Ben Bishop leaves Game 1 on stretcher

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop left Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on a stretcher with an apparent lower-body injury.

Bishop was writhing in pain on the ice after falling in his crease with more than seven minutes remaining in the first period. He appeared to be grabbing his left knee.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, 21, entered the game to replace Bishop. The only playoff start of his career came in Game 4 of last year's Stanley Cup Final, a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

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Lightning’s Callahan assessed boarding major for hit on Penguins’ Letang

It did not take long for the Eastern Conference finals to get ugly.

Less than five minutes into Game 1, Ryan Callahan of the Tampa Bay Lightning boarded Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.

Callahan was assessed a major penalty for boarding, but was not ejected.

Letang did skate off the ice and made his way to the locker room for examination, but was able to return later in the opening period.

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Lightning’s Brown back in lineup for Game 1 vs. Penguins

Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown will be back in the lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Brown hasn't played since suffering an upper-body injury during Game 2 of the first round against the Detroit Red Wings. He's expected to play on the fourth line with Vladislav Namestnikov.

The 25-year-old recorded a career-high 22 points in 78 games during the regular season.

Luke Witkowski - who played just 4:17 as the seventh defenseman in the Lightning's Game 5 win over the New York Islanders - is a healthy scratch.

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Report: Flyers’ Medvedev facing DUI, drug charges

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Evgeny Medvedev has been charged with driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, reports Laura McCrystal of Philly.com.

According to court documents, the 33-year-old is reported to have been driving with a blood alcohol content of over .16 percent, more than double the legal limit.

Medvedev was also cited for driving without a license, disregarding traffic lanes, and not using headlights.

The incident occurred in late April.

He's expected to be in court for a preliminary hearing on June 15.

Medvedev is also scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

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Comics summarize NHL’s 2nd round

With the conference finals set to begin Friday, what better way to remember the NHL's second round than through a series of comics?

Throughout the playoffs, @OffThePostComic has created and shared comics for each series, with every design available to be purchased on a T-shirt here.

Thursday night's conclusion to the conference semifinals saw the San Jose Sharks eliminate the Nashville Predators, as displayed below.

Here are the drawings for the other three series:

- With h/t to BarDown

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Ruff: Goalie tandem the ‘backbone’ of Stars’ success

After the Dallas Stars' second-round series ended in a 6-1 blowout loss to the St. Louis Blues on home ice, many are calling for a change to their inconsistent goaltending tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi.

One person who sees no reason to overreact, though, is head coach Lindy Ruff, who praised his two goaltenders when asked about them by Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News.

"I think that I'm going to continue with what I said all along, we finished second overall, we had two goalies that won us 25 games," Ruff said. "We had two goalies that I think were the backbone of where we got to and I know that you'd want some back. Every time you lose a game you want something back and I think that's hard, but these two guys did a real good job for us."

While both goaltenders finished the regular season with save percentages above .900, they struggled throughout the playoffs. Lehtonen finished with a mark of .899 beside his 6-3 record, while Niemi went 1-3 with an awful .865 save percentage.

Despite their inconsistency, Ruff sees no need to choose one netminder over the other next year - with both Finns under contract for the next two seasons.

"No, I don't," Ruff said, when asked if there needs to be one starting goalie. "You can write any story you want, we used two guys the whole year. They were comfortable with it. It might have been the reason we got to where we got to. It's not the reason we lost."

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Blues make pitch for Canada’s rooting interest

(Courtesy: NHL.com)

Hockey hasn't been played in Canadian NHL rinks for weeks, so the St. Louis Blues are making a pitch to become the remaining playoff team to garner support from the true north strong and free.

The Blues make sure to point out the Canadians featured in the front office, behind the bench, and on the ice (present and past), and also appeal to Canadians' affinity for tall frosty beverages.

Time will tell how a nation responds.

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Coach DeBoer: Sharks have a different identity

These aren't the same old San Jose Sharks.

So says first-year head coach Pete DeBoer, who's taken the perennially underachieving club to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2011.

"This isn't the same team that it's been in the past," DeBoer said after Thursday's Game 7 win over the Nashville Predators. "We've got a whole bunch of new bodies, a whole different cast of characters, a whole different identity in my mind, a whole different coaching staff.

"The core guys are still the same, but the core guys here are great. They have great habits, they've been well coached for a decade by the previous staff that was here. They're not the problem, it was filling in behind them. We've got those type of people here now, and I think the guys at the top feel that and are feeding off it."

The Sharks are indeed led by a familiar cast of characters, namely Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Patrick Marleau up front, and Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic on the back end.

Significant contributions, however, have been made by offseason and veteran additions like Joel Ward and Paul Martin, as well as youngsters such as Joonas Donskoi and Tomas Hertl.

San Jose also appears to have full confidence in first-year starter Martin Jones, who was acquired by way of Boston for a first-round pick that will be no higher than 27th overall.

The 26-year-old has put up solid numbers for the Sharks in the postseason, coming out on top of a matchup against his former team along the way.

Having said all that, the Sharks must at least make it to the Stanley Cup Final in order to fully prove that this team isn't like all the ones that have come up short in the past.

Up to this point, however, the Sharks seem to have their sharpest set of playoff teeth yet.

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