-"The last three seasons have been really tough. You play that last regular-season game and then 16 other teams start to play the playoffs and you go home. That's the worst feeling you can have as a hockey player. It's great to have a chance again to go for the Cup, for the long run." - Jussi Jokinen (right) on missing the playoffs the past three seasons with the Hurricanes.
-Sidney Crosby will find out if he can play in Game 1 today.
-"They're a really tough team to match lines with. If it's not Crosby, they've got [Evgeni] Malkin on the other line. Whoever ends up going against their top guys has to take pride in playing without the puck, in defending. It's going to be a lot of hard work, but we've been doing that work the last month or so.'' - Islanders forward Frans Nielsen on facing the Penguins.
-Which is tougher for a player? Playing 48 games in a condensed schedule or 82 games in a spread-out schedule?
-A look at how Penguins and Islanders players did in head to head games this season.
-The Penguins have a pretty rotten postseason history against the Islanders.
-The Penguins will once again stage outdoor viewing parties at the site of the Civic Arena.
-Dan Bylsma speaks:
-Douglas Murray speaks:
-Mark Eaton speaks:
-Plum High School put together another fantastic Penguins-themed lipdub video:
-Warren Peters has been instrumental in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins having a 2-0 series lead against the Binghamton Senators in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins forward Steve Webb. Claimed off waivers from the Flyers early in the 2003-04 season, Webb's Penguins career amounted to five games and no points that campaign. At the trade deadline, he was dealt to the Islanders in exchange for Alain Nasreddine.
-"You talk to him sometimes and you think, all the expectations and the media and the coaches all [focusing] on this guy, and he's only 22 years old. He's 22. What the heck was I doing when I was 22?'' - Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov on teammate John Tavares.
-Rangers forward Derek Dorsett is hoping to return to the lineup in the first round after recovering from a shoulder injury.
-Bruins forward Nathan Horton (right) is still considered day to day as a result of a suspected hand injury he suffered against the Penguins earlier this month.
-Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak is dealing with a suspected shoulder injury as the postseason begins.
-A back injury is expected to keep Senators forward Jason Spezza sidelined as the postseason begins.
-“I don’t feel that there’s pressure on me. This is a team game and we win and lose as a team.” - Canadiens forward Carey Price on the postseason.
-The last time the Canadiens played an Ottawa Senators team in the postseason was 1927.
-A season ending press conference with Sabres executive Ted Black got nasty with some reporters.
-Three Capitals coaches - head coach Adam Oates as well as assistants Calle Johansson (right) and Olaf Kolzig - had big roles in the franchise' only appearance in a Stanley Cup final in 1998.
-"Just count on your hand the amount of months before we play another meaningful game. It's unacceptable. You sit there and you really count it out: May, June, July, August, September. That's a long time, and something nobody in that room should ever accept." - Lightning coach Jon Cooper on missing the playoffs.
-Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland and Ray Emery will miss Game 1 against the Wild due to "lower-body" injuries.
-"Me and Ray took a lot of scrutiny and a lot of heat after the season and throughout the summer. So for both of us to come back and prove to everyone we belong here and we can do the job means a lot." - Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford on criticism directed at himself and Emery.
-Blues forward T.J. Oshie said he's ready to return to the lineup after missing 15 games due to an ankle injury.
-“We expected production from Sergei and Craig Smith and we got none. Both those guys, we were looking at them to be top-six, top-seven forwards and we got no production. Craig Smith and Sergei were on power plays all year. I did it to try to get them going. I tried different things to get those guys going. I knew that we needed them because we score by committee and we had some committee members that didn’t get ‘er done.” - Predators coach Barry Trotz on forwards Sergei Kostitsyn and Craig Smith (right).
-Wild forward Jason Pominville is expected to return to the lineup after missing the final two regular season games due to a suspected head injury.
-“In 2007 and 2008, I don’t think at that point I realized how big it is. But when the years go by and you get older, you do realize. The playoffs are cool. You want to be part of a winning team and know that every game every night matters.” - Wild captain Mikko Koivu on reacing the posseason for the firt time since 2008.
-The Wild recalled defenseman Marco Scandella from Houston of the AHL and assigned forward Stephane Veilleux to Houston.
-The Canucks are being really wishy-washy over the health of goaltender Cory Schneider.
-“I get too worked up when we’re down a goal or the game is too quiet. I feel like I need to go out there and do something to get the momentum back — throw a big hit or score a goal. I’ve done a better job with that this year. I just don’t run around any more, and without the recklessness I’m still contributing in other ways and I still feel that I can create more.” - Sharks forward Raffi Torres (right) on cleaning up his game.
-Have the Sharks become Logan Couture's team as opposed to Patrick Marleau's or Joe Thornton's team?
-Sharks defenseman Jason Demers is dealing with a sprained ankle.
-The Sharks will wear their black jerseys for their home postseason games.
-“The bar is set high. I didn’t come here to be in the playoffs one year, lose another year, be in the playoffs two years, lose two years. That’s not why I came here. I came here to restore this franchise to what it was in Mike Modano’s years, Derian Hatcher’s years. We want to win here. The bar is going to be set high. We’re going to change the culture a little bit.” - New Stars general manager Jim Nill.
-The Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari takes a look at all eight quartefinal series.
-The NHL's draft lottery was held last night. The first first 14 selections are:
14. Blue Jackets
-TSN filmed this wonderful spoof of "The Hangover" with some members of the Kings:
(Photos: Jokinen-Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; Horton-Claus Andersen/Getty Images; Johansson-Rick Stewart/Allsport/Getty Images; Smith-Jeff Gross/Getty Images; Torres-Christian Petersen/Getty Images)