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At the Rink blog
Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 5:04 PM

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

Brown a game-time decision for Kings vs. Capitals

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."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 3:36 PM

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

Oilers bring Pitlick back; Sabres to start Hackett

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.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 3:28 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Erat's return lets Coyotes assemble all-Czech line

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."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 2:21 PM

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

Lightning starting to see Stamkos at best again

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.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 2:06 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

In search of offense, Stars move Chiasson to top line

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.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 1:53 PM

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

Fresh off shutout, Bryzgalov back in net for Wild

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."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 1:38 PM

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

Atkinson in, Umberger scratched for Blue Jackets

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."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 1:30 PM

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

Red Wings' road gets tougher against Penguins

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."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.20.2014 / 12:18 PM

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

Brodeur: Devils let Parise 'walk to free agency'

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."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 7:05 PM

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

Saad out of lineup as Blackhawks face Blues

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."

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres