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Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 6:59 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - Blues-Kings series blog

Kings ready for another physical battle with Blues

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings went through last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs like a buzz saw. So far this spring, that saw has been dulled, bent and chipped in what is arguably the most closely contested series of this postseason.

"I don't remember all the statistics from series in the past, but from what I've read there [were] 377-some hits going into last game," Dustin Penner said of L.A.'s Western Conference Quarterfinal against the St. Louis Blues.

"I'd have to think this is the most physical one I've been a part of so far."

Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 6:58 PM

By Staff -  / - Ducks-Red Wings series blog

Lydman doesn't travel with Ducks

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman did not travel with team to Detroit prior to Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals to be played Friday.

Coach Bruce Boudreau has no timetable for Lydman's return, the Ducks said via Twitter.

Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 3:27 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Harding will start Game 5 with Wild's season on line

CHICAGO -- The Minnesota Wild had three goalies on the ice for their morning skate Thursday, but Josh Harding will start against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center in Game 5 of a Western Conference Quarterfinals series Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS2).

Harding, who left Game 4 at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday after one period with a lower-body injury, told Wild coach Mike Yeo following the skate he's healthy enough to start the elimination game. The Wild trail the best-of-7 series 3-1.

"[I was looking] to see him, obviously, go out there and make saves and more importantly for him to come to us and say he's ready," Yeo said. "We don't know how he feels, but you have to trust him. He says that he's good to go and there was absolutely no doubt about it. That's what we were looking for."

Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 3:22 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Bolland, Emery again out for Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- The groin injury Dave Bolland is dealing with right now probably doesn't hurt the Chicago Blackhawks center as much as the fact he's not playing.

Bolland, along with goalie Ray Emery (lower-body injury), will miss Game 5 of the team's Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday at United Center (9:30 p.m. CBC, RDS2, NBCSN). The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 and with a win would advance to the conference semifinals.

Bolland and Emery have been scratched for the previous four games of the series.

"It eats [at you] a lot," Bolland said. "It's pretty painful, actually. It's not fun hanging out in the training room and the workout room while the guys are on the ice playing. You want to stay out of there as much as you can. It's never fun."

Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 3:02 PM

By Chris Adamski - Correspondent / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Kennedy, Vitale likely to make debuts for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- If, as many believe, speed is the area in which the Pittsburgh Penguins are at a distinct disadvantage against the New York Islanders, Dan Bylsma appears to have decided to do something about it.

The Penguins coach had Tyler Kennedy and Joe Vitale taking part in line rushes, and Simon Despres was paired with Norris Trophy finalist Kris Letang for the morning skate Thursday in advance of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series that is tied two games apiece.

Keeping with his policy, Bylsma did not discuss his lineup with the media. But Kennedy and Vitale were talking as if they were on the verge of making their 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs debuts.

"For sure, excited to get back out there, excited to get with the guys," Vitale said. "It's been tough watching in the press box, as anyone will tell you.

"I'm not going to change anything. My game is pretty simple: a lot of speed, lot of energy, some tenacity, be responsible in the defensive zone, and kind of be a lift for the guys."

Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 2:51 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Horton says he's fine after Phaneuf hit in Game 4

BOSTON -- At first it looked like the Boston Bruins might've paid a steeper price than they wanted to in order to win Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

However, Bruins forward Nathan Horton was able to skate off the ice under his own power while David Krejci beat the Maple Leafs with a goal in overtime that put the Bruins ahead in the best-of-7 series, 3-1, heading into Game 5 on Friday at TD Garden (7 p.m. NHLN-US, CBC, RDS).

Horton was as jovial as usual Thursday morning after reporting to the Garden for an optional practice he and the rest of the Bruins' regulars passed on.

"I feel good," Horton said. "It's obviously a big win for us. I think everybody feels good today. But we know the job's not done. The last one's always the hardest."

Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 2:32 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Canadiens-Senators series blog

Canadiens' Price out for remainder of series

MONTREAL -- Peter Budaj's first start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs will determine whether or not the Montreal Canadiens get to continue their season.

No pressure.

The Canadiens announced Thursday that starting goaltender Carey Price will miss the remainder of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Ottawa Senators with a lower-body injury, thrusting Budaj into the spotlight.

At age 30, Budaj will start a playoff game for the first time in his eight-season NHL career with no room for error. His team is down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series heading into Game 5 Thursday at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, CNBC), and his goal simply will be to get the Canadiens to a Game 6 in Ottawa on Saturday.

"I believe our players play hard in front of Carey, and I believe it's the same thing in front of Peter," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "I think the guys respect him a lot and they compete in front of him. That goes both ways, Peter is working really hard for his teammates."

Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Chris Adamski - Correspondent / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Islanders will feel MacDonald's loss in many ways

PITTSBURGH -- With more than 23 minutes of ice time per game suddenly gone from the New York Islanders blue line, more than one defenseman will have to step up.

Andrew MacDonald, who led the Islanders in average ice time throughout the regular season, is out with an injury that Newsday reported is a broken hand that will keep him out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

As New York preps to face the No. 1 seed Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN), a sizable hole must be plugged.

"It's a big loss," veteran defenseman Radek Martinek said. "You can't replace a guy like that. Just you have to fill in the best you can."

Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 1:40 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Maple Leafs had their chances in Game 4 overtime

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs had more than their share of scoring chances in overtime in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Boston Bruins before David Krejci ended the game with his third goal of the night.

On one play, the player the Maple Leafs count on most for goals -- right wing Phil Kessel -- raced into the Boston zone on the right side and had a step on defender Zdeno Chara. Kessel easily could have continued hard to the net and either created his own scoring chance or possibly drawn a penalty, but instead he elected to hit the brakes and fire a snap shot that was easily stopped by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.

Would Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle have liked to have seen Kessel drive hard to the net with the puck?

Posted On Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 1:33 PM

By Ben Raby - Correspondent / - Capitals-Rangers series blog

Capitals' Erat to miss Game 5

ARLINGTON, Va. -- According to Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates, forward Martin Erat will not play in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers on Friday.

Erat left Game 4 on Wednesday with an upper-body injury with 1:34 remaining in the first period after a collision involving teammate Alex Ovechkin and Rangers forward Derek Stepan.

Erat was favoring his left forearm as he returned to the Capitals dressing room, and Oates said Thursday the team is awaiting results on an MRI exam.

Erat's injury means that the Capitals' lineup will have a different look for Game 5 at Verizon Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS2), but Oates would not confirm who will draw a sweater.

The first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series is even at two games apiece.

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Quote of the Day

Well, for me this one's concerning, the way we performed. Because three games in, playing a desperate team on the road, I was expecting something else than this. Right now, I'm just disappointed. The other games, I thought we did some things that you can build off your game. There wasn't a lot accomplished in tonight's game.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards after a 4-2 loss to the Sabres on Monday dropped Columbus to 0-3-0
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