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Hello Stanley Cup Finals: Pens move into Final against Sharks

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Pittsburgh battled their way to a win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. The Lightning’s goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy, proved to be a tough contender for the Penguins, with a total of 37 saves. Matt Murray made 16 saves for the Penguins.

Rookie Bryan Rust put the Penguins on the board 1:55 into the second period, with an assist pass from Chris Kunitz. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had his first appearance on the ice since March 31 due to a blood clot.

At 9:36 into the second period, Jonathan Drouin tied it up 1-1 with a hard slap shot jetting past Murray. Just 30 seconds later, Rust would go on to score again for the Penguins making it 2-1. The puck bounced off the boards just behind Tampa Bay’s goal. In a pinball effect, it then hit the side of the net when Rust slipped it past Vasilevskiy’s left side just inches between him and the goal post.

“The big dream is still yet to be achieved,” Rust said. “I credit my linemates for elevating their game and helping me elevate mine. It just happens that I was the one who put the pucks in the net” said Rust in a statement to NHL.com.

Pittsburg lead the match in shots with 39, versus the Lightning’s 17. A scoreless third period resulted in Pittsburg winning the Eastern Conference title.

Penguin’s head coach Mike Sullivan said that his team “has evolved into a team in the true sense of the word.”

He said “we wanted to play in their face and in the gaps tight … I think we took the speed away that makes Tampa Bay so dangerous.”

The Penguins are moving on to the Stanley Cup Final series against the San Jose Sharks, which begins Monday at 8pm ET in Pittsburg. The Sharks will make their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in the teams history.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Recap: Stars control the Wild

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The Dallas Stars had supreme control of the puck during the start of Game six of the NHL First Round Series.

Just after five minutes, John Klingberg put the Stars on the board with a hard one-timer to the goal during a power play. This was Klingberg’s first postseason goal. The Stars’ Jason Spezza, and Patrick Sharp would go on to score two more for the Stars making it 3-0 at the end of the first period.

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The Wild fought back with a more controlled defense during the second period. Dallas pushed back at the end of the period with a goal from Jamie Benn, putting the Stars ahead 4-0.

It was during the third period that the Wild turned on the offensive rally. Jared Spurgeon kicked off the scoring for the Wild with his first goal of the postseason.

The rally quickly continued with a goal just 16 seconds later from the Wild’s Jonas Brodin bringing the score to 4-2. The song “Let’s go Crazy by Prince played after each Wild goal with this game being the first match for the Wild since Minnesota’s musical prodigy passed away.  Spurgeon responded yet again with another goal on a power play making it 4-3. With 9:32 remaining in the third period, Alex Goligoski took a shot for the Stars. Minnesota’s goalkeeper Devin Dubnyk lost sight of the puck as it bounced around the goal line and eventually made it’s way into the goal. Jason Pominville responded with a goal at 15:13 pulling the score to 5-4 for Minnesota.

However, time ran out for Minnesota as Dallas clinched the series. This is the first time the Stars have advanced in the postseason since 2008. The Stars will play the winner of Game 7 between the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues. That match will be hosted by the Blues on Monday night.

Flying bracelets and more highlight Capitals-Flyers Series

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—Game three of the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers will perhaps be more remember for the bracelets that landed on the ice than for the crushing 6-1 defeat the Caps landed on the Flyers.

In under a minute, the Flyers kicked off the game with a goal from Michael Raffl.  For Philadelphia, this would be the first and only goal for them.

The Capitals took over from here and continued to control the match.  Marcus Johansson tied it up in the first period and Alex Ovechkin put the Capitols ahead in the second period. It was during the third period that the Flyers defense truly fell apart with goals from Washington’s Kuznetsov, Carlson, Ovechkin, and Beagle.

While the Capitals were ahead 4-1, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on the Flyers delivered an illegal hit on the Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov. This resulted in a fight between both squads and penalties for Bellemare, Radko Gudas, and Ryan White. Dmitry Orlov made it to the bench on his own, but will not be playing in the next match. After chaos settled on the ice, it ensued in the stands. Fans proceeded to throw glow in the dark bracelets onto the ice soon after Washington pulled ahead 5-1. The bracelets were game day giveaways.

Incidentally, the Flyers have decided not to give away bracelets for Game 4.

Despite warnings from Philadelphia public address announcer Lou Nolan, fans continued to hurl the bracelets onto the ice. This resulted in a delay of game penalty against the Flyers.

 

“Flyers fans are the best in sports. However, last night, a number of individuals behaved in an unacceptable manner. Fans have the right to voice their displeasure vocally or by not watching or attending games, but when displeasure is expressed in a way that embarrasses or endangers others, it cannot be condoned or tolerated. As an organization, and on behalf of the overwhelming majority of Flyers’ fans who express their passion in a positive manner, we wish to express our sincere regret,” the team said in a statement released Tuesday.

The Capitals can win the series Wednesday night at 7 pm ET at the Wells Fargo Center with a commanding 3-0 series lead.

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