Cam Tucker

Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant, right, talks with center Vincent Trocheck (21) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers defeated the Lightning 5-2. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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It’s official: Trocheck back in Panthers lineup for Game 5

With the series tied 2-2 and a pivotal Game 5 against the New York Islanders on Friday, the Florida Panthers have Vincent Trocheck back in their lineup. Initially, he was going to be a game-time decision.

Trocheck suffered a foot injury at the end of March and is making his series debut for Florida. That could be a huge boost for the Panthers.

Trocheck, 22, had been on a roll prior to the injury, scoring in four straight games. He had an impressive regular season with 25 goals, a career high so far for him, and 53 points.

Video: Oshie, Schenn begin Game 5 with spirited scrap just 10 seconds in

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It took all of 10 seconds to reignite hostilities between the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals in Game 5 on Friday.

Right off the opening faceoff, Brayden Schenn and T.J. Oshie dropped the gloves at center ice in a spirited tilt following a discussion between the two forwards as they lined up for the draw.

The Flyers are down 3-1 in the series, facing elimination.

Sharks (just barely) beat L.A. to take 3-1 series lead

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Fans at SAP Center got their wish: The San Jose Sharks beat the L.A. Kings on Wednesday. Just barely.

The Sharks, who scored all three of their goals on the power play, held on for a 3-2 victory, and now lead the series 3-1.

Once again against the Sharks, the Kings are on the brink of elimination. They were in the same position two years ago, albeit they had to dig out of a deeper 3-0 hole.

According to LA Kings Insider, coach Darryl Sutter was asked post-game if the Kings can draw on the experience of being down 3-0 in the series to San Jose two years ago and coming back to win.

Sutter was blunt: “No. We’re not down three to nothing, and it’s a different team.”

There were plenty of anxious moments in the third period because apparently that’s what the script calls for between these two teams. The Sharks, on an early third-period goal from Patrick Marleau, grabbed a 3-0 lead. With 18:20 remaining in the third period. And that’s when this game took a most interesting turn.

That’s when the Kings started their comeback attempt. First, it was Trevor Lewis getting L.A. on the board 2:49 into the period. The Sharks used a coach’s challenge on the basis of possible goalie interference. After a review, the call on the ice stood. Good goal, 3-1 Sharks.

Less than four minutes later, Luke Schenn scored on a point shot to cut the San Jose lead to just one goal and with plenty of time remaining.

Nervous times in San Jose, as the chants of ‘Beat LA! Beat LA!’ continued.

The Kings pressed and pressed for the tying goal. Sharks goalie Martin Jones appeared to get away with a trip at the side of the net on Dustin Brown late in the period.

Despite giving up 26 shot attempts in the final 20 minutes, as per hockeystats.ca, the Sharks didn’t break, holding on for the win.

“Our penalty kill wasn’t near good enough tonight, and special teams were obviously the huge difference,” said Schenn. “They got three power play goals, and we obviously didn’t get any. Special teams needs to improve, for sure, if we’re going to climb back into it.”

This series shifts back to L.A. The Sharks have three chances to move on.

Stars send Wild to brink of elimination after comeback win

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The Dallas Stars are now one win away from advancing to the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs.

They will have the chance to do that on home ice.

After overcoming the Wild in a back-and-forth second period that saw the two teams exchange a total of five goals, the Stars were able to hang on for the 3-2 victory, having to kill off a six-on-four Wild advantage in the final minute of the third period. Dallas now takes a 3-1 lead in the series.

The Wild looked to be in good shape midway through Game 4.

Twice, Minnesota grabbed a lead in the second period. Jason Pominville opened the scoring, and Charlie Coyle busted out of a 21-game scoring drought with a beautiful individual effort, regaining the Wild’s lead just 1:03 after Ales Hemsky got Dallas on the board.

The always dangerous Stars struck back, however, on goals from Patrick Eaves and Jason Spezza, who gave Dallas the lead with just over a minute remaining in the period.

Antti Niemi, who was making his series debut as Lindy Ruff opted to sit veteran Kari Lehtonen for Game 4, made 28 saves.

The Stars can now close out the series with a win in front of their home fans Friday.

 

Video: Coyle snaps scoring drought with brilliant individual effort

Charlie Coyle ended his 21-game scoring drought with an absolutely beautiful, determined individual effort during the second period of Game 4 between the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars.

Coyle forced a turnover from Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski at the Minnesota blue line, then made a dash to get open for a potential breakaway pass. Having to contend with Goligoski on the back check, Coyle managed to corral the bouncing puck as he entered the zone and quickly deked to his left, beating Antti Niemi.

That was quite a response for Minnesota, too. Coyle’s goal came just 1:03 after the Stars got on the board, tying the game at 1-1 courtesy a rocket of a shot from Ales Hemsky.