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Canada, Finland advance to worlds final

(AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) Mark Stone scored his tournament-leading eighth goal, Matt Murray made 39 saves and Canada beat the Czech Republic 5-1 on Saturday night to advance to face Finland in the world hockey championship final.

"I think we can beat anybody in this tournament," Stone said. "It's just a matter of whether we play well or not. We're going to have to bring our best game to beat (Finland), but I'm comfortable with the team that we have."

In the first semifinal, Marko Anttila scored midway through the third period in Finland's 1-0 victory over Russia.

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Blues hoping to exercise playoff demons

ST. LOUIS (AP) Stanley Jackson and buddy Steven Crow can be excused if they tend to watch their beloved St. Louis Blues with their hands over their eyes, just waiting for the next thing to go wrong.

So when the Blues beat the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 to earn their first berth in the Stanley Cup Final since 1970, a rematch with the Boston Bruins 49 years in the making, the two old friends couldn't hold back.

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Canadiens sign D Kulak to 3-year deal

MONTREAL (AP) - The Montreal Canadiens have agreed to a three-year contract with defenseman Brett Kulak.

The deal was announced Saturday and runs through the 2021-22 season, carrying an average annual value of $1.85 million.

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Coaches Cassidy, Berube look to lift Cup

Bruce Cassidy has come a long way from writing his first NHL practice plan on a napkin.

Craig Berube hasn't changed a bit from the moment he was fired from his first NHL head coaching job.

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Bruins' veterans may be key in Cup Final

BOSTON (AP) When the Boston Bruins take the ice against the St. Louis Blues, they will do it with a core group of veterans who know what it's like to hoist the Stanley Cup - and have it slip from their fingers.

Patrice Bergeron can still remember the instant euphoria and accompanying adoration from across New England that came after the Bruins outlasted the Vancouver Canucks in seven games to win the Cup in 2011.

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Russia to host 2023 world championships

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) The International Ice Hockey Federation has picked the Russian city of St. Petersburg to host the 2023 world championships.

Russia plans to build a 23,000-seat arena in central St. Petersburg for the event, and also use the city's Ice Palace venue built for the 2000 worlds.

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Lil Nas X to play at Stanley Cup Final

"Old Town Road" is coming to the Stanley Cup Final.

Lil Nas X will perform the top song in the world Monday in Boston as part of the pregame festivities before the series between the Bruins and St. Louis Blues gets underway. The NHL announced Friday Lil Nas X and country singer Chase Rice as the artists who will play at Boston's City Hall Plaza before Game 1.

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Sens hire ex-Leafs asst. Smith as coach

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Former Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach D.J. Smith is the new head coach of the Ottawa Senators.

Smith signed a three-year contract with the club on Thursday. He replaces interim head coach Marc Crawford, who also interviewed for the position.

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Isles sign C Nelson for 6 years, $36M

Less than a year after losing John Tavares, the New York Islanders re-signed star center Brock Nelson before he could even test free agency.

Nelson on Thursday agreed to terms on a $36 million, six-year contract through the 2024-25 season. Nelson scored 25 goals and set career highs with 28 assists and 53 points last season to help the Islanders make the playoffs.

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Marchand avoids injury in scrimmage

BOSTON (AP) Boston Bruins scoring leader Brad Marchand returned without missing a shift after appearing to hurt his left hand Thursday night when the team held an intrasquad scrimmage to tune up for the Stanley Cup Final.

Marchand bumped into Connor Clifton in front of the net "and jammed his ... I don't know what he jammed," coach Bruce Cassidy said.

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