NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Champion: Cixelsyd: The winner of SportsFilter's NHL prediction contest is Cixelsyd, who earned points by choosing the Chicago Blackhawks to win, Duncan Keith to win the Conn Smythe and lead in points, Corey Crawford to have the best goals-against average and himself to win this competition. Ufez Jones seizes the Costanza in a bold move late.
Chicago Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup: In front of their home faithful, the Chicago Blackhawks shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 Monday night to win the franchise's third Stanley Cup in five years. Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane scored for Chicago and goaltender Corey Crawford stopped all 25 shots he faced. Shortly before the game's end, broadcaster Mike Emrick announced that the Cup itself -- one of the most famous championship trophies in sport -- was not yet in the arena due to a weather delay and was being escorted by police.
Lightning Can't Get Out Of Own Way, Blackhawks Go Up 3-2: The Chicago Blackhawks are one game from another Stanley Cup, winning game 5 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road. Chicago's first goal was scored by Patrick Sharp on what may be the easiest score in Stanley Cup Final history when both goalies are playing. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop ventured out to clear a puck and collided with defender Victor Hedman. The puck slid past Bishop and Sharp skated it into an empty net. Asked if he came out too far to play the puck, Bishop responded, "Yeah, I guess."
Corey Crawford Comes Up Big as Blackhawks Even Stanley Cup at 2: The Chicago Blackhawks survived a late barrage by the Tampa Bay Lightning to win 2-1 in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday, making the series 2-2. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, who benched Crawford earlier in the playoffs, called the game a "goalie win." Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos missed wide at point blank range in the waning seconds.
NBC Sports to NHL: Hey Good Lookin', Shave Those Playoff Beards: We interrupt the regularly scheduled recap of Tampa Bay's 3-2 victory over Chicago in game 3 of the Stanley Cup to bring you this special announcement: NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus has asked the NHL and its players to shave during the playoffs. "The players won't like this, but I wish they all would stop growing beards in the postseason,” Lazarus said. “Let's get their faces out there. Let's talk about how young and attractive they are. ... I know it's a tradition and superstition, but I think (the beards do) hurt recognition. They have a great opportunity with more endorsements. Or simply more recognition with fans saying, 'That guy looks like the kid next door,' which many of these guys do."
Lightning Beat Blackhawks to Even Stanley Cup at 1: In a game where Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop twice left unexpectedly and was replaced by Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 to even the Stanley Cup Final at one game apiece. Tampa took the lead on a Cedric Paquette first-period goal and only trailed for 92 seconds in the game. Lightning star Tyler Johnson scored his first playoff goal in 16 days -- becoming the franchise leader for postseason goals with 13. Fellow NHL netminder Robert Luongo responded on Twitter to Bishop's disappearance with two emojis: a toilet and a question mark.
Blackhawks Rally Late, Beat Lightning in Game 1 of Stanley Cup: The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 1-0 lead into the third period of the Stanley Cup Final game 1, but two Chicago Blackhawks goals in under 2 minutes changed that. Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored after defensive lapses and the Blackhawks won 2-1. The 20-year-old Teravainen is the youngest player to have a multi-point game in a Cup Final since Pittsburgh's Jaromir Jagr did it at 19 in 1991.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Stanley Cup Finals: The Stanley Cup Finals begin Wednesday between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks. Pick the winning team and the number of games the series will require along with several bonus-point categories.
Rangers' Zuccarello Took Puck to Head, Lost Ability to Speak: New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello suffered a much more serious head injury in game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals than initially believed when he was clocked by a puck. He has revealed that he suffered a brain contusion that robbed him of the ability to speak for days. He explained, "There was a small fracture in my head. I lost my (ability to) talk and some feeling in my arm and stuff. ... I had a contusion, some blood in my brain. That affects a lot. I went to speech therapy. I'm getting much better. I couldn't say a word for four days."
Blackhawks Beat Ducks, Return to Stanley Cup Finals: Jonathan Toews scored two early goals and the Chicago Blackhawks went on to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 5-3, advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in six years. Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook also scored for the Blackhawks and goaltender Corey Crawford made 35 saves. The Ducks lost a game 7 at home and wasted a 3-2 series lead for the third straight season. "I have no words," said Ducks forward Patrick Maroon.
Lightning Shut Out Rangers, Advance to Stanley Cup: Two streaks ended when the Tampa Bay Lightning shut out the New York Rangers 2-0 in game 7 Friday night to advance to the Stanley Cup as Eastern Conference champions. The Rangers' 7-0 streak of winning game 7 victories at home ended, as did goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's 6-0 streak in game 7 matches at home. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop stopped all 21 shots he faced. The game was tied 0-0 after two periods, but Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat scored in the third and the Lightning kept the Rangers blanked.
Blackhawks Force Game 7 With 5-2 Win Over Ducks: The Chicago Blackhawks, led by Duncan Keith's three assists and a goal-saving play, defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 to tie their Western Conference Finals series at 3. ''He's kind of a freak as far as his metabolism and conditioning level,'' coach Joel Quenneville said of Keith. Game 7 will be Saturday. This is only the second time since the 1967 NHL expansion that both conference finals require a deciding game 7.
Rangers Force Game 7 with 7-3 Win Over Lightning: The New York Rangers made short work of the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 7-3 victory to force game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday. For the Rangers, Derick Brassard had three goals and two assists and J.T Miller and Rick Nash each had a goal and three assists. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was pulled in the third with the score 5-1.
Blackhawks' Last-Minute Miracle Comeback Foiled in OT: The Chicago Blackhawks were looking at a 3-2 series deficit to the Anaheim Ducks in the Eastern Conference Finals when Jonathan Toews scored two goals in the final two minutes of regulation to tie the game at 4 apiece Monday night. The second goal, with 37 seconds left, was fired from an impossible angle parallel to the goal mouth, yet found its way into Frederik Andersen's skate and the net. But only 45 seconds into overtime, Ducks left wing Matt Beleskey put a rebound past goalie Corey Crawford. And now the Blackhawks are looking at a 3-2 series deficit.
Lightning Beat Rangers 2-0, Now Lead 3-2 in Series: The Tampa Bay Lightning shut out the New York Rangers 2-0 Sunday, taking a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Goaltender Ben Bishop had 26 saves. The Lightning's road win puts the team one victory from its first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since 2004. Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula scored the only goals.
Another Multiple-OT Goal Helps Blackhawks Tie Series with Ducks: After watching a 3-1 lead become a 4-3 deficit in 37 seconds during the third period, the Chicago Blackhawks rallied to tie the Anaheim Ducks and then won on an Antoine Vermette goal in double overtime. The Western finals are now tied at 2. The only faster three goals in NHL playoff history were scored in 23 seconds by the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Atlanta Flames. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville had an assist on the third Leafs goal.
Rangers Beat Lighting 5-1, Tie Eastern Finals at 2-2: Henrik Lundqvist made 38 saves and Rick Nash scored twice to help the New York Rangers defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Tampa. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop allowed 5 goals in two straight games for the first time since 2011.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 3: The NHL conference finals begin Saturday at 1 p.m. Eastern. Pick the two teams that will advance out of their conference and the number of games each series will require: Anaheim vs. Chicago and New York vs Tampa Bay. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. More extra points: Pick this playoff round's top goal scorer, top power play goal scorer, most penalized player (in minutes) and goalie with the best save percentage (starters only).
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 2: Round two play begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Pick the four teams that will advance out of the second round and the number of games each series will require: Chicago vs. Minnesota, Anaheim vs. Calgary, Montreal vs. Tampa Bay, New York Rangers vs. Washington. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. Another extra point for picking the top point scorer (goals plus assists) in each playoff series. A final point for picking the goalie with the best goals against average in this round with at least three periods played.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Starts Now: The playoffs begin tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern. Pick the eight teams that will advance out of the first round and the number of games each series will require: Ottawa vs. Montreal, New York Islanders vs. Washington, Chicago vs. Nashville, Calgary vs. Vancouver, Pittsburgh vs. New York Rangers, Detroit vs. Tampa Bay, Minnesota vs. St. Louis, Winnipeg vs. Anaheim. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. Another extra point for picking one of the three top goal scorers in this playoff round.
Igor Larionov reflects on playing for Red Army, and what is wrong with North American hockey: "If you look at the coaches in Juniors and minor league hockey, many of them were not skill players. It’s a lot of former enforcers and grinders who take these coaching jobs. Naturally, they tell their players to be just like them. Their players are 17, 18 years old — younger than I was when I joined the Red Army team. Say what you want about the Whiplash mentality (or the Soviet mentality), but if coaches are going to push kids at that age, why are they pushing them to play a simple game? Why aren’t coaches pushing them to create a masterpiece? We lose a lot of Pavel Datsyuks to the closed-minded nature of the AHL and NHL."
Kane, Bogosian dealt to Sabres for Myers, Stafford and prospects: Two players once considered cornerstones of the Winnipeg Jets future success are gone. The Jets traded forward Evander Kane and defenceman Zach Bogosian to the Buffalo Sabres in a massive NHL deal. The Jets received immediate help in return, acquiring blueliner Tyler Myers and forward Drew Stafford The Jets also got prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and one of the Sabres' later first-round picks in this summer's NHL entry draft. The Jets will also surrender to Buffalo the rights to goalie Jason Kasdorf.
AHL announces new Pacific Division: The AHL did as expected today, announcing a new five-team Pacific Division comprised of California teams that will begin play next season. Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim Ducks) to San Diego. Adirondack Flames (Calgary Flames) to Stockton. Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers) to Bakersfield. Manchester Monarchs (LA Kings) to Ontario. Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks) to San Jose. To be clear on the Oklahoma City Barons move to Bakersfield, the Barons are closing shop and the Bakersfield Condors will be moved up to the AHL ranks.
Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.: One of the all-time greats, Brodeur finishes his 22-year NHL career with a 691-397-176 record, a 2.24 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in 1,266 appearances, all but seven coming with the New Jersey Devils. He holds regular-season NHL goaltending records for wins (621), shutouts (125), games played and minutes played (74,438), and in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs he ranks first in starts (204) and shutouts (24) and second in wins (113).
Canada defeats Russia 5-4 to claim first world junior hockey gold since 2009: You can breathe again, Canada. Chances are you may still need to after what unfolded Monday at the world juniors, a gold-medal final that will be remembered as one of the most entertaining, crazy 60 minutes of hockey in a tournament filled with white knucklers over the years. Team Canada prevailed, but only barely, eking out a desperate 5-4 win after nearly blowing a four-goal lead in an ugly second period as Russia came storming back.
New Jersey Devils Will Have 3 Coaches: After firing coach Peter DeBoer, the New Jersey Devils have replaced him with co-coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens. General manager Lou Lamoriello also will do some coaching, at least for a while. Oates will be in charge of forwards and Stevens will handle the defense. It's a unique way of approaching things," Lamoriello said. The problems in New Jersey aren't with coaching but with talent, writes Adam Gretz of CBS Sports: "At one time a team known for its excellent drafting and player development system, the Devils have drafted just seven forwards since 1999 that have scored more than 10 goals for the team at the NHL level."
Panthers Win in NHL Record 20-Round Shootout: The Florida Panthers defeated the Washington Capitols in an epic, record-setting shootout that went 20 rounds Tuesday night. Five times the Panthers needed a goal to extend the shootout and got it. The last was by Dylan Olsen, a rookie defenseman who said "I really only have one or two moves." In round 20, after Alex Ovechkin missed, Nick Bjugstad scored the winner.
Zemgus Girgensons Leads NHL All-Star Voting: The top vote getter on the leaderboard for NHL all-star balloting is Zemgus Girgensons. The 20-year-old Buffalo Sabres center does not rank in the top 100 scorers -- 9 goals, 8 assists, 5 +/- -- but he has over double the votes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby. Girgensons, the only Latvian in the NHL, is getting enormous support from his country. From the NYT: "In the most recent week in which votes were measured, Girgensons added 400,000, 82 percent of them coming from Latvia."
Montreal Canadiens Jean Beliveau dead at 83: Montreal Canadiens have reported that Hockey Hall-of-Fame member and Montreal legend Jean Beliveau has passed away at age 83. Beliveau played 20 seasons for Canadiens, winning 10 Stanley Cup Championships, 5 of them coming when Beliveau wore the captain's C. He also served as a member of the team's management, earning 7 more cups along the way.
Former NHL player, coach and executive Pat Quinn dies at age 71: Pat Quinn was a man known for his direct manner – whether it was flattening Bobby Orr on the ice with one of the most famous body checks in NHL history or dealing with players, reporters and fellow executives in a long career as a coach, general manager and president.
Blind-sided: Blue Jackets’ Jack Johnson is bankrupt; who led him there is biggest shocker: On the morning of Oct. 7, two days before the Blue Jackets opened the 2014-15 season, Jack Johnson left his Ferrari parked in the garage of his Dublin apartment and drove his BMW to a federal courthouse Downtown to file for bankruptcy.
Minor League Hockey Player Suffers Gruesome Cut from Skate: A minor league hockey game in Peoria, Illinois, came to a halt Saturday after a player fell on an opponent's skate and suffered a deep and potentially life threatening cut to his thigh. Trainers and players from both teams raced to help Huntsville Havoc center Justin Cseter, bringing towels and fashioning a tourniquet out of a broken hockey stick. Dave Eminian of the Peoria Journal-Star penned this memorable lead: "The Peoria Rivermen were gaining momentum, had just scored to build a 2-1 lead over the Huntsville Havoc on Saturday at Carver Arena. And then hockey gave way to horror."
Play SportsFilter's ESPN Fantasy Hockey League: Koharski's Donuts, our fantasy hockey league won last season by Steve Hollister's Pimpin Ain't Parise, has been launched for the upcoming NHL season that begins Oct. 8.
NHL Bans the Spin-o-Rama Move from Shootouts: Among the rule changes the NHL has added for the coming season: A ban on the "spin-o-rama" move in NHL penalty shots and shootouts an increasing scale of fines for diving.
Blackhawks Sign Toews, Kane Through 2023: The Chicago Blackhawks signed Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to identical eight-year, $84 million contract extensions Wednesday. Their yearly salary cap hits of $10.5 million apiece are the highest in NHL history.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Results, Blame-the-World-Cup Edition: The results finally have been compiled for our annual NHL Playoff Pick 'Em. Cixelsyd is the runaway champion with 18 points and Rumple takes home the coveted Costanza.
Kings Take Game 1 of Stanley Cup Finals: The Los Angeles Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit to come back and defeat the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime of the Stanley Cup Finals opener on Wednesday night. "The gulf between the two teams, razor thin in the first 40 minutes of a 2-2 game, seemed a mile wide when the Kings found their footing in the third period, outshooting the Rangers 20-3," reports Robert Tychkowski of Canoe Sports. "Big, tough, fast, skilled and they don't stop coming. Ever."
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Stanley Cup Round: Pick the team that will win the Stanley Cup, the number of games the series will go, series MVP, top goal scorer, top point scorer, top penalty minute accumulator and the non-goalie who will have the most ice time. The point for number of games only counts if you get the winner correct.
Hockey Analytics Pioneer Tore "JLikens" Purdy Dies: The hockey analytics blogger JLikens, author of the Objective NHL blog has been posthumously revealed to be Edmonton lawyer Tore Purdy. He died April 25 at age 28. The Edmonton Journal has collected the tributes to his work. "Tore Purdy was a genius/pioneer in NHL analytics," writes James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail.
NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 3: Pick the two teams that will advance to the Stanley Cup Finals -- Chicago plays Los Angeles in the West and Montreal plays the New York Rangers in the East -- and the top goal scorer in each series. One extra point on winning picks for getting the number of games right. The games begin today at 1 p.m. Eastern.