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Brassard notches hat trick in wild Rangers win over Tampa Bay, forcing 7th game on Friday

The Rangers forced a 7th and deciding game of the Eastern Conference Final by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-3 on Tuesday night, and the Rangers' wild and wacky win included a hat trick from Derick Brassard:

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  Tags: derick+brassard, new+york+rangers, tampa+bay+lightning

Open Post- Game 6 ECF Between The Tampa Bay Lightning And New York Rangers

A game the Tampa Bay Lightning want to win.  At home and a win puts them in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers want to force game 7 and I expect a low-scoring game, decided late in the game.

Watch on NBCSN, CBC or TVA with the puck dropping just after 8:00pm ET.

Comment below if you wish.

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Afternoon Line- Doug Armstrong

Army on whether Babcock reports impact Hitchcock's ability to lead the Blues: "Not really. I think the players live in the modern ... 

world of social media. When you look over the season, the number of things you read, if 1/10th of that ever came true, I'd be shocked.

I think it's the media's job responsibility to sometimes report the facts and sometimes make stuff up because it's good story."

-via Jeremy Ruthorford tweets.

added 4:36pm

More from Rutherford at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the press conference with Armstong and Hitchcock today.

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  Tags: doug+armstrong

Overtime Is The Norm In The Western Conference Finals

from Mark Whicker of the LA Daily News,

The meager hours between NHL playoff games were not always spent in the most ascetic fashion.

Which is another way of saying that yesterday’s athletes had a different concept of sleep than today’s do.

The old guys thought it could be postponed. Until death.

“After the game, these guys are not going out,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.. “They’re having a good meal and they’re going to bed. I don’t think you could say the same for the 70s and 80s.”

Oh. So what did they do in the 70s and 80s?

“Next question,” Boudreau said.

This comes up because the Ducks and Blackhawks have burned more calories in five games than a bowling team would in five years.

The overtimes define it, of course, They played 116 minutes and 12 seconds in Game 2, and tacked on 85:37 more in Game 4.

On Tuesday, the Ducks were ready to go home after the standard 60 minutes. But Jonathan Toews wanted to keep playing.

His two goals in the final two minutes forced another OT, which Matt Beleskey ended in 45 seconds. The Ducks now lead the Hawks, 3-2.

continued

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What To Pay Devan Dubnyk?

from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants,

I got some Twitter questions asking if Andrew Hammond’s three-year, $4 million contract with Ottawa establishes the market. Simple answer: Not at all. Hammond has played 24 NHL games. Dubnyk has played 231 and has been a No. 1 in Edmonton and Minnesota.

The Wild will not be offering Dubnyk $1.3 million per year. The market for Dubnyk is basically whatever another team will pay him as a free agent (couple that with the fact there’s no obvious answer for the Wild if Dubnyk leaves).

Now, maybe Dubnyk takes less to stay in a place where he was a solid fit, but this was a $3.75 million goalie in Edmonton. For the Wild to sign him, the deal will obviously average well north of $3 million per.

The final figure will depend on term. Give him three years, the average salary/cap hit is probably more. Give him four or five years, and the Wild can probably get the average salary/cap hit to a more comfortable number. Two years makes little sense to me. 1) Why would he take two years? 2) Two years basically means you have to talk to him about an extension next summer if he has a big year.

As I mentioned recently, the biggest concern is that free-agent interview period in late June. I’d think the Wild would want to avoid it getting to the point where Dubnyk says, “Let me see what else is out there, and I’ll circle back to ya.”

more on Dubnyk and the Wild...

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On Re-signing Joel Ward In Washington

from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,

If the Capitals decide to spend some of their remaining cash to re-sign Joel Ward, who will otherwise enter unrestricted free agency for the third time in his career, the versatile forward would welcome returning with open arms. According to his agent, speaking via telephone Tuesday, the proverbial puck sits in Washington’s end.

“Washington is his first choice over going to unrestricted free agency,” Peter Cooney said. “We would like to re-sign with Washington and come back. Our door is open for the Capitals, absolutely first and foremost.”

Coming off a starring postseason role in which he tied for the team lead with nine points, facing the end of a four-year deal annually worth $3 million, Ward figures to receive a raise, regardless of his destination. At 34 years old, this could be Ward’s last deal structured longer than two years, and MacLellan already predicted that term length would “be an issue,” provided Ward for asks for a three- or four-year contract, which seems all but certain.

With forwards Jay Beagle and Eric Fehr also entering unrestricted free agency, the Capitals likely won’t bring back both of them and Ward, while still satisfying MacLellan’s stated offseason desire to acquire a top-six winger.

more

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  Tags: joel+ward

The Tampa Bay Lightning Know What They Have To Do

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Cooper was adamant about ensuring no feeling of complacency had settled in around his group.

"We can't just sit here and say we played a pretty good game in Game 5, that'll just carry us into a win tonight," he said. "If we don't play better than we did in Game 5, we won't win tonight. That's kind of my message."

The affable coach has won five championships during his career, but has never experienced a game as big as this one.

"For me it's excitement, nervousness, fear, anticipation," said Cooper. "I can whip through a bunch of things. It's really an exciting time."

more on both teams...

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Patrick Maroon’s Turnaround

from Tal Pinchevsky of the New York Times,

Maroon’s is a unique hockey journey which shifted the day the Flyers told him to pack his bags.

“The organization made a decision to send him home,” said Greg Gilbert, who delivered that message to Maroon as the coach of Philadelphia’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms.

“He wasn’t committed to himself,” Gilbert said. “In Patrick’s case, I don’t really think he knew how to train and play at that level.”

At the time of his unceremonious exit, Maroon led the Phantoms with five goals in the team’s first nine games. He was emboldened the previous summer by his first overseas tournament, a gold medal performance at the 2010 I.I.H.F. InLine World Championship.

Playing alongside two of his oldest friends, Maroon scored seven goals and 14 points in six games at the in-line worlds. He even notched a goal and an assist in the gold medal game in Karlstad, Sweden, against the Czechs.

“It was the best time of my life,” Maroon said. “You got away from everything. You got away from all the stress and worries about other things. I went there to have fun and just enjoy my time with those guys and meet new people and enjoy Sweden.”

more

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  Tags: patrick+maroon

Players The St. Louis Blues Could Move

from Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was a huge disappointment, but his contract makes moving him difficult.

T.J Oshie seems like an obvious target, given his high trade value, significant salary and unproductive playoff.  He also had the temerity to suggest that maybe, just maybe, the team was subjected to information overload.

Patrik Berglund had a couple of big playoff moments, but that scarcely helped fans forget his ineffective regular season. As Armstrong looks for ways to create payroll flexibility, Berglund's roster spot would be a good place to start.

It would be great to see venerable defenseman Barret Jackman finish his career where it started, but there is no room for sentimentality when a team keeps coming up short in the playoffs.

Armstrong could do something much bigger and trade previously untouchable players.Again, the core group of this team is clearly in transition.

An interesting summer awaits this franchise now that Hitchcock is back on board to start another year.

more

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Keys To Game 6, Eastern Conference Finals

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

The difference between these two teams during the first five games? Tampa Bay’s best players have made a difference. New York’s have not.

The Lightning have scored 16 goals in the series, all of which can be attributed to their top-six forwards. Steven Stamkos has tallied in each of the past four games and is playing his best hockey when his team needs him most. Nikita Kucherov has six points. So does Tyler Johnson. No. 1 defenseman Victor Hedman has four assists in the series. They’ve been like shark teeth. If one falls out, another is in place to continue tearing the Rangers to shreds.

It hasn’t been so easy for New York’s finest. Rick Nash was great in Game 4, but was back to settling for perimeter chances in Game 5. Martin St. Louis has one goal and should probably stand up and wave at the camera at some point so we can verify that he’s shown up. Chris Kreider apparently needs to hire a Sherpa to guide him to the Lightning’s crease and a friendly reminder that he’s at his best when he’s making the other team angry. Derick Brassard has had his moments (that Game 4 pass to St. Louis who put it away) but they’ve been too few and too far between.

The Rangers need a stand-up effort from their blueline as well. The Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi pair has been an inconsistent answer to The Triplets of Tampa Bay.

more

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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