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Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 1:21 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars look to continue playoff push against Nashville

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are 7-1-2 in their past 10 games at American Airlines Center and would like to continue that trend on Friday against the Nashville Predators.

Dallas (34-27-11, 79 points) is currently five points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the Western Conference's final wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, although the Stars have two games in hand.

They will be minus left wing Erik Cole, who will miss a fourth straight game with an upper-body injury. And it appears fellow left wing Ray Whitney, who missed practice on Thursday with an illness, will be a game-time decision.

"We're going to dress an extra guy," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said after the morning skate. "[Whitney playing is] depending on if he gets a good meal in him and feels well tonight; energy level's a big deal. He wasn't feeling well yesterday and was sick, but is feeling a lot better today."

Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 1:10 PM

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

Blue Jackets' McElhinney to start against Penguins

COLUMBUS -- A streak of 19 straight starts for Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will end Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Nationwide Arena.

Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, is feeling the lingering effects of the flu that forced him out of the game Tuesday after one period against the Detroit Red Wings and will not dress.

Curtis McElhinney relieved Bobrovsky, who allowed one goal on 10 shots against Detroit. McElhinney stopped 22 of 23 Red Wings shots in the 4-2 win and will start against the Penguins. Mike McKenna, recalled from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, will be the backup.

Bobrovsky did not practice Thursday or participate in the optional skate Friday morning but he did get on the ice to work with goalie coach Ian Clark about 15 minutes after most players left.

"I feel a little bit better," Bobrovsky said. "I feel weakness. My throat's sore. I have low energy. We decided between the doctors and coaches not to play this game."

Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 12:58 PM

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

Goaltender Anderson returns for Senators

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan underwent successful surgery in Montreal on Thursday to repair a sports hernia, coach Paul MacLean revealed after practice on Friday.

"He should be fine to train any way that he needs to this summer, and that's an important part of getting it done now," MacLean said.

Senators goaltender Craig Anderson will make his first start in eight games against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

Anderson backed up Robin Lehner for Ottawa's past two games against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning after missing the previous five games because of an upper-body injury he sustained on March 10.

Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 7:21 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Okposo a late scratch for Islanders

TAMPA -- Forward Kyle Okposo, the New York Islanders' leading scorer, was a late scratch Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a lower-body injury.

Okposo appeared to be slowed by the injury during the Islanders' 5-4 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. However, coach Jack Capuano said after the morning skate that he would dress the same 12 forwards, including Okposo, that played against Carolina.

The 25-year-old leads the Islanders with 27 goals and 69 points. Both totals are career highs.

Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 7:11 PM

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

Devils captain Salvador scratched against Coyotes

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador was scratched from the game Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes with a lower-body injury. Salvador reportedly has been bothered by a groin injury and skipped practice Tuesday, but at the time the Devils said he was resting.

Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 4:44 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks' Couture 50-50 for game vs. Jets

SAN JOSE -- Center Logan Couture was on the ice for a portion of the San Jose Sharks' morning skate and said his odds are 50-50 for being available to play Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.

Couture injured a foot blocking a shot Monday against the Calgary Flames and missed the Sharks' game Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers.

"It feels better [Thursday] than it did [Wednesday]," Couture said. "So we'll see. I'm going to take warmup, I think -- at least that's my plan -- and see how it feels then."

Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 3:46 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche close to securing playoff berth

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche could clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009-10 with a win Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks at Pepsi Center and if the Phoenix Coyotes lose to the New Jersey Devils.

Colorado enters play Thursday in third place in the Central Division with 10 games to play. The Avalanche are three points (99-96) behind the second-place Chicago Blackhawks and have a game in hand.

"It would be a big accomplishment," Avalanche center Matt Duchene said of securing a playoff position. "That was our goal early in the season, to make the playoffs and to challenge for the Stanley Cup. That's step one and it would be great to do it [Thursday]."

Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 2:18 PM

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

Jurco latest Red Wings forward returning to lineup

DETROIT -- One by one, the Detroit Red Wings are making their way from the training room back to the ice.

The tables inside the trainer's office still are crowded, but things finally are starting to thin out in there as the Red Wings look to extend their string of Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances to 23 straight seasons.

After getting center Darren Helm, forward Todd Bertuzzi and forward Joakim Andersson back earlier this week, Detroit gets another player back in rookie forward Tomas Jurco, who will return from a rib injury Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at Joe Louis Arena (7 p.m., ET, TSN, RDS) and start on the top line with Johan Franzen and center David Legwand.

"He probably thinks he's dragging those old guys around," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said after the morning skate. "I can put [Gustav] Nyquist back there in a heartbeat, but Nyquist on that [second] line is flying. [Jurco] has a skill set, he makes good plays with the puck [and] can really skate. That line needs more tempo. We're trying to have more balance. We need to generate on more than just one line."

Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 2:12 PM

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

Predators shift struggling Spaling back to left wing

NASHVILLE -- One game after Nashville Predators versatile two-way forward Nick Spaling uncharacteristically went minus-3 playing the right wing, coach Barry Trotz changed up his lines Thursday ahead of his team's game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Spaling can play all three forward positions but is a left-handed shot. He had been playing right wing on the third line, centered by Colin Wilson with Eric Nystrom on the left. In a 5-4 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the line was a combined minus-7. Spaling's minus-2 rating ranks fourth-best on the Predators among players who have played at least 15 games.

Trotz dropped Nystrom to the fourth line, which is centered by rookie Colton Sissons and features Rich Clune on the right, and elevated right wing Viktor Stalberg to Wilson's line so Spaling could move back to the left side.

Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 1:44 PM

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

Blues forward Roy back in lineup

ST. LOUIS -- Forward Derek Roy will be back in the lineup for the St. Louis Blues when they play the Minnesota Wild at Scottrade Center on Thursday.

Roy, who missed the previous two games with a lower-body injury, will center a line with Brenden Morrow on the left and Steve Ott on the right.

The Blues (49-16-7) enter play Thursday one point ahead of the Boston Bruins in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

"The line that we're playing together [Thursday] with Roy on it has played three times together before [Thursday], and all three games they've played really well together," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "It's three veteran guys that know how to read off each other. Obviously Ott takes a lot of the faceoffs and ends up down low in our zone.

"I want to see [the line] play consistently well before we evaluate whether we're going to stay with it or not. I'm not 100-percent sure yet. They've shown flashes where they play really well together and then for whatever reason, mostly through injuries or whatever, it's mostly gotten broken up or we've needed help somewhere else."

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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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