EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Anze Kopitar said he wasn't aware that his Los Angeles Kings could clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win Wednesday against the Phoenix Coyotes. The center was informed by a reporter at the morning skate, and it was welcome news.
"It will be one goal that we've accomplished," Kopitar said. "I think we've been in that third spot in our division forever. It really was, pretty much, the whole season. But it's nice to have fate in your own hands with a win [Wednesday] and put everything away, all the calculations. It's a division game, which is obviously huge. We know them. They know us. So I'm sure they're going to be fired up."
Right wing Daniel Alfredsson has a lower-body injury and will not play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. NBCSN, RDS, TSN2). Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Alfredsson was day-to-day.
Alfredsson did not participate in the morning skate Wednesday after not practicing Tuesday, when he told reporters he planned to play against Boston. Alfredsson didn't speak with reporters after the skate Wednesday.
Detroit will play without center Pavel Datsyuk, who is back to skating after an injury to his left knee but isn't ready from a conditioning standpoint to return to live action. Datsyuk rested for a couple weeks in March to let the pain in his knee subside and only recently got back on the ice for practices.
"Feel much better," Datsyuk said after the Red Wings skate. "Happy to skate with the team."
Couture watched on television Monday night as the first-place Anaheim Ducks rallied from a 4-0 hole to beat the Winnipeg Jets 5-4 in overtime. The Ducks moved three points ahead of the Sharks and have a game in hand. They also own a significant edge in non-shootout wins, the No. 1 tiebreaker once the regular season ends.
With six games left to play, the Sharks appear to be in must-win territory when it comes to winning the Pacific Division and avoiding a first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Lack will face Lundqvist for the first time Tuesday (10 p.m. ET, TSN), but wasn't yet sure if he'd speak up while they are stretching at the red line during pregame warm-ups.
"He's a guy I have been looking up to for almost 10 years now and I've been looking forward to this a while," Lack said of Lundqvist, who will be back in goal for the Rangers after serving as the backup Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers. "It's a great moment for me."
There are similarities between Lack and Lundqvist in terms how they play deeper in their crease and minimize their movements. Lack, who is making his 17th straight start, cited Lundqvist among a handful of goalies he watches closely to find things he can improve in his game.
Clowe was hit hard by Panthers forward Quinton Howden late in the second period and needed help leaving the ice. He did not return to the game.
Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told The Record that Clowe is "fine" but is "day to day." He did not accompany the team on its trip to Buffalo.
The Devils did not hold a morning skate Tuesday, so the makeup of their lineup won't be known until game time. One player who could take his spot is forward Tim Sestito, who was one of two players to take the ice Tuesday morning. Sestito hasn't played since being elbowed in the head by Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser on March 20.
"I haven't had any setbacks," Sestito told The Record. "I've felt fine. I just needed some time practice and skates and stuff, but since then I feel like I'm up to speed."
Moss sustained an ankle injury against the New Jersey Devils on March 27 and missed the 3-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. If Moss can't play, Tippett will likely stick with the same lineup up front and play center Mike Ribeiro, who has been a healthy scratch in two of the past three games.
Goalie Mike Smith skated on Monday for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury on March 24 and was back on the ice in full equipment Tuesday before the team skate. Smith was able to do some side-to-side drills in the net and Tippett was happy to see his No. 1 goaltender back on the ice. Smith is to be re-evaluated on Friday and his status has not changed.
"He continues to move along like we'd hoped," Tippett said.
The University of Minnesota product last scored a goal March 1, but he's shown an ability to set up others with 11 assists in his past 18 games. With two assists Monday in a 6-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils, Bjugstad became the fourth rookie in Panthers history to reach 20 assists, joining Michael Frolik, Kristian Huselius and Jesse Belanger.
Bjugstad led a brief comeback Monday after the Panthers fell behind 3-0 by setting up Dmitry Kulikov's shorthanded goal with 2:38 remaining in the first and Brad Boyes' goal 50 seconds into the second to cut into the Devils' lead.
ST. LOUIS --Erik Gustafsson had to dust the cobwebs off his equipment Tuesday morning. The Philadelphia Flyers defenseman hasn't been in the lineup for more than a month.
Because of an upper-body injury to defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who took a puck off the face and will miss the game Tuesday against the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues (50-17-7), Gustafsson will be inserted into the Flyers' lineup (39-27-8) for the first time since Feb. 27.
Gustafsson, who has two goals and 10 points in 27 games, is anxious to play rather than feeling bad about not being part of the mix in recent weeks.
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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