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Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 1:22 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Capitals come to grips with missing postseason

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The mood was gloomy in the Washington Capitals locker room after the morning skate, about 12 hours after the Capitals were eliminated from contention for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The combination of a Columbus Blue Jackets win and a shootout loss by the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday pushed Washington out of picture.

"Obviously, it's a hard day to be a pro," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "We're all very disappointed of course. It's about us. We didn't get the job done. We've got to be better as coaches, we've got to be better as players."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 1:33 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars enjoying late-season playoff run

RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than 22 years since making his NHL debut, Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney has gained some insight into how the regular season typically unfolds. With Dallas scrambling to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the veteran is more than happy to share his wisdom.

"For the majority of teams, you play 70 games just to care about the last 12 of the season," Whitney said.

The Stars sit in the second wild-card position in the Western Conference heading into their game with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Each of their final seven games will have playoff implications, with the Phoenix Coyotes in pursuit. Phoenix also has 85 points, but Dallas has two games in hand. They play each other in their season finale on April 13 in Arizona.

"You scoreboard watch and do all those things that bring the intensity up," Whitney said. "It feels a little more competitive on a nightly basis. Your mistakes get magnified, the goals you score get magnified. But when you score them and how you score them become a little less relevant."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 1:08 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets' McElhinney to start again: report

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis McElhinney will start against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, according to a report by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.

Sergei Bobrovsky, who didn't dress for a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night due to flu symptoms, will serve as the backup.

Columbus reassigned goalie Mike McKenna to the Springfield Falcons on Friday night.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 1:06 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Hurricanes believe playoffs remain possible

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Coming off a 3-2 road win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes are clinging to the fringe of Stanley Cup Playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. And as long as they are, coach Kirk Muller expects to see Carolina's best.

"There's a lot of fight left in our guys," Muller said. "Our basic message from the Olympics on has been, 'One game at a time.' With the exception of one or two games we feel like we've been playing really good hockey. There's still an avenue to make [the playoffs]. And as long as there is, let's keep slugging it out."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 12:54 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres get Sulzer back, start Neuvirth in goal

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan said defenseman Alexander Sulzer will return to the lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes after missing two games with a lower-body injury.

Goaltender Michal Neuvirth will make his second start since being acquired from the Washington Capitals on March 5.

After putting the Sabres through skating drills and addressing their work ethic in practice Wednesday, Nolan made a point of saying he is not down on the team.

"They're not bad. They're not tanking," he said. "It was designed to remind them that we have to work every day. Whether we're in first place or last place, it doesn't matter. It's how you prepare yourself."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 1:19 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Dorsett returns to Rangers lineup against Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Looking for a third win in a row, the New York Rangers will make one change against the Carolina Hurricanes: forward Derek Dorsett will take Daniel Carcillo's spot in the lineup.

Dorsett has played in two of the past five games after missing 18 with a broken fibula sustained Jan. 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"They're both the same type of player," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "They bring energy, physicality. I just want to get Dorsett in. He's been out for a long time. He was playing on a regular basis before his injury. I just think we've got a lot of hockey coming up here and we need to put Dorsett in."

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Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 12:54 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Zuccarello expected back for Rangers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Rangers will try to snap a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

Forward Mats Zuccarello is expected to return to the New York lineup after sustaining a broken hand during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He has missed the first four games since the Rangers returned from the break.

Newly acquired forward Martin St. Louis will play his second game for the Rangers, who did not skate Friday morning. He recorded three shots in his debut Tuesday, playing on a line with Carl Hagelin and Brad Richards.

The Hurricanes come off a 3-2 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, snapping a five-game losing streak.

"We want to play a fast game here [Friday] and build off the game against San Jose, which is arguably our best game of the year," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "I thought our compete level was real high. We put pucks in an area where we were able to retrieve them and we were able to spend a lot of time in the offensive zone."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.08.2014 / 9:31 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Pacioretty: I'm going to Sochi

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty said he's going to the Sochi Olympics despite leaving the game Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes with 7:30 remaining in the first period after being checked into the goal post.

"I'm OK. I'm going to Sochi," the U.S. Olympian said in the dressing room after Montreal's 4-1 victory. NHL players taking part in the Games are scheduled to fly to Russia on Sunday.

Pacioretty drove hard to the net and was hit by Hurricanes defenseman Brett Bellemore. He appeared to be favoring his left forearm as he skated slowly to the dressing room. He didn't return, and the Canadiens announced during the second period that Pacioretty had sustained a lower-body injury.

The 25-year-old has a team-leading 26 goals and 11 assists for Montreal this season.

"It's a play I make often," Pacioretty said. "I went in a little bit awkwardly. I banged up my arm and my hip. I was very worried at first. It was tough to breath and I was having (back) spasms. Once that went away, I was feeling a lot better. I got a lot of treatment during the game and I'm feeling a lot better."

Pacioretty didn't hesitate when asked if he was certain to be ready for the Olympics. He expected some lingering bruising, but otherwise felt he avoided a more serious injury.

"I think I got lucky," he said. "It could have been a lot worse."

Pacioretty is one of seven Canadiens who will compete in Sochi.

"If he was to miss that, it would be a terrible loss," said Montreal goalie Carey Price, who will play for Canada. "It's a very cool life experience to take part in."

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Posted On Friday, 02.07.2014 / 12:10 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Muller wants to see Hurricanes' offense get aggressive

RALEIGH, N.C. -- When the Carolina Hurricanes face the Florida Panthers on Friday, they will look for a little more grit from the power play and a little less emphasis on style points.

The Hurricanes have fallen to 28th in the NHL with a 14.1-percent success rate on the man-advantage. They have three power-play goals in their past nine games.

"We've got to attack the net more," coach Kirk Muller said. "We're too much of a perimeter power play, looking for the nice plays and it just doesn't happen. [We need to be] more direct, have more urgency."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.04.2014 / 1:14 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Maurice sees Jets responding to success

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice has 10 games under his belt since taking over Jan. 12. The Jets' 8-2-0 mark ties the best 10-game stretch in franchise history.

As a result the Jets have gone from the far edges of the Stanley Cup Playoff chase to just four points behind the eighth-place Vancouver Canucks. Mauricehas managed to get the most out of his new team without an overhaul.

"In the games toward the end when the coach is in trouble, you can see it in the players' body language," Maurice said. "But here they were going, they were trying. They just needed a little adjustment, a little refocus. There were a lot of good things in the Winnipeg Jets' game and we tried to keep those."

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres