Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Posts about Stanley Cup

Wild playoff updates: Backstrom, Pominville remain day-to-day; Kuemper recalled

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: May 1, 2013 - 3:15 PM


Fresh off its 2-1 overtime loss last night in Chicago, the Wild assembled at Xcel Energy Center today after flying back home following the game. With two off-days before Game 2 Friday and the team having been in a playoff grind lately, the short flight between here and Chicago gave the opportunity for the team to come home, sleep in their own beds, use their own facilities, etc.
The Wild didn’t practice today, but most the players came down for meetings or treatment. Scratches Nate Prosser, Brett Clark and Justin Falk were on the ice today with goalie Darcy Kuemper, who was recalled from AHL Houston.

Niklas Backstrom, who was injured in warmups last night, was down at the rink getting looked at today. Coach Mike Yeo said he is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. But the way Backstrom skated off yesterday, I think the assumption now is Harding will start Game 2 with Kuemper backing him up.
Jason Pominville continues to be day-to-day and, like I said, was not on the ice with last night’s scratches. Obviously a lot of guys looked to be banged up last night. Matt Cullen seemed to aggravate his injury. Clayton Stoner only played a few shifts in the first and 8 minutes in the game after getting hit hard by Andrew Shaw. Several guys, like Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella and Ryan Suter, blocked some shots from close-range, so I’m sure they’re smarting.
But as far as Yeo knows now, the guys that played in Game 1 should be ready for Game 2. We will see at Thursday’s practice before the team returns to Chicago.
Harding says he is feeling good today and if need be, he can start Friday. He didn’t see Backstrom get injured in warmups.
Mikko came and said, ‘Hards, get in there,’” Harding said. “I went in and finished warmup, and I took the end shots, and I thought that somebody would tell me if I wasn’t playing so I just prepared like I was playing.”
He left the ice with three or four minutes left like the starter would. He say in his stall and there was no sign of Backstrom.
“I just kind of took it as I’m playing until somebody comes and tells me I’m not,” Harding said.
Harding has gotten an outpouring of support due to his multiple sclerosis. Michael J. Fox tweeted about him last night. Same with former teammate Eric Nystrom. Jonathan Toews told the Chicago press today that his performance last night was “nothing short of amazing.”
As you know, Harding has made it clear he wants to be treated normally, that he’s just one player on the roster, and doesn’t want to make this about MS.
“I have to take care of my business, and there’s a lot of time in the summer to get caught up on all that stuff,” he said.
Yesterday late in warmups, Zach Parise skated up to Harding along the red line and gave him a few words of support and a tap with his stick.
Parise said he basically told him it was his time.
“He’s a leader on this team,” Harding said. “He helps guys out when they need it, and he just gave me a little bit of a boost, and I really appreciated it. I thanked him after the game.”
Lot of questions about the Wild’s backup situation if an injury arose to Harding or he had to be pulled. Basically, it can only be a player on your roster, so since the Wild didn’t have Kuemper there, it would have had to be a position player.
On last night’s game, Yeo said, “One thing I thought that we did well is we played a good structured game. But for me one key is take that structure and to add a physical element to it. We definitely need to bring a nastiness to our game. There were situations where we could have done that. The flip side is you have to make sure against a team like that, you start running around and take yourself out of position, they’ll gladly take a hit to make a play to score a goal. But that’s one area we can improve as a team is bringing that physical element within the structure of our game.
“We have to make sure that we’re making their D pay a price. We have to make sure we’re getting pucks behind them and I thought our forecheck wasn’t enough a factor in the game for us. A lot of that for me was our entries coming through neutral zone. We turned a few pucks over. Especially early in the game, we have to do a better job of setting the tone.”
On a power play that doesn’t include Charlie Coyle on the first unit, Yeo said Kyle Brodziak has “been there a lot more and we've had a lot of success when he has been there. So that's what it comes down to. He's also another faceoff guy.” (in other words if Mikko Koivu’s booted from the circle).
On the power play that went 0 for 4, Yeo said, “We just sat down and watched it again and broke it down and we're planning on sitting down with the guys now as well. For me, it's sort of the mentality we brought. I thought that we were a little too slow and a little too passive against a team that plays tight, they play to the inside, so if you're not aggressive and ready to attack in certain situations than it's pretty easy for them to keep you to the outside.”
Yeo definitely got defensive about questions about the lack of offensive chances by Parise, Koivu and Coyle against Toews’ line:
“The challenge is, now what if we score the overtime winner? What's the story today? Are they saying what a great job that our top line did and how their top line needs to find more, because 5-on-5 they didn't have much either. And that's one important thing to remember. The difference in the game was we scored one 5-on-5 goal, and they scored one 5-on-5 goal, and they got one power play [goal] and we didn't.”
Still, the Blackhawks have a lot more weapons. I’ll just plainly say it, no chance the Wild wins the series if the top line doesn’t find a way to get more scoring chances.
“Right,” Yeo said. “But at the same time, we also need them to play defensively the same way they did. And this is kind of what we talked about last night. We have to continue to have the same defensive focus and game plan but if we go out there and we just try to outscore those guys shift after shift than they can hurt you to.
So it's building within our game and that has to be the base of it, but now we've got to piece by piece get a little bit better. And there are areas that we can get better -- in particular in the offensive zone. We weren't there enough and we didn't stay there long enough when we were there. This time of year, getting pucks through to the net, creating those scrums, that's how a good majority of those goals are scored.”

Game 2 is crucial.
“Well there's no question there's a big difference between being 1-1 and down 2-0,” Yeo said. “But having said that, we have to make sure we approach it with the right mindset. We have to go in with desperation for sure, but our goal is to get the split and that's what we're focused on.

I'll update this with some more Parise stuff after I transcribe.

I will be on KFAN at 5:20 with Dan Barriero and on KFAN Thursday morning from 9:15-11 a.m. with Paul Allen.

CHICAGO STUFF TODAY, courtesy of my friend, Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun

on Suter playing 41 minutes
“He’s a tremendous defenceman. There aren’t many guys around who can do that. We want to force him to make as many tough plays as possible, try and wear him down, even though that’s very tough. We have enough forwards to keep him busy. If we keep playing our game eventually we’ll eventually break through him.”

on Minnesota shutting things down, protecting Harding.
“We know they’re doing a great job trying to block as many shots as possible, but if our game is working we’re going to fine.”

on Wild style
“That’s how they’ve played us all season. We kind of expected that in Game 1 and it’s not going to change. It’s up to us to keep being as tough as we can on their goaltender, get more second efforts and more traffic. We have to keep wearing them down as much as we can.
“We like to think of ourselves as an offensive team that can score in a lot of different ways.

on Harding
“It’s nothing short of amazing. I have a lot of respect for a guy like that... I read his quotes about not wanting any sympathy, he’s going to keep working, keep playing. You have to respect an opponent like that, especially when he’s going through something like that. Seeing the way he played, the stops he made was pretty cool. We know he’s stepping into that spot light an assuming that responsibility, which isn’t an easy thing to do... but what we want to do as a team is be tougher on their goaltender. We need to do that.”

“That’s a lot to do with their coaching staff over there and the way they play the game, well disciplined, good in all areas. There’s not going to be too many easy games or easy opportunities to score. But we feel comfortable playing that style of game. We’ve propven we can be successful playing that way.”

Playing through adversity like Harding is:
“It seems commonplace in today’s game, especially hockey, to play through injuries and different situations. You have to tip your hat to what Josh is going through on their side. It’s pretty amazing that he’s able to play at the level he does, it’s an inspiration for a lot of people. My personal story would probably be Duncan Keith in the playoffs in 2010. I don’t even know if he missed a shift, maybe one or two, after he lost nine teeth. That’s one thing that was pretty impressive to me.”
“Sometimes when you have bumps and bruises or minor injuries you look to the guy next to you that is dealing with something much worse and it makes it a little easier.”

No mullet for him, just Saad and Kane
“In 2010 Kaner and I got the mullets originally but I backed out the day before the first game. I didn’t want to deal with my mom and dad giving me heck after every game, telling me I look like an idiot. We’ll leave that up to those two.”

on Suter
“It was unbelievable. During the game we noticed he was out there quite a bit. Then we saw the sheet after the game and he had 41 minutes. It was unbelievable. I remember Dunc and I played 30 minutes at the end of overtime and it felt like a lot. 41 is pretty crazy.”

On the Oduya pass off the glass to set up the OT winner: “I think that was one of the best indirect passes you’ll ever see. I think Johhny saw the play unfolding and meant to do that. It turned out to be a special pass.”

Fighting through Minnesota’s style: “I expected a tight series, low scoring games. Minnesota has always defending the front of their net extremely well. The clean looks through the middle of the ice in their end are going to be hard to find.
“If we want to play a pretty game into that type of traffic it’s going to lead to them having some success. We have to play an uglier game.”

Jason Pominville will miss Game 1 tonight against Chicago

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: April 30, 2013 - 1:13 PM
Jason Pominville has been ruled out of tonight’s opening game of the Wild’s Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks by coach Mike Yeo.
Good morning from the United Center. A reminder, I will be hosting a live chat on startribune.com/wild at 3 p.m. CT. Please join in.
The Wild left Minnesota yesterday completely confident Pominville would play after practicing yesterday. But Pominville, who missed the regular season’s final two games after being elbowed in the head by Dustin Brown, woke up not feeling well today, I hear.
Yeo wouldn’t confirm that when I asked but said Pominville is “just not quite ready. This is a big game, but you’ve got to look at the big picture and we have to make sure that when we get him back in, we get him back in for good.”
That means the Wild will go back with the lines of the final two games:
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker-Matt Cullen-Devin Setoguchi
Cal Clutterbuck-Kyle Brodziak-Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Mike Rupp-Zenon Konopka-Torrey Mitchell.
So, Clutterbuck moves back up to the third line, Mitchell slide back from center to right wing on the fourth and Konopka, slated to be a scratch, plays.
Defense pairs will be:
Ryan Suter-Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella-Jared Spurgeon
Clayton Stoner-Tom Gilbert
Suter and Brodin pretty much played half the game down the stretch. They will obviously see huge minutes in the postseason, but Yeo said one reason why the Wild recalled Scandella is so Scandella and Spurgeon, partners in Houston when Yeo’s Aeros went to the Calder Cup Finals in 2011, can eat more minutes.
Nine Wild players – Brodin, Gilbert, Stoner, Brodziak, Coyle, Zucker, Clutterbuck, Scandella and Spurgeon – will make their Stanley Cup playoff debuts tonight. I talked to a few of these guys this morning and will quote them in tomorrow’s paper. Coyle can’t get over how far he’s come in a year. Last year, he was in college at Boston University and then playing junior for eventual Quebec League champ Saint John.
NO Blackhawks players are debuting, unless you include backup Henrik Karlsson.
I talked to Nick Leddy, and the former Gopher and Minnesota Mr. Hockey is excited to face the team he grew up watching in the playoffs. Leddy has some history with the Wild, too, although I can’t remember right now what it is.
Leddy said his family and buddies back home are excited for the series and will be at the games at the X.
In 2011, when the Wild pushed the Blackhawks into the eighth seed by beating the Dallas South Stars in the final game, the eighth-seed Blackhawks were down 3-0 to the President Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks. The Blackhawks rallied to tie the series before losing in Game 7.
“We really had nothing to lose,” Western Conference leading scorer Patrick Kane said. “That’s the thing about an eighth seed. They’re the last team to get in, it’s like they’re expected to be out in the first round. Those are the teams that are most dangerous because they have nothing to lose. You see that last year with [eventual Stanley Cup champ] L.A. and the year we went to the Finals with Philly.
“Minnesota is a dangerous team. They have the talent and lineup to do some special things.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville talked about the Brodin-Suter paid and had some nice things to say about 19-year-old Brodin.
“Nice player,” Coach Q said. “Got to commend him on establishing himself right off the bat, playing meaningful minutes against top players. He’s got a real good feel for the game. How they’re going to manage their minutes, we’ll see. We’ll play it out accordingly. We have to be aware of these guys offensively on the back end. Hopefully we can make them play more in their end than in our end. Both are effective at both ends of the rink. Both sets of defense’s, both teams have the ability to go from the back end. It could be a differential as we go along.”
On the Wild, Quenneville said, “They’ve got some balance in their lineup. They’re capable of having some pace on all their lines, they can score, they can check, they’re responsible, they play a very organized game. I think we have to be respectful of what they’re capable of.”
Yeo on what it will take to beat the Blackhawks: “It’s pretty simple. We’ve got to be great at every aspect of our game, every player of our team. The depth of their lineup, the strength of their game in all situations, there’s no room for error on our part. That’s obviously a tough challenge, but at the same time we also like to think that we’ve been sort of faced with those situations and when we’ve gone up against teams like that, it’s helped to sharpen our focus and performed well in those situations.”
A lot more coverage in Wednesday’s Star Tribune. I talked to Pierre McGuire this morning about his insane travel schedule the next few weeks. Doc Emrick and Pierre are doing the game on NBC Sports Network tonight, but it should be blacked out in the Twin Cities.
The game can be seen locally on Fox Sports North.
Congratulations to Brian Rolston on a stellar career. The three-time Wild 30-goal scorer retired after 17 seasons today.
That’s it for me. Talk to you tonight.

Wild vs. Blackhawks to start Tuesday: Anticipated lines, must-Twitter follows

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: April 29, 2013 - 9:13 AM
Wild-Blackhawks open Tuesday in Chicago at 7 p.m. Game 2 is Friday at 8:30 p.m. The series moves to St. Paul on Sunday for a 2 p.m. game on NBC. Game 4 is Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Games 1, 2, 4 will be on Fox Sports North.
Games 5-7 if necessary will be May 9, 11 and 12. TV and times to be determined
With rosters expanded, I'd be shocked if defenseman Marco Scandella isn't added to the roster Monday. He's a big D who can skate and can immediately be plugged into the lineup. He has had an up and down year, but he has played 83 games and we have seen him play well in spurts. Update: Scandella officially recalled.
Minnesota will be assigned the task of defeating a team that lost seven times in regulation all year … four times in a seven-game series. Won’t be simple, considering the Wild has beaten the Blackhawks five times in the past 15 meetings – and once in regulation.
That’s why Friday’s home loss to Edmonton was so costly. If the Wild had won that game and the Colorado game, it would have finished with the sixth seed and faced Vancouver.
What’s amazing about the Wild’s lack of success the last few years against Chicago is at one point in my tenure covering the Wild, Minnesota won 12 of 13 against the Hawks.
I can tell you, nobody is giving the Wild a chance in this series. The Blackhawks are most pundits' favorite to get out of the West. You'll be seeing a lot of sweep, five-game predictions in the next few days.
Check out the coverage in Monday’s Star Tribune.
Rachel Blount wrote a profile on Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom.
I wrote a main story on an initial look at the Wild-Blackhawks series matchup and a notebook leading with Devin Setoguchi’s strong game in Colorado and the need for the experienced playoff performer to keep it up.
Here are your anticipated lineups for the series.
* This is assuming Dave Bolland is in. He is questionable for Game 1 with a groin injury. Ray Emery is likely to serve as backup to Corey Crawford after sitting with a lower-body injury. 
Forwards lines
Brandon Saad—Jonathan Toews—Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp—Michal Handzus—Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell—Dave Bolland—Vitkor Stalberg
Michael Frolik—Marcus Kruger—Andrew Shaw
Defensive pairings
Duncan Keith—Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy—Brent Seabrook
Michal Rozsival—Johnny Oduya
Corey Crawford
Ray Emery
*This is assuming Jason Pominville is in. He is questionable for Game 1 with a head injury. We will see Monday if he returns to practice. But I would assume if he plays, coach Mike Yeo would return to that productive third line he was on, especially since Jason Zucker seemed to help that second line get back on track Saturday in Denver. If Pominville does not play, assume Cal Clutterbuck stays on the third line, Zenon Konopka stays on the fourth line and Torrey Mitchell moves to right wing on the fourth line.
Forward lines
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker-Matt Cullen-Devin Setoguchi
Pierre-Marc Bouchard-Kyle Brodziak-Jason Pominville
Mike Rupp-Torrey Mitchell-Cal Clutterbuck
Extra: Zenon Konopka
Defense pairings
Ryan Suter-Jonas Brodin
Clayton Stoner-Jared Spurgeon
Scandella/Justin Falk-Tom Gilbert
Extras: Brett Clark and Nate Prosser
Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding
Extra: He is not here, but I’ve got to think Darcy Kuemper will be on quick recall duty if something happens to Backstrom. Harding’s lack of play the past two months has to be a concern.
Some great writers to follow in Chicago. Please give the following writers a read and follow on Twitter:
Chris Kuc: www.chicagotribune.com and @chriskuc
Tracey Myers: http://www.csnchicago.com/blackhawks and @TramyersCSN
Mark Lazerus: blogs.suntimes.com/blackhawks/  and @MarkLazerus
Tim Sassone: http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/4110  and @TimSassone
This may be the first bulletin-board material of the series, but check out this honest and probably true Patrick Kane quote to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc on the Wild:
“When they play like they want to, they can score four or five goals a night and keep it out of their net with maybe one of the best defensemen in the league [in Suter]. It’s a dangerous team. You definitely have to be careful with them. They’re a team that I’ve watched throughout the year and it seems like one night they look like the best team in the NHL and the next night they look like they don’t even want to be out there.”
Wild vs. Blackhawks By the Numbers
Category; Wild; Blackhawks
Overall record: 26-19-3; 36-7-5
Home record: 14-8-2; 18-3-3
Road record: 12-11-1; 18-4-2
One-goal games: 13-5-3; 19-3-5
Scoring first: 18-4-1; 26-2-1
Scored on first: 8-15-2; 10-5-4
Leading after 1 period: 9-2-1; 17-1-1
Trailing after 1 period: 6-12-1; 3-3-3
Leading after 2 periods: 18-1-1; 26-1-2
Trailing after 2 periods: 2-14-2; 4-5-1
Outshooting opponent: 15-10-1; 26-3-4
Outshot: 8-7-2; 9-4-1
Goals for: 2.46 (22nd in the NHL); 3.1 (2nd)
Goals against: 2.60 (15th); 2.02 (1st)
Shots for: 28.8 (17th); 31.1 (5th)
Shots against: 27.1 (6th); 26.2 (4th)
Power play: 17.9% (16th); 16.7% (19th)
Penalty kill: 80.7% (18th) 87.2% (3rd)
Shorthanded goals: 1 (T-26th); 5 (T-4th)
Shorthanded goals against: 0 (1st); 5 (T-25th)

First-round highlights

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: April 27, 2012 - 1:37 PM

From the NHL:

NEW YORK (April 27, 2012) -- From opening night, when the
Philadelphia Flyers engineered a stunning three-goal comeback victory at
Pittsburgh, to the trio of overtime games on Night 2, to the thrilling
triplet of Game 7s over the past 48 hours, the first round of the 2012
Stanley Cup Playoffs featured a record 16 overtimes in 16 days, razor-thin
margins of victory, frantic comebacks, standout individual performances and
unpredictable results.

Record Overtimes

Sixteen of the 48 opening-round games (33.3%) required overtime, breaking
the mark of 15 set in 2001. In addition, three games featured go-ahead
goals in the final five minutes of regulation. Seven of the eight series
had at least one overtime game.

Three games went to overtime on the second night of competition (Thursday,
April 12), the highest single-day total since 2001. Road teams went 12-4
(.750) in the extra sessions, adding to their dominance of the first round.
It didn't take long to settle most of the 16 overtimes. The average
overtime length was just 8:17, well below the corresponding figure for the
14 OTs during the first round of the 2011 post-season (11:46).

One-Goal Games

Thirty-two of the 48 first-round games (66.7%) had one-goal margins. Teams
were either tied or separated by one goal for 82.8% of total playing time.

Momentum Swings

There were 12 games in which both clubs held the lead, more than double the
total from the corresponding period in 2011 (five).

Historic Road Dominance

Road teams finished the opening round with a 30-18 (.625) record, the
highest winning percentage since the NHL switched to the 16-team playoff
format in 1979-80.

Series Highlights

Capitals-Bruins: As Close As It Gets

For the first time in NHL history, each game in a seven-game series was
decided by one goal. The Washington Capitals and Boston Bruins played seven
one-goal games in their first-round series; including four overtime games.
No postseason series had ever had as many as six one-goal games. The
game-winning goals in six of the seven games were scored with fewer than
two minutes remaining in regulation or in overtime.

Flyers-Penguins: Goals, Goals, Goals

The Philadelphia Flyers (23) and Pittsburgh Penguins (22) combined for 45
goals through the first four games of their series, the most in League
history through the opening four contests of a best-of-seven series. The
previous record was 44, set by Edmonton (26) and Chicago (18) in the 1985
Campbell Conference Final. Of the 17 players who recorded six points or
more in the first round, 13 were Flyers or Penguins players. The Flyers
were an eye-popping 52.2% on the power-play, converting on 12 of 23

The Flyers became the first team since the 1993 Los Angeles Kings to score
eight or more goals in consecutive postseason games (Games 2 and 3), while
the Penguins scored eight unanswered goals to stave off elimination in Game
4, becoming the first team in more than 22 years to score 10 goals in a
playoff game (Los Angeles – April 10, 1990).

Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier each recorded hat tricks in
Game 2, becoming the ninth set of teammates, and first since 2006, to post
hat tricks in the same playoff game.

Giroux added three assists in Game 2 for six total points; the last time a
player had six or more points in a playoff game was May 6, 2010, when
Detroit’s Johan Franzen recorded 4-2--6 against San Jose. Giroux led all
scorers in the first round with 14 points (six goals, eight assists),
becoming the second NHL player since 1993 to score at least 14 points in a
playoff series of fewer than seven games. Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby
registered 14 points in the Penguins' six-game first-round series win
against Ottawa in 2010.

Coyotes-Blackhawks: Frantic Finishes, Milestone Victory

The Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks became the first teams in more
than 60 years to open their playoff series with five consecutive overtime
games. The 1951 Stanley Cup Final between the Toronto Maple Leafs and
Montreal Canadiens featured overtime in each of series' five games,
captured by Toronto 4-1.

Phoenix forward Mikkel Boedker scored the overtime winner in Games 3 and 4,
becoming the first player to do so in back-to-back playoff contests since
Colorado's Joe Sakic in 2004.

The Coyotes franchise won its first playoff series in 25 years and first
since relocating to Phoenix in 1996. Phoenix captain Shane Doan advanced to
the second round of the postseason for the first time in his 16-year NHL
career, all of which has been with the Coyotes franchise. Doan had played
1,242 career games (regular season and playoffs) before experiencing the
winning side of the traditional handshake line.

The Blackhawks became the first team in NHL history to score tying goals
with less than 15 seconds remaining in regulation in consecutive postseason
games of one series. They evened the score in Game 1 with 14.2 seconds left
in the third period and tied Game 2 with 5.5 seconds on the clock. The
Blackhawks then staged yet another late-game rescue, pulling their
goaltender and tying Game 4 of the series with 1:26 remaining -- the third
time in the series they forced overtime by scoring with the goaltender off
the ice for a sixth attacker.

Kings-Canucks: Top Seed Eliminated

The Los Angeles Kings' first-round series win over Vancouver marked the
10th time in NHL history that a No. 8 seed defeated a No. 1 seed and was
the club's first postseason series win since 2001. It also marked the first
time a No. 8 has defeated a No. 1 in five games. Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown
tied a Stanley Cup Playoff record by scoring two shorthanded goals in Game

Devils-Panthers: Playoff Legend Brodeur Meets Resilient Foe

New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who turns 40 on May 6, became
the second goaltender in NHL history to post 100 career playoff wins in
Game 1 vs. Florida, joining Hall of Famer Patrick Roy. He bounced back from
his shortest playoff start in Game 3 by posting his 24th career postseason
shutout in Game 4, moving him past Roy into sole possession of first place
all-time. He also assisted on Steve Bernier’s third-period score, marking
the third time in Brodeur’s postseason career that he notched a shutout and
assist in the same game. Brodeur concluded the series by making 43 saves to
record his sixth career Game 7 victory, tying Roy for the most all-time.

The Panthers proved a valiant and resilient foe in defeat. They trailed
Game 3 3-0 after 6:16 at a raucous Prudential Center, but stunned the
Devils by scoring four unanswered goals for their first playoff road
victory since June 1, 1996. New Jersey hadn’t yielded a three-goal lead in
the postseason since April 10, 1988. In Game 7, the Panthers erased a
two-goal deficit in the third period to force overtime, but fell just shy
of becoming the second team in NHL history – and first since Montreal in
1979 – to win a Game 7 when trailing by two goals in the third period.

Blues-Sharks: St. Louis Goaltenders Shut The Door

The St. Louis goaltending tandem of Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak, who
recorded 15 shutouts in the regular season to tie a modern NHL record for
one team, combined to shut out the Sharks in Game 2, marking just the third
shared shutout in playoff history. The duo teamed to capture the William
Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders on the club allowing the fewest goals
during the regular season and stayed stingy in the opening round of the
playoffs, recording the NHL's lowest cumulative goals-against average

Rookie Heroics

* New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique became the second rookie in NHL
history – and first since Montreal’s Claude Lemieux in 1986 – to score an
overtime winner in a Game 7.

* The Washington Capitals' Braden Holtby became the third rookie netminder
to defeat the defending Stanley Cup champions in a playoff series. The
other two: Montreal's Ken Dryden (1971, also against Boston) and Calgary's
Mike Vernon (1986, against Edmonton). Holtby also is the seventh rookie
goaltender to post an overtime win in Game 7 of a playoff series and the
first since the Buffalo's Steve Shields defeated Ottawa in 1997.

* Rangers forward Chris Kreider skated in his first NHL game in Game 3 of
the first-round series vs. Ottawa and tallied the game-winning goal in Game
6 as New Yorks staved off elimination. Kreider, who signed with the Rangers
April 10 after winning his second NCAA title with Boston College April 7,
is the first player to win the NCAAs and make his NHL debut in that year’s
playoffs since Tony Hrkac in 1987 (University of North Dakota, St. Louis).

* Four Philadelphia Flyers rookies scored goals and combined for 15 points
in their first-round victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins: Brayden Schenn
(2-4--6), Sean Couturier (3-1--4), Matt Read (2-2--4) and Erik Gustafsson
(1-0--1). Philadelphia rookies were prominent in staking the Flyers to a
3-0 series lead: Schenn had a goal and two assists in Game 1, Couturier
recorded a hat trick and added an assist in Game 2 and Read potted two
goals, including the winner, in Game 3. The only player younger than
Couturier (19 years, 128 days) to record a postseason hat trick was
Toronto's Hall of Fame center Ted 'Teeder' Kennedy (19 years, 123 days).

* Nashville forward Gabriel Bourque notched the game-winning goal in the
Predators' playoff opener and was the club's leading goal-scorer (three) in
the first-round series win over Detroit. Bourque also tied for the club
lead and for third in the League overall with a +5 rating.

Stanley Cup playoff first-round matchups and schedule

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: April 8, 2012 - 2:29 PM

The only Wild news today is Marco Scandella and Nate Prosser have been officially reassigned and will be in Houston's lineup tonight vs. Milwaukee.


SERIES A TIME (ET) #1 NY Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa Networks
Thursday, April 12, 2012 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NHL Network, CBC
Saturday, April 14, 2012 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NBC Sports Network, CBC
Monday, April 16, 2012 7:30 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa CBC, CNBC
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 7:30 p.m. NY Rangers at Ottawa CBC, CNBC
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 7 p.m. Ottawa at NY Rangers NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Monday, April 23, 2012 TBD NY Rangers at Ottawa TBD
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD Ottawa at NY Rangers TBD

SERIES B TIME (ET) #2 Boston vs. #7 Washington Networks
Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:30 p.m. Washington at Boston NBC Sports Network, CBC
Saturday, April 14, 2012 3 p.m. Washington at Boston NBC, CBC
Monday, April 16, 2012 7:30 p.m. Boston at Washington NBC Sports Network, CBC
Thursday, April 19, 2012 7:30 p.m. Boston at Washington NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 3 p.m. Washington at Boston NBC, CBC
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Boston at Washington TBD
*Wednesday, April 25, 2012 TBD Washington at Boston TBD

SERIES C TIME (ET) #3 Florida vs. #6 New Jersey Networks
Friday, April 13, 2012 7 p.m. New Jersey at Florida NHL Network, TSN
Sunday, April 15, 2012 7:30 p.m. New Jersey at Florida NBC Sports Network, TSN
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7 p.m. Florida at New Jersey NHL Network, TSN
Thursday, April 19, 2012 7 p.m. Florida at New Jersey NHL Network, TSN
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:30 p.m. New Jersey at Florida NHL Network, TSN
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Florida at New Jersey TBD
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD New Jersey at Florida TBD

SERIES D TIME (ET) #4 Pittsburgh vs. #5 Philadelphia Networks
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Pittsburgh NBC Sports Network, TSN
Friday, April 13, 2012 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Pittsburgh NBC Sports Network, TSN
Sunday, April 15, 2012 3 p.m. Pittsburgh at Philadelphia NBC, TSN
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh at Philadelphia NBC Sports Network, TSN
*Friday, April 20, 2012 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia at Pittsburgh NBC Sports Network, TSN
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Pittsburgh at Philadelphia TBD
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Philadelphia at Pittsburgh TBD


SERIES E TIME (ET) #1 Vancouver vs. #8 Los Angeles Networks
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 10:30 p.m. Los Angeles at Vancouver CBC, NBC Sports Network
Friday, April 13, 2012 10 p.m. Los Angeles at Vancouver CBC, NBC Sports Network
Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:30 p.m. Vancouver at Los Angeles NBC Sports Network, CBC
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10 p.m. Vancouver at Los Angeles NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Los Angeles at Vancouver TBD
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Vancouver at Los Angeles TBD
*Thursday, April 26, 2012 TBD Los Angeles at Vancouver TBD

SERIES F TIME (ET) #2 St. Louis vs. #7 San Jose Networks
Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:30 p.m. San Jose at St. Louis CNBC, TSN
Saturday, April 14, 2012 7:30 p.m. San Jose at St. Louis CNBC, TSN
Monday, April 16, 2012 10 p.m. St. Louis at San Jose NBC Sports Network, TSN
Thursday, April 19, 2012 10:30 p.m. St. Louis at San Jose NBC Sports Network, TSN
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 7:30 p.m. San Jose at St. Louis CNBC, TSN
*Monday, April 23, 2012 TBD St. Louis at San Jose TBD
*Wednesday, April 25, 2012 TBD San Jose at St. Louis TBD

SERIES G TIME (ET) #3 Phoenix vs. #6 Chicago Networks
Thursday, April 12, 2012 10 p.m. Chicago at Phoenix NBC Sports Network, TSN
Saturday, April 14, 2012 10 p.m. Chicago at Phoenix NBC Sports Network, TSN
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 9 p.m. Phoenix at Chicago CNBC, TSN
Thursday, April 19, 2012 8 p.m. Phoenix at Chicago CNBC, TSN
*Saturday, April 21, 2012 10 p.m. Chicago at Phoenix NBC Sports Network, TSN
*Monday, April 23, 2012 TBD Phoenix at Chicago TBD
*Wednesday, April 25, 2012 TBD Chicago at Phoenix TBD

SERIES H TIME (ET) #4 Nashville vs. #5 Detroit Networks
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 8 p.m. Detroit at Nashville CNBC, CBC
Friday, April 13, 2012 7:30 p.m. Detroit at Nashville CNBC, CBC
Sunday, April 15, 2012 Noon Nashville at Detroit NBC, CBC
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7:30 p.m. Nashville at Detroit NBC Sports Network, CBC
*Friday, April 20, 2012 8 p.m. Detroit at Nashville CNBC, CBC
*Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Nashville at Detroit TBD
*Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Detroit at Nashville TBD

* if necessary
TBD – To Be Determined


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