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    Jonathan Marchessault and the Vegas Golden Knights are one more win from reaching another Stanley Cup Final. Marchessault had the first of three goals in the game's first 7 1/2 minutes for Vegas in a 4-0 win over the Dallas Stars to take a 3-0 series lead in Western Conference Final. Game 4 is Thursday night. 

      Dylan Samberg scored in overtime and the United States beat Sweden 4-3 to finish the group stage with a perfect record at the ice hockey world championship. Samberg’s winner from the slot 1:37 into overtime clinched first place for the United States in Group A, two points in front of Sweden, ahead of Thursday’s quarterfinal games. The Americans face the Czech Republic next while Sweden faces co-host Latvia.

        Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 32 shots for his first career playoff shutout, Sam Reinhart scored a power-play goal midway through the second period and the Florida Panthers moved one win away from a most improbable trip to the Stanley Cup Final by blanking the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0. Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett had the assists on Reinhart's goal for Florida, which now leads the Eastern Conference final 3-0. 

          Chandler Stephenson jumped on a rebound 1:12 into overtime and hit the back of the net to complete a rally and give the Vegas Golden Knights a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Final. Jonathan Marchessault forced overtime with a shot from the slot with just 2:22 left in the third period. Stephenson, Marchessault and Mark Stone each had a goal and an assist for Vegas, and Adin Hill saved 26 shots.

            The United States has routed France 9-0 to keep its perfect record at the ice hockey world championship. Cutter Gauthier led with a hat trick at Nokia Arena for the Americans to dominate Group A with six wins from six games. Goaltender Cal Petersen made 13 saves for the shutout. Switzerland beat the Czech Republic 4-2 to lead Group B with six victories from six games.

              Matthew Tkachuk finished a feed from Sam Reinhart at the 1:51 mark of overtime to help the Florida Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 for a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference final. He had scored the winner in a four-overtime thriller less than two days earlier in Game 1. Florida won on the road for the eighth straight time in the playoffs and improved to 6-0 in overtime in the postseason.

                The United States has shut out Denmark 3-0 to stay perfect at the ice hockey world championship. Alex Tuch scored one goal and added two assists for the U.S. to earn its fifth victory from five games. Goaltender Casey DeSmith stopped 22 shots. The Americans lead Group A and have secured a spot in the quarterfinals. Switzerland downed Canada 3-2 in a clash of two undefeated teams in Group B in Riga for a fifth win. The Czechs beat Norway 2-0 to join the Swiss in the last eight.

                Brett Howden scored from behind the net off Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger 1:35 into overtime to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of their Western Conference final. Jamie Benn forced the extra time when he scored on a 6-on-5 with 1:59 left in regulation. William Karlsson scored two goals for Vegas. Teddy Blueger also scored a goal, Zach Whitecloud had two assists and Adin Hill stopped 33 shots. Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson each had a goal and an assist for Stars. Joe Pavelski recorded two assists, and Oettinger made 33 saves. Game 2 is Sunday in Las Vegas.

                Congratulations are in order for the good people of Tempe, Arizona. They might've cost themselves an NHL team, but that was a small price to pay to hang on to their wallets. In a rare setback for billionaire owners and their endless scams to get the public to build them new places to play, the Phoenix suburb decisively turned back a $2.3 billion proposal that included a new arena for the Arizona Coyotes. This one was a stunner for the NHL and the Coyotes, who are likely headed to a new city in their endless quest for a new arena.

                Matthew Tkachuk beat Frederik Andersen in the final seconds of the fourth overtime to lift the Florida Panthers past the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 early Friday to open their Eastern Conference final series. Tkachuck took a feed from Sam Bennett after Florida had won a battle for the puck as Carolina tried to clear the puck. He then whipped a shot from the right circle past Andersen with 12.7 seconds left for the winner. It marked the longest game in either franchise’s history, as well as the sixth-longest game in NHL history.

                Roope Hintz and teenager Wyatt Johnston scored goals and the Dallas Stars advanced to the Western Conference final with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Kraken in Game 7. Dallas moves on to play first-year coach Pete DeBoer’s former team, the Vegas Golden Knights. Game 1 of the West final is Friday night in Las Vegas. DeBoer improved to 7-0 in Game 7s. The 19-year-old Johnston made it 2-0 with 7:12 left, when he gathered a puck that ricocheted off the back board to the left of the Seattle net and scored. Jake Oettinger had 22 saves, and the only Seattle score came with 17.6 seconds left.

                Jonathan Marchessault scored three goals for his second career postseason hat trick as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 in Game 6 of their second-round series to advance to the Western Conference final. Reilly Smith and William Karlsson also scored for the Golden Knights, and Ivan Barbashev had two assists. Adin Hill finished with 39 saves.

                The United States had to come from a goal down to outclass newcomer Hungary 7-1 for its second win at the ice hockey world championship. Canada had to do the same on the way to a 5-2 victory over Slovenia, the other team newly promoted to the top division. Nick Bonino scored two goals for the Americans and Rocco Grimaldi had a goal and two assists in Group A.

                Jordan Eberle scored twice, Eeli Tolvanen had a goal and two assists, and the Seattle Kraken beat the Dallas Stars 6-3 to force a deciding Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinal series. Tolvanen's goal early in the second period gave Seattle a 3-1 lead. Rookie Tye Kartye beat Jake Oettinger with a wrist shot less than three minutes later, and the Kraken withstood several pushes by the Stars to send the series back to Texas. 

                Defending champion Finland has rebounded from an opening loss to the United States by overcoming Germany 4-3 at the ice hockey world championship in Tampere. Sakari Manninen had two goals for Finland, and Mikko Lehtonen and Joel Armia also scored in the Group A game. France beat Austria 2-1 in overtime and Denmark downed Hungary 3-1 in the same group. In Riga, Marek Hrivik scored the decisive goal midway through the final period for Slovakia to edge host Latvia 2-1 in Group B. Switzerland shut out Slovenia 7-0 and Kazakhstan prevailed in a shootout over Norway 4-3.


                Nick Cousins scored at 15:32 of overtime and Sergei Bobrovsky made 50 saves as the Florida Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series to advance to the Eastern Conference final. Aaron Ekblad and Carter Verhaeghe each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. Morgan Rielly and William Nylander scored for the Maple Leafs, who had advanced in the playoffs for the first time in 19 years.

                The United States has overcame defending champion Finland 4-1 to open the ice hockey world championship in Tampere. Alex Tuch scored two goals and Drew O'Çonnor had a goal and two assists to lead the U.S. Cutter Ganthier also scored and goaltender Casey DeSmith stopped 23 shots. In the Latvian capital of Riga, the Czech Republic beat Slovakia 3-2.

                Jesper Fast deflected in a shot by Jesperi Kotkaniemi at 7:09 of overtime to give the Carolina Hurricanes a series-ending 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. Fast's deflection while shielding Akira Schmid set off a celebration for the Hurricanes, who never led until the final play and twice trailed by a goal before winning the best-of-seven series 4-1 to reach the Eastern Conference final. In the first tight game of the second-round matchup, Fast made amends for when he popped a puck over the goal in front of an open net in the first period. Jaccob Slavin and Brent Burns also scored for Carolina, and Frederik Andersen made 27 saves. Dawson Mercer and Timo Meier scored for New Jersey.

                Joseph Woll stopped 24 shots in his first playoff start, Mitch Marner and William Nylander had the goals and the Toronto Maple Leafs staved off elimination by beating the Florida Panthers 2-1 in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Wednesday night. Nylander was the beneficiary of an odd bounce for a power-play score in the second period, Marner scored midway through the third and Woll did the rest as he took the place of injured starter Ilya Samsonov. Sam Reinhart scored the goal for Florida, which got 23 saves from Sergei Bobrovsky. The Panthers still lead the series 3-1, with Game 5 in Toronto on Friday night.

                Preventing goals in the NHL playoffs is just as important as scoring goals. Many would argue it's more important More than half the work happens before the puck gets to the goaltender. Sticks in passing and shooting lanes do the work – and sometimes cause harm with deflections. It also works on the offensive end when nifty deflections can make shots impossible for even the best goalies to stop. Savvy stickwork has been on prime display in the first two rounds this year from Joe Pavelski's tip-in goals for Dallas and Carolina's top penalty kill to Seattle's shot blocking.

                Jordan Martinook had a goal and two assists and the Carolina Hurricanes scored five times in the second period to beat the New Jersey Devils 6-1 on Tuesday night for a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal. Martin Necas scored twice and Brett Pesce, Jesper Fast and Brent Burns added goals as the Hurricanes routed the young Devils for the third time in four games.

                The Chicago Blackhawks won the NHL draft lottery and the chance to take Connor Bedard long before Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly revealed it on national television. The final lottery ball giving the Blackhawks the opportunity to draft Bedard popped out of a machine 80 minutes earlier. The roughly 20 people in the room to witness the drawing were sequestered there without access to phones or other communication devices until Daly revealed the card with the Blackhawks logo. The entire process emceed by Commissioner Gary Bettman is filmed for posterity. Anaheim, San Jose, Arizona, Washington and St. Louis also had a chance down to the final lottery ball.

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