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Posted On Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 8:05 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Prospecting with Central Scouting

NHL Central Scouting ready to debate 2012 draft class

NHL Central Scouting is ready to rock here in Ontario this week to determine its final rankings of the top draft-eligible players on the board this June at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

On Saturday, the pro scouts will have a go at it to determine this year's final list of the top 210 draft-eligible skaters and 30 goalies from North America for the 2012 NHL Draft.

NHL.com will also be present for the opening three days of the meetings, providing exclusive coverage. The scouts will no doubt be in heated debate, unveiling the pros and cons of every player from all the major junior leagues throughout North America.

Discussions will heat up almost immediately on Saturday morning as the scouts debate over who should receive the No. 1 overall placement among North American skaters. The four candidates expected to vie for that position will be Sarnia's Nail Yakupov, Quebec's Mikhail Grigorenko, Everett's Ryan Murray and Red Deer's Mathew Dumba.
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Posted On Friday, 03.30.2012 / 7:10 PM

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

Canucks need to shut down Stars' stars

With the Vancouver Canucks preparing for the playoffs, it's no surprise they've built a shutdown line around new checking center Samuel Pahlsson. With the Dallas Stars in a battle to make the playoffs, it's no surprise they're leaning on a sizzling top line anchored by skilled center Mike Ribeiro.

When the two lines go head-to-head Friday night, however, it may surprise some to learn it will also be a battle of the team's top two lines overall of late.

In addition to seeing more pure matchups against the opposition's best forwards, Pahlsson's line has been producing offensively, with Chris Higgins scoring the tying goal and overtime winner in Colorado last week -- and the only goal in a 1-0 victory over the Avalanche on Wednesday. Pahlsson, who had two goals and nine assists in 61 games with Columbus before being acquired at the trade deadline, already has a goal and four assists in just 14 games with the Canucks.

That may not sound like much, but with Vancouver struggling to score it's more than Ryan Kesler (three goals, one assist) over the same stretch, and not far behind former Hart and Art Ross Trophy-winner Henrik Sedin (seven assists).

"It took a couple games for us to find each other and mesh," said Higgins of a trio rounded out by Jannik Hansen. "Now I kind of know where [Pahlsson] is going to be and that's why we're having success. All three of us know where we are going to be on the ice and that's an underrated element of a line. [Henrik and Daniel Sedin] don't even look for each other, they just know where each other are and it's not as difficult when you don't need to take that extra half a second just to know where your teammate is going to be."

That sounds a lot like the chemistry enjoyed by Ribeiro with Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder on a top line that combined for all three goals and eight points in Dallas' 3-1 win in Edmonton on Wednesday night. The trio has five goals and 12 points in the last three games, as well as six goals in three games against Vancouver this season.

"Ribeiro is really tricky to play against," Pahlsson said. "He can really make a fool out of you and make you look stupid, so you've got to be ready for him."

Playing against that line is perfect playoff preparation, said Higgins.

"We're playing some tough minutes against some of the players we'll play in the playoffs, some of the other team's best players, but it's good practice," he said.

"Ribeiro is one of the best passers in the game and sees the ice like few players in the game can, Ryder is having a great year, has an unbelievable shot, and Eriksson is great around the net. So it will be a tough match up for us tonight but I think we enjoy the challenge of playing against those guys."

The results have played a role in the Canucks' success against Dallas. After the Stars' top trio combined for 12 points while winning the first two meetings - and before the Canucks put their current shutdown line together - Vancouver held all three off the scoresheet in a tight-checking 2-1 win March 22. Ribeiro expects the matchup, and welcomes the challenges, knowing it frees up others.

"They've had a few shutouts. It's just up to us to be ready tonight," Ribeiro said. "We'll see probably a few more checking lines, and that's fine too, it gives [Jamie] Benn's line a chance to create more chances and score for us too. It's hard for other teams to match up against two or three lines that can score."

As for tendencies, Higgins may have a slight advantage having played on the same line with Ryder for parts of four seasons with the Montreal Canadiens.

"Yeah I may know a couple things," Higgins said with a smile.

Of course, in a battle of the two top lines, that may work both ways.

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Posted On Friday, 03.30.2012 / 5:32 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bryzgalov questionable for weekend games

Ilya Bryzgalov practiced Friday on the ice, but the chip fracture in his right foot, suffered in warm-ups Monday, could keep the Philadelphia Flyers goalie off the ice this weekend.

According to CSNPhilly.com, Bryzgalov will not play Saturday against the Ottawa Senators, and while there's a chance he plays Sunday in Pittsburgh (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC), the best chance for his return could be Tuesday's home game against the New York Rangers.

While the Flyers want to do everything possible to clinch the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference -- they enter the weekend two points behind the fourth-place Penguins -- they won't gamble their franchise's goalie's future health in the process.

"We're not going to put a goaltender in a situation where he goes out there and risks injury," said coach Peter Laviolette

"You have to be ready and 100 percent to move and stop and react," Bryzgalov told reporters. "If you are not 100 percent, you can't play that game. You're going to be half a second late every time and it's going to be huge consequences -- the puck behind the goal line."

Bryzgalov was injured when he was hit in the foot by a Jakub Voracek shot in pre-game warm-ups prior to Monday's 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. X-rays before and after the game didn't show a break, but Bryzgalov said he felt pain the entire game. An MRI Tuesday showed the chip fracture.

"I felt pain," he said of playing the entire game against the Lightning. "In the morning it was the same thing. Not any better. I felt something was wrong and that's why we got the MRI and found the fracture in my foot, unfortunately.
 
"I was lucky because it was not that bad, because I'm tough and Russian."
 
Bryzgalov said he had less pain Friday.
 
"We've already had progress -- you see me on the ice today," he said.

It remains unknown if the Flyers will see him on the ice at all this weekend.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Friday, 03.30.2012 / 5:24 PM

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

Bieksa given another 'maintenance day' vs. Stars

VANCOUVER -- Kevin Bieksa's maintenance day is turning into a maintenance week.

The Vancouver Canucks' top-four defenseman will miss a second-straight game Friday night against Dallas and is unlikely to play Saturday against Calgary, but is still expected back before the playoffs start in less than two weeks.

"We all know Kevin is one of the fiercest competitors in the League," associate coach Rick Bowness said after Friday's morning skate. "He battles hard every shift, so to give him a few maintenance days is the proper thing to do."

Asked if the necessary maintenance was upper or lower body-related, Bowness said: "We'll just go with the whole body. And mind. Give him a mental break, too."

There is less uncertainty about what's keeping Daniel Sedin out of the lineup, but even more about when he might return. Vancouver's top goal scorer will miss his fifth straight game since being concussed by an elbow from Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith, and despite a report in the Vancouver Sun in which general manager Mike Gillis said he was "hopeful" Sedin would be back by the start of the playoffs, there was no update from Bowness or teammates Friday.

Without Sedin, who leads the team with 30 goals and is second to twin brother Henrik with 67 points, the Canucks have struggled to score, winning their last two games 1-0 and compiling a 4-0-1 run despite only scoring eight goals. All of which prompted another shakeup of the forward lines going into Friday's game against a Dallas team fighting desperately to stay in the playoff picture.

Here are the rest of the expected lineups as the 47-21-9 Canucks try for their first five-game win streak since late November against a 42-30-5 Stars squad that leads the Pacific Division, but has Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Jose all within a single point after alternating losses and wins for the last six games:

CANUCKS

Alexandre Burrows - Henrik Sedin - Maxim Lapierre
Mason Raymond - Ryan Kesler - David Booth
Chris Higgins - Samuel Pahlsson - Jannik Hansen
Dale Weise - Manny Malhotra - Zack Kassian

Dan Hamhuis - Christopher Tanev
Marc-Andre Gragnani - Alexander Edler
Andrew Alberts - Sami Salo

Roberto Luongo
Cory Schneider

Luongo takes his turn in the Canucks' new back-and-forth goaltending rotation, and will try and build off a 38-save 1-0 shutout of Los Angeles on Monday, while Schneider, who made 43 saves in a 1-0 win over Colorado on Wednesday, is expected to play Saturday night against Calgary.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the second of consecutive 1-0 victories was that they came without regular defensemen Bieksa (maintenance), Aaron Rome (knee) and Keith Ballard (concussion). All but Ballard are expected back for the playoffs, and Ballard has also resumed practicing with the team.

Up front, Lapierre's move from fourth-line agitator to first-line winger with Sedin out is the biggest surprise, with a struggling Kassian going the other way. Lapierre has shown offensive flashes in the past, but knows that's not his main job playing alongside former scoring champion Henrik Sedin.

"Today is a fun day and good opportunity for me, but at the end of the day I know my role is to bring some energy, be physical," Lapierre said. "Try to create some room for these two guys. They have unreal skills and I will be in front of the net. I can make some plays with the puck. But we don't want me ruining every play."

STARS
Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Tomas Vincour
Brenden Morrow - Vernon Fiddler - Adam Burish
Reilly Smith - Jake Dowell - Ryan Garbutt

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Alex Goligoski - Philip Larsen
Adam Pardy - Trevor Daley

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

The biggest change from the Stars last visit to Vancouver in early March is between the pipes, with the workhorse Lehtonen expected to play in Vancouver on Friday night and again in San Jose on Saturday night. There was some thought of Bachman, who won here 5-2 back on March 6, but with so much on the line Dallas decided to stick with their unquestioned No. 1 despite the fact Lehtonen is 2-6-0 with a .881 career save percentage against the Canucks.

The Stars are still missing significant players in forwards Radek Dvorak (ankle) and Eric Nystrom (skate cut on leg), and defenseman Mark Fistric (abdominal strain). But Dvorak and Fistric are skating at least and could return in San Jose Saturday -- the first part of a crucial home-and-home series with the Sharks.

Fourth line center Tom Wandell goes from being a healthy scratch the last game to being out sick.
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Posted On Friday, 03.30.2012 / 4:36 PM

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

Plenty of playoff implication as Canucks host Stars

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars could meet in the first round of the playoffs, but it feels like the postseason already has begun for both teams.

Friday's game (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN) will be the fourth between the Canucks and Stars in just over a month, a rarity this late in the season for teams that don't play in the same division. With the Stars fighting just to make the playoffs, the intensity has been ratcheted up with each meeting, adding a playoff feel to the season series.

"It's been pretty spirited," Canucks forward Chris Higgins said. “They are fighting for their lives and want to get first in their division so they are going to come with a playoff-type game. It's fun playing these guys. They are a competitive group."

The fact Dallas, which comes in atop the Pacific Division but with three teams within a point, could be a first-round opponent, adds to a budding rivalry.

"It helps set the tone, at least," Higgins added. “It's one of a couple teams we're probably going to play in the playoffs, so you want to make sure they know they are going to be in for a difficult series if they play against us."

The Stars won the first two meetings, but the Canucks won the last one, 2-1 in Dallas on March 22, part of a four-game win streak in which Vancouver has given up just three goals while focusing on improved defensive play.

For the Stars, it will be important to fight through the tighter checking without getting frustrated by it, a balance center Vernon Fiddler says they're ready to manage in a season series with a rising level of dislike between the sides.

“We've both got guys that are a little edgy and it brings the best out of everybody and it's great for hockey," said Fiddler, whose impersonation of Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa's “angry face" during a recent game only added to the budding rivalry. “The games that mean the most, there is a lots of emotion in them and both sides are bringing that. When our team is emotionally in the game we play a little bit better, but obviously we don't want a bunch of stupid penalties."

They need two points more than anything, Fiddler added, but if they also can send a message to a potential first-round opponent in the process, all the better.

“They're a great team over there, but we think we match up pretty good against them," Fiddler said. “It could be a potential playoff opponent, so you want to be at your best and I think we've already played them pretty good this year."
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Posted On Friday, 03.30.2012 / 3:19 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Caps turn to Neuvirth, Holtby with Vokoun out again

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Shortly after signing free agent goalie Tomas Vokoun last summer, Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee said he would have been comfortable moving forward with the goaltending tandem of Michal Neuvirth, 24, and Braden Holtby, 22.

Eight months later, and with four games left to play in the regular season, McPhee may not have a choice.

Vokoun pulled himself from a 3-2 shootout win Thursday night in Boston after aggravating a groin injury which had limited him to just three of Washington’s previous 17 games. Vokoun is officially listed as day-to-day by the team, but Neuvirth and Holtby are preparing to handle the load.

"It's unfortunate what happened the other night with [Vokoun]," Holtby said. "Especially with injuries, you always want to see your teammates back but that's hockey -- that's the way the game goes and now I just have to be ready for whatever."

Holtby has gone 2-1-1 since a March 18 call-up from Hershey of the American Hockey League, but was pulled from a 5-1 loss Tuesday night to the Buffalo Sabres after allowing three goals on 18 shots.

Neuvirth earned the win Thursday night in Boston, turning aside 19 of 21 shots in relief of Vokoun. He is likely to start again Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.

"Obviously I feel bad for [Vokoun] but it is what it is," Neuvirth said. "But I proved last year that I can be the man and I'm excited. … Every game is a good experience for me. Even last year in the playoffs, that gave me a lot [of confidence] and I feel I grew up a little bit from last year and now I feel that I can do the job."

Neuvirth was the Capitals' undisputed No.1 goalie down the stretch last season, starting 13 of the team's final 14 games including playoffs.

Vokoun had been Washington's primary starter for much of the season, but given that he is working on a one-year contract, it is not out of the question to suggest that he has played his final game as a Capital.

"This is what everyone's goal is -- to be a big part of a team trying to win the Stanley Cup," Holtby said. "But there's also a human aspect to it and we want to make sure that in any way possible that [Vokoun] doesn't feel like he's let the team down by an injury. It's our job to pick up a teammate and carry ourselves into the playoffs."

While Vokoun's health remains a concern, injured Caps forward Nicklas Backstrom could return as early as Saturday against Montreal.

Backstrom has not played since Jan. 3 when he took an elbow to the head from then-Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque, but the Caps No. 1 center was medically cleared this week to return to the lineup after passing a baseline neuropsychological test.

The 24-year-old Swede has missed 40 games, but he accompanied the team on their road trip to Boston and skated Friday for the 17th time in the last 18 days.

"There's no target date," Backstrom said. "It depends how I feel. Everything's possible. It's possible that I could [have played] last game, too. It depends how I feel [Saturday]. I felt good out there today, too, so we'll see."

Backstrom said earlier this week that his conditioning was not yet game-ready, but when asked on Friday about catching his wind and working his lungs, Backstrom said he hasn’t felt better. Physically it sounds as though he is ready to play. Preparing mentally may be the final hurdle.

"I think it's more about that you're worried about hitting the head again and maybe I'm out for longer than three months. That's the biggest problem I see. You just got to be mentally ready to face a hockey game."

Capitals coach Dale Hunter is not concerned about Backstrom suffering a similar injury.

"I think through his career here he’s been one of these players that has great vision on the ice," Hunter said. "I haven't seen through the years, some guys take big hits because of their vision -- they don't see the guys coming as much and identifying where everybody is on the ice.

"For him, he's got great vision through the years he hasn’t had big hits. He has his vision still, he has anticipation of the game and he understands the game so he’ll be fine that way."

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Posted On Friday, 03.30.2012 / 2:48 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

College-style elimination faces Flames, Avalanche

CALGARY -- The Western Conference playoff race has been nothing short of madness in March.
 
For a few teams, it's starting have the feel of the Frozen Four, too.
 
With the collective lives of the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames on the line in Friday's meeting, the game has the feel of the collegiate-style one-and-done tournament format. A win keeps either club alive. A loss buries any hope of an extended season.
 
The concept is all too familiar to former college players in both locker rooms.
 
"It's kind of that scenario," said David Moss, who spent four years at the University of Michigan. "Right now we have to win our games and Colorado is in the same situation. It's pretty easy to see that if either of us lose a game here that's the end of it."
 
Michael Cammalleri, a Michigan teammate of Moss in 2001-02, felt the same.
 
"For the college guys it was like that," Cammalleri said. "Our NCAA experience is one and done. I guess it makes it more tournament-style that way, for sure."
 
Though it's Boston College, Minnesota, Union and Ferris State competing in the 2012 Frozen Four in Tampa Bay next week, the Colorado Avalanche feel as though they're a part of it already.
 
With 86 points and just three games remaining, the Avalanche can ill afford to come away with anything but six points, according to Chuck Kobasew.
 
"It's do-or-die for us," the Boston College alum said. "Both teams know they're in a tough situation either way and we have no choice but to win out from here."
 
Flames defenseman Chris Butler is hoping to help Calgary avoid the latter portion of Kobasew's assessment, something he wasn't able to do at the University of Denver.
 
"We never had a lot of success in college tournaments," he said. "We only made the tournament one year and we lost the first game to Wisconsin. I hope it's not a similar outcome."
 
The Flames, 11th in the Western Conference, must win all four of their remaining games to have a hope at the playoffs. They've accomplished that feat just twice through 78 games this season -- meaning they'll be facing four consecutive elimination games starting with Friday's contest against Colorado.
 
"It's more or less a do-or-die situation," Butler said. "We know that realistically we need to win every game, but you can't look at it as you have to string four games together because that's extremely difficult in the League.
 
"We have four one-game series that we need to win. Our mindset is one at a time."
 
Any losses along the way for either club will leave both teams out in the cold, on the outside looking in when the Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway.
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Posted On Friday, 03.30.2012 / 2:34 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Avalanche rookie Barrie ready for key role vs. Flames

CALGARY -- Tyson Barrie is getting some serious on-the-job training.
 
The 20-year-old Colorado Avalanche defenseman will suit up for just his eighth game of the season Friday night against the Calgary Flames in a do-or-die game that will either end or prolong the hopes of making the playoffs in a wild Western Conference race.
 
"It's pretty crazy," said Barrie, who is still searching for his first NHL point. "It's definitely exciting. I haven't played too many games, but I'm feeling more comfortable as we go. It's exciting stuff."
 
Avalanche coach Joe Sacco is hoping Barrie can provide some punch to an offense that has produced just eight goals in its last five games. Four of those contests have been losses. He's opted to insert Barrie to jump start production in place of Ryan Wilson.
 
"He's really played on his toes when he's been in our lineup," Sacco said. "He's been a difference-maker creating a lot of scoring chances for our team, and I'll expect the same thing here tonight. Just give us some good energy and help us offensively from the back end."
 
In his first professional season after spending four years with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL, Barrie could be settling in when Colorado needs the rookie the most.
 
"It's cool, but I'm settling down a little bit," Barrie said. "I know the first few games I couldn't even stickhandle I was so nervous. Now I'm settling in and feel good.
 
"It is tough, but all the guys are good. They keep me loose in the room. My d-partner Shane O'Brien, he's real good at that stuff. He keeps me loose. He's a great guy and he makes it easy for me out there."
 
The confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome have been kind to Barrie. As a member of the Rockets, Barrie's work in Calgary's rink helped earn a WHL Championship.
 
"We played the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL final and we beat them," Barrie said. "I've played here a few times and I have some great memories in this barn."
 
Barrie is hoping to help the Avalanche build a few more.
 
Here's tonight's projected lineup:
 
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Steve Downy
Jamie McGinn - Paul Stastny - David Jones
Peter Mueller - Matt Duchene - Mark Olver
Cody McLeod - Jay McClemment - Milan Hejduk
 
Matt Hunwick - Erik Johnson
Jan Hejda - Ryan O'Byrne
Shane O'Brien - Tyson Barrie
 
Semyon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere
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Posted On Friday, 03.30.2012 / 2:08 PM

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

Howard to start after convincing Wings he's ready

DETROIT -- Jimmy Howard was under the impression all along that Friday night's game at home against the Nashville Predators was his targeted return date from a nagging groin injury.

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, however, seemed like he wasn't 100 percent on board with that plan earlier this week when he told reporters that if Howard wasn't ready to play by Wednesday night's game in Columbus then he wouldn't be facing Nashville.

Howard didn't play in a 4-2 loss to the Blue Jackets, but Babcock decided to give Howard the start against the Predators after consulting with goalie coach Jim Bedard and athletic trainer Piet Van Zant about it.

"I talked to Jimmy B and I talked to Piet and everything seems to be OK," Babcock said after Detroit's morning skate at the United Center. "Jimmy says he's feeling good about himself, so obviously we'd like to get him going. When you look at our last 22 games, he's played in seven of them. We need to get him going. No different than the rest of our team."

Howard said he did know about Babcock's earlier comments regarding his return.

"It was a little discouraging, but at the same time he's the coach and the one who drives the ship here," Howard said. "You know, you've got to respect it."

Howard said he feels good enough to get back in goal and try to regain his sharpness that helped him win more than 30 games and become an NHL All-Star player for the first time in his career. There are only four regular-season games left, but the third-year starter for the Wings thinks that should be enough to get himself ready for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“Everyone wants to feel great going into the playoffs," Howard said. "What's going to be key for me over the next four games is getting back to where I was before the injuries.''

Howard also missed eight games in February with a broken index finger on his right hand prior to the groin issue flaring up. The injuries have interrupted a season in which he was starting almost every time the Red Wings suited up.

Still, Howard said he's not concerned about regaining his top form in such a short amount of time.

"I know what I'm capable of doing out there," he said. "It's just going out there and doing it again. [It's been] on and off for a month a half and not playing a lot, but I've been able to practice a lot. I think that's key for me, because I always practice the way I play. Going out there and working hard translates into games.''

The Red Wings are hoping that's the case, anyway.

"There's a lot of urgency to get playing at the highest possible level going into the playoffs, and he's the same," Babcock said.
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Posted On Friday, 03.30.2012 / 1:50 PM

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

Wings, Predators jockey for positioning, home ice

DETROIT -- It might be a preview to a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series when the Nashville Predators pay their last visit of the regular season to the Motor City to play the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

The Predators are currently fifth in the Western Conference at 96 points and trail the fourth-place Red Wings by just a point. A regulation victory would leapfrog Nashville past Detroit and possibly put the Preds in the driver's seat for home-ice advantage in the first round.

Jimmy Howard will make the start in goal for the Red Wings after missing the past four games with a nagging groin injury, while forward Martin Erat will get back into the lineup for Nashville after missing the past two games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

The last time Nashville was in Detroit, the Red Wings won the 22nd of their 23-game NHL record home winning streak in unlikely fashion. Time was running out in regulation of a 1-1 game when Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg connected on a pair of great passes to set up Pavel Datsyuk with a head of steam coming into the Nashville zone for one last scoring chance.

Datsyuk made a move to get around Ryan Suter in the slot and zipped a wrister into the top left corner of the net past star Preds goalie Pekka Rinne for a stunning victory.

"I'd say that was more like a flukey goal with five seconds left, but [Lidstrom] sees those things right away, even when he has his back turned," Preds forward Patric Hornqvist said after Nashville's morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. "He threw the puck up to [Zetterberg] and he chipped it to Datsyuk in the middle. They have those guys in their locker room who can really make it happen."

Needless to say, Nashville hasn't forgotten the feeling after that game despite beating Detroit once since then at Bridgestone Arena.

"That can't happen again," Hornqvist said. "We can't stop playing, even when there's five seconds left and they have the puck on the far blue line. That's the lesson we learned from that game."

Here's a look at how the Predators and Red Wings might line up on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena:

PREDATORS
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Alexander Radulov - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Andrei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Matt Halischuk
Gabriel Bourque - Paul Gaustad - Jordin Tootoo

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Hal Gill - Roman Josi
Francis Bouillon - Kevin Klein

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback

RED WINGS
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller - Justin Abdelkader - Danny Cleary
Tomas Holmstrom - Cory Emmerton - Gustav Nyquist

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin
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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure