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Rangers win 7-3 in Tampa to force Game 7

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Henrik Lundqvist had lots of help in another season-saving performance for the New York Rangers.

The star goalie stopped 36 shots and Derick Brassard had a hat trick for the Presidents' Trophy winners, who forced Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals with a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

The Rangers, who overcame a 3-1 series deficit to oust the Washington Capitals in the second round, improved to 4-0 in elimination games this postseason. Lundqvist is 9-1 with his team's season on the line since the start of last year's playoffs, and 15-3 under those circumstances dating back to Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern quarterfinals against Ottawa.

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Blues ink Hitchcock through next season

ST. LOUIS (AP) After careful deliberation, the St. Louis Blues are sticking with veteran coach Ken Hitchcock for another season.

The Blues and Hitchcock on Tuesday announced a one-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Ducks Ds causing problems for Blackhawks

CHICAGO (AP) Anaheim stars Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler are drawing a lot of attention in the Western Conference finals. When the Ducks' defensemen join the attack, it presents a big problem for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Ducks got four points from their defensemen in Monday night's 5-4 overtime win that moved them within one victory of the Stanley Cup finals. It was their best total since their defensemen accounted for six points in a 6-1 victory over Calgary in Game 1 of their second-round series on April 30, according to STATS.

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No hockey-first plan for Seattle arena

SEATTLE (AP) Throughout the process, Seattle arena investor Chris Hansen has remained open to the idea of a hockey team being the first tenant for a proposed facility in the city's stadium district even if his focus is on basketball.

One problem: Even with indications that Seattle could be a viable expansion market for the NHL, no one has come to Hansen's group with a proposal for a hockey franchise to be the initial occupant.

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Babcock has emotional goodbye in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) Mike Babcock stood at the front of the familiar dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, this time for something of a farewell address.

He became choked up after about a minute of talking, and at one point he even held up an old newspaper from a decade ago.

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Fetisov: Use Soviet-era NHL restrictions

MOSCOW (AP) Former Detroit Red Wings star Slava Fetisov has called for Russia to reintroduce Soviet-style restrictions to prevent promising young hockey players from moving to the NHL.

Fetisov, who is now a senator in Russia, tells Russia's R-Sport news agency that federal law should be used to stop Russian players from moving to North America before they turn 28.

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Pens: Bylsma free to pursue coaching job

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Former Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is free to take any job opening, including the Buffalo Sabres' vacancy.

That was the response Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford provided The Associated Press on Thursday, when asked if he granted Buffalo permission to interview Bylsma. Though Bylsma was fired last June, he remains on Pittsburgh's payroll because his contract runs through the end of next season.

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Bettman: Salary cap to rise to $71M

CHICAGO (AP) NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman expects the salary cap for the 2015-16 season to settle in around $71 million, depending on the fluctuations of the Canadian dollar.

Appearing between the first and second periods of Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night between the Anaheim Ducks and hometown Blackhawks, the commissioner said he expects it to climb five percent from this year's cap figure of $69 million.

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Babcock: Leafs job a 'massive challenge'

TORONTO (AP) Brendan Shanahan's first conversation with Mike Babcock about the Toronto Maple Leafs' coaching position was more of a disclaimer than a sales pitch. The club president wanted Babcock to know how far away the Leafs are from being a winning team.

Babcock wasn't scared off.

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Sens owner doing well after transplant

TORONTO (AP) Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is recovering well after his liver transplant. All his donor wants in return is for the team to win the Stanley Cup.

The University Health Network hospital in Toronto said Thursday the 55-year-old Melnyk remains in the intensive care unit after Tuesday's transplant, but he's been awake, smiling and answering questions.

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