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Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 7:16 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Maple Leafs' Bolland returns against Canadiens

TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Dave Bolland made his return to the lineup Saturday night.

Bolland, in against the Montreal Canadiens, had been out of action since Nov. 2 when a tendon in his ankle was cut by a skate against the Vancouver Canucks.

"He's progressed along over the last three weeks to a point where the doctors feel, medically, that he's close to 100 percent ready and we just have to make a decision on the last assessment here," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said prior to the game.

Bolland missed 56 games with the injury and was slated to play on a line with Mason Raymond and David Clarkson.

Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 1:43 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning look to extend streak, lead on Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning head into their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday riding a three-game winning streak. The Lightning are in the midst of a battle for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Maple Leafs and sit one point ahead of them in the Atlantic Division.

"You definitely find yourself scoreboard watching a little more now with how tight it is, especially in our division," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "You want to try to finish as high as you can to get into maybe some home-ice advantage or play a team maybe other than Boston or Pittsburgh."

The Lightning continuing their winning streak will be tricky to do against the Maple Leafs. Toronto has beaten Tampa Bay in two games this season but heads into Wednesday losers of two in a row.

"Hopefully we can take advantage of a team coming off a pretty tough road trip playing against some pretty big teams that played last night," Stamkos said. "It works both ways, sometimes you get the benefit of the schedule, sometimes you don't. We've got to start early. These guys have had our number over the past couple years."

Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 6:55 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Vanek, with Canadiens, back in Buffalo

BUFFALO -- Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek made his return here Saturday, while a member of his third team this season.

Vanek was traded by the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 27 to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson, a first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in 2015.

Making his first trip back to the city he called home for more than eight seasons was a bit strange.

"I don't know what to expect really," Vanek said. "All I know is there are a lot of good feelings and good memories in this building (First Niagara Center), in this town. It's something I'll cherish forever. Since last time I was here and the stint in between Montreal, guys ask me about Buffalo, I just, there's nothing bad I can really say about it."

Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 5:32 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres' Neuvirth out with lower-body injury

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will be without goalie Michal Neuvirth when they face the Montreal Canadiens at First Niagara Center on Sunday night.

Sabres coach Ted Nolan announced Neuvirth would miss the game due to a lower-body injury. Neuvirth sustained the injury in his most-recent start, against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. He made 51 saves in a 4-2 loss.

"Michal got banged up the game he did play," Nolan said. "It's just one of those to add another to the injury list. It should be, hopefully, a day-to-day type thing. We'll see how it goes. We'll monitor it and get some therapy on it and hopefully it's just a day-to-day."

Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 1:14 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Price out for Canadiens, Sabres goalie uncertain

BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens could each be without their starting goalies when they face off Sunday night.

The Canadiens will be without starter Carey Price after he made his first start since returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.

Montreal came back from down 4-1 in the final 5:00 of the game to beat Ottawa 5-4 in overtime. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien announced after the game that Price wouldn't make the trip to Buffalo so he could stay rested.

With Price not on the trip, Peter Budaj will likely get the start against the Sabres and Dustin Tokarski will back him up.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 12:51 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres' Myers feels good; Stewart's season likely over

BUFFALO -- Defenseman Tyler Myers will be ready to play when the Buffalo Sabres host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.

Myers twisted his ankle late in the second period Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks in a board battle with forward Brandon Bollig. Though Myers went off the ice at the time and returned to play in the third period, he missed practice Monday.

"I'll be ready to go [Tuesday], no problem," Myers said. "I got tangled up with the heel of the guy in front of me. It ended up giving me a little bit of a twist. Luckily it wasn't serious and I'm feeling real good today."

Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 2:13 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Conacher to debut for Sabres against Blackhawks

BUFFALO – Cory Conacher will make his Buffalo Sabres debut when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Conacher was picked up on waivers Wednesday from the Ottawa Senators, but hasn't been able to play due to visa issues. With those problems taken care of, Conacher, who played hockey at Canisius College in Buffalo, will make his first start with the Sabres at home.

"It's nice to be back here," Conacher said. "Ever since I came here with Canisius, it was a city I fell in love with pretty quick. It's close to home for me, so I probably have a lot of tickets to account in some of these games."

Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 1:35 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Maple Leafs' Clarkson could miss game against Flyers

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs may be without forward David Clarkson when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

Clarkson left the optional morning skate early with a pulled muscle and is questionable to play Saturday, according to Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle.

"We have the ability to recall people, we have the ability to go with 11 [forwards] and seven [defensemen]," Carlyle said about what he might do if Clarkson can't play. "So there are some options. It's always tough when you're missing quality players, and nobody wants to do that. But in the situation, if the player is not deemed healthy by our medical staff and himself, then we have no other choice than to make decisions."

Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 1:58 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets' Umberger game-time decision

TORONTO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets could be without forward RJ Umberger when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Monday night.

Umberger left the ice early during the morning skate, putting his status in doubt to play.

"He'll be a game-time decision, but we're expecting him to play," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said.

Umberger, 31, has been a steady producer for the Blue Jackets this season with 16 goals and 31 points in 60 games. He's slated to be on a line with Brandon Dubinsky and Cam Atkinson. If he winds up out of the lineup, Corey Tropp or Blake Comeau would jump into the lineup.

Posted On Friday, 02.28.2014 / 1:00 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Niemi back in net when Sharks face Sabres

BUFFALO -- After the San Jose Sharks disposed of the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3 in Philadelphia on Thursday, No. 1 goalie Antti Niemi will make his first start since returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Friday against the Buffalo Sabres.

"I feel good," Niemi said. "Rested, but still I was skating, short skates every day. I did some work, but it wasn't long practice, lots of games every day. I think it's good for my body and also for my mind. My mind got to rest, and other than that it was great experience being there."

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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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