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Features

Stanley Cup Playoffs clinching scenarios: April 5

Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 4:38 PM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

BOSTON BRUINS

The Boston Bruins clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.


NEW YORK RANGERS

The New York Rangers would clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they get at least one point against the Senators OR if both the Maple Leafs and Devils lose in any fashion to the Jets and Hurricanes, respectively.

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Returning to Detroit makes trade easier for Legwand

Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 9:47 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Detroit Red Wings center David Legwand knows how fortunate he is. He understands how unique his situation is.

Players like Legwand, whose contract runs out after the season, get moved at the NHL Trade Deadline all the time. They quickly pack a bag and race from one town to the next to meet their new team, leaving their families, if they have one, behind. They get holed up in a hotel, eat their meals either out or by way of room service, speak to their kids on Face Time or Skype, immerse themselves in hockey and ride it out until the season ends.

They rarely get traded to the place they call home, the city where they grew up, but that's what happened to Legwand on exactly one month ago, when the Nashville Predators traded him to the Red Wings for forward Patrick Eaves, forward Calle Jarnkrok and a conditional 2014 draft pick.

Legwand, who was Nashville's first draft pick (No. 2 in 1998) and never played a game for a different organization until March 6, said the trade to his native Detroit has made a big difference in how quickly he has been able to assimilate into the Red Wings' way of life.

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Daily Primer April 5: Stars need to shine

Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Dallas Stars still have the inside track to the second Western Conference wild-card position in the Stanley Cup Playoffs because they have two games in hand on the Phoenix Coyotes. The challenge for the Stars is to turn those extra games into points, something they need to do Saturday night when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Dallas dropped one point behind Phoenix when the Coyotes lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Edmonton Oilers at home Friday. A victory against the Lightning would give the Stars a one-point lead with an extra game to play.

The Lightning are hungry for points as well. They are battling the Montreal Canadiens for second place in the Atlantic Division; the winner gets home ice when the teams meet in the First Round. The Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 7-4 Friday to move two points ahead of the Lightning; Montreal hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (7 p.m.; NHLN-US, CBC, RDS).


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Playoff Countdown: Nine potential game-changers

Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The conclusion to 2013-14 NHL regular season is fast approaching. After game play Friday, the League is down to 72 games remaining on the schedule, with 11 to be played Saturday. Yet, much remains to be decided in the frantic run to the finish line, including playoff qualification, playoff positioning and numerous individual accomplishments and milestones. To celebrate the nine-day countdown to the end of the season April 13 and the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, NHL.com will provide a piece of playoff-related content each day.

In the fight for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, teams depend on their best players to step up and become their teams' best players.

However, it's awfully hard to do that from the trainers' table.

A number of impact players currently reside on their teams' injured list. However, a few of those key performers have been healing rapidly with the goal of getting back for the final days of the regular-season push for the playoffs, or at least at some point in the postseason.

Here are nine players who could have game-changing effects on the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Tapped In: Philanthropy among Hartnell's muses

Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 3:00 AM / Tapped In

Kathryn Tappen - NHL.com Contributor

He's one of the most recognizable figures in the NHL and not just because of his trademark reddish-orange curly locks typically flowing from under his Flyers helmet. But rather, Hartnell's uncanny ability to never take himself too seriously is what endears him to his teammates, the fans in Philly, and opponents alike. His off-ice philanthropic work is highlighted by the 2012 creation of his own #hartnelldown Foundation, the proudest achievement of his personal and professional life.

Kathryn Tappen: Did you really think you'd get away with throwing the glove at Ryan Malone while he was on a breakaway in 2008?

Sccott Hartnell: [laughs] I thought people forgot about that already. I don't really know what I was thinking. I know Ryan, and he kicked the stick away from me when he got that breakaway so I had no stick. I was mad that he did that, and obviously went clueless and it was a desperation thing. I didn't think about what might happen. He got awarded the penalty shot. I laugh when I think about it now, but it wasn't really funny at the time.

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Capitals left reaching after late loss to Devils

Saturday, 04.05.2014 / 12:04 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Here were the Washington Capitals, with fading Stanley Cup Playoff hopes, backing up in a tie game Friday at Prudential Center, the clock dipping under five minutes to play in the third period.

Mike Green was defending as the New Jersey Devils were charging. He saw the play developing right in front of him. He might see it in his nightmares now.

"He just got the puck in the middle, I came over, he pulled it and shot," Green said outside the visitors dressing room following Washington's 2-1 loss, his voice trailing off as he spoke quietly.

Green was hoping a pass by Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky, a nearly 2-foot beauty of a saucer, wouldn't make it to forward Ryan Carter, but it did. Green thought Carter might struggle to settle it down, but he didn't. Instead of moving far enough over to put his body in Carter's shooting lane, Green reached out his stick with his left hand, waving it, hoping Carter's shot would hit the shaft and the puck would go astray.

It went in the net, underneath goalie Jaroslav Halak's left pad with 4:54 remaining.

"You can't blame one guy, you can't blame one play," Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said. "You can see we have a good game, but one break cost us two points, or a point."

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Van Massenhoven to officiate final game in Detroit

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 7:33 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Longtime NHL referee Don Van Massenhoven will officiate his final game Friday when the Buffalo Sabres visit the Detroit Red Wings.

The game will draw to a close a career that includes 1,278 regular-season games; 87 Stanley Cup Playoff games; the 2006 Torino Olympics; the 2008 NHL Winter Classic in Buffalo; the 2004 World Cup of Hockey; and the 2002 NHL All-Star Game.

Given the choice where to officiate his final game after more than 20 years in the NHL, Van Massenhoven didn't have to think long before selecting Joe Louis Arena.

"Detroit is close to my home, which makes it easier for family and friends," the 53-year-old said. "A lot of the teams have great buildings, but it's cool to go to the Joe."

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Positive outlook driving defenseman Hunt's career

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 11:05 AM / AHL Update

Alyssa Dombrowski - Special to NHL.com

Throughout the course of this season, Oklahoma City Barons defenseman Brad Hunt has gone from an occasional healthy scratch to one of the most offensively productive defensemen in the American Hockey League.

Despite being out of the Barons lineup for a handful of games in October and November, the 25-year-old Hunt has 47 points (11 goals, 36 assists) in 60 games, ranking second on Oklahoma City's roster and fourth among all AHL defensemen.

Hunt's progression is due in large part to his infectious positive attitude, for which he has become well-known in the Barons locker room, according to coach Todd Nelson.

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No clinching scenarios in Friday games

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 10:50 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

The Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens are the Eastern Conference teams that have clinched a postseason spot. The St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings are in from the Western Conference.

There are no clinching scenarios for games on Friday.

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Daily Primer April 4: Jackets continue playoff push

Friday, 04.04.2014 / 3:00 AM / Drive to the Playoffs

NHL.com

One night after winning in Philadelphia for the first time in franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets will try to end another unwanted streak.

The Blue Jackets have dropped 12 in a row to the Chicago Blackhawks, who make their only appearance of the season at Nationwide Arena on Friday night. Each team won Thursday, with the Blue Jackets beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 and the Blackhawks beating the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout.

It won't be easy for Columbus; Chicago has also won eight in a row at Nationwide Arena and hasn't lost there since March 25, 2010. But the Blue Jackets desperately need a victory as they try to hold on to the second and final Eastern Conference wild-card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Blue Jackets are one point behind the Detroit Red Wings, who host the Buffalo Sabres, but only one point ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have played two more games. Columbus is four points up on the Washington Capitals and five in front of the New Jersey Devils, who face off at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN) in a game that will all but mathematically end the loser's playoff hopes.

In the Western Conference, the Phoenix Coyotes can move back into the second wild-card position by getting at least one point in their home game against the Edmonton Oilers. The Coyotes and Dallas Stars each have 85 points, but the Stars have a game in hand.

Here's a look at all of the action on Friday:


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