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Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 4:34 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kings' Greene hopeful to return prior to playoffs

SAN JOSE -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Greene said he still doesn't have a target date for his return, but he took what looked to be another step in that direction Tuesday morning at HP Pavilion.

Greene, who underwent back surgery in late January to repair a herniated disk, was on the ice for the Kings' optional skate and stayed long after most of his teammates had left.

Greene was cleared for contact Monday, but he spent most of his time Tuesday skating hard and getting back into shape.

'You want to try to get into as good of shape as you can be if you want to get a chance to come back," Greene said. "It felt good. It's feeling better and better every day. It's just getting more and more used to skating. Getting a little bit of timing back, but I think it's still going to be a battle."

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 2:40 PM

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

Lightning look to future with Bishop under contract

WINNIPEG -- The Tampa Bay Lightning have only the slimmest of chances to still reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring, but they have secured a key part of their future.

Goaltender Ben Bishop signed a two-year contract extension Monday after the Lightning arrived here for their game Tuesday evening with the Winnipeg Jets. The Lightning acquired Bishop from the Ottawa Senators on April 3 at the NHL Trade Deadline for speedy forward Cory Conacher.

The 26-year-old has gone 2-3-0 in six games with Tampa Bay and posted a .916 save percentage to go with his 3.21 goals-against average. Bishop earned a 45-save shutout in his Tampa Bay debut April 4 against the Carolina Hurricanes and has assumed the Lightning's No. 1 job with an ankle injury having sidelined Anders Lindback since March 20.

"It's definitely nice to have, but it doesn't change anything," Bishop said after Tampa Bay's morning skate at MTS Centre. "It's just a piece of paper. I still have to go out there and perform and do [my] job."

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 2:19 PM

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

Jets face critical home contest in playoff push

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets’ margin for error is slim Tuesday evening as they begin their final push toward what would be their first berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2007.

The Jets will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning at MTS Centre without defenseman Tobias Enstrom, who is out with what the Jets are terming a "mid-body injury." The Jets downgraded Enstrom’s status to week-to-week during their four-day break.

Jets coach Claude Noel said center Nik Antropov, who has not played since April 2, is a possibility to return later this week as the Jets close out their six-game homestand.

Ondrej Pavelec will again start in net for Winnipeg.

Here is the projected lineup for the Jets:

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 2:02 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Dorsett, Staal skating, but not close to returning

PHILADELPHIA -- Derek Dorsett and Marc Staal were on the ice for the New York Rangers during the team's optional morning skate Tuesday, but neither is close to returning to the lineup.

It was the first time Staal has taken the ice with teammates during the pregame skate, but coach John Tortorella said there was nothing new to report in regard to Staal's condition. The defenseman hasn't played since being hit near the right eye by a deflected puck during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 5.

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 1:50 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers going with same lineup vs. Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Coming off one of the New York Rangers' better efforts of the season in their previous game, coach John Tortorella said he will stick with the same lineup he used Saturday when his team faces the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

That means Henrik Lundqvist will be back in goal. In seven games since the calendar flipped to April, Lundqvist is 5-1-1 with a 1.53 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. In the Rangers' 1-0 overtime win against the New York Islanders, Lundqvist stopped all 29 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season.

"If he wasn't standing on his head that game we would not have won that one," defenseman Anton Stralman told "He saved us two points right there."

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 1:30 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Stuck in goal drought, Blues give Jaskin a shot

ST. LOUIS -- In the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, the St. Louis Blues will turn to a 20-year-old who is making the jump from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League straight to the NHL.

Dmitrij Jaskin, the 41st pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut Tuesday night when the Blues face the Vancouver Canucks at Scottrade Center.

Jaskin, who joined the Blues in Nashville a week ago, has taken part in every practice and every drill thus far. And with the Blues mired in a drought of five goals in five games, going 3-2-0, coach Ken Hitchcock will insert the 6-foot-2, 196-pound right wing into the lineup and give him his opportunity.

"He looked a little off-balance taking nine days off when he first came here, and then I thought the last two days ... what convinced me to give him a chance, and I'm kind of excited to look at him, was we did a really hard down-low offensive drill yesterday," Hitchcock said of Jaskin. "It was a very difficult drill, and he scored against NHL players and it was a hard drill and he found the back of the net, he put it through the back of the net. I was really impressed. He got whacked around really good yesterday down low, and he stood his ground and was determined to put the puck in the net."

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 1:25 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

All the latest playoff push updates on Cisco NHL Live

The push toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs continues, and Cisco NHL Live with Bill Pidto and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will get you up to date on playoff implications around the League. With eight games on the ice Tuesday night, we'll also give you a look at pre-game skates of the early games in our Ice Pass and discuss each one rapidly in Slapshots.

We'll get live pre-game updates from our Cisco NHL Arena Cam, starting in Long Island as the New York Islanders continue their march to the postseason. The Washington Capitals try to stay undefeated in April as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs, and we'll go live to the Verizon Center for the latest news on this matchup. Lastly, NHL Network analyst Darren Pang will drop by the show to talk about the St. Louis Blues game against the Vancouver Canucks and goalie play as we get to crunch time.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks all eight games being played on Tuesday.

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 12:50 PM

By Erin Nicks - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Cowen to make season debut for Senators

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Jared Cowen will make his season debut Tuesday when the team plays the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Place.

Cowen underwent surgery in November to repair a torn labrum in his left hip after being injured in an American Hockey League game, and the thinking at the time was he would be lost for the remainder of the season.

It's a huge boost for an Ottawa team that is without Erik Karlsson (Achilles) on its blue line.

"It's a big day," Cowen said. "I've had this day in mind for a while. I picked it a long time ago because it's not a back-to-back and it's at home. I wanted to start at home. I worked really hard to get here. Sometimes rehab doesn't go the way you want it to. A lot of it has been luck. When I'm on the ice doing drills or skating, I don't think about my hip at all, and my doctor said that's the key. All systems are go."

Cowen played in all 82 games for the Senators as a rookie last season, posting five goals and 17 points. The 22-year-old was a first-round pick (No. 9) in the 2009 NHL Draft.

Here are the projected lineups for the Hurricanes and Senators:

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 12:14 PM

By Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Islanders understand danger that awaits in Panthers

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- With six games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the New York Islanders will view each match as a must-win situation.

But they know they really can't afford to let two points slip away Tuesday, when the Islanders (21-16-5, seventh place in Eastern Conference) face the Florida Panthers at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

With 32 points, Florida (13-22-6) resides in last place in the Eastern Conference and will be looking to avoid a three-game losing streak. The Panthers have been outscored 10-3 in back-to-back losses to the Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

"I know what that feels like the last couple of years," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said of the Panthers, a team that is simply playing out the remainder of its schedule. "Those are dangerous teams sometimes. They want to win these games and they want to mess with someone else's season. We have to be prepared."

Here are the projected lineups:

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 10:25 AM

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

Projected lineup for Capitals vs. Maple Leafs

The Southeast Division-leading Washington Capitals seek a season-high eighth straight win when they play the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

The Maple Leafs have won two straight games and seven of nine to pull within four points of the Northeast Division-leading Montreal Canadiens with six games remaining.

The Capitals have not played since a 6-5 overtime win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday The Maple Leafs are coming off a 2-0 win Monday against the New Jersey Devils.

Here is Washington's projected lineup for Tuesday:

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