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Game Seven for Rangers-Caps and Game One for Kings-Coyotes highlight hockey weekend

Madison Square Garden is one of the best arenas in the NHL for a regular game. The atmosphere should be off the charts Saturday.

The Rangers host Washington in Game Seven of their Eastern Conference semifinal. The winner faces New Jersey for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. The loser joins the Flyers in a second-round exit.

"It's going to be exciting," New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist told reporters. "We have to get together here and just play our absolute best hockey of the year."

The Rangers are 4-0 lifetime in Game Sevens in the Garden. The last win came in the opening round against Ottawa. The Capitals won at home in Game Six and hope to do the same on the road Saturday.

"Our goal was do-or-die, win Game Six -- the same goal as for Game Seven," Capitals defenseman John Carlson said.

Meanwhile, Phoenix and Los Angeles will try to win Game One. The Western Conference final begins Sunday in Phoenix.

General Manager Don Maloney and coach Dave Tippett are getting credit for bringing the previously orphaned Coyotes to within four wins of their first Cup appearance.

"You look at what he's done with our team, he's taken us from the basement to the top of the league," Yandle said of Tippett. "I'm sure every team will tell you that they don't like playing against us, especially in the regular season. You've got to tip your hat to Tip with the way he's been able to come in here and take over this team and get us where we want to be."

In Philadelphia, the Flyers didn't get to where they wanted. After a convincing first-round dismantling of the Pittsburgh Penguins, they went out in five games against the Devils.

A lot of the blame is going to goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who underperformed after getting a nine-year, $51 million contract. The talkative netminder stayed away from locker cleanout day.

"Did he play as good as I expected this year?" Holmgren asked. "I'd probably say, no."

In other news:

*Commissioner Gary Bettman welcomed the new owners of the St. Louis Blues.

*Anaheim gave coach Bruce Boudreau a two-year contract extension.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |