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(Page 216 of 274)
NHL Insider

Penguins-Lightning a likely first-round preview

Thursday, 03.31.2011 / 1:41 PM / NHL Insider

"It's pretty close to playoff time and I'm sure it's going to be a pretty intense game. But we aren't trying to send any kind of a message. We just want to play hard and play the way we play, and I think the results will come." -- Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier

There is plenty to be decided in the final weeks of the NHL season, but there will be a preview of a likely first-round series of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at St. Pete Times Forum on Thursday night.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, are in Tampa Bay to face the fifth-place Lightning.

"We know that we have a good chance of playing each other, so you definitely learn about each other," captain Vinny Lecavalier told Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune. "It's pretty close to playoff time and I'm sure it's going to be a pretty intense game. But we aren't trying to send any kind of a message. We just want to play hard and play the way we play, and I think the results will come."

Flyers looking to build on Tuesday's win

Thursday, 03.31.2011 / 1:30 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The Flyers didn't sit back Tuesday in Pittsburgh the way they had been this month. Instead, they created a three-goal margin between themselves and the Penguins by skating hard, playing physical and keeping up their intensity for 60 minutes.

The complete effort earned them one of their most important wins of the season, but perhaps of greater value than the two points gained and the four-point cushion in the Atlantic Division was the lesson the Flyers learned in that 5-2 victory.

"It reminds us what we're capable of when we get going," Flyers defenseman Matt Carle told Thursday here at the Wells Fargo Center. "I think we had gotten away from that, and it was a friendly reminder that we needed. It was a huge boost for our confidence. We'll see how it plays forward (Thursday)."

The Flyers' challenge is to carry the momentum they gained Tuesday into the playoffs. They have six regular-season games remaining, starting here Thursday against the Atlanta Thrashers, who are one point away from being mathematically eliminated from the playoff race. The Flyers also play in New Jersey on Friday and at home against the Rangers on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN).

Bayside's Ghanbarian a true Ranger supporter

Thursday, 03.31.2011 / 1:29 PM / NHL Insider

Chris DiSanto - Contributor

As a teen, Nick Ghanbarian found himself drawn to a growing punk rock music scene. Green Day was his gateway to punk, which led him to discover bands like the Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion. Ghanbarian appreciated their do-it-yourself attitude and their devotion to the nitty-gritty work required to be a touring band. So, it's no surprise that now, working as a full-time touring musician, what Nick Ghanbarian likes most about hockey is the strong work ethic put forth by the grittier players in the game.

Sabres look to bounce back against Rangers

Wednesday, 03.30.2011 / 1:50 PM / NHL Insider

Juha Mikkola - Correspondent

"We have to understand the playoff race but put our best foot forward and just play hockey. (Our coach) has been really good with younger guys preparing our mindset going into games."
-- Derek Stepan

BUFFALO – Just two points separate the Buffalo Sabres, currently eighth in the Eastern Conference, and the seventh-place New York Rangers in a tight race for the final postseason positions.

When the two teams meet Wednesday night, the Sabres will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 4-3 loss to division rival Toronto.

"We gave up some pretty good opportunities and got off to a tough start and made some pretty big mistakes," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

Added Nathan Gerbe: "We have to put last night's game behind us." 

Parise pushing return back to Saturday

Wednesday, 03.30.2011 / 12:45 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

NEWARK, N.J. -- Zach Parise's return to the New Jersey Devils lineup will have to wait.
Following New Jersey's optional skate Wednesday morning here at Prudential Center, Parise said he would sit out the club's next two home games against the New York Islanders tonight and Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. Parise said he's hoping to give it a go Saturday at home against the Montreal Canadiens.
"I made the decision (Tuesday)," Parise said. "I thought the practice went well. Today was my fourth practice with the team but I just didn't feel comfortable hopping into a game at this time. Not that five practices will make much of a difference, but I thought one or two more would be safer."
Why Saturday?

Blackhawks know they need to be better

Wednesday, 03.30.2011 / 12:35 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Monday's match in Detroit was emotional for the Chicago Blackhawks. It was intense in a way only a true rivalry can be. Various people inside Joe Louis Arena either watching the game, covering it with a notebook or playing in it said it felt like the playoffs had come to Hockeytown two weeks early.

The Blackhawks responded with a 3-2 overtime victory that coach Joel Quenneville called the "most important win we've had at any point." It doesn't seem so huge anymore.

Twenty-four hours after leaving Detroit with a monster two points the Blackhawks left Boston disgusted, dejected and perhaps on the brink of a late-season disaster.

Hawks say Sharp could skate by the weekend

Tuesday, 03.29.2011 / 6:13 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Injured Chicago forward Patrick Sharp is progressing well and could get back on the ice by the weekend, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said prior Tuesday's game at TD Garden. Sharp, who is sidelined with a left knee injury, will miss his fourth straight game when the Blackhawks take on Boston.

"I'm going to say soon, but how soon?" Quenneville said. "I don't think he'll be on the ice in the next couple of days but I think you can see him in not too long.

"Certainly you need some practice time, to get on the ice, have some good skates in practice time before playing some games."

The Hawks still don't have a firm timetable for Sharp's return, but they'd like to get him back before the end of the regular season. Quenneville hinted the Hawks' game against Detroit on April 8, their second-to-last game of the season, isn't an unreasonable target. Chicago finishes the season at home against the Red Wings on April 10.

Coyotes can deal payback to reeling Stars

Tuesday, 03.29.2011 / 4:29 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With just one win in their last six games and on the outside looking in at a Western Conference playoff spot, the Dallas Stars have a lot to play for Tuesday night as they visit the Phoenix Coyotes.

But it's a pretty big game for the Coyotes as well, and the Stars gave them plenty to play for the last time they came to Glendale on March 1.

Rallying from a 2-0 deficit with a pair of late goals, the Coyotes tied the game on a Ray Whitney goal with 37.7 seconds left and the game appeared headed for overtime. But Radim Vrbata took a needless hooking penalty seconds later and the Stars cashed in, with Jamie Benn scoring with 4.8 seconds left to give Dallas a dramatic 3-2 win.

Benn has the decisive goal in both wins over Phoenix this season, but the Stars have dropped the other three meetings.

Concussion again has Hamhuis out vs. Nashville

Tuesday, 03.29.2011 / 4:20 PM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- On Friday, Dan Hamhuis spoke eagerly of playing his first game as an opponent in Nashville, the city where he was drafted and spent his first six NHL seasons.

However, Hamhuis' plans were derailed Sunday when the Vancouver Canucks defenseman suffered a concussion -- his second in two months -- as a result of a collision with Columbus forward Rick Nash.

Hamhuis, who departed the Predators via free agency in July by signing a six-year contract with Vancouver, missed the teams' first meeting in Nashville in February, also because of a concussion. He had big plans for the second and final meeting of the season at Bridgestone Arena. The Canucks arrived late Sunday and had all day Monday here.


Habs seek to end scoring drought vs. Atlanta

Tuesday, 03.29.2011 / 2:58 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens are looking to avoid becoming a very dubious part of the franchise's storied history when they face the Atlanta Thrashers Tuesday night.

The Canadiens come in with three straight shutout losses -- the first time that has ever happened in the 101-year history of the team.

But the last time the Canadiens were shut out in four straight games -- one was a scoreless tie -- dates back to Feb 14-26, 1928, when the NHL's all-time winningest franchise only had two Stanley Cup championships to its credit.

One would think the pressure to score a goal would be foremost in the minds of the Canadiens players, but it is in fact getting a win and putting an end to the current three-game losing streak that was the priority the players were talking about.
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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