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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 7:19 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Gudlevskis to make NHL debut with Lightning

TAMPA -- Kristers Gudlevskis, who played for Latvia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will make his NHL debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Gudlevskis, 21, was the Lightning's fifth-round pick (No. 124) in the 2013 NHL Draft. He began the season with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL before being promoted to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League. He had an 18-11-4 record with a 2.68 goals-against average and a save percentage of .901 with Syracuse.

POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 6:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Brodeur in goal for Devils, possibly for last time

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur will make possibly his final start for the team against the New York Islanders at Prudential Center on Friday.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer wouldn't commit to a starter for Sunday against the Boston Bruins in the regular-season finale at Prudential Center, leaving open the question of whether this will be Brodeur's last game for the Devils. Brodeur can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

"Marty will start [Friday] like we have done all year and we'll talk about Sunday on Sunday," DeBoer said. "We'll talk about [the end of the season] at the end of the season. Those are all hypothetical questions. I'm not prematurely going to talk about the end of anyone's career right now. I'm worried about winning a game."

Brodeur, who turns 42 on May 6, has been noncommittal about his future when asked about a possible return to the Devils in 2014-15.

"I don't expect [the Devils] to come running after me," Brodeur said earlier this week. "We'll see. Again, that's a situation I have to be OK with regardless of it it's here or somewhere else. But I have to talk to a lot of people in the offseason and make my own decision. Regardless of if I stay or leave, the Devils are in unbelievable hands with [Cory Schneider]."

POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 4:10 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sharks' Hertl set to rejoin lineup vs. Avalanche

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks rookie forward Tomas Hertl will be in the lineup Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche for the first time since Dec. 19, when he suffered a major injury to his right knee during a game against the Los Angeles Kings.

Hertl underwent surgery Dec. 31 to repair two ligaments that were damaged by a knee-on-knee hit from Kings forward Dustin Brown. Hertl had 15 goals and 10 assists in 35 games before being injured.

"I'm very excited because it's four months not playing hockey," Hertl said after the Sharks' morning skate. "I'm very happy. I hope it's all good, the knee is OK. I hope I'm ready to play and ready to play in the playoffs."

POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 2:56 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames proud of recent accomplishments on home ice

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames hope to finish above .500 on home ice when hosting the Winnipeg Jets in their Scotiabank Saddledome finale on Friday.

"I think that would be a huge testament to the identity we've been working to create all year," said forward Kevin Westgarth, whose Flames sit 26th overall in the NHL and have long been out of the Stanley Cup Playoff picture. "Obviously we've had a lot of downs but a lot of ups as well, and to finish the season the way we have I think would be a huge plus going forward for next year."

The Flames, who conclude their 2013-14 season Sunday in Vancouver, have gone 12-4-0 at home since dropping a franchise record seven straight games at the Saddledome from Dec. 27-Jan. 16. They've outscored opponents 58-42 during their recent run.

POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 2:22 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Depleted Blues piece together lineup to face Stars

DALLAS -- The St. Louis Blues not only lost 4-2 at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night and fell out of first place in the Central Division, but the Blues are also down three players -- right wing T.J. Oshie (upper-body injury), center Derek Roy (upper body) and left wing Vladimir Sobotka (lower body) -- after that defeat at Xcel Energy Center.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock confirmed Oshie, Roy and Sobotka would not play for St. Louis on Friday against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. Hitchcock added center and captain David Backes (lower body) and left wing Brenden Morrow (lower body), a former Dallas captain, will each miss a second straight game.

"We've been able to pretty much the whole year stay healthy. We would have preferred better timing, but it is what it is and it's all about who's in now," Hitchcock said of his team being in scramble mode. "You never know, everybody goes through this. We just got it at the end of year. You got to just stay focused on the guys you have."

POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 1:30 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets' Horton out six weeks after surgery

TAMPA -- Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nathan Horton had abdominal surgery Friday morning and is expected to miss six weeks.

Horton missed four games with the injury before returning to the lineup Tuesday in a 4-3 win against the Phoenix Coyotes. However, he skated only eight shifts before leaving the game.

Horton, who missed the first half of the season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, appeared in 36 games with five goals and 19 points.

"It's a blow," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "The reason why it's a blow is the potential out on the ice. A goal scorer, big and strong. But the other thing is that he's played in big games and big moments. That's why an organization like this goes out to get a guy like him. He can offer it being around the guys but it's that in the room, in between periods and on the bench during a game, that he could have had a great effect."

POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 1:12 PM

By Adam Vingan -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blackhawks' Morin, Smith making names known

WASHINGTON -- As Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews remain out of the lineup while nursing injuries, the team has been buoyed by the recent play of its younger role players.

Forward Jeremy Morin, recalled from the American Hockey League when Kane was placed on long-term injured reserve March 21 after suffering an apparent knee injury two days earlier, has scored three goals in as many games.

Forward Ben Smith has also been contributing offensively with three goals in his past four games, all of which the Blackhawks have won.

In doing so, Morin and Smith have thrust themselves into the lineup conversation when the Blackhawks open the Stanley Cup Playoffs next week.

"Well obviously the goal is play in [the] playoffs," Morin said. "I can't control that. All I can do is if I'm in the lineup, just make the most of it. I'm trying to finish off the season the right way and just keep contributing."

POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 1:04 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings won't rest on laurels as playoffs approach

DETROIT -- Now that a 23rd straight appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is assured, the Detroit Red Wings can afford to rest some legs in the final two games of the regular season.

They're just not planning to exercise that option. Heading into a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, RDS), the Red Wings are planning to stick with the same lineup they've used of late.

The lone exception will be on the bench. Rookie goalie Petr Mrazek will back up starter Jimmy Howard in the absence of Jonas Gustavsson, who hurt his shoulder in the playoff-clinching 4-3 shootout loss Wednesday at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"We want to keep winning," Red Wings veteran forward Johan Franzen said after the morning skate. "We want to win these last two games and maybe climb up a spot. So, that's our focus right now."

POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 12:00 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Fantasy Insider /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Best steals based on ADP, ownership

As the NHL regular season comes to a close, it's appropriate to marvel at how fantasy league champions were crowned after a six-month roller-coaster ride.

Besides avoiding the unpredictable injury bug, championship teams generally draft well in early rounds. But the fantasy playoffs always boil down to depth and consistency, and that's where late-round and waiver-wire gems put teams over the top.

Average draft position in standard Yahoo leagues provides a strong indication of the fantasy expectations surrounding a particular player coming into the season. When comparing ADPs with year-end ownership, it's clear which players have been the biggest fantasy "steals."

Here are the forwards, defensemen and goalies who exceeded expectations this season based on Yahoo ADP and ownership:

POSTED ON Friday, 04.11.2014 / 10:50 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

NHL Live has coverage of Hobey Baker presentation

NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network, is set for the announcement of the Hobey Baker Award for college hockey's best player. The presentation will be at 6 p.m. and college hockey insider Julie Robenhymer joins the show to talk about the winner and college free agents who could be signed prior to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Brendan Shanahan is leaving the NHL to become the president and alternate governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs and we'll talk to NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly about Shanahan's time with the League.

Seven games dot the NHL schedule for Friday night, including the Washington Capitals hosting the Chicago Blackhawks. Analyst Eddie Olczyk joins us from the Arena Cam at Verizon Center to talk about what's going to happen in Washington in the wake of the Capitals missing the playoffs, as well as what's ahead for the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.

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Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1