Posted On Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 6:54 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Oilers

EDMONTON -- Defenseman Andrew Ference and center Boyd Gordon will not be in the lineup for the Edmonton Oilers against the Colorado Avalanche at Rexall Place on Wednesday.

Ference sustained a concussion in a 4-1 loss against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday. The Oilers' captain was hit by Jets forward Chris Thorburn in the first period, left the game and didn't return. He'll be replaced by Keith Aulie.

Gordon is out with a back injury, also sustained in the loss to Winnipeg. Luke Gazdic, who has missed the past three games with an illness, will replace Gordon.

Neither team held a morning skate.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 6:51 PM - NHL Live blog

Top prospect McDavid looks ahead to OHL playoffs

Viewed by many scouts as the best draft-age prospect since Sidney Crosby in 2005, Erie Otters center Connor McDavid joined NHL Live to discuss the upcoming Ontario Hockey League playoffs and his performance during the regular season.

The Otters finished 50-14-2-2 and will play the Sarnia Sting in the first round. They advanced to the Western Conference Finals last season before losing to the Guelph Storm.

"It was a good experience last year," McDavid said. "It obviously [stinks] coming up a little bit short but it's a learning experience and we can use it toward these playoffs. Everyone is looking forward to it and we're looking to get this thing going."

McDavid, 18, finished third in the OHL with 120 points and tied for fourth with 44 goals in 47 games despite missing six weeks because of a broken hand and competing in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. The 6-foot, 175-pound center had 11 points in seven WJC games to help Canada win the gold medal and earn a place on the tournament all-star team.

"I think I had a good year," McDavid said. "It kind of goes up and down when you get on a start that I did. I know I was playing great hockey and feeling pretty good. Then breaking your hand right before the World Junior … it was a pretty upsetting time but you get through that and I was able to salvage the year and have a pretty decent year."

McDavid and Boston University forward Jack Eichel are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2015 NHL Draft.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 2:56 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Flames

CALGARY -- The Dallas Stars will have captain Jamie Benn in the lineup in what is being dubbed a must-win game against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

Benn, who has 10 goals and 23 points in his past 20 games, was originally questionable to play after sustaining an undisclosed injury late in a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

"I'll be in there tonight," said Benn, whose Stars are 4-0-1 in their past five games against Calgary. "I didn't want to miss this one, anyways. There's a lot of rumors out there I might not play, but I'm playing and I'm ready to go."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 1:52 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- There was a bit of a gasp when the Chicago Blackhawks looked at one end of the ice and saw medical and training staff attending to goaltender Corey Crawford during practice Wednesday.

Crawford was hit in the mask by a Bryan Bickell shot, but after a quick stop off the ice he was back in the crease to finish practice. Coach Joel Quenneville confirmed Crawford would start in goal against the Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TVA Sports).

"Happens sometimes," Crawford said. "Was a shot, hit me in the head. Just a shot. Happens sometimes. Just a weird play, that's all."

While Crawford downplayed it, his teammates had a bit of concern.

"We're hoping he's OK," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "We all know what he's meant to us this year. I talk about [Patrick] Kane or some of our other players we've played without, but it's another thing to lose a goaltender, especially one like Crow [Crawford]."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 10:51 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rosen's mailbag - March 25, 2015

Here is the March 25 edition of Rosen's weekly mailbag, which will run every Wednesday during the season. If you have a question, tweet it to @drosennhl and use #OvertheBoards.

Let's get to it:

What is the biggest reason my Blues can make a run through the playoffs? Biggest reason they can't? -- @DSBerk

The biggest reason the St. Louis Blues can make a run deep in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, perhaps even to the Stanley Cup Final, is because of their depth. They have three legitimate scoring lines and as a result they play differently, or at least can play differently, than some of the more defensive-minded teams we've seen from coach Ken Hitchcock.

St. Louis' top line of David Backes, T.J. Oshie and Alexander Steen has some of the best chemistry I've seen from a forward line in the NHL this season. I call them the Blues' top line because they not only can score, but they are tasked with checking the opposition's top line. Far be it from me to give Hitchcock coaching advice, but he knows tinkering with this line typically results in him eventually going back to them because they're so good.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.25.2015 / 3:00 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst / - Weekes on the Web

Weekes: Pluses, minuses for Blackhawks, Flyers

Each Wednesday throughout the regular season Kevin Weekes will be offering his pluses and minuses for the teams competing in the NBCSN Wednesday Night Rivalry game in his Weekes on the Web blog. Weekes will also be assisting fans with three must-watch elements of the game.

When you really sit down and analyze it, it's quite amazing the direction the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers have gone in since they played in the Stanley Cup Final five years ago.

Salary cap constraints for the Blackhawks under general manager Stan Bowman forced them to rebuild their team around a championship core; the result was another Stanley Cup championship in 2013 after back-to-back first-round exits. They are still a premier team in the NHL and arguably the favorite to win the Cup again this season.

The Flyers didn't make the playoffs in 2013, barely got in last season after changing coaches, and won't make it this season, which potentially could prompt even greater changes this offseason.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 9:40 PM - 2014-2015 Situation Room blog

FLA @ TBL - 1:30 of the Third Period

At 1:30 of the third period in the Florida Panthers/Tampa Bay Lightning game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine whether the puck hit the spectator netting in the Florida zone before Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov scored a goal. Video review supported the referee's call on the ice that the puck hit the glass and did not make contact with the spectator netting. Good goal Tampa Bay.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 9:25 PM - 2014-2015 Situation Room blog

Clock Malfunction: LAK @ NYR

At 6:24 (13:36 clock time) of the third period in the Los Angeles Kings/New York Rangers game, the game clock at Madison Square Garden malfunctioned. The Official Scorer, in consultation with the Video Goal Judge, confirmed using their stopwatches that the next whistle occurred at 7:34 (12:26 clock time). The game clock was reset to show 12:26 and play resumed unaffected.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 9:12 PM - 2014-2015 Situation Room blog

LAK @ NYR - 3:41 of the Third Period

At 3:41 of the third period in the Los Angeles Kings/New York Rangers game, video review supported the referee's call on the ice that the puck did not cross the New York goal line. No goal Los Angeles.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 8:35 PM - 2014-2015 Situation Room blog

ANA @ CBJ - 7:41 of the Second Period

At 7:41 of the second period in the Anaheim Ducks/Columbus Blue Jackets game, the four on-ice officials huddled and determined the puck crossed the Anaheim goal line in a legal fashion. Video review was inconclusive in determining whether the puck completely crossed the goal line, therefore the on-ice decision stands - good goal Columbus.

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Quote of the Day

He scores 50 goals, they go in, they go in, and they go in. And I think, 'Why can't I do that?'

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on teammate Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 50th goal of the season Tuesday in a 4-2 win vs. the Hurricanes