The Blackhawks did not practice at United Center, which will be the site of Game 2 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series, which got off to a nail-biting start Tuesday night with Chicago’s 2-1 win in OT.
That meant goalie Ray Emery and center Dave Bolland, who each missed the series opener with a lower-body injury, had another day off to rest and recover. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville met with reporters Wednesday and gave a brief update on the injured duo, whose availability for Game 2 on Friday is up in the air.
"I don’t know about Game 2, but hopefully they’ll be skating [Thursday]," Quenneville said. “We’re hopeful on that, but I don’t want to comment too much on Friday right now with them.”
Six teams get ready to start their quest for the Stanley Cup on Wednesday and Cisco NHL Live on the NHL Network will get you ready for all three games. Hosts EJ Hradek and Steve Mears will take you inside all of the arenas for a live preview of each matchup.
In the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks have plenty to celebrate. In addition to their overtime win against the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 on Tuesday, it was announced Wednesday that the Presidents' Trophy winners will host the Pittsburgh Penguins next season at Soldier Field next season. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will join us to react to that news and look ahead to Game 2 against Minnesota.
PITTSBURGH -- As if being heavy underdogs to what they hear many people are calling the Stanley Cup favorites for a first-round playoff series wasn't motivation enough to the New York Islanders, two of their players have other reasons to conjure up some dislike for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They don't, however, plan on resorting to use it.
Two players who, to varying degrees, have served in significant roles for New York this season were let go by the Pittsburgh organization for no compensation.
Forward Matt Moulson went unsigned by the club after being taken in the ninth round of the 2003 NHL Draft, and defenseman Brian Strait was waived by the Penguins on the eve of the start of their regular season earlier this year.
The Pittsburgh Penguins finished the regular season with 17 more points, 12 more wins and 26 more goals than New York did. But perhaps the most glaring area in which the Penguins outpace the Islanders as the teams prepare for a first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series is in postseason experience.
One card Islanders coach Jack Capuano has to play to counter the Penguins' experience is 36-year-old Marty Reasoner. Reasoner did not play the final 10 games of the regular season, but Capuano made it sound like he intends to insert the forward into the lineup for Game 1 Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).
"Marty Reasoner for us is a guy that down the stretch we didn't want to change too much in lineup, but when you look at his experience and the leadership qualities in the room and you look at his faceoffs ... and with the lineup that we have and the youth that we have, it would be a good situation to have Marty Reasoner back in there," Capuano said.
Bozak, who missed the last two games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury, will play against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7:30 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).
"We wouldn't put a player back into this situation unless he was 100-percent healthy," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's told us that he's 100-percent healthy, so we expect him to perform to his capabilities. I'm sure there's players on the Boston hockey club that have bumps and bruises that are not any different. So to sum it all up, he's going to play his role."
Backstrom sustained a lower-body injury during warm-ups prior to Game 1 of the Wild's first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks. Josh Harding started and made 37 saves in the Wild's 2-1 loss. The Wild have yet to update Backstrom's injury.
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said Wednesday morning he would not play when his team opens the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Islanders (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN) at Consol Energy Center.Crosby told reporters after the team's practice he did not receive medical clearance to play. He has been out of the lineup since sustaining a broken jaw when a deflected puck hit him in the face during a game March 30. He needed surgery to repair the break, and also lost several teeth.
"[The doctor] said everything looked good, but he just wasn't ready to clear me to play," Crosby said. "Obviously, I would have loved to have played, but that's not the way it is. I'll make sure I'm ready when the time comes.
Crosby admitted he doesn't know when that time will be.
"I'll just wait and see," Crosby said. "He didn't give me a date."
BOSTON -- Line combinations from practice Tuesday and the Boston Bruins' morning skate Wednesday indicated that Kaspars Daugavins will skate on a line with Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr, making Rich Peverley a healthy scratch when the Bruins open the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday at TD Garden (7 p.m. ET, CNBC, CBC, RDS).
The return to health of forwards Nathan Horton (upper body) and Jagr (flu) has forced Bruins coach Claude Julien to make some difficult lineup decisions. While it's not surprising that late-season Swedish import Carl Soderberg probably will sit out, Julien's decision to sit Peverley, a veteran of the 2011 Cup championship team who skated in all but one regular-season game in 2012-13, is a bit of a shock.
The Bruins will need Kelly's line to produce if they hope to field a balanced, three-line offensive attack against a high-scoring Maple Leafs squad.
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates said there would be a good chance for Joel Ward to play in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers on Thursday provided he can manage any discomfort he might still be feeling in his left knee.
Ward missed the last nine games of the regular season with a bruised left knee.
"It would depend on how much the discomfort is," Oates said when asked about Ward's availability. "Can he fight through it or not?"
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Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.