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Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 3:46 PM

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

Suter happy for time at home after heavy minutes

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With Chicago's United Center booked for an NBA playoff game Thursday, a quirk which pushed Game 2 of this Stanley Cup Playoff series back 24 hours, the Minnesota Wild chose to fly home following the game, allowing its players to enjoy the comforts of home despite opening on the road.

"The last two weeks have felt like playoff hockey," coach Mike Yeo said. "So to have a chance to come home and reset, regardless of whatever the outcome of that game was, we thought it would be important for our guys to be able to reset and focus to be ready for the next one."

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 3:42 PM

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

Luongo back in goal for Canucks

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks added another twist to their season-long goaltending soap opera when the club announced Roberto Luongo will start in net when the Canucks play Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

The possibility of Luongo playing in the opener was raised when Cory Schneider missed the final two games of the regular season and stayed off the ice for five days with what the team called a "body" injury. However, Schneider skated on his own Sunday and with team since Monday and Tuesday. He said after practice Tuesday he felt good enough to play.

Instead it will be Luongo, who lost the No. 1 job two games into last year's playoffs and started this season as Schneider's backup while expecting a trade that never happened.

"It's kind of funny I'm in this situation, but at the same time I'm not surprised," Luongo said, adding he didn't learn he was starting until Wednesday morning. "The way things have been going the last year, I didn't rule it out, for sure. It's been a fun ride and it's only going to get better from here on out."

The ride won't feature Schneider on the bench. First-year pro Joe Cannata, called up from the American Hockey League when Schneider couldn't practice last week, will dress as the backup.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 3:41 PM

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

Backstrom, Pominville day-to-day for Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With an extra day between Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals series against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Minnesota Wild flew back to the Twin Cities on Tuesday night following a 2-1 overtime loss.

Originally scheduled to practice Wednesday and Thursday at Xcel Energy Center before flying back to the Windy City on Thursday afternoon, Wild coach Mike Yeo gave his players the day off, although most showed up for treatment and meetings.

The first question of Yeo's press conference regarded the status of goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who sustained a lower-body injury in the final minutes of warm-ups before the game Tuesday. Yeo classified him as day-to-day, saying he would know more after the veteran met with the training staff Wednesday.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 2:40 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Blackhawks-Wild series blog

Blackhawks get day of rest after OT win

CHICAGO – A day after opening the Stanley Cup Playoffs by winning an overtime game against the Minnesota Wild, the Chicago Blackhawks stayed off the ice.

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.”

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 2:30 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

Bourque talking Bruins on Cisco NHL Live

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.

Plus, Hall of Famer Ray Bourque visits the show to help us preview the Boston Bruins' postseason. The Hall of Famer also will discuss his latest off-ice passion.

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.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 2:22 PM

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

Ex-Pens properties Moulson, Strait thriving for Isles

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.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:47 PM

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

Islanders could add Reasoner for extra experience

PITTSBURGH -- Perhaps New York Islanders forward Matt Moulson put it best when he said of his team, "I think we're maybe a little naive at how hard it is to win in the playoffs."

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.

Posted On Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:21 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Bruins-Maple Leafs series blog

Bozak healthy, ready to return for Maple Leafs

BOSTON -- Just in time for the start of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs will have center Tyler Bozak back in the lineup.

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."

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