James Neal notched a hat trick to help the Penguins advance to the Eastern Conference final with a 6-2 win over the Senators on Friday night.
Beyond the 4-1 series win, the best sign for the Penguins is that their sniper has found his mark of late, recording five of his six playoff goals over the past two games. Neal also added an assist as the Penguins proved to be too talented and far too deep for the Senators to contend with. After missing Game 4 because of an undisclosed injury, Brenden Morrow returned and scored the game's first goal early in the first period. Kris Letang potted a goal and had two assists, while Evgeni Malkin got a marker and a helper. Rest might be the only thing that could slow this team down as the dangerous Penguins have now scored 13 goals over their last two tilts.
Eric Staal (knee) "hopes" to ride on the stationary bike by next week, according to Carolina general manager Jim Rutherford.
Staal suffered a third-degree, right-knee sprain of his MCL as the result of a knee-on-knee collision at the IIHF World Championships. He's expected to need three months to rehab the injury, and this is a very good first sign that he's feeling better.
GM Don Maloney has agreed to a long-term contract extension with the Phoenix Coyotes.
"We are very pleased that Don has agreed to sign a long-term contract extension with the Coyotes," said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. "Since joining the team in 2007, Don has done an outstanding job managing his team and building a competitive roster that has produced on the ice, even given less than ideal circumstances off the ice. The NHL remains committed to securing the Coyotes' future in Glendale under new ownership, and we believe Don's long-term agreement evidences that he is equally committed." Under Maloney's leadership, the Coyotes have achieved on-ice success despite difficult and unique circumstances. Although the team missed the playoffs in the shortened season, the Coyotes made it to the Western Conference finals for the first time in their franchise's history in 2012.
Brian Boyle's goal 10 minutes into the third period Wednesday night ended the New York Rangers' 0-for-12 drought on the power play.
That number doesn't even really begin to describe it. Prior to Boyle's goal, the Rangers were an abysmal 2-for-39 with the man advantage this postseason. Not only did Boyle's goal finally make an opponent pay for putting the Rangers on the power play, but it stood up as the tying goal and eventually sent the game into overtime, where Chris Kreider won it to force Game 5 in Boston on Saturday.
SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League is reportedly willing to pay big money to sign Sergei Bobrovsky.
Bobrovsky is scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer. Although it's unlikely that Saint Petersburg will succeed in its goal of inking Bobrovsky, this should give the goaltender more leverage when he's negotiating with the Columbus Blue Jackets. It's worth adding that Bobrovsky played for Saint Petersburg during the lockout and had a 1.94 GAA and .932 save percentage in 24 KHL games.
With Thursday's victory, Jonathan Quick is the Kings' all-time leader in postseason wins.
Quick has won 27 career playoff contests and surpassed Kelly Hrudey. "Obviously what Kelly meant to this organization 20 years ago was pretty impressive, everything he accomplished here," Quick said. He added, "He's very competitive and hated to lose, obviously. Being able to pass him on that list, obviously it's an accomplishment, but obviously wins are a team accomplishment, so you've got to give credit to the guys you played with." He also earned his seventh playoff shutout on Thursday, which puts him in a five-way tie for 18th place in the NHL's all-time leaderboard. Quick has become an amazing postseason goaltender with a 1.96 GAA and .932 save percentage.
New York Rangers coach vehemently defended his decision to scratch a healthy Brad Richards before Thursday's Game 4.
"This is a Conn Smythe winner, a guy I've grown up with, a guy that I love as a person and a player, but I have to make that decision regarding this. So kiss my ass if you want to run something different. It's not about blaming that guy, and I don't want anyone to pile on," Tortorella said after New York's 4-3 overtime win. Torts also called Richards "a hell of a hockey player" and said he had to make the decision because keeping the struggling Richards on the fourth line doesn't help either party, which we kind of agree with. It remains to be seen if Richards will be back in the lineup for Saturday's Game 5.