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At the Rink blog
Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 3:36 PM

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

Kreider back with Rangers, focused on wins

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Since the beginning of the NHL season, forward Chris Kreider has had three separate stints with the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League. But after being called up Wednesday, Kreider is excited to be back with the New York Rangers in April.

It was around this time last season the Boston College product saw his first NHL action, contributing five goals in 18 Stanley Cup Playoff games as the Rangers advanced to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. After collecting three points in 17 games this season, Kreider would love nothing more than to make a similar contribution in the postseason.

"I think it was around this time that I got that opportunity," Kreider said following Thursday's optional team skate. "That being said, it's an entirely different situation. I'm looking forward to trying to seize that opportunity."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 2:54 PM

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

Kings activate Greene off injured reserve

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It appears the Los Angeles Kings will get defenseman Matt Greene back into the lineup sooner than expected.

Greene was activated from injured reserve Thursday morning and is available to play his first game since he injured his back in the season opener Jan. 19. Coach Darryl Sutter was not available to reporters, but Greene said he was good to go against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"You got to play," Greene said. "You got to play some time, you know? Playoffs are every other day. Obviously you've got to play some games to try and get ready and see if I can handle it."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 2:08 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets go for fifth straight win on critical homestand

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets face another crucial game Thursday evening when they play the Carolina Hurricanes at MTS Centre.

Sitting in ninth place and tied at 46 points with the eighth-place New York Rangers, the Jets will again be without first-pairing defenseman Tobias Enstrom (mid-body), who will miss his third straight game. The Jets have won the first four games of their six-game homestand that ends Saturday afternoon against the New York Islanders.

The Hurricanes have lost four consecutive road games and will be without forward Jeff Skinner, who left their 3-2 road loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Skinner joins goalie Cam Ward, defenseman Joni Pitkanen and forward Tim Brent among the Carolina injured. After the morning skate, coach Kirk Muller said he hopes Skinner will return this weekend when the Hurricanes play a pair of back-to-back games.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:45 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lehtonen's return 'huge' for Stars' playoff hopes

DALLAS -- Richard Bachman filled in admirably between the pipes for the Dallas Stars after a groin injury to starter Kari Lehtonen in the first period of a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on April 9 forced him to leave the ice five minutes before the first intermission.

Bachman went 3-1-0 during that stretch with a 1.88 goals-against average and .936 save percentage. However, Lehtonen is now healthy and will return to the net for Dallas on Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks at American Airlines Center.

Anytime a player many in the Stars room call their team MVP returns, it's definitely a good thing.

"It's huge," Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "I think [Bachman] played unbelievable. Played three great games, but for sure, Kari has been our MVP so far this year in my mind. He's been very good. He's won some games for us. When you get a goalie like that back in the net, for sure you get a little boost."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:40 PM

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

Projected lineups for Coyotes, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Probable lineups for Thursday night's Western Conference matchup between the Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center:


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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:32 PM

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

Devils still waiting for shots to equate to goals

PHILADELPHIA -- New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus has played more than 1,000 games in the NHL, and even he can't believe what's going on with his team right now.

Mired in a 10-game winless skid (0-6-4), Zubrus is positive his team is playing far better than its current record shows.

"Since my injury I've played seven games, and other than maybe the first game, we've played five, six games and honestly they're as good as any of the games I've played in my career and not get a point," he told NHL.com. "It's been five or six in a row like that."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:24 PM

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

Reeling Habs seek to snap slump against Lightning

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens were one of the NHL's best first-period teams through their first 40 games of the season before suddenly and inexplicably getting off to horrendous starts in losing each of their last three games.

They may have a chance to snap out of it at Bell Centre on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that is going through a very similar problem.

Over the first three games of their current four-game road trip that ends here, the Lightning were down 4-0 to the Washington Capitals, 3-0 to the Buffalo Sabres and 3-1 to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, a game Tampa Bay came back to tie before losing 4-3 in overtime.

As for the Canadiens, they were down 3-0 at the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers at home and 4-0 at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night in what was eventually a 6-4 loss.

"Both coaches are probably looking at each other thinking something's got to budge," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after his team held an optional skate Wednesday morning.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:05 PM

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

Schenn a workhorse on Flyers' decimated blue line

PHILADELPHIA -- With five regular defensemen out of the lineup with injuries, Luke Schenn has turned into a workhorse for the Philadelphia Flyers.

He played nearly 33 minutes in the team's win Monday at the Montreal Canadiens, and one night later, against the New York Rangers, he skated 24:39. He was solid, going a plus-1 and taking one penalty. He also helped rookie defense partner Oliver Lauridsen continue to adjust to the game at the NHL level.

Schenn averaged 16:02 per game last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, seventh among that team's blueliners. This season, he's now up to 21:40 per game, and that number likely will continue to grow through the Flyers' final five regular-season games.

"I think his year has been a strong year for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's taking on more minutes, I think by necessity based on certain situations and line matchups that have to happen for us. But I think he's had a strong year. The minutes have gone up recently because of the injuries on the back end. You see him pushing almost 60 minutes combined the last two games. That's an opportunity for him. He's had it all year and he's played well."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs close in on playoffs, possible home ice

TORONTO -- When it comes to getting into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, James Reimer has no allegiance to his home province in Manitoba.

Reimer will definitely be cheering against the Winnipeg Jets while he tends goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Maple Leafs' magic number to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs is four, meaning any combination of points by Toronto and points lost by Winnipeg adding up to four puts Reimer's team into the postseason.

"If that's what needs to happen for us to get into the playoffs then it would be great if the Jets lose," Reimer said. "But you can't bank on that. You have to take care of your own business, so that's all we're focused on."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 12:04 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Capitals, Senators

OTTAWA -- Here are the projected lineups for the Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place:

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