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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:21 PM

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

Bozak healthy, ready to return for Maple Leafs

BOSTON -- Just in time for the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have center Tyler Bozak back in the lineup.

Bozak, who missed the last two games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury, will play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

"We wouldn't put a player back into this situation unless he was 100-percent healthy," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's told us that he's 100-percent healthy, so we expect him to perform to his capabilities. I'm sure there's players on the Boston hockey club that have bumps and bruises that are not any different. So to sum it all up, he's going to play his role."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:12 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild recall goalie Kuemper

With the status of starting goalie Niklas Backstrom unknown, the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday recalled goaltender Darcy Kuemper from Houston of the American Hockey League.

Backstrom sustained a lower-body injury during warm-ups prior to Game 1 of the Wild's first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks. Josh Harding started and made 37 saves in the Wild's 2-1 loss. The Wild have yet to update Backstrom's injury.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:09 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Crosby out for Game 1, no timetable for return

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said Wednesday morning he would not play when his team opens the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN) at Consol Energy Center.

Crosby told reporters after the team's practice he did not receive medical clearance to play. He has been out of the lineup since sustaining a broken jaw when a deflected puck hit him in the face during a game March 30. He needed surgery to repair the break, and also lost several teeth.

"[The doctor] said everything looked good, but he just wasn't ready to clear me to play," Crosby said. "Obviously, I would have loved to have played, but that's not the way it is. I'll make sure I'm ready when the time comes.

Crosby admitted he doesn't know when that time will be.

"I'll just wait and see," Crosby said. "He didn't give me a date."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:00 PM

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

Jagr likely to line up with Kelly, Daugavins

BOSTON -- Line combinations from practice Tuesday and the Boston Bruins' morning skate Wednesday indicated that Kaspars Daugavins will skate on a line with Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr, making Rich Peverley a healthy scratch when the Bruins open the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).

The return to health of forwards Nathan Horton (upper body) and Jagr (flu) has forced Bruins coach Claude Julien to make some difficult lineup decisions. While it's not surprising that late-season Swedish import Carl Soderberg probably will sit out, Julien's decision to sit Peverley, a veteran of the 2011 Cup championship team who skated in all but one regular-season game in 2012-13, is a bit of a shock.

The Bruins will need Kelly's line to produce if they hope to field a balanced, three-line offensive attack against a high-scoring Maple Leafs squad.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 12:58 PM

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

Ward could play for Capitals in Game 1

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates said there would be a good chance for Joel Ward to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers on Thursday provided he can manage any discomfort he might still be feeling in his left knee.

Ward missed the last nine games of the regular season with a bruised left knee.

"It would depend on how much the discomfort is," Oates said when asked about Ward's availability. "Can he fight through it or not?"

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 12:41 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Quick start from top line has been key for Rangers

Any line featuring a captain partnered with the squad's leading scorer and one of the NHL's fastest skaters would be looked to for scoring and leadership on every shift. But for the New York Rangers' top line of captain Ryan Callahan, leading scorer Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin -- who won the Bridgestone Fastest Skater competition at the 2012 All-Star Game -- a good start has been just as critical as a good finish.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 4:15 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Senators' Michalek, Phillips given day of rest

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators hit the ice Tuesday for the first time since the end of the regular season, but there were two key pieces missing.

Defenseman Chris Phillips and forward Milan Michalek did not skate, but coach Paul MacLean said the veterans were taking maintenance days and were expected to practice Wednesday in Montreal. Their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Canadiens starts Thursday at Bell Centre.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 3:37 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Beauchemin-Souray pairing split for Game 1

ANAHEIM -- Sheldon Souray and Francois Beauchemin were arguably the most effective defensive pairing in the NHL this season. They are a combined plus-38 and accounted for 13 of the 17 goals scored by Anaheim Ducks defensemen.

That's what makes it difficult to understand why coach Bruce Boudreau would split up the pair for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But that appears to be the case; Souray continued Tuesday to work with Ben Lovejoy while Beauchemin was with Cam Fowler.

Boudreau switched the pair a couple of practices ago but wouldn't say why, although there is some thought that one of them needs to be with a fast skater like Fowler to counter the Detroit Red Wings' skilled forwards.

"I'm not going to speculate or say why I'm doing things at this stage, but whatever we do there's a reason," Boudreau said Monday. "We're just not throwing names in a hat and pulling them out. We have a thought process that goes into everything. Trial and error, and you hope it works."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 3:09 PM

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

Scandella excited to make Stanley Cup Playoff debut

CHICAGO -- After playing one regular-season game with the Minnesota Wild this season, 23-year-old defenseman Marco Scandella was recalled from Houston of the American Hockey League Monday. He will play alongside Jared Spurgeon in Game 1 of the Wild's series against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC) in a whirlwind couple of days that took him from the American Hockey League playoffs to the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I'm super-excited," said Scandella, who has 89 games of NHL experience but will skate in his first NHL playoff game. "I've been watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs my whole life and I've been playing hockey to be a part of it. I was just focused on playing the [AHL] playoffs … so it's not like I saw it coming. I was just happy about it and I'm ready."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 3:08 PM

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

Capitals hoping to have Ward back for opener

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Forward Joel Ward could return to the Washington Capitals' lineup for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, according to coach Adam Oates.

Ward missed the final nine games of the regular season with a left knee injury he suffered April 7 after blocking a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo.

Ward is targeting a return for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Thursday against the New York Rangers and practiced with his teammates Tuesday for the second straight day.

"You know what, it was really encouraging that he took a full practice at full speed," Oates said. "He said he felt good. As long as there are no setbacks [Wednesday], yeah, I expect him."

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Quote of the Day

I'm very excited about what happened today. We've worked on this deal with Toronto for a month, or over a month. It got a little bit of legs on draft day, but it really heated up last night, and we were able to complete the deal today.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on Phil Kessel, who he acquired from the Maple Leafs in a trade on Wednesday