NHL Playoffs injury updates: Oshie out, Zetterberg skating

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A couple of quick hits from today’s morning skates:

In St. Louis, coach Ken Hitchcock has confirmed that the Blues will be missing two top-six forwards for their opener against the Blackhawks

Vladimir Tarasenko took part in line drills, so he’s expected to be in the lineup, as is David Backes. But with the forwards ailing, the pressure is definitely on the St. Louis defense to clamp down on the odd-man rushes — and on goalie Ryan Miller to come up with the big stop.

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • Top Line: Sidney Crosby dives again; Is shotblocking worth it? More links

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    Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    Diver down: Only this time, Sidney Crosby committed no crime in the Penguins’ playoff opener. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • There goes Sidney Crosby diving again.

    • After watching the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf take a biscuit in the mush, Jason Kay asks the obvious question: Does shot blocking do more harm than good?

    • It’s not always easy to predict which teams will get great goaltending or have their stars go on hot streaks in a series, but James Mirtle says controlling possession is one trait that defines a long playoff run.

    • It’s been a dozen years since the Blues and the Blackhawks last met in the postseason. Jeremy Rutherford says built-up hostilities should make their first-rounder a nasty affair.

    • But Bernie Miklasz thinks that puck possession, not punishment is St. Louis’ key to victory against Chicago.

    Sochi snubs may have dinged some egos in San Jose, but the downtime they provided may be the key to the Sharks’ Stanley Cup aspirations.

    Marian Gaborik produced a 61.4 percent Corsi rating over the regular season’s final seven games. Ian McLaren says that stat suggests that the veteran winger could be a difference maker for the Kings against San Jose.

    • Steve Mason is out for the Flyers’ opener against the Rangers, and that suits an old buddy just fine.

    • Philly won’t have much of a home ice advantage when the series shifts to the City of Brotherly Love.

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews ready for battle in Stanley Cup defense

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    Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks

    As go Patrick Kane (88) and Jonathan Toews (19), so go the Stanley Cup champions. (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

    By Brian Hamilton

    CHICAGO – At 11:42 a.m. on Monday, Patrick Kane stopped at the edge of the rink at Johnny’s Ice House West, the Blackhawks’ auxiliary practice facility. He wiped down his stick before he skated onto the ice, double-tapped the blade and then dumped over a bucket of pucks before he went to work. A minute later, Jonathan Toews joined him. Chicago’s captain picked up one of the scattered discs and stick-handled through the face-off circle before flicking a shot into the upper right corner of an empty net.

    It was the first time since mid-March that the franchise cornerstones had skated together in public. They’d mostly been sequestered as they recovered from injuries – Kane’s knee, Toews’ nebulous “upper-body” – but here they were in full view as the Blackhawks’ defense of their Stanley Cup championship began. And not one other skater on the roster joined them. Aside from two goalies, it was just Kane and Toews and 20 brisk minutes of hard work. This was a fitting opening scene for the postseason: Chicago will go nowhere in the playoffs without its two Conn Smythe Trophy winners drawing everyone’s attention. But the Blackhawks are also going to need more than just Kane and Toews.

    “The first four games I was out, the team went 4-0,” Toews said with a smile, moments after leaving the ice and towelling off his sweat-soaked scalp. “It was looking pretty good for a while there. Our team has always done well dealing with key players being hurt, whether it’s guys like [Marian] Hossa or [Patrick Sharp] or Kaner, whatever. We’ve always found ways to step it up. Now when you get some top players back, it’s always about those guys fitting in and being part of the room. Nothing changes that way.”

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • NHL Playoffs: Ducks survive comeback scare against resilient Stars

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    Tyler Seguin (left) and the Stars battled back before falling short against Anaheim. (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

    Tyler Seguin (91) and the Stars battled back before falling short against the Ducks. (Debora Robinson/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    If ever there was a playoff game where both teams could say they got what they needed, the Ducks’ 4-3 win over the Stars was it. Anaheim dominated early and held serve at home to take a 1-0 series lead, but Dallas shook off some early jitters and nearly clawed back from a four-goal deficit. The Stars are still in a 1-0 hole, but by establishing their game over the final 25 minutes they proved that they can hang with the higher-seeded Ducks in this series.

    Some observations after the opener:

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • NHL Playoffs: Canadiens nab overtime win over Lightning in sloppy Game 1

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    Dale Weise (left) and P.K. Subban celebrated after Weise won the game for Montreal in overtime. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

    Montreal’s Dale Weise (22) and P.K. Subban celebrated after Weise’s game-winner in OT. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

    By Brian Cazeneuve

    It wasn’t a huge surprise that the series opener between the Canadiens and the Lightning went to overtime, but the score itself was a bit of a stunner. After the teams combined for 11 goals in four games during the regular season, the clubs scored nine on Wednesday night in a 5-4 win for Montreal. Veteran forward Danny Briere set up Dale Weise at 18:08 of the extra period to end a mistake-filled Game 1. If there was a surprise during the contest, it was the significant number of errors made by two teams who had worked hard to keep mistakes to a minimum during the season.

    Some thoughts on the Canadiens’ series-opening victory:

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  • Published On Apr 17, 2014
  • NHL Playoffs: Penguins storm back for victory over Blue Jackets in Game 1

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    Marc-Andre Fleury (right) and the Penguins had to battle for a comeback win over Columbus. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

    Marc-Andre Fleury (29) and the Penguins had to battle for a comeback win over Columbus. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

    By Mike Majeski

    On paper, the Penguins are heavy favorites over the Blue Jackets. Not only did Pittsburgh sweep Columbus in five regular-season games, but the Penguins are also an experienced playoff team with two of the biggest offensive weapons in the NHL. The Blue Jackets, who are making only the second playoff appearance in franchise history, have a young lineup and are without experienced veterans Nick Foligno, Nathan Horton and R.J. Umberger. But Game 1 of this series on Wednesday night showed that things aren’t always as they seem.

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • Buffalo Sabres release advanced stats guru Jim Corsi in coaching shuffle

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    Advanced hockey stats guru Jim Corsi

    Famed for his fancy stats work, Jim Corsi also made chicken salad out of the Sabres goalies this season. (Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Ted Nolan’s no different than any other boss. Given a choice, he’d rather surround himself with people he knows and trusts. So it’s long been expected that he’d sweep out the staff he inherited from Ron Rolston last November.

    That axe finally fell today in Buffalo where four of Rolston’s former assistant coaches were told they won’t be needed next season.

    Among the casualties was Jim Corsi, the team’s goaltending coach for the past 16 seasons and a man revered by the advanced stats crowd for creating the eponymous rating that affixed value to shots for and against.

    It’s hard to believe it was a competence issue with Corsi. Buffalo’s goalies posted a .918 save percentage, a decent number on its own that looks a whole lot better in the context of the team’s porous defense and the six-man deep goalie rotation that included three rookies.

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • Top Line: Future is now for Marc-Andre Fleury; more NHL playoffs links

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    Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    All eyes will be on Marc-Andre Fleury as the Penguins try to avoid another playoff pratfall. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • With one year left on his deal and his 30th birthday coming up fast, Marc-Andre Fleury’s performance in the playoffs will determine whether he has a future with the Penguins.

    The Blue Jackets’ Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov might want to go online and check out Steve Kasper’s highlight reel before they take on their Game 1 assignments.

    Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has led teams to six division titles and won 300 NHL games faster than anyone in history, but he’s never gotten past the second round of the playoffs … and it’s killing him.

    • Just 22, Tyler Seguin has a Stanley Cup ring and 42 playoff games under his belt, but he’s a different player for the Stars than the one who stumbled through a one-goal-in-22-games drought with the Bruins last spring.

    • The adaptability of coach Darryl Sutter has the Kings poised to challenge for their second Stanley Cup in three years.

    Matt Moulson of the Wild isn’t asking for much. Just a Stanley Cup and his own bed.

    Nathan MacKinnon of the Avalanche says that he was “pretty successful” during two playoff runs as a junior — yeah, a Memorial Cup with 24 goals and 61 points in 34 games is pretty successful. Now the challenge is to prove that he can be a big-game player in his first shot at the NHL postseason.

    • One Flyers player will stand up during the wedding of a Rangers player this summer. He’s hoping to bring a buddy named Stanley as his plus one. The groom objects.

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • 2014 NHL playoffs preview: Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks

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    Joe Thornton (left) and Drew Doughty are both crucial figures in a potentially thrilling first round California series. (Don Smith/Getty Images)

    Joe Thornton (19) and Drew Doughty (8) are crucial figures in a possibly thrilling first-round series. (Getty Images)

    By Gabriel Baumgaertner

    Regular Season recaps

    Wed. Oct. 30: Los Angeles 4, San Jose 3 (OT)

    Wed. Nov. 27: San Jose 3, Los Angeles 2 (SO)

    Thu. Dec. 19: Los Angeles 4, San Jose 1

    Mon. Jan. 27: Los Angeles 1, San Jose 0

    Thu April 3: San Jose 2, Los Angeles 1

    Notable injuries

    Kings: Drew Doughty (upper-body, day-to-day), Dwight King (undisclosed)

    Sharks: Raffi Torres (knee, doubtful), Scott Hannan (head, day-to-day)

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • 2014 NHL playoffs preview: Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild

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    Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche

    Don’t expect goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) and the Avalanche to wilt under pressure. (Michael Martin/Getty Images)

    By Brian Cazeneuve 

    Regular-season recaps

    Nov. 29: Avalanche 3, Wild 1

    Nov. 30: Avalanche 3, Wild 2 (SO)

    Dec. 14: Wild 2, Avalanche 1 (SO)

    Jan. 11: Avalanche 4, Wild 2

    Jan. 30: Avalanche 5, Wild 4

    Notable injuries

    Avalanche: F Matt Duchene (bruised knee, likely out for series), D Jan Hejda (upper body, day-to-day), F Alex Tanguay (hip surgery, out for season), D Cory Sarich (back spasms, day-to-day)

    Wild: G Darcy Kuemper (upper body, day-to-day), G Josh Harding (complications from multiple sclerosis, day-to-day), Nicklas Backstrom (abdominal surgery, out for series), F Jason Zucker (quadriceps, out for series)

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014


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