Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will get you ready for three big games Friday night and your hockey weekend. David Desharnais signed a contract extension earlier today with Montreal, he'll join us to talk about it and the future of the Canadiens.
The New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers finish off a home-and-home series and we'll get a live update from our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Philadelphia. Fresh off his first career shutout, St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen will join the show to talk about his hot start to the season.
We'll also have Eddie Olczyk on to talk about the amazing season that Sidney Crosby is having. On the other side of the spectrum we will get NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose's take on how he would fix some of the struggling NHL teams.
Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks a winner for all three games being played on Friday.
PHILADELPHIA -- The New Jersey Devils heard all the talk earlier in the week about how the Philadelphia Flyers were approaching the teams' home-and-home set as if they were the Flyers' biggest games of the season.
After a 5-2 win Wednesday at Prudential Center, the Devils go into the rematch Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) with a chance to give themselves an eight-point lead on the Flyers, as well as continue to lock in their spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"We want to try to bury the teams below us as quickly as possible," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "Doesn't matter whether it's Philadelphia or Florida or anybody else -- you get an opportunity to separate yourself from the teams below you, you want to take full advantage of that. It's all about getting points right now. It's not necessarily about the opponent; it's about putting points on the board and trying to solidify a spot in the top eight."
Though Minnesota Wild left wing Jason Zucker remains questionable to return to the lineup Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche, the team did receive a positive sign Friday when the 21-year-old forward joined the team for its morning skate at Xcel Energy Center.
Zucker left Tuesday's game against the Anaheim Ducks after receiving an illegal hit to the head from Corey Perry in the second period, and did not return. Perry was given a four-game suspension by the NHL's Departement of Player Safety on Wednesday.
VOORHEES, N.J. -- After a day of meetings and a light morning skate Friday, can the Philadelphia Flyers get into the right mindset heading into their game against the New Jersey Devils on Friday night (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US)?
"I hope so," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "What else could it be? If it's not in the right place, in the right spot, then we're not doing the right things. Looks like we're focused. We had a lot of meetings [Thursday], so hopefully it's in the right place."
The Flyers enter the game with losses in four of their past five, including a 5-2 defeat Wednesday at the Devils, and they enter the game Friday 11th in the Eastern Conference, five points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot with 20 games left in the regular season.
|Grant Besse, Benilde-St. Margaret's|
Senior right wing Grant Besse didn't conclude this year's state tournament in the same remarkable fashion he did in 2011-12, but he certainly did his share in the regular season to catch the eye of all those who watched him perform at Benilde-St. Margaret's High School in Minnesota.
The 5-foot-8.5, 177-pound Besse, No. 124 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top 2013 draft-eligible North American skaters, was awarded the Mr. Hockey Award on March 10 during the 29th ceremony in St. Paul.
The Mr. Hockey Award is given to the outstanding senior high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota and is selected by a panel of National Hockey League Scouts, Division I coaches and selected media members from around the state.
"[Besse] isn't real big, but he's very strong on his skates and with how he moves," Central Scouting's David Gregory told NHL.com. "He just looks so comfortable getting around the ice. He does everything with such ease, like move puck to teammate, shoot on the fly or move laterally to get around somebody.
"He doesn't have to slow down, stop or look. He's always constantly moving and when you combine that with one of the best wrist shots and releases in the draft, you understand why he almost put up 50 goals this season."
Besse was No. 187 on Central Scouting's final ranking prior to the 2012 Draft in Pittsburgh, but wasn't chosen.
New Jersey has won all of its last six games against the Flyers, including a lopsided affair earlier this week, but that won't make this game easy. The Devils are still missing veteran netminder Martin Brodeur and have struggled a bit without him. The Flyers have only have 2 points in their last 5 games, so they will be trying to do everything to get back on track. These Atlantic Division rivals don't like each other, so this could be quite the contest.
Flyers Keys to the Game
• Get it Done – Philadelphia has never won against New Jersey in a shootout so they need to get this game wrapped up in regulation and avoid a three-point game.
• Expose Hedberg – Johan Hedberg has played fairly well for the Devils in Marty’s absence, but the Flyers need to find a way to solve him and make this an offensive game.
Devils Keys to the Game
• Defense First – With Brodeur out, it's up to the Devils to maintain strong play at both ends of the ice and help their netminder as best they can.
• Stay the Course - The Devils have historically been excellent against the Flyers. They need to stick to their systems and control the pace of the game.
Find the Official NHL®13 Game Prediction below. Watch as the Flyers take on the Devils at 7:30pm ET on NHL Network
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You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.