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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 9:49 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NSH @ COL - 19:59 of the first period



At 19:59 of the first period of the Predators/Avalanche game, video review was inconclusive in determining if Nashville forward Patric Hornqvist struck the puck above the crossbar. Call on the ice stands; good goal Nashville.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 8:35 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

TOR @ MTL - 5:50 of the second period



At 5:50 of the second period of the Maple Leafs/Canadiens game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Montreal forward Max Pacioretty kicked the puck into the net.  According to rule 49.2 "A goal cannot be scored by an attacking player who uses a distinct kicking motion to propel the puck into the net.". No goal Montreal.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 5:25 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lundqvist, Stepan will play for Rangers

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers want the Presidents' Trophy, and they'll take their shot at it with center Derek Stepan and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in the lineup.

In a game Thursday in Pittsburgh, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik was assessed a five-minute major penalty for kneeing Stepan late in the contest. Stepan was so slow to get off the ice and missed practice Friday, but he will be in the lineup against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night (6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at Madison Square Garden.

Tortorella was fined $20,000 by the League for his comments that followed the game in which he called the hit "cheap" and "dirty" and offered no response to the fine Saturday.

"I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars? Wonder what would happen?" Tortorella said Thursday, referring to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. "So I'm anxious to see what happens with the League. There's no respect amongst players. None."

Tortorella moved on from the incident, saying his team his highly motivated to finish with the most points in the NHL.

"I want us to win that trophy," Tortorella said. "I think that's a part of our motivation. I'll tell you that right now. You check off the division, check off the conference. There's two other checks that need to be done here. One is this Presidents' Trophy, and the next is the real deal. We're looking to get No. 3 here tonight."

Lundqvist was dealing with a swollen right arm after a shot by Claude Giroux of the Flyers caught the goaltender in an unprotected area on Tuesday night. Lundqvist received the night off against the Penguins, but never missed a practice and will start against the Capitals.

Here's the projected lineup for the Rangers:

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Brandon Dubinsky - Brian Boyle - Ruslan Fedotenko
Mike Rupp - John Mitchell - Brandon Prust
 
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
 
Martin Biron
Henrik Lundqvist

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 5:07 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Holtby to start for Caps with division title still in sight

NEW YORK -- With the Washington Capitals securely in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's not as though 22-year-old Braden Holtby has the weight of the world on his shoulders against the Rangers on Saturday night.
 
But with a Southeast Division title within reach -- a Washington win coupled with a regulation loss by the Florida Panthers would make if five straight for the Capitals -- Holtby is facing some pressure. If the Capitals lose, they will be right back at Madison Square Garden as the No. 8 seed for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the top-seeded Rangers.
 
Holtby is 3-2-1 this season and will be filling in for Michal Neuvirth, who is day-to-day with a leg injury that coach Dale Hunter said isn't serious, and Tomas Vokoun, who is out with a groin injury. Holtby played well in road games against the Flyers and Red Wings in March, something Hunter feels will help Holtby against the League's top team.
 
"He went to Detroit and played well, he went to Philly and played well, and those are pretty hard buildings to play in," Hunter said. "There was a lot at stake. He came up big for us."
 
The Rangers will win the Presidents' Trophy for the first time since 1993-94 with a win, which means the Capitals won't have anything handed to them.
 
"We still have stuff on the line, so do the Rangers," Hunter said. "It's one of those games when everyone is going to be battling like any other game. We have to play our best because they're well-balanced, they have good goaltending."
 
The only lineup change for the Caps will be Joel Ward replacing Mike Knuble. Ward has been out since blocking a shot against the Flyers on March 22. Knuble has just two assists in his past eight games and played just 6:43 in the Capitals' 4-2 win against the Panthers on Thursday.
 
CAPITALS

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Marcus Johansson
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Keith Aucoin - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Joel Ward

Karl Alzner - Dennis Wideman
Roman Hamrlik - Mike Green
Dmitry Orlov - John Carlson

Braden Holtby
Dany Sabourin

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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 4:49 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Sharks, Kings could play for division title

SAN JOSE – Just two days after playing one of the wildest and strangest games of the season in Los Angeles, the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings will meet again Saturday night, this time at HP Pavilion.

The contest Thursday night had three fights, a combined 63 penalty minutes and seven power-play goals – four by the Kings and three by the Sharks – as well as a strange-but-true moment in the third period when Sharks forward Ryane Clowe reached over the bench with his stick and knocked the puck away from Kings center Jarret Stoll.

San Jose prevailed 6-5 in a shootout, but Sharks coach Todd McLellan and Kings coach Darryl Sutter agreed that the last thing they need in their final playoff tuneup is an instant replay.

“We can’t have an undisciplined game like that again from now until the end of the season or it will cost us immensely,” McLellan said. “To give up four power-play goals and win a game, I don’t know how that happens in today’s game, but it did. We can look at the penalty kill. There are some areas, again, that we can be better at, but quite frankly to me it’s the march to the box that was disappointing.

“And from what I understand, Darryl was saying the same thing. It’s two coaches trying to get their teams to play with some focus and some discipline, not cross the line on so many occasions, and get ready to play in the playoffs.”

Phoenix can clinch the Pacific Division title with a win at Minnesota in a game that starts at 5 p.m. PT, but if the Coyotes lose, then the Sharks and Kings will be battling for the division crown and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

Sutter said that no matter what’s on the line as far as playoff positioning, he’s more concerned about getting his team prepared for the postseason and playing the right way.

“Quite honestly I want us to do some things better that prepare us for the first game of the playoffs, that we didn’t do as well as we should have last game,” Sutter said.

Stoll said he expects to “a little bit better discipline” from both teams.

“Way too many penalties -- this late in the year you want to be playing hard, heavy hockey, but you want to be disciplined,” Stoll said. “We know if we play our style of game, our way, we’ll be fine. We started off that way in L.A. the last game. Penalties got in the way and some loose play got in the way. A little bit of a track meet started. We know how we need to play. It’s strong defensively. It’s smothering them, being all over them, being hard and heavy on the forecheck and staying out of the box.”

Clowe was not penalized for his pokecheck from the bench, and the NHL did not issue any supplementary discipline. Stoll said the Kings aren’t thinking about on-ice paybacks.
“We move on past that game, past that day and refocus for this one,” Stoll said. “It’s over with now, and we’re moving on.”

Clowe said he doubts that the Kings will target him on the ice.

“If I get targeted, I’m more than willing,” Clowe said. “I’m ready.”

The Sharks will be without third-line wing Torrey Mitchell, who suffered an undisclosed injury Thursday night on a first-period hit by Kings forward Colin Fraser.

Michal Handzus, who played the previous four seasons with Los Angeles, will return to the lineup after missing five games. Handzus is expected to center the third line, with Dominic Moore moving from center to wing.

“We liked the way our four lines were playing, the energy that we got from them. That kept Michal out of the lineup,” McLellan said. “It also gave him some time to heal. Now, him drawing an assignment  … tonight gives us a big body, it gives us a faceoff guy, which we were poor in in L.A. for most of the game. It gives us a guy that can play on the penalty kill and the power play, and it also gives him an opportunity to get his game together, at least once, before the playoffs start.”

This game gives Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who has 10 shutouts and a 1.93 goals against average, a chance to regroup for the playoffs after one of his worst games of the season.

“It’s a big challenge when you play San Jose. San Jose has a goaltender (Antti Niemi) that’s won a Stanley Cup and quietly goes about his business and doesn’t get much credit, just criticism,” Sutter said. “And we have one that gets a lot of credit.”

Sutter was asked if Quick gets too much credit.
"I’m not getting into that, because you know what happens when you answer those questions. You have to prove it, right?” Sutter said. “That’s’ what it’s about.”

Here’s how the lineups could look Saturday night when the San Jose Sharks face the Los Angeles Kings at HP Pavilion:

SHARKS

Patrick MarleauJoe ThorntonJoe Pavelski
Ryane CloweLogan CoutureMartin Havlat
TJ GaliardiMichal HandzusDominic Moore
Daniel WinnikAndrew DesjardinsTommy Wingels

Marc-Edouard VlasicDan Boyle
Colin WhiteBrent Burns
Jason DemersJustin Braun

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

KINGS

Brad RichardsonAnze KopitarDustin Brown
Dwight KingMike RichardsJustin Williams
Dustin PennerJarret StollTrevor Lewis
Jordan NolanColin FraserKyle Clifford

Rob ScuderiDrew Doughty
Willie MitchellSlava Voynov
Alec MartinezMatt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier
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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 4:27 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Canucks after top spot in West, Presidents' Trophy

The Canucks can lock up the top spot in the in the Western Conference - and perhaps the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's top team - by winning Saturday's regular-season finale against Edmonton.

Perhaps more exciting, however, are reports that top goal scorer Daniel Sedin, out since an elbow to the head from Duncan Keith on March 21, has been skating on his own. First reported by TSN's Farhan Lalji Saturday afternoon and confirmed later in a Vancouver Province story, word that Sedin has skated by himself the last few days and is expected to be ready for the playoffs puts a positive spin on his twin brother's comments a bit earlier.

"As time has moved on he's felt better," Henrik Sedin said. "But until you are on the ice and feel comfortable playing a game, [concern is] always going to be there."

Henrik said those concerns are fueled by seeing players like Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who has missed 22 games with a concussion, still out.

"For sure, those guys I'm sure after a week they thought they were going got be able to play in three or four days, and 20 games later they still haven't played," he said. "That's always going to be there until he's back."

With the absence of Daniel, and fellow top-six forward Mason Raymond away for the birth of his first child, the Canucks will shake up their forward lines again. Here's how all the lines are expected to look Saturday:

CANUCKS

Andrew EbbettHenrik SedinAlexandre Burrows
Maxim LapierreRyan KeslerDavid Booth
Chris HigginsSamuel PahlssonJannik Hansen
Manny MalhotraByron BitzZack Kassian

Dan Hamhuis – Chris Tanev
Alexander EdlerSami Salo
Andrew AlbertsAaron Rome

Roberto Luongo is back in goal after watching Cory Schneider start in Calgary on Thursday, giving Luongo one last chance to erase the memories of being pulled form his last start before the playoffs start next week.

Maxim Lapierre, who has played well since moving up from the fourth line to the first line in place of Daniel Sedin, is moving down to try and spark a struggling second line. Andrew Ebbett, playing his fourth game after missing almost three months with a broken collarbone, moves up to the first line, while AHL call-up Byron Bitz centers the fourth unit.

The only line that remains intact is the checking unit anchored by Samuel Pahlsson, which has been the team’s best trio for at least two weeks.

On the back end, Chris Tanev comes back from a maintenance day, while Marc-Andre Gragnani, who now has played enough games to become a restricted free agent instead of an unrestricted free agent, will be a healthy scratch.
 
OILERS

Teemu HartikainenRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan Eberle
Ryan JonesSam GagnerAles Hemsky
Eric BelangerShawn HorcoffRyan Smyth
Darcy HordichukChris VandeVeldeBen Eager
 
Ryan WhitneyNick Schultz
Cam BarkerJeff Petry
Andy SuttonColten Teubert
 
Devan Dubnyk starts in goal for a fourth straight game – and 12th time in the last 14 – ahead of veteran Nikolai Khabibulin
 
The Oilers are locked into 14th place in the Western Conference and another lottery pick in the NHL Draft, but coach Tom Renney made it clear they have something to play for beyond just spoiling the Canucks’ night.

“The fact we’ve had the type of season we’ve had is motivation in itself and as I explained to the guys out on the ice just now this is the first game of next year,” Renney said. “Better play that way.”

Ben Eager, who has a long history of antagonizing the Canucks during his time in Chicago and San Jose, draws back into the lineup on the fourth line.

With defensemen Ladislav Smid (neck), Theo Peckham and Corey Potter (both concussions) all still out, prospect Colten Teubert remains with the Oilers on emergency recall and gets to play his first NHL game in front of family and friends form his nearby suburban hometown of White Rock, B.C.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 2:47 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Predators, Avalanche

DENVER – These are the projected lineups for a matchup Saturday between the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center:

PREDATORS

Sergei Kostitsyn -- Mike Fisher -- Martin Erat
Andrei KostitsynDavid Legwand -- Alexander Radulov
Gabriel BourqueNick SpalingPatric Hornqvist
Jordin TootooPaul GaustadBrandon Yip

Ryan Suter -- Shea Weber
Francis BouillonKevin Klein
Hal Gill -- Roman Josi
 
Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback

Injuries: None

AVALANCHE

Mark Olver -- Ryan O’Reilly -- Gabriel Landeskog
Jamie McGinn -- Paul Stastny -- David Jones
Milan Hejduk -- Matt Duchene -- Steve Downie
Cody McLeod -- Jay McClement -- Peter Mueller

Jan Hejda – Ryan O’Byrne
Matt HunwickErik Johnson
Shane O’Brien – Tyson Barrie

Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Semyon Varlamov

Injuries: D Ryan Wilson (torso) is out   
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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 2:15 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Maple Leafs, Canadiens

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens facing each other on the final day of the season has become somewhat of a tradition, with the game Saturday between the Original Six rivals marking the fifth time in six years they have finished the season against each other.

But for this matchup to be this insignificant is something that is relatively new.

The Canadiens enter the game with no chance of climbing out of the Eastern Conference cellar, but a regulation loss coupled with an Edmonton Oilers win would mean the Habs finish 29th in the League standings instead of 28th - a drop that would represent a 4.6 percent boost in Montreal's chances of landing the top pick in June's NHL Draft, from 14.2 to 18.8 per cent.

The Maple Leafs, however, could potentially jump up from 26th to 24th overall with a victory and losses of any kind by Anaheim and Minnesota. That kind of a move would drop Toronto's chances of winning the lottery from 8.1 to 4.7 percent. On the other hand, a Toronto regulation loss and a New York Islanders win would drop the Leafs to 27th overall, improving their odds in the draft lottery to 10.7 percent.

But don't tell that to Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, who represented the opinions of both dressing rooms very well in response to a question regarding draft position.

"That's for other people to talk about, that's not for coaches," Carlyle said. "We've stated before and we'll continue to live by those statements that if we ever sold to our players that we're coming here to tank a hockey game and give up the two points, the credibility of your program has gone out the window. That's not what we're about, that's not the fabric we're made of and we don't want our players to ever think that's a possibility for us."

Here are the potential lineups for both teams Saturday night:

MAPLE LEAFS

Matt Frattin - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Matthew Lombardi
Tim Connolly - David Steckel - Joey Crabb
Jay Rosehill - Colby Armstrong - Mike Brown

Dion Phaneuf - Mike Komisarek
John-Michael Liles - Luke Schenn
Jake Gardiner - Cody Franson

Ben Scrivens
Jonas Gustavsson

CANADIENS

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Rene Bourque - Tomas Plekanec - Louis Leblanc
Blake Geoffrion - Lars Eller - Michael Blunden
Aaron Palushaj - Gabriel Dumont - Brad Staubitz

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Tomas Kaberle - Chris Campoli
Andrei Markov - Frederic St-Denis

Peter Budaj
Robert Mayer
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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 2:07 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Emery inks contract extension for Hawks

DETROIT -- It's not every day that a player has his contract extension announced in the middle of a game, but that's what happened Saturday with Chicago Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery.

Emery, who came to the Hawks on a tryout contract in training camp and then signed a one-year deal, will stay in Chicago for one more year according to a release from the team -- which was sent out during the first period Saturday against Detroit.

Multiple reports said the contract is for $1.15 million. Emery, who made a comeback with Anaheim last season after a potentially career-threatening hip surgery, is 15-9-4 in 34 games with a 2.81 goals-against average and .900 save percentage this year.

The Blackhawks signed second-year goalie Corey Crawford to a three-year contract extension last summer, so their goaltending situation now appears to be set for the 2012-13 season.

Emery was also named as Chicago's Masterton Trophy candidate, which is the second year in a row he's earned that designation.

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Posted On Saturday, 04.07.2012 / 2:00 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Panthers' Dineen mum on goaltender for Saturday, Game 1

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida coach Kevin Dineen often said this year he was facing tough goalie decisions, but he might now be dealing with his toughest yet.

Dineen said after the morning skate he had not decided whether Jose Theodore or Scott Clemmensen would be in net for the regular-season finale Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes. He also said he hadn’t determined who would start in the playoffs.

Theodore has been Florida’s No. 1 goalie all season, appearing in 59 games to Clemmensen’s 23.

But Theodore is coming off a shaky performance in a 4-2 loss Thursday at Washington. Dineen pulled Theodore after the Capitals scored in the second period to go up 3-0, but reinserted him 91 seconds later.

Clemmensen, meanwhile, has been outstanding lately. He is 2-0-1 in his last three starts, including a 35-save performance in a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia on March 20.

There’s also this factor this consider: If the Panthers clinch the Southeast Division title Saturday, they will face the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. In five career games against the Devils, his former team, Clemmensen is 4-0-0 with a 2.05 GAA and a .937 save percentage, including a 3-1 victory at New Jersey this season. Theodore is 8-14-3 in his career against the Devils with a 2.64 GAA and a .907 save percentage.

The combination of factors coming into play has left Dineen with that difficult decision.

“It sure is,” Dineen said. “It’s one that we’ll discuss quite a bit before we make the final call for tonight and next week.”

At the other end of the ice Saturday, the Carolina goalie will be Brian Boucher, who has appeared in only nine games this season as the backup to Cam Ward.

The Hurricanes lineup against Florida also will feature forward Jeremy Welsh, who will make his NHL debut after signing a one-year contract Thursday night after Union lost to Ferris State in the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa.

Here are the projected lineups for the Panthers-Hurricanes matchup:

HURRICANES

Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Chad LaRose
Jussi Jokinen - Jeff Skinner - Tuomo Ruutu
Jeremy Welsh - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Andreas Nodl - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart

Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain
Bryan Allen - Tim Gleason

Brian Boucher
Cam Ward

PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Sean Bergenheim - Marcel Goc - Mikael Samuelsson
Scottie Upshall - Shawn Matthias - Wojtek Wolski
Marco Sturm - John Madden - Tomas Kopecky

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Erik Gudbranson

Jose Theodore
Scott Clemmensen
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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic