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At the Rink blog
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 1:43 PM

By Craig Merz -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

MacKinnon in for Duchene on Avalanche top line

COLUMBUS -- With Colorado Avalanche Matt Duchene out of the lineup for roughly four weeks, rookie Nathan MacKinnon will be the center of attention Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

The 18-year-old moves into the top center spot vacated by Duchene, who sustained a knee injury on his first shift Saturday against the San Jose Sharks when he collided with linemate Jamie McGinn.

MacKinnon leads all NHL rookies in goals (23), assists (33) and points (56). On Tuesday he'll be in the middle with Ryan O'Reilly to his left and McGinn at right wing.

Center is the natural position for MacKinnon, who has spent most of the season at right wing after being selected by the Avalanche with the first pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.

"I'm comfortable at center," MacKinnon said. "I'm comfortable at wing as well. Down the road I might end up back at wing. We'll see how it goes [Tuesday]. Hopefully we can create some early chemistry and play pretty well."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 1:24 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canadiens, Lightning set for likely playoff preview

TAMPA -- The winner of the game between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday could clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and until that is done neither team is focused on what is coming in a couple of weeks.

Both teams know that barring an extraordinary turn of events they will be facing each other in the first round of the playoffs, giving their game Tuesday added meaning.

"I'm fairly certain that each team can sit here and say, 'Oh, we're not worried, we're only worried about making the playoffs,' but let's be honest," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Both of these teams know exactly where we sit, how close we are to each other and potentially what can happen and what can happen here in a couple of weeks. So there is a lot on the line.

"I'm certain this will have a different feel that your run-of-the-mill one of 82."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 12:39 PM

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

Capitals, Stars expect urgency as postseason nears

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals, opponents Tuesday at Verizon Center, are lingering on the cusp of their respective conference's Stanley Cup Playoff race.

Entering play Tuesday, each team is one point out of the second wild-card spot.

Dallas, playing the first of four straight road games against Eastern Conference opponents, trails the Phoenix Coyotes with eight games remaining. Washington is one of four Eastern teams within four points of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who currently hold the final playoff spot.

There will be a heightened sense of urgency Tuesday when the Stars and Capitals look to solidify themselves as postseason participants in the final two weeks of the season.

"It feels like every game is do or die," Capitals forward Marcus Johansson said. "This game means a lot for both teams. No one's going to take it easy out there. It's going to be full throttle from the start of the game to the very end."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 12:36 PM

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

Hurricanes could be without two top forwards

PITTSBURGH -- The Carolina Hurricanes could be without two-thirds of their top line when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

Forwards Andrei Loktionov and Jiri Tlusty each left Carolina's game against the Ottawa Senators on Monday with injuries. The Hurricanes recalled forward Chris Terry from the Charlotte Checkers, their American Hockey League affiliate, on an emergency basis Tuesday.

Carolina cancelled its morning skate Tuesday, so the look of their lineup, including the status of the injured players, won't be known until closer to game time.

Pittsburgh forward Jussi Jokinen, who spent parts of five seasons with Carolina, said he still has relationships with Hurricanes players and doesn't enjoy seeing his former team struggle.

"I follow them and I think this is the fifth year they've missed the playoffs in a row," Jokinen said. "It's tough on their organization. There's big expectations. Obviously they made it to the conference finals in '09 and after that it's been tough.

"There are a lot of good players there but I don't think there's one reason. I think there's many reasons they haven't been able to get back to the playoffs."

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 5:09 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks' Selanne downplaying last game vs. Jets

Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne, who began his NHL career with the original Winnipeg Jets, on Monday will play his final game against the current Winnipeg franchise.

Selanne, who has said the 2013-14 season will be his final one, had 76 goals and 132 points as a rookie with the Jets in 1992-93 and spent his first four NHL seasons with them.

Since leaving the Jets he's gone on to score 684 goals, second among active players. This season he has nine goals and 25 points in 58 games; he's sat out the second of back-to-back games this season to conserve energy for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I try to take this as a normal game," Selanne told the Ducks' website. "Obviously I know it's the last game, so it's always special. I'll try to enjoy it."

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 2:34 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings' Greene doing whatever he can to support team

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Greene is an alternate captain and is known as one of the team's toughest players, a stubborn penalty killer and a big body.

But the Kings haven't had any room in the lineup for him lately, and the veteran understands.

"You always want to play," Greene said. "You always want to play and be out there. Right now we're winning games and you can't complain about that."

Greene has been a healthy scratch in 14 of the past 15 games as defenseman Alec Martinez has ably filled a spot on the third defense pairing. It wasn't certain if Greene would play Monday against the Minnesota Wild (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN); there were no extra skaters at the morning skate. Greene's next game will be the 500th of his career.

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 1:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils' Larsson recalled following injuries on defense

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Adam Larsson will be in the lineup for the first time in four months Monday when they play host to the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS2, NBCSN).

Larsson, who was recalled from the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate in Albany on Sunday, was second among defensemen in scoring for Albany with 19 points (three goals, 16 assists) in 32 games. He will replace Jon Merrill in the lineup. Merrill is out with facial injuries sustained on Saturday during the third period of a shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Larsson last played with New Jersey on Nov. 23, a 2-1 loss against the San Jose Sharks. He would sustain a lower-body injury against the Sharks, preventing him from returning to the lineup for an extended period. In 20 games with the Devils this season, he has three points, a minus-4 rating and eight penalty minutes.

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Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 12:34 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Senators' Spezza, Cowen out vs. Hurricanes

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza and defenseman Jared Cowen will miss the game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

Spezza and Cowen each sustained lower-body injuries Sunday during Ottawa's 6-3 win against the Calgary Flames.

The Senators play the third of a five-game homestand Monday, their third game in four days. They host the New York Islanders on Wednesday to begin another run of three games in four days, closing out the homestand against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday followed by a game Saturday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"We're trying to keep as many guys healthy as we can to get through the games, but we anticipate by the weekend that we should have both of them available," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said of Spezza and Cowen. "I think they're both probable for the Islanders game, but at the same time it's probably more realistic for the weekend against Montreal."

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Posted On Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 4:30 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lehner gets start for Senators against Flames

OTTAWA -- Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Ottawa Senators against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

Lehner will make his eighth start in nine games despite Craig Anderson's 46-save effort Friday in Ottawa's 5-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Anderson had not started since Mar. 10, when he sustained an upper-body injury in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators.

The Senators, who host the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, began a five-game homestand Friday and are in the midst of a stretch of six games in nine days.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 4:07 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings' Abdelkader expected to play

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings are expected to get forward Justin Abdelkader back from a leg laceration Sunday at Joe Louis Arena against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Abdelkader, who was injured during a 4-1 loss March 16 at the Chicago Blackhawks, has missed seven games. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he'll watch pregame warm-ups before he settles on a starting lineup.

Ansar Khan, of MLive.com, and Chuck Pleiness, of the Macomb (Mich.) Daily, each reported Sunday morning that Detroit general manager Ken Holland said Abdelkader would play against the Lightning. Holland also told them center Darren Helm, who had a hat trick against Toronto, was fine after being run into the boards in the third period of that game.

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