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Posted On Sunday, 05.20.2012 / 12:29 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Updated order for first round of 2012 NHL Draft

With the conference finals going on, it's time to take a look at how the first half of the playoffs has affected the order of the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft.

The first 14 picks were set by the results of the NHL Draft Lottery held in April. Now that the first two rounds of the playoffs are completed, all but the final four picks are set.

The 12 teams eliminated from the playoffs make up the next set of picks. Non-division winners are placed in inverse order of points. Division winners next are slotted in through the same process. That's why the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had the fourth-most points in the League, have a better draft spot than the Florida Panthers, finished with nine fewer points but won the Southeast Division.

The teams that lose in the conference finals will take picks 27 and 28; the loser in the Stanley Cup Final will pick No. 29; the Stanley Cup winner will take No. 30.

Three teams have multiple first-round picks: Tampa Bay will pick 10th and 19th; Washington has the Nos. 11 and 16 picks; and Buffalo will pick 12th and 21st.

Columbus also could have two first-round picks. They currently have the No. 2 pick and hold an option to take Los Angeles' pick, which can be no worse than No. 27. The Blue Jackets acquired the rights to the pick in the Jeff Carter trade, and either can take the Kings' first pick this year or next.

Three teams currently will sit out the first round: Colorado, which sent it's pick to Washington in the Semyon Varlamov deal; Detroit, which traded it's pick to Tampa Bay as part of the Kyle Quincey trade; and Nashville, which dealt it's pick to Buffalo in exchange for Paul Gaustad.

Also, New Jersey has the option of forfeiting its pick, which can be no worse than 28th, as penalty for circumventing the salary cap in signing Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010. The Devils have to surrender their top pick in either the 2012, 2013 or 2014 draft.

Here's the order as of now. We don't know the how the final four picks will play out, but for fans wondering, the Kings and Coyotes will pick either No. 27, 29 or 30; the Devils and Rangers can pick No. 28, 29 or 30.

1. Edmonton
2. Columbus
3. Montreal
4. N.Y. Islanders
5. Toronto
6. Anaheim
7. Minnesota
8. Carolina
9. Winnipeg
10. Tampa Bay
11. Washington (from Colorado)
12. Buffalo
13. Dallas
14. Calgary
15. Ottawa
16. Washington
17. San Jose
18. Chicago
19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit)
20. Philadelphia
21. Buffalo (from Nashville)
22. Pittsburgh
23. Florida
24. Boston
25. St. Louis
26. Vancouver
27. Conference finals loser
28. Conference finals loser
29. Stanley Cup Final loser
30. Stanley Cup champion

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Friday, 05.11.2012 / 12:00 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Devils get off day; status quo on injured defensemen

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils stayed off the ice Friday as they continued to wait for their opponent for the Eastern Conference Finals to be set.

That extra day of rest could be most beneficial to a pair of New Jersey defensemen who were injured in the Devils' series-clinching Game 5 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Marek Zidlicky and Anton Volchenkov sat out practice Thursday, but coach Peter DeBoer told reporters Friday the same thing he said Thursday -- he expects both to be in the lineup for Game 1 of the conference finals.

"Everyone's getting better," he said. "Shouldn't be an issue."

Neither player was available to speak to the media.

Volchenkov had to go to the locker room after absorbing a hit from Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo 6:28 into the game. He missed about seven minutes of game time, but returned and played a total of 14:59, just off his playoff average of 15:21 per game.

Zidlicky was shaken up after a hit by the Flyers' Wayne Simmonds with 8:17 left in the second period. He returned to play four more shifts in the second, but sat out the third.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.08.2012 / 7:21 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Flyers juggle lines in Giroux's absence

PHILADELPHIA -- In the absence of leading scorer Claude Giroux, the Flyers reconfigured all four of their forward lines for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils.

Zac Rinaldo replaces Giroux, who is serving a one-game suspension for his hit to the head of New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus in the second period of Game 4 on Sunday. It's Rinaldo's first game since Game 4 of the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Flyers also will have a new face on defense, as Andrej Meszaros will play his first game since March 1. He had surgery March 21 to remove a disc fragment that was impinging on a nerve root in his lower back. Tuesday marks one day shy of seven weeks since the procedure; the original prognosis for recovery was 6-8 weeks.

The Devils will have one lineup change, as Ryan Carter returns after sitting out Game 4 after a bout of food poisoning.

Here are the lineups the teams play Game 5 with:

FLYERS

Scott Hartnell - Matt Read - Jaromir Jagr
Brayden Schenn - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk - Eric Wellwood - Wayne Simmonds
Zac Rinaldo - Sean Couturier - Maxime Talbot

Nicklas Grossmann - Braydon Coburn
Kimmo Timonen - Matt Carle
Andrej Meszaros - Erik Gustafsson

Ilya Bryzgalov
Sergei Bobrovsky

DEVILS

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
David Clarkson - Adam Henrique - Petr Sykora
Zach Parise - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Ilya Kovalchuk - Travis Zajac - Alexei Ponikarovsky

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Adam Larsson

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.08.2012 / 5:18 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Flyers want to channel emotion heading into must-win

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Kimmo Timonen stripped off his hockey gear after practice Tuesday to reveal a T-shirt that read "Play Angry."

Teammate Wayne Simmonds said that's not a bad philosophy to have going into a win-or-go-home Game 5 Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) in their conference semifinal series.

"You've got to go into the game desperate," he said. "We've got to play the best hockey we played all year. I think we know that. I think every man in here is ready."

Scott Hartnell said he wasn't sure anger was the right path to travel, but adding emotion to their game definitely was something his team needs.

"I don't know if its play angry, but play with emotion," he said. "Play angry, that's when you might cross the line or something like that. We definitely have to have that emotion. Definitely after the whistles, they're not even looking us in the eyes, they're skating to the bench, so we're not looking for that stuff after the whistles. We've got to do our talking between the whistles."

Coach Peter Laviolette said it would take more than a catchy slogan to help his team extend its season.

"I think it's just a shirt," he said. "I would like to see our team compete and play hard, do a lot of the things we've done for a majority of the year. A couple bad games that stick out recently, but this team knows how to compete. They know how to play with a lot of energy, a lot of pride, a lot of success. I expect that tonight.

"I don't think we're going to hang Kimmo's T-shirt behind the bench, or rally behind that."

Contact Adam Kimelman akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK




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Posted On Tuesday, 05.08.2012 / 12:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Suspended Giroux left to hope for a Game 6 return



VOORHEES, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux told reporters Tuesday that he never had been suspended at any point in his hockey career.

Getting sat out in an elimination game, he added, wasn't the best time for the first one.

Giroux was suspended for Game 5 as punishment for his hit to the head of New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus late in the second period of Game 4 on Sunday.

"It's obviously not easy," he said of sitting out. "You want to be there to help the team win. But I've got a lot of confidence in the guys that are going to go out there and get the win. After that, we're going to have to go to Jersey [for Game 6] and come back for Game 7 here."

Giroux said he didn't think he would get suspended, but now that the decision is made, he said his focus has moved to getting ready for a hoped-for Game 6.

"Obviously I hit his head with my shoulder, but I still think I didn't jump," he said. "My elbow was down. That wasn't my intention to hit his head. Obviously it's disappointing to see that I can't go on the ice and help the guys win this game tonight. But all I got to do is focus for Game 6 now.

"I didn't think I was going to get suspended, to be honest. I think they want to get hitting to the head out of the game, and I respect that. There's nothing I can do about it now. Obviously, I can't play tonight and it's frustrating."

Giroux said he spoke to a few of his teammates but said he didn't feel he needed to give any motivational speeches.

"Talking to the guys, they look pretty confident," he said. "Everybody wants to win. That's pretty clear. Just [stinks] that I can't do anything about it. I have no control over the game tonight. I've got to make sure I'm ready to go for Game 6."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK


 
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.08.2012 / 12:19 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Meszaros could make return to Flyers' lineup

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers will be without their top player for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) in center Claude Giroux, but they could be getting back a major part to their defense in Andrej Meszaros.

Meszaros, who is one day shy of seven weeks removed from March 21 back surgery to remove a disc fragment that was impinging on a nerve root, went through the morning skate and left the ice with the regulars. Andreas Lilja, who has played less than 15 minutes in three of four games against the New Jersey Devils, remained on the ice for extra skating with frequent healthy scratches Pavel Kubina and Jody Shelley, as well as assistant coaches Craig Berube and Jeff Reese.

If Meszaros does play, it would be his first game since March 1. He had seven goals and 25 points in 62 games, and would give the Flyers another experienced, puck-moving defenseman who can help get the puck out of the defensive zone, something Philadelphia has struggled with in this series.

Coach Peter Laviolette, who never reveals information about his lineup prior to game-time, would not talk about Meszaros' playing status.

"[Meszaros] has looked good for the past seven days, 10 days," he said. "He's looked good."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK




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Posted On Monday, 05.07.2012 / 4:34 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Flyers feel adversity will bring out their best

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Some teams seem to thrive on adversity, and the Philadelphia Flyers believe they are that kind of team. Whether it's been injuries or scoring slumps or streaks of poor play, the belief in future success never is farther than the next game.

"I have a tremendous amount of confidence we can win a game [Tuesday]," coach Peter Laviolette said. "I don't say that as a sales pitch. This team has had success all year long. Regular season had success, first round had success, Game 1 [against the Devils] had success. … We need to do things better and we need to do them quicker and faster. I think if we do that, then we'll find the results that we're looking for."

They'll have to find those results without top scorer Claude Giroux, who will sit out Game 5 as punishment for his hit to the head of New Jersey's Dainius Zubrus in the second period of Game 4 on Sunday.

However, it's just another slice of adversity for the team to get past.

"It's the belief first of all in your teammates," Danny Briere said. "We've shown all year we can come back. We've faced adversity all year and we've shown we can come back from it. Obviously this is the biggest challenge of the year. But we've shown all year we're not quitters. And that's what makes me believe that the guys are not going to just quit at this point. I might be wrong -- we'll see [Tuesday]. But the character that we've shown all year I really believe is going to come out [in Game 5]."

Kimmo Timonen said part of the message delivered in meetings Monday was for each player to focus on his individual role, and not to worry about trying too hard, or to do someone else's job.

"I'm sure everybody was a little down today, obviously, but stay positive, think about [Game 5] and do your job," he said. "Everybody has a role. If we do our role … everybody can do their role much better than they have been the last three games. That's why I'm really confident and I believe in our team and we can do a better job."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK


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Posted On Monday, 05.07.2012 / 4:12 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Flyers using 2010 comeback as touchstone

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Only once in their history have the Flyers rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to win in the playoffs.

It was their magical rally against Boston in the 2010 conference semifinals, when they lost the first three games of that series before winning four straight.

Seven players from that team are still active on the current roster -- forwards Danny Briere, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell and James van Riemsdyk, and defensemen Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle.

Peter Laviolette, who coached that team, said he didn't believe what happened two years ago could have much effect on this year's team.

"It's hearsay," he said. "It's a story from a different team in a different day. … To tell a story or have someone tell a story, I'm not sure if that's going to get the deal done [in Game 5]. It's going to be how we play in certain areas and certain things we do better that will dictate the outcome. Not a good story form a couple years ago."

His players, though, felt different, and believe the lessons they learned in surviving that series can help them now.

"We believed we can beat those guys that time," Timonen said. "We just focused game by game. Don't think about what happens if we lose this game or win this game -- just focus on [Game 5] and believe we can win, we can be a better team than we've been the last three games."

Briere said he doesn't think the story needs to be re-told, because whether his current teammates were there for it or not, they certainly know what happened.

"There's a lot of guys that were there and they remember very well," he said. "Lot of guys have seen it. I think everybody has heard about it. … Definitely it's something that can make you believe. I know I'm using that."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK


 
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Posted On Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 7:22 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Flyers' Couturier will play in Game 4

NEWARK, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier will play in Game 4 of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New Jersey Devils.
 
Sean Couturier
Center - PHI
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 4
SOG: 15 | +/-: 2
Couturier sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of Game 3 on Thursday, but did not look restricted in the morning skate Sunday, took line rushes in pre-game warm-ups in his usual spot, between forwards Maxime Talbot and Eric Wellwood.
 
Couturier, the eighth pick of the 2011 Entry Draft, has three goals and an assist in nine playoff games, but has developed into the team's best defensive center.
 
"Sean is an important piece of the team," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said following the team's skate Sunday morning. "He looked good skating out there. He's smiling, that's always good."
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Posted On Sunday, 05.06.2012 / 1:27 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Flyers vs. Devils series blog

Flyers hoping for continued road success

NEWARK, N.J. -- History shows the Philadelphia Flyers are not in a good situation right now. In the 28 times in team history the Flyers have trailed 2-1 in a series, they've won just seven times. They've lost the last five series they've trailed 2-1, dating to the first round of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when they trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs after three games, but rallied to win the series in seven.

However, this current group of Flyers isn't affected by that bit of history. They point to their League-best 25-13-3 regular-season road record, which includes a 2-1-0 mark at Prudential Center.

"I think that we're comfortable either way," coach Peter Laviolette told NHL.com. "It hasn't really seemed to affect this group. We don't seem to get intimidated by circumstances or surroundings, so I don't see that being an issue."

Scott Hartnell said home or away, the Flyers need to improve in every area of their game if they want to win Game 4 Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

"It's not rocket science," he said. "You work hard, you win the battles, you're more than likely to win the game. … It's us winning the battles in the [defensive] zone, having good breakouts, having good dumps, keeping them away from [Martin] Brodeur. It's not just one thing we have to focus on. It's not going to be our power play, it's not going to be our penalty kill -- it's every aspect of our game that has to be picked up."

Hartnell said in his case, it's getting to the net and creating havoc in front of Brodeur.

"I've got to get to the net," he said. "That's where all my goals come from, that's where all the stuff happens. It's been way too easy for Marty to make the saves that he's had to make. Especially paying with Jags [Jaromir Jagr] and G [Claude Giroux], or whoever we're playing with. Got to make it harder on him. Can't stop what you can't see. If he gets frustrated he'll get off his game. Got to make it hard on him. Just have to be skating. I have to do what I do that makes me a good player out there."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Quote of the Day

A piece of scar tissue breaks off, pinches the nerve, and every time you move your leg it's almost like having a root canal in your stomach and groin.

— Detroit Red Wings center Stephen Weiss on his sports hernia surgery