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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
At the Rink blog
POSTED ON Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 1:06 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues' Jackman returns, Steen doubtful for weekend

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."

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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 1:00 PM

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

Stars could regain Cole's services against Lightning

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."

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.04.2014 / 4:29 PM

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

Coyotes focused on taking care of business

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."

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.04.2014 / 4:13 PM

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

Hiller returns to goal for Ducks after 'mental rest'

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."

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.04.2014 / 2:04 PM

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

Spezza back as Senators face must-win vs. Montreal

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."

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:36 PM

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

Panthers add Luongo to lineup; Boyes sidelined

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.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:25 PM

By Craig Merz -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets get Murray back, but lose Foligno

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.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:16 PM

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

Datsyuk returns for Red Wings; Alfredsson a likely go

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.

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.04.2014 / 1:15 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ovechkin, Backstrom reunited by desperate Capitals

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."

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POSTED ON Thursday, 04.03.2014 / 7:36 PM

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

Soderberg out for Bruins; Iginla back

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.

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Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1