John-Michael Liles – Ryan O’Byrne
Injured: Carl Gunnarsson
John-Michael Liles – Ryan O’Byrne
Injured: Carl Gunnarsson
Throughout the NHL season and in celebration of the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, NHL Clubs have implemented environmental programs in their communities and sustainability efforts in their facilities. Read on for a snapshot of how several NHL Clubs are participating in activities and events leading up to and around Earth Day.
The Boston Bruins' game Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins has been postponed and Cisco NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, will have Penguins general manager Ray Shero and Bruins analyst Andy Brickley to talk about the mindset of playing the game Saturday. Boston native and Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle and Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, who played his college hockey in Boston, will also be on the show.
On the ice, five other games are scheduled including the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres on NHL Network at 7 ET. We'll get a live preview from Sabres TV analyst Rob Ray from our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Buffalo. In the Western Conference, the upstart Dallas Stars face off with the St. Louis Blues and we'll have Kelly Chase on to preview this matchup via our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in St. Louis. It is Friday, so that means Eddie Olyczk will join us from Chicago and NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose will also be with us to talk some of the playoff races.
Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks all five games being played on Friday.
DENVER -- Right wing Milan Hejduk will return to the Colorado Avalanche lineup Friday against the Edmonton Oilers after missing nine games, five with a torso injury and the past four as a healthy scratch.
Avalanche coach Joe Sakic said he hadn't decided where Hejduk would play or who he would replace.
"He'll probably get some power-play time and he may bounce around a little bit with some different line combinations," Sacco said.
Goalie Semyon Varlamov will start for the first time since the Avalanche's 4-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on April 6. He missed four games with hip and groin injuries and dressed as the backup for Jean-Sebastien Giguere in Monday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk will start for the Oilers. Dubnyk made 35 saves in a 4-0 win against the Avalanche on March 12. He has a 6-3-1 record with a 2.03 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in 10 career decisions against Colorado.
Here are the projected lineups for Friday's game:
A victory over the Flames would bring the Ducks within one win of clinching the Pacific Division title, something coach Bruce Boudreau is eying.
"We'd certainly like to have that, and then we'd love to secure second overall in the Western Conference, which I think is the same thing, two wins, but every team that we're playing is playing really hard right now," he said. "Calgary's a great example of a team not throwing in the towel. To beat a hungry Detroit team in their last game says something to me. We better be ready."
Both teams are coming off victories Thursday night and did not have regular gameday skates.
CHICAGO -- All that's left for the Chicago Blackhawks to accomplish in the regular season is to secure the Presidents' Trophy as the NHLs top team in points earned.
Otherwise, the Blackhawks have already locked up everything else. They were the first team to secure a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they won the Central Division handily, and they will be the Western Conference's top seed in the postseason. They've done all that and still have six games left, which raises the question if they will continue playing their usual lineup or start sitting out key players to avoid injuries and garner rest.
The answer, at least short term, is to stay the course. Chicago plays back-to-back games at United Center this weekend, beginning with Friday's contest against the Nashville Predators (7:30 p.m.) and finishing against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
"I think we want to go in the same mode here," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Friday's morning skate. "We've still got six games [left]. We've got a busy schedule next week, but we'll play these games and go along here and we'll make those decisions as we go along. We're not going to change going into these two games. We'll see. We have that in our pocket to visit with, for sure, but that depends."
BUFFALO -- For the Buffalo Sabres, it's essentially win or start thinking about next season.
The Sabres face what comes down to an elimination game Friday night when they host the New York Rangers at First Niagara Center.
Buffalo, 10th in the Eastern Conference with 44 points, trails eighth-place New York by four points. The Sabres have four games remaining including Friday; the Rangers have five games left. The Rangers hold the tiebreaker with five more non-shootout wins than the Sabres.
A regulation win by New York would eliminate Buffalo from qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A Sabres victory would keep their hopes alive for at least one more day.
"We have to take care of our own destiny in that aspect," Sabres interim coach Ron Rolston said. "We've been that way for a while, just concentrating on one game and playing our best in that game. That'll be the same case [Friday]."
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[Stamkos] is a great teammate and a great leader, that's why he's got the 'C'. He brings that tremendous work ethic to the rink and he's one of the top players in the game. I know if I put the passes where they are supposed to be, there's a very good chance he's going to put it in the back of the net.