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Articles filed under Hockey

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  • Epic series has sad ending for Blackhawks Jun 2, 2014 4:49 AM
    Honestly, this epic Western Conference finals series between the Blackhawks and the Kings deserved to go to a Game 7. And that Game 7 deserved to go beyond regulation time because that’s how good it’s been.

     
  • Blackhawks’ road to repeat hits dead end Jun 2, 2014 12:01 AM
    It was simply not meant to be for the Blackhawks, as the schedule and the competition conspired to ensure that for the 15th straight season, the Stanley Cup will have a new dance partner. The defending champs are no more. Long live the champs.

     
  • No real good reason to be hard on Hawks Jun 1, 2014 11:59 PM
    A question has been lingering ever since the Blackhawks fell behind early in the Western Conference finals. What should the response be if the Kings eliminate the Hawks from the Stanley Cup playoffs? Well, there's no reason to be hard on a team that ran into another champion at the wrong time.

     
  • L.A. proves it’s one tough out Jun 2, 2014 12:18 AM
    This is how Kings can rule Los Angeles. By winning a Game 7 on opposition ice for the third time in one postseason. By knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champs. By doing the latter when facing a 1-goal deficit with less than eight minutes left in regulation.

     
  • Blackhawks’ Crawford standing tall again May 31, 2014 4:59 PM
    Lost amid the highlights of incredible athletes performing incredible acts on the ice was the play of Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who finished Game 5 strong and was superb in Game 6.

     
  • Quenneville still making all the right moves May 31, 2014 5:12 PM
    On most nights, a hockey coach might feel like an elevator operator. In either job, buttons are at your disposal to control ups and downs. But they are so repetitious that it is advisable to accept a certain sense of being powerless, go with the flow and keep the status of your emotions veering too far from quo. On most nights, Joel Quenneville operates thusly as his Blackhawks seek to defend their 2013 Stanley Cup, but in Games 5 and 6 against Los Angeles, Quenneville has changed up and pushed all the right buttoms, as Blackhawks Team Historian Bob Verdi explains.

     
  • Blackhawks need fresh legs, speed in lineup May 30, 2014 5:07 AM
    Joel Quenneville has pushed the right buttons too many times to try to count them all, and he will go down as one of the greatest coaches ever. But when it comes to loyalty, he's got a stubborn side that borders on the absurd. The most obvious example is the continued presence of Kris Versteeg and Brandon Bollig, both of whom could have been removed from the lineup weeks ago.

     
  • Images: Blackhawks vs. Kings, Game Six May 30, 2014 11:36 PM
    Images of Game 6 of the NHL Western Conference Finals as the Chicago Blackhawks won 4-3 over the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. Patrick Kane scored the game winner late in the third period.

     
  • Onto Game 7! Hawks blow past Kings 4-3 May 30, 2014 11:00 PM
    Patrick Kane scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:45 to play, and the Blackhawks forced a decisive seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night. Kane scored two goals and set up Duncan Keith's tying goal with 8:26 left in regulation to help the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks avoid elimination for the second straight game.

     
  • Right on cue, Kane rescues Hawks to live another day May 31, 2014 12:38 AM
    Remember about a week ago when Patrick Kane admitted he was a little bummed that he hadn’t yet come up with the big play at the big moment in the Western Conference Finals? Yeah, well those days are officially over because Kane was Kane in the biggest game of the season and now the Blackhawks, somewhat improbably, are one victory away from a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

     
  • Kane, Blackhawks leave Kings searching for answers May 31, 2014 12:20 AM
    What will remain inexplicable is the Blackhawks’ mind-numbing need to dig a canyon before mounting the heroic effort to climb out, usually against overwhelming odds. What remains indefinable, and yet somehow predictable, is the character and heart of a group that simply doesn’t want to go home until the last game of the season is concluded.

     
  • There almost had to be a Game 7 May 31, 2014 12:01 AM
    If you think the Blackhawks-Kings series has been entertaining through six games, it might be that you haven't seen anything yet. There's nothing in sports like a decisive Game 7.

     
  • Rangers overcome rough start to reach Cup finals May 30, 2014 6:12 PM
    Eight months ago, first-year Rangers coach Alain Vigneault could never have imagined he would now be behind the bench for New York’s first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 20 years. The mere suggestion made him laugh Thursday night after the Rangers advanced with a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, “In October? I probably would have said, ‘What are you smoking?”’ he said. Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of New York’s firing of blustery coach John Tortorella, who was dismissed after a second-round elimination. One year earlier, Tortorella led the Rangers to the conference finals, but they couldn’t get past New Jersey. Vigneault was hired last June after he was let go by Vancouver. He wasn’t starting from scratch with the Rangers, but no one predicted the heights he and his team have quickly achieved. New York began this season with a nine-game road trip because of major renovations at Madison Square Garden. When the Rangers finally limped home, they were 3-6 and near the bottom of both the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. They got over .500 with a New Year’s Eve victory at Florida and improved to a 45-31-6 record for a second-place divisional finish. “We worked our way and improved how we played,” said Vigneault, who coaches with a much calmer style than Tortorella. “Ever since we’ve gotten in, all the series have been so competitive and so hard-fought. We’ve gotten the goaltending we need and we’ve found ways to win.” That recipe has continued to fuel their run in the playoffs. Now they are in the finals for the 11th time and are seeking their fifth title. Chicago or Los Angeles will be the opponent. The Rangers edged Philadelphia by two points in the division, which secured home-ice advantage in the first-round matchup between the clubs. That was critical because after the Flyers stayed alive in Game 6 with a 5-2 win in which star goalie Henrik Lundqvist was chased from the net, the Rangers hosted Game 7 — and advanced with a tense 2-1 victory. Lundqvist led the way then, carried them through the second round against Pittsburgh after the Rangers fell into a 3-1 hole, and punctuated New York’s trip to the finals with his franchise-record-tying ninth playoff shutout when the Rangers knocked out Montreal. That clincher also came after a clunker. Lundqvist was driven out in the second period of Game 5 in Montreal after allowing four goals in a 7-4 loss. “It was my toughest (season) start in my career,” said Lundqvist, who has spent nine seasons in the NHL. “It feels better when you turn it around and good things start to happen. It’s been a great ride so far, especially the second half.” Lundqvist leaped in jubilation several times when time ran out Thursday. It was a combination of joy, relief, and pure satisfaction to finally clear this major hurdle two decades in the making for the Rangers. The series victory was New York’s first in fewer than seven games since 2008. The last time they got this far, Mark Messier was making guarantees as captain as the Rangers ended a 54-year curse without a Cup title. Compared to that, 20 years is a mere drop in the bucket. “You never know what can happen in a year,” said Brad Richards, one of three assistant captains. “We felt confident going into the season. We all know now if you just get in and get hot ... but we had the start that we did. It got a little shaky there for a while. “It took a while to get everybody going. It was a testament to the group. “ We lost it, we kept battling, and figured it out to get a chance to win the Cup.” One move that solidified this postseason run was the trade-deadline deal that brought Martin St. Louis to New York from Tampa Bay for Ryan Callahan, a rare swap of team captains. St. Louis got only one goal and seven assists in 19 regular-season games with the Rangers, but he is tied for the club lead with 13 playoff points and six goals. His overtime score in Game 4 against Montreal gave New York a 3-1 edge. His on-ice production is only part of the story, of course. The team was galvanized following the unexpected death of St. Louis’ mother at the low point of the Pittsburgh series. The Rangers are 7-2 since. “It’s been a tough year for me. This makes it pretty cool,” said St. Louis, who won the Stanley Cup with Richards and the Lightning in 2004 when Tortorella was their coach. “Being somewhere for 13, 14 years and changing teams, and to get a chance to play in the Stanley Cup finals with these teammates who have been nothing but great through my tough time, it makes it even more special.”

     
  • Kings remain confident about Game 7 May 31, 2014 12:53 AM
    As badly as they were feeling after dropping their second straight game to the Blackhawks to force a Game 7 in Chicago, the Kings could at least take solace in knowing that they’ve gone on the road this postseason and won Game 7s already.

     
  • Lineup tweak pays huge dividends May 29, 2014 1:05 AM
    Facing a 3-1 deficit against the Detroit Red Wings in the conference semifinals a year ago, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville made an eye-opening lineup switch with his defensemen that worked for the rest of the playoffs. After splitting longtime defense partners Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook mid-season, he reunited them before Game 5 at United Center and the Hawks won to get back in the series. Wednesday night at the UC, facing a 3-1 deficit against the Los Angeles Kings, he did it again — only in reverse.

     
  • Blackhawks still want to be king of the mountain May 29, 2014 5:19 AM
    The Stanley Cup champs showed up Wednesday night for the first time since the middle of Game 2 and announced to the Kings that winning that coveted fourth game in the Western Conference finals will be no easy task. “The pressure was all on them coming into this game,” Brandon Saad said. “It's only going to get worse from here for them. They don't want to come back to Chicago.”

     
  • Last two games in L.A. mean nothing May 29, 2014 10:31 PM
    Blackhawks broadcaster Troy Murray says Friday night's game between the Hawks and Kings will be a tight contest, but Games 3-4 shouldn't mean anything to Hawks right now.

     
  • Day to remember for Saad May 29, 2014 7:54 PM
    Brandon Saad has been one of the Blackhawks' best players in the Western Conference finals, but his virtuoso performance Wednesday night in Game 5 was on an entirely different level. Playing left wing on a line with Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw, the 21-year old Saad steadily took the game over. “I feel that was one of the best games I ever played on one of the biggest stages,” Saad said Thursday.

     
  • Blackhawks vow that they’re not finished yet May 29, 2014 9:05 PM
    Los Angeles had to realize this wasn’t going to be easy, especially when the defending champs have a leader with the experience, drive and big picture mentality of Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

     
  • Rangers knock out Habs in 6, reach Cup finals May 29, 2014 10:16 PM
    Dominic Moore scored in the second period, Henrik Lundqvist bounced back from his worst performance in the playoffs and the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 on Thursday night to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. The Rangers are in the championship round for the first time since winning it all in 1994

     
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