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Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 3:56 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ducks, Blue Jackets each short a defenseman

ANAHEIM – The Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets each will be missing a piece of their defense Wednesday night.

Luca Sbisa will sit out with what Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau referred to as general soreness, and Columbus' Adrian Aucoin has a lower-body injury.

Sbisa appeared on the ice briefly at the morning skate then ducked back inside.

"He tried it and he said, 'Not tonight,'" Boudreau said.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 3:26 PM

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

Cisco NHL Live talks to draft prospect MacKinnon

As the Boston Bruins prepare for an emotional return to the ice Wednesday, Cisco NHL Live at 5 p.m. ET will have all the latest from TD Garden. Steve Mears and EJ Hradek will be joined by NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire, who will be Inside the Glass, for the division battle between the Buffalo Sabres and Bruins, via our Cisco NHL Arena Cam.

As the Pittsburgh Penguins prepare to face the Montreal Canadiens, we'll check in with Penguins Hall of Fame announcer Mike Lange. Plus, our Subway Fresh Face of the Day, Nathan MacKinnon, will tell us what it's like to be one of the top-rated prospects in the upcoming NHL Draft. And NHL Network insider Darren Dreger will also join the show to give us the latest on buzz around the League.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks all four games being played Wednesday night.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 3:16 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Red Wings face must-win in Calgary

CALGARY -- Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock knows the dangers of playing a team like the Calgary Flames, a club that is long out of the Western Conference playoff picture and auditioning its young players.

He's just not sure if it makes them any more dangerous than the next team, considering Detroit has six games remaining on their schedule with a 22nd consecutive playoff appearance far from guaranteed.

"When you're playing teams at this time of the year, is it better to play a team that's in the playoffs and a little more comfortable?" Babcock questioned. "Is it better to play a team that's fighting for their life, maybe seized up a little bit? Or is it better to play a team that has some kids and they're just loose and dry?

"I don't know the answer to any of these questions and it's a waste of time thinking about it. Lets play."

The Red Wings enter Calgary holding down the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with 47 points. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who have played one more game than Detroit, also sit with 47 on the season. The Dallas Stars are two points back at 45.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 2:36 PM

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

Kovalchuk not ready to rejoin Devils

New Jersey Devils right wing Ilya Kovalchuk will not be returning to the lineup Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Kovalchuk, who will miss his 11th straight game with a right shoulder injury, told reporters Wednesday he would determine whether he would be able to play against the Flyers after his team's morning skate Thursday. But Devils coach Peter DeBoer said Kovalchuk would not be making the trip to Philadelphia.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 2:35 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penguins won't rush back injured stars

PITTSBURGH -- Acknowledging there is a benefit to seeing game action before the Stanley Cup Playoffs start, Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma stressed that none of his injured players will be rushed back and that all have shown an ability to seamlessly rejoin the lineup after long layoffs.

NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby (broken jaw), reigning 40-goal scorer James Neal (concussion), 25-minute-per-game defenseman Paul Martin (hand) and 2011-12 Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) each have missed time. All but Malkin have been ruled out for Wednesday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens. Malkin was termed a game-time decision by Bylsma but his role in recent practices and Wednesday's morning skate suggests he is unlikely to play.

With six games and exactly two weeks between now and the projected first game of the opening round of the playoffs at Consol Energy Center, Bylsma said there won't be any rash decisions made concerning Malkin, Crosby, Neal or Martin.

"We're talking about players who are good hockey players and can get in games and be factors in games, and they're going to be that in their first game, whenever that is," Bylsma said. "I feel comfortable they're going to be able to get in their spots and play and be factors."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 2:07 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Prust, Weber return for Canadiens

PITTSBURGH -- The Montreal Canadiens will be without wing Michael Ryder for Wednesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins because of an upper-body injury. Coach Michel Therrien did not, however, rule out Ryder returning for a home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Essentially taking Ryder's spot in the lineup is wing Brandon Prust, who sat out Monday's loss to the Philadelphia Flyers due to an upper-body injury.

Defenseman Yannick Weber will play for the Canadiens for the third time this season. It will be Weber's second appearance since January and first since March 7. Weber replaces Nathan Beaulieu after Montreal allowed 12 goals in losing its past two games.

"It's not like it's my first game ever, but it's been a while," Weber said. "For me, it's just go back and find my game and take it shift by shift. Normally it takes a couple shifts, and then you're back as if nothing happened. I'm excited and I'm ready to go."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 1:35 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Don't sleep on Michalek's value

The Ottawa Senators' injury problems have been well documented this season, and Milan Michalek has found himself on that laundry list more often than not.

That said, there's still time for Michalek to boost your fantasy squad in a big way down the stretch.

Milan Michalek
Left Wing - OTT
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 12
SOG: 38 | +/-: 6
After finishing tied for 11th in the NHL last season with a career-high 35 goals, the Senators forward has seen action in only 17 of his team's 42 games during this shortened season. But while it's been a lost season in that regard for fantasy owners who drafted him, his effectiveness when in good health should not be questioned by owners looking to add him on the waiver wire.

Michalek was recently sidelined for 15 games following knee surgery, but returned last Friday and has recorded a goal in each of his first two games back. He also missed nearly a month due to the same injury before a brief return on March 6 for two games, after which he required surgery. Despite his knee issues, Michalek has tallied at least a point in his past five games overall. It's his second five-game point streak this season, an impressive feat that proves he has displayed offensive flair when in the lineup.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 1:00 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bergeron, Marchand will return for Bruins

BOSTON – On what should be an emotional night at TD Garden, the Boston Bruins will look to give the city a lift, and they should get a lift from the return of two of their better players Wednesday.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are expected to return to the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres after missing several games with a concussion. Bergeron missed six games; Marchand has been out the past two.

The Bruins-Sabres game will be the first professional sporting event in Boston since the explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Forward Carl Soderberg, who joined the Bruins for morning skate for the first time since signing a contract with the team last week, will not play.

The Sabres demoted Luke Adam to Rochester of the American Hockey League. It appears they’ll start Ryan Miller in net after Jhonas Enroth made the prior two starts.

Here are the projected lineups for each team:

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Hartman hoping to return sooner than expected

The pictures shared by numerous Twitter account holders of the ugly laceration on the right forearm of Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman led one to believe he would be sidelined the remainder of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

Hartman, the No. 25-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting's midterm release of the top draft-eligible North American prospects, has other intentions.

Hartman informed NHL.com on Wednesday that his doctor told him earlier in the day there was no sign of infection. That means with continued healing, he could return to the lineup as early as next week.

"It looks good … I got half the stitches out [Wednesday]," Hartman told NHL.com.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 12:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Invite numbers set for NHL Scouting Combine

Once NHL Central Scouting finalizes the rankings for the top draft-eligible North American prospects, the scouting staff will begin making preparations for the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto from May 27 through June 1.

Central Scouting is anticipating 86 North American players, including the top seven ranked goalies, and the top 15 European prospects, including the No. 1-ranked goalie, to join in all the excitement and sweat that is associated with the Combine.

The fitness testing portion of the Combine will be held May 31 and June 1 at Toronto International Centre and will be headed by Dr. Norman Gledhill and his staff at York University.

Central Scouting is expected to make public its final ranking of the top draft-eligible players during the last week in April.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL

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Quote of the Day

If you want to prove people wrong, you've just got to go out and do it. Yeah, we blew 3-2 series leads the last two years, but no one is going remember that if we go out there on Saturday night and beat these guys and go play in the Stanley Cup Final. We need to get back to work and we'll start to do that tomorrow.

— Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri following a loss to the Blackhawks in Game 6 on Wednesday