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Posted On Monday, 04.29.2013 / 1:51 PM

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

Lamoriello: Devils keeping 2013 first-round pick

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters Monday the organization has decided to retain its first-round pick for the 2013 NHL Draft, which the Devils are hosting at Prudential Center on June 30.

In September 2010, the NHL fined the Devils $3 million and took away two high draft picks over the next four years for signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year, $102 million contract two months earlier that circumvented the League's salary cap.

The Devils forfeited a 2011 third-round pick and were told they needed to forfeit a first-rounder at some point over the next four years following the penalty.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 8:41 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

MIN @ COL - 4:05 of the Second Period

At 4:05 of the second period in the Wild/Avalanche game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Colorado forward Chuck Kobasew used his right skate to kick the puck into the net. According to Rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net." No Goal Colorado.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 7:26 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

NSH @ CBJ - 8:00 of the First Period

At 8:00 of the first period in the Predators/Blue Jackets game, the referee's on the ice huddled and ruled that Nashville forward Craig Smith used his left skate to kick the puck into the net. The Toronto Situation Room reviewed the play and upheld the referee's call on the ice. According to Rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net." No Goal Nashville.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 3:33 PM

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

Penguins' Crosby skates, Neal and Martin to return

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby took part in a Pittsburgh Penguins morning skate for the first time in almost exactly a month Saturday.

Crosby won't play in the regular-season finale against the Carolina Hurricanes, but he might have learned whom coach Dan Bylsma has in store as his linemates for the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.

They appear to be very familiar ones.

James Neal said he will be on the right wing of Evgeni Malkin with Jarome Iginla on the left side Saturday in Neal's return after missing eight games because of a concussion. Bylsma has said the Penguins are using the regular-season finale as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the postseason.

Crosby's wings for most of the season, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, appear to be together with Jussi Jokinen. When Jokinen was acquired from Carolina at the NHL Trade Deadline earlier this month, the Penguins made no secret Jokinen was brought in as a stopgap -- and as insurance -- for an injured Crosby. That would signal Kunitz and Dupuis will be with Crosby when he is cleared to play.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 2:50 PM

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

Jordan Staal making return to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- Jordan Staal isn't sure what emotions he'll experience when, as expected, the Pittsburgh Penguins roll a tribute video to him during a first-period stoppage in play Saturday night at Consol Energy Center.

Traded to the Carolina Hurricanes after declining to sign a contract extension with the Penguins last June, Staal also isn't sure how the Pittsburgh partisan crowd will receive him.

"All I can say is that I had a lot of good memories here and I had a lot of fun playing here," Staal said following his final morning skate of the season Saturday.

The Hurricanes wrap up their season with a 7:30 p.m. game at the Penguins, Staal's former team that enters next week's Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.

Staal spent the first six seasons of his NHL career with Pittsburgh and was part of the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2009. This is his first game in Pittsburgh since being traded.

"It's going to be a little different for him because he's used to being on the other side dressing for the Penguins," teammate and brother Jared Staal said. "I'm sure he'll try to enjoy it. It'll be a little weird at first, but I'm sure he's moved on a bit. He's a Hurricane now."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 2:32 PM

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

With Greene sidelined, Kings turn to Ellerby

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings are already without captain Dustin Brown for their regular-season finale; now they will be without Matt Greene.

Greene has not skated with the team the past two days because of an undisclosed injury from Wednesday that is not related to his previous back surgery, coach Darryl Sutter said. Keaton Ellerby took Greene's place in the morning skate Saturday and will fill in when the Kings play a pivotal game against the San Jose Sharks.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 2:02 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils face Rangers squad looking to climb standings

NEW YORK -- With a long offseason awaiting the New Jersey Devils after the season finale Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, coach Peter DeBoer was adamant his team wouldn't be a pushover against the New York Rangers.

As for their rivals from across the Hudson River, New York clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth Thursday and are jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference.

"We came to win the game. You just want to finish the right way," DeBoer said Saturday. "I think we have enough professionalism that I don't see that being an issue. The big thing we've talked about is not letting our play drop because of the situation we're in. We've played some very good hockey the last three weeks."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 1:52 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blues can't afford to overlook depleted Blackhawks

ST. LOUIS -- For the St. Louis Blues, with the Stanley Cup Playoffs scenario in their own hands and not having to rely on outside help, two words fit the description heading into the season finale Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks: no excuses.

If the Blues (28-17-2) win, they will finish as the fourth seed in the Western Conference and have home ice in the first round of the playoffs. A regulation loss eliminates them from a possible fourth seed because the teams they're jockeying for position with (San Jose and Los Angeles, each one point back), play each other. One point Saturday gives the Blues a chance.

"It's win and move on," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "To me, regardless what happens, 90 minutes after the game we've moved onto the next event. If it ends up in a win, great, we're the four seed and we watch TV. If we don't win, we adjust accordingly. To me, you can't carry any baggage postgame."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 1:28 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Wild get ready for a regular-season 'Game 7'

DENVER -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo has called Saturday's regular-season finale against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center a "Game 7," and with good reason. The Wild would secure a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win, but they would miss out with a regulation loss if the Columbus Blue Jackets win or gain a point in their home game with the Nashville Predators.

If the Wild and Blue Jackets finish tied in the standings -- each has 53 points -- Minnesota makes it to the postseason because it holds the tiebreaker with Columbus. The Wild also could move from eighth place in the Western Conference to seventh, depending how the Detroit Red Wings, who have 54 points, fare in their game at the Dallas Stars.

Goalie Niklas Backstrom is expected to start for the Wild despite getting pulled after allowing three goals on five shots in the first period Friday in a 6-1 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Backstrom has gone 10-2-1 with a 2.10 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in his past 13 games in Denver, where the Wild have gone 11-2-2 in their past 15 visits.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the Wild were expected to recall forwards Jason Zucker and Stephane Veilleux from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League and return Jake Dowell and Carson McMillan.

Each team played Friday -- the Avalanche pulled out a 5-4 shootout win at the Phoenix Coyotes -- and neither skated Saturday morning.

Here are the projected lineups:

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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 1:27 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 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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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