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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 7:44 PM

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

Staal not in lineup for Rangers in Game 5

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal returned to practice Friday morning in advance of Game 5 against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2) but is not playing for the second straight game.

Staal also missed Game 4 on Wednesday after returning to action in Game 3 following an absence of 29 games. Staal didn't want to go into details about what is holding him back and instead said he simply isn't fit to play right now because of his right eye injury, which occurred March 5 in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I'll wake up [Saturday] and go at it again," Staal said. "With this thing, the way I've been dealing with it is I wake up in the morning and take it from there. I couldn't speculate one way or the other."

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 7:44 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Wilson replacing Erat in Capitals' lineup

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Prospect Tom Wilson is making his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals Friday in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers (NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

The Capitals' first-round pick (No. 16) in the 2012 NHL Draft was recalled Thursday from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League and is skating on Washington's fourth line alongside Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle in Game 5.

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 7:39 PM

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

Redden out, Bartkowski in for Bruins

BOSTON -- For the second time in the Boston Bruins' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins juggled their defensive alignment because of a lineup change.

Coach Claude Julien on Friday morning said defenseman Wade Redden was injured and he is not playing Game 5 of the team's Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday (CBC, RDS, NHLN-US). The Bruins lead the series 3-1 and are trying to advance to the next round with a victory.

Redden had a goal and an assist in Game 1, and is a plus-2 with two shots on goal in four games.

Matt Bartkowski was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Thursday and took Redden's place next to Adam McQuaid.

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 7:12 PM

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

Oates wants Capitals to get off to fast start

WASHINGTON -- Washington Capitals Adam Oates admitted prior to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Friday night that he's "worried" about how his team will be at the start of the game.

He pointed to the starts each team had as being a difference between the Capitals winning Games 1 and 2 at Verizon Center and losing to the New York Rangers in Games 3 and 4 at Madison Square Garden.

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 6:50 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Crosby honored to be Hart Trophy finalist

Not even missing the Pittsburgh Penguins' last 12 regular-season games was enough to keep captain Sidney Crosby from being named a finalist for the Hart Trophy, given to the NHL's regular-season MVP.

Despite missing the last quarter of the season, Crosby joined Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and John Tavares of the New York Islanders as the three finalists.


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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 6:30 PM

By Mike Battaglino -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Islanders in familiar must-win situation

The New York Islanders find themselves in a must-win situation Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, facing elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

The Islanders are familiar with the scenario, playing almost an entire month of must-win games as they battled for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 4:36 PM

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

Hitchcock understands road Blues must travel

LOS ANGELES -- As coach of the Dallas Stars in 1999, when he led his team to the Stanley Cup, Ken Hitchcock was in this familiar position: down 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and facing elimination on the road.

Not only did Hitchcock's Stars go into Denver and defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals, they won Game 7 at home, and that run was culminated with a victory over the Buffalo Sabres in six games to win the Stanley Cup.

Fast forward 14 years, when Hitchcock's St. Louis Blues are down 3-2 against the defending champion Los Angeles Kings, on the road, in a tough building, needing a win to keep their season alive.

So what can these Blues draw from their veteran coach that they must apply against a Kings team that has won three straight in the series?

"You have to outplay the team," Hitchcock said after Friday's morning skate. "You can't expect to play at the same level and win the hockey game. It doesn't happen. I've been in this situation a number of times and come through, and it's been the same similar landscape. We have to outplay them today. If we play at the same level, it's not going to be good enough"

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 2:41 PM

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

Clifford a question mark for Kings

LOS ANGELES -- The big drama for the Los Angeles Kings at the morning skate Friday was the absence of forward Kyle Clifford, which was explained by coach Darryl Sutter.

"He gets here before you guys," Sutter said. "Then he was doing a Geico commercial, and then he was doing the weather with Channel 4 this morning up in the helicopter."

Sutter expanded to say Clifford "had … what does [St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock] call it? A maintenance day, the day of the game."

If Clifford can't play, that would seem to be the only significant change for the Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Blues at Staples Center (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Hart honor nice, but Ovechkin focused on winning

ARLINGTON, Va. -- When the Washington Capitals were faced with a 10-point deficit in the Southeast Division standings in mid-March and were in danger of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in six years, Alex Ovechkin turned his season around.

Beginning March 14, Ovechkin had a League-high 23 goals and 36 points in the final 23 games of the regular season as the Capitals went 17-4-2 to clinch the division title.

Ovechkin's efforts were recognized Friday when he was named one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded annually to the "player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team." Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and John Tavares of the New York Islanders are the other finalists.

"It's nice and I'm sure I'm going to have time to celebrate later, but right now it's all about business and focus on the game," Ovechkin said as the Capitals prepared Friday for Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2).

"It's big. It means like I'm still [a factor]," he said of his fourth career Hart Trophy nomination, his first since 2009-10. "It was a hard year, it was hard season for all of us, and I'm happy to be in that kind of position."

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Posted On Friday, 05.10.2013 / 1:12 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Colaiacovo, Abdelkader joining Red Wings lineup

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings will get a key component of the team's top line back from suspension, but that isn't the only lineup tweak from coach Mike Babcock as an elimination game beckons.

Veteran defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will make his debut in the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 on Friday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN2), replacing rookie Brian Lashoff. Detroit, down 3-2 in the series, needs a win to force Game 7 in Anaheim on Sunday.

"We didn't move the puck," Babcock said of the reason for his switch on the blue line. "I thought we struggled, particularly with that pair, in a lot of the game, from the opening shift to a number of shifts. We weren't good enough so we're making a change."

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Quote of the Day

I don't think it's really truly going to sink in until we drop the puck, to be honest. I know there's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors with the media attention and all that. We came [Monday] and it was sort of a light day to get things organized. We just want to focus in on the business aspect, the game itself. That's what we're preparing to do. Get these next couple of days out of the way and it's game on.

— Lightning captain Steven Stamkos on playing in his first Stanley Cup Final