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Posted On Wednesday, 03.19.2014 / 4:12 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks get Richardson back, but lose Tanev

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

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Pavelec, Byfuglien out for Jets against Avalanche

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

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning look to extend streak, lead on Maple Leafs

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

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

Kunitz, Neal return to Penguins' lineup

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

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

Johnson to start for Bruins vs. Devils

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

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

Red-hot Niemi helps Sharks chase seventh straight

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

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

Robidas to make Ducks debut vs. Capitals

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

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres' Lieuwen makes first start in familiar territory

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

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

Oilers defenseman Klefbom set for home debut

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

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames' Stajan eager to return after personal tragedy

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."

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Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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