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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:42 PM

NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Capitals owner Leonsis guests on Cisco NHL Live

The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue as we get ready for two Game 1s in the Eastern Conference and two Game 2s in the Western Conference on Thursday. Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will get you ready for all four matchups.

Washington Capitals chairman and majority owner Ted Leonsis joins us as the Capitals prepare to face the New York Rangers in Game 1. We'll also fire up our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Montreal with former player and CBC analyst Garry Galley to get a live preview as the Montreal Canadiens open up their series with the Ottawa Senators.

In the West, Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Bonino will talk to us via the Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Anaheim as the Ducks look for a 2-0 series lead over the Detroit Red Wings. We'll also talk to Hall-of-Famer Brett Hull in St. Louis as the St. Louis Blues look to win back-to-back games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

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

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:30 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Pominville still out; no practice for Backstrom, Stoner

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild prepared for Friday's Game 2 of its Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks down three players.

Goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who suffered a lower-body injury during warmups before Game 1 Tuesday, did not take part in practice Thursday. Wild coach Mike Yeo classified him in the day-to-day category and said he expects Backstrom to make the trip to Chicago.

More likely is that Josh Harding will start again in goal for Game 2 with rookie Darcy Kuemper, recalled from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League, backing him up.

Right wing Jason Pominville will not play in Game 2 and won't even make the trip as he continues to recover from an elbow to the head from Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown nine days ago. Yeo also said Pominville is day-to-day, so a best-case scenario for Minnesota would mean he's back in time for Game 3 on Sunday.


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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:26 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins know a lot more work needs to be done

BOSTON -- The core of the Boston Bruins has been together long enough to know Game 1 victories do not equal series triumphs.

Last season, the Bruins won Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals but lost the series in seven games. The Bruins lost Game 1 three times on their way to winning the Stanley Cup in 2011.

So although they didn't skate Thursday, the Bruins know the time off was for rest not reward for winning Game 1 of their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. As coach Claude Julien said, because there’s nothing celebrate yet.

Game 2 is Saturday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

"That's how it should be. You can't be looking back," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "You can look and learn from what happened, but you have to put it behind you and focus in on this next game because that's all you should be focusing in on. If you're looking back at what's passed or before, you're not worrying about what’s happening now."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bruins' fourth line came up big in Game 1

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins always have counted on their fourth line, affectionately known as the "Merlot Line," for more than just physicality and energy.

While the trio of Gregory Campbell centering Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton has been as tough as they come since being put together during the 2010-11 season, all three players have shown flashes of skill worthy of playing above their spot on the depth chart.

Those skills were on display more during the 2012-13 season because Campbell and Paille were forced to play on other lines for stretches because of injuries. But reunited with Thornton for the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the trio showed its offensive bent Wednesday in setting up the Bruins' first goal in their 4-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

"Obviously when me and [Campbell] were able to play with other players, it just gives you a lot more confidence to do what you have to do," Paille said Thursday. "And when we come back and play together, I think we just realize we can play when we need to and we want to continue to not only play our role and do the simple things, but we want to help out as much as we can like we do."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:15 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blues-Kings series blog

Kings swap Fraser in for Richardson in Game 2

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues will keep their Game 1 lineup intact for Thursday night. The Los Angeles Kings will make one change at forward with a few tweaks elsewhere for Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, as Colin Fraser will replace Brad Richardson.

Here are the projected lineups for the Blues and Kings:


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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:08 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Canadiens-Senators series blog

MacLean switches Senators' defense pairings

MONTREAL -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean made a minor tweak to his defense pairings Thursday in advance of Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

MacLean decided to put together veterans Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips, while Jared Cowen and Eric Gryba will form another pairing, leaving the top duo of Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot intact.

"I don't think it's going to [change] much because we've been doing it through the season," Gonchar said. "It's not like it's the first time going into the playoffs. It's not a new thing for us."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 2:05 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Emery, Bolland again ruled out for Game 2

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks again be without goalie Ray Emery and center Dave Bolland when they face the Minnesota Wild on Friday night at United Center in Game 2 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

Emery and Bolland, each out with a lower-body injury believed to be a groin issue, are making progress but not quite ready to get back to full on-ice work. Bolland didn't skate Thursday, before or during practice, and Emery came out briefly before the session for some work with goaltending coach Stephane Waite. He quickly left before team drills started.

"We're going to rule them out," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Ray was out there today and [Bolland] didn't skate, but he's getting real close to getting on the ice. [Emery] felt good, too, so it was good progress today."

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Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 1:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Staal practices, but isn't ready to return yet

WASHINGTON -- The New York Rangers will open the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Thursday against the Washington Capitals without their four injured players.

Defenseman Marc Staal (eye) and forwards Brian Boyle (knee), Ryane Clowe (undisclosed) and Derek Dorsett (clavicle) all will be watching Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Thursday at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

Staal, Boyle and Dorsett skated Thursday morning. Clowe did not, though he did travel to Washington with the team.

Staal, who has been out since March 5 when he was struck in the right eye by a deflected shot, said he had another good day Thursday. He said he's getting closer but still doesn't feel ready to play.

"As soon as I'm not second-guessing myself or hesitating and doing things I normally do become automatic is when I can jump into a playoff-type game," Staal said. "You go out there in a playoff game and you're thinking too much, you're going to get yourself in trouble and the team."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 8:13 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

TOR @ BOS - 1:10 of the Second Period

At 1:10 of the second period in the Maple Leafs/Bruins game, video review determined that Tyler Seguin's shot hit the crossbar and did not cross the goal line. No Goal Boston.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 7:53 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

TOR @ BOS - 19:48 of the First Period

At 19:48 of the first period in the Bruins/Maple Leafs game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Nathan Horton's stick was below the crossbar when he deflected Wade Redden's shot into the net. 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 Boston.

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Quote of the Day

I don't have a crystal ball. Predicting is a real complicated thing. If we stay healthy, have enough depth and get the good goaltending we think we're going to have, you can go all the way. But a lot of things have to happen. There's going to be a lot of teams that think the same thing. Everyone made deals. We're all are optimistic about where we'll end up.

— Rangers general manager Glen Sather after being asked if he's constructed a team that can win the Stanley Cup before their 4-1 win against the Predators on Monday
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