NHL 13 tournament narrows down finalists

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NHL 13 tournament narrows down finalists

The EA Sports NHL 13 cover photo tournament continues to narrow down top contenders and has become more personal as many of the finalists battle through the postseason.

After two rounds of eliminations, the initial 60 players in the running have now been dwindled down to 16 after a combined total of 26 million votes.

Wednesday marks the final day for the 'Bracket A' round of eight finalists to be slimmed down to four. Here's how the competition is broken up:

Claude Giroux (Flyers) vs P.K. Subban (Canadiens)
Scott Hartnell (Flyers) vs Tyler Seguin (Bruins)
Evgeni Malkin (Penguins) vs Steven Stamkos (Lightening)
Anze Kopitar (Kings) vs David Perron (Blues)

Now, here's where this gets fun.

Kopitar and Perron are not only fighting to win the cover, but also to advance to the Western Conference finals. Hartnell and Seguin could potential play one another in the Eastern Conference finals should both teams advance past the semis. This has given fans an additional incentive to vote for their team favorites, as well as add more excitement to the playoffs.

On Thursday, voting will begin to reduce the top eight in 'Bracket B' to just four finalists as well. The head-to-head battle will look like this:

Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings) vs TJ Oshie (Blues)
Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers) vs Erik Karlsson (Senators)
Pekka Rinne (Predators) vs Patrick Sharp (Blackhawks)
Jordan Eberle (Oilers) vs John Tavares (Islanders)

Click here to vote for your favorite players.

Quarterfinalists will be annouced May 11, semifinalists on May 24, and May 29 will mark the final round of voting.

Bulls lifeless in Atlanta despite fourth quarter rally

Bulls lifeless in Atlanta despite fourth quarter rally

The bus was warm before the game started, as the Bulls looked like they wanted no parts of the Atlanta Hawks.

It was evident from the jump that playing with a full and healthy squad for one of the few times this season wasn’t enough to arouse their competitive juices, as they put together arguably their worst 48-minute showing in a 102-93 loss at Philips Arena, dropping them to 21-23.

Fred Hoiberg, fed up with the starters, ran with the reserves for the fourth quarter and outscored the Hawks by nearly 25 points, bringing the lead to 95-90 with a minute left before a Dennis Schroeder jumper restored order with 52.6 seconds left.

Four Hawks scored in double figures led by Schroeder’s 25 points and six assists and Paul Millsap scored 14 while making all four of his shots in just 22 minutes of run.

Perhaps it’s the Hawks being the same kryptonite to the Bulls that the Bulls are to the Toronto Raptors — except the Bulls simply frustrate the Raptors, not embarrass them.

The Hawks shot over 60 percent for most of the night until the game devolved into what amounted to a pickup game late. After all, the Hawks seemed to be battling boredom by half, leading 65-36 and shooting 68 percent from the field and hitting 67 percent from three.

The Bulls weren’t about to make it any more suspenseful than it had to be, as they started off missing their first 11 3-pointers, often missing multiple open looks on the same possession.

It wasn’t relegated to just shooting as the Bulls squandered easy opportunities in easy situations, like Denzel Valentine turning a three-on-one fast break into an airballed finger-roll attempt that he caught himself — a violation, of course.

This one was over a few minutes into it, as the Bulls looked like a lifeless squad with no direction and very little fight, short of a minor dustup between Dwight Howard and Robin Lopez in the third quarter.

At that point, though, all Howard had to do is point at the scoreboard, where a 30-point lead did all the necessary talking.

The Bulls trailed by 20 even before Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a 35-footer to end the first quarter, sending the Hawks off on a high and seemingly demoralizing the Bulls.

Even Jimmy Butler’s 19-point night, hitting six of his eight shots in 29 minutes, rang hollow. The Bulls could’ve trotted out a D-League team for the second half to gear up for Saturday’s game against the Sacramento Kings and been better off than how they performed Friday night.

And for the Bulls, they can’t simply just go back to the drawing board. There looks to be something fundamentally wrong with this bunch — either that, or the Atlanta night got the best of them Thursday.

Marian Hossa scores game winner as Blackhawks beat Bruins

Marian Hossa scores game winner as Blackhawks beat Bruins

BOSTON (AP) — Marian Hossa scored with 1:26 left to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 1-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Friday night.

Scott Darling stopped 30 shots for his second shutout of the season.

Tuukka Rask made 21 saves for Boston, which has lost three straight games and four of its last five.

It was a rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals, when Chicago scored twice in the final 76 seconds of the third period in Game 6 to overcome a one-goal deficit and claim the NHL title.

This time, the game was scoreless before the Blackhawks made their final charge. The puck made its way to Tanner Kero on Rask’s left; he slid it across the crease for Hossa, who put it in the net.