Panthers’ 2 deadline acquisitions Purcell, Hudler connect for opening goal

Jiri Hudler and Teddy Purcell were acquired by the Florida Panthers prior to the trade deadline for this very reason.

The two connected on a 2-on-1 in the opening minutes of Game 1 to give the Panthers an early 1-0 lead as Purcell finished off the sweet feed from Hudler.

Hudler was acquired from the Calgary Flames, while Purcell was brought in from the Edmonton Oilers. The two combined for 22 points in the regular season after joining their new playoff-bound club.

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Thatcher Demko leads trio added to Team USA’s World Championship roster

The United States bolstered its roster for the upcoming World Championship by three on Thursday, announcing that it has added collegiate star goaltender Thatcher Demko, as well as the New Jersey Devils' David Warsofsky and Miles Wood.

Demko, a Hobey Baker finalist for his dazzling junior season, will represent the United States for a fourth time. He won a silver medal at the 2013 U-18 tournament. Hobey Baker winner Jimmy Vesey will also take part in the event.

Warsofsky, a defenseman, split time with the Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins organization this season, appearing in 22 NHL games.

Wood signed with the Devils after completing his freshman season at Boston College, making his NHL debut in the team's regular-season finale. He scored 10 goals and 35 points in 37 games at the Division I level.

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Blackhawks welcome Blues’ potential hit parade in Game 2

The Chicago Blackhawks will like their chances if they're slammed, knocked, and/or dropped to the ice an exorbitant amount of times in Game 2.

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville met with the media one day after dropping the series opener to the St. Louis Blues, and explained that his side will welcome the absurd number of hits his counterpart, Ken Hitchcock, aims to have his team land.

"I hope he tries to get 70," Quenneville said, according to Sportsnet's Mark Spector. "(It) means we'll have the puck all game."

He added: "In the competitiveness of the game I don't think we get distracted by that. We get excited."

The Blues threw the body 41 times in three-and-a-half periods in Game 1, which is well above their regular-season average of 23.6 knocks.

Still, suffice it to say, the Blues have their work cut out for them if they're going to indulge their coach.

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Bruins’ Vatrano, Avalanche’s Rantanen share AHL’s rookie of the year award

Frank Vatrano of the Providence Bruins (Boston) and Mikko Rantanen of the San Antonio Rampage (Colorado) have been voted co-winners of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL's outstanding rookie for the 2015-16 season.

Rantanen, 19, was selected 10th overall by the Avalanche in 2015 and leads all AHL rookies in scoring and is tied for sixth overall with 60 points (24 goals, 36 assists). He also recorded at least one point in 42 of his 51 AHL games.

Vatrano, 22, has scored a league-high 34 goals in 34 games and is looking to become the fourth AHL player ever to average a goal a game in a 30-goal season. He added 17 assists and owns 51 total points, good for a league-best 1.50 points per contest.

He signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent last summer.

The award is shared as a result of a tie in the voting among AHL coaches, players, and media in each of the league's 30 cities.

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Shattenkirk jokes about luring Keith into another suspension

When it comes to the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, there's no love lost.

The Central Division rivals battled into overtime in Game 1 on Wednesday night, the Blues ultimately winning 1-0.

Friday's Game 2 marks the return of Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith from a six-game suspension for swinging his stick at Minnesota's Charlie Coyle.

The addition of Keith could pose a problem for St. Louis, and Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is well aware of that.

Shattenkirk may have a point, as the reigning Conn Smythe winner has played a prominent role in a playoff series against the Blues before.

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Malkin hopes to return during series vs. Rangers

Pittsburgh's potent offense exploded for five goals in its Game 1 victory over the New York Rangers, and another weapon for the Penguins looms.

Superstar center Evgeni Malkin told reporters Thursday that he's aiming to return to practice Friday, and is hopeful he can join the team before the end of Round 1.

An upper-body injury has kept Malkin out of the lineup since March 11, but the Penguins went 13-1 in his absence.

Malkin scored 58 points in 57 games in the regular season.

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Blackhawks cups inadvertently sent to St. Louis Dunkin’ Donuts location

This is sure to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of some St. Louis Blues fans.

A shipping mix-up resulted in cups that read "Official coffee of the Chicago Blackhawks" being delivered to a St. Louis area Dunkin' Donuts location, according to KMOV, a local CBS affiliate.

The Kirkwood location sold coffee in the Blackhawks cups, which KMOV showed to Blues fans entering Game 1 of an opening-round series featuring the two rivals on Wednesday.

"That's disgusting. They can't do that here," said one fan.

The popular donut chain later released the following statement:

Due to an untimely shipping error from the regional distribution center. Being a local business owner and fan of the hometown team, the franchisee plans to switch out the cups as soon as they receive a new shipment.

Perhaps the cups were sent to St. Louis because they don't have one of their own quite yet.

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3 reasons the Flyers can upset the Capitals

Of all the first-round matchups, no two teams were farther apart in the standings than the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers.

Twenty-four points separated the wild-card Flyers and the Metropolitan Division champion Capitals, but everyone starts from scratch in the postseason, and this series could be closer than many have anticipated.

Here are three reasons why:

Momentum

As one of the hottest teams in the league from February onward, Philadelphia enters the first round on a high note, having earned the final spot in an intense three-team race that came down to the wire.

Washington, meanwhile, comes into the playoffs in what's considered a slump compared to the success of its season, having gone 4-3-3 in its final 10 games. Goaltender Braden Holtby looked somewhat pedestrian down the stretch, and the Caps suffered.

Embracing their underdog status, the Flyers don't have nearly as much pressure on them as the Capitals do. Washington captured the Presidents' Trophy and has a "Finals or bust" mentality.

Not to mention the additional motivation of winning for late Flyers owner Ed Snider, which has put extra pep in Philadelphia's already confident step.

History

The Flyers are no strangers to accomplishing the unthinkable in the playoffs; just ask the 2010 Bruins. The raucous Wells Fargo Center presents a tough road game for any opponent, and the Philly crowd loves getting under visitors' skin, which could become a huge problem if the Flyers come out of Washington with a split.

Meanwhile, Washington hasn't made it out of the second round since 1998, and is one early elimination from chaos. The Capitals' playoff futility during the Alex Ovechkin era has been brought up year after year, and disappointing loss after disappointing loss has failed to change the narrative.

Presidents' Trophy curse

The Presidents' Trophy is the ultimate regular-season prize, but nobody cares about it.

Sure, it's a nice piece for the mantel, but rarely has the regular-season points leader had the same success in the playoffs.

The Capitals know this well. As an 121-point team in the 2009-10 season, Washington's playoff presence was brief, falling in seven games to the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens.

Washington surely holds the advantage in firepower throughout the roster, but the playoffs are a different beast - one the Capitals have yet to figure out.

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Flyers unveil Ed Snider commemorative patch

The Philadelphia Flyers will honor late founder Ed Snider with a commemorative patch on their playoff jerseys, beginning with Game 1 Thursday in Washington.

Snider, whose birth name was Edward Malcolm, died Monday of complications related to cancer.

He was 83.

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