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Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 1:59 PM

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

Return of Crosby just another challenge for Islanders

PITTSBURGH -- You'd think the last thing the New York Islanders would want coming off a 5-0 loss to a team that has won 24 of its past 28 games is for that opponent to welcome back its leading scorer and NHL MVP candidate into the lineup.

The reaction of New York's Frans Nielsen to the Pittsburgh Penguins announcing that Sidney Crosby will play in Friday's Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game 2? Bring it on.

"He's one of the best players in the world," Nielsen said after Friday's morning skate. "So it's a challenge -- and that's something that everyone who's involved with sports loves. It makes you more excited. It's always fun playing against the good players."

Crosby told reporters he was cleared to play, and the Penguins' official website and Twitter account announced he was returning in Game 2 to play for the first time since sustaining a broken jaw during his first shift of a game against the Islanders on March 30.

Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 1:37 PM

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

Islanders could switch lines in search for spark

PITTSBURGH -- With the New York Islanders having produced all of two goals over their past three games, coach Jack Capuano acknowledged there could be a shakeup in his forward lineup.

The top line of John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Brad Boyes combined for one goal over the final two regular-season games and Wednesday's 5-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. As the Islanders search for answers for Game 2 on Friday, swapping out Tavares' linemates remains firmly on the table.

"We haven't generated too much from that line," Capuano said, "so you probably could see some movement around."

As NHL coaches are wont to do during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Capuano said he would not discuss lineup changes specifically. But he did drop some hints.

Posted On Friday, 05.03.2013 / 11:59 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Islanders series blog

Crosby to play for Penguins in Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said Friday morning he will play in Game 2 of the team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Friday night against the New York Islanders (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

"I'm cleared to play," Crosby said following the team's morning skate. "I'm excited to get back in there and play in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."

Coach Dan Bylsma did not confirm Crosby will be in the lineup for Game 2, refusing to provide any update on injuries or lineup changes. But both the player and the team's website said he will be in the lineup.

It will be Crosby's first game since sustaining a broken jaw during a game March 30. He began skating on his own April 15 and started skating with the team April 26.

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 11:40 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

LA @ STL - 3:44 of the Third Period

At 3:44 of the third period in the Kings/Blues game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off St Louis forward Patrik Berglund and into the Kings net. According to Rule 78.4 "if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed." Good Goal St Louis.

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 10:09 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

NYR @ WSH - 15:57 of the Third Period

At 15:57 of the third period in the Rangers/Capitals game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that John Moore's shot did not completely cross the goal line. No Goal NY Rangers.

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 9:46 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

OTT @ MTL - 13:55 of the Third Period

At 13:55 of the third period in the Senators/Canadiens game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Guillaume Latendresse's body and into the Canadiens net. According to Rule 78.4 "if an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body, in any manner, the goal shall be allowed." Good Goal Ottawa.

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 8:15 PM

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

Ward's return adds depth, experience for Capitals

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Forward Joel Ward returned to the Washington Capitals lineup Thursday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers.

Ward missed the final nine games of the regular season with a knee injury he suffered after blocking a shot by Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo on April 7.

"I get a chance to play," Ward said. "I'm excited, for sure, and I get to reunite with my buddies, so I'm pretty happy about that."

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 7:14 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Wild get solid contributions from young players

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 players on the roster who hadn't played a single playoff game in the NHL.

Among those 11 are three rookies, all of whom played big minutes and important roles for the Wild in its Game 1, 2-1 overtime loss to the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Minnesota boasts a pair of rookies among its top-six forwards, plus a 19-year old rookie and a pair of 23-year-olds on its top-four defensive pairings. Four of those five have played major roles for the Wild this season.

Defenseman Jonas Brodin is the headliner of the bunch, a 19-year-old Calder Trophy candidate who skated a team rookie record 34:20 in Game 1.

"I've got total confidence in this kid," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Seeing him go out over and over again, we've talked about it many times this year, but you have to be impressed to see this kid go into Chicago and perform in a playoff game like that. … It shows the composure and the mental makeup he has."

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 7:06 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

CISCO NHL Live: Brett Hull

Two-Time Stanley Cup Champion Brett Hull joins CISCO NHL Live via the CISCO Arena Cam at the Scottrade Center.

Posted On Thursday, 05.02.2013 / 6:30 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - Canucks-Sharks series blog

Luongo will start Game 2 for regrouping Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Goaltending was back in the Vancouver Canucks' spotlight on Thursday, but they have bigger problems to worry about against the San Jose Sharks: scoring goals, killing penalties and winning faceoffs.

Roberto Luongo confirmed he would be back in net for Game 2 against San Jose on Friday Friday (10 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN, RDS) after a getting a somewhat surprising start in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to open the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Sharks.

Injured No.1 Cory Schneider didn't practice Thursday after being on the ice the previous four days, but there was no word whether he suffered a setback. Coach Alain Vigneault continued to label him "day-to-day" with a "body" injury.

"Not too sure what's going on with that," Luongo said of Schneider's health. "It's a playoff series, it's a bit of a mind game with the opposition, and I am just in the groove now to focus as if I am playing every game until I am told otherwise."

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