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Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 11:57 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils playing for pride, jobs in final three games

NEWARK, N.J. -- The disappointment of being on the outside looking in on the Stanley Cup Playoff chase is beginning to hit home for the New Jersey Devils.

Now it's all about playing for pride and, perhaps, job security. The Devils have three games remaining in the regular season, including the first of two straight home games beginning Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens at Prudential Center.

The Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins visit Thursday before the Devils travel to Manhattan in their season finale on Saturday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's hard to understand what happened, and not to be able to play for something in the regular season is hard, but it is what it is for us right now and we'll have to make the best of the last three games and stay focused and finish on a good note," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Panthers, Devils

Here are the possible line combinations for Devils-Panthers on Saturday:

DEVILS

Dainius Zubrus - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk

Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - David Clarkson

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - Matt D'Agostini

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Green-Adam Larsson

Henrik Tallinder-Marek Zidlicky

Peter Harrold-Mark Fayne

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Scratched: Andrei Loktionov, Krystofer Barch, Tom Kostopoulos, Steve Sullivan

Injured: Bryce Salvador (wrist)

Suspended: Anton Volchenkov

PANTHERS

Jonathan Huberdeau - Shawn Matthias - Greg Rallo

Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Scottie Upshall - Nick Bjugstad - Jack Skille

Quinton Howden - Drew Shore - George Parros

Brian Campbell - Mike Weaver

Dmitry Kulikov - Erik Gudbranson

T.J. Brennan - Alex Petrovic

Jacob Markstrom

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Tyson Strachan

Injured: Jose Theodore (groin), Ed Jovanovski (hip), Eric Selleck (concussion), Kris Versteeg (knee), Stephen Weiss (wrist), Sean Bergenheim (groin)

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Hartman hoping to return sooner than expected

The pictures shared by numerous Twitter account holders of the ugly laceration on the right forearm of Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman led one to believe he would be sidelined the remainder of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

Hartman, the No. 25-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's midterm release of the top draft-eligible North American prospects, has other intentions.

Hartman informed NHL.com on Wednesday that his doctor told him earlier in the day there was no sign of infection. That means with continued healing, he could return to the lineup as early as next week.

"It looks good … I got half the stitches out [Wednesday]," Hartman told NHL.com.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Invite numbers set for NHL Scouting Combine

Once NHL Central Scouting finalizes the rankings for the top draft-eligible North American prospects, the scouting staff will begin making preparations for the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto from May 27 through June 1.

Central Scouting is anticipating 86 North American players, including the top seven ranked goalies, and the top 15 European prospects, including the No. 1-ranked goalie, to join in all the excitement and sweat that is associated with the Combine.

The fitness testing portion of the Combine will be held May 31 and June 1 at Toronto International Centre and will be headed by Dr. Norman Gledhill and his staff at York University.

Central Scouting is expected to make public its final ranking of the top draft-eligible players during the last week in April.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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Posted On Friday, 04.12.2013 / 6:27 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Michalek returns for Senators against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean confirmed Friday prior to pregame warmups that left wing Milan Michalek will return to the lineup to face the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

MacLean said Michalek will be reunited with top-line center Kyle Turris and right wing Daniel Alfredsson to open the game. The 28-year-old has missed the past 24 games with a knee injury. He has two goals and 10 points in 15 matches in 2012-13.

"We're hoping he can bring speed, leadership and his ability to score," MacLean said during his pregame media scrum. "He's been a very consistent player throughout his career, and he's the type of player you can put on the ice in any situation; power play, penalty-kill or 4-on-4. He's a very valuable part of our team, and we look forward to having him back in the lineup."

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Posted On Friday, 04.12.2013 / 11:55 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

No Kovalchuk as Devils face Senators

NEWARK, N.J. -- In a season when the New Jersey Devils haven't fared well after allowing the first goal of the game, their inexplicable start in a loss to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, with a Stanley Cup Playoff berth on the line, left coach Peter DeBoer speechless.

The Devils will look to make amends Friday at Prudential Center against the Ottawa Senators, marking the fifth straight meeting against a Northeast Division opponent. Entering the game 1-5-6 against the Northeast this season, the Devils will be looking to snap an eight-game winless streak (0-4-4) against a team that just snapped its own five-game skid with a 3-1 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.

The Devils will have defenseman Adam Larsson back in the lineup after he sat out Wednesday with a sore right foot. However, the team will be without defensemen Bryce Salvador (wrist) and Anton Volchenkov (suspended), as well as right wing Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder).

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 11:55 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kovalchuk improving, doubtful on return this week

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk will miss his eighth straight game Wednesday when his team faces the Boston Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2), he did admit to feeling better during his second practice with the team in as many days.

Kovalchuk, however, hasn't put a timetable on his return to the lineup.

"I don't know [when I'll be back]," Kovalchuk said. "That's what we'll decide with doctors and coaches, but I don't think I'll be back [Friday against the Ottawa Senators]."

Kovalchuk said he felt a lot better at practice Wednesday and was able to shoot a little more.

"We definitely took more shots and there were some battles in the end, so it felt good," he said. "It's definitely a step in the right direction.

"I haven't been able to unload the big one-timers, but I just tried to shoot harder [Wednesday]. When skating and doing sprints, it didn't bother me at all and that's a positive thing."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 11:34 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Salvador back for Devils' battle with Bruins

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador was back on the ice Wednesday for his club's morning skate in preparation for a game Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Salvador sat out practice Tuesday in an attempt to rest for a team that has beaten the Devils six straight times (0-4-2) over the past two seasons, including a 1-0 Bruins win in Boston on April 4.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.07.2013 / 9:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Scouts remember EJ McGuire

TORONTO -- It's a bittersweet day here at the NHL office on the third day of meetings for NHL Central Scouting.

The group is into the fourth round of projections on its master list of the top draft eligible North American skaters, but are doing so with heavy hearts.

That's because two years ago to the day, a dedicated friend, father and the former director of NHL Central Scouting, EJ McGuire, died from an incurable, rare form of cancer, Leiomyoscarcoma.

McGuire waged a brave five-month battle with the disease before passing in the early morning of April 7, 2011. Every scout in the board room no doubt will reminisce about their friend at some point, or recall a moment in time when he made a profound impact on their lives in some fashion.


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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 9:47 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

Kingston could be team to watch next season

TORONTO -- Is there any question the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League had the team to watch if you were a fan of blue-chip prospects eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft?
 
In addition to possessing forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, Halifax goalie Zachary Fucale was rated No. 1 at his position.
 
Now, inquiring minds would like to know if the 2014 draft will offer a similar scenario, with one team cornering the market on top-tier draft prospects. NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said he believes there might just be such a team.
 
"In 2013-14, Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League could be this year's Halifax," Edwards told NHL.com.

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Quote of the Day

Sick. I said a couple of bad words in Russian, but I said, 'Sick.'

— Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov on Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal in Game 2 against Rangers on Saturday