72 hours to recharge following a draining seven-game series against Washington. While Pittsburgh insisted it would have no problem hitting reset with a spot in the Stanley Cup finals on the line, there was a dip in intensity both on the ice and in the stands. For long stretches, it felt like the game could have been played in mid-December instead of mid-May, which was just fine by Ottawa. The Penguins didn’t lack for opportunities to jump on the Senators but four first-period power plays – including 45 seconds of a 5-on-3 – went nowhere. Ron Hainsey hit the crossbar early and Patric Hornqvist dinged the left post but that’s as close as Pittsburgh would get to slipping one by Anderson. “There were some good looks there,” said Crosby, who had just two shots in 23:32 of ice time. “They’re not going to give you anything but we worked hard to get our chances and we’ve got to bury them when we get them.” The Senators focused not on creating extended pressure on Fleury but instead taking advantage of Pittsburgh’s mistakes. The breakthrough came 14:32 into the first when Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin left a blind drop pass behind his net that Ryan intercepted and slipped to Pageau in the right circle. The puck zipped over Fleury’s glove and suddenly Ottawa had the lead. It appeared it would be enough to put Pittsburgh away in regulation until Malkin redirected a Chris Kunitz shot between Anderson’s legs with 5:35 left in the third. Related ArticlesMay 13, 2017 Frei: Good news is, Avalanche reps doing well in world championships. Bad news is, they’re there. May 12, 2017 James Neal’s OT goal puts Predators past Ducks to open West final May 12, 2017 Predators’ postseason run has turned Music City into Smashville May 12, 2017 Avalanche signs Russian defenseman Andrei Mironov May 11, 2017 Ducks eager for rematch with Pekka Rinne’s Predators in West final No matter. The Senators did what they’ve done repeatedly during their surprising run to the NHL’s final four: they found a way. “Our players are really good at not fearing the outcome, and we play [...]
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James Neal’s OT goal puts Predators past Ducks to open West final
ANAHEIM, Calif. — A few moments after James Neal crumpled Anaheim’s Brandon Montour with a vicious check, the Nashville forward took a pass from P.K. Subban and ripped a shot past three Ducks for the winning overtime goal. Even in uncharted territory for this franchise, the Predators are still rolling through the Stanley Cup playoffs with their distinct combination of smash and flash. Neal scored 9:24 into OT, Pekka Rinne made 27 saves and the Predators kicked off their first appearance in the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. Filip Forsberg and Austin Watson scored in regulation for the Predators, who improved to 9-2 in this NHL postseason. They also won their third straight series opener on the road, continuing their month-long run of relentless postseason play. “It shows a lot of character,” Rinne said. “All night, we had a lot of chances and we didn’t give them a lot. … I thought that we created a lot, and eventually we were going to get one by him. I thought (Ducks goalie John) Gibson played a strong game tonight, but guys stuck with it. We’ve been doing that the whole playoffs. It’s a great sign for a team.” Boxscore: Nashville 3, Anaheim 2 Game 2 is Sunday night. After finishing off St. Louis in the second round last weekend and resting while the Ducks labored through seven games against Edmonton, Nashville capitalized on its fresh legs to win a predictably physical game between two hard-hitting powers. Nashville got off to a strong start and followed it up with a gritty overtime effort after Hampus Lindholm’s first playoff goal in two years tied it for the Ducks in the third period. Neal put a long shot past a sprawled Gibson after a prolonged threat by the Predators that left Anaheim’s defense in disarray. The goal was the veteran forward’s third in four games. “I don’t know if it hit the goalie or the player that was laying in front still,” Neal said. “But it was a good feeling to see it go in.” Jakob Silfverberg scored on the Ducks’ first shot, and Gibson stopped 43 shots in a stellar performance. Just two days after finishing off the Oilers in the second round, Anaheim struggled to keep up at times in its second conference finals appearance in three years. “No guy will use that as an excuse,” said center Nate Thompson, who won the faceoff that led to Lindholm’s tying goal. “They came out and took it to us. We just need to get back to playing our game.” Although this conference final matches two Sun Belt clubs 2,000 miles apart, they have a feisty history. Anaheim and Nashville are meeting in the postseason for the third time, including the past two seasons. Nashville twice won Game 1 and went on to claim the previous two series with major help from Rinne, who usually has been at his inimitable best when facing the Ducks’ scorers. Rinne picked up right where he left off last season when Nashville eliminated Anaheim from the first round in seven games, but Gibson was similarly outstanding. “We knew they were going to come hard,” Gibson said. “It was their first game in a while. We weren’t our best, but we lost in overtime. If you look at the first period, they really came on us with a lot of pressure. We haven’t played a team like that in a while. We got better as the game went on.” Related ArticlesMay 12, 2017 Predators’ postseason run has turned Music City into Smashville May 12, 2017 Avalanche signs Russian defenseman Andrei Mironov May 11, 2017 Ducks eager for rematch with Pekka Rinne’s Predators in West final May 11, 2017 Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin finished playoffs with lower-body injury May 11, 2017 Penguins just now finding their groove going into East final The Ducks got just one shot on goal in the first 13 minutes of Game 1, but Silfverberg put it into Rinne’s far top corner for his eighth goal in 12 games this spring, matching his goal total in 48 games over his previous six trips to the postseason. Nashville dominated the weary Ducks, and Forsberg forced a turnover on a forecheck before tipping Matt Irwin’s shot through Gibson for his fourth goal. Watson then put the Predators ahead early in the second period with his first playoff goal, banking his shot in off Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen. The Ducks played a strong third period and evened it when Lindholm scored his first playoff goal in 25 games since Game 1 of the 2015 Western Conference finals against Chicago. NOTES: Anaheim remained without two key injured veterans. D Kevin Bieksa missed his seventh straight game, while F Patrick Eaves missed his fifth straight game with a leg injury. Bieksa is close to returning to health, while gene [...]
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Nathan MacKinnon, Canada get to 4-0 at World Championships with win over France
Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, the tournament’s second-leading scorer through four games, had an assist Thursday in Canada’s hard-fought 3-2 win over France in the World Championships at Paris. Before a sellout crowd at AccorHotels Arena, Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s goal broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and Canada improved to 4-0 in Group B play. MacKinnon has five goals and eight points, second to Russian Artemi Panarin’s 10 points. Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie didn’t play and is expected to be held out of the rest of the tournament after suffering a lacerated leg in an off-ice wrestling match with a teammate, according to Darren Dreger of Canada’s TSN. Related ArticlesMay 11, 2017 Rally for Rylie: Hockey community to aid critically injured seventh-grader and her family May 8, 2017 Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon has two goals as Canada routs Belarus 6-0 at World Championships May 7, 2017 Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon has hat trick to lead Canada past Slovenia May 6, 2017 Frei: Josh Kroenke’s support for Avalanche GM Joe Sakic was unmistakable, with subtle kickers May 5, 2017 Calvin Pickard, Tyson Barrie come up big for Canada in World Championships In Group A play in Cologne, Avalanche captain Sweden Gabe Landeskog had a goal in Sweden’s 2-0 win over Latvia, coached by former Colorado coach Bob Hartley. Also, Russia — with defenseman Andrei Mironov, 22, a fourth-round Avalanche draft choice in 2015, going pointless — beat Denmark 2-0. The Avalanche Thursday again said it is awaiting a release from Mironov’s KHL team, Moscow Dynamo,  before finalizing an entry-level contract with him. But the arrival of that FAX or email was considered imminent, and then it will be forwarded along to the NHL. Mironov’s agent, Dan Milstein, Thursday tweeted that Mironov had been released from his KHL contract, but the Avalanche hadn’t yet received official confirmation. “We can’t come to terms with a KHL player before we have a written release from the team,” said Avalanche vice president Jean Martineau. At the world championships, each team has seven games in Group play before the May 18 quarterfinal round. [...]
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Ducks eager for rematch with Pekka Rinne’s Predators in West final
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Among the numerous hurdles and obstacles that have blocked the Anaheim Ducks‘ path to a Stanley Cup title this decade, Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne might be the biggest — and not just because he’s 6-foot-5. After beating Anaheim in two previous playoff series, the fantastic Finn and his Predators are looming again in front of the Ducks in the Western Conference finals. Game 1 is Friday night in Anaheim. The Ducks and the Predators were the class of the first two rounds, taking just five combined losses and earning a rematch of last season’s first-round series for considerably higher stakes. Rinne and the wild-card Predators won that series in seven games, prompting coach Randy Carlyle’s return to Anaheim and a renewed focus on playoff mental strength. The Ducks are in the conference finals for the second time in three years after winning five straight Pacific Division titles, but they still haven’t made a Stanley Cup Final since 2007. In the rematch, the Ducks hope to show the Predators what they learned last spring. “Obviously it’s a new year, new teams, (but) for some of us, it means a little bit more,” Anaheim center Ryan Kesler said. “But we’re all playing for the same thing, and right now it’s about getting four wins before they do. It’s going to be a tough road, but we’re up to it.” Rinne and the Predators also beat the Ducks in 2011 for the first playoff series victory in franchise history. Heading into the franchise’s first conference finals appearance, Nashville is putting little reliance on its previous successes against the Ducks. “Whoever wins the series gets to play for the Cup,” Predators captain Mike Fisher said. “So that’s probably the only motivation you need.” Here are some more things to watch when the clubs meet for a trip to the Stanley Cup Final: DUELING D The Predators have advanced largely on the strength of their stellar corps of defensemen in front of Rinne. Ryan Ellis, P.K. Subban, Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm form one of the NHL’s best top-four groups, even contributing a combined 27 points in these playoffs — just one point fewer than the Predators’ four highest-scoring forwards. The Ducks have excelled with youth on the blue line. With veterans Kevin Bieksa and Clayton Stoner sidelined for the final six games against Edmonton, Anaheim used a six-man group with nobody over 26 and averaging just 23.6 years old — the youngest group among the NHL’s 16 playoff teams. QUICK TURNAROUND Thanks to their seven-game series in the second round, the Ducks will be back on the Honda Center ice two days after finishing off Edmonton in Game 7 . At least the Ducks didn’t have to travel, but the Predators have been off since their clincher over St. Louis last Sunday. Carlyle would have preferred an extra day off, but Honda Center is booked for the Stars on Ice touring show on Saturday night. “Having the clinching game last night and then being — I don’t know if it’s called forced — to play the next game in less than 48 hours is kind of a surprise,” Carlyle said. “From a scheduling standpoint, that we’re playing on Friday night and we just finished on Wednesday, you don’t get a lot of time.” SURVIVING RINNE Rinne is huge, but his mobility and puck-handling skills make him even more daunting. Carlyle has warned his players to think of Rinne as a third defenseman on the ice capable of starting a rush with a breakout pass. The Predators also know what they’ve got in Rinne, who leads the postseason with a .951 save percentage and a 1.37 goals-against average while allowing only 14 goals in 10 games. “He gives us that confidence,” Josi said. “I think every game, he’s been our best player. He’s so confident back there. He’s confident in making saves, he’s confident in passing the puck, and he’s been unbelievable for us.” GIBBY IN GOAL Related ArticlesMay 11, 2017 Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin finished playoffs with lower-body injury May 11, 2017 Penguins just now finding their groove going into East final May 10, 2017 Ducks end Game 7 woes, beat Oilers to reach West finals May 10, 2017 Penguins shut out Capitals in Game 7, advance to East final May 9, 2017 Why did Sidney Crosby keep playing Monday night? While Rinne appears to be at the peak of his skills again, his counterpart in Anaheim’s net has work to do. With one of the playoffs’ worst save percentages and goals-against averages, John Gibson hadn’t really distinguished himself this spring until Game 7 against Edmonton, when he was outstanding in a 2-1 win He’ll likely have to maintain that level to [...]
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Ducks end Game 7 woes, beat Oilers to reach West finals
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Nick Ritchie scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period, and the Anaheim Ducks ended their streak of five straight Game 7 losses with a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night, advancing to the Western Conference finals for the second time in three years. Andrew Cogliano scored the tying goal midway through the second period for the Ducks, who had blown a 3-2 series lead and lost a Game 7 on home ice in four consecutive seasons. After a rally from an early deficit and a strong defensive performance to back John Gibson’s 23 saves, the Ducks ended their ignominious streak and moved halfway to the franchise’s second Stanley Cup title. Anaheim will host the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the conference finals Friday night. Drake Caggiula got credit for a goal 3:31 into the first period for the Oilers, and Cam Talbot made 28 saves. Edmonton’s first playoff run since 2006 ended with four losses in five games, but the Oilers’ young talent seems certain to make them a major factor in the West for years. The time is now for the five-time Pacific Division champion Ducks on the 10-year anniversary of their 2007 championship. They showed grit and guile while bouncing back from a blowout loss in Game 6 and yet another early deficit in a seventh game, silencing the echoes of past winner-take-all events. Anaheim hadn’t won a Game 7 since 2006, when they were still the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Ritchie, the 21-year-old power forward in his first playoff campaign, fired a beautiful wrist shot past Talbot on a pass from Corey Perry 3:21 into the third period. Ritchie’s second career playoff goal put the Ducks ahead in a Game 7 for the first time in five years — and ahead of the Oilers for the first time in nearly 193 minutes since late in Game 4. Captain Ryan Getzlaf ended a monster series without a point on his 32nd birthday, but he contributed to a stellar defensive effort against NHL scoring champion Connor McDavid, who went scoreless in Game 7 and managed just five points in the series. Edmonton took an early lead when young Anaheim defenseman Shea Theodore curiously tried to carry the puck out from behind the Ducks’ net and right in front of Gibson. Caggiula skated up and challenged Theodore, who appeared to whip the puck accidentally backward and past Gibson. Related ArticlesMay 10, 2017 Penguins shut out Capitals in Game 7, advance to East final May 10, 2017 U.S. shuts out Italy 3-0 for 3rd win at ice hockey world championship May 9, 2017 Erik Karlsson leads Senators past Rangers into East finals May 9, 2017 Devils contact Ilya Kovalchuk to discuss pending return to NHL May 9, 2017 Why did Sidney Crosby keep playing Monday night? The now-familiar hush of fear fell over Honda Center, and it grew when Anaheim took a penalty late in the first. But the Ducks killed the power play spanning the intermission and then gradually increased their push. Cogliano finally cashed in for the Ducks when he slipped in front of Talbot and hacked home his first goal of the postseason. Cogliano ended a personal 13-game playoff goal drought for the speedy ex-Oilers forward who hasn’t missed a game in his entire 10-year NHL career. Anaheim outshot Edmonton 16-3 in that dominant second period but couldn’t take the lead. At least the Ducks didn’t face a multi-goal deficit heading to the third for the first time during their five-year streak of Game 7 drama. NOTES: D Oscar Klefbom returned to Edmonton’s lineup after missing Game 6 with an upper-body injury. … Anaheim was without two key injured veterans. D Kevin Bieksa missed his sixth straight game, while F Patrick Eaves missed his fourth straight game with a leg injury. The late-season acquisition has played in a Game 7 seven times in his career, most among the Ducks. … Mike Trout and Garrett Richards crossed Katella Avenue from Angel Stadium to watch the game. [...]
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Devils contact Ilya Kovalchuk to discuss pending return to NHL
New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero is on the verge of landing yet another asset in his team’s rebuilding plan: Ilya Kovalchuk. Shero confirmed on Tuesday that Kovalchuk would like to return to the NHL next season, four years after the former No. 1 draft pick bolted to play in his native Russia. With the Devils still owning Kovalchuk’s rights, Shero said he’s keeping all options open after having preliminary discussions with the player’s agent. Under NHL rules, Kovalchuk must re-sign with the Devils and can’t do so until the league’s free-agency period opens on July 1. That doesn’t preclude the possibility of the Devils signing and then trading the player. And there are no rules preventing the Devils or Kovalchuk from contacting other teams and negotiating the framework of a potential sign-and-trade deal. Whatever happens, Kovalchuk’s pending return to North America marks yet another boost for a Devils team that missed the playoffs for a fifth consecutive year and finished last in the Eastern Conference standings. Last month, New Jersey bucked the odds by winning the NHL draft lottery and jumping four spots for the right to the No. 1 pick. Related ArticlesMay 9, 2017 Erik Karlsson leads Senators past Rangers into East finals May 9, 2017 Why did Sidney Crosby keep playing Monday night? May 9, 2017 IIHF president hopes NHL changes its mind over 2018 Olympics May 8, 2017 Capitals force Game 7 against Penguins with decisive victory to even series May 7, 2017 Leon Draisaitl’s hat trick helps Oilers rout Ducks 7-1 to force Game 7 The 34-year-old Kovalchuk who was a nine-time 30-goal scorer in 11 NHL seasons. He spent the past four years playing for St. Petersburg SKA of the Kontinental Hockey League, where he combined for 89 goals and 222 points in 209 games. Last season, Kovalchuk finished third in the KHL with 32 goals and second with 78 points. Kovalchuk was selected by the then-Atlanta Thrashers with the first pick in the 2001 draft. He spent seven-plus seasons in Atlanta, before being traded to New Jersey during the 2009-10 season. The following summer, the Devils signed Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract which the NHL rejected in ruling the deal was structured to circumvent the salary cap. The contract was reworked with the two sides signing a 15-year deal worth $100 million. AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report. [...]
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Erik Karlsson leads Senators past Rangers into East finals
NEW YORK — Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators showed off their toughness in the third period. The New York Rangers pushed and pushed, but the resilient Senators held on — all the way to their first Eastern Conference final in 10 years. Karlsson had a goal and an assist, Craig Anderson made 37 saves and the Senators eliminated the Rangers with a 4-2 victory in Game 6 of their second-round series Tuesday night. “We knew they were going to come back with a real good push,” Senators forward Kyle Turris said. “We knew it was going to be probably the hardest period of the playoffs for us so far. It was and we just tried to weather the storm.” Trailing 3-1 after two periods, New York pulled within one on Chris Kreider’s goal 53 seconds into the third. The Rangers outshot the Senators 15-5 in the final period, but couldn’t find the equalizer. Jean-Gabriel Pageau clinched the series for Ottawa with an empty-netter with 6.2 seconds left for his seventh goal of the postseason. Boxscore: Ottawa 4, NY Rangers 2 “They had chances and a lot of them,” forward Mark Stone said. “That was the time when we needed our goaltender to be big.” Stone and Mike Hoffman scored in the first period for Ottawa, and Clarke MacArthur finished with two assists. The Senators, headed to the conference finals for the first time since their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007, will face Pittsburgh or Washington in the next round. Their series is headed to Game 7 on Wednesday night. Mika Zibanejad also scored for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist had 22 saves. “We had a lot of chances that I think we let slip through our fingers,” Rangers center Derek Stepan said, “but it’s a good team over there. Don’t sell them short. They battled real hard, they played real strong games, and they had that magic. Sometimes you’ve got to have a little bit of that.” Kreider had a chance to tie it a little over 5 minutes into the third, but didn’t get a clean shot on a pass from Zibanejad. His attempt from in front trickled off his stick and was stopped by Anderson. Lundqvist made some stellar saves late in the third, including a stop on Derick Brassard from the right side with 5 minutes left. “Right now all you feel is disappointment and it’s a numb feeling,” Lundqvist said. “It’s not a great feeling. You realize how much work and how many hours you put into this to put yourself in this spot to get this chance.” Zibanejad got the Rangers on the scoreboard with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the second. He took a pass from Mats Zuccarello, skated in and beat Anderson on the glove side into the top right corner. Karlsson then beat Lundqvist on the blocker side with 4:07 remaining to restore the Senators’ two-goal lead. Related ArticlesMay 9, 2017 Devils contact Ilya Kovalchuk to discuss pending return to NHL May 9, 2017 Why did Sidney Crosby keep playing Monday night? May 9, 2017 IIHF president hopes NHL changes its mind over 2018 Olympics May 8, 2017 Capitals force Game 7 against Penguins with decisive victory to even series May 7, 2017 Leon Draisaitl’s hat trick helps Oilers rout Ducks 7-1 to force Game 7 The Rangers outshot the Senators 13-10 in the first, but trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes. New York had three power plays and more scoring chances, but Ottawa was aggressive on defense while blocking nine shots in the opening period, and whatever got past the defense was stopped by Anderson. “It elevates your game knowing that these guys are battling and they are paying the price,” Anderson said of his teammates blocking shots. “Everyone works a little harder for each other when guys do that type of play.” Hoffman put Ottawa in front 4:27 into the game. He got the puck behind the net and sent a pass out to MacArthur. He then went in front of the net and deflected a shot from Karlsson past Lundqvist for his fourth of the playoffs. It came on the Senators’ second shot on goal of the game and marked the first time Ottawa scored first in the series. Stone scored with 5:16 left in the first when he got a pass from MacArthur on the left side as he crossed the blue line, skated up and fired a shot past Lundqvist for his fourth of postseason. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault challenged the play for offside, but the goal stood after a review. NOTES: The NHL announced the Rangers will face the Buffalo Sabres in the Winter Classic at Citi Field, home of baseball’s New York Mets. Commissioner Gary Bettman made the announcement on television during the first intermission. … The Senators were 0 for 2 on the power play, finishing the series 1 for 18 and falling to 6 for 41 in the postseason. … The Rangers were 0 for 4 with the man advantage. Th [...]
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Nathan MacKinnon has two more goals in Canada’s 6-0 rout of Belarus at World Championships
Nathan MacKinnon had zero multiple-goal games for the Avalanche in the horrible 2016-17 season. He has two in the past two days for Canada at the World Championships. To be fair, Canada hasn’t been playing the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens. After getting a hat trick against Slovenia on Sunday, MacKinnon scored twice in Canada’s 6-0 win over Belarus in Paris on Monday. He also had an assist, as did Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie. Related ArticlesMay 8, 2017 Capitals force Game 7 against Penguins with decisive victory to even series May 7, 2017 Leon Draisaitl’s hat trick helps Oilers rout Ducks 7-1 to force Game 7 May 7, 2017 Nashville Predators reach 1st Western final in team history, ousting St. Louis Blues May 7, 2017 Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon has hat trick to lead Canada past Slovenia May 6, 2017 Capitals rally past Penguins in Game 5 to avoid elimination Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard didn’t have to stand on his head to get the shutout, making only 13 saves. He has allowed one goal, with 41 saves, in his two starts. Canada is 3-0 in Group B play. With seven points, MacKinnon (five goals, two assists), Jeff Skinner (3-4) and Barrie (2-5) are in a three-way tie for second in scoring in the tournament. Russia’s Artemi Panarin leads with three goals and nine points. In Group A play in Cologne, Avalanche center J.T. Compher had a goal in the United States’ 4-3 win over Sweden, with Colorado teammates Gabe Landeskog and Carl Soderberg, who were held off the scoresheet. Also Monday in Paris, Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen had two assists in Finland’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Czech Republic. [...]
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