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At the Rink blog
Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 3:24 PM

By Derek Van Diest -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers face Canucks in Smyth's final game

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]."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 3:05 PM

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

Ducks face Kings, seek top seed in West

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."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 2:07 PM

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

Penguins' Kunitz, Orpik out against Flyers

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.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 1:53 PM

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

Rangers scratching McDonagh, Girardi, St. Louis

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."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 1:30 PM

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

Predators' Jones will play for U.S. at worlds

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.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 1:17 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets can clinch top wild card against Panthers

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.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.12.2014 / 12:38 PM

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

Senators' Zibanejad to miss final two games

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.

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Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 7:19 PM

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

Gudlevskis to make NHL debut with Lightning

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.

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Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 6:51 PM

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

Brodeur in goal for Devils, possibly for last time

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]."

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Posted On Friday, 04.11.2014 / 4:10 PM

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

Sharks' Hertl set to rejoin lineup vs. Avalanche

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."

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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season