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Matt Irwin helps replace young boy’s stolen hockey gear

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Nashville Predators defenseman Matt Irwin has recently helped an 11-year-old hockey player replace his equipment after it was stolen from a middle school near Victoria, B.C.

Irwin grew up in Victoria, before beginning his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks in 2013.

From the Victoria Times Colonist:

The boy’s father, Jason Shemilt, asked on Facebook this week for help replacing the gear.

“We cannot afford to replace any of it,” Shemilt wrote. “Our son is heartbroken that the gear is gone.”

Irwin, 29, heard of the story and supplied the family with a new set of equipment.

“He wants to be out there with his friends,” Irwin, who plays for the Nashville Predators, said during an interview on TSN.

“And we know how expensive hockey gear is. I’m so fortunate to have good friends at CCM who were able to help out.”

Irwin, now 29 years old, is in his first season with the Predators. He has two assists in 21 playoff games this year, as Nashville searches for its first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

The Predators face the Penguins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday.

Steve Bernier agrees to two-year, two-way deal with Islanders

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Steve Bernier is back with the New York Islanders organization.

On Friday, the Islanders announced they had agreed to terms with Bernier on a two-year, two-way deal. This contract comes with a cap hit of $600,000 at the NHL level, per CapFriendly.

Bernier, now 32 years old, had 16 goals and 26 points in 33 games last season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the American Hockey League. Selected 16th overall in the 2003 draft, Bernier is a veteran of 633 NHL games, including 24 with the Islanders during the 2015-16 campaign.

Bernier has spent time with the San Jose Sharks, Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and, finally, the Islanders during his career.

If Matt Cullen does call it a career, he’d love to go out with another Stanley Cup

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It seems like the perfect Hollywood ending: Going out as a champion.

It’s not in the script for every professional athlete, but it certainly could be for Matt Cullen.

Cullen and the Pittsburgh Penguins are one win away from another Stanley Cup championship, which would make them the first NHL team to accomplish the feat in the salary cap era.

That speaks to the difficulty of winning the Stanley Cup. Cullen, in his second year with the Penguins, is 40 years old and this may be his last chance at another championship ring — a fact he acknowledged before this series got underway.

Based on a recent conversation with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he may just call it a career after this series.

“It’s pretty likely that this will be the end, and if it is, I’d love it to be holding that sucker again,” he said, adding he will still take time this offseason to make a decision.

Cullen is already a two-time Stanley Cup winner, with his first championship coming as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. He had 18 points during that run.

This year, the Penguins have struggled through a host of injuries, yet they’ve managed to outlast the Capitals in the second round and the Senators in the third round, both in seven games. Cullen has averaged a little more than 14 minutes per game, including being utilized on the penalty kill, while adding two goals and nine points.

The next challenge for Cullen and the Penguins will be to win in Nashville.

This series has been dominated by the home team, which has gone 5-0 following Pittsburgh’s blowout victory Thursday.

Game 6 goes Sunday in Nashville.

Flyers ink Gostisbehere to six-year, $27 million contract extension

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The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Friday that they have signed 24-year-old defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to a contract extension.

His new deal is a reported six-year, $27 million contract with a $4.5 million cap hit.

Taken in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft, Gostisbehere has had an immediate impact on the Flyers since breaking into the lineup with his first full season in 2015-16. He scored 17 goals and 46 points (in just 64 games…) in his rookie year, earning him recognition as a finalist for the Calder Trophy.

That first season included a record-breaking 15-game point streak — now the longest streak for a rookie NHL defenseman. That’s in addition to a pair of club records he set during that productive run.

After hip and abdominal surgery last spring, Gostisbehere put up seven goals and 39 points this past season, but also found himself as a healthy scratch at times.

“That’s a part of growth and development and part of our group in terms of accountability in our play overall,” said coach Dave Hakstol in November, after making the decision to sit Gostisbehere for a game versus the Jets.

His entry-level contract, with an annual NHL salary of $925,000, was up at the end of this season, making him a pending restricted free agent.

WATCH LIVE: Stanley Cup Final – Predators vs. Penguins – Game 5

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The Stanley Cup Final has returned to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Thursday, all tied up at two games apiece after back-to-back wins for the Predators in Nashville.

The home team is 4-0 in this series, and the Penguins certainly hope that trend continues. With a win tonight, they move one victory away from capturing the Stanley Cup for a second straight year. You can catch the game on NBC (8 p.m. ET) or online with the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Penguins will start Matt Murray in Game 5

Home ice advantage: Predators well aware of reality they need a road win

Wilson could make Stanley Cup Final debut tonight for Preds

Extra days off could benefit Pittsburgh more than Nashville