Well-rested Bruins ‘itching’ to get Stanley Cup Final underway

To say the Boston Bruins will be rested once the puck drops in the Stanley Cup Final would be an understatement.

The Eastern Conference champions haven't suited up since May 16 when they completed their sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes. Once their matchup with the St. Louis Blues commences Monday, it will mark an 11-day gap between games.

"It's been a long stretch of not playing games," Boston forward Charlie Coyle told NHL.com's Amalie Benjamin. "We're just itching to get there. But we've just used the time to our advantage, stay positive and stay upbeat. Once the time comes, we'll be ready."

Along with a regular practice schedule, the Bruins hosted a packed crowd at TD Garden on Thursday night for a scrimmage to simulate a game-type atmosphere amid the lengthy layoff.

When Game 1 starts, the Blues will have been off for six days.

It all gets underway May 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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Canada to play Finland for gold after semifinal win over Czech Republic

Mark Stone scored his tournament-leading eighth goal and added one assist as Canada knocked off the Czech Republic 5-1 to advance to its fourth gold-medal game in the last five World Championships.

Canada will play Finland - the only team to have beaten them at this year's event - for the gold medal Sunday.

Matt Murray was sensational for Canada, stopping 40 shots for his fifth victory of the tournament on his 25th birthday.

After Stone opened the scoring in the first period, Darnell Nurse and Pierre-Luc Dubois added to the lead in the second to put Canada up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

Kyle Turris and Thomas Chabot sealed the game with tallies in the third period, while Tomas Zohorna scored the lone goal for the Czechs to snap Murray's shutout bid with six minutes to play.

Canada has guaranteed itself a podium finish after losing the bronze-medal contest to the U.S. at last year's event. With a victory over Finland, Canada would tie Russia/Soviet Union for the most gold-medal finishes at the worlds with 27.

Finland met Canada the last time it made the gold-medal contest in 2016, losing 2-0. The Finns haven't won gold since 2011 but have collected two silver medals (2014, 2016) since.

Canada has won eight consecutive games since suffering a 4-1 loss to Finland in the opening contest of the tournament.

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Waddell to return as Hurricanes president, GM

Carolina Hurricanes president and general manager Don Waddell confirmed he will continue to lead the club next season despite being without a contract.

"The answer is yes," Waddell said when asked if he'd be returning, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. "(Owner Tom Dundon and I) are working on terms, but we have a mutual agreement to continue in this direction."

After replacing former general manager Ron Francis on an interim basis in March 2018, Waddell was officially named president and full-time GM that May.

In his first full year filling the roles, Waddell helped the Hurricanes return to the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons, reaching the Eastern Conference Final. The 60-year-old was named a finalist for GM of the Year for his work.

Waddell put his first imprint on the club by replacing head coach Bill Peters with assistant Rod Brind’Amour. He then traded Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm to the Calgary Flames for Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland.

In need of goaltending, Waddell signed free-agent netminder Petr Mrazek and claimed Curtis McElhinney off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs. He then acquired forward Nino Niederreiter from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Victor Rask in a trade that worked out overwhelmingly in the Hurricanes' favor.

Carolina found tremendous success despite having the NHL's lowest payroll last season, with no player making more than $6 million.

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Finland advances to gold-medal game with shutout victory over Russia

Finland has advanced to its first gold-medal game at the worlds since 2016 with a 1-0 victory over Russia on Saturday.

Kevin Lankinen was sensational in net for Finland, turning aside all 32 shots he faced for his second shutout of the tournament.

Neither goaltender would budge in the defensive affair until Finnish captain Marko Anttila found twine with under 10 minutes to play in what would prove to be the game-winner.

Henri Jokiharju and Joel Kiviranta picked up assists on Antilla's tally.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was solid between the pipes for Russia, allowing just the one goal while making 28 stops in the contest.

Russia will play for bronze for the third time in the last four World Championships after finishing sixth in 2018.

Finland has now won seven of its nine contests and will meet the winner between Canada and the Czech Republic for a chance to win its first gold medal at the worlds since 2011.

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McCauley named to Cup Final officiating crew despite injury

Wes McCauley's status for the Stanley Cup Final is still unclear, but he is among the referees who've been selected to work the championship round.

The popular and well-respected official was one of five refs chosen for the series, according to the NHL Officials Association. The others are Gord Dwyer, Steve Kozari, Chris Rooney, and Kelly Sutherland.

They'll be joined by linesmen Derek Amell, Scott Cherrey, Greg Devorski, and Pierre Racicot.

McCauley left Game 6 between the St. Louis Blues and San Jose Sharks on Tuesday after suffering a hamstring injury when he tripped over Cherrey during play. Dwyer replaced McCauley, who was later ruled out for the remainder of the contest.

He won't require surgery but may be a game-time decision for the start of the matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Blues, reports The Associated Press' Stephen Whyno.

This would be McCauley's seventh straight Stanley Cup Final, which is more than any of the other five referees in this year's series. Amell and Racicot will work their seventh and 10th Cup Finals, respectively.

The NHL typically selects four referees and four linesmen for the Stanley Cup Final, and the extra ref this year is likely due to McCauley's injury, according to Scouting The Refs.

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Oilers sign Joakim Nygard to 1-year deal

The Edmonton Oilers have come to terms on a one-year, entry-level contract with Swedish forward Joakim Nygard, the team announced Friday.

The 26-year-old spent the last six seasons suiting up for Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League, and is fresh off a campaign in which he recorded a career-high 21 goals and 14 assists in 52 games.

In March, TSN's Darren Dreger reported the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames were among the teams trying to lure Nygard to the NHL.

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Oilers sign Joakim Nygard to 1-year deal

The Edmonton Oilers have come to terms on a one-year, entry-level contract with Swedish forward Joakim Nygard, the team announced Friday.

The 26-year-old spent the last six seasons suiting up for Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League, and is fresh off a campaign in which he recorded a career-high 21 goals and 14 assists in 52 games.

In March, TSN's Darren Dreger reported the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames were among the teams trying to lure Nygard to the NHL.

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Predators GM: Josi extension is No. 1 priority

Nashville Predators general manager David Poile knows the top item on his summer to-do list is to sign star defenseman Roman Josi to a new contract, as it will make shaping the rest of the roster that much easier.

"When and if we do that, that checks off a lot of boxes for what we may have to do in the future," Poile told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun on Monday. "So that would certainly be our No. 1 priority, to get that done."

Josi's agents, Judd Moldaver and Jeff Jackson, plan to meet with their client over the next few weeks after his return from the World Championship, according to LeBrun. Josi's Switzerland squad lost to Canada in the quarterfinals Thursday.

The Predators captain, who'll turn 29 on June 1, ranked fifth in the NHL in average ice time during the 2018-19 regular season and poured in 56 points while playing all 82 games.

Josi has one year remaining on his current deal and thus can agree to an extension as of July 1. Poile can also sign trade-deadline acquisition Mikael Granlund to a new contract beginning on that day.

Craig Smith is also eligible for an extension at the beginning of July, and the Predators have four pending unrestricted free agents in Brian Boyle, Wayne Simmonds, Cody McLeod, and Zac Rinaldo, plus pending RFAs Colton Sissons and Rocco Grimaldi.

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