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At the Rink blog
Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 3:49 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Boston College duo set to make Flames debut

VANCOUVER -- As teammates, linemates and close friends at Boston College, Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold say it will be easier to make their NHL debuts with the Calgary Flames on Sunday night because they have each other.

Gaudreau and Arnold signed with the Flames two days after their college season ended, and immediately after Gaudreau won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in the NCAA on Friday. They will play their first game for the Flames on the same line against the Vancouver Canucks.

Gaudreau, who could have returned for another season at Boston College, said it was easier to sign with the Flames because Arnold was already doing the same.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 3:34 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes end season against playoff-bound Stars

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The game was circled as a possible winner-take-all showdown in the fight for the final Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But the Dallas Stars punched their postseason ticket Friday night with a win against the St. Louis Blues and the Phoenix Coyotes have nothing to play for in their season finale Sunday but pride.

The Coyotes lost their seventh straight game Saturday, 3-2 to the playoff-bound San Jose Sharks. Phoenix was five points ahead of the Stars with eight games to play before scoring nine goals in a 0-4-3 tailspin that will leave them out of the postseason for a second straight year.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 2:52 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wild to skate seven defensemen against Predators

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With their position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs secure, the Minnesota Wild will play seven defensemen Sunday in their final regular season game against the Nashville Predators.

Forward Kyle Brodziak is out with a minor lower-body injury. Coach Mike Yeo said Brodziak could have played through the ailment, but the extra days off should put Brodziak at close to full strength.

"He certainly could have played but we just want to give him every opportunity to be 100 percent," Yeo said.

With Brodziak out, the Wild will slide wing Nino Niederreiter to center and suit up defenseman Clayton Stoner, who has missed the past 10 games with a knee injury. Otherwise, the Wild are not expected to rest any key players. Minnesota is 6-0-1 in its past seven games and Yeo wants the Wild to keep their current edge.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 2:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

DeBoer, Devils talking new contract: report

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer touched upon his future with the organization before the game Sunday against the Boston Bruins. DeBoer is in negotiations for a contract extension, according to CBC's Elliotte Friedman.

“You know what? I don’t know," DeBoer said when asked about the report. "When you're a coach in this League I think you come to work, you invest yourself fully in your job and your team, and you do the absolute best job you can. I’m comfortable that our staff did that and other people make those decisions."

DeBoer also fielded numerous questions during his pregame press conference about the game potentially being the final one for goalie Martin Brodeur as a member of the Devils.

"I would expect the players will feel this is a meaningful game for Brodeur," DeBoer said. "I don't think there's any question everyone knows the potential significance of this. No one can predict what will happen three or four months from now, but I think the guys are very aware of that."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 2:02 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Heeter to debut for Flyers, Akeson recalled

PHILADELPHIA -- With the Philadelphia Flyers focused on the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, coach Craig Berube is using the game Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes to get a few of his players an extra day of rest while getting a closer look at two depth players.

Berube said Calvin Heeter will make his first NHL start in goal. He had been called up twice previously this season, but the 25-year-old undrafted rookie only had gotten as far as the bench as the backup.

In 44 games with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' American Hockey League team, Heeter went 16-25-2 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

"He moves well in net," Berube said. "He's a competitive guy, good-size goalie. He really moves well in the net, very active in net. A competitive guy, makes second-effort saves."

Heeter was needed after Steve Mason sustained an upper-body injury late in the second period Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ray Emery came on in relief and will be the backup Sunday.

Berube said he's positive Mason will be ready when the playoffs start.

"I think he'll be fine," he said. "I do. I can't guarantee that, but I believe he'll be fine."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 12:49 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Injured Penguins skate, but questionable for Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- Three injured players participated in the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sunday morning skate, but did not technically rejoin practice.

Forwards Evgeni Malkin, Joe Vitale and Chris Conner skated with the Penguins in an optional skate before their game against the Ottawa Senators. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said they chose to take the option to skate, but should not be considered to have rejoined Pittsburgh at practice.

Malkin, Vitale and Conner will not play in Pittsburgh's regular-season finale and Bylsma could not confirm if they would be healthy to play in Game 1 of the Penguins' first round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I don't have an expectation, nor do I have a definitive answer on what players will be available for Game 1," Bylsma said.

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Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 12:35 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues, Red Wings sit key names in season finale

ST. LOUIS -- When the St. Louis Blues host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday [12:30 p.m. ET, NBC], each team will be without key regular players.

The Red Wings (38-28-15), who will face the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, are playing without forwards Johan Franzen and Daniel Alfredsson, and defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Niklas Kronwall. Goalie Jimmy Howard, who was expected to start, will give way for Petr Mrazek. All are being given the day off.

The wounded Blues (52-22-7), who can still clinch the Central Division title, are without forwards David Backes (foot), Brenden Morrow (foot), T.J. Oshie (upper body), Vladimir Sobotka (lower body), Patrik Berglund (upper body) and Vladimir Tarasenko (thumb), and defensemen Alex Pietrangelo (undisclosed) and Barret Jackman (undisclosed).

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Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 10:48 AM

By Adam Vingan -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Win gives Lightning home ice in first round

WASHINGTON – The Tampa Bay Lightning's regular-season finale has taken on significant importance.

To secure home-ice advantage for their Eastern Conference First Round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Montreal Canadiens, the Lightning must defeat the Washington Capitals on Sunday at Verizon Center.

Tampa Bay, which is making its second Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in seven years, has not had home-ice advantage in a series since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004.

"We'd love to have home ice," Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer told reporters. "Clearly it's something that you never want to use, but you'd love to have. The other thing is you just want to play well going into the playoffs."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 7:13 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks rest four regulars in season finale

NASHVILLE -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will rest four regulars in the regular-season finale against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night: defensemen Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson and centers Michal Handzus and Marcus Kruger.

With goalie Corey Crawford starting the night before (and getting replaced to start the third period), Antti Raanta was slated to start on Saturday.


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Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 4:19 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Visentin set for NHL debut in net for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes have been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention and the San Jose Sharks are locked into postseason position. That will make for plenty of lineup flexibility as the Coyotes open a season-ending two-game homestand against the Sharks Saturday.

The Coyotes sat and watched the Dallas Stars eliminate them Friday with a 3-0 win against the St. Louis Blues. Phoenix has lost six straight games (0-3-3) including a 2-0 loss Thursday against the Nashville Predators that cost the Coyotes control of their destiny.

"You've got to go out there, play games and play well. We're going to put some young players in and give them some experience, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "It's very disappointing, the situation that we're in. We're going to have to go out there and try to get better.

The changes will begin in goal. Top prospect Mark Visentin will make his NHL debut Saturday. He has been serving as the backup to Thomas Greiss since starter Mike Smith went down with a knee injury Mar. 24. Tippett said that Smith, who has been practicing with the aid of a knee brace in hopes of returning, is now done for the season.

"He's got a great attitude, he works hard and we're going to give him a chance to play tonight," Tippett said of Visentin. "He's prepared well he's had a lot of practice time with (goalie coach Sean Burke) and I think he'll go on there and play well for us."

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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley