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At the Rink blog
Posted On Sunday, 04.07.2013 / 12:36 PM

By Chris Ryndak -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Youthful flavor working for Sabres, interim coach

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will look to make it three wins in a row while the New Jersey Devils hope to snap a three-game losing streak when the teams meet at First Niagara Center on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

Thomas Vanek, Buffalo's leading scorer, will miss his sixth game in a row with an upper-body injury. He did not participate in the team's morning skate Sunday, but interim coach Ron Rolston said it was not due to a setback; Vanek was scheduled to have the day off. Rolston said Vanek would practice again Monday.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.07.2013 / 11:56 AM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Anderson to make first start back for Senators

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Ottawa Senators have lost three straight in regulation for the first time this season, but they’re hoping the return of goaltender Craig Anderson can make a difference Sunday against the Florida Panthers.

Anderson, who leads the NHL in goals-against average (1.49) and save percentage (.952), will be in net for the first time since Feb. 21 when he sustained an ankle injury against the New York Rangers.

"It can certainly help the psyche of your team, for sure," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "We can use that boost right now."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 4:13 PM

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

Redmond gets standing ovation at Jets game

Injured Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Redmond was given a standing ovation during the first period of their home game Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"The whole week's been pretty crazy," Redmond said at MTS Centre. "Obviously everybody knows Winipeg's a great place to play; all the support that they have is incredible. Y'know, it's just been more than I could have ever imagined."

Redmond skated for a second straight day Saturday as he recovers from what was a life-threatening laceration to his right thigh, which occured at practice Feb. 21.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 3:34 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Smith returns to Coyotes crease

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes are going for a crucial sweep of their three-game homestand tonight, a cause that will be helped by the return of their No. 1 goalie between the pipes against the Colorado Avalanche.

Mike Smith, who hasn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury in a collision with Vancouver’s Alexander Edler on March 23, is back in the lineup as the Coyotes try to stay in the playoff hunt and extend their points streak to six games. Phoenix is 3-0-2 since a troubling stretch in which they lost six straight games.

“I expect him to play like a No. 1 goaltender,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said of Smith. “Last year, he missed a few games and when he came back we went on a run and we’re looking for the same thing to happen now.”

Smith hasn’t been the same goalie that led the Coyotes to the franchise’s first Western Conference Final berth last season. Four of his 11 wins are shutouts, but his 2.83 goals-against average and .901 save percentage are a shadow of last season’s 2.21 and .930 numbers.

Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the Coyotes gutted out a 4-2 win despite having more than half a dozen players dealing with a nasty flu bug. It’s still running through the team and defensemen Keith Yandle and David Schlemko were unable to skate Saturday morning due to the bug. Tippett said he expects both to be able to play Saturday.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 3:28 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flames, Canucks welcome key players back Saturday

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks continue to get healthier up front, but they’ll have to wait at least one more game for their biggest return.

Mason Raymond and Dale Weise, who have been out with shoulder injuries, will be back against the Calgary Flames on Saturday night, and Selke Trophy-winning center Ryan Kesler may not be far behind.

Kesler has played seven games all season, missing the start recovering from offseason wrist and shoulder surgeries only to break a bone in his foot blocking a shot two periods into his return. He played six more games before the fracture turned up in a CT scan, but the only thing keeping Kesler from playing now is a lack of conditioning after spending a month on crutches.

“It’s finally healed and it's just a matter of time for the wind to get back and for me to feel comfortable,” Kesler said after taking part in an optional morning skate Saturday. “Obviously being out there you want to play tonight, but that's not realistic. I am itching big time. It’s been a tough year for me but everything happens for a reason. … My goal is to get some games in before playoffs and feel good about my game heading into playoffs.”

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 2:44 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Plekanec likely for Canadiens, Kelly unlikely for Bruins

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec and Boston Bruins center Chris Kelly each took part in their respective morning skates Saturday, but only one of them has a chance of playing in the fourth installment of the Northeast Division rivalry this season.

Plekanec missed a 4-1 win Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets with a groin injury, but he was back in his usual spot at Canadiens practice between Michael Ryder and Brian Gionta. Coach Michel Therrien said a final decision on Plekanec will be taken following the warm-up.

“One thing is certain,” Therrien said, “if he plays tonight, it’s because he’s able to play.”

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 1:50 PM

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

Sharp, Bolland remain out for Chicago

NASHVILLE -- Neither David Bolland nor Patrick Sharp are expected back in the lineup on Saturday when the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said the two forwards were questionable to play Sunday when Chicago faces Nashville in the second half of a home-and-home.

“We’ll see,” Quenneville said of their status for Sunday.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 1:34 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Laich out for Capitals, Bjugstad in for Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla.Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich will sit out Saturday night against the Florida Panthers, but coach Adam Oates said it was more as a precaution than anything else.

Laich played in Washington’s past nine games after missing the first 28 because of a groin injury, but he did not play in the last 9:26 of regulation or overtime in a 2-1 shootout victory Thursday against the New York Islanders.

“He didn’t really aggravate it,” Oates said after the morning skate Saturday. “He’s just sore all over, just from playing so much since he got back and fighting through it. I think we just need to give him a little rest.

“He probably could play today. But he’s getting a little weaker. He played fine the other night. I shut him down just because he got hit. He wasn’t feeling good all over.”

Oates said Laich’s status was day-to-day.

Martin Erat, acquired from the Nashville Predators before the NHL Trade Deadline Wednesday, will replace Laich on the second line alongside Mike Ribeiro and Troy Brouwer.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 1:34 PM

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

Sullivan to play for Devils against Maple Leafs

Three days after being acquired by the New Jersey Devils in an NHL Trade Deadline-day deal with the Phoenix Coyotes, veteran forward Steve Sullivan will debut Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Prudential Center.

According to the team's Twitter page, the 38-year-old forward will play right wing on the Devils top line alongside Patrik Elias and another in-season acquisition, Andrei Loktionov.

Sullivan and Elias were linemates for the Devils' minor-league team in Albany 17 years ago.

"I'm excited," Sullivan said Saturday, according to The Record of Hackensack. "Obviously to play with a player with his skill is going to be good. I'm very excited about the opportunity to play with him again."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 1:26 PM

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

Hedman out for Lightning against Islanders

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman will not play in back-to-back road games this weekend, the Tampa Tribune reports.

Hedman, who has a lower-body injury, will not play Saturday against the New York Islanders nor Sunday against the Washington Capitals.

Defenseman Matt Taormina has been called up from Syracuse of the American Hockey League.

Forward Nate Thompson will return to the Lightning lineup after serving a two-game NHL suspension for a hit delivered against the New Jersey Devils.

Goalie Ben Bishop, who posted a 5-0 shutout of the Carolina Hurricanes in his Tampa Bay debut Thursday, will start. He was acquired in a deadline-day trade from the Ottawa Senators.

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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