NHL News and Notes May - 28

NHL News and Notes May - 28

Hockey Today - May 28
Mon, May 28, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD

Monday, May 28

Ottawa at Anaheim (8 p.m. EST). The Senators and Ducks face off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'

Anaheim hosts Ottawa in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night. This is the third time in 14 seasons a California club has a shot at the Stanley Cup. The Ducks had only one previous appearance in the finals, having lost Game 7 to New Jersey in 2003. Los Angeles lost to Montreal in 1993, the last time a Canadian team has won the Cup.

SCORING

Ottawa comes into the Stanley Cup finals with the No. 1 line in the NHL playoffs, made up of captain Daniel Alfredsson, center Jason Spezza and forward Dany Heatley. Heatley is first in playoff scoring with 21 points with Spezza right behind him with 20, powered by seven goals - one more than Heatley. Alfredsson, who has played in all 94 playoff games in the history of the modern Senators, is fourth with 17 points, including 10 goals.

SPEAKING

''Makes me feel pretty old. I was waiting 15 years to get this chance, and I'm going to enjoy every moment.'' - Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne. Selanne, who was third in the NHL this season with a team-high 48 goals, including the 500th of his career, is in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time after playing 1,041 regular-season games and 81 in the playoffs.

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Sens, Ducks begin Stanley Cup finals in Anaheim
May 28th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The battle for Lord Stanley's Cup begins this evening in Southern California, as the Anaheim Ducks host the Ottawa Senators at the Honda Center in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals.

The second test of this series is scheduled to take place Wednesday night in Anaheim.

The Senators, who have only played 15 total playoff games en route to the franchise's first-ever finals appearance, have been off since wrapping up the Eastern Conference title with a Game 5 victory over Buffalo on May 19.

The Ducks were the late-comers in the equation and they haven't played since ousting Detroit in the sixth game of the Western Conference finals last Tuesday.

All that rest has given the clubs plenty of time to recharge their batteries as they prepare for what should be a competitive and highly-entertaining series.

Another thing that these teams have in common is that neither franchise has ever won a Stanley Cup title. A club known as the Ottawa Senators won the Cup 10 times in the formative years of professional hockey, but those championships are not a part of the current incarnation of the Senators.

The Ducks put together the best regular season in franchise history this year and have been able to maintain that momentum into the playoffs. Anaheim won its first-ever division title by taking the Pacific with 110 points, and the second seed in the West is the club's highest ranking in a postseason.

The Ducks have made it to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in team history, making them the first California team to reach the final stage twice. They last made it in 2003, when they were ultimately eliminated in seven games by New Jersey.

Anaheim earned its trip to the final stage this year by defeating Minnesota in five games, Vancouver in five, and finally ousting the Detroit Red Wings in six games to earn the Western Conference championship.

Ottawa, meanwhile, made even quicker work of its opponents in each of the three rounds of this year's playoffs, as it needed just five games to dispose of Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Buffalo. That has given the Senators, the fourth seed in the East, an impressive 12-3 record in this postseason.

The strength of the Ducks club lies in the play of their two superstar defensemen, Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, and the puck-stopping ability of goaltender Jean Sebastien Giguere, who already has a Conn Smythe Trophy to his credit as he was the MVP of the 2003 playoffs.

Pronger has a team-high 14 points on three goals and 11 assists in his first postseason for Anaheim, while Niedermayer has three goals and six helpers in this postseason. All three of Niedermayer's goals came at huge points of the game, as one tally tied the pivotal Game 5 against Detroit in the closing seconds of regulation and the other two goals were overtime game-winners.

Giguere is 9-3 so far in these playoffs with a 1.87 goals against average and .931 save percentage.

The Senators have what has become the most-feared top-line in the league at their disposal in the trio of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. Alfredsson, the right wing and captain of the team, has set a team record with 10 goals in this postseason, but his 17 total points places him third amongst his linemates in scoring.

Heatley is leading the Senators with 21 points (6 goals, 15 assists) and centerman Jason Spezza is second with 20 points on seven tallies and 13 assists. The Senators record for points in a single postseason before this year was 16, a mark set by Marian Hossa in 2003.

The Senators and Ducks have never faced each other in the postseason and never met during this year's regular season either. Anaheim and Ottawa last played each other on January 19, 2006 and the Ducks posted a 4-3 shootout victory in that game.

Anaheim was 26-6-9 as the host team during the regular season and is 7-2 at the Honda Center in the playoffs. Ottawa was 23-12-6 on the road during the campaign and is 5-2 as the visitor during this postseason.

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mvbski wrote:


Sens, Ducks begin Stanley Cup finals in Anaheim
May 28th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The battle for Lord Stanley's Cup begins this evening in Southern California, as the Anaheim Ducks host the Ottawa Senators at the Honda Center in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals.

About time this series got started  tongue

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