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At the Rink blog
Posted On Thursday, 04.11.2013 / 10:26 AM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Capitals, Hurricanes

The Washington Capitals will attempt to at least maintain -- and perhaps add to -- their slim lead atop the Southeast Division when they host the reeling Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night at Verizon Center.

The Capitals begin play Thursday two points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, who are hosting the Florida Panthers. Forwards Joel Ward, Martin Erat and Brooks Laich all remain out with injuries.

Here are the projected lineups for the Capitals and Hurricanes:

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 6:51 PM

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

Van Riemsdyk, Franson draw on playoff experience

Sitting fifth in the Eastern Conference with 48 points entering Wednesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs have put themselves in a favorable position to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004.

And with each game growing more and more important as the season winds down, playoff experience is proving important for a team that doesn't have a lot of it.

One of the League's youngest teams, Toronto has 15 players on its roster who have never played in an NHL playoff game. And for the two players who have seen postseason action in the past two years -- James van Riemsdyk and Cody Franson -- there's an implicit understanding of how important Wednesday's game will be against the Rangers, who sit eighth in the East with 42 points.

"[Games] always get tight going towards the end of the season. Teams are trying to make a push or hold a spot. We're trying to put ourselves in a good position," said Franson, who saw playoff action in 2011 with the Nashville Predators. "You're going to see a lot of one-goal games coming down the stretch. That's just the way it's going to be. We're prepared for that."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 6:44 PM

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

Tortorella wants Rangers stronger in front of own net

Coming off a 4-3 loss Monday night against a Toronto Maple Leafs squad that has given teams trouble with its aggressive forecheck, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella on Wednesday stressed the importance of his team being stronger in front of goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

"We need to defend better. Certainly around our net," Tortorella said before the rematch at Madison Square Garden. "Our D have moved away from our net. So we need to straighten that out."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 4:17 PM

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

Flames bring back Jones after injuries

CALGARY -- After a rash of injuries up front, the Calgary Flames will welcome back Blair Jones to the lineup.

Jones was recalled from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League on Tuesday after it was clear Matt Stajan wouldn't be available against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.

Stajan and Jiri Hudler will miss the game, each with an upper-body injury. Brian McGrattan will also miss the game with a shoulder injury, paving the way for Jones' return.

"I'm obviously excited to be back," Jones said. "I got a chance to go and play a lot in [Abbotsford] but I'm just excited to be back and hopefully finish out the year here."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 3:43 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Getzlaf to take warm-ups, could play vs. Avalanche

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf was talking to coach Bruce Boudreau when reporters were allowed into the Anaheim Ducks locker room Wednesday.

Presumably the two were discussing Getzlaf's status for the game against the Colorado Avalanche, but they could have been talking about the Rihanna concert Getzlaf attended the previous night.

"I loved the concert," Getzlaf said. "It was really good."

Regarding whether he will return from a three-game absence from a leg injury, Getzlaf looked more active at the skate but did not take part in the regular line rushes. He did sound optimistic, though, one week after he got tangled up with Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars.

"It felt good," Getzlaf said. "Things are moving along the way we wanted to, and there's a good chance I'll be in the lineup tonight. We’ll see."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 3:14 PM

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

Oilers' Justin Schultz receives AHL rookie honor

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz hasn't played in the American Hockey League since Jan. 5, but on Wednesday he was named to the 2013 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Schultz recorded 18 goals and 48 points in 34 games with the Oklahoma City Barons, including a franchise record-tying 10-game point streak and a separate nine-game point streak.

Schultz still leads all AHL defensemen in points and was only recently surpassed as the top rookie scorer.

"It's an honor," Schultz said prior to Edmonton's game Wednesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes. "It's a great league. I had a blast down there."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 12:54 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bruins give Khudobin the nod against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Despite Tuukka Rask making 40 saves in a 1-0 shutout win against the New Jersey Devils last week, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien has opted to go with backup Anton Khudobin against the Devils on Wednesday at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Rask, who is 2-0-0 with one goal allowed against the Devils this season, has played in three consecutive games and the Bruins play again Thursday at home against the New York Islanders.

Khudobin is 8-3-0 with a 2.07 goals-against average and .929 save percentage this season.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.10.2013 / 12:44 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bergeron working out on own; no timetable for return

NEWARK, N.J. -- Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has begun working out on his own, but there is no timetable for his return from a concussion.

Bergeron will miss his fourth straight game Wednesday when the Bruins face the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2). He was injured after colliding with Ottawa Senators forward Colin Greening during a game April 2.

"Any time a guy starts doing something it's a step in the right direction," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We never comment any more than that because, as you heard me say often, those things are encouraging one day and discouraging the next, so we just keep our fingers crossed and keep hoping that he keeps getting better."

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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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I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic