• Lightning a reminder southern hockey continues to thrive

    Updated: Fri, May 15, 2015

    FRANKLIN, Tenn. (AP) — About the time a new champion hoists the Stanley Cup, players from Canada, Latvia and Hungary will gather in Tennessee for four days to showcase their hockey talent for college coaches and junior league teams. Yes, Tennessee — one of the many places in the South where the sport is alive and doing well. The Tampa Bay Lightning's matchup against the New York Rangers in the NHL's Eastern Conference finals is another reminder that hockey is doing more than just surviving below the Mason-Dixon line. "It's just a great shot in the arm to an area that's already doing really well," said Brandon Walker, hockey operations manager for the Nashville Predators. The region often labors in the shadows

  • St Louis and Callahan focal points for Rangers-Lightning

    Updated: Fri, May 15, 2015

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — There was no bigger deal at the NHL trading deadline in 2014 than Martin St. Louis going from the Tampa Bay Lightning to the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan and draft picks. Captain for captain. The face of the Lightning franchise — unhappy as he was at the time — for a homegrown, hard-working blue collar guy the Rangers were not going to be able to re-sign. For the Rangers, it was the last piece of the puzzle in getting them to the Stanley Cup Finals. St. Louis probably provided more of an emotional lift than a scoring one with his ability to rally after his mother's death in the second round. A year later, St.

  • Montreal cut ties with veterans Gonchar, Weaver, Malhotra

    Updated: Fri, May 15, 2015

    BROSSARD, Quebec (AP) — Veterans Manny Malhotra, Sergei Gonchar and Mike Weaver will not be back with the Montreal Canadiens next season. General manager Marc Bergevin says he informed all three on Friday. Bergevin says "they did great service for our team," and "on the leadership side, these guys really helped with the transition." The 41-year-old Gonchar had one goal and 12 assists in 45 games and helped Nathan Beaulieu develop into a regular NHL defenseman. Malhotra, a 34-year-old center, had a goal and three assists in 41 games. Defenseman Weaver, 37, had four assists in 31 games. None of them played in the postseason. Montreal's season ended with a second round elimination by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

  • Dallas Stars players evacuate facility in police lockdown

    Updated: Fri, May 15, 2015

    FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Three Dallas Stars players were among those evacuated from the NHL franchise's practice facility Friday as police searched for suspects in an armed robbery. Frisco police barricading an area around the Dr. Pepper StarCenter evacuated everyone from the building as they investigated what they believe to be multiple suspects in the arena parking garage. The Dallas Morning News reports the players were Stars left wing Jamie Benn, defenseman Jason Demers and right wing Ales Hemsky. Police say the suspects robbed a jewelry store and eventually drove into the garage. No injuries have been reported. Frisco is about 10 miles north of Dallas.

  • Playoff scoring at 3-year low in NHL

    Updated: Fri, May 15, 2015

    Scoring is down in the NHL playoffs. More than half the games through the first two rounds were decided by one goal, and 15 went to overtime. More than one in every four games were decided by a score of 2-1 and the 4.88 goals per game is the lowest in an NHL postseason since 2012 (4.84). Credit the big, talented goaltenders, better coaching and shot-blocking and the mentality of the players once they get to this stage of the season. Among the four teams left, only the Chicago Blackhawks have allowed more than two goals a game. Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Anaheim's Frederik Andersen and Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop all have a 2.00 goals-against average or below.

  • Bishop a key to Tampa Bay Lightning's deep playoff run

    Updated: Fri, May 15, 2015

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning have a pretty good idea of where they'd likely be without Ben Bishop, and it's not in the NHL's Eastern Conference finals. The league's tallest goaltender is making a name for himself, answering questions about how far he can carry his team with one stellar performance after another in the playoffs. The 6-foot-7 Bishop won a personal-best and franchise-record 40 games in helping the Lightning to the best regular season in club history. Now, he's showing he has what it takes to not only hold his own, but thrive against hockey's elite on the game's biggest stage.

  • Protecting home ice could decide NHL's conference finals

    Updated: Thu, May 14, 2015

    CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks have a sellout streak of 323 games and counting. The New York Rangers play in the world's most famous arena, and the Anaheim Ducks are undefeated at home in the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Lightning set a franchise record with an NHL-best 32 home wins this season. Welcome to the NHL's final four, where one road win could go a long way. Fresh off a Game 7 victory over Washington at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers host the Lightning on Saturday in the opener of the Eastern Conference finals. In the West, the Ducks put their perfect home playoff record on the line in Sunday's Game 1 against the Blackhawks, who also are 5-0 at home in the postseason.

  • Ducks' Perry misses another practice, but should play Sunday

    Updated: Thu, May 14, 2015

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — 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. Perry eventually scored the series-winning overtime goal, sending Anaheim to its first conference finals since 2007.

  • Lightning's Callahan back on ice after appendectomy

    Updated: Thu, May 14, 2015

    BRANDON, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay forward Ryan Callahan was back on the ice Thursday, less than 72 hours after undergoing an emergency appendectomy that sidelined him for Game 6 of the Lightning's second-round playoff series against Montreal. Callahan skated during a light practice coach Jon Cooper held before traveling to New York, where Tampa Bay will meet the Rangers in the Eastern Conference final, beginning Saturday. Cooper stressed the brief workout was "not physically demanding." Callahan described his status as day to day. Callahan had surgery Monday night after experiencing abdominal pain. He was released from the hospital Tuesday, hours before the Lightning beat the Canadiens to advance to the conference final.

  • Planned US-Canada bridge to be named after Gordie Howe

    Updated: Thu, May 14, 2015

    DETROIT (AP) — A planned $2.1 billion bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, will be named after hockey great Gordie Howe. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement Thursday in Windsor. The 87-year-old Howe, known as "Mr. Hockey," was born in Floral, Saskatchewan, and led the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships. Snyder said it was an easy, mutual decision. "If you really think about it, who better represents the two countries and the bond between us in terms of being a legend in Detroit and Michigan and in Canada?" the governor said. The yet-to-be built Gordie Howe International Bridge is expected to be operational in 2020.

  • Senators owner Eugene Melnyk needs liver transplant

    Updated: Thu, May 14, 2015

    OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk urgently needs a liver transplant, and the team put out a call Thursday for potential donors. The team says Melnyk was admitted to a hospital three weeks ago due to "liver-related complications." His family has reached out to close friends and relatives with the hope of finding a suitable donor candidate, but with no success. The team says the 55-year-old Melnyk has been sick since mid-January. He's been absent from the Senators' surprising playoff run. The Senators have been hit hard with health issues. Assistant coach Mark Reeds died of cancer last month, and general manager Bryan Murray has colon cancer.

  • Bruins captain to be celebrity guest at sailing race

    Updated: Thu, May 14, 2015

    NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (zah-DAY'-noh CHA'-rah) will trade in a hockey stick for sails as a celebrity guest with the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team. Chara will join the sailing team Saturday during an in-port race in Newport. The city is hosting the current stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race. The 6-foot-9 Slovakian-born defenseman is the tallest player ever in the National Hockey League and will be the tallest sailor aboard sailing vessel Azzam. Chara says he's looking forward to seeing Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in action. The team is one of seven that departed Oct. 11 from Alicante, Spain, on the four-ocean, 45,000-mile race that will conclude in June in Gothenburg, Sweden.

  • Rangers head to NHL conference finals to face Lightning

    Updated: Thu, May 14, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — It would seem there are two certainties ahead for the New York Rangers. First, they will see some very familiar faces in the lineup of their opponent in the Eastern Conference finals: Tampa Bay's Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman and, if he recovers quickly enough from an appendectomy, former captain Ryan Callahan. Second, they will play lots of one-goal games. The series opens Saturday at Madison Square Garden, which former Lightning players Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle and Dominic now call home. New York has played 12 postseason games this spring and all were decided by the slimmest of margins, four in overtime, including Wednesday night's 2-1 victory in Game 7 against Washington.

  • Capitals squander 3-1 series lead in losing to Rangers

    Updated: Wed, May 13, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Alexander Ovechkin did everything but deliver on his predication of a Game 7 win by the Washington Capitals. The NHL's leading goal scorer tallied early to give the Capitals the lead, launched six shots at Henrik Lundqvist, played almost 22 minutes and was Washington's biggest threat Wednesday night. It wasn't enough to prevent the Capitals from squandering a 3-1 series lead for the fifth time in franchise history, losing the final game 2-1 on Derek Stepan's overtime goa. What made this one even tougher was that the Capitals were up 1-0 in Game 5 and on the verge of wrapping up the series when Chris Kreider scored with 1:41 to play in regulation and Ryan McDonagh won it in overtime.

  • Rangers advance in OT on Stepan's goal, 2-1 over Capitals

    Updated: Wed, May 13, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — Make the resilient Rangers play a Game 7 and they don't even flinch. Dump them into a 3-1 hole in a playoff series and they simply work harder. And win. Derek Stepan scored 11:24 in overtime, lifting New York past the Washington Capitals 2-1 and into the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night. "We have a good group that keeps their wits about them and keeps calm," said Stepan, who was mobbed by his teammates along the glass as Madison Square Garden shook from the cheers. "There is no real panic. We just go out and play. We just see what happens and we just play hockey." Stepan's wrist shot from the left wing after he won a faceoff — a rarity for the Rangers — capped the comeback.

  • Blackhawks get time to recharge for showdown with Ducks

    Updated: Wed, May 13, 2015

    CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks had a few days away from the ice after advancing to the Western Conference final. Winger Bryan Bickell made the most of it. He found time to go bass fishing. He took his 8-month-old daughter for some walks. "She's growing like a weed," Bickell said. "She's crawling and she's climbing things. That's what it's all about." The Blackhawks hope to keep climbing toward another championship. They completed a sweep against Minnesota in their conference semifinal series last Thursday, then had two days off to rest. They returned to practice Sunday and found out they will meet Anaheim in a conference final that matches the league's hottest and most battle-tested teams.

  • Lightning back in Eastern finals for 1st time in 4 years

    Updated: Wed, May 13, 2015

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — So much for all those questions about what's happened to Steven Stamkos in the NHL playoffs. The two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner and the Tampa Bay Lightning are headed back to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in four years after Tuesday night's 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens ended their second-round series in six games. Stamkos failed to score in Tampa Bay's opening-round matchup against Detroit. He had three goals against the Canadiens, the last helping propel the Lightning after Montreal fought off elimination in Games 4 and 5. The Lightning move on the conference finals, where they'll face either the New York Rangers or Washington Capitals, who play Game 7 of their

  • Lundqvist and Rangers face Ovechkin and Capitals in Game 7

    Updated: Wed, May 13, 2015

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — The New York Rangers weren't wasting any time on Alexander Ovechkin's prediction of a Game 7 win for the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Ovechkin said it on Monday and the Rangers didn't care Tuesday. The only thing they talked about after practice was being prepared for winner-take-all game tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers usually are. They have won their last five Game 7s dating to 2012, including a win in Pittsburgh last season that capped a rally from a 3-1 deficit and the last two series against Washington (2012 and '13). In the 2013 series, the Rangers overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to win. They are one win away from overcoming a 3-1 deficit in thi

  • Lightning oust Canadiens with 4-1 win in Game 6

    Updated: Tue, May 12, 2015

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos urged his teammates to not play "scared." The Lightning responded with their best performance of the playoffs, and now they're headed to the Eastern Conference finals. Nikita Kucherov had two goals and an assist, and Stamkos and Ondrej Palat also scored Tuesday night in a 4-1 victory that ended the Lightning's second-round series against Montreal in six games. The Canadiens fought off elimination in Games 4 and 5, but were unable to overcome Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop in the clincher. "We were talking about this game like it was Game 7," Stamkos said. "We clogged it up good in the third period. It was as good a defensive period as we've played." <

  • Ducks coach Boudreau finally gets his playoff redemption

    Updated: Tue, May 12, 2015

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — While the Anaheim Ducks stormed the ice to celebrate Corey Perry's series-clinching overtime goal, Bruce Boudreau looked up and saw his two sons and his wife, Crystal, hugging and hopping in the frenzied Honda Center stands. They turned and locked eyes with Boudreau, maniacally pointing at him. So Boudreau pointed back, and unadulterated joy flooded over a face that usually registers only concern when he's at work. "It was a really cool moment," Boudreau said. "I find when I get excited behind the bench, the team gets too excited and we lose a little bit of our focus, so I tried to stay as focused as I could. But it was a pretty nice win, so I think I'm allowed five minutes of joy.




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