Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 3:49 PM
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.
Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 3:34 PM
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.
Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 2:52 PM
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.
Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 2:25 PM
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."
Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 2:02 PM
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."
Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 12:49 PM
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.
Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 12:35 PM
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).
Posted On Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 10:48 AM
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."
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 7:13 PM
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.
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 4:19 PM
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."
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 3:24 PM
EDMONTON — It was business as usual for Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Smyth on Saturday morning as he prepared for his final NHL game.
Smyth announced Friday he would be retiring at the end of the Oilers' season, which ends Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks.
"I'm just going to try and keep the emotions in check and try to take it all in," Smyth said. "Everything was normal [Saturday morning] as far as taking part in the drills and stuff, but you look up at the rafters and you see all the banners of the Cups and the banners of the guys who have retired, so it's pretty special.
"It's a great building to play in and I'm really looking forward to [Saturday night]."
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 3:05 PM
ANAHEIM – Goalie Frederik Andersen has been the Anaheim Ducks' best option in net during the last weeks of the regular season, and it appears he will try to help them clinch the top seed in the Western Conference on Saturday night.
Andersen was off the ice first at the morning skate and fellow rookie goalie John Gibson stayed out for extra work. Goalie Jonas Hiller reportedly said he wasn't playing Saturday and wasn't on the ice.
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said he wanted to give Andersen a start this weekend because he hasn't played since April 4, when he took a shot off his mask by Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber.
"I think it's important just because he got a little bit dinged up in the last game and he hasn't played since then, and he didn't start that game," Boudreau said. "So we want to get a good start in him. He hasn't started a game in a week, and [we want to] get him feeling ready, so all three goalies can feel ready."
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 2:07 PM
PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz and defenseman Brooks Orpik will not play Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Kunitz and Orpik will sit for the second time in the past three games. They are listed as day-to-day and their ailments are not expected to be long-term issues, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.
Penguins forward Harry Zolnierczyk will play against his former team after being recalled Friday from the American Hockey League.
The Flyers would clinch third place in the Metropolitan Division and a date with the New York Rangers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a regulation or overtime victory. If they win in a shootout or lose, they will have to await the results of the final games for the Columbus Blue Jackets (Saturday night) and potentially the Detroit Red Wings (Sunday) before learning their playoff opponent.
Kunitz, who serves as the net-front presence on the Penguins' top-ranked power play, has scored a career-high 67 points and 35 goals in 77 games this season. His contributions could be missed against the Flyers, whose special teams were dominant in a weekend series against the Penguins on March 15 and 16.
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 1:53 PM
MONTREAL -- Defenseman Ryan McDonagh will be a healthy scratch when the New York Rangers play Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens in each team's season finale.
McDonagh declared himself ready to return from a shoulder injury after skating Saturday at Bell Centre, but coach Alain Vigneault will make him rest a few more days before returning.
After sustaining the injury April 1 against the Vancouver Canucks, McDonagh has missed the past four games. His defense partner, Dan Girardi, will also sit out with wing Martin St. Louis, who was given the day off and did not skate.
"I feel really good. The last two days especially I've been able to get my shot back even harder. Passing and skating is no issue," McDonagh said. "I told them I'd feel ready to play. You've got to respect the coach's decision. He's running the team."
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 1:30 PM
NASHVILLE – Nashville Predators rookie defenseman Seth Jones missed earning a spot on the U.S. team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics but he has accepted a spot to play for his country at the IIHF 2014 World Championship in Belarus.
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 1:17 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Columbus Blue Jackets will know by the time they step on the ice to face the Florida Panthers for their regular-season finale Saturday night whether they still have a chance to finish third in the Metropolitan Division.
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 12:38 PM
OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators forward Mika Zibanejad will not play either of the final two games of the regular season, including Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Ottawa coach Paul MacLean shed no new light on why Zibanejad was sent to a hospital Thursday at the end of the Senators' 2-1 shootout win against the New Jersey Devils.
Zibanejad assisted on Mike Hoffman's second-period goal Thursday but did not play after his second shift of the third period.
"Well, he was here today and he still has to have further tests going into next, so he's still out of the lineup," MacLean said after Ottawa held an optional morning skate prior to their last game of the season at Canadian Tire Centre.
Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 7:19 PM
TAMPA -- Kristers Gudlevskis, who played for Latvia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will make his NHL debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Gudlevskis, 21, was the Lightning's fifth-round pick (No. 124) in the 2013 NHL Draft. He began the season with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL before being promoted to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League. He had an 18-11-4 record with a 2.68 goals-against average and a save percentage of .901 with Syracuse.
Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 6:51 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will make possibly his final start for the team against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on Friday.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer wouldn't commit to a starter for Sunday against the Boston Bruins in the regular-season finale at Prudential Center, leaving open the question of whether this will be Brodeur's last game for the Devils. Brodeur can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
"Marty will start [Friday] like we have done all year and we'll talk about Sunday on Sunday," DeBoer said. "We'll talk about [the end of the season] at the end of the season. Those are all hypothetical questions. I'm not prematurely going to talk about the end of anyone's career right now. I'm worried about winning a game."
Brodeur, who turns 42 on May 6, has been noncommittal about his future when asked about a possible return to the Devils in 2014-15.
"I don't expect [the Devils] to come running after me," Brodeur said earlier this week. "We'll see. Again, that's a situation I have to be OK with regardless of it it's here or somewhere else. But I have to talk to a lot of people in the offseason and make my own decision. Regardless of if I stay or leave, the Devils are in unbelievable hands with [Cory Schneider]."
Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 4:10 PM
SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks rookie forward Tomas Hertl will be in the lineup Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche for the first time since Dec. 19, when he suffered a major injury to his right knee during a game against the Los Angeles Kings.
Hertl underwent surgery Dec. 31 to repair two ligaments that were damaged by a knee-on-knee hit from Kings forward Dustin Brown. Hertl had 15 goals and 10 assists in 35 games before being injured.
"I'm very excited because it's four months not playing hockey," Hertl said after the Sharks' morning skate. "I'm very happy. I hope it's all good, the knee is OK. I hope I'm ready to play and ready to play in the playoffs."
Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 2:56 PM
CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames hope to finish above .500 on home ice when hosting the Winnipeg Jets in their Scotiabank Saddledome finale on Friday.
"I think that would be a huge testament to the identity we've been working to create all year," said forward Kevin Westgarth, whose Flames sit 26th overall in the NHL and have long been out of the Stanley Cup Playoff picture. "Obviously we've had a lot of downs but a lot of ups as well, and to finish the season the way we have I think would be a huge plus going forward for next year."
The Flames, who conclude their 2013-14 season Sunday in Vancouver, have gone 12-4-0 at home since dropping a franchise record seven straight games at the Saddledome from Dec. 27-Jan. 16. They've outscored opponents 58-42 during their recent run.
Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 2:22 PM
DALLAS -- The St. Louis Blues not only lost 4-2 at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night and fell out of first place in the Central Division, but the Blues are also down three players -- right wing T.J. Oshie (upper-body injury), center Derek Roy (upper body) and left wing Vladimir Sobotka (lower body) -- after that defeat at Xcel Energy Center.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock confirmed Oshie, Roy and Sobotka would not play for St. Louis on Friday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. Hitchcock added center and captain David Backes (lower body) and left wing Brenden Morrow (lower body), a former Dallas captain, will each miss a second straight game.
"We've been able to pretty much the whole year stay healthy. We would have preferred better timing, but it is what it is and it's all about who's in now," Hitchcock said of his team being in scramble mode. "You never know, everybody goes through this. We just got it at the end of year. You got to just stay focused on the guys you have."
Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 1:30 PM
TAMPA -- Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nathan Horton had abdominal surgery Friday morning and is expected to miss six weeks.
Horton missed four games with the injury before returning to the lineup Tuesday in a 4-3 win against the Phoenix Coyotes. However, he skated only eight shifts before leaving the game.
Horton, who missed the first half of the season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, appeared in 36 games with five goals and 19 points.
"It's a blow," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "The reason why it's a blow is the potential out on the ice. A goal scorer, big and strong. But the other thing is that he's played in big games and big moments. That's why an organization like this goes out to get a guy like him. He can offer it being around the guys but it's that in the room, in between periods and on the bench during a game, that he could have had a great effect."
Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 1:12 PM
WASHINGTON -- As Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews remain out of the lineup while nursing injuries, the team has been buoyed by the recent play of its younger role players.
Forward Jeremy Morin, recalled from the American Hockey League when Kane was placed on long-term injured reserve March 21 after suffering an apparent knee injury two days earlier, has scored three goals in as many games.
Forward Ben Smith has also been contributing offensively with three goals in his past four games, all of which the Blackhawks have won.
In doing so, Morin and Smith have thrust themselves into the lineup conversation when the Blackhawks open the Stanley Cup Playoffs next week.
"Well obviously the goal is play in [the] playoffs," Morin said. "I can't control that. All I can do is if I'm in the lineup, just make the most of it. I'm trying to finish off the season the right way and just keep contributing."
Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 1:04 PM
DETROIT -- Now that a 23rd straight appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is assured, the Detroit Red Wings can afford to rest some legs in the final two games of the regular season.
They're just not planning to exercise that option. Heading into a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS), the Red Wings are planning to stick with the same lineup they've used of late.
The lone exception will be on the bench. Rookie goalie Petr Mrazek will back up starter Jimmy Howard in the absence of Jonas Gustavsson, who hurt his shoulder in the playoff-clinching 4-3 shootout loss Wednesday at the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"We want to keep winning," Red Wings veteran forward Johan Franzen said after the morning skate. "We want to win these last two games and maybe climb up a spot. So, that's our focus right now."
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 6:26 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Goaltender Roberto Luongo will be back in the lineup for the Florida Panthers when they face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, but he'll have a different backup and will be facing a goalie making his first NHL start.
Luongo, sporting a new mask, was the only Panthers goalie at the morning skate after Dan Ellis was sidelined with an upper-body injury sustained in practice Wednesday. Ellis was an emergency starter Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers when Luongo was scratched after leading the Panthers onto the ice for warm-ups.
With Ellis out, the Panthers recalled veteran Scott Clemmensen on an emergency basis, but he didn't skate Thursday morning because his equipment failed to arrive with him on his flight from San Antonio.
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 5:42 PM
MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens can clinch home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as early as Thursday as long as they get a point at home against the New York Islanders.
The Canadiens have a three-point lead in the Atlantic Division standings on their first-round opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning, who play at home against the Philadelphia Flyers. If Montreal ends the night with a four-point lead on Tampa Bay, it will guarantee Game 1 of the series will be played at Bell Centre.
The Canadiens will have to attempt to clinch that privilege Thursday without the services of forward Alex Galchenyuk, who left a 3-2 overtime road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday in the first period with a lower-body injury. George Parros will take his place in the lineup.
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 5:15 PM
VANCOUVER -- With the Central Division and home-ice advantage to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs still on the line, the Colorado Avalanche will start Vezina Trophy candidate Semyon Varlamov on Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks.
With nothing left to play for, Vancouver will finally give goalie Jacob Markstrom his first start in a Canucks uniform, and his first in the NHL since late December.
In addition to possibly catching the St. Louis Blues, who are two points ahead in the Central, and securing at least second place in the division by moving four points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks with a win, Varlamov has a chance to break coach Patrick Roy's franchise record with his 41st win of the season.
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 3:10 PM
WINNIPEG -- The Boston Bruins can move a step closer to their first Presidents' Trophy since the 1989-90 season when they meet the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday at MTS Centre.
The Bruins have 114 points and lead the Anaheim Ducks by two. The Bruins, who begin a stretch of three games in four days, have a game in hand on the Ducks. With the Eastern Conference top seed clinched, the Bruins' next goal is to earn home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Center David Krejci will return to the lineup after having Tuesday off against the Minnesota Wild.
"I'm excited to play," Krejci said after the morning skate. "It was nice to get a little time off, but at the same time it's not fun to watch the game from the stands, the dressing room or [television]. I'm glad I'm back and looking forward to it."
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 2:46 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The St. Louis Blues will play the Minnesota Wild on Thursday without captain David Backes, who sustained a foot injury after being hit by a teammate's shot Tuesday against the Washington Capitals. Backes was seen with a walking boot on his left foot.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Backes could be out for the rest of the regular season but expects him back in time for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"It's an opportunity for guys to step forward," Hitchcock said.
Wild defenseman Christian Folin will make his NHL debut. Folin, who two weeks ago was playing at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, was generally considered the top college free agent available following the season. He had interest from nearly every team in the NHL but chose the Wild over the Philadelphia Flyers, signing a two-year entry-level contract with Minnesota on March 31.
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 2:34 PM
EDMONTON -- Though the argument can be made the Edmonton Oilers have struggled against a lot of NHL teams this season, the Los Angeles Kings have been a particularly problematic opponent.
The Oilers have lost all three games to the Kings this season; they play each other a final time Thursday.
"I find L.A. to be, for our group, the most difficult of the bunch," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 1:57 PM
OTTAWA -- New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider will make his fifth straight start Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.
Both teams have been eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. New Jersey's faint hopes were dashed Wednesday when both the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets became the final Eastern Conference teams to secure playoff spots.
"You invest six months of work into a team and into a group and when you don't accomplish what you set out to accomplish it's tough, it's like the air getting let out of a balloon," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said after the team's morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre. "I don't have another description for it."
Three-time Stanley Cup champion Martin Brodeur was disappointed about New Jersey missing the playoffs for a second straight season after leading the Devils to the Final in 2012, where they lost to the Los Angeles Kings in six games.
"I didn't miss the playoffs once in 16 years, 17 years, when I started and now it's been three times out of four years so definitely it gets frustrating a little bit," Brodeur said. "You don't have many chances to win Stanley Cups at my age so you want to at least get into the dance, and now three out of four years we haven't done that here."
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 1:51 PM
TAMPA -- Even though the teams have secured a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, don't expect the Tampa Bay Lightning or Philadelphia Flyers to slack off Thursday.
They have a lot to play for, and they know it.
"I like it," Flyers coach Craig Berube said about meaningful games at this point. "We know there is something on the line, and we talked about it yesterday and again today. Home-ice advantage is important."
The Lightning have been a tough team for the Flyers, and Tampa Bay Times Forum has been a tough building for them. They are 0-2-0 against Tampa Bay this season and have gone 0-6-1 here since the 2010-11 season, but Berube's plan to reverse that trend is a simple one.
"Play better," he said. "We have to play a good game because they are a good team. We need a checking mindset against this team."
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 1:48 PM
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have already clinched a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Buffalo Sabres have already secured the NHL's worst record. But each team will still have plenty to play for when the Rangers host the Sabres on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
New York is 8-2-1 in its past 11 games and appears to be finding its stride in time for the postseason. They can also take one step closer to clinching home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a win against Buffalo. The opportunity to secure home ice is something the Rangers are not taking lightly.
"I think it's important. In the playoffs everything is so tight, it's a different animal from the regular season," forward Brad Richards said. "When you can have last change if it goes to the all-important seventh game, it's a big advantage. We're going to try our best for it."
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 1:45 PM
NASHVILLE – It is a fitting coincidence that Phoenix Coyotes right wing Martin Erat will play his 800th NHL game Thursday.
It will also be Erat's first game back in Nashville against the organization with which he suited up for his first 723 games.
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 1:22 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The mood was gloomy in the Washington Capitals locker room after the morning skate, about 12 hours after the Capitals were eliminated from contention for the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The combination of a Columbus Blue Jackets win and a shootout loss by the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday pushed Washington out of picture.
"Obviously, it's a hard day to be a pro," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "We're all very disappointed of course. It's about us. We didn't get the job done. We've got to be better as coaches, we've got to be better as players."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 3:53 PM
ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is known to be coy when it comes to his lineup, and he was on top of his game when asked about his starting goalie for Wednesday.
Rookie John Gibson came off the ice first at the morning skate, usually an indicator he will start in a potential Pacific Division title-clinching game for Anaheim against the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center. Goalie Jonas Hiller stayed on for work.
"I'm not saying he's in," Boudreau said of Gibson. "He may have come off first, but there was a reason for that."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 3:39 PM
DALLAS -- After defeating the Nashville Predators 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday at American Airlines Center to move two points ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes for the second Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with three games to play, the Dallas Stars have shifted their focus to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It's a game rescheduled from March 10, when Stars center Rich Peverley collapsed on the Dallas bench early in the first period due to a cardiac event.
Columbus and Dallas will play a full 60 minutes, but the Blue Jackets will begin with the 1-0 lead they held when the game was halted.
"There's games that I feel the way we've played in the first period we're down 1-0, but it's the first time officially we're down 1-0," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of trailing from the opening puck drop.
Posted On Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 3:20 PM
CALGARY -- With three games remaining in the regular-season schedule, the Los Angeles Kings are in limbo.
Having clinched third place in the Pacific Division and unable to move up or down regardless of the outcome of their final games, the Kings await their first-round opponent when the puck drops on the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
But there are still plenty of reasons to play, according to forward Justin Williams.
"It's where you learn how to be a professional," said Williams, whose Kings open a set of back-to-back games in Alberta against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. "It's all about professionalism and finishing off the right way. You have to be playing good hockey coming into the postseason. It's not a switch as many like to think that you can just flip on come playoff time. You have to be trending in the right direction, and these last three games are important for us."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 2:37 PM
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are trying to make the best of not having their two top forwards, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Each is out for the rest of the regular season, Toews with an upper-body injury and Kane with a lower-body injury. But they are expected to be fully healed and available for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a week.
Kane skated on his own for four days prior to joining the Blackhawks' morning skate Wednesday ahead of their game against the Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN, RDS). Toews could get back on the ice Thursday for individual work.
"I think we're looking at it in a positive way, that I think this rest is going to be good for these guys," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We're getting these guys some rest. We want to make them fresh and get them excited, knowing they've been off. They love playing and I think it creates an appetite as well. I think the amount of hockey and the big stages they've been [on] over the course of one season, I think this is only going to be viewed as a positive from our standpoint."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.09.2014 / 12:56 PM
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will welcome back several players to their lineup when they face the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
In addition to the return of defenseman Kris Letang, forwards Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz were back at their normal positions on Pittsburgh's top line during the morning skate Wednesday, and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma confirmed defenseman Olli Maatta will be paired with defenseman Matt Niskanen against Detroit.
Crosby and Maatta missed the Penguins' game against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday each with an upper-body injury, and Kunitz was sidelined with a lower-body injury.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 7:37 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo was scratched from his start against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night because of an upper-body injury.
Luongo led the Panthers onto the ice for warm-ups, but was ruled out shortly before game time. He is in uniform and on the bench.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 4:13 PM
EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers are going into their game against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday with a bit of envy.
The Avalanche are where the Oilers hoped they would be this season.
A year ago Colorado was at the bottom of the NHL standings and selected first at the 2013 NHL Draft.
This season the Avalanche are going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Oilers, with three No. 1 picks on their roster, are heading back to the draft lottery.
"They built the same way we did as far as through the draft," Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle said. "They have a lot of young guys and they've been able to put it together as far as the wins go. When I look at that I'm for sure jealous. They're going to be in the playoffs and we're not. That being said, it's just another game [Tuesday] where we want to beat them and show we can play with them. They somehow found a way to do it and we have to do that."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 3:12 PM
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues will have forward Alexander Steen back in the lineup Tuesday against the Washington Capitals (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).
Steen had missed the past three games with an upper-body injury. He leads the Blues with 33 goals and is tied with T.J. Oshie for the scoring lead with 60 points.
"He'll play," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Steen. "He's good to go. … If he's not healthy, he's not playing. He wasn't healthy the last few games, so he wasn't ready to go.
"This was the player's call and the trainer's call. When they leaned over the boards and said, 'I'm good to go,' I think it's my obligation considering he's had an unbelievable year and he's been our best player most nights. I'd be smart to put him in, so I'm pretty smart and putting him in."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 2:47 PM
DALLAS -- With four regular-season games remaining, the Dallas Stars enter Tuesday one point ahead of the Phoenix Coyotes for the second Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As the Stars begin a three-game homestand Tuesday against the Nashville Predators, coach Lindy Ruff would like to see his team maintain control of its destiny.
Dallas (38-29-11, 87 points) is 8-1-2 at home since Jan. 30, and after going 3-2-0 during a five-game road trip, Ruff is happy to be returning to familiar surroundings.
"We've played well here of late and played some real good hockey. If you asked me if I wanted to play at home or on the road, I'd pick home," Ruff said.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 1:55 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild are on the verge of clinching a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight year and could wrap up the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference as early as Tuesday against the Boston Bruins.
One win or post-regulation loss in any of their final three games would get the job done. So would one regulation or post-regulation loss by the Phoenix Coyotes. Even a post-regulation win by the Coyotes would get it done.
Minnesota's magic number to clinch a berth is one point, so the number of clinching scenarios are plentiful. But coach Mike Yeo said he'd prefer to keep it as simple as possible: Win tonight against the NHL's best team and the Wild not only clinch a playoff spot, they lock in the top wild-card position.
"Hopefully the experience of last year has helped us, and I think it has," Yeo said. "We just need to concentrate on the game. That's just another one of those end results."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 1:47 PM
NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward Chris Kreider participated in the team's optional skate Tuesday but neither will play against the Carolina Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden.
McDonagh remains day-to-day and did not shoot the puck while on the ice, indicating that his injured left shoulder is not yet ready for game action. Kreider participated in some hard skating drills but did not wear a glove over his injured left hand, which was wrapped in a cast.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said there was a 50-percent chance that McDonagh would return to action before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Rangers clinched a postseason berth after the New Jersey Devils lost 1-0 to the Calgary Flames on Monday.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 1:46 PM
TAMPA -- The Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday facing possible elimination from the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
If the Maple Leafs lose to the Lightning and the Columbus Blue Jackets defeat the Phoenix Coyotes, the season ends for Toronto.
Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle is looking for his team to bounce back from a 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
"Off our morning skate I feel good about it," Carlyle said. "We had some life. We have met and talked about our situation and where we are at. More than anything it's a response. We are looking for a response from our performance the other night. That's what we spoke to them about; that's what we ask of them, because we were not happy about the other night, and the only way we are going to be judged is if we come out and compete to the level we are capable of."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 1:30 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Philadelphia Flyers will have forward Steve Downie back in the lineup Tuesday when they try to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After going 1-7-0 to start the season, the Flyers will clinch a playoff spot with a victory against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center.
"It's really special for us," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said after the morning skate. "The start of the year was really tough on us, and for us to kind of battle back and be able to be in the position we are right now, we've got to be proud of that."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 1:22 PM
COLUMBUS -- Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Nathan Horton is expected to reunite with linemates Boone Jenner and Ryan Johansen for the game Tuesday against the visiting Phoenix Coyotes.
Horton has missed the past four games because of a lower-body injury, but his return comes at an opportune time with the Blue Jackets losing forwards Nick Foligno and RJ Umberger to injuries in the past week.
Johansen, the Blue Jackets' leading scorer with 57 points (31 goals), is looking forward to centering for Horton again with the rookie Jenner manning the left wing.
"We've played a lot of good hockey together, me and Horts and Boone," Johansen said. "It's nice being back with [Horton] and him being healthy, or healthier."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 1:16 PM
BUFFALO -- The Detroit Red Wings won't make any lineup changes when they face the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, but the same can't be said of the Sabres.
Buffalo will have forwards Chris Stewart, Marcus Foligno and Torrey Mitchell back after each missed time with injury.
Stewart has been out since March 6, his second game with the Sabres, when he sustained an ankle injury in a collision with Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Anders Lindback and was believed to be out for the season.
"A couple weeks ago I really turned the corner," Stewart said. "I made up my mind I was going to try and push it here and get back for a couple games."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.08.2014 / 12:46 PM
Forward Brett Gallant will become the latest player to make his NHL debut for the New York Islanders when they host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Gallant was recalled Monday from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League, where he had one goal, one assist and 245 penalty minutes in 56 games this season.
Gallant, 25, has played the past four seasons in Bridgeport after being signed as an undrafted free agent. He joins forwards Ryan Strome, John Persson, Johan Sundstrom and Mike Halmo, and defensemen Kevin Czuczman and Scott Mayfield, as Islanders to make their NHL debut during the 2013-14 season. Forward Brock Nelson made his regular-season debut this season after playing one game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.
Posted On Monday, 04.07.2014 / 5:10 PM
VANCOUVER -- If being 43 didn't make Teemu Selanne feel old enough already, his last game in Vancouver will be the first in the NHL for 20-year-old Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson.
Selanne, who plans to retire at the end of the season after 22 years in the NHL and hasn't played back-to-back games all season, made sure he'd get one more against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday when he sat out against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.
"The Western Canada cities are where I have played the most in my career," said Selanne, who started with the Winnipeg Jets and played all 1,448 games with Western Conference teams. "And this has always been my favorite city, so I wanted to play one more."
Posted On Monday, 04.07.2014 / 3:18 PM
WINNIPEG -- The Minnesota Wild will look to move one step closer to a return visit to the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they visit the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
The Wild have 92 points and hold the Western Conference's first wild-card spot after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 at home Saturday. The game against the Jets will be the final road game of the season for the Wild, who are 4-1-2 in their past seven road games.
"Obviously we still need points," said Wild captain Mikko Koivu, who has four multi-point games in his past 10. "That's the most important thing, but it's also talking about the processing, getting our game better and getting better as a team. Our goal is to make the playoffs and be at our best when the playoffs start."
Posted On Monday, 04.07.2014 / 1:12 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider is expected to make his fourth straight start Monday against the Calgary Flames at Prudential Center.
Schneider (16-14-11), who made 24 saves in a 2-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Friday and 26 saves in a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, has allowed two or fewer goals in five straight starts (3-0-2). He has a 1.22 goals-against average and .948 save percentage over that stretch, and ranks third in the NHL with a 2.02 GAA.
The Devils extended their point streak to a season-high seven games (4-0-3, 11 points) to keep alive their hope of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They trail the Columbus Blue Jackets by three points for the second of two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.
Posted On Sunday, 04.06.2014 / 6:56 PM
DENVER -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will play without captain Sidney Crosby for the first time this season when they visit the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Sunday night due to an upper-body injury.
Crosby leads the NHL with 102 points (36 goals, 66 assists) in 78 games.
The Penguins, who lost 4-0 to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday and have gone 1-1-0 in the first two games of a three-game road trip, will also be without forward Chris Kunitz (lower body) and defensemen Brooks Orpik (lower body) and Olli Maata (upper body). The Penguins said none of the injuries are expected to be long-term.
Posted On Sunday, 04.06.2014 / 6:10 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- Zac Rinaldo tried to provide the Philadelphia Flyers with a spark Saturday and coach Craig Berube hopes that energy carries over to their game Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).
Berube said Rinaldo would be back on a line with Sean Couturier and Matt Read to start the game Sunday. Rinaldo started Saturday on that line and opened the game with an open-ice hit on Boston Bruins power forward Milan Lucic. He then kept his composure when Lucic tried to goad him into a fight, with Lucic being sent off for roughing. The Bruins won the game, 5-2.
Rinaldo is eighth in the League with 137 penalty minutes, but in the past 10 games he's taken four minor penalties while still playing a physical style. That maturation process is something Berube has harped on with Rinaldo all season, and now he's seeing the fruits of that labor.
"You can't continually take penalties because you put the team in tough spots and he's smarter about it now," Berube said. "Smarter about his hitting, picking his spots, picking his spots for big hits. He's playing more with the puck. He's becoming a more complete player."
Posted On Sunday, 04.06.2014 / 2:58 PM
EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth is looking forward to another opportunity to play against his former team.
Fasth was in goal in a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday and will get the start Sunday when the Oilers play the Ducks for the final time this season.
"It doesn't matter really what team you play, you want to win every game and that's why you play hockey," Fasth said. "That's what it's all about. Of course it's a special game, I've played with these guys [Ducks] for over a year. But it's still two points and it's a new game."
The Oilers acquired Fasth from the Ducks a day prior to the March 5 NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2015 draft.
Posted On Sunday, 04.06.2014 / 2:18 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- With one win in their past seven games and teams racing up behind them in the Stanley Cup Playoff chase, the Philadelphia Flyers have their focus squarely set on their opponent Sunday, the Buffalo Sabres (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).
"I'd say it's a must-win for us," Flyers forward Scott Hartnell said. "We have to treat this as the last game of the year to get in the playoffs. We need two points. It's getting little too close for comfort right now with the way we've played the last few games."
The Flyers are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday and are 1-4-2 in their past seven. They're third in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and three ahead of the New Jersey Devils.
Posted On Sunday, 04.06.2014 / 12:51 PM
COLUMBUS – New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan (lower body) and forward Michael Grabner (upper body) will each miss the game Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
De Haan and Grabner were hurt during a 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday, prompting the recalls of defenseman Scott Mayfield and forward Johan Sundstrom from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League.
Grabner was playing in his first game since sustaining a concussion March 10 against the Vancouver Canucks and had to leave in the second period. The Islanders (31-35-11) are also without injured players including John Tavares, Eric Boulton and Kyle Okposo, but are 5-0-2 in the past seven games.
Posted On Sunday, 04.06.2014 / 12:45 PM
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will host the rival St. Louis Blues on Sunday at United Center (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC,TSN2) and they're sticking with the same lineup that's won the past two games.
Only four games remain in the regular season for Chicago (44-19-15), which trails the Colorado Avalanche by three points for second place in the Central Division with only four games left.
Each of the past two games was played without top forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who are sidelined with injuries until the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The lineup designed to be simpler in structure, yet the Blackhawks haven't lacked too much offensively. They beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout Thursday at United Center on 26 shots and followed it up a day later with a 4-3 victory at the Columbus Blue Jackets on 38 shots.
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 7:14 PM
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets will have notable lineup changes when they play at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul took line rushes during warmups and will return to the lineup. Lupul missed the game Thursday against the Boston Bruins with a lower-body injury; Jerry D'Amigo will be scratched to make room for him.
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 5:08 PM
New Jersey Devils forwards Patrik Elias, Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson, who all left the game Friday against the Washington Capitals because of injury, won't be in the lineup Saturday at the Carolina Hurricanes.
None of the injured players made the trip. They will be replaced in the lineup by forwards Steve Bernier, Tim Sestito and Stephen Gionta. Bernier and Sestito were healthy scratches Friday, and Gionta will be returning from an ankle sprain that sidelined him the past three games.
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 4:40 PM
Washington Capitals forward Dustin Penner is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and won't play Saturday against the New York Islanders, who see forward Michael Grabner return to the lineup.
The Capitals activated forward Aaron Volpatti off injured reserve to take the place of Penner, who has one goal and two assists in 14 games since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks at the NHL Trade Deadline.
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 4:10 PM
VANCOUVER -- The Los Angeles Kings will not have defenseman Drew Doughty in the lineup Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks, who will have captain Henrik Sedin.
Doughty, the Kings' ice-time leader, sustained a shoulder injury against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday and didn't join his teammates for a second straight day Saturday.
"Day-to-day," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "We don't play until Wednesday and we just finished 10 [games] in 17 [days], so we'll try and get everybody ready for Wednesday."
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 3:40 PM
SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks got some help Friday night in their quest for a Pacific Division title when the Nashville Predators defeated the first-place Anaheim Ducks 5-2.
With 107 points, the Sharks trail Anaheim by one point and can move into first place with a victory Saturday night against Nashville at SAP Center.
The question is whether the chance to jump Anaheim will provide a motivational boost to the Sharks, who are coming off an emotional win Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings and have struggled this year against teams that don't appear to be headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"That's the million dollar question," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after the morning skate. "We've been in this situation a couple times against non-playoff teams and we haven't taken advantage of it. We'll throw our best effort out there and we'll see where it goes. I'd like to think that our team can come out and do everything we can to get the win. If we can get a leg up on Anaheim it forces them to win. Right now they don't have to. That will be a goal of ours tonight."
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 2:46 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen has been ruled out Saturday against the Minnesota Wild after sustaining an upper-body injury Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.
The Penguins recalled former Wild forward Andrew Ebbett from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Friday and he will play against his former team. Ebbett has 12 goals and 25 assists with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he is riding an 11-game point streak dating to March 7.
Ebbett has played in seven games with Pittsburgh this season and has one assist. He scored eight goals and 14 points in his only season with the Wild in 2009-10.
Bylsma said he didn't believe Jokinen's injury was serious and he is considered day-to-day. With the Metropolitan Division clinched and their positioning for the Stanley Cup Playoffs virtually locked, Bylsma said getting Jokinen healthy for the playoffs is the primary concern.
"It's not long-term at this point," Bylsma said.
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 1:32 PM
MONTREAL -- When the Detroit Red Wings hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 18, the Red Wings' streak of 22 straight appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was in jeopardy.
A few weeks earlier, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock returned from leading Canada to the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and defiantly stated Detroit was not going to let the streak be snapped.
"We got to find a way to get in," he said prior to the resumption of the NHL schedule after the Olympic break. "That's what we're going to do."
On March 18, the Red Wings were three points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and had won two of their previous seven games.
Babcock's words looked to be rather hollow.
But the Red Wings defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2, starting a run of seven wins in 10 games (7-2-1) that they ride into a game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, where a fifth straight victory would likely cement that playoff streak being extended by another season.
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 1:20 PM
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs head into their final home game of the regular season hoping this won't be the last time they take the ice at Air Canada Centre this season.
The Maple Leafs have won two games in a row and head into their game against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Eastern Conference's second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Toronto got a bit of help when the Chicago Blackhawks defeated Columbus 4-3 Friday.
"I was watching it," Kadri said of the Blue Jackets loss to the Blackhawks. "It was a pretty spectacular finish. I did fist pump one or two times. That's just the bounce. We haven't seen any of those. Some of the goals, even, we're scoring, now I think it's catching up with us a little bit and it's starting to favor us a little more."
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 1:14 PM
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh remains day-to-day with a left shoulder injury and will not play when they host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
McDonagh did not participate in the Rangers morning skate, meaning that if they hope to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with one point against the Senators, they'll do it without their top defenseman.
"Guys have to play in different positions than they're used to," defenseman Marc Staal said. "Guys will have to step up and get better, and hopefully we get him back sooner than later."
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 1:06 PM
ST. LOUIS -- Two days appears to be enough down time for St. Louis Blues defenseman Barret Jackman.
After sitting out a 2-1 victory Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres with a lower-body injury, Jackman will come back into the lineup Saturday for the Blues (52-17-7) against the Colorado Avalanche (49-21-6).
Jackman was among those to skate Friday in an optional practice and deemed himself fit.
"Other guys got in the lineup and we're rested and ready to go [Saturday]," Jackman said. "Two days off. It felt good so we're ready to go [Saturday]. … Every game's a grind from here on out. I got two days' rest, which is only going to be beneficial down the stretch."
Posted On Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 1:00 PM
TAMPA -- Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff said forward Erik Cole may be back in the lineup Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"We're going to give him a game-time decision," Ruff said. "He said this morning that he's feeling pretty good, so if it looks like he can go we'll play him tonight."
Cole has missed seven games with an upper-body injury, and his return would be welcome considering Stars forward Ray Whitney, who sustained a lower-body injury in the game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday will be out Saturday.
"There were times when [Cole] really dominated play," Ruff said. "He has really skated well for us and physically, he's a tough guy to handle down low. It gives us back a guy that has been an important piece for us. There are times when he's been out there struggling with injuries and playing, but when he's been feeling well and going well, he's been a guy that has really pushed the other team back and gotten behind the other defense. Physically, he's a tough guy to handle."
Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 4:29 PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes continue to get some help from those around them in the Western Conference wild-card race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Sooner or later, though, they're going to have to help themselves.
The Coyotes remain even in points with the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card spot despite collecting one point in the past three games. They return home to face the Edmonton Oilers on Friday with two goal in the past three games and in need of a win, as much for their self-confidence as their place in the standings.
The Stars lost 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and hold a game in hand. Phoenix and Dallas will meet in the final game of the season April 13 here.
"We have to take care of ourselves," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "You watch other scores and everyone knows what's going on, but it's meaningless if you don't take care of your own business. You have to keep your fate in your own hands."
Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 4:13 PM
ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks will go back to goaltender Jonas Hiller Friday against the Nashville Predators.
It wasn't much of a surprise given Hiller has had three games off, but there was some thought the Ducks might continue to ride rookie backup Frederik Andersen, who went 3-0-0 in place of Hiller and is 19-5-0.
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau wanted to give Hiller time off and felt he was ready after a high-energy practice Thursday.
"We were thinking that he just needed a mental rest, not a physical rest," Boudreau said. "He'll be back in. He's been very sharp in practice the last two games. We're expecting a big game from him tonight."
Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 2:04 PM
OTTAWA -- The Montreal Canadiens have an opportunity to enhance their bid for home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Friday against the Ottawa Senators, who will have captain Jason Spezza back in the lineup.
As a bonus, Montreal can deal an all-but-final blow to Ottawa's playoff hopes and exact a measure of revenge for its first-round loss to the Senators last spring.
"It's not something we've really talked about," Canadiens forward Daniel Briere said. "You know it's always big games against Ottawa. Rivalries get created in the playoffs, mostly, so there's some hatred between the two teams, and it's a good thing for us at this point. There's only five games left, but we don't want to let ourselves go and just coast through the last five games.
"A game like tonight, knowing that it's going to be intense, knowing that these guys are fighting for their lives, we'll have to be ready. If we're not, we're going to get outplayed, so it's a good thing to have a game like this tonight."
Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:36 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Goaltender Roberto Luongo will be celebrating his 35th birthday Friday by returning to action for the Florida Panthers.
Luongo was the first Panthers goalie off the ice at their morning skate in preparation for their game against the Calgary Flames at BB&T Center. Luongo has missed the past three games after being injured in a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on March 27.
Luongo said after practice Thursday he sustained a mild concussion as a result of his collision with Carolina forward Radek Dvorak. Luongo has a record of 4-5-1 with a 2.54 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage since coming back to the Panthers in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks on March 4.
Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:25 PM
COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets welcome rookie defenseman Ryan Murray back to the lineup Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks but have lost left wing Nick Foligno to injury for the rest of the regular season.
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said after the optional morning skate he hopes Foligno, injured late in the 2-0 win Thursday at the Philadelphia Flyers after a collision with Flyers forward Scott Hartnell, will be ready if Columbus makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:16 PM
Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk will make his long-awaited return to the lineup Friday against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena, and he may not be the only key player back.
Veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson, who missed the game Wednesday against the Boston Bruins with back issues, is a game-time decision. Although Alfredsson didn't take part in line rushes at the morning skate, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland believes he'll play, according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com.
Datsyuk is official, though, and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said he'll start the game on a line with forwards Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader. Knee inflammation has kept Datsyuk out since Feb. 27 and he's been limited to 39 games this season.
Posted On Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:15 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- In dire need of a win Friday night, Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates is turning to an old plan he knows has been successful in the past and should be going forward.
Captain Alex Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom will start on the same line when the Capitals play the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Ovechkin and Backstrom haven't started a game on the same line since March 16 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Oates admitted he's putting them back together because the Capitals need a burst of energy from their best players against the Devils, who are five points and three teams behind in the Eastern Conference wild-card race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but could leap the Capitals with a win of any kind Friday. Washington is four points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are also in action Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"We'll see how it goes," said Ovechkin, who for the past seven games has played with Jay Beagle as the center on his line. "It's totally [Oates'] decision. He wants to get team better so he tries to find chemistry, maybe chemistry back, and new lines."
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 7:36 PM
TORONTO -- Forward Carl Soderberg is not in the Boston Bruins lineup Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Soderberg returned to Boston due to personal reasons, as was expected with his wife expecting their child.
Forward Jarome Iginla returned to the lineup after he did not play Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 4:28 PM
SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks appear likely to adjust their bottom three lines for their game Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings at SAP Center in a matchup that could be a Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference First Round preview.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he might "shuffle the lines around a little bit," and the odds are good that third-line wing Tommy Wingels will move up one line, trading places with rookie Matt Nieto to skate with center Logan Couture and left wing Patrick Marleau.
Fourth-line wing Tyler Kennedy will likely move up one line, trade places with Marty Havlat, and skate with center James Sheppard and Nieto. Havlat will join a line with center Andrew Desjardins and right wing Mike Brown.
"They're shifting quite a bit," Nieto said. "Just trying to balance the lines out and trying to get production from everyone. We'll see how it goes.
"I don't mind it at all. Playing with [Sheppard], he's been doing really well lately. [Kennedy] has been doing well. I'm excited. It should be fun."
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 4:19 PM
DENVER -- A shoulder injury will prevent New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh from playing Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.
Defenseman John Moore, who missed the past six games recovering from a concussion, will replace McDonagh, who was injured Tuesday on a hit by Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows in the Rangers' 3-1 win.
McDonagh, who is listed as day-to-day, is among the NHL's top-scoring defensemen with 14 goals and 29 assists in 77 games. He leads the Rangers in ice time, averaging 24:49 per game.
"I don't think it's going to be very long," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said of McDonagh's absence after the morning skate. "His 25 minutes are big minutes against big lines and on the power play and penalty killing, so we're going to try and spread those minutes around, and I'm confident our group will be able to get the job done."
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 3:45 PM
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres will each be dealing with new lineups Thursday when they face each other at Scottrade Center.
The Blues, already without forward Vladimir Tarasenko (thumb), will be missing forward Alexander Steen and defenseman Barret Jackman. Each has been ruled out for the game and are listed as day-to-day, according to coach Ken Hitchcock.
"Steen is upper-body, Jackman's lower-body," Hitchcock said. "We'll see whether they're going to play on the weekend or not right now."
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 3:22 PM
WINNIPEG -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will have defenseman Paul Martin back when they play the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday at MTS Centre.
Martin has missed the Penguins' past 18 games with a broken hand and has not dressed for an NHL game since Feb. 7. He broke his hand playing for the United States at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Injuries have hampered the 33-year-old, who missed 23 games earlier in the season with a broken tibia and has played 33 games this season. He has two goals and 10 assists.
"The doctors said that it was up to me," said Martin, who resumed practicing with his teammates this week. "I said I'm ready."
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 2:47 PM
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will be without injured forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for the rest of the regular season, and their first test without the dynamic duo comes Thursday at United Center against the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).
The defending Stanley Cup champions trail the second-place Colorado Avalanche by three points.
The Wild (89 points) are trying to further secure the first Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Blackhawks are hoping to slice into the Avalanche lead for home-ice advantage in the first round. Chicago has lost three straight games, all played on the road without Kane (lower body), and now will play without he and Toews (upper body).
The Blackhawks have played one other regular-season game without Kane and Toews, and that was for rest purposes in the final game of the 2012-13 season at the St. Louis Blues.
"Obviously we missed [Kane] on that trip there, but now without [Toews] and him at the same time, offensively … I think that's why we're looking to play a tight, simple game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate. "I don't think you have quite the skill across the board and those guys usually enhance their linemates and their lines. It's a situation where we have to make sure we play the right way. We've got to play hard, we've got to play simple and look to play tight."
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 2:35 PM
TAMPA -- In the closing moments of the Tampa Bay Lightning's win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday, defenseman Michael Kostka sustained a concussion from a hit to the head he took from defenseman Douglas Murray.
Kostka's return date to the lineup is unknown. Murray was suspended three games by the NHL on Thursday.
"We're taking it day-to-day to see how I feel," Kostka said. "Surprisingly, I don't feel as bad as I thought I would. It's never happened to me before, so I don't really have a baseline as to how I would feel after something like that.
"Murray texted me right after the game and apologized. Classy move. I don't think it was malicious, that he was trying to do that. Needless to say it was still a bad hit."
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 1:33 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. -- More than 22 years since making his NHL debut, Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney has gained some insight into how the regular season typically unfolds. With Dallas scrambling to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the veteran is more than happy to share his wisdom.
"For the majority of teams, you play 70 games just to care about the last 12 of the season," Whitney said.
The Stars sit in the second wild-card position in the Western Conference heading into their game with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. Each of their final seven games will have playoff implications, with the Phoenix Coyotes in pursuit. Phoenix also has 85 points, but Dallas has two games in hand. They play each other in their season finale on April 13 in Arizona.
"You scoreboard watch and do all those things that bring the intensity up," Whitney said. "It feels a little more competitive on a nightly basis. Your mistakes get magnified, the goals you score get magnified. But when you score them and how you score them become a little less relevant."
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 1:29 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers will have one of their most important players back in the lineup when defenseman Kimmo Timonen returns Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Timonen sat out Philadelphia's 1-0 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday with an upper-body injury after being hit in the chin by a puck in their shootout loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday.
"It's always good to have him," Flyers coach Craig Berube said. "He's a great player, a very good player for us. Power play, penalty kill, 5-on-5. He's a very good player, so when he's out of the lineup we miss him."
Timonen, 39, is second among Philadelphia defensemen with 32 points in 71 games; in 14 games since the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics he has three goals and 10 assists.
"I like this time of year," Timonen said. "The sun is up. We get right into playoff mode, every game matters. It's easier coming to the rink when you know you have to play your best. Especially after the Olympics. I knew there were tough games coming up and it was a tough schedule. Anytime it gets under 20 games it's really easy to play."
Posted On Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 1:23 PM
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs head into their game Thursday against the Boston Bruins looking to stay in the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Maple Leafs broke an eight-game losing streak with a 3-2 win against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday and sit one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"Obviously we like to know what spot we're in and what position we're in," Toronto forward Nazem Kadri said. "That's something we've been looking over the past few weeks, or even the whole course of the season, not just today. We understand where we're at and where we need to go, so tonight's an important building step in that direction, so we've got to make sure we come out ready to go."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 4:35 PM
Edmonton Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth will face his former team for the first team when he starts against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday at Honda Center.
Fasth, who was acquired by the Oilers on March 4 in a trade for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-round pick in 2015, has not started since March 22 when he allowed five goals on 16 shots in an 8-1 home loss to the Calgary Flames.
The undrafted, unheralded Swedish goaltender started last season 11-1-1 with Anaheim.
"It's going to be fun," he told the Oilers website. "I had a good year here and made a lot of friends. Now it's my enemies. [Edmonton] has taken care of me since I got here. Good guys in the group here. It's a good team."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 3:13 PM
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."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 2:39 PM
DETROIT -- Add another big name to the injury list for the Detroit Red Wings.
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."
Posted On Wednesday, 04.02.2014 / 12:43 PM
OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza will not be in the lineup Wednesday against the New York Islanders (7 p.m. ET, TSN).
Spezza took part in the morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre, but will miss his second consecutive game after sitting out Ottawa's 2-1 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.
The 30-year-old center sustained a lower-body injury during the third period of the Senators' 6-3 win against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 4:56 PM
SAN JOSE -- No one has to tell center Logan Couture that the San Jose Sharks can't afford a letdown Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers if they hope to win the Pacific Division.
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.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 4:23 PM
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks rookie goalie Eddie Lack never has met fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist, but he long has admired the New York Rangers star goaltender.
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.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 4:02 PM
New Jersey Devils forward Ryane Clowe will not play Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres due to an injury sustained Monday against the Florida Panthers.
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."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 3:52 PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes forward David Moss took part in an optional skate Tuesday morning and coach Dave Tippett said Moss will be a game-time decision Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets.
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.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 2:14 PM
With their Stanley Cup Playoff hopes ended, the Florida Panthers have used the final weeks of the season as a chance for some of their top prospects to develop at an accelerated pace.
No one has seized that opportunity like center Nick Bjugstad.
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.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 2:14 PM
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.
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 1:56 PM
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs head into their game Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames on an eight-game losing streak. One question they had was the health of their leading scorer, right wing Phil Kessel.
Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said Kessel, who bruised his foot against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, is available to play against the Flames.
"He says he's available to play," Carlyle said. "So basically it's been two days of treatment and he's telling us he's ready."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 1:43 PM
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."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 1:24 PM
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."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 12:39 PM
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."
Posted On Tuesday, 04.01.2014 / 12:36 PM
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."
Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 5:09 PM
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."
Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 2:34 PM
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.
Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 1:06 PM
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.
Posted On Monday, 03.31.2014 / 12:34 PM
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."
Posted On Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 4:30 PM
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.
Posted On Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 4:07 PM
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.
Posted On Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 2:44 PM
NASHVILLE -- Washington Capitals forward Mikhail Grabovski will return to the lineup for the second time in more than two months Sunday when the Capitals play the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Grabovski, who has 12 goals and 21 assists in 50 games this season, has dressed once since Jan. 24 because of a lingering left ankle injury. He had 2:20 of time on ice on Feb. 27 against the Florida Panthers, but reinjured himself and has not played since.
The Capitals entered Sunday two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings, who are seventh and eighth, respectively, for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are 4-1-2 in their past seven games, but winless in their past two (0-1-1).
Posted On Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 2:18 PM
EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers sometimes wonder how things could be different if they played in the Eastern Conference.
Geography has been detrimental to the Oilers this season. They've struggled against Western Conference opponents, but have held their own against Eastern Conference teams.
The Oilers host the New York Rangers on Sunday with a 14-13-4 record against the East and 5-0-2 in their past seven games against teams from the Metropolitan Division. They are 12-26-5 against teams in their own conference.
"I think the record speaks for itself," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "Where we're at with our size and our strength, most of the teams in the East are built with the same size and strength. That's with my eyes and the feel of the game, not going to look at the stats pages, not looking at the height and weights. But I just feel that the teams in our conference, that are all at the top of the League as well, are built much differently than most of the Eastern Conference teams and us."
Posted On Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 1:05 PM
PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will return to the lineup against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday after being a healthy scratch Friday.
Maatta, a 19-year-old rookie, did not play against the Columbus Blue Jackets after playing in 72 of Pittsburgh's first 73 games of the season. His production has decreased in recent weeks and he has been a minus in six of his past 12 games.
"Obviously, you want to play every game. You don't want to take games off," Maatta said. "But I feel like it was good for me. It's been a long season. It's been a lot of games. It's been a really new situation for me.
"I've never played this many games in my life."
Maatta has 28 points and nine goals in 72 games this season.
Posted On Sunday, 03.30.2014 / 12:10 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Steve Downie will miss his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury Sunday against the Boston Bruins (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC), but could be close to returning to the lineup.
Downie, who was hurt on the opening shift of the Flyers' game March 22 against the St. Louis Blues when he collided with St. Louis' Patrik Berglund, was a full participant at practice Saturday.
"I feel pretty good, actually," Downie said. "I'm almost ready. Nothing's really bothering me. There's just a couple more steps I need to take.
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 4:17 PM
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa isn't ready to let a leg injury keep him out of the lineup with the season still hanging in the balance against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
Bieksa played two shifts after a hit left him limping off the ice late in the second period of a 3-2 overtime loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, and the Canucks called up rookie defenseman Frank Corrado from the American Hockey League on Friday.
So it was a bit of a surprise to see Bieksa taking part in the morning skate Saturday, including time on the top power play unit. He will be a game-time decision, but hinted strongly he plans to play.
"If there's a chance I can play, I will," Bieksa said. "We'll see how it feels later, but I got through the skate OK, and this time of the year there is a lot of guys playing injured. So if you can play, you play."
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 3:39 PM
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez is living proof that consistent playing time can help a player find their rhythm.
He has been a regular part of the Kings' lineup since the 2014 Sochi Olympics, collecting six goals and five assists in 13 games going into Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center.
Martinez's 10 goals are one fewer than forwards Mike Richards and Tyler Toffoli.
"I think I've been able to get into a rhythm," Martinez said. "It's like in anything in life, especially as an athlete, you get into a rhythm of playing in games. When you're in and out of the lineup sometimes, it's the little plays that are hard … those are the ones that make the difference."
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 3:26 PM
Sitting four points behind a quartet of teams tied for the Eastern Conference's two wild-card spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the New Jersey Devils have eight games remaining in the regular season. Any chance New Jersey had of making the playoffs has been bolstered by the collective poor play of those four teams.
The Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs went a combined 1-6-1 this week before evening games began Saturday; that includes Washington's 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon.
Visiting the New York Islanders on Saturday, the Devils are looking to make one last-gasp run at the postseason.
"We have nine games to go. If we want to make the playoffs we have to win almost every game now. And every game is tough. There are no easy games in this League," forward Jaromir Jagr said. "We have to make sure we play our game and we might need help from other teams."
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 2:56 PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith won't be on the ice to test his lower-body injury until at least the end of next week, but coach Dave Tippett is hoping he will be able to return to the lineup before the end of the regular season.
Smith, who was injured late in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Monday, is back to working out off the ice and will have his injury re-evaluated at the end of the week.
Tippett said he was very optimistic Smith would return before the end of the season. The Coyotes have eight games remaining, including Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild.
Goalie Thomas Greiss will make his third straight start against the Wild. The teams hold the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and are separated by one point.
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 2:26 PM
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs take a seven-game losing streak into Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings in what amounts to a must-win game.
The Red Wings, Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, and Columbus Blue Jackets all start the day with 80 points in the standings as they chase the two Eastern Conference wild-card spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Maple Leafs are at a disadvantage because the three teams they're competing with have more games remaining.
"I think it's one of those four-point games," Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson said. "Any time you play a team that you're in direct competition with, they're bigger than the others; especially at this time of year with the position that both teams are in. I think it's definitely one of those four-point games."
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 2:10 PM
ST. LOUIS -- The Dallas Stars are in a furious fight to the finish as far as a Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In that mad dash, there will be a couple of players who are questionable for Saturday night against the conference-leading St. Louis Blues.
The Stars (35-27-11) held an optional skate Saturday and could be without one of their most important players in their clash with the Central Division-rival Blues (50-16-7).
Center Tyler Seguin, who leads the Stars in goals (32), assists (44) and points (76) in 71 games, is dealing with what coach Lindy Ruff termed soreness. The Stars recalled left wing Chris Mueller from the American Hockey League's Texas Stars on Saturday morning because a couple of players are dealing with bumps and bruises as well as sickness.
"We've got a couple of question marks," Ruff said. "[Seguin's] one of them. We'll wait and see tonight."
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 1:58 PM
Tampa Bay Lightning wing Ryan Callahan wasn't the focal point of the transaction that sent Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers at the NHL Trade Deadline. Though St. Louis has yet to score in 13 games with New York, former Rangers captain Callahan has flourished in his new surroundings down south.
The hope is he can continue that scoring run when the Lightning visit the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night at First Niagara Center, which is located roughly 75 miles from Callahan's hometown of Rochester, N.Y.
"I'm really glad to be in Tampa," Callahan said after the morning skate Saturday. "I couldn't have landed in a better spot."
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 1:24 PM
Just before the passing of the NHL Trade Deadline earlier this month, it looked like the Florida Panthers would have a wealth of experience in the crease when Roberto Luongo was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks to join Tim Thomas.
But with Thomas traded to the Dallas Stars before the deadline and Luongo now battling an upper-body injury, Florida will turn to its backups against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night at BB&T Center.
Dan Ellis entered the game Thursday during Florida's 3-0 home loss to the Carolina Hurricanes after Luongo was hurt in a collision with forward Radek Dvorak. Scott Clemmensen was called up Friday from the American Hockey League and will back up Ellis, who gets the start against Montreal.
Ellis and Clemmensen have served as backups for most of their careers, but Panthers coach Peter Horachek remained confident in his goaltending.
"[Clemmensen] has done a great job for us throughout the year," Horachek said after Florida's morning skate. "When Tim Thomas was here and got hurt, [Clemmensen] played those games. We had some road trips up there and did pretty well, won three out of four and he played three of those games. I think they're both quality guys and we'll be fine with him."
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 1:08 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Curtis McElhinney will start against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, according to a report by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.
Sergei Bobrovsky, who didn't dress for a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night due to flu symptoms, will serve as the backup.
Columbus reassigned goalie Mike McKenna to the Springfield Falcons on Friday night.
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 12:00 PM
DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche can clinch their first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance since 2009-10 with at least a point Saturday against the San Jose Sharks at Pepsi Center.
The Avalanche (46-21-6) are third in the Central Division, one point behind the second-place Chicago Blackhawks (42-18-5). Colorado has two games in hand on Chicago and is hoping to gain home ice advantage in a first-round series that would likely pit them against the defending-champion Blackhawks.
Colorado could also clinch a postseason berth if the Dallas Stars lose to the St. Louis Blues or the Phoenix Coyotes lose to the Minnesota Wild.
Center John Mitchell will return to the Avalanche lineup after missing four games with a back injury he sustained after crashing into the boards in a March 18 game against the Montreal Canadiens.
"A significant amount of pain is gone," Mitchell said. "My whole back was just bruised right down the middle. It was tough just getting in and out of bed, in and out of a car. Any little pressure on my spine, on my back, was pretty sore. It's good that I can roll in and out of bed, get in and out of my car and not have any pain."
Posted On Saturday, 03.29.2014 / 11:10 AM
WASHINGTON -- The Boston Bruins' record since returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics is nearly spotless.
In winning 13 of 16, the Bruins have propelled themselves to the top of the Eastern Conference standings with the Stanley Cup Playoffs fast approaching.
Boston has suffered one regulation loss in the past month: a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, who have little choice but to replicate their March 1 performance Saturday as they attempt to qualify for the postseason.
"They're going on all cylinders, they're a good hockey team. Very good hockey team," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "We know they're a good hockey team and if you're not ready to play them they can embarrass you. I'm hoping we have the effort we had in there [March 1] and we can play solid and not give them much."
Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 5:19 PM
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Marcel Goc will miss three weeks with a foot injury.
The timeline for the injury means Goc, acquired from the Florida Panthers at the NHL Trade Deadline, would miss the rest of the regular season and perhaps the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 4:05 PM
EDMONTON -- Anaheim Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne could be playing his final game at Rexall Place on Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
Even though the Ducks have two road games left against the Oilers this season, Selanne is not expected to be in the lineup when Anaheim returns to Edmonton on April 6.
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has not dressed Selanne on back-to-back nights this season and it's expected the veteran wing will sit out the next game against the Oilers and instead play the following night against the Vancouver Canucks.
"I have a lot of memories here, especially the times that I was in Winnipeg," Selanne said. "We used to play the Oilers eight times a year. I've been in this building very often, it's always been a great building. First of all, the ice is the best in the League. It was a good rivalry between Winnipeg and Edmonton. It was a good time and good memories."
Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 3:28 PM
CALGARY -- With an eye on the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference standings, the New York Rangers kick off a four-game road trip against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.
The Rangers, riding a five-game winning streak, sit second in the division, three points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers hold two games in hand.
"We need to push each other and we need to continue playing well because teams are winning around us," Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "Everyone is playing desperate hockey right now, and now is the time to just put it all out there. We only have eight games to go. It was a challenging start for us at the start of the year, but I think the second half we've been playing a lot better and the results have been there."
Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 1:57 PM
New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider had surgery on his left hand Friday at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
Kreider, who is tied for second on the Rangers this season with 17 goals, is out indefinitely.
The 22-year-old was injured Friday night in New York's win at the Columbus Blue Jackets but played in the next two games before coming out of the lineup while a determination was made on how to proceed.
"Waiting for the doctors to tell us what was the best course of action," coach Alain Vigneault said. "He came to the conclusion yesterday and he got operated on today."
Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 1:45 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Vincent Lecavalier had been hoping to be shifted back to his natural center position. He'll get his wish Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but not quite the way he wanted.
Lecavalier will center the Flyers' fourth line, flanked by left wing Zac Rinaldo and right wing Adam Hall.
Two days after a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers, their second straight, the Flyers switched three of their four forward lines.
Lecavalier had been playing left wing on the second line, centered by Brayden Schenn. Coach Craig Berube easily could have flipped Lecavalier and Schenn but opted to move Lecavalier completely.
"I didn't want to move [Schenn] out of that position right now," Berube said. "It wasn't working where it was, so I put him in the middle there. That's where we're going to start right now."
Posted On Friday, 03.28.2014 / 1:21 PM
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."
Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 1:39 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Veteran defenseman Tom Gilbert's first season with the Florida Panthers is over.
Gilbert, who signed in late September after going to training camp on a professional tryout, underwent sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia on Thursday.
Gilbert had played in all of Florida's first 73 games, totaling three goals, 25 assists and a minus-5 rating. His average ice time of 21:20 is second on the Panthers behind defense partner Brian Campbell, who is averaging 27:17.
"He's been dealing with it for a while and playing through it, having to take therapy and medicine," Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek said after morning skate in preparation for a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. "It was to a point where something needed to done."
Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 1:21 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will make some changes from the lineup he used for a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, but center Mike Ribeiro and defenseman Derek Morris aren't part of them.
Ribeiro and Morris will be healthy scratches for the second straight game as the Coyotes prepare to play the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Thursday. Phoenix has a three-point cushion over the Dallas Stars for the second Western Conference wild-card position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs while the Devils are five points out of wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Defenseman Connor Murphy, who was recalled from Portland of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, will play for Brandon Gormley, and forward Lauri Korpikoski will be back in the lineup following a two-game absence after he took a puck to the face in the morning skate Monday at Madison Square Garden. Forward Paul Bissonnette, who played against Pittsburgh, will return to the press box as a healthy scratch.
Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 1:12 PM
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are home Thursday for a Stanley Cup Final rematch with the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).
Right wing Jarome Iginla is scheduled to skate in his normal spot on a line with center David Krejci and Milan Lucic. It's a trio that has played together since the first day of training camp.
What a difference a year makes.
One year ago today Iginla was on his way from the Calgary Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a trade that ended his lengthy run in Alberta and seemingly made the Penguins the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Iginla and the Penguins finished their season in the Eastern Conference Final against the Bruins. Ironically, Iginla had picked Pittsburgh rather than Boston when Flames general manager Jay Feaster asked the player to waive his no-trade clause.
It's been a hectic and emotional year since Iginla left Calgary. After the Penguins opted not to bring him back, Iginla signed a one-year contract with Boston in the summer and has scored a team-high 28 goals and emerged as a key cog for a team that's challenging for the Presidents' Trophy. Along the way Iginla has made return trips to Pittsburgh and Calgary and had to adapt to life in a new organization for the second time in a year.
Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 1:10 PM
PITTSBURGH -- Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff will start for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Zatkoff, who was drafted in the third round (No. 74) by the Kings in 2006, has gone 12-2-1 since beginning the season 0-2-0. The Penguins have lost eight of their past 11 games in which No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has started. He'll go Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
"We started the season with [Zatkoff] and you can look at his first game, and people wondered if he could play," Bylsma said. "He played a second game, I think it was a loss to the [New York] Islanders and you still have those questions. Right now, you look at the wins he's got this year, it's pretty impressive.
"He's played well for us. He's played strong for us. He's won hockey games for us."
Posted On Thursday, 03.27.2014 / 1:00 PM
TAMPA -- It was an optional morning skate for both teams prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning meeting the New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday, and Lightning coach Jon Cooper was in a reflective mood as he spoke about how his first full season at the helm has changed him.
There have been exceptional ups and downs that Cooper has dealt with, the loss of forward Steven Stamkos to injury for 45 games and the deadline trade of forward Martin St. Louis among others. But the Lightning have maintained an even keel throughout.
"I'm the same person with the same beliefs," Cooper said. "I'm just more experienced now. I guess that's the difference. I'm still the same coach and I have the same feel. I don't know if I would change one thing I've done in the past -- except for maybe the last 20 shootout shooters (the Lightning have gone 0-for-15 in the shootout of late). It's just the experience: life experience and NHL experience. That's what I've really gained about this whole thing."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 2:55 PM
CALGARY -- The Anaheim Ducks clinched a second consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff appearance to little fanfare.
Their sights are set higher.
The Ducks, who kick off a three-game Western Canadian road trip against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, trail the San Jose Sharks by four points but hold three games at hand in the race for a Pacific Division title.
"We're disappointed we didn't clinch it sooner," said Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, whose Ducks clinched after the Dallas Stars lost 4-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. "We haven't played well the last 15 games. You take the previous 55 games and you'd think that we would've clinched it sooner. Nobody said anything today [about clinching].
"I don't want to sound like we're bragging, but we should be in the playoffs from what our first 55 games were. Hopefully we're just not going to get into the playoffs. Hopefully we're going to win the division and do some damage."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 1:47 PM
NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider will not play Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers after sustaining a hand injury. He will not accompany the Rangers on their four-game road trip following the game.
Kreider sustained the injury Friday in a 3-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He had one assist in two games after that before being shut down.
The injury will be evaluated in the next few days, according to coach Alain Vigneault, who did not rule out surgery.
"We're still in the process at this time of evaluating our course of action here," Vigneault said. "We will know here in the next couple of days."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.26.2014 / 1:43 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- At the conclusion of practice Tuesday, Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella said Henrik Sedin and Alexandre Burrows would not travel for a quick two-games-in-two-nights road trip to Minnesota and Colorado.
What a difference 24 hours makes.
Though nothing changed with Sedin, Burrows not only was on the flight to the Twin Cities, but he will be in the lineup Wednesday when the Canucks play the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
"He skated this morning," Tortorella said. "He is in."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 8:05 PM
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins
Center - PIT
GOALS: 23 | ASST: 49 | PTS: 72
SOG: 191 | +/-: 10
forward Evgeni Malkin
will miss 2-3 weeks with a foot injury.
Malkin was injured while in front of the net in his first shift against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. Malkin did not practice Monday, which was said to be due to a day off for the Penguins' Olympians except forward Chris Kunitz.
Bylsma said Malkin will not need surgery.
A past winner of the Hart, Art Ross and Conn Smythe trophies, Malkin did not participate in Pittsburgh's morning skate before its game Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes and was replaced by forward Brandon Sutter on the second line between forwards Jussi Jokinen and James Neal.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 3:17 PM
EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens is not one to live in the past.
Scrivens stopped all 59 shots he faced Jan. 29 against the San Jose Sharks, setting an NHL record for most saves in a regulation shutout.
Scrivens will start Tuesday when the Oilers play the Sharks. It's the first time the teams have met since his record-setting effort.
"Honestly, it was a fun game to play in, but that game is behind us," Scrivens said. "We have a game [Tuesday] and I'm not going to be thinking about games in the past, whether it was last night or the last time we played them. It's a game that happened in the past. I'm moving forward."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 2:34 PM
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks steadily are getting healthier as the regular season winds down.
They got forward Brandon Saad back from an upper-body injury Sunday against the Nashville Predators and forward Bryan Bickell is getting close to returning from an upper-body issue.
Bickell joined the Blackhawks for the morning skate Tuesday at United Center, prior to playing the Dallas Stars, and hopes to return to the lineup later this week. He'll make the upcoming three-game road trip and be reassessed at some point during it.
"I'm excited for that," Bickell said. "I wish I was playing now, but [the] reason I'm not playing is to get better. There are a long couple of months coming up [in the Stanley Cup Playoffs], and I need to be 100 percent to help out this team."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 2:10 PM
NASHVILLE -- Rookie defenseman Seth Jones, who was the only member of the Nashville Predators to play in every game this season, will miss his first game, due to concussion-like symptoms, Tuesday when the Predators host the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena.
Jones sustained the injury Sunday in a 2-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks when he was on the receiving end of a hard body check along the boards. He logged a season-low 5:48 of ice time and did not return. In his place will be Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto was a healthy scratch for two of the past three games and played 3:13 in the one he did play when Nashville dressed seven defensemen.
Nashville also has a game Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres but it is unlikely Jones will play in that game either.
Coach Barry Trotz said the Predators would be careful with Jones, the fourth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 2:06 PM
The Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday announced goaltender Mike Smith is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
To replace him on the roster the Coyotes recalled goaltender Mark Visentin from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis.
Smith was injured in the third period of the Coyotes' 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers when Rangers forward Derick Brassard fell on him. Smith left the game favoring his right leg.
"[Smith] saw the doctor [Tuesday] morning," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told reporters in Pittsburgh. "He's right now listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Had some tests done [Tuesday] morning. We're going to get the results sent back to our doctors and he'll be evaluated by our doctors when we get home."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 2:02 PM
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs may have goalie Jonathan Bernier back against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Bernier has been out since March 13 when he left the game against the Los Angeles Kings with a strained groin. The Maple Leafs have lost five in a row in regulation without him. He joined goalies James Reimer and Drew MacIntyre at the morning skate and was the first one off, indicating he may get the start against the Blues.
"It would be huge," Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul said about Bernier. "He's been great for us all year and he's one of the better goalies in the League this year. He's pretty much given us a chance to win every game he's played in this year. It'd be big for us."
When asked if Bernier was ready to play, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said they were waiting to hear from the medical staff if he was ready to go.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 1:49 PM
The Montreal Canadiens didn't get much time to pat themselves on the back after ending the Boston Bruins' 12-game win streak with a 2-1 shootout win Monday.
The Canadiens had to travel home from Boston and are right back at it Tuesday when they host the Buffalo Sabres. They likely will have some lineup juggling to do as well.
Fourth-line forwards Dale Weise and Travis Moen were lost to injury in the first period Monday. Weise was hurt on a first-period hit by Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller and Moen was hurt during a subsequent fight with Miller. Neither returned to the game.
Forward Lars Eller, scratched Monday, could find his way back into lineup, as could forwards George Parros and Ryan White.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 1:39 PM
The credo for Florida Panthers is maintaining their focus entering their game Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers return home following a 1-3-0 Western trip that ended Sunday with a 6-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
Florida has lost three straight and is 6-14-1 in its past 21 games, while allowing 3.81 goals per game during that stretch. In light of the struggles, interim coach Peter Horachek is counting on his team to end the season on a high note.
"I think it's important for a lot of the young players, and players going forward, that they have a strong finish, that they want to have a strong finish, that there's a focus as a team that we play well going down the stretch," Horachek said following the Panthers' morning skate. "I think it's important for us to play the way we need to play. It's important that we don't lose focus, that we don't lose our way.
"I think leadership on this team is very important moving forward."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 1:10 PM
COLUMBUS -- Left wing Mitch Callahan appears set Tuesday to become the eighth Detroit Red Wings player this season to make his NHL debut when the Red Wings face the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Callahan was called up Monday from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, while rookie center Landon Ferraro was sent down.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock hedged in committing to play Callahan in the key Eastern Conference showdown at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets trail the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs by two points for one of the Eastern Conference wild-card spots into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We'll see what's available here [Tuesday], but that's my plan," Babcock said after the morning skate. "He's got some goals in the minors. He's a tough kid. He seems to know how to play. He's a good penalty killer. We're going to watch him, give him an opportunity and see how he does."
Callahan said he was told he would be in the lineup.
"As of right now it looks like I am," he said. "I don't want to jinx anything."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 1:06 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Coming off a 3-2 road win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes are clinging to the fringe of Stanley Cup Playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. And as long as they are, coach Kirk Muller expects to see Carolina's best.
"There's a lot of fight left in our guys," Muller said. "Our basic message from the Olympics on has been, 'One game at a time.' With the exception of one or two games we feel like we've been playing really good hockey. There's still an avenue to make [the playoffs]. And as long as there is, let's keep slugging it out."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.25.2014 / 12:58 PM
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Goal-scoring droughts of any kind are unfamiliar to Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin.
The 28-year-old remains comfortably atop the NHL goal-scoring leaderboard with 46, but it has been a while since he padded that total 5-on-5.
Since returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics Ovechkin has scored one even-strength goal: The game-winner in Washington's 5-4 victory against the Florida Panthers on Feb. 27.
Ovechkin has gone the past 12 games without a goal at even strength. If he does not score one against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday, he will match his career-long drought of 13 set during his rookie season of 2005-06, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Posted On Monday, 03.24.2014 / 3:25 PM
CALGARY -- The San Jose Sharks hope to clinch a 10th consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff berth when they play the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.
The Sharks need a single point against the Flames to earn their way in.
San Jose would also clinch if: the Phoenix Coyotes lose to the New York Rangers in regulation; the Winnipeg Jets defeat the Dallas Stars in regulation; or both the Coyotes and Stars lose in overtime or a shootout.
"You like to see that little 'x' beside your name in the standings," Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said. "We need to play well, but we also need to get that next win to get that."
Posted On Monday, 03.24.2014 / 2:42 PM
DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars are eight days removed from a 7-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. However, as the Jets and Stars face each other again Monday at American Airlines Center, revenge will not be the goal of the Dallas players.
"Points are so important that the games within the game are overrated at this point in the year," Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "It's more about points and playing the way we're supposed to play. At the end of the night if you do that you have a good chance of winning."
Dallas beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Saturday to snap a four-game winless streak, and the Stars are 6-1-1 in their past eight home games, a trend coach Lindy Ruff would like to see continue.
Posted On Monday, 03.24.2014 / 2:20 PM
BOSTON -- You can count Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise among those excited that the Boston Bruins have won 12 in a row.
The Canadiens will face the Bruins at TD Garden on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).
"We were checking the score the other night [Saturday] against Phoenix, and Phoenix was up going into the third period and we were kind of hoping Boston would come back and win so we would get the chance to knock them off," Weise said after the morning skate Monday.
Posted On Monday, 03.24.2014 / 2:10 PM
NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forwards Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan missed practice Monday and could be out of the lineup when they host the Phoenix Coyotes at Madison Square Garden.
Right wing Derek Dorsett missed New York's 2-0 road win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday with the flu, but skated Monday and could return.
"Both those guys and Dorsett are game-time decisions," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "He [Dorsett] is feeling a little bit better. We will try and sort this out as the day moves forward."
Forward J.T. Miller was in the process of being called up from Hartford of the American Hockey League in case St. Louis, Stepan or Dorsett can't go.
Posted On Monday, 03.24.2014 / 1:53 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers will end one of their more impressive recent homestands Monday against the Los Angeles Kings.
They won their first three games, beating the Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues; when you add in their sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins the previous weekend, that's five straight wins against top-level opposition.
The focus Monday is to finish this stretch as strongly as possible.
"It's really big," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "We've been playing good teams and L.A. is up there [in the standings]. The way they play, they play a physical game defensively. I think if we're not responsible defensively they're going to score a lot of goals on us. We have to make sure we're responsible like we've been the last few games.
Posted On Monday, 03.24.2014 / 1:05 PM
TAMPA -- The Ottawa Senators limp into their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday mired in a six-game winless skid (0-4-2). They got some good news and bad news on the injury front Monday.
Goalie Craig Anderson returns after missing five games due to an upper-body injury. Although he won't start Monday, Anderson will serve as the backup to Robin Lehner.
However, the Senators will be without forward Bobby Ryan. The team leader in goals with 23, Ryan injured himself when he went hard into the boards during a 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
"Ryan will not be available [Monday or Tuesday, at the Florida Panthers]," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "He has re-aggravated something and right now we are going to keep him out for two games and evaluate him when we get home and make any more determinations after that."
Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 8:02 PM
The Anaheim Ducks have recalled defenseman Sami Vatanen from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
Vatanen has 14 points and a plus-2 rating in 41 games with the Ducks this season. Despite spending time in the AHL and being a healthy scratch for a number of games, Vatanen is tied with Cam Fowler for the Anaheim lead in goals among defensemen with six.
Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 7:58 PM
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler returned to play against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday after missing four games with a sprained left knee.
Kesler was at practice Friday for the first time since a knee-on-knee collision with Winnipeg Jets forward Jim Slater on March 12, but was a game-time decision against Buffalo. Kesler will center the second line in place of Shawn Matthias, who drops to the fourth line, and Jordan Schroeder goes from the fourth line to being a healthy scratch.
Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 6:24 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- For the second time in four days, the New Jersey Devils will welcome back a former teammate to Prudential Center on Sunday.
Right wing David Clarkson, who spent seven seasons with the Devils before signing a seven-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs in July 2013, will play in New Jersey for the first time since his departure. The Devils host the Maple Leafs at 7 p.m. ET.
"The Devils' fans were always good to me," Clarkson said. "I loved playing here, I loved wearing that Devils logo. It's a place that will always be close to my heart."
Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 6:11 PM
CHICAGO -- Brandon Saad will return to the lineup Sunday night for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Nashville Predators at United Center (7 p.m. ET, FS-TN, WGN).
The 21-year old Saad, in his second full season, missed three games with an undisclosed upper-body injury. His versatility and skill have become valuable assets to coach Joel Quenneville, who's played him on both wings and on each of the top three lines.
Saad has scored 19 goals and has 25 assists in 68 games.
Forward Bryan Bickell (upper body) and defenseman Michal Rozsival (lower body) are not healthy enough to return, and Chicago will again make 19-year-old Finnish rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen a healthy scratch.
Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 12:53 PM
CHICAGO -- Nashville doesn't have a lot of Swedish cuisine options, but the Music City is getting a proliferation of Swedish hockey players.
The Nashville Predators now have four on their roster after recalling 19-year-old forward Filip Forsberg from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Sunday.
Swedish rookie forward Calle Jarnkrok made his NHL debut for Nashville on Friday at the Calgary Flames, picking up his first career assist in the 6-5 win, and the Predators already had forward Viktor Stalberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm.
Forsberg was called up to help with a shortage of forwards going into the game Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, who've won two straight games and hope to chase down the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central Division.
Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 12:27 PM
VANCOUVER – Buffalo Sabres goalie Nathan Lieuwen will make his second NHL start Sunday night in front of family and friends against the Vancouver Canucks team he grew up cheering.
Lieuwen gets the start after Sabres goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who was hoping to return Sunday, had a setback in his recovery from a lower-body injury and wasn't able to practice Saturday.
With No. 1 goaltender Jhonas Enroth not on the road trip because of a lower-body injury, coach Ted Nolan said he wanted to give Lieuwen a start close to home. Nolan said Ontario native Matt Hackett, who made 35 saves in a 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers to snap the Sabres seven-game losing skid on Thursday, will start when Buffalo goes back east to play the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
Lieuwen, who was called up March 16, appreciated the gesture.
In addition to expecting a big crowd to make the one-hour drive west from his hometown of Abbotsford, Lieuwen will be facing at least one more of the Canucks he used to root for.
Daniel Sedin returns to Vancouver's No. 1 line after missing nine games with a hamstring injury, and second-line center Ryan Kesler is a game-day decision after missing four with a knee sprain.
Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 12:20 PM
PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues will make a change in net after each team played Saturday.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start for Pittsburgh in its second of back-to-back games this weekend. Goalie Jeff Zatkoff earned his 12th win of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Fleury is still searching for his 35th win of the season as the Penguins have not won in his past three starts. He has allowed three or more goals in each of his three starts since shutting out the Washington Capitals on March 11.
Posted On Sunday, 03.23.2014 / 12:14 PM
Columbus Blue Jackets right wing R.J. Umberger is back in the lineup against the New York Islanders after he was a healthy scratch the past two games.
Umberger will skate with Nick Foligno and Artem Anisimov in place of right wing Corey Tropp. He leads Columbus with eight power-play goals and is tied for third on the Blue Jackets with 18 goals.
"The way this team's been battling all year, and the last couple of games, it’s hard to watch," Umberger told the Columbus Dispatch on being a healthy scratch for the first time in his career. "I want to be a part of it."
The Blue Jackets are hoping Umberger can help put life into a power play that's 0-for-30 since March 4.
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 7:16 PM
TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Dave Bolland made his return to the lineup Saturday night.
Bolland, in against the Montreal Canadiens, had been out of action since Nov. 2 when a tendon in his ankle was cut by a skate against the Vancouver Canucks.
"He's progressed along over the last three weeks to a point where the doctors feel, medically, that he's close to 100 percent ready and we just have to make a decision on the last assessment here," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said prior to the game.
Bolland missed 56 games with the injury and was slated to play on a line with Mason Raymond and David Clarkson.
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 5:44 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Defenseman Raphael Diaz will make his debut with the New York Rangers on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Diaz is replacing John Moore, who coach Alain Vigneault said is day-to-day with concussion symptoms stemming from a hit he took during New York's 3-1 win Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In addition, Vigneault said forward Derek Dorsett has the stomach flu and isn't available. Daniel Carcillo will replace Dorsett on the fourth line after sitting out the game in Columbus.
Vigneault said two other unnamed players are dealing with minor injuries, but they will skate in warmups and be game-time decisions. Defenseman Justin Falk and rookie forward Ryan Haggerty are available to play if necessary.
The Rangers are third in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points, two more than the fourth-place Blue Jackets and three more than the fifth-place Washington Capitals.
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 5:25 PM
SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks grabbed first place in the Pacific Division with an emotional 3-2 home victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night. But they should have enough incentive to avoid a letdown Saturday night when they face the Washington Capitals at SAP Center.
After all, the Sharks could clinch their 10th straight berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win and some help.
The Sharks are in if they earn two points against the Capitals and either the Ottawa Senators beat the Dallas Stars in any fashion or the Phoenix Coyotes lose in regulation to the Boston Bruins. San Jose can also clinch if they earn one point against Washington and the Stars lose to Ottawa in regulation.
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 4:14 PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If the Phoenix Coyotes are going to regroup and squeeze their way into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, goaltender Mike Smith is going to have to regain the form that carried them to the Western Conference Final in 2012.
For the past 15 games, Smith has looked the part. After half a season of inconsistent and frustrating play, Smith has a 1.86 goals-against average and .937 save percentage since Feb. 7 and the Coyotes have responded with seven wins in their past nine games. They now occupy the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Smith will celebrate his 32nd birthday and make his NHL-leading 61st start Saturday against the Boston Bruins. Boston has won 11 straight games and became the first team to top 100 points and clinch a playoff spot when they beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 on Friday.
"I don't think I'd be playing so much if the games weren't so important," said Smith, who has played more minutes and made more saves than any other goalie. "I like to play a lot, especially when you're playing good. You want to be helping the team win games. It's just in our blood, I guess. Once you get into the season, 60 starts is just a number. The body is feeling good now and hopefully I keep feeling well."
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 3:37 PM
EDMONTON — Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle and Calgary Flames goaltender Karri Ramo will be back in the lineup Saturday night for the final installment of the Battle of Alberta.
Eberle missed a game Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres with a knee injury. Ramo has not played since sustaining a knee injury Feb. 1 against the Minnesota Wild.
"I feel good, I'm ready to go," Eberle said. "I think I just tweaked an old injury from before. It was good to take a couple days off. I probably wouldn't have been able to play against Buffalo, there was a lot of pain and probably would have hurt it even more. It was good to get a couple of days off and get it back to where I can feel that I can play."
Eberle is second in Oilers' scoring this season with 23 goals and 53 points. He scored two goals Tuesday against the Nashville Predators before being injured on his last shift of the game in a collision with Nashville center Mike Fisher.
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 3:29 PM
Dallas Stars forward Erik Cole is out with an upper-body injury and will not play against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center. He is considered day-to-day.
Cole missed practice Friday with what was described by Dallas coach Lindy Ruff as a maintenance day. Ruff explained early Saturday that Cole would be a game-time decision against Ottawa. Cole's absence was tempered by the return of Shawn Horcoff, who had missed four games with a broken finger.
Saturday will mark the first time Cole has missed a game since March 10, 2010, when he played with the Carolina Hurricanes. The injury ends his streak of 296 consecutive games played.
In 69 games this season, Cole has 16 goals and 29 points.
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 2:26 PM
DALLAS -- After missing the past four games with a broken finger, Dallas Stars center Shawn Horcoff will return to the ice on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators at American Airlines Center.
"It looks like he's going to play," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said in a short pregame media session.
Horcoff will likely center Dallas' fourth line alongside left wing Ray Whitney and rookie right wing Valeri Nichushkin. While Horcoff will play, veteran left wing Erik Cole, who did not practice on Friday, and rookie right wing Alex Chiasson, who left practice early, will be game-time decisions.
After practice on Friday, Ruff said Cole was fine and that he was just given a maintenance day. But Chiasson left the practice rink early with an undisclosed injury.
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 1:38 PM
WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets will attempt to remain in contention for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at MTS Centre on Saturday.
The Hurricanes arrived early Saturday after a 3-2 road loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday and did not conduct a morning skate. The game Saturday will mark the third time in the Jets' past four at home they have faced an opponent that played the night before. The Jets, who have not played since defeating the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in overtime Wednesday, are 2-1-0 in those games.
Wrapping up a three-game road trip, the Hurricanes have fallen out of contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference, although they are still mathematically eligible to qualify. The Jets are six points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference; Phoenix owns a game in hand. After meeting Carolina, the Jets begin a five-game road trip next week against the Dallas Stars.
"We're excited to play," Jets defenseman Mark Stuart said after the morning skate. "We're excited for this last stretch. We want to end this homestand on the right note and have some momentum going into this trip. We've put ourselves in a position [to contend]. That's what is so fun about this time of year.
"This is the best time of the year. You're playing for something, and we're right in the hunt. We've got a lot of work to do, but that's what makes it fun, too. The challenge is there and I think we're up for it."
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 12:32 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils have an opportunity to inch one step closer to the second of the Eastern Conference's two wild-card spots in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday when they host the New York Rangers at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, MSG, MSG PLUS).
The Devils enter the game against their Metropolitan Division rival trailing the Columbus Blue Jackets by five points for the second wild-card spot with eight of their remaining 12 regular-season games at home. The Blue Jackets travel to Uniondale, N.Y., on Sunday for a matinee against the New York Islanders. The Devils are seven points behind the Rangers with a game in hand.
The Devils have won three of the previous four meetings against the Rangers and are expected to have fourth-line left wing Ryan Carter back in the lineup. Carter missed the past three games with an upper-body injury but was skating with usual partners Stephen Gionta and Steve Bernier during the morning skate Saturday. Left wing Tim Sestito, who on Monday was recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League, is out with an upper-body injury.
"It will be good to get him back," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said of Carter. "We'll need that line's energy against these guys. They've had a history of playing well as a line against the Rangers and we'll need that."
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 12:08 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- The St. Louis Blues will have their second chance to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday.
The Blues can get in by picking up at least one point against the Flyers. They also can get in if the Ottawa Senators beat the Dallas Stars in any fashion or the Boston Bruins beat the Phoenix Coyotes in any fashion later Saturday.
Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, a healthy scratch the past five games, will return to the lineup Saturday for St. Louis. Colaiacovo's last played March 9, when he had a goal in 12:21 of ice time against the Minnesota Wild.
Posted On Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 12:04 PM
PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup should not look substantially different when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Goalie Jeff Zatkoff will start for Pittsburgh in the first of back-to-back games this weekend. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will most likely start for the Penguins against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday at Consol Energy Center.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma did not provide any other lineup updates.
Zatkoff will get his second start in Pittsburgh's past three games after starting two of its previous 13. He has gone 11-2-1 since beginning the season with two losses and has a 2.52 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.
Despite goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who has not played this season because of a blood clot, continuing to progress while participating in practices, Bylsma said the Penguins do not have a three-goalie system. He said Vokoun playing prior to the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a "mere possibility."
Posted On Friday, 03.21.2014 / 4:44 PM
DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche will attempt to end the Boston Bruins' winning streak at 10 games Friday at Pepsi Center.
The Bruins are perfect since a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on March 1 and can clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth with a win against the Avalanche. They also can clinch by picking up one point against the Avalanche if the New York Rangers lose in regulation Friday to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Boston has a comfortable lead in the Atlantic Division, tops the Eastern Conference with 99 points and is two points behind the St. Louis Blues for first in the NHL.
Colorado is third in the Central Division with 94 points, one behind the second-place Chicago Blackhawks, who play the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.
Posted On Friday, 03.21.2014 / 3:45 PM
CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators will get a chance to glimpse parts of their respective futures when Flames forward Kenny Agostino and Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok make their NHL debuts Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome.
"I'm feeling great. I'm excited," said Agostino, who capped his career at Yale University with 14 goals and 32 points in 33 games. "I'd be lying if I said I probably won't have some nerves that first shift. Everyone's been telling me, the coaches, players, it's just hockey. Have fun. Enjoy it."
After his four-year collegiate career with Yale ended last week, Agostino signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Flames on Monday.
He joined the team Tuesday and has spent the week practicing with the club in an attempt to bring the 22-year-old up to speed to face the Predators.
Posted On Friday, 03.21.2014 / 2:16 PM
CHICAGO -- The first game without forward Patrick Kane in the lineup will be an even bigger challenge than it normally would be for the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at United Center.
When Chicago faces the Carolina Hurricanes, the Blackhawks also will be without forwards Brandon Saad and Bryan Bickell, each of whom is out with an upper-body injury, and defenseman Michal Rozsival, who has a lower-body injury. All three are considered day-to-day.
The Blackhawks, who won't have Kane for the rest of the regular season because of a lower-body injury, also won't suit up 19-year old rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen, who arrived in Chicago on Thursday from Finland.
"It is what it is," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate. "Everybody has issues, healthwise, over the course of a season, and I don't know if there's any good time that you've got to deal with it, but we've been fortunate as far as that's gone throughout most of the season. Right now we're dealing with a little bit of it, nothing of the serious end. Missing [Kane] really gives you a lot of different things that you can try right now, and hopefully some guys absorb and take advantage of that situation."
Posted On Friday, 03.21.2014 / 1:54 PM
COLUMBUS -- The New York Rangers are rested and expected to go with the same lineup used in an 8-4 defeat of the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.
That includes forward Benoit Pouliot, who left after the game in Ottawa to be present for the birth of his daughter. He rejoined the Rangers for the optional skate Friday morning and coach Alain Vigneault said Pouliot would be in the lineup.
It could be a different tale for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Thursday and returned from Canada in the early hours Friday.
Posted On Friday, 03.21.2014 / 11:58 AM
The Chicago Blackhawks have recalled forward Teuvo Teravainen from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs.
High hopes surround the 19-year-old prospect, but the Blackhawks announced he won't make his NHL debut Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
"There are so many good players on this team," Teravainen said. "I don't need to be Superman, just do my thing and help the team."
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 5:08 PM
SAN JOSE -- The Anaheim Ducks' depth will be tested Thursday at SAP Center when they face the San Jose Sharks with first place in the Pacific Division on the line.
Center Nick Bonino (bruised foot) and left wing Matt Beleskey (illness) will miss the game. The Ducks recalled left wing Emerson Etem and center Rickard Rakell from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, and they're expected to be on the fourth line.
The Ducks are also without defenseman Cam Fowler, who will miss his third straight game and is expected to be sidelined for 3-5 weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said another Anaheim player is questionable for the game but declined to provide his name.
Etem and Rakell were on the ice for the morning skate.
"I'm just happy to be here and be back with the guys," said Etem, a first-round pick (No. 29) in the 2010 NHL Draft. "It's a big game tonight. It's a huge game to just come right into. That's the exciting part. I'm going to be playing a bump-and-grind role, and I'm perfectly fine with that."
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 5:04 PM
Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown, who has missed the past two games with an illness, is a game-time decision Thursday against the Washington Capitals at Staples Center. Brown practiced Wednesday, but the Kings did not participate in line rushes Thursday morning.
The Kings enter the game on a three-game losing streak after winning eight straight. They will look to contain a Capitals team on a three-game winning streak that has them tied in points with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 12 games left on their schedule. The Blue Jackets own the tiebreaker with two games in hand.
Washington's potent offense has scored 11 goals during its winning streak, during which it has never trailed. Forward Alex Ovechkin, the NHL's leading goal scorer with 46, has two goals in his past three games, but hasn't scored in four career games against the Kings and is without a point in the past two.
"I mean, he's a shooter," Kings center Mike Richards told LAKingsInsider.com. "That's evident. He gets a lot of his opportunities on the power play, so we have to take that away. But he's a threat every time he's on the ice, and we have to know where he is and just have to understand that he's a shooter and [Capitals center Nicklas] Backstrom's the passer. So it's just a matter of trying to get the puck out of Backstrom's hands and not allow Ovechkin to get into scoring areas to shoot."
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 3:36 PM
EDMONTON -- There will be plenty of new faces on display when the Edmonton Oilers host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
With each team having sustained a rash of injuries, reinforcements have been called up to fill vacant roster spots.
The Oilers recalled right wing Tyler Pitlick and left wing Steve MacIntyre from the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League for the game. They already have defenseman Oscar Klefbom and left wingAnton Lander up from their AHL affiliate.
Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle is out with a knee injury and left wing Matt Hendricks will be a game-time decision after stepping in front of a shot from Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber on Tuesday.
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 3:28 PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes finally will have the all-Czech line they envisioned when they acquired forward Martin Erat prior to the NHL Trade Deadline healthy and together when they play against the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
Erat, center Martin Hanzal and right wing Radim Vrbata all took part in practice Wednesday for the first time since Phoenix traded for Erat on March 4. Hanzal was out with a lower-body injury at the time of the trade. By the time he returned, Erat had sustained a head injury.
Now the trio is intact, allowing Coyotes coach Dave Tippett to shuffle the lines in search of more offensive punch. Hanzal was a physical force in his return to the lineup, a 4-3 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, which moved Phoenix past the Dallas Stars into the second wild-card spot for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference.
Tippett warned against expectations of instant chemistry.
"Let's get the line out there, see how they work out," he said. "Obviously they understand each other and understand how they play. But sometimes it takes a while to get going."
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 2:21 PM
OTTAWA -- If center Steven Stamkos isn't all the way back to the condition he was in before his broken leg, the Tampa Bay Lightning are just fine with what he has delivered through his first seven games back in the lineup, especially the past four.
Stamkos and the Lightning are in fine form as they prepare to play the second game on their three-game road trip Thursday against the Ottawa Senators.
Tampa Bay, which has 13 games remaining, has ridden a four-game winning streak to a tie for second place in the Atlantic Division with the Montreal Canadiens. Each has 83 points and the Lightning have a game in hand.
Stamkos had a natural hat trick Wednesday in a 5-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 2:06 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- Looking for a way to enliven his team's offense, Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff will use rookie right wing Alex Chiasson on the top line alongside center Tyler Seguin and left wing Jamie Benn on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Chiasson has 12 goals and 29 points in 65 games, but two of those goals have come in the past four games.
"He competes, he drives to the net hard, he's standing in front," Seguin said of Chiasson. "Playing against teams like Philly, you need to be competing, you need to be battling, you need to be getting into the dirty areas, and Chiasson does that."
It won't be the first time Ruff has put Chiasson with Seguin and Benn.
"We've tried a couple times throughout the year," Chiasson said, "and to be honest it hasn't worked really well. Let's hope that [Thursday] maybe something changes.
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 1:53 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will start in consecutive games for the first time since being traded to the Minnesota Wild on March 4.
Bryzgalov, who started his NHL season late after agreeing to a one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilerson Nov. 8, will get the start Thursday against the New Jersey Devils after stopping 36 shots in a 6-0 shutout of the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
"That's kind of our guideline. When a goalie has a shutout we like to come back with him," Wild coach Mike Yeo said after practice. "I just thought he was very good in that game, especially early in the game. All game long he had a very calming presence in the net and he looked big. We want to give him a chance to get back at it and see if he can continue that."
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 1:38 PM
MONTREAL -- Forward RJ Umberger will be a healthy scratch for the Columbus Blue Jackets when they face the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday.
In his six seasons with the Blue Jackets Umberger has missed five games to injury and never has been a healthy scratch.
Coach Todd Richards said the main motivation was to get speedy left wing Cam Atkinson into the lineup after he was scratched in a 3-1 loss at home to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.
But he also added the decision had something to do with Umberger's play.
"He's been OK but I think there's more," Richards said. "I think he can be better."
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 1:30 PM
The road toward what they hope is a 23rd consecutive berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs doesn't get any easier for the Detroit Red Wings.
Two nights after pulling out a key 3-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Red Wings return to action Thursday against the Metropolitan Division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).
"They're very similar to Chicago with the skill they have and the success they have on the power play," Red Wings forward Drew Miller told MLive.com. "We just got to stay true to our system and play strong and count on [goalie Jimmy Howard] to make saves and block shots around him too."
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 12:18 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur isn't sure what type of reception former teammate Zach Parise will receive when the Minnesota Wild play Thursday at Prudential Center.
He acknowledged that while the decision by the former Devils captain to sign a lucrative offer with the Wild in the summer of 2012 strictly was business, it also affected the Devils "in a big way."
"Hockey players have different views than the fans, but that's expected," Brodeur said. "The fans for sure are not pleased with his decision to leave us, especially being the captain. The only drawback being he went back home to Minnesota. Some fans are sensitive to that and they'll understand.
"But it affected our organization in a big way … losing him. That's what the fans care about. Us, we know it's part of the business. We had plenty of chances, two years, to talk to him to try and figure something out. We waited and waited and it was too late."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 7:05 PM
CHICAGO -- Forward Brandon Saad will not play for the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues at United Center.
The Blackhawks are hoping Saad, who missed a 3-2 overtime loss Tuesday at the Philadelphia Flyers with an undisclosed upper-body injury, could play Friday here against the Carolina Hurricanes.
"See how he is [Thursday]," coach Joel Quenneville said prior to puck drop against St. Louis. "Good chance [he returns] by the weekend. Fingers crossed for Friday."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 4:12 PM
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev could miss the rest of the season with a broken finger from blocking a Steven Stamkos shot against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.
"Probably 3-4 weeks,” coach John Tortorella said of the timeline for Tanev to return.
Vancouver has three-and-a-half weeks left in the regular season and heads into its game Wednesday against the Nashville Predators trailing the Phoenix Coyotes by five points for the second Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Canucks may need to win 10 of their final 11 games to have a chance at the playoffs but have four wins in their past 18 games.
"We certainly need to get a streak going or we're done," Tortorella said. "But let's just worry about starting one against Nashville."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 2:54 PM
WINNIPEG -- The injury-plagued Winnipeg Jets will attempt to pull themselves back into contention for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they host the Colorado Avalanche at MTS Centre.
After a 6-3 road loss Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens, the Avalanche made the journey to Winnipeg. They did not hold a morning skate after arriving early Wednesday.
Colorado is 4-3-0 in the second game played on consecutive days, but the Jets don't see the Avalanche's schedule factoring too greatly into their matchup Wednesday night.
"You can't expect a team to be a little slower or a little tired when they have back-to-back games," said Jets center Bryan Little, whose team is 3-4-0 against teams playing for the second time in 24 hours.
Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 1:43 PM
TORONTO -- The Tampa Bay Lightning head into their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday riding a three-game winning streak. The Lightning are in the midst of a battle for the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Maple Leafs and sit one point ahead of them in the Atlantic Division.
"You definitely find yourself scoreboard watching a little more now with how tight it is, especially in our division," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "You want to try to finish as high as you can to get into maybe some home-ice advantage or play a team maybe other than Boston or Pittsburgh."
The Lightning continuing their winning streak will be tricky to do against the Maple Leafs. Toronto has beaten Tampa Bay in two games this season but heads into Wednesday losers of two in a row.
"Hopefully we can take advantage of a team coming off a pretty tough road trip playing against some pretty big teams that played last night," Stamkos said. "It works both ways, sometimes you get the benefit of the schedule, sometimes you don't. We've got to start early. These guys have had our number over the past couple years."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 7:13 PM
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have two key forwards back in the lineup against the Dallas Stars at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday.
Forwards Chris Kunitz (lower body) and James Neal (concussion), who missed Pittsburgh's past two games, returned to their normal positions during the Penguins' morning skate Tuesday and will return. Kunitz skated at left wing alongside forwards Sidney Crosby and Lee Stempniak while Neal returned to second-line right wing next to forwards Evgeni Malkin and Jussi Jokinen.
Neal and Kunitz also resumed their usual roles on the top power-play unit with Crosby, Malkin and defenseman Matt Niskanen. Kunitz rotated with Jokinen in front of the net on the power play.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 6:58 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Goaltender Chad Johnson will start against the New Jersey Devils when he leads the Boston Bruins onto the ice Tuesday at Prudential Center.
Johnson is 14-3-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average, one shutout and a .921 save percentage this season. He is 8-0-1 in his past nine starts and has won his past three, including a 30-save, 5-1 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 15.
Tuukka Rask, who is coming off a 33-save, 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Wild on Monday at TD Garden in Boston, has won six straight and is 10-3-2 in his past 15 starts. The 27-year-old Finn is three wins from career win No. 100.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 5:19 PM
SAN JOSE -- Goaltender Antti Niemi, coming off a 1-0 shutout against the New York Rangers, will make his third straight start Tuesday night when the surging San Jose Sharks face the Florida Panthers at SAP Center.
The Sharks have won six straight games and Niemi has gone 5-0-0 during that stretch. He made 41 saves Sunday against the Rangers in arguably his best game of the season.
"It gives you lots of confidence, but it's a new game and you've got to refocus," Niemi said after the Sharks' morning skate.
"I've felt really good ever since the (Olympic) break. I feel very good in practice. I'm seeing the puck well. So I feel pretty good. It's a long season, so there's ups and downs, but overall I'm pretty happy where I'm at."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 3:54 PM
ANAHEIM -- Stephane Robidas has played 871 regular-season games in the NHL, but he'll have some butterflies for No. 872.
The defenseman is expected to make his Anaheim Ducks debut Tuesday against the Washington Capitals at Honda Center. Robidas was partnered with Bryan Allen in the morning skate.
"I think the main thing is [that] I've got to keep everything really simple," Robidas said. "It's a new team for me. It's the first time in a while, so there's a lot of things going on for me [Tuesday]. But I'm very excited. I've been waiting for that moment for a long time. I'm a little nervous, but at the same time I'm excited, so it's good."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 3:39 PM
CALGARY -- Buffalo Sabres goaltender Nathan Lieuwen should feel right at home at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Lieuwen will make his first NHL start Tuesday against the Calgary Flames in the same building he made his junior debut for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League as a 16-year-old almost seven years ago. The 6-foot-5, 186-pound goalie played his first junior game with the Ice against the Calgary Hitmen, stopping 28 of 33 shots in a 5-1 loss Sept. 24, 2007.
He'll look for a more favorable first start with the Sabres.
"This is a great place [for him]," Sabres coach Ted Nolan said. "He sees the Hitmen here. He's played in this rink before. He's played in the West before. It's a good place to have his NHL debut as a starter."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 3:36 PM
EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom had an opportunity to dip his toes in the water before taking the plunge in front of the hometown crowd.
Kelfbom made his NHL debut during a recent four-game road trip and will play his first game at Rexall Place on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.
"It's been a very fun last couple of weeks," Klefbom said. "I haven't played a game here, but hopefully [Tuesday] will be a huge night for me and my career. I'm looking forward to it."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 3:17 PM
CALGARY -- Calgary Flames center Matt Stajan is ready to take a step forward.
The Flames will welcome Stajan back into the lineup Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres after he missed the past eight games to be with his wife, Katie, following the loss of newborn son Emerson on March 3.
"Obviously you realize what the most important things are in life, and that's family," Stajan said following practice Monday, his first with teammates since leaving the club. "This is like my second family coming here. Everybody's been so great and helpful.
"Going on the ice, it's a nice place for any player to get skating and clear the mind. It's been refreshing the last couple days on my own skating. And to get back on the ice skating, it's another step. It's exciting for me to move forward here.
"I want to play. You've got to keep taking steps forward. I want to get right back into game action. That's what hockey players want to do. That's the plan and I'm excited to get right back at it."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 2:11 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- It's been nearly four years since his Stanley Cup-winning goal here at Wells Fargo Center, but for Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane there's still something magical about coming to Philadelphia.
"Kind of cool to be back and remember what happened," Kane said after the Blackhawks' morning skate, which featured a toned-down re-creation of his goal celebration after he scored in overtime of Game 6 of the 2010 Cup Final. "It was a long time ago, but feels like it was just yesterday."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 1:57 PM
Since being traded from the New York Islanders to the Buffalo Sabres along with two draft picks in exchange for forward Thomas Vanek more than four months ago, plenty has happened to Minnesota Wild forward Matt Moulson.
But one thing Moulson hasn't done is play against the team with whom he spent four successful seasons. That changes Tuesday when Moulson returns to Nassau Coliseum to take on the Islanders with the Wild, who acquired him from Buffalo at the NHL Trade Deadline along with forward Cody McCormick for draft picks and forward Torrey Mitchell.
"A little weird. I've never been in the visiting room here. It's exciting but an important game for us. We need two points on this trip and to get some wins here," Moulson said after practice Tuesday.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 1:44 PM
Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader will miss two weeks after cutting his leg against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, the latest addition to a season-long list of walking wounded for the club.
Forward Todd Bertuzzi could return to the lineup after dealing with a lower-body injury. But in the most compelling testament to how depleted Detroit's lineup is, coach Mike Babcock has decided to move defenseman Brendan Smith to left wing in an effort to jump-start the offense when the Red Wings host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
"Why? Because I think it gives us the best chance to win," Babcock said. "With the amount of injuries we have, we feel that gives us the best opportunities."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 1:40 PM
COLUMBUS -- Looking for a spark after losing nine of the past 12 games and falling behind in the Stanley Cup Playoffs chase, Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller scrambled the lines for his team's game Tuesday at the Columbus Blue Jackets and put the Staal brothers together.
Based on the morning skate, center Jordan Staal will have older brother Eric Staal to his left and Alexander Semin on his right.
Muller said he has paired the Staals on a few occasions this season, most recently during a 5-4 loss March 8 to the New Jersey Devils.
"The three times they have been together there's been some signs of success," Muller said. "I figure we have to have a little bit of a different look and put the onus on our top guys and throw them together.
"Three guys like that on a line should get some production and lead the charge."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 1:32 PM
MONTREAL -- The Colorado Avalanche will welcome forward Paul Stastny back into the lineup Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens.
Stastny missed four games with a back injury but was centering the second line with Nathan MacKinnonand Gabriel Landeskog at the morning skate.
"I feel good," Stastny said. "It's been a week now and I've felt better every day. I wouldn't put myself in jeopardy for any reason. I'm feeling good and now it's just a coach's decision."
Roy did not speak to reporters after holding a half-hour press conference Monday to discuss his first game as an NHL coach in Montreal, but an Avalanche spokesman confirmed Stastny will be in the lineup.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 1:31 PM
OTTAWA -- Goaltender Robin Lehner will make his third start in a row for the Ottawa Senators against theNew York Rangers on Tuesday with Craig Anderson still sidelined by an upper-body injury.
Ottawa is winless in its past three, a skid that began eight days ago with a 4-3 overtime loss against theNashville Predators. Anderson was hurt by defenseman Shea Weber's slap shot to his left shoulder but remained in the game. He left in the third period after a collision with teammate Milan Michalek.
"He practiced [Tuesday], which is very positive, but he's not going to play [Tuesday night]. He's not going to dress [Tuesday night]," Senators coach Paul MacLean said of Anderson. "I was encouraged by the fact he was on the ice."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.18.2014 / 12:30 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils begin a critical five-game homestand at Prudential Center on Tuesday against the best team in the Eastern Conference.
The Boston Bruins not only enter the game having won nine straight, but have limited the opposition to two or fewer goals in eight of those games. They sport an impressive plus-72 goal differential and rank third in the NHL with a 3.19 goals-per-game average and second with a 2.12 goals-against average.
"We know they are good; I don't need to look at the goal differential to know they are a good hockey team," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "We see where they are in the standings. We look at the success they've had and see their roster. They are a good team and it'll be a good test."
Martin Brodeur, who likely will start in goal for the Devils, is 25-22-10 with a 2.58 GAA, four shutouts and .908 save percentage in 59 career games against the Bruins.
Posted On Monday, 03.17.2014 / 3:13 PM
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Two straight one-goal losses have prompted the Los Angeles Kings to tweak their lineup.
It appears that defenseman Matt Greene will be inserted Monday against the Phoenix Coyotes (10:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-CA). Greene came off with the regulars at the morning skate while defenseman Jake Muzzin stayed out as an extra with captain Dustin Brown, although Muzzin took rushes with usual partner Drew Doughty and others.
Greene has been scratched in eight straight games and last played Feb. 26 as coach Darryl Sutter opted for the more offensive-minded Alec Martinez. Greene would give Los Angeles another physical element and another player to use on the penalty kill.
Muzzin has struggled with consistency and had at least one costly lapse Saturday when Anaheim Ducks forward Matt Beleskey spun past him to begin a possession that led to a goal in a 2-1 loss.
Posted On Monday, 03.17.2014 / 2:34 PM
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues' mantra has been when one player steps out, another steps in and fills the void.
That's the present situation facing the team after learning Sunday that forward Vladimir Tarasenko will miss six weeks after injuring his right hand Saturday against the Nashville Predators.
Tarasenko will have surgery Wednesday; he'll miss the rest of the regular season and a portion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"We've got good depth. That's one thing that's going to help us, but it [stinks] losing a guy like him," Blues forward Jaden Schwartz said of Tarasenko. "He's been playing real well this year. He's always an offensive threat. We've done it before. Guys are going to have to step up and play more minutes. We haven't had a problem yet and we know we've got the guys who can do it.
"I was surprised. I knew he was hurting after the game but you don't know how serious it is until you hear the news. ...We'll miss him for sure."
Posted On Monday, 03.17.2014 / 1:07 PM
BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk will not play Monday against the Minnesota Wild (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2) because of a lower-body injury.
Boychuk went feet-first into the end wall in the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. He returned to the game but wasn't able to take part in the morning skate with the Bruins on Monday.
"He didn't skate this morning because he can't," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Right now he's too sore, so he's day-to-day. It's from obviously the incident [Saturday], and so he couldn't skate this morning. He came in early and we tried to see if he could and he couldn't."
Boychuk has three goals, 20 points and a plus-30 rating in 63 games.
Posted On Monday, 03.17.2014 / 1:03 PM
TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning finish a six-game homestand Monday when they host the Vancouver Canucks.
The Lightning have gathered six of a possible 10 points and won their past two games after starting the stretch with a 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
"We've had a pretty good homestand and we can turn a pretty good homestand into a great homestand with a win [Monday]," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "That's what this is."
The game Monday will feature a reunion of the 2003-04 Lightning team that won the Stanley Cup, and 14 members of that team have returned. Also on hand is that team's coach, John Tortorella, with his new team, the Vancouver Canucks. All that commotion has not gone unnoticed by the current Lightning coach.
Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 6:55 PM
BUFFALO -- Montreal Canadiens forward Thomas Vanek made his return here Saturday, while a member of his third team this season.
Vanek was traded by the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 27 to the New York Islanders for Matt Moulson, a first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in 2015.
Making his first trip back to the city he called home for more than eight seasons was a bit strange.
"I don't know what to expect really," Vanek said. "All I know is there are a lot of good feelings and good memories in this building (First Niagara Center), in this town. It's something I'll cherish forever. Since last time I was here and the stint in between Montreal, guys ask me about Buffalo, I just, there's nothing bad I can really say about it."
Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 6:10 PM
CHICAGO -- The Detroit Red Wings were hoping to sneak up on the Chicago Blackhawks and steal a victory Sunday at United Center (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN2, NBCSN).
Instead, the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks (38-15-14) are searching for the smelling salt and their snarl after losing two straight games and falling to third in the Central Division.
"I wish they had won 10 in a row so they would be taking us lightly," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters in Detroit on Saturday. "They've dropped a couple in a row here and that's part of the business. Real good teams have some lulls in the season and then they usually get rolling again, and without question I'm sure they will."
Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 5:32 PM
BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres will be without goalie Michal Neuvirth when they face the Montreal Canadiens at First Niagara Center on Sunday night.
Sabres coach Ted Nolan announced Neuvirth would miss the game due to a lower-body injury. Neuvirth sustained the injury in his most-recent start, against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. He made 51 saves in a 4-2 loss.
"Michal got banged up the game he did play," Nolan said. "It's just one of those to add another to the injury list. It should be, hopefully, a day-to-day type thing. We'll see how it goes. We'll monitor it and get some therapy on it and hopefully it's just a day-to-day."
Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 4:48 PM
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators have an opportunity to put a crushing overtime loss behind them when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.
Ottawa gave up three goals to the Montreal Canadiens in the final 3:22 of regulation Saturday to blow a 4-1 lead. The Senators, who face an uphill climb to get into playoff contention, had to settle for one point after Montreal scored its fourth straight goal in overtime for a stunning 5-4 come-from-behind win.
Ottawa (28-25-13) is in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points, seven points out of the second and final wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 4:04 PM
NEW YORK -- San Jose Sharks forward Raffi Torres participated in warm-ups Sunday afternoon but will not return to the lineup against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Torres missed the first five months of the season after undergoing knee surgery during training camp. He had five points in five games after returning to the lineup, but recent soreness has forced the 32-year-old to miss his fourth straight game.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has been doing plenty of line juggling. When forward Martin St. Louiswas acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline from the Tampa Bay Lighting, the assumption was that he would seamlessly fit on a line with former Lightning teammate Brad Richards. When those two failed to provide consistent offense, Vigneault made some changes, opting to put St. Louis on a line with forward Mats Zuccarello and center Derick Brassard.
Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 3:50 PM
WINNIPEG -- The Dallas Stars have an opportunity to gain more ground on the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday at MTS Centre.
The Stars hold the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference in their bid to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008. Dallas owns a six-point advantage on Winnipeg and two games in hand when they begin a three-game road trip this week.
"It seems like every game is desperation time for us [and] for [Winnipeg]," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said after the morning skate. "We realize as a team where [Winnipeg is] at, and I think they look at this game as do-or-die and a chance to move up against a team that is in a playoff spot."
The Stars expect to have center Cody Eakin back in the lineup. Eakin missed the Stars' 4-3 shootout loss at home against the Calgary Flames on Friday with a lower-body injury.
Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 2:47 PM
WASHINGTON -- Scoring at even strength has not been one of the Washington Capitals' strong suits this season.
In 68 games, the Capitals have scored 117 goals 5-on-5, 19th in the NHL, and their top six has done little to boost those numbers as of late.
Since returning from the League's two-week break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Washington's top-six forwards, recently consisting of Brooks Laich, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, Dustin Penner, Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer, have scored five 5-on-5 goals among them in nine games.
Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 1:14 PM
BUFFALO – The Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens could each be without their starting goalies when they face off Sunday night.
The Canadiens will be without starter Carey Price after he made his first start since returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.
Montreal came back from down 4-1 in the final 5:00 of the game to beat Ottawa 5-4 in overtime. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien announced after the game that Price wouldn't make the trip to Buffalo so he could stay rested.
With Price not on the trip, Peter Budaj will likely get the start against the Sabres and Dustin Tokarski will back him up.
Posted On Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 12:18 PM
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz will miss his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury Sunday afternoon when the Penguins host the Philadelphia Flyers (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN2) in the back end of a home-and-home series.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Kunitz, who normally plays left wing on the top line, is "feeling well, but not well enough to be in today's lineup" at Consol Energy Center. Kunitz seemed to injure his leg during a game against the Washington Capitals on March 11 after colliding with a goal post in the third period.
Kunitz struggled to skate to the bench, but finished the game on the top line after taking one shift on the fourth line.
Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 4:09 PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek was unable to take part in the morning skate but coach Dave Tippett is hoping he will be able to play against the Calgary Flames on Saturday .
"If he can find a way to play, he'll play," Tippett said
Michalek took a shot off the lower body in a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. With David Schlemko in a walking boot after blocking a shot last week, the Coyotes will play rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley against the Flames if Michalek can't.
Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 3:29 PM
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings might not have goalie Jonathan Quick or captain Dustin Brown for a Pacific Division game Saturday against the rival Anaheim Ducks.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said he did not know if Quick would be available until game time. Quick and Brown are ill and did not skate Friday or Saturday morning. Sutter wasn’t sure if Quick would be able to backup Martin Jones.
Asked if an emergency goaltender would have to be called, Sutter said, “Billy Ranford,” a joking reference to Kings goaltending coach and former NHL goalie Bill Ranford.
Brown spoke to reporters long after the morning skate.
"Just kind of play it by ear," Brown said. "Back to square one, really. I stayed in later for treatment, and I’ll see how I feel later."
Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 3:04 PM
The Buffalo Sabres recalled defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen mus from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Saturday and he will take the place of Tyler Myers against the New York Islanders.
Myers sustained an upper-body injury Friday in a 4-2 road loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Defenseman Alexander Sulzer also was injured following a hit from Jiri Tlusty and will be out at least a week.
Ristolainen was the Sabres' first-round selection (No. 8) in the 2013 NHL Draft. It will be his first NHL action since Nov. 16.
Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 2:31 PM
MONTREAL -- The Ottawa Senators have a long road ahead if they hope to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first step on that journey comes Saturday at Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Senators are 12th in the Eastern Conference standings with 16 games to play, and have one win in their past four (1-2-1).
"If we can have a full team effort, it will sort itself out," said Senators goaltender Robin Lehner, who will start in place of the injured Craig Anderson. "We've got to have some desperation. We can't be laid back."
Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 2:16 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin is expected back in the lineup Saturday against the Minnesota Wild.
Tyutin has missed the past nine games after sustaining an ankle injury while playing for Russia in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
"There's always a lot of excitement when you miss a lot of time," Tyutin said. "You get back with the team, in that team atmosphere. It's nice."
Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 1:53 PM
NASHVILLE -- Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has not played in back-to-back games since sitting out more than four months with a hip infection. But he said he felt good enough Saturday to play against the St. Louis Blues at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville did not conduct a morning skate after getting in late following a 3-2 road win Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Predators coach Barry Trotz said after a team meeting that he had decided which goalie would start but did not want to make the decision public. Trotz said he had not spoken to Rinne at that point.
Rinne, asked if he felt healthy enough to play in consecutive nights, replied, "Absolutely."
"No issues," he said. "I think now I've had enough time to get back in kind of the game shape and all that, so I feel really good."
Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 1:26 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without forward Chris Kunitz when they open a home-and-home weekend set against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday at Wells Fargo Center.
Kunitz sat out practice after sustaining a lower-body injury in the third period of the Penguins' 2-0 win Tuesday against the Washington Capitals. He skated Friday but was ruled unavailable Saturday.
Replacing Kunitz will be Taylor Pyatt, who will skate alongside center Sidney Crosby and right wing Lee Stempniak.
The Penguins also are without forward James Neal, who this week was ruled out indefinitely because of a concussion.
Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 12:11 PM
TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning continue their six-game homestand Saturday when they host the New Jersey Devils.
Although New Jersey is coming off a 5-3 loss Friday against the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper doesn't have any doubts about what kind of team he'll be facing.
"New Jersey does such a good job of playing defense and keeping the puck out of the net. It's tough to break through and score against these guys," Cooper said. "I look at the score last night and they gave up five goals and it's like an eye-opener, and then I think, 'Why couldn't they have given up five against us?' That doesn't happen that often and they have world-class goaltending in there and they have a system in place and they know how to play."
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 4:14 PM
DENVER -- Teemu Selanne will be playing a new position on a new line when the Anaheim Ducks play the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Friday and try to end a four-game losing streak.
It's been a struggle at times for Selanne, 43, who is in his 21st and what he has said will be his final NHL season. A right wing throughout his career, Selanne will be at left wing on the Ducks' first line with center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry.
"It's OK," Selanne said of the position change. "When you've played your whole career on the right side, I'll just have to stay focused when we're coming out of our end and come back on the left side. It shouldn't be a problem."
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 2:38 PM
WINNIPEG -- The New York Rangers need points to tighten their grip on a Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Eastern Conference spot while the Winnipeg Jets simply need points to remain in contention in the Western Conference.
The teams play at MTS Centre on Friday looking to halt recent skids.
The Rangers arrived after a 2-1 road loss against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday needing to improve on a 4-5-1 record in their past 10 games. This game will end a three-game road trip that is 0-2-0 so far.
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 2:24 PM
The Detroit Red Wings have lost four of five in March, scoring six goals in those four losses. They're also entering a crucial stretch in which 13 of their final 17 games will be against teams that occupied a Stanley Cup Playoff spot entering play Friday.
So a visit from the Edmonton Oilers, against whom the Red Wings have gone 11-0-1 since the start of the 2010-11 season, might be a good way to break out of that slump. But the Red Wings are not taking their opponent likely, especially with the Oilers posting a 3-2-1 record in March.
"It doesn't matter who you're playing, you can't take a night off. In today's day and age in the NHL anyone can beat anyone on any given night. You have to get ready and prepared the same way no matter who you're playing," goaltender Jimmy Howard told MLive.com. "We have got to win games. There's nothing else you can say."
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 2:21 PM
DALLAS -- In what already has been an eventful week for the Dallas Stars, coach Lindy Ruff now has injuries to two centers to contend with in advance of a game Friday against the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center.
Cody Eakin and Shawn Horcoff are out after being struck by pucks earlier in the week. Eakin's injury occurred during a 3-2 overtime win at the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, and Horcoff was injured in practice Thursday.
"Both won't play," Ruff said. "[Eakin] is day-to-day. Hopefully he'll play in Winnipeg [on Sunday]. Shawn might be a little bit longer."
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 2:12 PM
CHICAGO -- Forward Marian Hossa is close to returning from an upper-body injury for the Chicago Blackhawks, who are looking to get hot during the stretch run of the regular season.
Hossa participated in the morning skate Friday at United Center prior to their game against the Nashville Predators and hopes to return to the lineup Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings or Tuesday at the Philadelphia Flyers.
"Hopefully it's one of those two games," Hossa said. "You're never happy when something like this happens but it's part of our sport. You want to be back right away but it takes some time. Hopefully the time will come in those two games, Philly or Detroit, and I'll be back."
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 1:51 PM
DALLAS -- Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen faced shots from teammates during the morning skate in advance of the game Friday against the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center.
It was the first time Lehtonen faced shots since sustaining a concussion in the third period of a 4-3 win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 1:45 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- For Cory Schneider, facing Roberto Luongo is nothing new. But there's a different twist to their third goaltending battle of the season.
Nine months after they were teammates with the Vancouver Canucks, Friday will mark their first game as opponents in a game that doesn't involve the Canucks. Schneider will be starting for the New Jersey Devils, Luongo for the Florida Panthers.
"It's the third time I've played him this year. I think it's the most I've played any other goalie this year," Schneider said after the Devils' optional skate. "It's becoming old news. Maybe we'll become good rivals. Who knows?"
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 1:34 PM
Forward Johan Sundstrom, who was called up Thursday from Bridgeport of the American Hockey League, and defenseman Kevin Czuczman, who was signed Tuesday after completing his season with Lake Superior State University, each skated with the New York Islanders on Friday.
Sundstrom will make his NHL debut Friday when the Islanders host the San Jose Sharks.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano said Czuczman would play his first game for the Islanders soon. Sundstrom skated on the right wing during practice, alongside Casey Cizikas and Mike Halmo.
"I am very excited," Sundstrom told the Islanders website. "This is why you work so hard every day. Now I have an opportunity here so I am happy to be here and I'll hopefully get some points. I try to be a solid two-way player. I like to be physical and shoot the puck and skate a lot."
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 12:38 PM
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals are winless in five of their past six games (1-4-1) and struggling in several key areas at a time when they can't afford to do so.
One area of particular concern is the faceoff circle, where the Capitals have won 133 of 333 draws (39.9 percent) during their recent skid, well below their 48.9 percent season average.
Beginning Friday against the Vancouver Canucks, seven of Washington's next nine games are against teams ranked among the top 10 in faceoff percentage in the NHL, including five against the top five.
"I've been struggling the last couple games in the faceoff circle," said center Nicklas Backstrom, who has won about 47 of his faceoffs over his past six games. "You want to be better at it because it helps get puck possession right away."
Posted On Friday, 03.14.2014 / 12:21 PM
Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler has a sprained knee and is out "at least a couple of weeks," coach John Tortorella said Friday.
Kesler left a 3-2 shootout win against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday after sustaining the injury in a knee-on-knee collision with Jets forward Jim Slater late in the second period.
"Nothing we can do about that. Upside is that it gives others an opportunity," Tortorella said.
Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 3:27 PM
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings used to have the luxury of a legitimate No.1 goalie as a backup to Jonathan Quick. On Thursday night, they will see that goalie at the other end of the ice.
Jonathan Bernier is expected to make his first appearance at Staples Center since he was traded from the Kings to the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer.
"I think anytime you play a team that you previously played for -- I never experienced it, but the type of environment coming back [is intense]," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "The best example is probably [Robyn Regehr returning to Calgary] a couple of weeks ago. It's always extra motivation for those guys."
Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 2:10 PM
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues certainly were busy at the NHL Trade Deadline with the additions of goalie Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott from the Buffalo Sabres. But it's also not often a team can add a versatile player like forward Vladimir Sobotka to their lineup.
Sobotka, who missed 12 games dating back to Jan. 31 with a fractured left kneecap, will return to the lineup when the Blues (44-14-7) host the Edmonton Oilers (23-35-8) Thursday night.
"I've been cleared by doctors on Monday and I tried to push more every practice," said Sobotka, who has seven goals and 25 points in 46 games. "I feel good so I'm going to be playing tonight.
"It's been a long break for me. It's been probably six weeks right now, and it's been a tough injury for me. I'm excited to be back."
Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 2:00 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Entering the stretch run of the regular season, Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo said Thursday he's not ready to settle in on a group of six defensemen.
Yeo has a solid top four, with Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon playing or even exceeding 30 minutes a night, and a second pairing of Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella. But when it comes to his bottom pairing, Yeo isn't ready to commit.
Instead, the Wild will continue to play musical chairs, which is what Yeo has done since returning from the break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Against the New York Rangers on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center, it's Nate Prosser's turn to sit in the press box. Clayton Stoner, who sat Tuesday, will be paired with Keith Ballard, who was a healthy scratch Sunday.
"We said we were going to go through this rotation a couple of times here and just kind of re-evaluate it after that," Yeo said.
Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 1:37 PM
COLUMBUS -- Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards already needed to replace right wing Blake Comeau because of a suspension. But they will also be without their second-leading goal scorer, Artem Anisimov, Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.
The center missed the morning skate to be with his wife, Ksenia Anisimova, for the birth of their first child. The Columbus Dispatch reported the baby was born Thursday and Anisimov will miss the game.
"Arte's got something more important going on right now than playing hockey," Richards said. "We're assuming he's not going to be in the lineup tonight."
Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 1:32 PM
TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to snap their five-game losing streak when they meet the Florida Panthers on Thursday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Lightning have picked up four points since the NHL stopped for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and one thing is certain for Tampa Bay.
"We're running out of games," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
Calling the game against the Panthers "a pivotal one," Cooper said he doesn't expect it to be easy.
"Florida, realistically, won't make the [Stanley Cup Playoffs], but look at their starting lineup tonight compared to the team we play on Oct. 27 (a 4-3 shootout win). I think there are eight different forwards playing," Cooper said. "But the guys that are playing are fighting for contracts and for jobs, not only for this year but for next year. These guys will be flying; they are hungry hockey players. As hungry as we are, wanting to stay in our playoff spot, these guys are hungry because they want to make sure they are on the Florida Panthers next year. The battle level will be intense."
Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 1:00 PM
Phoenix Coyotes forward Martin Erat, who was traded from the Washington Capitals prior to the NHL Trade Deadline after struggling to find a good fit in D.C., was injured after four shifts in Phoenix's road win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
He was ruled out by coach Dave Tippett for the game against the Boston Bruins on Thursday at TD Garden. General manager Don Maloney told the Arizona Republic he hopes to have Erat back in the lineup within a week.
Posted On Thursday, 03.13.2014 / 12:54 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan said defenseman Alexander Sulzer will return to the lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes after missing two games with a lower-body injury.
Goaltender Michal Neuvirth will make his second start since being acquired from the Washington Capitals on March 5.
After putting the Sabres through skating drills and addressing their work ethic in practice Wednesday, Nolan made a point of saying he is not down on the team.
"They're not bad. They're not tanking," he said. "It was designed to remind them that we have to work every day. Whether we're in first place or last place, it doesn't matter. It's how you prepare yourself."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 3:49 PM
DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy was skeptical that rookie goalie Antti Raanta, rather than Corey Crawford, would start Wednesday for the Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center.
"We'll see at game time," Roy said after the morning skate.
Raanta will make his first start since Jan. 28 with second place in the Central Division on the line. Chicago (38-13-14) has a one-point lead (90-89) on third-place Colorado (42-18-5) and each team has 17 games remaining.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville decided on Raanta because Crawford has struggled against the Avalanche, who went 3-1-0 in the first four games between the teams this season. But Quenneville said Crawford would play if the teams meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"I think we've played some big games against them this year. We don't like our record and we're making a change," Quenneville said. "[Raanta] has played well for us all year. He hasn't played in a bit. We want to get him in here and we're giving him a big stage here as well. We're confident he can get the job done. He's had some big stretches. He was the guy for us and really put us in a good spot when [Crawford] was hurt. It'll definitely be a good measuring stick for him."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 3:44 PM
CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames will have forward Curtis Glencross in the lineup when they play the Anaheim Ducks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.
Glencross hasn't played since sustaining a high ankle sprain in the first minute of a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 21, a span of 29 games.
"Anytime you come back you want to start right back up where you left off," Glencross said. "Things were just starting to get rolling again when I got hurt there in Pittsburgh. Hopefully it doesn't take too long to get back the timing. Hopefully we can get the bugs out of the way early and hopefully get better and better as we go on."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 2:08 PM
WINNIPEG -- Two desperate teams play Wednesday at MTS Centre when the Winnipeg Jets host the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks arrived Tuesday off a 7-4 home loss against the New York Islanders when they surrendered a 3-0 lead and allowed seven third-period goals.
The Canucks will not have any time to dwell on the loss when they attempt to stay in the Western Conference race for a wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Canucks and Jets sit at 68 points, six points behind the Dallas Stars for the second wild-card spot. The Jets hold a game in hand on the Canucks. The Phoenix Coyotes, who have 73 points, also separate the Canucks and Jets from Dallas.
The Canucks opted to not hold a morning skate Wednesday. Canucks forward Zack Kassian will serve the final of his three-game suspension for his hit on Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon on March 6.
A four-game losing streak (0-2-2) has put the Jets in a desperate situation and undone some of the progress of an 11-3-1 run after coach Paul Maurice replaced Claude Noel on Jan. 12.
"We need both points right now," center Bryan Little said of the Jets, who lost 3-2 in overtime Monday at the Colorado Avalanche. "The teams that we are chasing are playing well and winning games. You look at the standings and they're starting to get a bit of a gap on us. Every game is big and we need two points."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 1:26 PM
MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien made a questionable lineup call the prior time his team played the Boston Bruins and it worked out well.
He appears to be doing the same thing Wednesday.
When the Canadiens played the Bruins in Boston on Jan. 30, Therrien decided to sit goalie Carey Price and start Peter Budaj. The result was a 4-1 win, with Budaj making 34 saves.
Budaj will start Wednesday against the Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS) because Price has a lower-body injury. Left wing Rene Bourque will be a healthy scratch with the return from injury of Brandon Prust.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 7:09 PM
COLUMBUS -- Goaltender Jimmy Howard was a late scratch for the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets because of the flu. Backup Petr Mrazek will start because Jonas Gustavsson is out with a neck injury.
Mrazek is 1-3-0 in seven games with a 1.64 goals against average. His last NHL game was Jan. 20. Howard dressed as his backup.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 5:41 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers have recalled forward Chris VandeVelde from Adirondack of the American Hockey League, and he'll play Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.
VandeVelde will replace Zac Rinaldo on the fourth line, where he'll play left wing alongside center Michael Raffl and right wing Adam Hall. He is also likely to see time on the penalty kill. The Flyers announced Rinaldo is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
In 17 NHL games this season, VandeVelde has one assist, a minus-3 rating and eight shots on goal. In 39 AHL games, he has nine goals and 14 assists.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 5:40 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- For New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer, no player needed the break during the 2014 Sochi Olympics more than center Adam Henrique.
Whatever Henrique did certainly is paying dividends now. He has at least a goal in all six games since play resumed, an NHL-best nine goals since the break ended, and his 11 points are tied with Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen for most in the League.
Henrique's six-game goal streak has tied a Devils record, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first Devils player since John MacLean in December 1988 to score at least nine goals in a six-game span.
"I think we probably overplayed some people, including him, the first half of the year, dealing with injuries and some things," DeBoer said. "I think he got a little bit fatigued. I think the break helped him as much or more than anybody recharge and come back with a little more jump, which has helped."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 5:02 PM
SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks could be without forward Raffi Torres when they face the surging Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday in the finale of their three-game homestand at SAP Center.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Torres will be a game-time decision against Toronto.
Torres played his fifth game of the season Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens after being sidelined by right knee surgery until after the NHL break for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He wasn't on the ice Tuesday for an optional morning skate and didn't practice Monday.
"He's a little bit sore and it may be a night where he has to take off just to recuperate a little bit," McLellan said. "It's taxing on that body and on his legs. We may look at doing that tonight."
McLellan was asked if Torres' soreness was related to his knee surgery or just to playing hockey after a long layoff.
"A little bit of everything," he said.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 3:21 PM
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues understand it will be business as usual when they face the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. But there was obvious concern for Dallas forward Rich Peverley, who has a history of heart issues and collapsed on the bench Monday during the Stars' game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. As the teams prepared for an important Central Division game, it was clear that Peverley remained in everyone's thoughts.
"Our thoughts and prayers are for sure with Rich Peverley and his family," Blues captain David Backes said. "This is a game and it kind of puts things in perspective that there's life after this game. There's things that are bigger and more important. Hopefully he's recovering well and stable and can figure out whatever's going on so that maybe he can make it back. His health is the No. 1 concern.
"I'm sure those guys [the Stars] will have heavy hearts and thoughts. He's on our mind too. It's going to be a game when the puck drops and you try to compartmentalize that and go at it. ... It's on your minds and on your thoughts."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 2:07 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke will play in his 1,000th NHL game Tuesday when the Wild host the Edmonton Oilers (8 p.m. ET, TSN).
Cooke will become the 286th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000 games and the fourth to do it as a member of the Wild. Prior to the game, Cooke will receive a silver stick from the Wild and a crystal from NHL executive Jim Gregory.
"I never would have guessed it way back when I started this," Cooke, 35, said. "It's been a roller coaster at times, but I'm thankful for where I'm at. It's a big accomplishment for me."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 1:40 PM
COLUMBUS -- Knowing Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley is recovering after collapsing on the bench during their game Monday will help the Columbus Blue Jackets move on and prepare better for an important Eastern Conference game Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena.
"The show goes on, but the good thing is that Rich Peverley is doing OK," Columbus left wing Nick Foligno said.
The game in Dallas was halted with 13:37 to play in the first period when Peverley collapsed on the bench after his shift. He was carried to the hallway leading to the Dallas locker room where aid, including chest compressions and a defibrillator, were used. He then was transported to a hospital, where the Stars said he is in stable condition.
Columbus was leading 1-0 at the time on a Nathan Horton goal. The game was postponed and a decision about the remainder of the game is to be determined by the NHL.
Peverley had an offseason procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat and missed all of training camp and the first game of the season, Oct. 3 against the Florida Panthers. He also missed the Stars' game in Columbus on March 4 because he said he didn't feel well enough to fly and coach Lindy Ruff later said it was related to Peverley's heart condition.
Peverley returned to play the next two games.
"We were there," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "It's something different if you're distanced from it. Not that it doesn't affect you, because I think it affected everyone, but we were right in the middle of it."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 1:35 PM
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals did not participate in full practices Tuesday after playing the front end of their home-and-home at Verizon Center on Monday.
Washington, which did not run line drills during its optional morning skate Tuesday, will start goalie Jaroslav Halak for the second consecutive game (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2). Halak allowed three goals on 33 shots Monday.
The Capitals won't have forward Brooks Laich in the lineup. Laich has been bothered by a groin injury and didn't make the trip. They recalled forward Casey Wellman and defenseman Patrick Wey from the American Hockey League on Tuesday. Wellman, who has two goals and three points in 10 NHL games this season, will play Tuesday. Wey's status for the game is unknown.
Forward Evgeny Kuznetsov most likely will play after making his NHL debut Monday. Kuznetsov had two shots on goal in 10:22 of ice time and Capitals coach Adam Oates said he will try to ease him in after the game.
"I think we have to be patient and realistic about expectations because it's a foreign league for him," Oates said. "It's a foreign system. He's never played this way."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 1:19 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Looking for a third win in a row, the New York Rangers will make one change against the Carolina Hurricanes: forward Derek Dorsett will take Daniel Carcillo's spot in the lineup.
Dorsett has played in two of the past five games after missing 18 with a broken fibula sustained Jan. 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"They're both the same type of player," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "They bring energy, physicality. I just want to get Dorsett in. He's been out for a long time. He was playing on a regular basis before his injury. I just think we've got a lot of hockey coming up here and we need to put Dorsett in."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 12:51 PM
BUFFALO -- Defenseman Tyler Myers will be ready to play when the Buffalo Sabres host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Myers twisted his ankle late in the second period Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks in a board battle with forward Brandon Bollig. Though Myers went off the ice at the time and returned to play in the third period, he missed practice Monday.
"I'll be ready to go [Tuesday], no problem," Myers said. "I got tangled up with the heel of the guy in front of me. It ended up giving me a little bit of a twist. Luckily it wasn't serious and I'm feeling real good today."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.11.2014 / 12:40 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson's lower-body injury isn't as severe as the team feared, but Gudbranson will be out of the lineup for at least two weeks.
Gudbranson will miss the game against the Phoenix Coyotes at BB&T Center on Tuesday and will be joined on the sidelines by forward Jesse Winchester, who is out with a lower-body injury.
Gudbranson, the third pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, was injured in the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday when he collided with Bruins forward Brad Marchand near the Panthers blue line. The two appeared to bump knees and Gudbranson's leg appeared to bend awkwardly as he fell to the ice.
"The scans came back better than we anticipated," Panthers coach Peter Horachek said after the morning skate Tuesday. "I don't really have the exact timeline. We'll have to wait to see where it is, but in the short term we got good news with the scan [because we were] fearful that there was more than we thought."
Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 4:38 PM
DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny has a back injury and won't play Monday against the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center.
Stastny, who has 20 goals and 27 assists in 58 games, was injured on his first shift in the opening minute Saturday in the Avalanche's 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said he had "no idea" when Stastny would be available, but is hopeful he'll be able to play Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Stastny missed two games earlier this season because of back spasms.
Rookie Nathan MacKinnon moved from right wing to center against the Blues after Stastny was injured and he'll be there again Monday, on a line with left wing Gabriel Landeskog and right wing Jamie McGinn, who has moved from the third line.
Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 4:17 PM
ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks couldn't wait any longer for Peter Holland to grab hold of a center position in their lineup. Now they will get an up-close look how he has progressed.
Holland will play Anaheim on Monday night at Honda Center for the first time since the Ducks traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 16. He was the 15th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, but Holland couldn't carve out a spot in Anaheim's lineup after numerous training camps to prove he belonged there.
The Ducks were also deep at center, which didn't help, but Holland understands and looks forward to the game.
Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 4:12 PM
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella will tinker with his top line to find some needed offense against the New York Islanders on Monday.
In his second game since being called up from the American Hockey League on Friday, rookie right wing Nicklas Jensen will move up to play alongside center Henrik Sedin and left wing Alexandre Burrows. Given the lengthy scoring slumps of the other two first-line forwards, Jensen may be the one counted on to provide a spark.
Burrows has yet to score a goal in a season limited to 34 games by a variety of injuries, while Sedin doesn't have a point in 12 games and hasn't scored in 23 games. Jensen, a 21-year-old picked 29th in the 2011 NHL Draft, had nine goals in his past 14 AHL games before being held without a shot in 16:18 of ice time against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
"You need that as an organization to have young guys come in and get some minutes," Sedin said. "They play with a lot of excitement and energy. There are going to be some mistakes, but it's not like we've been mistake-free all the other nights either."
Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 3:39 PM
CALGARY -- The Los Angeles Kings hope to keep their post-Olympic roll going when they visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.
The Kings have won seven straight dating to their final game prior to the Olympic break, the fourth-longest stretch in club history and longest since establishing a new franchise mark at nine from Jan. 21-Feb. 6, 2010.
"I think we're just back playing with confidence," said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. "We had a little bit of a down slope right before the Olympics. The guys really took it upon themselves to turn things around. We were drifting out of a playoff spot. We need to get back into that. We know how good this team can be when we do get into the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."
The stingy Kings have allowed 10 goals during the streak. More surprisingly, Los Angeles has had an offensive outburst, finding the back of the net 22 times during the run.
The spike in offense, much like the Kings' turnaround, isn't much of a surprise to coach Darryl Sutter.
Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 3:00 PM
DALLAS -- When the Dallas Stars host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night at American Airlines Center, the Stars will not only look to extend their current winning streak to three games, but also attempt to sweep a three-game homestand.
Dallas is six days removed from a 4-2 loss to Columbus at Nationwide Arena, a game where the Stars didn't start well and found themselves down 3-0 after one period. Avoiding a repeat of those opening 20 minutes is imperative for Dallas coach Lindy Ruff.
"Like I said, I thought we were kind of half-in in the game. We really didn't engage. I thought when we engaged, we played pretty well. Fought hard to get back in the game but didn't quite get it done," Ruff said. "I thought last couple games here at home, we've done a real good of job coming out and playing hard early, like to build off of that."
Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 2:42 PM
OTTAWA -- Both the Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators are on the outside looking in at the Stanley Cup Playoff picture.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz recognizes Ottawa has a better vantage point at the moment on playing later into April as the two teams get ready for their game Monday at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Predators arrive in Canada's capital on a four-game losing streak and with one win in their past eight games (1-5-2). Nashville (26-28-10) is last in the Central Division with 62 points and 12th in the Western Conference, 10 points behind the Dallas Stars, who currently hold the second wild-card spot.
Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 1:54 PM
TAMPA -- When the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday, a familiar goaltender will be on the ice, but at the opposite end from what once was his accustomed spot.
Mike Smith, who played for the Lightning from 2007-11, makes his return to Tampa Bay Times Forum, and in the time since he left much has changed for the 31-year-old goalie.
When Smith was obtained in a trade with the Dallas Stars, hopes were high that Tampa Bay had settled its goaltending picture for the foreseeable future.
It didn't work that way. Smith occasionally flashed signs of brilliance but was inconsistent and finished his time in Tampa Bay with a demotion to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
"It was a tough situation, being sent to the minors," Smith said. "I never thought I'd play in the NHL again so I was just making the best of the situation. Obviously I got a second chance and I was very fortunate."
Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 12:20 PM
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov will make his highly anticipated NHL debut Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).
The 21-year-old, Washington's first-round pick (No. 26) in the 2010 NHL Draft, will start on the fourth line with center Jay Beagle and right wing Tom Wilson.
Though the idea of slotting Kuznetsov in alongside center Nicklas Backstrom and right wing Alex Ovechkin certainly is tantalizing, coach Adam Oates said he wants to manage Kuznetsov's minutes as he acclimates himself to the NHL.
"I think it makes sense to start him on that line no matter what quite honestly, in fairness to the other guys," Oates said. "Obviously everybody's excited to see him, but for the team he's got to earn his stripes.
"I think starting him there and let him ease into the team and the system and not put him in a situation where he might make a mistake right off the hop and get off on the wrong foot, I think it makes sense to do it that way."
Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 3:55 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to debut with his new team Sunday against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center.
Bryzgalov, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, was 5-8-5 with a 3.01 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 20 appearances with the Oilers this season. The Wild, playing the second-half of back-to-back games, lost 4-3 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper made his 16th consecutive start in goal and the Wild will play 19 games in 36 days to finish the season.
Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 2:24 PM
EDMONTON -- Ben Scrivens bears no ill will towards the Los Angeles Kings.
Had it not been for his time in Los Angeles behind Jonathan Quick, Scrivens may not be in a situation to establish himself as a starting goaltender with the Edmonton Oilers.
Sunday night, when the Oilers play the Kings, Scrivens will face his former team for the first time since being traded to Edmonton. Quick will start in goal for Los Angeles.
"They gave me an opportunity to develop my game even further, so I'm extremely thankful for that," Scrivens said. "Both teams tried to make a move to make them a better team, so no hard feelings. I'm an Edmonton Oiler now and it's good to be home. I'm just going to try to play the game like I normally would."
Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 2:13 PM
BUFFALO – Cory Conacher will make his Buffalo Sabres debut when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Conacher was picked up on waivers Wednesday from the Ottawa Senators, but hasn't been able to play due to visa issues. With those problems taken care of, Conacher, who played hockey at Canisius College in Buffalo, will make his first start with the Sabres at home.
"It's nice to be back here," Conacher said. "Ever since I came here with Canisius, it was a city I fell in love with pretty quick. It's close to home for me, so I probably have a lot of tickets to account in some of these games."
Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 11:50 AM
NEW YORK -- One of the world's busiest goaltenders will remain in the crease Sunday afternoon when Henrik Lundqvist starts for the New York Rangers against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden.
Lundqvist enters the Sunday matinee one win short of 300 for his career. He is also two wins shy of Mike Richter's franchise record of 301.
If Lundqvist continues with his frantic pace of late, he should be New York's career wins leader within days. He played six games for Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the most of any goaltender in the tournament, and had a 1.50 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in leading the Swedes to the silver medal.
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 6:59 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin will be in net for a third straight game when his team plays the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.
Khudobin made 40 saves in a 4-2 loss against the New York Rangers on Friday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. The 27-year-old goalie was named the game's first star.
For the season, Khudobin is 14-9-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 6:00 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is scheduled to earn his third start in five games when his team faces the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at Prudential Center.
Brodeur, who is 15-11-4 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .899 save percentage this season, has won his past two starts. Brodeur is 38-16-6 with a 2.07 goals-against average and nine shutouts in 61 career games against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller doesn't announce his starting goalie until after pregame warmups. Cam Ward (6-9-5, 3.23 GAA, .891 save percentage), who is 9-12-2 with a 2.83 GAA and .899 save percentage in 23 career matches against the Devils, is the expected starter. The veteran goalie last won a game on Dec. 31, a 5-4 overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens. Anton Khudobin stopped a season-high 40 shots in a 4-2 loss against the New York Rangers on Friday.
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 5:21 PM
SAN JOSE -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray is braced for an emotional homecoming Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks when he faces his former team for the first time since being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins last March.
"It's special," Murray said after the Canadiens morning skate. "Can't really describe it yet. I think I've got to go through it to understand it. I obviously had a great 7-1/2 years here and loved everything about it. Have a lot of close friends in the area. It's exciting."
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 4:13 PM
VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks don't have a lot of young, promising forward prospects to call up from the American Hockey League, but they'll get a good look at one in Nicklas Jensen against the Calgary Flames Saturday night.
Jensen celebrated his 21st birthday on Thursday, was called up from the Utica Comets on Friday and will start against the Flames in a top-six role, playing right wing with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins.
The slumping Canucks have scored nine goals in their past nine games and hope Jensen can provide a needed offensive boost after scoring nine goals in his past 14 games in the AHL.
"He's come alive of late," coach John Tortorella said. "I'm going to put him in an offensive position at the start and see where we go."
The Canucks haven't looked like they are going anywhere lately.
A stretch of one win in 12 games has dropped Vancouver to 11th in the Western Conference and sparked talk of a need to rebuild a franchise thin on offensive forward prospects. When top-six right wing Zack Kassian was suspended three games for his hit on Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon in a 6-1 loss on Thursday, the Canucks finally turned to Jensen.
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 2:38 PM
DALLAS -- When the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars meet Saturday night at American Airlines Center, much of the attention will be focused on the pregame ceremony to retire the No. 9 of former Stars franchise icon Mike Modano.
Dallas center Jamie Benn is one of two Stars who was a teammate of Modano, and the current captain considers it an honor to have skated with such a truly incomparable player.
"Obviously, he's a special player, a big part of the Dallas Stars organization and growing hockey here in Texas," Benn said. "He's still pretty much the face of the franchise and he always will be."
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 2:19 PM
NASHVILLE -- Coming off a disappointing 6-1 loss Thursday to the Chicago Blackhawks that snapped a three-game winning streak, the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to shuffle their forwards when they visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.
The Blue Jackets also might have a new face on defense, as well, owing to a slew of injuries to their blue line.
Columbus coach Todd Richards said forward Blake Comeau, who has played in one of the past 20 games because of a knee injury, would return, as would Corey Tropp.
"Adding Tropp in the lineup, Comeau in the lineup, some physical players … getting some guys in the lineup, some straight-line players that can hopefully provide a physical edge for us but also just a spark in getting in on the forecheck," Richards said.
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 1:35 PM
TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs may be without forward David Clarkson when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
Clarkson left the optional morning skate early with a pulled muscle and is questionable to play Saturday, according to Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle.
"We have the ability to recall people, we have the ability to go with 11 [forwards] and seven [defensemen]," Carlyle said about what he might do if Clarkson can't play. "So there are some options. It's always tough when you're missing quality players, and nobody wants to do that. But in the situation, if the player is not deemed healthy by our medical staff and himself, then we have no other choice than to make decisions."
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 12:41 PM
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals trudged listlessly through the start of consecutive losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins earlier this week.
In their 6-4 loss to the Flyers on Wednesday, the Capitals registered a season-low eight shots through two periods, a total they matched the following evening in a 3-0 loss to the Bruins before finishing with a season-low 16.
The Capitals, who have been held to five or fewer shots in five of their past seven periods of regulation, pinpointed neutral-zone play as the source of their recent offensive frustration.
Against the Bruins in particular, the Capitals' poorly placed dump-ins allowed Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask to quickly reverse the flow before they could establish any sort of forecheck.
In preparation for the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday, Washington placed added emphasis on execution between the blue lines.
"It was the first thing in our meeting today," coach Adam Oates said. "Our neutral zone has to be better in terms of getting through their wave so we can put the puck in the right spot where we can actually forecheck, and if we don't, what's our fallout plan."
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 12:35 PM
TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning continue a six-game homestand hosting the Boston Bruins Saturday. In preparation, each team held an optional morning skate.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper skipped the morning media session, sending associate coach Rick Bowness in his place.
The Lightning are riding a three-game losing streak and slipping in the Stanley Cup Playoff race. But despite the distractions surrounding the recent trade of captain Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers, Bowness characterized the team as "pumped up about the challenge to play the Bruins."
"We all know what has happened lately but the atmosphere around the players is good," Bowness said. "We need some wins to take it to another level. We have to keep working and keep pushing until we get this thing turned around."
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 11:18 AM
DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche believe they are better prepared to handle the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at Pepsi Center than they were in two earlier meetings, both losses in November.
"In my opinion, we're a different team than the last two times we played them," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "We're playing better defensively and we made some adjustments in our system. I think it's good timing for us to see where we are against these guys. They made a couple trades, they have a new goalie [in Ryan Miller]. I think it's going to be interesting to see what we can do better. We'll see where we are."
Colorado (41-17-5) sits third in the jam-packed Central Division, three points behind first-place St. Louis (42-14-6) and one point behind the second-place Chicago Blackhawks (37-13-14).
"This is a big one," Avalanche center Matt Duchene said. "We've had this one marked on our calendar for a while."
Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 3:06 PM
ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf smiled because he knew the questions were coming about playing against Sidney Crosby, his teammate with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will make a rare appearance at Honda Center on Friday to face Getzlaf's Anaheim Ducks. Crosby has come here three times previously, but not since 2010.
So what about facing that Crosby kid?
"How did I know that question was coming?" Getzlaf said. "Any time we're playing an opponent from the East we want to send a message that we can compete in both [conferences]. I think that Sid and the Penguins bring a big test in our building and we're excited about it, for sure."
Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 2:56 PM
CALGARY -- As Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley said, one's misfortune is another's opportunity.
With injuries plaguing his roster, Hartley will ice a lineup Friday against the New York Islanders that will feature eight rookies, the most first-year players to skate in a single game for the Flames since Dec. 10, 1996.
"Injuries, we can talk about them all day," Hartley said. "There's nothing we can do about this. We don't like it. You never want to see guys laying down on the table in the medical room. But at the same time we're playing a contact sport. It [injuries] opens doors to younger players to come in and grab ice time, grab roles, grab responsibility and fulfill their childhood dreams. I think it's great."
Hartley has had to juggle his lineup substantially of late with Kevin Westgarth, David Jones, Jiri Hudler and Dennis Wideman all sustaining injuries in the past week. He hasn't had Matt Stajan either due to personal reasons.
It's bred plenty of opportunity for Calgary's prospects.
Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 1:58 PM
With the slightest of holds on the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Red Wings host a New Jersey Devils team Friday that sits two points behind them in the standings.
Two points don't get much bigger.
These teams will be renewing acquaintances after competing Tuesday at Prudential Center, where Stephen Gionta scored with 37 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Devils a 4-3 win.
The lineups will see some marked changes for the rematch at Joe Louis Arena. Martin Brodeur and Jimmy Howard started in net Tuesday; Jonas Gustavsson will be in goal for Detroit against Cory Schneider, who in his most recent start allowed four goals on 22 shots Sunday in a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 1:02 PM
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Roberto Luongo talked at length about his return to the Florida Panthers the past two days, but Friday was time to get ready for his first game with his old/new team.
Luongo didn't address the media after the morning skate Friday, but his coach and teammates had plenty to say about Luongo's first game back in a Panthers uniform.
"It's a big game for our fans to see Roberto back in net and for us here to play a big game in front of him," forward Scottie Upshall said. "It's a big match."
The first game of Luongo's second stint with the Panthers will come Friday against the Buffalo Sabres at BB&T Center. It comes a little less than eight years after Luongo was traded from the Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks after five seasons in Florida.
Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 12:54 PM
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Rangers will try to snap a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.
Forward Mats Zuccarello is expected to return to the New York lineup after sustaining a broken hand during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He has missed the first four games since the Rangers returned from the break.
Newly acquired forward Martin St. Louis will play his second game for the Rangers, who did not skate Friday morning. He recorded three shots in his debut Tuesday, playing on a line with Carl Hagelin and Brad Richards.
The Hurricanes come off a 3-2 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, snapping a five-game losing streak.
"We want to play a fast game here [Friday] and build off the game against San Jose, which is arguably our best game of the year," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "I thought our compete level was real high. We put pucks in an area where we were able to retrieve them and we were able to spend a lot of time in the offensive zone."
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 5:36 PM
SAN JOSE -- Forwards Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak joined their new Pittsburgh Penguins teammates at SAP Center and likely will be in the lineup Thursday against the San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Goc and Stempniak, acquired Wednesday at the NHL Trade Deadline, arrived after the Penguins were off the ice following an optional morning skate. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said his lines and lineup would be "game-time" decisions, but the Penguins have 13 forwards on their active roster and one of them, Joe Vitale, stayed late on the ice, indicating he likely will be a healthy scratch.
When asked what he would tell his two new players, Bylsma sounded as if Goc, acquired from the Florida Panthers, and Stempniak, who arrived in a trade with the Calgary Flames, would make their Penguins debut against San Jose.
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 3:52 PM
EDMONTON -- With the NHL Trade Deadline behind them, the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders have shifted their focus, trying to finishing disappointing seasons off strong.
The Oilers host the Islanders at Rexall Place on Thursday with each team out of the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and having traded away key players the day before. The Oilers traded forward Ales Hemsky to the Ottawa Senators while the Islanders made a late deal, sending forward Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens.
"We knew what the situation was going into the deadline," Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo said. "We knew who was going to move, although it's never an easy thing. Now that it's over, we can just kind of focus on playing."
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 3:10 PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- New Phoenix Coyotes forward Martin Erat has scored one goal this season and news of his acquisition at the NHL Trade Deadline barely registered around the League compared to some of the other big names changing addresses Wednesday.
But the Coyotes are hoping that adding Erat from the Washington Capitals will have a ripple effect when the team makes a final push for a Western Conference playoff spot. That push begins Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at Jobing.com Arena.
The Coyotes had an optional skate Thursday and coach Dave Tippett wouldn't say who he plans to play Erat with in his Phoenix debut. That might depend on whether center Martin Hanzal, who missed the 1-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and hasn't skated since, can play against Montreal.
Erat would make sense as a partner for fellow Czech forwards Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. The players know each other well, and Erat's pass-first mentality (23 assists) would give Hanzal and Vrbata the element they have been missing since Ray Whitney left as a free agent after the 2011-12 season.
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 2:49 PM
WINNIPEG -- The Marian Gaborik era starts Thursday for the Los Angeles Kings when they begin a three-game road trip against the Winnipeg Jets.
The Kings, who have won five games in a row, acquired Gaborik on Wednesday in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Matt Frattin, a second- or third-round pick in the 2014 or 2015 NHL Draft, and a conditional pick in either 2014 or 2015.
Gaborik, who had six goals and eight assists in 22 games with Columbus this season, arrived in Winnipeg and joined his new teammates for their morning skate at MTS Centre.
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 2:42 PM
The Columbus Blue Jackets' two newest players will be in the lineup when the Blue Jackets play at the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
Forward Matt Frattin, part of the package that came over from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Marian Gaborik, will start the game on the fourth line with Derek McKenzie and Mark Letestu. That was the group he did line rushes with during the team's morning skate.
Frattin said he was looking forward to getting right into a game with his new team.
"I talked to our coaching staff and they want us to play a hard game," Frattin said. "I think I fit right in with that."
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 2:31 PM
DALLAS -- When the Vancouver Canucks and the Dallas Stars square off at American Airlines Center on Thursday night, each team will have at least one new face on its roster.
For Vancouver, which lost 1-0 at the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday and is 1-9-1 over its past 11 games, those new faces will be center Shawn Matthias and goaltender Jacob Markstrom, both acquired in the trade with the Florida Panthers on Wednesday that sent Roberto Luongo and Steven Anthony to the Panthers.
Matthias will likely slot into centering the Canucks' third line alongside Tom Sestito and David Booth, and Vancouver coach John Tortorella likes the skill set his new centerman provides.
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 2:24 PM
TAMPA -- Prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning's morning skate Thursday, coach Jon Cooper assembled the team and addressed the elephant in the room.
"We talked about Martin St. Louis," Cooper said. "I think it was only fair to acknowledge that one of the greatest players in this franchise history, if not the greatest, had been moved. But it was a 100-percent positive conversation. We explained to the players what happened and introduced Ryan Callahan, our new player."
And with that out of the way, there is no looking back for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"There has been something hanging over our team for quite some time," Cooper said. "I think, whether this was right or wrong or will help or hurt, we don't know the answer to that question today, but it has brought kind of a new life to our team. We don't know which way that will go at this point, but I think our focus now is the last 20 games and we have to win to make the playoffs."
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 2:04 PM
DETROIT -- David Legwand has been inside the Detroit Red Wings locker room at Joe Louis Arena before, but never with his nameplate over one of the stalls.
That changed Thursday morning. Legwand, originally from suburban Detroit, rekindled some of his childhood dreams by pulling on a Red Wings uniform for the first time.
After spending his entire 15-year NHL career in the Music City for the Nashville Predators, the 33-year old Legwand took part in his first morning skate in the Motor City as a Red Wing.
"I think every kid growing up here is a Red Wings fan, as they should be," Legwand said. "The tradition, the history, the players that have been here from the past, they’ve meant a lot to the city and to the team."
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 1:20 PM
NASHVILLE – For the first time in more than 15 years, the Nashville Predators woke up without center David Legwand as a member of the organization.
That means if the Predators hope to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they will have to do so with new players in key roles.
Principally, that means Colin Wilson.
The 24-year-old forward was the No. 7 pick in the 2008 NHL Draft and has played a variety of roles, but has never truly had the opportunity to center the Predators' top line.
Now he does. At the Predators' morning skate, Wilson worked between right wing Craig Smith, who leads Nashville in goals with 18, and Gabriel Bourque. He also took Legwand's spot on the top power-play unit on the right half wall.
Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 1:04 PM
BOSTON -- Trade deadline-day acquisitions by the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals will have to wait to make their debuts with their new teams.
Defenseman Andrej Meszaros, acquired by the Bruins from the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, and Capitals goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who was picked up from the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday, were both confirmed out for the Bruins-Capitals game at TD Garden on Thursday by their respective coaches.
Meszaros will find himself in a similar situation with Boston that he was in with Philadelphia. The Bruins have eight healthy defensemen and there will be stiff competition to get in the lineup.
"I don't think it's going to be easy," Meszaros said after his first morning skate with the Bruins. "We have a great group over here and we had great defensemen in Philly too, so it's always tough to crack the lineup. And it's up to the coaches, and obviously up to me, how I'm going to respond if they give me a chance."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 5:25 PM
CALGARY -- Two new faces will be featured as the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators get set to meet at Scotiabank Saddledome following Wednesday's NHL Trade Deadline.
Ales Hemsky is expected to make his Senators debut while Corban Knight, summoned by the Flames from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League, will play in his first career NHL game. Hemsky, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a third-round and fifth-round draft pick, scored two goals and was named the first star Tuesday in a 3-2 win against the Senators.
Jason Spezza, who could center the 30-year-old against the Flames, was pleased to hear about the addition and what it means for the direction of his team as they try to chase down a third consecutive playoff appearance.
"You're never sure who's going to play with who, but if he does, he's a guy that has excellent individual skills and passes the puck really well and he skates well and has good hockey sense," Spezza said. "You obviously hope that he fits in well with our group.
"We know as the games tick by we can't afford to lose hockey games and it's encouraging to see [general manager] Bryan [Murray] trying to add somebody to help us get that push towards the playoffs. We're right in the thick of things right now."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 4:54 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals each will welcome a new face into the lineup when they take the ice Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).
Defenseman Andrew MacDonald, acquired by the Flyers on Tuesday from the New York Islanders, will make his debut. Forward Dustin Penner, picked up Tuesday in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks, also will play.
Philadelphia coach Craig Berube said MacDonald would start the game paired with Luke Schenn at even strength and could see time at the point on the second power play.
"He adds skating, puck moving," Berube said. "He's a good two-way defenseman. ... Gets back to pucks quick, moves the puck, gets up the ice and he defends well."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 4:43 PM
ANAHEIM -- A huge scrum surrounded Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski at his locker before a media relations official announced that he wouldn't be speaking.
It was quite a surprise that Montreal will give Tokarski his first start as a Canadien, and eighth of his career, Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks. But Peter Budaj started the previous four games and Montreal plays the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.
"We ask a lot of Peter Budaj," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We play and we're traveling – a lot of hockey in a short period of time. We've got back-to-back. We figure that was the right time to put the kid there. What I'm expecting [is] that [our] players [are] going to play a hard-nosed team because we play the Ducks tonight. This is the best team in the League, and [we need] to make sure they give a good effort for the young kid in net tonight."
Posted On Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 1:46 PM
NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are hoping to have Martin St. Louis in their lineup Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden. But the Leafs won't be making any tweaks in their game plan, regardless of whether or not St. Louis makes it to the Rangers' locker room in time to play.
St. Louis, the defending Art Ross Trophy winner, was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline for Ryan Callahan and two draft picks.
"You have two players that are the faces of their franchise exchanging places. Those are big deals, but we can only worry about what we have to do," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said after the team's morning skate. "We always respect the opposition. We know the Rangers are going to play an aggressive forechecking style of hockey. They're going to come after us. It doesn't matter if Marty St. Louis is there or not. We've got to be ready to play our game and manage the puck properly."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 6:41 PM
The Edmonton Oilers will dress University of Alberta goaltender Kurtis Mucha as the backup to Ben Scrivens when they host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.
Mucha is doing his second tour of duty with an NHL team this season; he filled in for the Boston Bruins during their practice in Edmonton..
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 5:10 PM
SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks backup goaltender Alex Stalock will get a second straight start for the first time in his NHL career Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at SAP Center.
Stalock is 10-4-0 with a 1.78 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. He won two games on the Sharks' recent three-game road trip, beating the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils while allowing a combined five goals on 53 shots.
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he's playing the hot hand but is also giving No. 1 goaltender Antti Niemi more time to adjust after his return from the 2014 Sochi Olympics with Finland's bronze medal-winning team.
"He's playing well right now," McLellan said of Stalock. "He's won some games for us. He looks comfortable in the net. Gives [Niemi] time to come home. When you think of his trip back from Europe, he hasn't had any practice time. So it gives him a day here to skate and another one tomorrow."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 4:04 PM
EDMONTON -- With the NHL Trade Deadline approaching and the rumor mill swirling, there was uneasiness in both the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators dressing room Tuesday morning.
The Oilers executed a couple of trades following their morning skate, acquiring goaltender Viktor Fasth from the Anaheim Ducks, and then sending Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wild.
The Oilers announced University of Alberta Golden Bears goalie Kurtis Mucha will dress as the backup. The Sherwood Park, Alberta native is doing his second tour of duty with an NHL team, after he filled in for the Boston Bruins during their practice in Edmonton earlier this season.
Earlier in the day, the Oilers also waived defenseman Corey Potter.
With the team out of the playoff race, other chips are expected to fall prior to the deadline Wednesday.
"You just have to go about your business," Oilers center Sam Gagner said. "I think for me, I feel like I can make improvements and that's what I'm focusing on right now.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 3:10 PM
NASHVILLE -- In addition to franchise goaltender Pekka Rinne, center Nick Spaling was expected to return to the Nashville Predators lineup on Tuesday for the first time since Jan. 31, after suffering a lower-body injury.
When he was injured, Spaling had had three goals and three assists in his past seven games. Spaling's nine goals last season were tied for fourth on the team.
"Nick brings a pretty complete game," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "[Spaling] was having a pretty solid offensive and defensive year. Obviously, he got hurt right before the Olympics. He was playing with a lot of confidence. He's a guy that has good instincts. He doesn't cheat on the ice. He plays the game 200 feet. … He will help the penalty kill, he'll help our depth, all those things."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:45 PM
CHICAGO -- A combination of skill and versatility make Brandon Saad a valuable asset for the Chicago Blackhawks, who are prepared to lean heavily on the second-year forward to fill in for injured Marian Hossa.
Saad's two-way style is even starting to resemble Hossa's, so it's not too surprising he'll get the first look to fill the Blackhawks' vacant spot at right wing on the top line Tuesday night at United Center in a big game against the Colorado Avalanche.
After playing all of last season on the left side of that line, Saad has shifted around the lineup this season. He's played on both wings, on the second and third lines, and even dabbled a bit at center in training camp. That experience could now pay off in a pinch for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who expect to be without Hossa for 2-3 weeks.
"It's huge to have depth on a team," Saad said following Chicago's morning skate. "Injuries are going to happen, so I think with the team we have and the depth we have, it's why we had success before. To be able to fill those roles or take [people's] places as best you can, it's a huge help to the team."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:41 PM
WINNIPEG -- Stuck in a 2-7-1 slide, the New York Islanders face the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday along with many trade rumors.
Defenseman Andrew MacDonald was traded Tuesday afternoon to the Philadelphia Flyers for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, a second-round pick in 2015 and center Matt Mangene.
Left wing Thomas Vanek may also be on the move leading into the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.
Though the Islanders have a game to play against the Jets, they have not been able to seal off their dressing room completely from the trade talk that is dominating television and radio as they begin their four-game journey through Western Canada this week.
"The bottom line is that you have to try not to think about it, it's really out of your control at this point," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said after the team's morning skate at MTS Centre. "If management is going to make a move, they're going to make a move. You try not to worry about it, but as a player it definitely looms over your head."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:32 PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With injury issues and the NHL Trade Deadline looming, the slumping Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes play a pivotal game at Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday that could have a tangible effect on what their teams might look like the next day.
The Coyotes have lost four in a row and five of their past six games and are 0-2-1 since the Olympic break. Phoenix is two points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Western Conference but three teams, including Vancouver, are between Phoenix and Dallas.
Both teams are coming off frustrating and important losses at home Sunday, each blowing a 2-0 lead and losing a key forward to injury.
Vancouver lost forward Daniel Sedin to a left leg injury in its 4-2 loss against the Ottawa Senators when he was hit along the end boards by Senators defenseman Marc Methot.
"He's out for a while," Vancouver coach John Tortorella said Tuesday of Sedin. The Canucks are now 1-8-1 in the past 10 games.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:02 PM
ST. LOUIS -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are on the verge of getting a pair key pieces back into their lineup.
Steven Stamkos, who's missed 44 games since a horrific injury against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11 that saw him break his right tibia, continues to progress and skated again with the Lightning on Tuesday morning ahead of Tampa Bay's matchup with the St. Louis Blues (8 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2).
Stamkos will not play Tuesday but hasn't ruled out a home game Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres. First, the team will look at another X-ray in order to determine just how good the bone is.
"I feel great. I feel the last two weeks, I've felt ready to play," Stamkos said. "We'll see what happens [Wednesday].
"It feels way better than it did a month ago. It's only going to continue to get better. We've been skating, we've been pushing it off the ice, we've been doing a lot of single-leg testing. It feels as good as it's going to get for the rest of this year. It feels pretty much the same as my other leg. It's kind of not based on how I feel, it's how the X-ray looks. I'm hoping third time's a charm. Hopefully that holds true [Wednesday]."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 1:36 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard will get the start against New Jersey Devils veteran Martin Brodeur on Tuesday in a battle of teams jockeying for playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
Howard, who is 1-1-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in two career starts against the Devils, will have to be at his best with forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss, and defenseman Jakub Kindl, all sidelined by injury. Zetterberg had back surgery on Feb. 21 and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.
Datsyuk sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of a victory against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. He told reporters Monday that he's dealing with an "issue with my knee and looking day-to-day."
Joakim Andersson will take Datsyuk's spot on the top line, centering Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 1:13 PM
COLUMBUS -- The Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets go into their game Tuesday in Nationwide Arena tired and banged-up after playing the previous night.
For Columbus, rookie defenseman Ryan Murray will not play after sustaining a lower-body injury Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Murray, third among Columbus defensemen with a plus-4 rating, appeared to hurt his knee or ankle after being checked along the boards in the second period and did not come back for the duration of the 2-1 victory.
"Lower body, day-to-day," coach Todd Richards said when asked three times about Murray's status Tuesday morning.
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 1:08 PM
NEWARK, N.J. -- It has been almost two months since New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur last suited up and started a hockey game at Prudential Center.
Though he's excited to get that chance Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings, there's also the possibility this may turn out to be Brodeur's curtain call with the organization, making for what should be an emotional atmosphere against an opponent the Devils are chasing for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The NHL Trade Deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, and Brodeur's name has surfaced as a potential target of other contenders. NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes reported earlier this week that Brodeur waived his no-trade clause, but whether the goalie revealed a list of teams he'd be willing to play for remains to be seen.
We could learn of that decision as early as the conclusion of the game Tuesday.
"Our priority is still to win a hockey game and Marty is in net; he'll give us the best chance and we'll see what happens [Wednesday]," Brodeur's longest-tenured teammate, Patrik Elias, said. "He's obviously been one constant in my career sitting beside me all the time. It would be sad to see him go, but at the same time I can see where he's coming from."
Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 1:06 PM
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are scheduled to be missing one of their key all-round forwards Tuesday night and the Florida Panthers should get a newcomer in their lineup at TD Garden.
Loui Eriksson did not take the morning skate with Boston and was ruled out of the game against the Panthers by coach Claude Julien.
Meanwhile, Brandon Pirri, who was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, took his first morning skate with the Panthers.
"It's a young group in here," Pirri said. "And they're on the right track to do something good. That's what I was looking for, an opportunity to be a part of something. And talking to [general manager Dale [Tallon] last night, it was exciting to be here. And he says we're headed in the right direction. So it's very exciting."
Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 8:09 PM
DALLAS -- After missing a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon returned to the ice on Monday against the Buffalo Sabres at American Airlines Center.
Dillon missed the game Saturday with a lower-body injury, the first he had missed all season for Dallas. He participated in the morning skate on Monday without issue, but was called a game-time decision by Stars coach Lindy Ruff.
Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 7:06 PM
The Montreal Canadiens have placed goaltender Carey Price on injured reserve, the team confirmed Monday.
Price, who is out with a lower-body injury, is with the Canadiens for their four-game road trip, which begins Monday night against the Los Angeles Kings. He can be activated off IR as early as Tuesday.
Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 3:28 PM
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- All players were in attendance at the Los Angeles Kings' morning skate Monday, meaning it didn't appear any were about to move before the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday.
L.A. has righted itself lately and will take a three-game winning streak into Monday night against the Montreal Canadiens. Justin Williams echoed Anze Kopitar's reported sentiment that the Kings don't feel a drastic change should be made before deadline.
The Kings lost eight of 10 before the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but their restart has allayed some of the concerns about a lack of scoring.
"Throughout that downturn we had, we had a lot of discussion within our group, in our room, and I think that just comes with the trust that we have with each other that we're going to get it done," Williams said. "We don't give up on anybody for having a tough little stretch if things aren't going well. We know when push comes to shove … we know we're going to get it done."
Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 2:36 PM
DALLAS -- Buffalo Sabres left wing Matt Moulson did not participate in an optional morning skate Monday morning at American Airlines Center. However, Moulson, an ongoing subject of trade speculation ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday, will play his customary role on Buffalo's first line against the Dallas Stars on Monday night.
"The vast majority of the time we have optional skates in pregame skates and guys consider their options, so [Moulson] felt it'd be better if he didn't go back out there today," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said.
Joining Moulson on the top line will be center Tyler Ennis, who has missed the Sabres' past two games with general body soreness.
Posted On Monday, 03.03.2014 / 2:05 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Riding a four-game winning streak, the Minnesota Wild will get a couple of key contributors back from injury Monday when they play the Calgary Flames at Xcel Energy Center.
Captain Mikko Koivu, who has missed 17 games with a fractured ankle, and defenseman Marco Scandella, who missed three games with a sprained knee, will join a team that is already playing some of its best hockey of the season.
After road wins against the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks coming out of the Olympic break, the Wild will play at home for the first time in nearly a month. With 73 points, Minnesota is seven clear of the