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Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:16 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Datsyuk returns for Red Wings; Alfredsson a likely go

Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk will make his long-awaited return to the lineup Friday against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena, and he may not be the only key player back.

Veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson, who missed the game Wednesday against the Boston Bruins with back issues, is a game-time decision. Although Alfredsson didn't take part in line rushes at the morning skate, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland believes he'll play, according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com.

Datsyuk is official, though, and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he'll start the game on a line with forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader. Knee inflammation has kept Datsyuk out since Feb. 27 and he's been limited to 39 games this season.

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Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 10:50 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

NHL Live talks Western Conference race, Frozen Four

NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek previews a seven-game Friday that features a battle between the Washington Capitals and New Jersey Devils as each team looks to make up ground in a desperate push for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. John Walton, radio play-by-play voice of the Capitals, joins us from the Arena Cam at Prudential Center to discuss the must-win situation the Capitals face.

NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose will be on hand to talk the playoff picture in the Western Conference as well as award his Mullet of the Week.

Also, University of Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox calls in for our weekly college report to chat the Frozen Four.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 6:07 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Nieto looks ahead to Stanley Cup Playoffs

San Jose Sharks rookie forward Matt Nieto joined NHL Live prior to the Sharks' game Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings, a potential opponent in the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs who presents a number of challenges.

"The first thing that jumps out is their physicality," Nieto said. "They're a big group and a big team, and like to throw their bodies around. They're a really tight group defensively."

The Sharks entered the game in second place in the Pacific Division and three games behind the first-place Anaheim Ducks. Hoping to win the division and avoid a first-round matchup against the Kings, Nieto talked about what the Sharks want to fine tune as a team.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 4:35 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers goalie Fasth to face former team

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth will face his former team for the first team when he starts against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday at Honda Center.

Fasth, who was acquired by the Oilers on March 4 in a trade for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-round pick in 2015, has not started since March 22 when he allowed five goals on 16 shots in an 8-1 home loss to the Calgary Flames.

The undrafted, unheralded Swedish goaltender started last season 11-1-1 with Anaheim.

"It's going to be fun," he told the Oilers website. "I had a good year here and made a lot of friends. Now it's my enemies. [Edmonton] has taken care of me since I got here. Good guys in the group here. It's a good team."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 11:51 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

NHL Live previews Bruins-Red Wings rivalry game

NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network will preview the Wednesday Night Rivalry game between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. NBCSN analyst Pierre McGuire will join the show to provide a pregame update. The Red Wings enter the game against the Atlantic Division champion Bruins holding on to the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

E.J. will also look at some impact rookies around the League. And with the NHL Trade Deadline four weeks old, we'll recap some of the trades that are working out for the teams involved.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 4:02 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils' Clowe day-to-day after hard hit, out vs. Sabres

New Jersey Devils forward Ryane Clowe will not play Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres due to an injury sustained Monday against the Florida Panthers.

Clowe was hit hard by Panthers forward Quinton Howden late in the second period and needed help leaving the ice. He did not return to the game.

Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told The Record that Clowe is "fine" but is "day to day." He did not accompany the team on its trip to Buffalo.

The Devils did not hold a morning skate Tuesday, so the makeup of their lineup won't be known until game time. One player who could take his spot is forward Tim Sestito, who was one of two players to take the ice Tuesday morning. Sestito hasn't played since being elbowed in the head by Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser on March 20.

"I haven't had any setbacks," Sestito told The Record. "I've felt fine. I just needed some time practice and skates and stuff, but since then I feel like I'm up to speed."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 2:14 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers rookie Bjugstad emerges as playmaker

With their Stanley Cup Playoff hopes ended, the Florida Panthers have used the final weeks of the season as a chance for some of their top prospects to develop at an accelerated pace.

No one has seized that opportunity like center Nick Bjugstad.

The University of Minnesota product last scored a goal March 1, but he's shown an ability to set up others with 11 assists in his past 18 games. With two assists Monday in a 6-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils, Bjugstad became the fourth rookie in Panthers history to reach 20 assists, joining Michael Frolik, Kristian Huselius and Jesse Belanger.

Bjugstad led a brief comeback Monday after the Panthers fell behind 3-0 by setting up Dmitry Kulikov's shorthanded goal with 2:38 remaining in the first and Brad Boyes' goal 50 seconds into the second to cut into the Devils' lead.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 1:06 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

NHL Live celebrates April 1 with top bloopers

NHL Live with Bill Pidto and E.J. Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, celebrates April Fool's Day by taking a look at some of the top bloopers from the 2013-14 season.

What's no joke are the 11 games taking place on the ice Tuesday, the majority of them with Stanley Cup Playoff implications. That includes the New York Rangers visiting the Vancouver Canucks, and Rangers analyst Dave Maloney will talk about the Blueshirts' surge toward the postseason and the return of coach Alain Vigneault to Vancouver.

NHL Network analyst Craig Button will also join the show from Toronto to discuss some of the teams fighting for a playoff berth.

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 7:02 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Thomas Vanek enjoying success with Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek was a guest of NHL Live to discuss playing in Montreal and the team's recent hot streak. The Canadiens have won eight of their past nine games and Vanek has six goals and 10 points in his past seven.

"It's a blast," Vanek said. "Obviously it's always nice to come to a team and win right away, so it's been good. I thought we've been playing some good hockey. We're just finding ways to win, which is what good teams do."

Vanek has found chemistry playing on a line with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty.

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 7:00 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Mark Van Guilder, 30, talks NHL debut with Predators

One night after making his NHL debut with the Nashville Predators at the age of 30, forward Mark Van Guilder joined NHL Live discuss the experience.

Van Guilder was in a team meeting with the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League this past Saturday when he found out he was going to Nashville.

"I was surprised at first, but all my teammates gave me hugs and high-fives and everything like that," Van Guilder said. "It was pretty special for me. It was awesome."

Van Guilder, who was reassigned to Milwaukee on Monday, played 8:27 on a line with Colin Wilson and Viktor Stalberg in Nashville's 4-3 shootout win against the Washington Capitals on Sunday.

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Quote of the Day

The fans love it, and it looked like they were having fun. It was great to see this city [Columbus]. They had been waiting a couple years for this game. They did it right.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos after the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday