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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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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 2:24 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ducks closing in on division title, No. 2 seed

CALGARY -- The Anaheim Ducks, winless in their past three games, are looking to get back on track against the Calgary Flames on Friday night.

A victory over the Flames would bring the Ducks within one win of clinching the Pacific Division title, something coach Bruce Boudreau is eying.

"We'd certainly like to have that, and then we'd love to secure second overall in the Western Conference, which I think is the same thing, two wins, but every team that we're playing is playing really hard right now," he said. "Calgary's a great example of a team not throwing in the towel. To beat a hungry Detroit team in their last game says something to me. We better be ready."

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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 1:56 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Stars, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- The probable lineups for Friday's matchup between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center.

Both teams are coming off victories Thursday night and did not have regular gameday skates.

STARS

Ray Whitney - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson

Reilly Smith - Cody Eakin - Ryan Garbutt

Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Erik Cole

Antoine Roussel - Tom Wandell - Matt Fraser

Trevor Daley - Stephane Robidas

Brenden Dillon - Alex Goligoski

Aaron Rome - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen

Richard Bachman


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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 1:42 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blackhawks staying the course with lineup for now

CHICAGO -- All that's left for the Chicago Blackhawks to accomplish in the regular season is to secure the Presidents' Trophy as the NHLs top team in points earned.

Otherwise, the Blackhawks have already locked up everything else. They were the first team to secure a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they won the Central Division handily, and they will be the Western Conference's top seed in the postseason. They've done all that and still have six games left, which raises the question if they will continue playing their usual lineup or start sitting out key players to avoid injuries and garner rest.

The answer, at least short term, is to stay the course. Chicago plays back-to-back games at United Center this weekend, beginning with Friday's contest against the Nashville Predators (7:30 p.m.) and finishing against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.

"I think we want to go in the same mode here," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Friday's morning skate. "We've still got six games [left]. We've got a busy schedule next week, but we'll play these games and go along here and we'll make those decisions as we go along. We're not going to change going into these two games. We'll see. We have that in our pocket to visit with, for sure, but that depends."

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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 1:38 PM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes' Beat: Clutch playoff goalies

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Posted On Friday, 04.19.2013 / 12:28 PM

By Chris Ryndak -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sabres get set for must-win against Rangers

BUFFALO -- For the Buffalo Sabres, it's essentially win or start thinking about next season.

The Sabres face what comes down to an elimination game Friday night when they host the New York Rangers at First Niagara Center.

Buffalo, 10th in the Eastern Conference with 44 points, trails eighth-place New York by four points. The Sabres have four games remaining including Friday; the Rangers have five games left. The Rangers hold the tiebreaker with five more non-shootout wins than the Sabres.

A regulation win by New York would eliminate Buffalo from qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A Sabres victory would keep their hopes alive for at least one more day.

Due to circumstances in Boston, Buffalo's game at the Pittsburgh Penguins scheduled for Saturday has been moved to Tuesday. The Sabres will next play Monday at home against the Winnipeg Jets.

"We have to take care of our own destiny in that aspect," Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said. "We've been that way for a while, just concentrating on one game and playing our best in that game. That'll be the same case [Friday]."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 8:52 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

NJ @ PHI - 9:04 of the Second Period

At 9:04 of the second period in the Devils/Flyers game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Philadelphia forward Jakub Voracek used his right skate to kick the puck into the Devils net. According to Rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net." No Goal Philadelphia.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 8:34 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

PHX @ STL - 9:58 of the First Period

At 9:58 of the first period in the Coyotes/Blues game, David Backes shot was deflected into the net by David Perron's stick. The referees on the ice determined that Perron's stick was below the level of the crossbar when he deflected the puck. The Toronto Situation room reviewed the play and was inconclusive so the ruling on the ice stands. According to Rule 60.5 "The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick. If the puck makes contact with the stick below the level of the crossbar and enters the goal, this goal shall be allowed." Good Goal St Louis.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 6:17 PM

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

CISCO NHL Live: Shawn Thornton

CISCO NHL Live talks with Boston Bruins' Left Wing Shawn Thornton.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 6:08 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kreider replaces Boyle in Rangers lineup

NEW YORK -- With his team slated to play three games in four nights heading into the final stretch of the regular season, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella confirmed that forward Brian Boyle would not be in the lineup for any of those contests, starting with Thursday's home matchup against the Florida Panthers.

Replacing Boyle will be 21-year-old Chris Kreider, who the Rangers called up Wednesday from Connecticut of the American Hockey League. In the past month, Tortorella has voiced his reluctance to stifle the development of players such as Kreider and prospect JT Miller, both of whom have seen action with the Rangers this season. But in the end, he saw Kreider's speed as an asset for his team.

"There were a number of players we talked about [calling up]. What we settled on was his speed," Tortorella said. "I'm still not crazy about bringing a kid here. We felt with his assets, his speed especially, that's what we would go with."

Boyle was ruled out for Thursday's game with a leg injury. In 17 games with the Rangers this season, Kreider has two goals and three points.

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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