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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 1:58 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Coyotes again without services of Hanzal, Korpikoski

CHICAGO -- The Phoenix Coyotes will again be without two key forwards on Tuesday night at the United Center for Game 4 of a Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

Center Martin Hanzal and forward Lauri Korpikoski will both miss their second straight game with undisclosed injuries -- meaning the Coyotes will again have to rely on their depth in an effort to extend their 2-1 lead in the series.

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said the way the series has played out has confirmed his gut feeling that Phoenix has enough depth to last for a deeper run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"You hope you have that depth," Tippett said. "You don't know what you have until it actually gets thrown in there, so we're certainly getting tested right now. We've got some players that just finished up in Portland [of the Western Hockey League] and are with us now. They've been up and down a couple times this year throughout injuries, so hopefully that experience they got with our team will benfit us."

Phoenix just recently called up centers Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Alexandre Bolduc prior to Game 3 on Tuesday, so one or both could draw into the Coyotes' lineup somewhere. If they do, Tippett said he's comfortable with the kind of effort his team will get.

"They recognize this is going to be a very intense game," Tippett said. "Every play in the game is going to count and we expect them to jump in and do the job for us."

Hanzal (lower body) said he's feeling better and participated in the morning skate. He initially told reporters that he'd be a game-time decision, but Tippett pronounced him out not long afterward. Korpikoski (upper body) did not skate.
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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 1:56 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Penguins vs. Flyers series blog

Van Riemsdyk ready to return in Game 5 if called upon

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk is preparing, both physically and mentally, to play in Game 5 Friday at Consol Energy Center. Nobody is saying if he will just yet.

"He looked good on the ice, and through discussions with everybody involved, if he's ready to play we'll consider playing him," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said Thursday before his team flew to Pittsburgh carrying a 3-1 lead in the series. "He's looked better every day, and at some point I guess we'll make that decision."

Van Riemsdyk has been out since March 1, when he broke his foot blocking a shot by Islanders defenseman Milan Jurcina. He still uses a walking boot and he's wearing plastic shields on both of his skates, but he said he's ready to go if called upon.

If practice Thursday is any indication, there's a good chance he will be.

Van Riemsdyk was skating on a line with Matt Read and Jakub Voracek while Zac Rinaldo was on a line with black aces Tom Sestito and Matt Ford. Rinaldo has played in every game of the series, but he is averaging less than five minutes per game of ice time and has 46 penalty minutes.

"You know what, obviously we have the luxury of being up and the team was playing great without me so you want to keep that rolling," van Riemsdyk, who had 24 points in 43 games during the regular season, told NHL.com. "I have to be a good teammate and wait for my chance and go from there."

"It's tough to not be in the lineup, but I'm just trying to feel better everyday so I can get out there and contribute."

Laviolette said he would not be opposed to making a lineup change if need be.

"Lineup changes are made all the time, constantly made," he said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 1:52 PM

By Tim Cronin -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

Frolik getting chance to contribute with Shaw out

CHICAGO -- Chemistry is as mysterious in hockey as it is in the laboratory.

But Chicago's Dave Bolland sees the right ingredients in the line he'll center with Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik in Thursday's fourth game of the Blackhawks' Western Conference Quarterfinal series with Phoenix.

That's understandable. Frolik, subbing for the suspended Andrew Shaw, scored one of Chicago's two goals in the 3-2 overtime loss in Game 3.

"Bicksie and Fro, we played together last year. This year we had some time together," Bolland said. "We all know what Fro's all about. He's fast, he's got a great shot, a little bit of that Martin Havlat in him, that speed going down the wing. Coming out of our own end, if I throw him the puck, I'm sure it's getting out of our zone."

On the outside, it appears Frolik's speed makes up for Shaw's grit. But Bolland believes Frolik can handle the tough stuff as well.

"He gets in the corner, gets dirty," Bolland said of Frolik, three inches taller and 18 pounds heavier than Shaw. "We use them the same way, but they're different players."

What Frolik wasn't during the season was productive. He scored only five goals and 15 points, and was a minus-10 in 63 games, the reason he was a healthy scratch in 17 of the last 33 regular-season games, and the first two games of the series. The last 10 regular-season scratches came after Shaw was recalled for good from Rockford.
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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 1:30 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Panthers vs. Devils series blog

Larsson still sits as Devils stick with Volchenkov

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils coach Pete DeBoer did admit prior to the playoffs that rookie defenseman Adam Larsson could at some point receive an opportunity to crack the lineup.
 
It just hasn't happened in the team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Florida Panthers. DeBoer told the media that his lineup will remain status quo for Thursday's Game 4 at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET; NHLN-US, TSN2, RDSI).
 
There was speculation among the media contingent following Game 3 that perhaps DeBoer would replace struggling defenseman Anton Volchenkov in the lineup. Volchenkov has a minus-2 rating in this series and has been on the ice for nine of Florida's 10 goals through three games.
 
DeBoer didn't seem close to entertaining any thoughts, however, of replacing his veteran defender in the lineup.
 
"You look at [Volchenkov's] situation, he's had some bad luck and bad timing," DeBoer said. "He's been on the ice for nine of their 10 goals. He's had a bad run and I feel for him. It's Murphy's Law … whatever can go wrong is going wrong for him right now, and he's got to battle through that.
 
"He's a guy who has risen in the past in playoffs in Ottawa, and he's battle-tested this time of year. We need him in the lineup."
 
Meanwhile, Larsson has been a regular at practices for New Jersey during the playoffs, but, dating back to the regular season, has been a healthy scratch in eight of the last nine games. In 65 games this season, Larsson has two goals, 18 points and a minus-7 rating. He notched one assist and a plus-1 rating in three regular-season appearances against the Panthers in 2011-12.
 
Larsson missed 10 games from Feb. 4-24 with a bruised lower back after taking a hit from Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban in a Feb. 2 game at Prudential Center. The talented Swede would produce just two assists and a minus-1 rating over the next 16 games before DeBoer opted to have him sit, watch and learn.
 
"The Larsson question isn't really a factor ... he's ready to play, and we know what he can do," DeBoer said. "He's a good player and he can help us, no doubt."
 
He did play in the team's 4-2 regular-season finale against the Ottawa Senators on April 7, earning 12:39 of ice time on 17 shifts.
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale



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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 1:13 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

No change in Alfredsson's status

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators took Thursday off after their 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Rangers in Game 4 Wednesday. The Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series now stands tied 2-2, with Game 5 sent for Saturday (7 pm.  ET, NBCSN, CBC) in New York.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson [concussion] remains sidelined and his status for Game 5 is unclear.

"Nothing’s changed. I'm just going to come in [on Friday] and see if he's here," coach Paul MacLean said.  "If he's not, he's not. If he is, that'd be great. But I can't speculate what day or when he's going to be here. It's just one of those things you have to be patient with. I think he's feeling better all the time and he's working out. We're not practicing [Thursday] so he's not skating, either. We're in the process of getting him back. I talked to him really briefly. He was real positive and happy with the team win."

Jesse Winchester is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury, but MacLean wouldn't offer any details on how the injury occurred. The forward left the game Wednesday in the second period and did not return.
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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 12:56 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Panthers vs. Devils series blog

Clemmensen set for first career playoff start

NEWARK, N.J. -- Florida Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen is set to earn the first playoff start of his career on Thursday when he faces his former team, the New Jersey Devils, in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series at Prudential Center.
 
While Panthers coach Kevin Dineen wouldn't commit to either Clemmensen or Jose Theodore following his team's morning skate at Prudential Center, Clemmensen did skate off the ice first. The first goalie off the ice at a game-day skate is usually the starter.
 
Getting the playoff nod in the state where it all began and against one of the greatest goalies in League history will certainly be a humbling experience for Clemmensen.
 
"I think there's always a little bit of nerves regardless of the situation," Clemmensen told reporters after practice. "I believe the crowd will be rocking tonight and you can always feel the atmosphere here, so if I'm the starter, I'll be ready for that as well.
 
"It's a building that I like playing in," he continued. "I like these fans. It's always a lot of fun. I don't care how loud they boo me … I love them."
 
Clemmensen stopped 19 shots in a spectacular relief stint as his team rallied from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 4-3 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday to grab a 2-1 series lead.

Florida coach Kevin Dineen, who wouldn't tip his hand as to which goalie would start, did praise Clemmensen for the quality work he provided the team down the stretch.
 
"For two months now, Clem has been an excellent goaltender, maybe one of the top guys in the League," Dineen said. "What he does have is a tremendous amount of respect from the coaching staff, from his teammates and I think from people that know him. You can tell just from the response from the people here in Jersey that he's a hard guy to dislike, and I think as a teammate that would fit his character."
 
In addition to subbing for Jose Theodore (three goals allowed on six shots) just 6:16 into the first period on Tuesday, Clemmensen's only other playoff appearance was in relief of Martin Brodeur in Game 1 of a 6-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinals in Raleigh. He would play the final 6:53 of that game, turning aside all three shots he faced.
 
Not only is Clemmensen 5-0-0 against the Devils in his career, including Tuesday's win, but he has yet to allow a playoff goal in two relief stints totaling 60:37 of playing time.
 
Despite his lack of playoff experience in 10 NHL seasons, Dineen wasn't at all concerned.
 
"I have no doubt that he would play well," Dineen said. "Here's a guy who's been around a long time and has played with Marty Brodeur and Tomas Vokoun, and now Jose Theodore. A guy like [Panthers goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom] could learn a heck of a lot from a guy like Scott Clemmensen. It's nice having guys not only game ready, but extremely mature professional players. It's been a pleasure dealing with all the goalies this year."
 
Some have said he has an advantage over the Devils, a team he spent five seasons with from 2001-02 through 2006-07 as a backup to Brodeur.
 
Does he think so?
 
"Maybe. I do probably know a little bit more of their tendencies having played with them, but I don't think that's a huge difference-maker," Clemmensen said. "This time of year, everyone is fighting so hard that it just comes down to winning. I think my unbeaten record against the Devils is mostly coincidence.
 
"I don't think I prepare any differently playing against these guys, want to win any more or try any harder than I do against other teams. It's so hard to win in this League, I don't care who you're playing. You go over everything at pre-scout meetings anyway … it's not something I know and am keeping to myself."
 
Devils forward Zach Parise feels Clemmensen is an even better goalie now than when he played for New Jersey.
 
"I think technically, he is," Parise said. "He played great when he was with us, but I think he's technically a better goalie now. He plays well against us, too. We'll have to make life a little harder for him."
 
Brodeur also praised Clemmensen.
 
"He's a great guy, worked really hard and is a good goalie," Brodeur said. "When I got hurt [during the 2008-09 season], he came in and, even though he didn't start the season with us, got himself back here and did really well for us. He earned a nice contract in Florida and now he's taking advantage of that."
 
Here is the probable Game 3 lineup for the Panthers:
 
Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson
Scottie Upshall - Shawn Matthias - Jerred Smithson
Marco Sturm - John Madden - Tomas Kopecky
 
Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson
 
Scott Clemmensen
Jose Theodore
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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 12:54 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Coyotes vs. Blackhawks series blog

No change in Hossa's condition Thursday

CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa's physical condition has not changed since being released from a hospital emergency room Tuesday night.

The Chicago Blackhawks' star forward was knocked to the ice on a check in the neutral zone by Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres in Game 3 of a Western Conference Quarterfinal series at the United Center and taken off on a stretcher.

He left the hospital under his own power, but is said to have an upper body injury and will not play in Game 4 Thursday night. His prognosis for any further games is also unknown, as Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is keeping information on it closely guarded.

"There's no change," Quenneville said after Thursday's morning skate. "Spoke to him yesterday and he's feeling the same as the last two days. I'm not going to go any further with it than where we are today."
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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 12:49 PM

By Corey Masisak and Ben Raby -  NHL.com /NHL.com - Bruins vs. Capitals series blog

Projected Game 4 lineups

WASHINGTON -- The Boston Bruins will stick with the same lineup that helped them win Game 3 when they take the ice at Verizon Center on Thursday for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

On the Capitals' side, the suspension to Nicklas Backstrom means Mike Knuble gets a sweater for the first time in the series and coach Dale Hunter shuffled his lines around. Expect to see a lot of the Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Troy Brouwer line against Boston's top forwards.

John Erskine is expected to also make his series debut in place of Jeff Schultz. Dennis Wideman and Schultz have been on the ice for all four of Boston's goals at five-on-five in the series. Erskine hasn't played since Feb. 12 and only once since Jan. 31. Hunter said Michal Neuvirth, out with an injury, is not ready to back up Braden Holtby.

Here's how the lineups project:

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - Patrice Bergeron - Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand - David Krejci - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference - Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon - Joe Corvo

Tim Thomas
Anton Khudobin

CAPITALS

Alex Ovechkin - Brooks Laich - Marcus Johansson
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Troy Brouwer
Mike Knuble - Keith Aucoin - Joel Ward

Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik - Mike Green
John Erskine - Dennis Wideman

Braden Holtby
Dany Sabourin
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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 12:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Panthers vs. Devils series blog

Brodeur has no doubts he'll be better in Game 4

NEWARK, N.J. -- When New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur officially is announced as the starter Thursday in Game 4 of his team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Florida Panthers (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN), it will mark his 174th consecutive postseason start.
 
"I expect to play every game, all the time, especially in the playoffs," Brodeur said. "It might not happen the rest of my career, but right now until I don't play, I expect every day that I'm going to play. That's one thing with having your own confidence."
 
Following his team's practice at Prudential Center on Thursday morning, Brodeur was asked if the Devils are facing a bit of adversity trailing the series 2-1 entering Game 4.
 
"It is definitely adversity," he said. "After six minutes and taking that lead on Tuesday, we should have had a better result and now we face adversity and we'll have to deal with it. We have to erase what we did last game and get back at it.
 
"As a team, we have to pay attention to details and special teams and individual players have to be better. Our overall team effort needs to be at a higher standard."
 
For the record, there was little to no speculation within the Devils' locker room that Brodeur wouldn't get the nod for Game 4, despite being pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots in 22:18.
 
"It wasn't really a decision," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "This is a guy, he carried us the entire second half of the season here. He's been fantastic and it really wasn't a lot of thought put into that. I knew the moment I pulled him [in Game 3 Tuesday] that we would be going back in there [Thursday]."
 
When DeBoer pulled Brodeur just 2:18 into the second period, it marked the first time he had been yanked from a playoff game since allowing six goals on 35 shots in 53:07 in a 6-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
 
"For me, I know what I can do and what I can bring and I'll try my hardest all the time," Brodeur said. "I've played a long time in this League not to have doubts in my mind when I'm coming down to the end here."
 
DeBoer is confident Brodeur, who turns 40 May 6, will rebound to help the Devils even this best-of-seven series.
 
"Marty's been through everything," DeBoer said. "I think if you ask anyone how's Marty Brodeur going to respond to adversity, I think we all know the answer to that."
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Thursday, 04.19.2012 / 11:59 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Panthers vs. Devils series blog

Devils see Game 4 as a must-win situation

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils realize the importance of squaring their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Florida Panthers on Thursday in Game 4 at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).
 
Veteran goalie Martin Brodeur feels the team has put itself in a must-win situation after losing 4-3 in Game 3.
 
"You don't want to bank on making the historical comeback when you go down 3-1 in a series," Brodeur said. "It's tough to come back from that, there's no doubt. You have to address these games as do or die and just go out and put in a good effort."
 
Does Brodeur feel getting the early lead is important? After all, the team that has taken a 3-0 lead in the previous three games has struggled to hold that advantage.
 
Florida, however, was the first to go down by three and rally for a victory, which they did in Game 3 on Tuesday. In Game 1, New Jersey opened a 3-0 lead and hung on for a 3-2 win. In Game 2, the Panthers surged to a 3-0 advantage before winning 4-2 triumph.
 
"I don't know about [getting that big lead]," Brodeur said. "It depends on how big. The game will be played the way it's played, and we'll react to it."

Devils forward Dainius Zubrus said he believes the team has dealt with adverse situations this season and this is no exception.
 
"You reach certain points where you lose two in a row and it happens throughout the season, but I don't want to say we've been there, because this is the playoffs and it's a little different," Zubrus told NHL.com. "But we can respond … we have done it. It's not the situation we want to be in after winning the first game, but this is how it is.
 
"There are things we can do better and clean up, and saying that, the belief is still there. [Thursday] is a huge game because we don't want to go down and then go on the road."
 
The only Devils not on the ice for Thursday's optional skate were Petr Sykora, Patrik Elias, David Clarkson, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky. Devils coach Peter DeBoer said there would be no lineup changes, meaning rookie defenseman Adam Larsson would be a healthy scratch for the ninth time in the last 10 games.
 
Here is the projected lineup for the Devils for Game 3:
 
Zach Parise - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier
 
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Peter Harrold
 
Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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— Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa after scoring his 1,000th career point on Thursday night in Ottawa
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