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Posted On Saturday, 05.19.2012 / 4:52 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Fraser returns after son's medical scare

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Colin Fraser is back with the Los Angeles Kings and ready to play after a medical scare with his son removed him from hockey for a precarious few days.

Colin Fraser
Center - LAK
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 0
SOG: 8 | +/-: -1
Fraser said Saturday morning that his 19-month-old son, Calder, was hospitalized when the Kings were in Glendale, Ariz.  He immediately returned to his summer home in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, to be with his family and he missed Games 2 and 3 of the Western Conference Finals.

Fraser said "everyone's healthy and I'm back and ready to play." He was simply happy to return to normalcy.

"At first, I didn't know what to do and I said, 'Forget it, I'm going home,'" Fraser said. "Obviously, I want to play and I want to be here and this is obviously something special. But at the end of the day, family comes first, and family is 100 percent, No.1. Hockey is going to come and go, but my family I'll have forever, so it was a no-brainer for me. 
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Posted On Saturday, 05.19.2012 / 12:58 PM

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

Eminger replaces Bickel in Rangers' lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Rangers have a change in their lineup for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Steve Eminger will replace Stu Bickel and play on the blue line for the first time in the playoffs. He will be paired with Michael Del Zotto.

Eminger played 4:25 of ice time as a fourth-line forward in Game 1 against Washington on April 28. The last time he played a game on defense was March 15 against Pittsburgh.

Bickel played only 4:13 in Game 2 and was on the ice for David Clarkson's game-winning goal in the third period. He has played in every game in the playoffs, but has received over seven minutes of ice time on only three occasions (Game 3 vs. Ottawa, Games 4 and 5 against Washington). He is a minus-2 with four penalty minutes.
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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 8:21 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Coyotes hope break helps focus on Game 4

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Phoenix Coyotes felt they played better in Game 3 of this Western Conference Final series. They also came up short again, and now are one loss from elimination.

There is an extra off day in the schedule between Games 3 and 4 because of the congestion at Staples Center with the Los Angeles Kings, Clippers and Lakers still participating in the postseason. Most of the Coyotes that played Thursday night took Friday off, as coach Dave Tippett tried to give them a break from the day-to-day grind of the playoffs.
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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 7:36 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Kings series blog

Kings not focused on officiating

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Perhaps it was steam blown off by a frustrated coach. Maybe Dave Tippett was trying to deflect attention from the three games to none series deficit his Phoenix Coyotes team is facing in the Western Conference Finals.

Whatever the case, the Los Angeles Kings aren't taking the bait.

Tippett after Game 3 on Thursday criticized the officiating during the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a perceived failure to monitor "embellishment by players." It was meant to be a general statement about the postseason, but the Kings were naturally implicated.
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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 4:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Brodeur talks Game 2 'scorpion save' on Gaborik


NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur couldn't help but smile when told his incredible right leg save while on his stomach against forward Marian Gaborik early in the second period of Game 2 had gone viral and was being labeled "Marty's scorpion save."
 
The stop came at the 2:01 mark when Gaborik broke in from the left circle and targeted a shot over a fallen Brodeur with the Rangers working the power play. Somehow, Brodeur was able to bend his right knee and deflect the puck away with the puck of his skate. It actually resembled that of a scorpion striking with its tail.
 
"Yeah, it's definitely one of the most interesting ones," Brodeur told the media on Friday. "I didn't know I was able to stretch that far with my leg behind me like that. You know, it's kind of a desperation move there. I got lucky to make the save. It looks good, but if you fast forward the tape for about 10 seconds and they score a goal, so that's not good."
 
Marc Staal connected against Brodeur just 22 seconds after the highlight-reel block. Still, it's just one more clip in the ever-growing collection for the future Hall of Fame goalie.
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale


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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 3:45 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose's Mullet of the Week

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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 3:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Josefson, Tallinder part of Devils practice

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils returned to the ice for practice on Friday at AmeriHealth Pavilion following their day off to begin serious preparations for the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
 
"We know the Rangers are going to come out and play a great hockey game, so it's on us to do the same thing," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "I expect it to be the best game of the series on Saturday from both ends because both teams want to take their game to another level."
 
The best-of-seven series, which is 1-1, resumes Saturday afternoon here at Prudential Center.
 
Devils forward David Clarkson, who scored the game-winning goal on Wednesday in a 3-2 victory at Madison Square Garden, said getting a day off the ice benefits the team.
 
"It's nice to get rest in the playoffs," Clarkson said. "Everyone is banged up, and to be able to spend time with the family and get a day away, and then get back to work, is nice. You can see everyone in [the locker room] is laughing and having fun. You guys can see how fun this locker room is."
 
In addition to the usual game day starters, forward Jacob Josefson and defenseman Henrik Tallinder also practiced with the team for the first time since suffering their injuries.
 
Josefson missed 37 games earlier this season with a broken clavicle and has been out of the lineup since April 3 with a non-displaced fracture of the left wrist. Tallinder hasn't played since Jan. 17 since being diagnosed with a blood clot in his lower leg.
 
"My gut is they'll be available at some point in the series," DeBoer said of Tallinder and Josefson. "So [they had their] first practice with the regular team [on Saturday]. They've been practicing with our AHL team, but it's a great step."
 
DeBoer also said his official lineup will be determined after pre-game warmups on Saturday.
 
Here were the line combinations at Friday's practice:
 
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
Extras: Eric Boulton - Jacob Josefson - Cam Janssen
 
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold
Extras: Henrik Tallinder - Adam Larsson
 
Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale


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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 2:55 PM

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

Rangers believe better breakouts are a must

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- We already know that coach John Tortorella insists the Rangers are not a tired team despite playing back-to-back seven-game series, but they do get tired during shifts, especially when they're working so hard just to get the puck out of the defensive zone and into the attacking zone.

Brad Richards said the key for Game 3 Saturday is cleanly moving the puck up the ice. If they can do that, then the Rangers feel they will be able to keep the Devils hemmed in their zone.
 
It sounds obvious, like something every team in every game wants to do, but through two games in the Eastern Conference Finals, turning breakouts into offensive-zone time has been a difficult task for the Rangers to accomplish.

"We've got to get pucks down there, get them working in their zone and tire them out down there," Richards said. "It's a lot easier to play in the offensive zone, and we spend the first part of our shifts trying to get out of the zone. We just have to get down there."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 2:49 PM

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

Rangers swap lines to get 'heavier'

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Considering the Rangers have struggled along the boards against the Devils through two games, it's not all that surprising that coach John Tortorella was experimenting with a new line of Brian Boyle between Mike Rupp and Artem Anisimov in practice Friday.

Size matters when you want to win battles along the boards, and the Rangers don't have any three bigger forwards (John Scott is not an option) -- Boyle is 6-foot-7; Rupp is 6-foot-5; Anisimov is 6-foot-4.

If Boyle, Rupp and Anisimov are together, they will be tasked with pounding the Devils along the walls. New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer talked Thursday about how his team is a "heavy team" on the puck, with their sticks, in the corners and on the walls, and the Rangers haven't adequately been able to match that yet.

"Our game all year has been hold onto pucks in the offensive zone and play in those tough areas," Rupp said. "New Jersey is doing the same and right now we're losing that battle. We need to find ways to hold on to pucks in those areas. That's what I know I'm going to look to do in the next game, and a bunch of us will look to better that."

Added Tortorella: "No matter who it is, when you're at this point in the season, you're playing against teams that we're playing against, Jersey, and the other two teams playing in the West, that's a big part of playoff hockey," Tortorella said of strong board play. "That's a big part of who we are, and we certainly have to be more consistent with that part."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 05.18.2012 / 2:02 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Devils series blog

Seeking size, Rangers move Rupp to third line

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Rangers had been icing the identical lineup and combinations to start a game since the end of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but that all changed Friday afternoon at practice.

Coach John Tortorella moved Mike Rupp from the fourth line to the third line and dropped Ruslan Fedotenko to the fourth line. The third line now features more size and strength with the 6-foot-7, 244-pound Brian Boyle in the middle, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Artem Anisimov on the left wing and the 6-foot-5, 243-pound Rupp on the right.

The Rangers felt they lost too many puck battles along the wall in their 3-2 loss to the Devils in Game 2 of the conference finals. Adding more beef to the checking line could help solve that problem.

"That's a big part of how we play," Tortorella said. "Big, small or medium build, we play hard along the boards. Obviously that was void the other night."

Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Prudential Center, so there will be no morning skate before the game. These are the lines the Devils can expect to face when the puck is dropped with the series tied 1-1.

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Artem Anisimov - Brian Boyle - Mike Rupp
Ruslan Fedotenko - John Mitchell - Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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