Just how are the Boston Bruins going to slow down Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins?
It’s a really good question, and be sure the Bruins have formulated a plan.
Are they going to tell any of us what it is prior to its deployment? Apparently not.
“I’m not talking about what the game plan is. Sorry,” said Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara, as he spoke to reporters Friday, prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final against the Penguins.
The challenge facing the Bruins – the 2011 Stanley Cup champions – is shutting down the highest scoring team in these playoffs.
Two years ago, they kept the Vancouver Canucks in check on their way to the ultimate championship.
The Penguins are averaging 4.27 goals per game in these playoffs, and Crosby is atop at the top of the league in goals and not far off the league lead in points.
Perhaps the key to shutting down the Penguins will be the ability for Bruins’ coach Claude Julien to match lines, especially on the road.
That’s easier said than done.
“Sometimes you have to have trust in your lines that they can do the job and then we have seen that on our team where our fourth line has been paired up against the other team’s top line,” said Julien, “and they know who is out there when they are out there and they make sure that they do the job properly and don’t give them scoring chances.”
The San Jose Sharks can make franchise history on home ice tonight against the St. Louis Blues. Win, and the Sharks clinch their first ever trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Lose, and it’s back to St. Louis for a deciding Game 7 in the Western Conference Final.
You can catch tonight’s Game 6 on NBCSN (9 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
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Valeri Nichushkin has the tools — listed at six-foot-four-inches tall and 205 pounds with devastating speed. He has the skill.
However, now at the end of his entry-level contract, the 10th overall draft pick for the Dallas Stars in 2013 has endured the highs and lows associated with a young player trying to make his mark in the National Hockey League after a promising rookie campaign.
For starters, his sophomore 2014-15 season was essentially wiped out — he played only eight games for the Stars — by a hip injury that required surgery. He also didn’t get off to the greatest start this season, and coming back from surgery likely played a factor as to why, as he found his way into Lindy Ruff’s doghouse early on.
As a result, was made a healthy scratch.
His bottom line offensive numbers included nine goals and 29 points in 79 games played, and one assist in 10 playoff games for the Stars, as they were eliminated in the second round.
Still, he’s just 21 years old. When playing with top players like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, he was able to get on a bit of a roll offensively.
Stars GM Jim Nill, speaking on SiriusXMNHL, referenced the difficulty for a young player coming back off surgery, but remains confident in Nichushkin.
“We’re happy with Val,” he said (at around the 5:30 mark).
“Came back this year, got off to a slow start because of that. We thought the last five games of the playoffs, he really started to look like himself. He started to dominate down low and in the corners.
“He is only 21. I know there’s still lots of room for growth, so we’re going to be patient with him. We think he’s a big part of our future.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Coyotes have hired Anaheim Ducks executive Ari Segal as chief operating officer.
The move was announced by the team on Wednesday.
Segal previously served as a special assistant to Anaheim CEO Michael Schulman and as president of business operations for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego.
Segal helped with preparations for the new AHL club and recently worked with the NHL in the league’s broadcast media strategy group, evaluating league and team broadcast rights and distribution deals.
Segal previously worked as an associate in the sports practice at McKinsey & Company, a New York-based management consulting firm.
Related: The Coyotes are going in a ‘new direction,’ and that’s an understatement
Columbus farmhand Lukas Sedlak, who currently sits tied atop AHL Lake Erie’s playoff scoring leaderboard, has signed a one-year, two-way deal, the Jackets announced on Wednesday.
Sedlak, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2011 that’s spent the last three years in the American League. This season was by far his most successful — in addition to potting a career-best 14 goals, he’s become close to a point-a-game producer in the playoffs, with 11 through 12 games.
“Sedlak has been on a run for us with goal-scoring,” Lake Erie head coach Jared Bednar said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “He’s not a guy who does it for us every night. But he works so hard in all the other areas.”
Sedlak has yet to make his NHL debut, but could be in the mix for a recall next season.