Cam Tucker

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Report: Blackhawks agree to deal with Czech d-man Kempny

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The Chicago Blackhawks have reportedly agreed to a contract with Czech defenseman Michal Kempny, who will turn 26 years old in September.

The club has yet to officially announce such a deal.

Reports of the deal come following the 2016 world hockey championship, where Kempny recorded two assists in eight games for the Czech Republic. He also had 10 penalty minutes and 19 shots on goal in the tournament.

After spending six years of his career in the Czech league, Kempny spent the 2015-16 season in the KHL with Avangard Omsk, where he had five goals and 21 points in 59 regular season games.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Kempny likely will challenge for a regular roster spot with Erik Gustafsson, Viktor Svedberg, David Rundblad and Rockford standout Ville Pokka. After an early postseason exit in which their lack of defensive depth was glaring, only Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook and Trevor van Riemsdyk are locks for next season.

According to a report from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres were pursuing Kempny.

WATCH LIVE: Sharks at Blues – Game 5

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 21:  Brenden Dillon #4 of the San Jose Sharks fights with Carl Gunnarsson #4 of the St. Louis Blues in game four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 21, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The St. Louis Blues finally re-discovered a scoring touch to even the Western Conference Final at two games apiece, and they can now take back the series lead with a win on home ice over the San Jose Sharks on Monday. Meanwhile, the Sharks will look to rebound from a difficult outing in Game 4.

You can catch tonight’s Game 5 on NBCSN (8 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:

Hitchcock only says that Backes, Fabbri will warm up for Game 5

Hitchcock is having ‘fun’ trading barbs with DeBoer

Has the Sharks-Blues series created a DeBoer vs. Hitchcock rivalry?

‘It’s not always the size of the player’: Tyler Johnson plays OT hero for Bolts

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Prior to Game 4 of this series, Tyler Johnson was hit in the face with a puck during warm-up.

That didn’t seem to faze him. In Game 5, he was positioned right in front of the net when the puck deflected off him and into the net, giving the Tampa Bay Lightning the overtime win and pushing that team one step closer to a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

“I was just out there in front. I saw (Jason Garrison) start to shoot it, and I thought it was going for my head again,” Johnson told reporters. “So I turned around, and I got lucky. It just nicked me.”

That goal was Johnson’s seventh of the post-season. His 17 points has him tied with Phil Kessel for fifth in the playoffs.

At a time of the year when the physical play is emphasized, Johnson, who stands five-foot-eight-inches tall, has been a consistent producer in the playoffs, with 42 points in 45 career post-season games. (That production slowed to two points in six games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, though it was revealed he suffered a broken wrist early in that series.)

“He’s a winner. That’s what winners do. They don’t back down. And when there’s a challenge ahead of you, you’ve got to find a way to meet that challenge. Tyler Johnson was that way before he came to the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

“It’s not always the size of the player, it’s the size of the heart, and that’s Tyler Johnson.”

Fleury: ‘I should have been better’

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Mike Sullivan made his decision.

The Pittsburgh Penguins coach opted to go with Marc-Andre Fleury, the franchise goalie since being taken first overall in 2003, instead of 21-year-old rookie Matt Murray in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It’s a decision that immediately invited second guessing and criticism, and that is likely to continue following Sunday’s result.

The Penguins — without Trevor Daley for the remainder of the playoffs due to a broken ankle — lost 4-3 in overtime, unable to hold on to a one-goal lead in the third period, and now face elimination in the third round. The Bolts are one win away from clinching a second straight berth in the Stanley Cup Final, and that’s without Steven Stamkos or Ben Bishop in the lineup.

Fleury was making his first start of these playoffs. His first start since March 31. He allowed four goals on 25 shots. Alex Killorn started the scoring for Tampa Bay, his wrist shot going over the shoulder of the Penguins puck stopper and cutting into Pittsburgh’s two-goal lead at the time.

It would seem Sullivan has another decision ahead of him when it comes to his starting goalie for a must-win Game 6.

“I’m not going to assess his game right after the game. It’s obviously a disheartening game we just lost. I’d rather digest it a little bit before I jump to any conclusions,” said Sullivan of Fleury to reporters following the loss.

This is the first time in the post-season the Penguins are facing elimination.

“I know that our guys will respond the right way. They have for four months, five months now,” said Sullivan.

“I told them after the game it’s disappointing, we’re all disappointed we didn’t get the result tonight, but we can’t change it. So all we’ve got to do is we’ve got to gather ourselves, we’ve got to go back at it, and try to win a game.”

Bolts stun Penguins in OT, head home with chance to take Eastern Conference Final

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Well, that didn’t take long.

Just 53 seconds into overtime, Jason Garrison‘s point shot deflected off Tyler Johnson and by goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final on Sunday.

(You’ll recall that prior to Game 4, Johnson was hit in the face with a puck during warm-up, though he was positioned right in front of the Penguins net for the winner in Game 5.)

The Bolts are now one victory away from getting back to the Stanley Cup Final for a second consecutive year.

The Penguins, who had a two-goal advantage in the second period, were just 3:16 away from taking the series lead, but couldn’t hold on in the final period. Nikita Kucherov scored his second of the game and league-leading 11th of the post-season to tie the game for Tampa Bay.

The goal occurred after Fleury directed a Johnson backhand shot toward the corner, only to have it end up right on Kucherov’s stick, as he buried the wrap-around for the equalizer.

In his first start of the post-season — and replacing 21-year-old rookie Matt Murray, who had been solid for Pittsburgh since he was called upon in the opening round — Fleury allowed four goals on 25 shots.

Alex Killorn started the comeback for the Bolts, beating Fleury over his right shoulder, short-side on a perfect wrist shot in the second period.

The Bolts can wrap up the series on home ice in Game 6 on Tuesday.