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At the Rink blog
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 / 2:35 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Smith's return sparked postseason hope for Coyotes

CALGARY -- The Stanley Cup Playoffs hope for the Phoenix Coyotes could rest on the broad shoulders of Mike Smith.

The 6-foot-4 goaltender has stopped 93 of 95 shots since returning to the lineup against the Colorado Avalanche on April 6 after missing six games with an upper-body injury. He's earned four of a possible six points for a Coyotes club that enters action against the Calgary Flames on Friday night trailing the Detroit Red Wings by two points for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

According to coach Dave Tippett, Smith has been the injection the Coyotes needed as they try to close in on the Red Wings.

"We needed a guy that's going to take the ball and run with it," Tippett said. "We had a good week at home where we used three different goaltenders and got three wins, but ultimately if we're going to have a chance to be a playoff team, Smitty has to take that ball and run with it."

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.12.2013 / 2:16 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lehtonen not ready, so Stars to go with Bachman

NASHVILLE -- With the Dallas Stars in a desperate situation to try to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen was not sounding optimistic Friday about his injured groin following his team's morning skate.

"I was hoping that I would feel a lot better than I did," Lehtonen said, but he added the injury is "going in the right direction."

As a result, Richard Bachman was going to start Friday at Bridgestone Arena against the Nashville Predators. Lehtonen will not be in uniform. Coach Glen Gulutzan said Cristopher Nilstorp, an emergency call-up from Texas of the American Hockey League, would back up Bachman.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.12.2013 / 12:34 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blues try to get Hitchcock 600th win with Allen in net

COLUMBUS -- The St. Louis Blues are red-hot. The Columbus Blue Jackets are in a fight for survival in the Western Conference playoff race.

The two Central Division rivals will meet for the final time of the season Friday night, also for the last time as divisional rivals, with the Blue Jackets departing for the Eastern Conference beginning with the 2013-14 season.

The Blues, winners of six in a row, will turn to Jake Allen in goal after Brian Elliott earned his third straight shutout in Thursday's 2-0 win at the Minnesota Wild. Elliott has a shutout streak of 189:29 he will carry into Sunday's NBC Game of the Week against the Chicago Blackhawks.

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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 Friday, 04.12.2013 / 11:40 AM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Red Wings, Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The Detroit Red Wings are reeling coming down the stretch, attempting to secure the Western Conference's last spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After losing to the San Jose Sharks in a shootout Thursday night in Detroit, the assignment gets even more difficult Friday night at United Center, where the Red Wings will play the Central Division rival Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago blasted Detroit 7-1 in the last meeting March 31 at Joe Louis Arena and aim to make it a four-game season-series sweep in the final meeting between the storied franchises as division rivals.

Chicago's Dave Bolland will sit out his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury believed to be his foot, which was struck by a hard slap shot from Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber on April 1 in a 3-2 Blackhawks shootout win.

Corey Crawford will get the start in goal for Chicago, and Jimmy Howard is expected to get the start for Detroit after taking the loss on Thursday night against San Jose.

Here is how the Red Wings and Blackhawks might line up on Friday night:

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POSTED ON Thursday, 04.11.2013 / 7:10 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bruins say Marchand has 'mild concussion'

Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand has a mild concussion, the team announced Thursday before playing the New York Islanders.

"Brad has been diagnosed with a mild concussion," general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a statement. "We will provide an update on his status when appropriate."

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POSTED ON Thursday, 04.11.2013 / 6:50 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flyers shake up lines vs. Senators

PHILADELPHIA -- Looking to snap a two-game losing streak, Philadelphia Flyers coach Peter Laviolette completely re-worked all four of his forward lines for the Flyers' game Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.

Most notable is the insertion of Simon Gagne as the left wing on the top line, alongside Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. It's a line that appeared to spend the most time together at the Flyers' morning skate, but Laviolette had different trios making rushes in drills, which included injured center Danny Briere.

Gagne's move to the top line means Scott Hartnell shifts to left wing on a line with center Brayden Schenn and right wing Ruslan Fedotenko.

Here's how the Flyers, based on line rushes in pregame warmups, will look Thursday against the Senators:

Simon Gagne - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Scott Hartnell - Brayden Schenn - Ruslan Fedotenko

Matt Read - Sean Couturier -Wayne Simmonds

Jay Rosehill - Adam Hall - Mike Knuble

Bruno Gervais - Kimmo Timonen

Kent Huskins - Erik Gustafsson

Luke Schenn - Oliver Lauridsen

Ilya Bryzgalov

Steve Mason

Injured: Danny Briere (concussion), Maxime Talbot (leg), Jody Shelley (hip), Zac Rinaldo (ankle), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), Braydon Coburn (shoulder), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder)

Scratched: Kurtis Foster

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

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POSTED ON Thursday, 04.11.2013 / 5:21 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Alfredsson expects calmer game between Sens, Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- The last time the Ottawa Senators were in Philadelphia, on March 2, a rare thing happened -- Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct.

Alfredsson was angered over a hit by the Flyers' Zac Rinaldo on Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips near the Ottawa bench in the third period, and cross-checked Rinaldo immediately after the hit on Phillips. Alfredsson was assessed a major for cross-checking and a game misconduct. It was the second time in Alfredsson's 17-season NHL career he had been called for a major penalty and game misconduct, with the other time coming April 9, 2002.

Of Alfredsson's 29 penalty minutes this season, 15 came on that one play.

Thursday marks the first time the teams have met since then, but it's doubtful we'll see the same level of physicality, but it has nothing to do with the fact that Rinaldo is out of the lineup with a sprained left ankle.

"It's an important game for both teams," Alfredsson said. "I don't expect anything special to happen unless one team gets up four or five goals."

Alfredsson said he does expect the Flyers to play their usual aggressive, attacking style, but hopes his team can use that play to its advantage.

"We know they're going to be aggressive, it's up to us to make that to our advantage and move the puck quick," he said. "If we can make them go out of their way to makechecks and we move the puck quick, we should create a lot of chances from that."

 

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

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POSTED ON Thursday, 04.11.2013 / 4:02 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Aittokallio to make NHL debut in Avalanche net

With regular starter Semyon Varlamov scratched due to a hip injury and the Colorado Avalanche playing their third game in four nights, they will turn to Sami Aittokallio on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings (10:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHLN-CA).

The team announced via its Twitter feed Thursday that the 20-year-old will be making his first NHL appearance after veteran goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere started four of Colorado's past five games, posting a 1-2-1 record.

A fourth-round pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, Aittokallio has spent much of the season playing for Lake Erie of the American Hockey League. In 26 games with the Monsters, the native of Tampere, Finland posted a 2.89 goals-against average and .903 save percentage. He was the starting goaltender for a Finland squad that finished fourth at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship.

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I was in there icing my face as she was trying to push a baby out.

— Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf on going to the hospital with a facial laceration while his wife was in labor following Game 1 on Wednesday