Jason Brough

Subban fined for embellishing

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P.K. Subban was warned once, and now he’s been fined $2,000 for embellishing.

From the NHL:

Subban was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 707 against the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 22. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident at 5:15 of the third period during Game 4 of Nashville’s Western Conference Second Round series against the St. Louis Blues on May 2. Subban (embellishment) and Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson (roughing) received offsetting minor penalties on the play.

Here’s video of the play that left the Nashville Predators defenseman a little lighter in the wallet:

Oddsmakers like the Ducks tonight, but not as much as they like the Caps

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Two Games 7s tonight in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It should be a fun evening, full of drama and excitement — and with plenty of money riding on both games.

It doesn’t take a betting genius to know the Washington Capitals will be the favorites in the first game of the night. The Caps have mostly dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games, with only goaltending keeping the series close. Game 7 is at Verizon Center in D.C., and online sportsbook Bovada is giving the Caps -180 odds on the moneyline.

That means bettors would have to risk $180 to win $100 on a Capitals victory. Those who think the Pens can pull the upset stand to earn $160 on a $100 wager.The second Game 7 of the night is in Anaheim between the hometown Ducks and visiting Edmonton Oilers. This one is a closer matchup, at least according to Bovada. Anaheim is at -120, while Edmonton is EVEN.

Stanley Cup Playoffs live streaming schedule

The Ducks will, of course, be happy to have the last change at home, and they should play much better than they played Sunday in that embarrassing 7-1 loss.

Still, it’s worth noting that four of the six games in this series have been won by the road team.

Related: Klefbom expected back for Oilers, who can’t rely on momentum from Game 6

Klefbom expected back for Oilers, who can’t rely on momentum from Game 6

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It wasn’t a problem Sunday in Game 6, but injuries to the Edmonton Oilers’ defense could still be a factor in their series with the Ducks.

Game 7 goes tonight in Anaheim. While Oscar Klefbom is expected to return after a one-game absence, Andrej Sekera will remain out, and that’s a fairly big deal by itself.

Among Oilers skaters, only Klefbom averaged more ice time than Sekera during the regular season. Edmonton’s top four was effectively Klefbom, Sekera, Kris Russell, and Adam Larsson.

Now the top four includes Matt Benning, the impressive 22-year-old rookie who logged 23:38 in Sunday’s 7-1 blowout victory.

Another young d-man, Darnell Nurse, also played significant minutes (19:25), with Eric Gryba and Griffin Reinhart seeing limited action.

“We were missing two real important guys,” Nurse said, per the Edmonton Sun. “When that happens, you’ve got to really defend by committee and I thought we were great. Not only the D corps, but our forwards played strong positionally and Cam (Talbot) as always played his game.”

It will be a tougher game tonight. The Ducks couldn’t be any worse than Sunday’s performance, and now they’re back home where they’ll have the last change.

“Momentum reestablishes itself in every game,” said Oilers coach Todd McLellan. “There is no carryover (from the last game), and we’ve experienced it from a positive side and a negative side.”

Penguins aim for more time in Caps’ end

AP
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PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins spent the better part of five games exploiting the few chances the Washington Capitals gave them, focusing on generating quality scoring chances while the Presidents’ Trophy winners seemed more intent on quantity.

In the span of 80 minutes – from the third period of Game 5 through a one-sided Washington victory in Game 6 on Monday – whatever open ice Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the defending Stanley Cup champions enjoyed while building a 3-1 series lead effectively disappeared.

Now the NHL’s highest-scoring offense finds itself heading to Wednesday night’s Game 7 looking to regain its swagger in time to prevent the kind of collapse that usually befalls their longtime rivals this time of year.

What the Penguins need to do if they want to take the next step in becoming the first Stanley Cup champion in nearly 20 years to repeat is pretty clear. Doing it, however, is another matter entirely.

“We need to get more zone time,” Crosby said. “We can wear them down a little bit more there. Get to their zone a little bit more often.”

Between 2:29 into the third period of Game 5 and 12:29 into the third of Game 6, the Capitals ripped off eight straight goals. The first three rallied Washington from a 2-1 deficit to keep its season alive. The next five overwhelmed Pittsburgh on its home ice to tie the series for the first time since the puck dropped in Game 1.

Pittsburgh registered just one shot in the first 17 minutes of Game 6, that one a 136-foot knuckler on a clear by defenseman Brian Dumoulin that just happened to make its way to Washington goaltender Braden Holtby. The Penguins finished with just 18 over the course of the game, a pair of late goals by Malkin and budding rookie star Jake Guentzel making the final score a bit more respectable but no less decisive.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan has become an expert in his 18 months on the job expertly pressing all the right buttons. Game 6 was the rare misfire. He reunited the “HBK” line of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel that worked so well during last spring’s Cup run and the trio responded by generating one shot on goal.

By Tuesday the reunion was already in the rearview mirror, with all three players on separate lines during a brief by spirited practice. Though “HBK” was hardly the only group that had issues. Crosby played 20 mostly ineffective minutes, his most notable sequence coming in the first period when he became tangled with Washington defenseman John Carlson and ended up going headfirst into the end boards.

A week removed from a concussion that sidelined him for a game, Crosby ended up skating slowly off the ice after what he described as having the wind knocked out of him. He didn’t miss a shift and stressed he felt fine.

“I mean, if you’re looking for a test if you’re back, it’s a good one,” he joked.

Read more: Crosby says he was cleared by Penguins medical staff after crashing into boards

Consider the play symbolic of the way Washington has bottled up the Penguins while evening the series. The Penguins are fine with getting outshot so long as they’re not outscored. Now they’re doing neither. Just as troubling as the lack of pucks they’ve sent Holtby’s way over the last two games is where those pucks have come from. Save for a couple of tight saves in the middle of Game 5 that kept the Capitals within striking distance, Holtby has rarely been tested.

“I don’t think we’ve given ourselves the opportunity to establish the way we want to play,” Sullivan said. “But you have to give Washington credit too. We’ve got to execute to handle that pressure.”

While Pittsburgh takes a fair amount of history into Game 7 – where the franchise is 5-0 in winner-take-alls on the road – the Penguins also have fizzled out. They lost a 3-1 lead to the New York Rangers in the second round of 2014, scoring just three goals over the final three games, a meltdown that cost coach Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero their jobs.

That wasn’t an issue last May as the Penguins won a pair of elimination games in the conference finals to reach the Cup on the way to their fourth championship. Despite the blowout in Game 6, they’re still right there.

“If we do a little bit better job of (playing in their end), everything else will fall into place,” Crosby said.

Changes needed for Rangers, but which ones to choose?

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The New York Rangers think they should’ve beaten the Ottawa Senators.

And when you look back at the series, they’re probably right, given the leads they blew in Kanata.

But another offseason has begun, regardless. The Blueshirts have made the playoffs seven straight years, and they’ve done so with many of the same players. They made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. They’ve been been a very good team.

But they haven’t been good enough, and now they’ve got some big decisions to make.

Do they pursue Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency? The Rangers’ power play was terrible in the playoffs. Just three goals in 12 games. They could use a true quarterback.

Do they buy out Dan Girardi or Marc Staal? That would at least provide some cap space, and those two have a lot of hard miles on their bodies.

Do they trade Rick Nash? He turns 33 next month and only has one year left on his contract. He takes up a lot of cap space with his $7.8 million hit, and he’s not the goal-scorer he used to be.

Though some significant changes could occur this summer, do not expect GM Jeff Gorton to tear this roster down. Not while Henrik Lundqvist is still there. Not with Ryan McDonagh still in his prime. And not with all those good young forwards, including Mika Zibanejad, who just turned 24.

Heck, Derek Stepan may have had a rough postseason, but he only turns 27 in June.

To retool on the fly, Gorton could always pursue another trade like the one he pulled off last summer, when he sent Derick Brassard to Ottawa for Zibanejad. The Senators, desperate to make the playoffs, felt Brassard was the better player at the time, so they gave up the younger Zibanejad.

Perhaps Gorton could pull off something similar with Nash. Or if not Nash, Mats Zuccarello, who turns 30 in September and only has two more years before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Or maybe even Stepan could be moved.

At this point, nothing should be off the table. The Rangers have had a good run, and they nearly made it to another conference final this year. But they need to make some changes.

The only question is which changes they choose.