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Ducks' Kesler aims to slow down McDavid

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Connor McDavid is about to get to know Ryan Kesler very well.

When the Edmonton Oilers visit the Anaheim Ducks for their second-round playoff opener on Wednesday night at Honda Center, all eyes will be on the Oilers' 20-year-old superstar and the Ducks' All-Star center, who is usually assigned to stop the world's best players.

"(Kesler) has been up for the Selke (Trophy) for however many years in a row, so that speaks for itself," McDavid said. "He understands his defensive role."

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Preds-Blues may come down to Rinne-Allen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) No goaltender has played better this postseason than Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, though Jake Allen of the St. Louis Blues came closest in the first round.

Now their teammates have to figure out how to score on these two stingy goalies if they want to advance to the Western Conference finals.

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Wild's Staal concussed from boards crash

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal has a concussion from his head-first crash into the boards.

Fortunately, the dangerous collision didn't damage him further than that. He knew it looked bad enough that, when he greeted his wife soon after, he apologized to her for having to wince her way through the scary sequence.

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Sharks' Couture played with mouth wired

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture played in the postseason despite two fractures in his face along with the plastic and wiring in his mouth that kept his teeth in place.

Couture revealed more details of the injuries sustained when a deflected slap shot from teammate Brent Burns hit him in the mouth in Nashville on March 25.

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Ovechkin's Cup path again finds Penguins

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) Sidney Crosby is standing in Alex Ovechkin's way again. Of course.

Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins extinguished two of the Washington Capitals' best Stanley Cup hopes in 2009 and 2016, going on to win the championship each time. Now as Ovechkin and the Capitals face a summer of change, it's only fitting that perhaps their best chance to win it all means going through defending champion Pittsburgh in the second round.

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Lundqvist sharp after up-and-down season

GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) After struggling through a subpar season by his standards, Henrik Lundqvist was at his best when the Rangers needed him in the first round.

The 35-year-old goalie will again have to be at the top of his game against Ottawa for New York to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth time in six years.

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Bruins go into offseason on hopeful note

BOSTON (AP) Two days weren't enough to relieve the Boston Bruins' pain after a six-game loss to the Ottawa Senators in an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

But the pain was dulled by the positives of a season that had them reach the postseason for the first time since 2014 and integrate several young players into their lineup to complement the veteran core.

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Kings' Gaborik questionable for camp

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Kings forward Marian Gaborik is questionable for the start of training camp after undergoing an unspecified medical procedure on a chronic left knee injury.

The Kings said Tuesday that the Slovak scorer had the procedure after Los Angeles' season ended earlier this month.

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Thornton has torn ACL, future unclear

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Before Joe Thornton heads into an uncertain offseason where he could be a free agent and leave San Jose after nearly 12 years, he had more pressing business.

Thornton underwent surgery on a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee Monday to repair an injury that sidelined him less than two weeks before he returned to play the final four games of a first-round series loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

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Blackhawks fire assistant after sweep

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Blackhawks have fired assistant coach Mike Kitchen.

Kitchen joined coach Joel Quenneville's staff in July 2010. He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015.

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