Watch the NHL’s Stanley Cup final trailer, get fired up for Game 1

(via NHL/YouTube)

If you’re having a hard time getting excited the Stanley Cup final, the NHL has you covered.

Ahead of Game 1, the league released a trailer that makes the championship series between the Lightning and Blackhawks look like a can’t-miss summer blockbuster, which, for hockey fans, is exactly what the series stands to be. Both teams have speed, skill and high-powered offenses and the NHL did an outstanding job showcasing exactly what we should be prepared to see in the final: Read more

Jacob Markstrom makes unbelievable paddle save in AHL Western Conference final

Jared Clinton
Jacob Markstrom (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

Heading into Game 5 of the AHL’s Western Conference final, the series between the Utica Comets and Grand Rapids Griffins was tied 2-2, but the Comets had the opportunity to put the Griffins on the brink of elimination with a victory. And with the series set to shift back to Utica for Game 6, that’s exactly what the Comets — and the stick of Jacob Markstrom — did.

With the Comets in control of the game early thanks to first-period tallies from Wacey Hamilton, Hunter Shinkaruk and Bobby Sanguinetti, it looked like Game 5 was firmly in Utica’s grasp. Though Griffins right winger Mark Zengerle had broken up the Comets’ scoring and had Grand Rapids within two, the two-goal spread gave Utica some insurance.

If it weren’t for Markstrom, however, Griffins blueliner Ryan Sproul would have made the contest much closer. Less than five minutes into the second period, Markstrom made a reaching stick save to deny Sproul’s shot at a nearly wide-open net. Check it out: Read more

Watch Anthony Cirelli score Memorial Cup-winning goal in overtime

Jared Clinton
Anthony Cirelli (Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

There’s a moment almost every kid who has ever dreamt about playing hockey creates in their driveway or on an outdoor rink: the overtime winning goal to clinch a championship. Sunday night, that became a reality for Oshawa Generals’ centre Anthony Cirelli.

Cirelli, who came into the OHL as an undrafted free agent and reportedly had two tryout agreements signed before landing with the Generals, had scored 13 goals and 36 points in 68 regular season games. In 21 post-season games, only twice did he find the back of the net, registering 10 points during Oshawa’s OHL championship run. Selecting him as the Memorial Cup hero would have been a long shot, but after tying the game for Oshawa in the second frame, it was Cirelli who locked up major junior’s biggest prize: Read more

Game 7 controversy as Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa scores with his skate

Marian Hossa (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

If there’s any edict in the NHL rulebook that deals in shades of grey, it’s the one with regards to goals being scored with a “distinct kicking motion.”

In what has been one of the most heated Western Conference finals in the past decade, the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks entered Game 7 Friday night and, no matter the final score, at least one of the contest’s goals will be shrouded in controversy.

With Chicago up 3-0 with little more than six minutes left in the second period, Brad Richards got a partial break with pressure on him from the Anaheim defense. After Richards shoveled the puck on goal, Marian Hossa drove to the net and had the puck careen off of the instep of his skate and behind Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen.

On the ice, the play was called a goal and, after a short review, the officials awarded Hossa the goal. Take a look: Read more

Bolts’ Killorn nets game-winner in Game 7 with 5-hole goal on Lundqvist

Tampa's Alex Killorn scores the game-winning goal under pressure from Rangers forward Dominic Moore in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final Friday. (Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn came into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final with six goals and 15 points in 19 games. But his seventh goal and 16th point – an early third-period goal against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden Friday – is the biggest of his three-year NHL career, as it was the game-and-series-winner in a 2-0 Lightning victory.

The 25-year-old Killorn hadn’t scored since Game 3 of the Eastern Final, but when he sent a backhand shot through Blueshirts goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s legs, he provided enough offense to get the Bolts back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since Tampa won the championship in 2004: Read more

Hawks’ Keith having brilliant Game 6 – including this slick setup of Hossa goal

Duncan Keith (Bill Smith/Getty Images)

Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith is as solid as NHL defensemen come these days – not just in the Blackhawks’ defensive zone, but in the opposition’s end as well. And the veteran provided more evidence in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday with a brilliant pass to Hawks winger Marian Hossa for the second goal of the game.

Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad put Chicago on the scoreboard first at 8:23 of the second period, and a little more than two minutes after that, Keith took the puck from teammate Brad Richards, held it patiently, then slid a quick pass over to Hossa, who calmly scored his third of the playoffs to double the home team’s lead: Read more

Ducks’ Andersen uses foot to stop Hawks’ Saad from scoring

Chicago's Brandon Saad and Anaheim's Ryan Kesler chase the puck in front of goalie Frederik Andersen as Jonathan Toews follows behind in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final Wednesday. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Chicago Blackhawks came out of the gate strongly in Game 6 of their Western Conference Final series against Anaheim, challenging Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen a number of times early in the first period. And they came within a hair’s breadth – well, maybe a toe or two – of scoring the first goal Wednesday, only to have Andersen rob winger Brandon Saad with his foot.

The teams were nearing the halfway mark of the opening frame still looking for the first lead of the night when Saad broke in on Andersen with the puck; Andersen kicks out his left leg, barely getting enough of his foot on the puck to stop it from going in: Read more

Blueshirts’ Miller scores huge goal after miraculous save by Bishop

Rangers players celebrate J.T. Miller's goal against the Lightning's Ben Bishop in the third period of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final Tuesday. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop struggled in two of three games prior to Game 6 between his Bolts team and the New York Rangers – and he continued to struggle Tuesday night in Tampa Bay, surrendering five goals on 26 shots before being pulled in the third period. Here’s what kind of night it was for Bishop: even after he made a spectacular save – as he did on Blueshirts center Derick Brassard early in the third period – the Rangers scored seconds later.

This isn’t to blame Bishop for the goal he allowed to J.T. Miller at the 3:02 mark of the third frame. Tampa’s defense was porous all night and did him no favors. He wasn’t wholly blameless either, but goalies know some nights simply don’t go their way – and after Bishop’s flailing save on Brassard was followed by Miller’s first goal of the playoffs (and first career NHL post-season goal in his seventh game), he had to have an inclination the hockey gods weren’t in his corner in Game 6: Read more