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Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 4:35 PM

By NHL Green -  / - NHL Green Slapshots™

Stars 'go to the mattresses'

Following a successful week of Earth Day events, the Dallas Stars teamed up with Sleep Inc. to host a mattress drive at two StarCenter locations and the American Airlines Center. In an effort to combat the addition of approximately 30 million mattresses to landfills each year, the Stars recycling event collected hundreds of mattresses tol be re-purposed.

Read on to find out more!

Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 4:32 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ducks resting stars in matchup with Canucks

VANCOUVER -- The Anaheim Ducks are resting for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Vancouver Canucks are still trying to find chemistry before they start.

The Ducks will be without seven regulars when they play here Thursday, though initial plans to include captain Ryan Getzlaf among those resting may be scuttled with fellow center Nick Bonino not feeling well.

“We don't know yet, probably won’t know until game time,” Getzlaf said after the morning skate. “Either way, I’m kind of impartial to the whole thing. Sometimes its almost better to keep going as it is to rest, but the last couple of days have been good rest because I’ve been off both, so if I do play tonight it will be fine.”

With or without Getzlaf, the Ducks won’t resemble the team that clinched the Pacific Division on Monday night with a win against the Edmonton Oilers.

Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 4:02 PM

By Ben Raby - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Senators wowed by speed of Karlsson's return

WASHINGTON -- As the Ottawa Senators prepared Thursday to welcome Erik Karlsson back to the lineup for their game against the Washington Capitals, captain Daniel Alfredsson couldn't help but admire his 22-year-old teammate.

Karlsson has not played since Feb. 13, when the defenseman sustained a 70-percent tear to the Achilles tendon in his left leg during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Karlsson underwent surgery the next day and was expected to miss four to six months. Instead, the reigning Norris Trophy winner will return exactly 10 weeks after the operation.

"He said the day after it happened, he had surgery, he said two months," Alfredsson said of Karlsson's timetable. "And we knew that was not possible. We never thought he would be able to come back unless we went really far in the playoffs. But he's been positive the whole time through and been encouraged by what he's been able to do and worked hard to get here. It's great to see."

Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 2:32 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blue Jackets need to reverse recent history in Dallas

DALLAS -- The numbers are definitely not pretty for the Columbus Blue Jackets when it comes to facing the Dallas Stars. All time, Dallas is 31-10-5 against Columbus, including a 15-5-2 at home with all but two of those meetings at American Airlines Center.

However, when these Western Conference foes square off Thursday night here, the result could be a bit different because these teams are heading in different directions. The Blue Jackets, who are ninth in the West with 51 points, one behind the eighth-place Detroit Red Wings, have won six of their past seven games. Dallas, 10th with 48 points, is hanging on for dear life and could be eliminated if Detroit earns a point on Thursday against the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena.

Columbus coach Todd Richards said how well his club starts could determine the outcome.

"Starts are important. We’ve stressed that for a long time now. Our last 14 games, we haven’t been down by more than one goal in any of those games in the first period and a lot of times we’ve had leads," Richards said. "So, it’s important to get your legs underneath you, especially this time of year. Every shift is critical. You never know when the big play of the game is going to happen. The difference-maker might be in the first period and we’ve approached that, credit to the players who have come out and played hard from the drop of the puck."

Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sputtering Canadiens can end Jets' season

WINNIPEG -- The Montreal Canadiens look to remedy their sputtering play when they visit the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

The Canadiens, who have four wins in their past 10 games, have an invitation to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Jets, meanwhile, are clinging to the faintest of postseason hopes.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien will insert rookie defensemen Jarred Tinordi, whom the Canadiens recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League this week, and pair him with veteran Francis Bouillon. Tinordi, whom the Canadiens selected with the 22nd pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, was named the Bulldogs' defenseman of the year along with fellow rookie Nathan Beaulieu. Tinordi will replace Yannick Weber on the Montreal blue line.

Travis Moen will sit out his second consecutive game for the Canadiens, and Ryan White will serve the final game of his five-game NHL suspension.

Jets coach Claude Noel said he will not alter his lineup but could juggle his defensive pairings. The Jets are missing top defensemen Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom. They also remain without centermen Olli Jokinen and Jim Slater.

Montreal's Carey Price will make his seventh consecutive start in goal and face Winnipeg workhorse Ondrej Pavelec, who will close out the Jets' regular season with his 13th straight starting assignment.

Here are the projected lineups for the Canadiens and Jets:

Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 2:02 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers focused on better forecheck, net presence

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Rangers will have a chance to clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth Thursday night when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes. One thing they will need is a bigger offensive push than they gave in Tuesday's 3-2 loss against the Florida Panthers.

"We need to forecheck better and establish a net presence," said Rick Nash, who leads the Rangers with 19 goals. "We got a lot of shots (against Florida), but they were from the outside -- no traffic. The goalies in this League are world-class and you've got to be able to put some bodies in front of them."

The Rangers will clinch a playoff spot with any combination of two points gained in their final two games, or a loss by the Winnipeg Jets to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Against Carolina, New York hopes to add some diversity to its offensive game and remove any doubt about the postseason.

"[We want to] get to the dirty areas, maybe spread the offensive zone out and use the points a little bit," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "We talked about trying to use our D, and if we don't get the puck on net, at least draw the forwards out and maybe get a quick 2-on-1 in front of the net or something like that. Just try to be a little more creative in the offensive zone."

For Carolina, Alexander Semin will miss the final two games of the season with a concussion.

Here are the projected lineups for the Rangers and the Hurricanes:

Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:54 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jared Staal's route to NHL different from brothers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- For the first three Staal brothers, NHL success came quickly. First Eric, followed by Jordan, then Marc.

That was not the end of the family pipeline, however.

A fourth Staal, Jared, will make his NHL debut Thursday night, skating with Eric and Jordan for the Carolina Hurricanes. Marc is in town, too, with the New York Rangers, but he won't be able to round out the on-ice family photo, as he recovers from an eye injury.

Jared's route to the NHL has been nothing like those of his older brothers. Eric, Jordan and Marc were first-round draft picks, jumping straight to the NHL out of juniors. They cast long shadows on their youngest brother -- but not so long that the NHL dream ever went away.

"Obviously I have a different path than my three older brothers," Jared Staal said. "They're all exceptional players who deserved to be in the NHL at a young age. I guess mine is more conventional compared to most hockey players."

Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs want to build momentum for playoffs

SUNRISE, Fla. -- After suffering a 5-2 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs held an optional morning skate at BB&T Center in preparation for their game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

A total of 15 players, including captain Dion Phaneuf and second-leading scorer Nazem Kadri, went on the ice.

The surprisingly large turnout could be attributed to two important reasons.

First and foremost, the Maple Leafs still have a shot at passing the Montreal Canadiens for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and getting home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Second, the Maple Leafs want to build some momentum entering the playoffs after losing three of their past four games.

"It just shows that the guys are willing to work to get back to where we were," Kadri said. "I don’t think we're far away from that. It's something that's very easy to correct, but at the same time we've got to be willing to work and execute the game plan."

Posted On Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Orpik, Vitale join Penguins' list of injured players

NEWARK, N.J. -- Just when it appears the Pittsburgh Penguins are close to getting healthy for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a few more injuries have popped up.

Brooks Orpik and Joe Vitale did not accompany the team on the trip for the game Thursday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) because each is dealing with a lower-body injury.

Orpik was injured in the game Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres. Vitale did not play in either of the past two games.

Paul Martin and James Neal returned to practice Thursday, and though neither will play against the Devils, either could return for the regular-season finale Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Martin has missed the past 11 games with a broken hand, and Neal has missed the past seven with a concussion.

"I think that's the plan," Martin said of his status. "I was hoping for [Thursday], but now it looks like probably Saturday."

Sidney Crosby did not travel with the team due to a dental appointment Thursday, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. There still is no timetable for Crosby's return to the lineup from the broken jaw he sustained during a game March 30. He has been skating but has yet to return to full practices with the team.

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Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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