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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 8:17 PM

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

Penguins aware of Spezza's impact on Senators

OTTAWA -- No team understands the emotional lift the long-awaited return of a star player can provide better than the Pittsburgh Penguins do.

So they are very well prepared for the impact the likely return of Jason Spezza to the Ottawa Senators lineup will have on the complexion of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

With captain Sidney Crosby having made a similar return on several occasions, and Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang doing the same, the Penguins are ready to face a very different Senators team.

"I expect them to be really energized and desperate," Crosby said Saturday. "Adding a player like Jason, he's a big part of their team. He's been around for a long time and he's definitely going to give them a boost."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 7:48 PM

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

Spezza 'ready to go' for Game 3 against Penguins

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators have worked all season long to get to this moment.

For the first time since Jan. 27, eight days into the 2012-13 season, the Senators will in all likelihood ice their full lineup Sunday with the expected return of top center Jason Spezza for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

"I've gone through a full recovery," Spezza said after taking part in the team's optional skate Saturday at Scotiabank Place. "Obviously being off a long time, you're never going to be quite the same right away. But the doctor's say everything's fine and I've put in the work. It's not like I'm expecting to play out of the blue. I've been putting in time here for a while, a lot of skating, a lot of build up towards [playing]. I think I'm ready to go."

With the Senators trailing the best-of-7 series 0-2, Spezza's return from back surgery could not come at a better time. No matter how long it takes him to shake the rust, Spezza should be able to provide a positive impact on the struggling Ottawa power play and provide a good dose of offensive punch to a team that needs it.

"Anytime you can add a player of Jason's ability that's a huge, huge step," coach Paul MacLean said. "He's a No. 1 center, he's an 80-point player, fourth leading scorer in the League last year, he is very good on the power play and he can provide offense from anywhere on the ice. That's something that we don't have on our team right now, consistently."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 6:22 PM

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

Miller feels good in return to Red Wings lineup

CHICAGO -- Drew Miller didn't score a goal, didn't record a point, and played 12:07 for the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at United Center in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Chicago Blackhawks, but he had an impact in his return from a broken bone in his finger.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 6:16 PM

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

Penalty kill, Kane's goal positives for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- One of the bright spots for the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday in Game 2 of their Western Conference Semifinal loss to the Detroit Red Wings was their penalty kill, which remains perfect through seven games of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Despite losing 4-1 at United Center, Chicago went 4-for-4 killing penalties and upped its string of consecutive kills to 24.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 5:04 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Jones, MacKinnon to put friendship on hold

Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon have been friends since they were 15 years old. But that friendship will get put on hold Saturday, when Jones' Portland Winterhawks face MacKinnon's Halifax Mooseheads at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

They are the top two prospects in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft, and it's likely they will be the first two players to hear their names called when this year's draft is held June 30 at Prudential Center.

Their relationship goes back to when each was 15 years old, when they were roommates at a summer camp run their CAA, the agency that now represents both players.

"We just started bonding and sharing each other’s similarities," Jones told Yahoo! Sports. "It just took off from there."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 3:41 PM

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

Tortorella refuses to discuss adjustments

BOSTON -- In addition to being entertaining during a press conference Saturday at TD Garden, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella was mysterious when it came to discussing potential adjustments heading into Game 2 in their Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Boston Bruins, to be played Sunday at TD Garden (3 p.m. ET, NBC, RDS, TSN).

Tortorella first described himself as not being a "big adjustment guy" before saying his team was looking at "some small things after Game 1."

However, the kicker of his statement was the most mysterious part, and one he did not want to elaborate on.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 3:26 PM

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

Tortorella says Hagelin 'stinks' on power play

BOSTON -- The New York Rangers power play is a daily story for its continuous struggles, and Saturday the focus turned to Carl Hagelin, the speedy, skilled left wing who doesn't even play on the power play.

Now we know why, courtesy of coach John Tortorella.

"Because he stinks on the power play," Tortorella said during an entertaining press conference following practice Saturday at TD Garden. "He stinks. I don't know why. I wish I could put him on the power play, but every time I put him on, he stinks."

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 2:47 PM

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

Redden won't rush return just to face Rangers

BOSTON -- At 35 years old, Wade Redden knows his body.

He also knows if he's not careful and gets back into the Boston Bruins lineup too soon, he could leave his team shorthanded at the most important time of the year.

"You've got to be honest with yourself, and it comes down to that," Redden said Saturday after practicing with the Bruins at TD Garden. "Everyone wants to be out there, but it's got to be the right way and you could go out there and you're not able to do what you need to do, you're only hurting the team. So you've got to be able to get it done. Obviously guys play through a lot of stuff. There's a line there."

Bruins coach Claude Julien said Redden, who sat out the past two games with an undisclosed injury, will be a game-time decision for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN, RDS). Redden missed Games 5 and 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs before sitting out Game 1 against the Rangers on Thursday.

Redden said he was limited during practice Saturday and wasn't able to do everything in the drills.

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 12:59 PM

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

Miller replaces Bertuzzi in Red Wings' lineup

CHICAGO -- Drew Miller will return to the lineup for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

Miller has not played since April 20 against the Vancouver Canucks because of a broken finger. He had four goals and eight points in 44 games for the Red Wings this season.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock has tinkered with his fourth line on several occasions in this postseason. Patrick Eaves and Cory Emmerton each has sat once, but the third spot has been a bit of a rotation. Todd Bertuzzi, who has no points in the postseason, will sit for the third time.

Here are the projected lineups for the Blackhawks and Red Wings:

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Posted On Saturday, 05.18.2013 / 11:11 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Red Wings series blog

Handzus in, Stalberg out for Blackhawks

Michal Handzus will be in the lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their Western Conference Semifinal series against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS), and forward Viktor Stalberg will be a healthy scratch.

Handzus missed practice Friday, the third straight on-ice session, but will be back in his familiar second-line center spot, between Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.

Stalberg had one assist in five games in the first round against the Minnesota Wild, but was scratched from the lineup in Game 1 against the Red Wings.

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He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter