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Bruins set to host Maple Leafs in Game 7

Boston Bruins right wing David Backes (42) picks up a penalty after Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) takes an elbow to the head during third period NHL round one playoff hockey action in Toronto on Monday, April 23, 2018. Leafs defenseman Roman Polak (46) looks to clear the puck. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

BOSTON -- Toronto coach Mike Babcock thinks his Maple Leafs should cherish the chance to play in Wednesday night's Game 7 of their first-round series with the Boston Bruins.

"You're a kid playing outside road hockey, it's the seventh game and you're scoring a winning goal in overtime," Babcock said after his Leafs won their second straight and evened the series with a 3-1 victory in Toronto on Monday night.

"That's just the way it was your whole life," he continued. "No one else in hockey is playing right now, they're all stopped and watching and that's always some, but I think just the opportunity, you get to go on. I think there's obviously a lot on the line that way and we'd like to play in the next round, Boston wants to play in the next round, something's got to give. We're excited for the opportunity and enjoy the rest of today. Get ready tomorrow.

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Malkin, Hagelin out for Game 1 vs. Caps

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) Like tourists flocking to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom, the Pittsburgh Penguins making a trip to Washington in the playoffs has become a rite of spring.

The Penguins and Capitals will face off in the second round for the third consecutive year with the core groups changed only slightly from past battles. Back-to-back Stanley Cup-champion Pittsburgh still has playoff MVPs Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Washington still has stars Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom trying to make the Eastern Conference final for the first time.

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Knights, Sharks set to meet in 2nd round

It took one trip to Las Vegas early in the season for the San Jose Sharks to realize that the fast start to the season for the expansion Golden Knights was no fluke.

So it should come as little surprise to the Sharks that they have to get past Vegas in the second round of the playoffs starting Thursday night to reach the Western Conference final for the fourth time in the past nine seasons.

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Jackets again fail to reach 2nd round

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) In a season of broken records and firsts for the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the most important eluded them again: winning a playoff series.

The Blue Jackets' promising season fizzled out in Game 6 of their opening-round series against the Washington Capitals. They were stunning at times - like in the first two games, both won in OT - but glaringly not good enough the rest of the way. Columbus' power play went to sleep, and the Capitals took four in a row, capping it with a 6-3 victory Monday night.

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Devils hope to take next step in '18-'19

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) It would be easy to say the New Jersey Devils are back after ending a six-year playoff drought.

John Hynes' team went from last in the Eastern Conference in 2016-17 to the postseason in less in the year, riding a career year by left wing Taylor Hall and outstanding first seasons by No. 1 overall draft pick Nico Hischier and Will Butcher. This was a team that made it tough on opponents almost every time it stepped on the ice.

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Sabres sign Swedish top scorer Olofsson

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The Buffalo Sabres have signed Victor Olofsson to a two-year contract after he scored a Swedish Hockey League-leading 27 goals last season.

Olofsson was selected by the Sabres in the seventh round of the 2014 draft. The forward has spent the past three seasons in the SHL, collecting 50 goals and 49 assists in 150 regular-season games. Overall, Olofsson had 60 goals and 117 points in 200 games.

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NHL tries to explain head shot rulings

Drew Doughty watched other playoff games this season and couldn't believe that George Parros, the NHL's discipline czar, had suspended him for a head shot.

"I saw four hits last night that deserved more than that," the Los Angeles Kings defenseman said.

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Flames hire ex-Hurricanes coach Peters

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) The Calgary Flames have hired Bill Peters as the team's head coach.

The Flames introduced Peters at a news conference on Monday at Scotiabank Saddledome. The 53-year-old from Three Hills, Alberta, resigned as head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday after four seasons and a year remaining on his contract.

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Wild oust GM Fletcher after playoff exit

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) When Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold entered the team's new practice facility a couple of weeks ago, the organizational motto was staring him in the face.

So was the advice he should make a change in the front office, despite his fondness of general manager Chuck Fletcher.

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Predators' Fisher unretired to chase Cup

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Losing the Stanley Cup last June wasn't what hurt Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg the most. Seeing how painful the loss was for veteran center Mike Fisher proved even more agonizing.

"That was probably the worst feeling for me personally," Forsberg said. "Seeing the look on Fish's face, how close it was and obviously didn't know then if he had another chance. And yeah, he's definitely one of the guys that I would love to win for."

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