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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 1:27 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Red Wings trying to lock up playoff spot in Dallas

DALLAS -- The Detroit Red Wings enter the final game of the regular season Saturday with a simple goal: Beat the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center and secure a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 22nd straight season.

Detroit (23-16-8, 54 points), which has won three straight and is 6-3-3 in April, sits seventh in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild, who are eighth at 53 points.

The Stars were eliminated from postseason contention for a fifth straight season when the Red Wings beat the Nashville Predators, 5-2 on Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena. And even though Dallas has little other than pride to play for, the approach remains the same for Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

"Well, you just play hard, get prepared and win a game. That’s what we have to do here," Babcock said. "I don’t think we need to worry about anything else, just focus on the process like we talk about each and every game, have some urgency about us, make sure we start on time and we let the structure of the game protect us by being in good spots and being patient."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 12:40 PM

By Mike Brophy -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs, Canadiens in possible playoff preview

TORONTO -- For old time hockey fans, it could wind up being a classic playoff match for the ages.

A win by the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night, coupled with a loss by the Ottawa Senators to the Boston Bruins, would mean Montreal and Toronto would meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Though the Maple Leafs have made every effort to not get too ahead of themselves in terms of discussing their first trip to the postseason since 2004, there is no ignoring the fact the game Saturday has special meaning.

"We’re playing a possible first-round opponent and we want to play well," Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf said. "Whether it’s them or another team, you want to go into the playoffs feeling good about your game and about the way your team is playing, so it’s a big game for our team. We want to play our style and feel good about our game going into the playoffs."


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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 12:36 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flu sidelines Jagr, while Bruins remain without Horton

WASHINGTON -- The Boston Bruins will be without Jaromir Jagr on Saturday as they face the Washington Capitals in their next-to-last game of the regular-season.

Jagr remained in Boston with the flu while Nathan Horton will miss his third straight game with an upper-body injury. According to Bruins coach Claude Julien, both players are day-to-day.

Since joining the Bruins earlier this month in a trade with the Dallas Stars, Jagr has two goals and nine points in 11 games. He skated 14:30 in Boston's 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday -- his lowest time-on-ice since the trade.


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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 12:20 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Karlsson set for return in front of home crowd

OTTAWA -- Fresh off a triumphant return to the Ottawa Senators lineup on Thursday, defenseman Erik Karlsson will play in his first home game since Feb. 13, when Matt Cooke's skate cut his left Achilles tendon.

The injury, which required surgery, was estimated to require 4-6 months in recovery time, but the former Norris Trophy winner was able to make a stunning recovery, returning to the lineup in 31 games. Karlsson admitted Saturday morning the Stanley Cup Playoffs served as motivation to return.

"It's the most fun you can have," Karlsson said. "It's what everyone plays for, and it's what everyone wants to be a part of. I was part of missing it one year (when the Senators did not make the postseason in 2010-11) and I've been part of going to the first round (against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009-10 and New York Rangers in 2011-12) and I know how much fun that was. You build up during the season and hopefully get to the playoffs for a good run."

Here are the projected lines for the Senators and Philadelphia Flyers at Scotiabank Place on Saturday night:

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 12:10 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Individual honors motivate Lightning in season finale

TAMPA -- It's Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos against the Florida Panthers on Saturday -- or at least it seems that way, as the last bit of excitement for two teams that end their season with this game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum centers around St. Louis' pursuit of the Art Ross Trophy for most points in the NHL and Stamkos' quest for the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals.

Make no mistake, the entire Tampa Bay Lightning squad will be on hand, but mostly just to assist both players in their pursuits.

"They are talented players and we'd be lying to say that it's not in the back of our minds," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "In the last game of the year, if we can ultimately get two players to be recognized for how they played all year and their accomplishments, we'll do our best to help them out."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 11:43 AM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Holtby starts as Capitals seek momentum

ARLINGTON, Va. – Having already clinched the Southeast Division and No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, the goal for the Washington Capitals is to play a clean hockey game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday and build momentum heading into the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Goaltender Braden Holtby will start Washington’s regular-season finale after serving as Michal Neuvirth’s backup in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

"I talked to him, actually, about which game he would rather have, and in terms of rest, what's too much rest, how recent do you want to play," coach Adam Oates said. "I don't think there's any perfect formula. I don't think anybody's ever perfected that, but it makes sense to him to play [against Boston] and if we [open the playoffs] Tuesday or Wednesday, it's kind of a good rhythm because we've almost played every other day this year. It's been that kind of season."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 11:20 AM

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

Blue Jackets get Anisimov back for finale

The Columbus Blue Jackets will welcome Artem Anisimov back to the lineup Saturday night when they try to clinch the second Stanley Cup Playoff berth in franchise history.

"He's good to go," coach Todd Richards said of Anisimov, who hasn't played in two weeks due to a concussion.

The Blue Jackets can get in if they beat the Nashville Predators at Nationwide Arena and either the Colorado Avalanche defeat the Minnesota Wild in any fashion or the Dallas Stars defeat the Detroit Red Wings in regulation.

The Blue Jackets also earn a spot if they earn a point and the Avalanche defeat the Wild in regulation.

Here's how the Blue Jackets lines project:

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Posted On Friday, 04.26.2013 / 7:13 PM

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

CISCO NHL Live: Matchmakers PT 2

EJ Hradek analyzes what would make ideal playoff matchups for the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks.

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Posted On Friday, 04.26.2013 / 7:11 PM

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

CISCO NHL Live: Matchmakers

EJ Hradek analyzes what would make ideal playoff matchups for the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers and New York Islanders.

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Posted On Friday, 04.26.2013 / 3:30 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Giguere in net as Avalanche face Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Here are the lineups for the Phoenix Coyotes' regular season home finale against the Colorado Avalanche. Rob Klinkhammer will be back in the lineup for Phoenix after missing Wednesday's 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks with an upper-body injury.

Colorado will be without Milan Hejduk, who will sit out Friday before playing what could be his final game with the Avalanche on Saturday in Denver. Jean-Sebastien Giguere will get the start in goal.


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Quote of the Day

I look forward to the process, the battle, the pain, the fun, the journey.  It's going to be a long one but it's going to be a lot of fun. If you think there is no pain coming, there is pain coming.

— Mike Babcock, introduced as coach of the Toronto on Thursday, had a warning for fans