Rangers eliminate the Penguins, Wild push Blues to brink of elimination, Vezina finalists announced and much more.
Game Recaps and Playoff Headlines.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/TRIBLIVE.COM: Carl Hagelin’s overtime goal gave the New York Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning their best-of-seven series in five games. Earlier in the day, it was reported Penguins forward Chris Kunitz’s nanny had been charged with theft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins put up a good fight in Game Five, particularly goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (who won’t be the goat for losing this series), but losing several key defensemen to injury and the decline in their offensive production meant they were simply no match for a strong, deep Rangers team. Even if the Pens had a healthy lineup for this series, I doubt they would have beaten the Blueshirts. Already there’s speculation suggesting the Penguins will undergo significant roster changes, including perhaps trading Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby. Both, however, have full no-movement clauses. If they’re unwilling to be dealt, there’s nothing the Penguins can do about it.
TWINCITIES.COM/STLTODAY.COM: The Minnesota Wild defeated the St. Louis Blues 4-1 in Game Five of their best-of-seven series, pushing the latter to the brink of elimination. Devan Dubnyk made 36 saves for the win while teammates Marco Scandella, Nino Niederreiter, Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle tallied for the Wild. Vladimir Tarasenko scored for the Blues.
NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
THE TENNESSEAN/CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Nashville Predators will be without captain Shea Weber (lower-body injury) for the remainder of their series against the Chicago Blackhawks, who will start goalie Scott Darling for Game Six. The Blackhawks lead the series three games to two.
NEWSDAY/THE WASHINGTON POST: The New York Islanders face the moment of truth as they return for Games Six on the verge of elimination against the Washington Capitals, who expect a very difficult contest.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE/MLIVE.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning star Tyler Johnson has turned his clubs series around against the Detroit Red Wings, who will have Johnson’s shadow Luke Glendening (hand injury) back in the lineup for Game Five.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks are pleasantly surprised by the consistency and composure of defenseman Simon Despres, who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins before the trade deadline.
Other Notable Headlines.
NHL.COM: Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk, Montreal’s Carey Price and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne are the finalists for the 2015 Vezina Trophy.
TSN.CA/THE BUFFALO NEWS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman suggests the fee for an expansion franchise could be $500 million, while suggesting the notion of teams tanking a season are a media-driven creation.
BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins might gain a draft pick from the Edmonton Oilers for their hiring of former GM Peter Chiarelli as their new GM and president of hockey operations.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog is recovering from wrist surgery.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars announce they’ve signed center Mattias Janmark to a two-year contract.
NBC SPORTS: Former NHL defenseman Jiri Slegr has announced his retirement. Slegr played for Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Boston, Edmonton, Atlanta and Detroit, winning a Stanley Cup with the latter in 2002. He spent 12 seasons in the NHL, playing 622 games and collecting 249 points. His last NHL season came in 2005-06. He spent the rest of his pro career playing for HC Litvinov in the Czech Republic.