Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates with the puck against the Boston Bruins during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on June 5, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(June 4, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Playoffs Tonight: Penguins must make history to survive

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The Chicago Blackhawks came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to defeat the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and consequently take a 3-1 series lead. The Conference finals could finish on Saturday, but that depends on the outcome of tonight’s game.

Boston Bruins host Pittsburgh Penguins (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra)
Boston leads 3-0

Boston jumped ahead to 3-1 and 3-0 leads in their previous two series. In the first round, they just barely managed to advance despite the early series edge they built for themselves, but the second round had a far less dramatic conclusion for the Bruins.

Of course, people won’t soon forgot when the Boston Bruins coughed up a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 — but a lot has happened since then. While that incident might provide them with perspective, they’ve shown time and again that they are capable of closing a series.

“The one thing we do know is we’ve got to play a better game than we did (Wednesday),” Julien said, according to the Boston Globe. “We might have won the game, but we’re certainly not pleased with the way we played.

“We know they played better but I don’t think we did, and we’ve got to make sure we’re at the top of our game tomorrow.”

The Penguins did play better in Game 3, even if they didn’t set the bar terribly high with their showing in the first two games of this series. They battled the Bruins for 95 minutes, but weren’t rewarded.

“By no means are we going to break down and give up. The percentages are against us, but we have a good team,” Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter told the Penguins’ official website. “We’re taking this day-by-day right now.”

Taking it one game at a time is the key for the Penguins. That strategy is so heavily preached that it’s long since become a cliche, but it’s all the Penguins got. They’ve put themselves in a position where they have to make history to survive.

It’s a long shot, but given how much talent the Penguins have, it’s hard to dismiss the possibility.

 

Caggiula expected to sign shortly, Canucks could be front-runners

during the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships at Amalie Arena on April 9, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.The North Dakota Fighting Hawks defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats 5-1 to win the national title. Getty
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College free agent Drake Caggiula is expected to pick a team shortly, possibly even today.

The University of North Dakota winger had originally shortlisted six teams, according to a report. Those teams were Philadelphia, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Buffalo.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said this morning on Edmonton radio that the Canucks are “maybe” the front-runners to land the 21-year-old. Vancouver signed Caggiula’s teammate, defenseman Troy Stecher, a couple of weeks ago, and Caggiula’s linemate, Brock Boeser, was drafted by the Canucks in the first round last year.

Recently, Boeser told Postmedia that he was trying to convince Caggiula to sign with Vancouver, where there will be plenty of opportunities for young forwards in the next couple of years.

If it’s not the Canucks, McKenzie said he’s heard the Oilers have a “puncher’s chance” of getting Caggiula.

Vigneault will be behind the Rangers’ bench in 2016-17

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault runs a practice at NHL hockey training camp Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, in Greenburgh N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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The New York Rangers may have been bounced in the opening round of the 2016 playoffs, but they aren’t looking to make a coaching change. In a phone interview with Montreal’s LaPresse newspaper, Alain Vigneault confirmed that he’ll be back behind the Rangers’ bench next season.

“I’ve had discussions with the club’s front office and they told me that they wanted me to come back next season,” Vigneault told LaPresse (quotes have been translated by PHT).

Vigneault and Rangers management will meet in Palm Springs next week to discuss what went wrong in 2015-16.

Even though the season didn’t go the way the Rangers had hoped, Vigneault insists he was never worried about losing his job.

“I don’t really worry about that stuff,” Vigneault said of the rumors surrounding his job security. “There’s 82 games in a season plus the playoffs and you can’t start thinking about your fate after each game. After a loss, you forget it and start thinking about the adjustments you need to make. In regards to our situation, we still managed to pick up 101 points this season. That’s a good season, but we still expected more from our team in the playoffs.”

Like every off-season, there will be changes, but Vigneault isn’t expecting any major ones.

“There’s definitely going to be changes. I don’t know if there’ll be big changes because today, it’s hard to make big changes. With the salary cap, it’s not realistic to think that way.”

When pressed about potential changes, Vigneault wasn’t willing to elaborate.

Vigneault also touched on the way Dan Boyle went after two reporters at the team’s year-end media availability. It’s safe to say he wasn’t thrilled about the way the whole thing went down.

“It’s a lesson for me and our whole team,” added Vigneault. “It’s disappointing because Dan had a really nice career. He won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, but all people will remember him for is this incident. What happened with him really surprised us. It’s too bad. I hope people will remember him for the career he had.”

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with one game on Friday night. You can catch tonight’s action via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Lightning lead the series 2-1.

Here’s some relevant reading material you might enjoy:

No hearings scheduled for Boyle on Hickey hit, or Hickey on Drouin hit

Lightning take dramatic OT win vs. Islanders, go up 2-1 in series

WATCH LIVE: Canada-USA (IIHF World Hockey Championship)

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A huge tilt on day one of the World Hockey Championships, as Canada and the USA clash in Russia. You can watch the game online using the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Canada came away with a gold medal in last year’s tournament while the United States took home the bronze. Of course, each team’s roster changes significantly every year.

The USA’s next game is tomorrow against Belarus. Canada will play Sunday against Hungary.