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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sputtering Canadiens can end Jets' season

WINNIPEG -- The Montreal Canadiens look to remedy their sputtering play when they visit the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

The Canadiens, who have four wins in their past 10 games, have an invitation to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Jets, meanwhile, are clinging to the faintest of postseason hopes.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien will insert rookie defensemen Jarred Tinordi, whom the Canadiens recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League this week, and pair him with veteran Francis Bouillon. Tinordi, whom the Canadiens selected with the 22nd pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, was named the Bulldogs' defenseman of the year along with fellow rookie Nathan Beaulieu. Tinordi will replace Yannick Weber on the Montreal blue line.

Travis Moen will sit out his second consecutive game for the Canadiens, and Ryan White will serve the final game of his five-game NHL suspension.

Jets coach Claude Noel said he will not alter his lineup but could juggle his defensive pairings. The Jets are missing top defensemen Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom. They also remain without centermen Olli Jokinen and Jim Slater.

Montreal's Carey Price will make his seventh consecutive start in goal and face Winnipeg workhorse Ondrej Pavelec, who will close out the Jets' regular season with his 13th straight starting assignment.

Here are the projected lineups for the Canadiens and Jets:

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 2:02 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers focused on better forecheck, net presence

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Rangers will have a chance to clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth Thursday night when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes. One thing they will need is a bigger offensive push than they gave in Tuesday's 3-2 loss against the Florida Panthers.

"We need to forecheck better and establish a net presence," said Rick Nash, who leads the Rangers with 19 goals. "We got a lot of shots (against Florida), but they were from the outside -- no traffic. The goalies in this League are world-class and you've got to be able to put some bodies in front of them."

The Rangers will clinch a playoff spot with any combination of two points gained in their final two games, or a loss by the Winnipeg Jets to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Against Carolina, New York hopes to add some diversity to its offensive game and remove any doubt about the postseason.

"[We want to] get to the dirty areas, maybe spread the offensive zone out and use the points a little bit," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We talked about trying to use our D, and if we don't get the puck on net, at least draw the forwards out and maybe get a quick 2-on-1 in front of the net or something like that. Just try to be a little more creative in the offensive zone."

For Carolina, Alexander Semin will miss the final two games of the season with a concussion.

Here are the projected lineups for the Rangers and the Hurricanes:

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:54 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jared Staal's route to NHL different from brothers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- For the first three Staal brothers, NHL success came quickly. First Eric, followed by Jordan, then Marc.

That was not the end of the family pipeline, however.

A fourth Staal, Jared, will make his NHL debut Thursday night, skating with Eric and Jordan for the Carolina Hurricanes. Marc is in town, too, with the New York Rangers, but he won't be able to round out the on-ice family photo, as he recovers from an eye injury.

Jared's route to the NHL has been nothing like those of his older brothers. Eric, Jordan and Marc were first-round draft picks, jumping straight to the NHL out of juniors. They cast long shadows on their youngest brother -- but not so long that the NHL dream ever went away.

"Obviously I have a different path than my three older brothers," Jared Staal said. "They're all exceptional players who deserved to be in the NHL at a young age. I guess mine is more conventional compared to most hockey players."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:38 PM

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

Projected lineups for Flames, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- The probable lineups for Thursday night's game between the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center.

FLAMES

Mike Cammalleri - Matt Stajan - Lee Stempniak

Sven Baertschi - Mikael Backlund - Jiri Hudler

Paul Byron - Roman Horak - Roman Cervenka

Maxwell Reinhart - Blair Jones - Tim Jackman

Mark Giordano - Dennis Wideman

TJ Brodie - Mark Cundari

Chris Butler - Anton Babchuk

Joey MacDonald

Miikka Kiprusoff


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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs want to build momentum for playoffs

SUNRISE, Fla. -- After suffering a 5-2 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs held an optional morning skate at BB&T Center in preparation for their game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

A total of 15 players, including captain Dion Phaneuf and second-leading scorer Nazem Kadri, went on the ice.

The surprisingly large turnout could be attributed to two important reasons.

First and foremost, the Maple Leafs still have a shot at passing the Montreal Canadiens for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and getting home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Second, the Maple Leafs want to build some momentum entering the playoffs after losing three of their past four games.

"It just shows that the guys are willing to work to get back to where we were," Kadri said. "I don’t think we're far away from that. It's something that's very easy to correct, but at the same time we've got to be willing to work and execute the game plan."

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Orpik, Vitale join Penguins' list of injured players

NEWARK, N.J. -- Just when it appears the Pittsburgh Penguins are close to getting healthy for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a few more injuries have popped up.

Brooks Orpik and Joe Vitale did not accompany the team on the trip for the game Thursday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) because each is dealing with a lower-body injury.

Orpik was injured in the game Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres. Vitale did not play in either of the past two games.

Paul Martin and James Neal returned to practice Thursday, and though neither will play against the Devils, either could return for the regular-season finale Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Martin has missed the past 11 games with a broken hand, and Neal has missed the past seven with a concussion.

"I think that's the plan," Martin said of his status. "I was hoping for [Thursday], but now it looks like probably Saturday."

Sidney Crosby did not travel with the team due to a dental appointment Thursday, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. There still is no timetable for Crosby's return to the lineup from the broken jaw he sustained during a game March 30. He has been skating but has yet to return to full practices with the team.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 12:50 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Franzen expects to play in Wings' possible clincher

DETROIT -- Johan Franzen said he's confident he will play Thursday at Joe Louis Arena when the Detroit Red Wings take on the Nashville Predators in a game with potentially big Stanley Cup Playoff implications.

Franzen, who scored his 14th goal of the season in a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, didn't go back onto the ice for the last few minutes of the game. His status was undetermined afterward and no description of an injury was given -- only that Franzen wasn't available to go back on the ice despite staying on the bench.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock still didn't know whether Franzen would be available after Detroit's optional morning skate Thursday, but the Swedish power forward said he'd likely be in uniform. He also said his absence from the ice in the waning minutes of Wednesday's game isn't cause for alarm.

"Just got a little rest, no need to play those last minutes (with a two-goal lead)," said Franzen, who has six goals and 11 points in the past six games. "I thought I'd get off and take the rest, so that's it.''

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 12:41 PM

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

Karlsson returns as Senators try to snap mini-slide

WASHINGTON – Defenseman Erik Karlsson will return to the Ottawa Senators lineup Thursday against the Washington Capitals.

The reigning Norris Trophy winner has not played since Feb. 13 when his Achilles tendon was sliced in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Karlsson underwent surgery Feb. 14 and was expected to miss four to six months. Instead, the 22-year-old will return exactly 10 weeks after the operation.

The Senators could clinch a second straight Stanley Cup Playoff berth as early as Thursday night with a win against the Capitals or a Winnipeg Jets’ regulation loss against the Montreal Canadiens.

Ottawa has lost two straight games since beating the Capitals 3-1 a week ago at ScotiaBank Place. The Senators have since been outscored 7-2 in back-to-back defeats by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Capitals’ loss in Ottawa last Thursday remains the club’s only blemish in a 10-1-0 month of April. Washington clinched the Southeast Division title and the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 5-3 win Tuesday against Winnipeg.

Here is Ottawa’s projected lineup for Thursday night:

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 12:33 PM

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

Horton remains out as Bruins host Lightning

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins will finish a string of three straight games against teams that aren’t going to be in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Thursday.

The Bruins are 1-1-0 during this stretch, where they’ve found out just how hard the non-contenders are competing even with little more than pride on the line. Considering his team’s disappointing performance in a 5-2 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, Bruins coach Claude Julien knows his team cannot take anyone lightly.

“It’s a team that played, I thought, a really good game [Wednesday] night,” Julien said of the Lightning. “I watched them play, and I think you just have to look around at the schedule the other night, all the playoff-seeded teams, almost every one of them except for Washington, lost. So it goes to show you teams aren’t giving up. They’re coming out and playing some solid hockey. When you know you’ve only got 'X' number of games left and you want to finish on a positive note, you play your best. And that’s what we should expect from Tampa [on Thursday] night.”

The Bruins are almost completely healthy, with only Nathan Horton battling an injury. Julien said Horton skated Thursday morning but he is still day-to-day and will not face the Lightning.

The game with Tampa Bay will be Horton’s third game missed since he was injured against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Saturday.

Tampa Bay did not hold a morning skate after flying in from Tampa after a win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 11:51 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hedberg starts, Gelinas makes NHL debut for Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg will make his first start in over a month Thursday when his team plays host to the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins in the final game of the season at Prudential Center.

Hedberg, who is making his first start since a March 19 loss to the New York Rangers, is 5-9-3 with a 2.73 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in 17 games this season. In 10 career appearances against the Penguins, Hedberg is 3-5-1 with 2.84 GAA and .900 save percentage.

"It's been a while now since I last played, so it's nice to get one in and set up for next year," Hedberg told NHL.com. "We're playing for pride now. The fans have been great all year and coming to every game. That's really what we're playing for tonight … to show our appreciation for what they did for us."

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I love you. I think we [climbed] as high as we possibly can.

— Sergei Fedorov to former Red Wings teammate Nicklas Lidstrom after each was voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 on Monday
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