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Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry carry Ducks over Blues

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In the only game on Sunday’s NHL docket, the Anaheim Ducks used three third period goals to pull away from the St. Louis Blues in Anaheim. The Ducks got off to a strong start to take an early 1-0 on the strength of a Bobby Ryan rebound. Anaheim actually started the game with the first seven shots of the game, but the tables were turned mid-way through the period as the Ducks were held without a shot for almost nine minutes.

Patrik Berlund scored his second goal of the year on a nice deflection from an Alex Pietrangelo point shot in the second period to tie the score at 1-1 going into the 3rd. From there, the Ducks blew the game open with three goals to start the final period en route to a 4-2 victory. Blues-killer Bobby Ryan lived up to his reputation as he ended the night with a pair of goals. That brings his total to 9 goals and 3 assists in his last 8 games against St. Louis.

Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak talked about the disastrous third period after the game. “I think we played a good 40 minutes,” Halak said. “Then in the third period, we killed the penalty and they scored right away on a lucky bounce for their guy. It seemed like they took over and they scored two more goals. It was too late for us to start playing again and we just have to learn from it.”

Defending Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry also notched his first goal of the season—fittingly on Corey Perry Night in Anaheim.

Perry talked about “his” night after the game. “That was special,” Perry said. “It was a tremendous honor just to be acknowledged. I have to thank the organization for doing that. It was a great thing from the fans with the cheers. That was really nice.”

The win is just the latest in a three-game winning streak for the Ducks. The 3-1-0 start is the second best in franchise history—the only time they were better was in 2007. That season worked out pretty well for Anaheim.

The question mark around the Ducks over the last few seasons has been their ability to play defense. With guys like Lubomir Visnovsky and Cam Fowler, they certainly have defenseman capable of contributing to the offensive side of the puck. But the team defense has been strong to start the season—due in large part to Jonas Hiller’s spectacular play in the early going.

The all-star netminder has started all four games for Anaheim this season and looks like he’s shaken off any signs of the vertigo-like symptoms that sidelined him for the second half last season. Hiller has a 1.71 goals against average, a .934 save percentage, and a shutout over the beginning of the season. Just imagine what those stats would look like if the team showed up for their opener against Buffalo in Helsinki last week.

The Ducks will have no time to enjoy their victory as they faceoff against the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. The two teams played a hard-fought 1-0 game on Friday night and the Sharks will be looking to snap their two game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Blues will head north to Los Angeles to play their 3rd game in 4 nights against the Kings on Tuesday night.

Shock of Lightning: Stamkos will play

Steven Stamkos
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He’s in.

As if Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final couldn’t get any more dramatic, it has — Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos, who hasn’t played since Mar. 31, will make his playoff debut against the Penguins tonight.

Stamkos underwent vascular surgery in early April to correct a blood clotting issue, and has remained on blood thinners ever since. While there’s been no confirmation he’s off medication, he did tell Sportsnet he’d be able to return to the lineup once he was.

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Stamkos reiterated that he’s still on the same prescription of blood thinners he was given earlier this month. He takes a 12-hour dosage, twice a day, and it has been suggested to him that once he is cleared to stop taking the medication, Stamkos conceivably could return to the Lightning lineup almost immediately.

That’s why I’m trying to stay in shape,” he said.

Per NHL.com, Stamkos took the warmup and participated in line rushes centering Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan.

It’s been exactly eight weeks since Stamkos played his last game. At the time of his diagnosis, the Lightning said his timetable for recovery was 1-3 months.

To say his return will be a boost is a major understatement. Aside from the emotional factor, Stamkos led the Bolts in goals this year, with 36, and would presumably spark a power play that’s gone just 2-for-12 in the series.

 

Drama builds as Stamkos takes Game 7 warmup

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 26:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 26, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Lightning shutout the Devils 4-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Steve Stamkos took the team bus to tonight’s Eastern Conference Game 7 in Pittsburgh. As TVA noted, it was the first time he’s arrived early for a game in these playoffs.

In his pregame presser, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper refused to answer any questions about Stamkos’ availability.

And then Stamkos took the warmup.

As such, the drama surrounding Tampa Bay’s captain has reached an all-time high. Stamkos, who’s been out of the lineup since early April due to blood clots, looks as though he’s on the verge of an emotional comeback as the Lightning try to win an ECF Game 7 — on the road — for a second consecutive season.

“If Stamkos is in the lineup, it’s our best foot forward,” Cooper said. “If he’s not in the lineup, it’s because he wasn’t eligible to play.”

No word if No. 91 is still on the blood thinning medication he’s been taking since undergoing vascular surgery on Apr. 4.

Stay tuned…

Parise rehabbing back injury without surgery, ‘no question’ he’ll play in World Cup

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 17:  Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 17, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Wild 7-4.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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EDINA, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise has been rehabilitating his back injury without surgery, putting him on track to be at full strength by September.

Parise said Thursday he’s “happy with the way everything’s going.” He said he’s been able to work out as he normally does during the summer, despite missing the playoffs because of the injury.

Parise said there’s “no question” he’ll be ready to play for Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey tournament.

Parise joined teammates Erik Haula, Jason Pominville, Nate Prosser, Jared Spurgeon and Jason Zucker at an autograph signing to raise money for people affected by the wildfires in Alberta. The parents of Spurgeon’s wife, Danielle, lost their home to a fire in the Edmonton area.

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Penguins, Game 7

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Alex Killorn #17 of the Tampa Bay Lightning falls to the ice at the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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Not much more to say than this:

GAME 7.

Puck drop is at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, but you can also catch the game online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

It’s been a ‘roller coaster’ — Pens, Bolts ready for Game 7

Vasilevskiy ‘is the big reason we’re in Game 7,’ says Bolts coach Cooper

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

Video: Johnson pays the price for Tampa Bay