Karson Kuhlman Jersey

Down 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues, the Boston Bruins are making lineup changes to shake things up.

Boston will revert back to a traditional lineup of six defensemen and 12 forwards in Game 6 on Sunday night in St. Louis, with rookie forward Karson Kuhlman drawing in for the first time since April 30. Defenseman Steven Kampfer will be bumped from the lineup in Game 6.

“It’s just a decision we made to be a little different,” coach Bruce Cassidy said.

Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who has been out since Game 2 with a concussion, is still not cleared, according to Cassidy.

Kuhlman, a 23-year-old rookie out of Minnesota-Duluth, has played in six playoff games this spring, registering two assists. However, he has been a healthy scratch since Game 4 of the second-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Cassidy said he likes Kuhlman’s motor.

Kuhlman will play on a line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk, a spot where David Backes has typically played. Backes, a longtime former Blues player, is not expected to play in the pivotal game.

Kuhlman said he’s “just excited about” the chance to play in a Stanley Cup Final.

“I think [Cassidy] and I are on the same page,” Kuhlman said. “We know what I can do to help this team.”

Cassidy said the challenge for Kuhlman — as it has been with all Bruins forwards — “is getting inside” St. Louis’ big defensive corps.

With captain Zdeno Chara playing in Game 5 with a reported broken jaw, the Bruins opted to dress seven defensemen in a precautionary move. Cassidy said his staff was not sure how much Chara would be able to play, and how playing would affect his breathing.

Chara, however, played 16:42 minutes in the game, although he appeared uncomfortable at times. Nonetheless, the seven-defenseman rotation is not ideal as it doesn’t allow for blueliners to find a true rhythm in a game and can overwork forwards that need to double-shift.

The move to insert Kuhman is likely to help get Krejci going as the two have played together at other times this season. Krejci has been held without a point in five games this series.

Bruins rookie forward Karson Kuhlman says he's "excited" to get a chance to play in a Stanley Cup Final.

The Bruins also need more from their talented top line. David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron have yet to score a five-on-five goal in this series. Though the top line has been red-hot for stretches during these playoffs, the Bruins have relied heavily on their depth to get them this far. Twenty different Boston players have scored this postseason.

“Your best players need to be your best players, but if they defend well and we have a good defensive game, you know, we’re in it, I feel someone will step up,” Cassidy said Saturday. “Probably them, because they usually do. But same token, we don’t want to put so much pressure on them they get outside their overall game, their defensive game, because they’re a good line all around and we don’t want them to lose that.”

The Bruins are hoping to force a Game 7 on home ice. It would mark the first time the Stanley Cup Final went to seven games since 2011 — when the Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks for their most recent championship.

“We’re obviously going to come out with the will and desire to compete, and they are, too,” defenseman Torey Krug said. “There’s pressure on both sides. If [they] don’t win tonight then they have to come into a Game 7 in our building and that’s pressure for them, I’m sure. For us, our season could end but we’re coming into it with the right mentality that we’re going to force a Game 7 and ultimately, it comes down to will and who wants it more.”

Cheap Ryan Kesler Ducks Jersey

Veteran Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler underwent right hip resurfacing surgery last week, the team announced on Monday.

It is unlikely Kesler will play in the 2019-20 season.

Ryan Kesler was part of the Ducks' big three.

According to the team, the surgery is a “bone-preserving hip replacement that can provide pain relief and increase function in normal activities of daily living.” The Ducks said the surgery leaves “open the possibility that Kesler could resume his NHL career following a lengthy recovery.”

General manager Bob Murray said in a statement that the team would support any decision the 34-year-old Kesler makes on his future. “At this point, Ryan needs to think about his life and family,” Murray said.

Kesler underwent major hip surgery after the 2016-17 season and has struggled since. He was limited to 60 games last season — in which he scored just five goals and three assists — and 44 games in 2017-18. Last season, he became the seventh active U.S.-born player to reach the 1,000-career game mark.

In 1,001 games with the Canucks and Ducks, Kesler has 285 goals and 315 assists for 573 points.

“At this point in my career, this surgery was the best option for my quality of life,” Kesler said in a statement. “The pain I was suffering has been greatly reduced since the procedure, and I’m grateful for that. While my playing future is unknown, I’m in a good place.”

Kesler added that he looks “forward to spending more time with my family and doing everyday activities without pain.”

Kesler, an alternate captain, carries a $6.875 million cap hit through the 2021-22 season. His contract includes a no-movement clause. The team can put him on Long Term Injury Reserve for the remainder of his contract.

The Ducks are coming off a difficult season, in which they fired longtime coach Randy Carlyle — the winningest coach in franchise history — and Murray took over as interim behind the bench. The Ducks have yet to name a new head coach.

Kesler, a Michigan native, was a part of the Ducks’ “big three,” which also includes captain Ryan Getzlaf (34 years old) and Corey Perry (33). Kesler joined the Ducks via a trade from the Vancouver Canucks in 2014.

Getzlaf and Perry helped the Ducks win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and have made three appearances in the Western Conference final (2006, 2007 and 2017). However, after a dismal season, the team is looking to retool — making changes to become faster and younger. Getzlaf and Perry both have cap hits of over $8 million, both under contract through 2020-21, and both have no-movement clauses as well.

Mikko Rantanen Jersey

The Colorado Avalanche might have All-Star forward Mikko Rantanen back for the start of their first-round playoff series against Calgary.

Rantanen has been sidelined since suffering a lower-body injury at Dallas on March 21. Rantanen is second on the team with 87 points and third in goals with 31.

The right winger wore a red, no-contact jersey Monday at practice. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said afterward that Rantanen has been “progressing like just we hoped” and that he could play in Game 1 in Calgary on Thursday night.

Rantanen’s return would reunite him with fellow All-Stars Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon. The trio have combined for 261 points and 106 goals this season.

Gabriel Landeskog Jersey

Colorado Avalanche All-Star forward Gabriel Landeskog will miss four to six weeks with an upper-body injury, head coach Jared Bednar announced Friday.

Landeskog was hurt midway through the third period of Thursday night’s game against the Dallas Stars after he collided with Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop.

Bednar called missing Landeskog, a “huge loss.”

Landeskog, 26, has recorded career highs this season with 33 goals, including a league-leading nine game-winners, and 69 points.

The Avalanche captain has appeared in 574 NHL games since being drafted second overall by Colorado in 2011.

The Avalanche are currently in ninth place in the Western Conference with 70 points, four points behind the Minnesota Wild for the last wild-card spot.

Jakob Silfverberg Jersey

Jakob Silfverberg capped off a memorable weekend with a goal and an assist and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak.

Silfverberg signed a $26.5 million, five-year extension Saturday. He leads the team in goals with 17 and became the ninth player to score 100 goals with Anaheim.

Cam Fowler also had a goal and John Gibson made 25 saves for his first victory since Jan. 19. Gibson had lost five straight and also missed nine games because of a concussion and having his wisdom teeth pulled.

Derick Brassard scored for Colorado and Philipp Grubauer stopped 21 shots. The Avalanche have dropped three of their last four after winning four straight.

Silfverberg went top shelf with a snap shot near the right faceoff circle at 3:17 of the first period.

Fowler added to the lead at 10:26 of the second with a slap shot from the point on a power play that deflected off the stick of Avalanche forward Matt Calvert. Fowler’s fourth goal of the season also marked the first time in six games that the Ducks scored on the power play.

Brassard scored at 4:17 of the third on a one-timer from the right faceoff circle off a pass from Carl Soderberg. It was Brassard’s 12th of the season and second since being acquired from Florida on Feb. 25.

Game notes

Colorado’s Ian Cole was assessed a game misconduct midway through the second period for kneeing Devin Shore. … The Ducks are 4-6 since general manager Bob Murray fired Randy Carlyle as coach and took over.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: Host Detroit on Tuesday night.

Ducks: At Arizona on Tuesday night.

Jack Eichel Jersey

Jack Eichel Jersey

The Buffalo Sabres got a pleasant surprise during practice Monday when captain Jack Eichel joined the group.

It was the first time the center skated with his teammates since sustaining an upper-body injury in the first period against the New York Islanders on Dec. 31. His status for the game Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils is unknown. Buffalo coach Phil Housley said they’ll know more on Tuesday.

“At this point, it’s just sort of taking it every day, seeing how I feel,” Eichel said. “If you can just get a little better every day, it’s positive so for me, it’s been that sort of thing. Everything I can do to try to get back and help the team as soon as possible, I want to do. But that being said, obviously, you don’t want to rush things and put yourself behind.”

Eichel said it hasn’t been easy to be sidelined.

“It kills me to not be out there, it kills me not to be playing, it kills me not be hanging out with these guys every day, competing,” he said. “The hardest part about it is just the mental aspect and not being able to get out there and do it. But it feels good to practice today. … [I’m] feeling like myself again.”

Eichel joined the practice about 20 minutes in, wearing a regular jersey. He mixed into drills but wasn’t on a line. He stayed on the ice with a rehab coach after practice.

“Him just coming back, getting the OK to practice was a good sign,” Housley said.

The Sabres are 1-1 in Eichel’s absence, defeating the Florida Panthers on Thursday and losing to the Boston Bruins on Saturday. They’re 5-9-3 in their past 17 games after their 10-game winning streak Nov. 8-Nov. 27.

With the loss to Boston and the Islanders’ win against the St. Louis Blues, Buffalo dropped to the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference, tied with the Islanders with 50 points and one point ahead of the Montreal Canadiens. The Sabres are fourth in the Atlantic Division, two points behind the Bruins and six behind the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Nothing’s changed from the mindset that we’ve had from the beginning of the year,” Eichel said. “Every game means a lot for us with how tight the race is, and everyone seems to be getting points every night.”

Eichel leads the Sabres with 49 points (15 goals, 34 assists). He had 30 points (11 goals, 19 assists) in the 23 games since his line with Jeff Skinner and Sam Reinhart began playing together Nov. 13. The Sabres were 12-7-4 during that stretch; at least one of the three scored in all but four of those games.

Reinhart was sick and missed practice Monday.

There’s been some contribution from secondary scoring of late, with forwards Kyle Okposo and Tage Thompson ending long goal droughts and Johan Larsson and defenseman Marco Scandella also getting on the scoresheet.

“It’s not an easy league to score in, by any means,” Eichel said. “It’s good that guys are chipping in; it’s just that we need more from everyone every night because every team’s bringing more every night.

“It’s getting more and more competitive, and that’s just how the season goes. As the season amps up, I think we’ve got to amp ourselves up too. I think that we’re ready for the challenge, we’ve just got to commit to it.”

Luke Kunin Jersey

The Minnesota Wild have recalled forward Luke Kunin from the AHL.

The Wild made the move Sunday, giving them a fill-in for captain Mikko Koivu, who has a lower-body injury. The team announced his status as day-to-day.

Koivu took a knee-on-knee hit Thursday at Calgary and was held out Friday at Edmonton. The Wild, who host Montreal on Tuesday night, have lost five of their past six games.

Kunin has eight goals and seven assists in 21 games for Iowa this season. The 15th overall pick in the 2016 draft by Minnesota, Kunin tore the ACL in his left knee in a game for the Wild on March 4 and underwent surgery April 3. The 21-year-old has yet to play for the Wild this season.

Mikael Granlund Jersey

Mikael Granlund opened the season with a trio of forgettable games.

“I hardly ever touched the puck,” the Minnesota Wild forward recalled.

Those days are long gone.

Granlund scored his team-high 10th goal of the season in the third period to lift the Wild over the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Sunday.

Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves, and the Wild got their fifth win in six games and 10th in their past 12. They completed a franchise-record seven-game road trip at 5-2.

Zach Parise and Joel Eriksson Ek also scored for Minnesota.

The red-hot Granlund has four goals in his last three games and eight in his last 10. His goal with 12:17 left in regulation was his third game-winner of the season.

“There’s some little things I’ve tried to do better,” Granlund said. “It just seems like pucks are really going in right now.”

Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau knew Granlund, who did not get a point in the first three games, would eventually overcome the slow start.

“He’s our best offensive player,” Boudreau said. “It’s pretty cool. That’s what he is, a really good hockey player.”

Oskar Sundqvist and Alex Pietrangelo scored for St. Louis, which also lost at home to Minnesota 5-1 on Nov. 3.

Granlund pounced on a loose puck in the slot and drilled it past Chad Johnson to break a 2-all tie. Through 16 games, he’s already nearly halfway to his career high of 26 goals from 2016-17.

Minnesota scored twice in a 25-second span early in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Parise pounded home the rebound of a shot by Nino Niederreiter that hit the post. Eriksson Ek then converted off a shot by Jordan Greenway.

The Wild were playing their third game in four nights and have not played at home since Oct. 27. Although tired, the players banded together for another strong road effort.

“Today was a hard game, the end of trips are always tough,” Parise said. “With the travel and the early start, it was a challenging game. But we scrambled and got ourselves a win.”

Pietrangelo tied it at 2 with a blast from the top of the faceoff circle midway through the second period.

Dubnyk, who has won three of his last four, improved to 8-3-2.

“We’re continuing to play the way we have to be to be successful,” Dubnyk said. “When you get winning, and guys are playing together, it doesn’t seem to matter which direction the game is going. You just believe you’re going to get the job done in the end. That’s the feeling that we have right here.”

Johnson, who fell to 2-3, had a string of 66 successive saves halted by Parise’s goal.

The Blues were looking to win their third in a row for the first time this season.

“It’s very disappointing,” St. Louis center Ryan O’Reilly said. “It stings. It’s definitely a frustrating one. We easily could have got it into OT — but we didn’t.”

Game notes

O’Reilly extended his career-high point streak to 10 games with an assist in the second period. Alexander Steen was the last St. Louis player to reel off 10 in a row from Dec. 30, 2014 to Jan. 19, 2015. … The Blues are 15-5-3 in their last 22 home games against the Wild dating back to 2008. … Minnesota D Matt Dumba played in his 116th successive game, the longest current streak on the team.

UP NEXT

Minnesota: Hosts Washington on Tuesday night.

St. Louis: At Chicago on Wednesday night.

Paul Stastny Jersey

After initially saying that center Paul Stastny would be out at least three games, the Vegas Golden Knights are now saying he could miss two months with a lower-body injury.

Coach Gerard Gallant gave the update on Monday, adding that defenseman Deryk Engelland (undisclosed injury) and forward Alex Tuch (lower body) will also miss Tuesday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Stastny, 32, was injured Oct. 8 in Buffalo.

Vegas signed Stastny to a $19.5 million, three-year contract in the offseason after he had 15 points in 17 playoff games with the Winnipeg Jets last spring.

Erik Karlsson Jersey

Erik Karlsson Jersey

Matt Duchene wants to see how the Ottawa Senators progress with defenseman Erik Karlsson and forward Mark Stone, and how Ottawa responds to last season, before deciding on his long-term future.

The 27-year-old center is entering the final season of a five-year contract he signed with the Colorado Avalanche in 2013. He is eligible to sign a contract extension, but, like Karlsson and Stone, can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2019.

“The picture will become clearer for me as it goes,” Duchene said during the NHL Player Media Tour on Friday.

Karlsson, Ottawa’s captain, is entering the final season of a seven-year contract he signed June 19, 2012, and has long been rumored to be traded and could be moved before the season begins.

Stone signed a one-year, $7.35 million contract Aug. 3. He had 62 points, including an NHL career-high 42 assists, in 58 games last season.

“Those are the things I want to sit back and watch,” Duchene said. “The nice thing is is I’m kind of the last domino in that sense. Those are things I want to see.

“Erik, that’s a little bit different situation, but with [Mark], that’s a guy I’d love to move forward with as a teammate. Him doing a one-year deal, it’s a little bit different and makes you think a little bit, but I want to see what he’s saying and we’ll talk through it. Having talked about it, we both really like it in Ottawa and we both want it to work, so that’s the biggest thing.”

Duchene said he also wants to see how the Senators rebound from last season.

“That’s a huge puzzle piece,” he said.

Ottawa finished 30th in the NHL last season, 30 points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Duchene had 49 points (23 goals, 26 assists) in 68 games with the Senators after they acquired him in a trade from the Avalanche on Nov. 5.

“I want an opportunity to win,” Duchene said. “At this point, when you’re in this situation, and I talked to [Toronto Maple Leafs center] John Tavares about it a lot last year, it’s hard to pick a team to go to to win the Stanley Cup because the League is so good now. But you want to be competitive. You want to be on a team that is either right there for the playoffs or in the playoffs every year.

“I mean, look at [the] Washington [Capitals]. They lost however many years in a row in the second round, but they were there every year and then they break through and they win the [Stanley] Cup. So that’s the goal. That’s going to be the biggest thing for me is just to see how things shape out early on.”

Duchene is optimistic the Senators will rebound. He cited the development of young players including 24-year-old defenseman Cody Ceci, who was awarded a one-year, $4.3 million contract in arbitration Aug. 3, and 21-year-old defenseman Thomas Chabot, who had 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 63 games last season.

“We have a lot of really good people in that locker room, and sometimes I think we can be a little bit more outward and aggressive, and I think that will carry onto the ice,” Duchene said. “That’s the message this year. … Let’s prove everybody wrong and let’s show people who we are and what we are.”