Finalists for the Hart Trophy names, playoff clubs prepare for their second round series, plus updates on Mike Babcock, Jaroslav Halak and more.

Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf is among the finalists for the 2014 Hart Trophy.

Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf is among the finalists for the 2014 Hart Trophy.

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux are named the finalists for the 2014 Hart Trophy.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Advanced analystics are the Blackhawks secret formula for success.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Folks who mock “stats nerds” better prepare for reality. Many teams, like the Blackhawks, are using advanced analytics as a tool for charting performance and addressing problem areas. Advanced stats aren’t the end-all and be-all, but they are a valuable method for determining performance. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Scoring depth, emergence of young players and experience are among the reasons the Minnesota Wild should put up a better fight against the Blackhawks in this year’s playoffs compared to last.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks – LA Kings “freeway series” has the makings of a real rivalry.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers Rick Nash and the Penguins Sidney Crosby must start scoring in their upcoming series. Both players have yet to score their first goals in this year’s playoffs.

DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has one year remaining on his contract but he doesn’t sound like he wants to move on.

NEWSDAY: Jaroslav Halak’s agent, Allan Walsh, said his client is “absolutely” interested in signing with the NY Islanders, who acquired his rights yesterday from the Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be an opportunity for Halak to get his NHL career back on track after bouncing from the Blues to the Sabres to the Capitals in less than a week this season. 

TAMPA TRIBUNE: Lightning forward Ryan Malone pleads not guilty to DUI and cocaine possession.

NHL.COM: Long-time NHL defenseman Tom Poti announced his retirement. He played 824 games and collected 327 points for four NHL teams (Oilers, Rangers, Islanders and Capitals) during a 14-year NHL career, but was hampered by injury in his final seasons. He last played in the NHL in 2012-13.

NOTE: Recap of Game One of the Montreal Canadiens – Boston Bruins can be found in “Canadian Corner”.