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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:32 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Defenseman Diaz returns for Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens will have defenseman Raphael Diaz back in the lineup when they face the Washington Capitals in a key battle for Stanley Cup Playoff positioning Saturday at Bell Centre.

Diaz has missed 25 games with a concussion; he was a key member of Montreal’s defense prior to the injury, playing 20:36 per game. With Alexei Emelin’s season-ending knee injury throwing the Canadiens defense pairings into a state of flux, Diaz’s return is a welcome boost.

In 19 games this season, Diaz has a goal and 12 assists, with seven of his 13 points coming on the power play, where he could help Montreal’s second unit.

The Capitals will be going with the same lineup that lost 3-1 at Ottawa Senators on Thursday, one still missing Brooks Laich (groin) and Joel Ward (knee contusion). By the time the puck drops, the Capitals will know the result of the game between the Winnipeg Jets and the New York Islanders. The Jets began the day two points behind the Capitals in the race for the Southeast Division.

“We’re all scoreboard watching, obviously, and the game’s earlier than ours so it makes it difficult,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “But our job is to play hockey. The guys are going to go to sleep focusing on the game tonight. No matter the outcome of that game, we’ve got to play our game tonight.”

The goaltending matchup pits Braden Holtby for the Capitals against Carey Price for the Canadiens.

Here are the projected lineups for each team:

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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hurricanes' Skinner instructed to be cautious

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Forward Jeff Skinner will return to the Carolina Hurricanes lineup when they play the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Skinner sat out Thursday night's game against the Winnipeg Jets. He was on the receiving end of an open-ice hit from the Ottawa Senators' Jared Cowen on Tuesday night. Skinner did not return during the game and was returned here for observation.

Upon returning home, team doctors determined he did not suffer a concussion.

"I respect the decision the doctor made," Skinner said. "I agree you have to be safe and cautious."

The Hurricanes have reminded the 20-year-old forward to be aware of vulnerable places on the ice, particularly in light of his knack for drawing contact.

"Maybe I shouldn't have been cutting across [the neutral zone] there," Skinner said. "I saw the guy, but I didn't think he would step up there, but he did. I don't think there's a point in dwelling on it. It's done, so you move forward."

Here are the likely lineups for Saturday's game:

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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Big steals based on ADP, ownership

By nature, fantasy hockey can be very unpredictable. And this year has been no exception.

Many players drafted low on average in Yahoo! leagues (P.K. Subban, Alexander Semin, Jakub Voracek, Antti Niemi) have turned out to be some of the most valuable fantasy assets in the game. For owners, bold draft choices like these often lead to fantasy championships.

Average draft position in standard Yahoo! leagues provides a strong indication of the fantasy expectations surrounding a particular player coming into the season. When comparing ADPs with current ownership numbers, it's becomes quite clear which players have been the biggest "steals" from a fantasy standpoint.

With only a week to go in the regular season, let's take a look at five players who were taken on average with the 150th pick or later in Yahoo! drafts and are now owned in at least 70 percent of leagues. These are five of the biggest fantasy steals League-wide because they have produced at an elite level despite being passed over in drafts. They have played in the vast majority of their team's games to this point as well, allowing their fantasy owners to reap the benefits all season long.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:18 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Panthers, Devils

Here are the possible line combinations for Devils-Panthers on Saturday:

DEVILS

Dainius Zubrus - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk

Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - David Clarkson

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - Matt D'Agostini

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Andy Green-Adam Larsson

Henrik Tallinder-Marek Zidlicky

Peter Harrold-Mark Fayne

Martin Brodeur

Johan Hedberg

Scratched: Andrei Loktionov, Krystofer Barch, Tom Kostopoulos, Steve Sullivan

Injured: Bryce Salvador (wrist)

Suspended: Anton Volchenkov

PANTHERS

Jonathan Huberdeau - Shawn Matthias - Greg Rallo

Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Scottie Upshall - Nick Bjugstad - Jack Skille

Quinton Howden - Drew Shore - George Parros

Brian Campbell - Mike Weaver

Dmitry Kulikov - Erik Gudbranson

T.J. Brennan - Alex Petrovic

Jacob Markstrom

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Tyson Strachan

Injured: Jose Theodore (groin), Ed Jovanovski (hip), Eric Selleck (concussion), Kris Versteeg (knee), Stephen Weiss (wrist), Sean Bergenheim (groin)

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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 1:10 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lucic healthy scratch, Soderberg in for Bruins

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic was a healthy scratch Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since his rookie season of 2007-08.

Lucic, who scored 56 goals the past two seasons for Boston, has six goals in 41 games this season.

The new-look Bruins lineup without Lucic featured newcomer Carl Soderberg, who made his NHL debut after signing a three-year deal with the Bruins last week.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.20.2013 / 12:41 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Maple Leafs, Senators

OTTAWA – Here are the projected lineups for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night:

MAPLE LEAFS

James van RiemsdykTyler BozakPhil Kessel

Joffrey LupulNazem KadriNikolai Kulemin

Clarke MacArthurMikhail GrabovskiLeo Komarov

Frazer McLarenJay McClementColton Orr

Jake GardinerDion Phaneuf

John-Michael Liles – Ryan O’Byrne

Mark FraserCody Franson

James Reimer

Ben Scrivens

Injured: Carl Gunnarsson

Scratches: Matt Frattin, Michael Kostka, Joe Colborne, Ryan Hamilton

SENATORS

Milan MichalekKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson

Cory ConacherMika ZibanejadJakob Silfverberg

Matt KassianZack SmithChris Neil

Colin GreeningJean-Gabriel PageauErik Condra

Chris PhillipsMarc Methot

Jared CowenEric Gryba

Patrick WierciochSergei Gonchar

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Injured: Mike Hoffman, Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson

Scratches: Andre Benoit, Mike Lundin, Peter Regin, Jim O’Brien, Guillaume Latendresse

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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 6:53 PM

By Matt Sitkoff -  NHL.com Contributor /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

CISCO NHL Live: Ray Shero

CISCO NHL Live talks with Pittsburgh Penguins' General Manager Ray Shero.

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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 5:27 PM

By NHL Green -  /NHL.com - NHL Green Slapshots™

NHL Clubs ready for Earth Day 2013

Throughout the NHL season and in celebration of the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, NHL Clubs have implemented environmental programs in their communities and sustainability efforts in their facilities. Read on for a snapshot of how several NHL Clubs are participating in activities and events leading up to and around Earth Day.

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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 4:14 PM

By Matt Sitkoff -  NHL.com Contributor /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Yandle, Gionta among guests on Cisco NHL Live

The Boston Bruins' game Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins has been postponed and Cisco NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, will have Penguins general manager Ray Shero and Bruins analyst Andy Brickley to talk about the mindset of playing the game Saturday. Boston native and Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle and Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, who played his college hockey in Boston, will also be on the show.

On the ice, five other games are scheduled including the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres on NHL Network at 7 ET. We'll get a live preview from Sabres TV analyst Rob Ray from our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Buffalo. In the Western Conference, the upstart Dallas Stars face off with the St. Louis Blues and we'll have Kelly Chase on to preview this matchup via our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in St. Louis. It is Friday, so that means Eddie Olyczk will join us from Chicago and NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose will also be with us to talk some of the playoff races.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks all five games being played on Friday.

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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 3:20 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hejduk makes return to Avalanche lineup

DENVER -- Right wing Milan Hejduk will return to the Colorado Avalanche lineup Friday against the Edmonton Oilers after missing nine games, five with a torso injury and the past four as a healthy scratch.

Avalanche coach Joe Sakic said he hadn't decided where Hejduk would play or who he would replace.

"He'll probably get some power-play time and he may bounce around a little bit with some different line combinations," Sacco said.

Goalie Semyon Varlamov will start for the first time since the Avalanche's 4-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on April 6. He missed four games with hip and groin injuries and dressed as the backup for Jean-Sebastien Giguere in Monday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Goalie Devan Dubnyk will start for the Oilers. Dubnyk made 35 saves in a 4-0 win against the Avalanche on March 12. He has a 6-3-1 record with a 2.03 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in 10 career decisions against Colorado.

Here are the projected lineups for Friday's game:

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic