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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 12:28 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Projected Game 4 lineup for Rangers

OTTAWA -- Best of luck getting a straight answer from either coach in this series about their lineups, but it doesn't appear the New York Rangers will be making any changes in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Senators.

Carl Hagelin is still out due to suspension, which means Chris Kreider will make his second appearance in an NHL game. Henrik Lundqvist will make the start in net.

These are the way the lines looked for the Rangers in Game 3, and there's little reason to believe they will change Wednesday night:

Chris Kreider - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Artem Anisimov - Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
John Mitchell - Derek Stepan - Mike Rupp

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 12:10 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Projected Game 4 lineup for Senators

OTTAWA -- Here are the Ottawa Senators' projected lines for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series with the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Place:

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Colin Greening
Nick Foligno - Kyle Turris - Bobby Butler
Erik Condra - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Zenon Konopka - Jim O'Brien - Jesse Winchester

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Matt Carkner

Craig Anderson
Ben Bishop

Mike Hoffman, who was called up from Binghamton on Sunday, spent some time skating with the second line, but coach Paul MacLean was coy about whether he would use Hoffman, only saying that he was "keeping all options open." Hoffman played in one regular season game with the Senators on Dec. 23, and did not register a point.

There was no update on Daniel Alfredsson (concussion), who was absent from the ice for the second consecutive day.

Spezza said the team has closed the book on their 1-0 in Game 3 and needs to focus only on tonight.

"You've got to cut your losses and not hang on to it," he said. "You learn from every game, every game you take something [away from it.] We did a lot of things well last game, now we [just have to] score and for us, I think it would benefit our team if we tried to get out to a lead. We haven't played with a lead for much in the series at all."
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 11:32 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Penguins recall defenseman Despres

PHILADELPHIA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Wednesday morning that defenseman Simon Despres was recalled from the American Hockey League. Despres joined the Penguins for the morning skate prior at Wells Fargo Center in advance of Game 4 against the Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

The Flyers lead the series 3-0.

Despres could draw in for either Paul Martin or Zbynek Michalek. Both did not skate Wednesday. It is believed that Martin is battling some type of injury stemming from the hit he took from Brayden Schenn in the first period of Game 3. Schenn received a charging minor for the hit.

The status on Michalek is unclear at this time. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma will likely update his lineup when he addresses the media following the morning skate.

Despres, 20, played 18 regular-season games with the Penguins and had a goal plus three assists and a plus-5 rating. He averaged 14:13 of ice time.

If he plays Wednesday he will be making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 2:01 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Bracket Challenge Blog

Three straight overtimes for Coyotes, Blackhawks

When it comes to the Western Conference Quarterfinal between the Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, 60 minutes just haven't been enough.

Mikkel Boedker
Right Wing - PHX
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 2
SOG: 9 | +/-: 2
After a wild third period, the clubs played overtime for a third straight game Tuesday night before Mikkel Boedker gave the Coyotes a 2-1 series lead when he beat Corey Crawford from a sharp angle at 13:15 in a 3-2 win at the United Center.

Overtime was needed again after the teams traded three goals during a 65-second span in the third period. Michael Frolik gave Chicago a 2-1 lead almost immediately after Rostislav Klesla had tied it for Phoenix, but Ray Whitney evened things up again for the Coyotes just 32 seconds later.

The victory has Phoenix halfway towards its first postseason series victory in 25 years. In 1987, the Winnipeg Jets ousted the Calgary Flames in six games.
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Posted On Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 9:54 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NSH @ DET - 3:14 of the Third Period



At 3:14 of the third period in the Predators/Red Wings game, video review conclusively determined that Niklas Kronwall's shot crossed the goal line. Good Goal Detroit.
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Posted On Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 9:50 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NSH @ DET - 1:27 of the Third Period



At 1:27 of the third period in the Red Wings/Predators game, the referee called the play dead because he lost sight of the puck prior to David Legwand's shot crossing the goal line. No Goal Nashville.
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Posted On Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 8:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Panthers vs. Devils series blog

Brodeur, Theodore pulled from Game 3

NEWARK, N.J. -- Both starting goalies for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the New Jersey Devils and Florida Panthers are now on the bench.
 
Martin Brodeur
Goalie - NJD
RECORD: 1-1-0
GAA: 2.54 | SVP: 0.898
The Devils forced Panthers coach Kevin Dineen to pull starter Jose Theodore just 6:16 into the first after the veteran netminder allowed three goals on six shots.
 
The Panthers, who rallied from a 3-0 deficit to open a 4-3 lead through two periods, chased New Jersey starter Martin Brodeur in favor of Johan Hedberg 2:18 into the second after the future Hall of Fame goalie yielded three goals on 12 shots.
 
The last time Brodeur was pulled from playoff game was in a 6-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the 2006 conference semifinal round.
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Posted On Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 6:53 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Special teams haven't been effective

KANATA, Ont. -- Special teams are very important in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There isn't a player in the League who will tell you otherwise.
 
But so far in this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series between the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers, neither team's power play has had much of an impact.
 
The Rangers have one goal in 11 chances while the Senators have one goal in 10 chances and rank 13th and 12th, respectively, among teams in the postseason.
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Posted On Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 3:50 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canucks vs. Kings series blog

Kings bracing for possible return of Daniel Sedin

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Teams usually say things don't change much when the opposition gets another player back. But the Los Angeles Kings fully acknowledged the possible addition of Daniel Sedin to the Vancouver Canucks.

"He was an Art Ross [Trophy winner] for scoring," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "Wouldn't that make a significant change if we could put a player like that back in our lineup? It's going to be significant to theirs, too."

Sedin was expected to join Vancouver for practice Tuesday afternoon and it was not yet known if he would play in Game 4 on Wednesday. He has been out for almost a month since he was concussed by Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Sedin's absence is a large reason why Vancouver is facing a 3-0 series deficit in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Brother Henrik Sedin's game is based a lot on finding Daniel, and Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said that has forced other forwards to play out of their roles.

"It's not easy (to adjust)," Sutter said. "I don't know if you counter it, but you certainly make yourself aware and make sure the players are very aware of it and how much better they are together than apart."

Not only was Daniel Sedin the NHL's leading scorer last season, he has a particularly damaging history against the Kings. He had four goals and six assists in a six-game quarterfinals win against L.A. in 2010 and has 33 points in 40 regular season games against the Kings.

"They're tricky to play against," Rob Scuderi said. "No doubt about it. They put the puck in space so well with each other that you have to respect. We don't want to change anything, but it doesn't change the fact that they are hard to play against."

Scuderi and Willie Mitchell have been outstanding in forcing Vancouver to take shots from the perimeter. The Canucks had 41 shots in Game 3 but goalie Jonathan Quick didn't face much from between the circles or slot.
Scuderi said it's difficult defending both Sedins because they can't take away both at the same time.

"You can't do it because then you'd be cheating on your defensive system," he said. "Most likely, you'd be playing man-to-man. I haven't heard any team that's played straight up man-to-man for a while.

"I think the biggest thing is they play the puck with space, not necessarily to each other. They have an uncanny knack for knowing where each other is going to go, and go in space, and they certainly use it to their advantage. They create a lot of space for themselves."

Richardson cleared:
Brad Richardson was cleared to play and skated with the fourth line. Richardson underwent emergency appendectomy surgery last Monday.

"To be honest, I just kind of started (feeling well) the last three or four days," Richardson said. "When I came out I started doing some workouts again and getting on the ice, but for the first three or four days you feel [lousy] because of the anesthesia and you're really sore. As soon as you kind of get over that hump, three or four days, you feel really good. Today I felt the best, and I hope I feel even better tomorrow."

Richardson's return is timely because Kyle Clifford remains out with an upper-body injury. Andrei Loktionov, who filled in for Game 3, took a puck in the foot in the third period of that game and wore a non-contact jersey Tuesday.

Richards knows it can be done:
Mike Richards was part of a Philadelphia Flyers team that became the third team in NHL history to erase a 3-0 series deficit, in 2010 against the Boston Bruins.

Naturally, he knows that it's quite possible for Vancouver to pull it off. He wasn't eager to talk about it, though.

"I'm not going to go over that (2010) series," Richards said. "The situation that we're in, we'll take a step forward is something that I think we have to embrace. Even though they're going to come out hard we have to be ready for what they got, but we have to be ready to bring our game, too."

The Canucks actually have a solid history of erasing 3-1 series deficits, having done it in 1992 against the Winnipeg Jets, 1994 against the Calgary Flames and 2003 against the St. Louis Blues. This is the first time in Kings history they've had a 3-0 lead.

Pressed again how much he appreciates that it's possible, Richards said, "I have to appreciate the position that we're in right now, and not the position they're in."
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Posted On Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 3:38 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Friendships on hold for Talbot during series

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Maxime Talbot said Tuesday he never experienced the emotional roller coaster a player sometimes can go through when he's about to face his old team and some of his best friends for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I think the big test for me was during the regular season, and it went pretty good against the Penguins so personally I just basically built on that," Talbot, who played six seasons with Pittsburgh before joining the Flyers over the summer, said. "When it happened, I take it as a challenge and it's definitely been a good challenge. I like it."

Talbot said he also was prepared for the Flyers-Penguins series because he expected it to happen all along. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he never had any reservations or concerns about how Talbot would respond playing against Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who are some of his best friends.

"I did not have any concerns about Max," Laviolette said. "We never had a conversation or any of that pause in my thought process of using him against any players because maybe it would be hard to play against them. It's not about that right now, and I think it has shown in how Max has played. He's a guy that doesn't care. He's ready to play and it doesn't matter who it is against."

Talbot has played well, too. He's scored a shorthanded goal in each of the last two games and has three goals plus an assist in the series. He's coming off a regular season in which he posted career-highs in goals (19), assists (15) and points (34).

His best season as a Penguin was in 2006-07, when he had 26 points.

"You'd be hard pressed to find a stride on the ice that doesn't matter," Laviolette said of Talbot. "It doesn't matter which way he's going, he accounts for every stride. He makes sure he works. He makes sure he does his job. He's a passionate guy and he's a terrific team guy. We found out offensively he could contribute as well. It's been a terrific addition to our team.

"He's a leader smothered in character. That's been real important for our team."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Quote of the Day

You know what? We've played in some pretty special buildings along this playoff run so far. You start in Detroit, you go to Montreal, you come here … I think it's the first team to beat three Original Six teams to get to the Final if I'm not mistaken. That says how tough the road has been. Those are tough places to win.

— Lightning forward Steven Stamkos after Game 7 win vs. Rangers on Friday in New York