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Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 2:34 PM

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

Oilers get one final crack at figuring out Kings

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 said.
Posted On Thursday, 04.10.2014 / 1:57 PM

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

Devils sticking with Schneider against Senators

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

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

Flyers look to solve Lightning at Tampa Bay

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

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

Importance of home ice isn't lost on Rangers

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

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

Coyotes' Erat reaches milestone against former team

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

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Capitals come to grips with missing postseason

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

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

Boudreau silent on whether Gibson starts for Ducks

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

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

Chasing playoff spot, Stars focused on improvement

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

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

Kings trying to stay sharp heading into postseason

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

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

Blackhawks' Kane feeling better, adjusting to brace

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."

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Quote of the Day

Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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