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Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:45 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lehtonen's return 'huge' for Stars' playoff hopes

DALLAS -- Richard Bachman filled in admirably between the pipes for the Dallas Stars after a groin injury to starter Kari Lehtonen in the first period of a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on April 9 forced him to leave the ice five minutes before the first intermission.

Bachman went 3-1-0 during that stretch with a 1.88 goals-against average and .936 save percentage. However, Lehtonen is now healthy and will return to the net for Dallas on Thursday night against the Vancouver Canucks at American Airlines Center.

Anytime a player many in the Stars room call their team MVP returns, it's definitely a good thing.

"It's huge," Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "I think [Bachman] played unbelievable. Played three great games, but for sure, Kari has been our MVP so far this year in my mind. He's been very good. He's won some games for us. When you get a goalie like that back in the net, for sure you get a little boost."

Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:40 PM

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

Projected lineups for Coyotes, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Probable lineups for Thursday night's Western Conference matchup between the Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center:

Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:32 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Devils still waiting for shots to equate to goals

PHILADELPHIA -- New Jersey Devils forward Dainius Zubrus has played more than 1,000 games in the NHL, and even he can't believe what's going on with his team right now.

Mired in a 10-game winless skid (0-6-4), Zubrus is positive his team is playing far better than its current record shows.

"Since my injury I've played seven games, and other than maybe the first game, we've played five, six games and honestly they're as good as any of the games I've played in my career and not get a point," he told "It's been five or six in a row like that."

Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Reeling Habs seek to snap slump against Lightning

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens were one of the NHL's best first-period teams through their first 40 games of the season before suddenly and inexplicably getting off to horrendous starts in losing each of their last three games.

They may have a chance to snap out of it at Bell Centre on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that is going through a very similar problem.

Over the first three games of their current four-game road trip that ends here, the Lightning were down 4-0 to the Washington Capitals, 3-0 to the Buffalo Sabres and 3-1 to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, a game Tampa Bay came back to tie before losing 4-3 in overtime.

As for the Canadiens, they were down 3-0 at the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers at home and 4-0 at the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night in what was eventually a 6-4 loss.

"Both coaches are probably looking at each other thinking something's got to budge," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after his team held an optional skate Wednesday morning.

Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:21 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

Bruins forward Thornton joins Cisco NHL Live

The scene in Boston on Wednesday night was amazing, as the Bruins returned to the ice in dramatic fashion. Thursday on Cisco NHL Live, 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, we'll revisit that game with Bruins forward Shawn Thornton and get the mood of the team after the recent tragedy at the Boston Marathon.

On the ice Thursday night we have 10 games, many with huge playoff implications, and we'll preview them all -- plus, you'll get a live look-in at some early warm-ups in our Ice Pass.

In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders both inch closer to ending playoff droughts, and our NHL Network insider Chris Johnston will give us an closer look at that matchup. Rounding out that conference are two teams -- the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets -- tied for the eighth spot. We'll talk to Winnipeg defenseman Zach Bogosian on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam to preview Thursday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes. We'll also fire up our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in New York with Dave Maloney to find out how the Rangers can solidify a chance at the postseason.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks all 10 games being played on Thursday.

Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 1:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Schenn a workhorse on Flyers' decimated blue line

PHILADELPHIA -- With five regular defensemen out of the lineup with injuries, Luke Schenn has turned into a workhorse for the Philadelphia Flyers.

He played nearly 33 minutes in the team's win Monday at the Montreal Canadiens, and one night later, against the New York Rangers, he skated 24:39. He was solid, going a plus-1 and taking one penalty. He also helped rookie defense partner Oliver Lauridsen continue to adjust to the game at the NHL level.

Schenn averaged 16:02 per game last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, seventh among that team's blueliners. This season, he's now up to 21:40 per game, and that number likely will continue to grow through the Flyers' final five regular-season games.

"I think his year has been a strong year for us," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's taking on more minutes, I think by necessity based on certain situations and line matchups that have to happen for us. But I think he's had a strong year. The minutes have gone up recently because of the injuries on the back end. You see him pushing almost 60 minutes combined the last two games. That's an opportunity for him. He's had it all year and he's played well."

Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Mike Brophy - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs close in on playoffs, possible home ice

TORONTO -- When it comes to getting into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, James Reimer has no allegiance to his home province in Manitoba.

Reimer will definitely be cheering against the Winnipeg Jets while he tends goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Maple Leafs' magic number to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs is four, meaning any combination of points by Toronto and points lost by Winnipeg adding up to four puts Reimer's team into the postseason.

"If that's what needs to happen for us to get into the playoffs then it would be great if the Jets lose," Reimer said. "But you can't bank on that. You have to take care of your own business, so that's all we're focused on."

Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 12:04 PM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Capitals, Senators

OTTAWA -- Here are the projected lineups for the Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place:

Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 11:11 AM

By Staff -  / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Report: Lower-body injury sidelines Rangers' Boyle

According to a report, the New York Rangers will be without forward Brian Boyle for an indefinite period of time due to a lower-body injury.

Boyle has two goals and five points in 38 games for the Rangers, who are battling the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres for the eighth Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers host the Florida Panthers on Thursday and travel to face the Sabres on Friday.

Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 7:09 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

CISCO NHL Live: Nathan MacKinnon

CISCO NHL Live talks with Nathan MacKinnon Right Wing for the Halifax Mooseheads.

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Quote of the Day

After being through it and seeing the other [outdoor] games on TV, just the atmosphere is spectacular. To stand here -- and we are essentially almost on the blue line -- and look up [into the stands] and knowing it is going to be packed and playing our biggest rival in this setting is going to be pretty special.

— Bruins president Cam Neely on the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between Boston and Montreal at Gillette Stadium on
Jan. 1, 2016