NHL News and Notes April 13

NHL News and Notes April 13

Hockey Today - April 13
Fri, Apr 13, 2007
By Associated Press

Dallas at Vancouver (9 p.m. EDT). The teams played the sixth-longest playoff game in NHL history on Wednesday night, with the Canucks emerging with a 5-4 victory.

STARS Thursday

-Zach Parise, Devils, scored two goals, including the winner early in the third period to help New Jersey defeat Tampa Bay 5-3.

-Chris Drury and Brian Campbell, Sabres, each scored two goals, helping Buffalo to a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders.

STATUS UNCERTAIN

The severity of Jonathan Cheechoo's injured right knee remained unknown Thursday with San Jose wanting punishment for what they call a dirty hit. Cheechoo, the Sharks' top goal scorer this season, declined interview requests after an MRI. He had a knee-on-knee collision with Predators forward Scott Hartnell in the Sharks' 5-4 double overtime victory in Game 1 on Wednesday night.

COMING BACK?

New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro has been cleared for practice and could be ready to play Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against Buffalo. Islanders forward Richard Zednik returned Thursday after he missed nine games attending a family emergency in Slovakia. New York lost Game 1 4-1.

DECADE-LONG DROUGHT OVER

The New York Rangers won their first playoff game since the 1997 postseason Thursday night, 4-3 at Atlanta in Game 1 of that quarterfinal series. They were swept by New Jersey in the first round last year.

LONGEVITY MARK

Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios set an NHL record Thursday by playing in the postseason for a 22nd time. In his 23-season career, Chelios has been relegated to watching the playoffs only once. He has won two Stanley Cups. Hall of Famer Ray Bourque held the previous mark, appearing in 21 postseasons.

FINALLY

Pavel Datsyuk ended a 26-game postseason goalless drought in Detroit's 4-1 win over Calgary on Thursday night. The slump dated to Game 7 of the 2002 conference finals.

CARRYOVER

Vincent Lecavalier, who had a league-leading 52 goals during the regular season, scored twice in Tampa Bay's 5-3 loss at New Jersey on Thursday night.

LIMITED

The New York Islanders set a franchise postseason low of one shot on goal during the first period of Thursday night's 4-1 loss at Buffalo. The previous mark was two against Washington in both 1984 and 1985. The shot allowed matched a Sabres playoff record set five previous times.

SPEAKING

''I don't like to score the first goal. That gives me bad luck. I scored the first goal this year and I struggled. I hate that.'' - New York Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr on scoring the opening goal in a 4-3 win at Atlanta in Game 1 of that quarterfinal series on Thursday night.

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Re: NHL News and Notes April 13

Isles G DiPietro cleared for practice
Fri, Apr 13, 2007
By Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Islanders starting goalie Rick DiPietro has been cleared for practice and could be ready to play Game 2 of New York's Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against Buffalo.

DiPietro, out since March 25 when he sustained his second concussion, traveled to Buffalo in time to watch the Islanders' 4-1 loss to the Sabres on Thursday. Coach Ted Nolan said DiPietro will practice Friday, then the team will determine whether he can play Saturday.

The best-of-seven series shifts to Long Island for Game 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday.

DiPietro missed the final seven games of the regular season.

Minor leaguer Wade Dubielewicz has filled in, helping the Islanders win their final four games of the regular season, including a 3-2 shootout win over New Jersey on Sunday to clinch the East's eighth and final playoff berth.

Dubielewicz kept the Isles close against the Sabres on Thursday, stopping 20 of the first 22 shots he faced, and 31 overall.

The Isles rely on DiPietro, though, who went 32-19-9 during the regular season, and had five shutouts. The 25-year-old goalie is in the first season of a 15-year deal with the Islanders.

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Re: NHL News and Notes April 13

Red Wings' Bertuzzi practices, hopes to play in Game 2
Fri, Apr 13, 2007By Associated Press

DETROIT -- Todd Bertuzzi skated in practice with the Detroit Red Wings on Friday and hopes to play in Game 2 of their first-round series against Calgary.

Bertuzzi didn't play in Thursday's Game 1, which Detroit won 4-1, or in the regular season finale because of a concussion and a neck injury.

''He's been cleared medically,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ''Now, he has to get cleared by our therapy people as far as being ready to play.

''If he's ready to go, he'll be in.''

Both teams will have another day to practice before playing Sunday in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series.

Bertuzzi skated briefly on his own Thursday and took part in an optional practice Friday.

''It felt pretty good,'' he said. ''We'll see how it feels tomorrow after another hard skate.''

Detroit acquired the 6-foot-3, 242-pound forward from Florida on Feb. 27 - just before the NHL's trading deadline - and he missed 10 games recovering from back surgery, then played in eight.

He played just 15 regular-season games for the Panthers and Red Wings, but said he's in good enough shape to contribute in the playoffs.

''I'm fit enough. I don't think that's an issue,'' said Bertuzzi, who has 554 points in the regular season and playoffs over his 11-season career. ''It's been an up-and-down year for sure.

''But I'm happy that my health is better, and it was nice to see the guys get a huge win.''

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Re: NHL News and Notes April 13

Cheechoo's status unclear for Game 2
Associated Press

Cheechoo said the decision to play was up to him. If his knee swells or the pain worsened, then he said he would not be able to play.

San Jose coach Ron Wilson said the decision would be made at game time. San Jose won the opener 5-4 in double overtime Wednesday night, with Game 2 of the best-of-seven series Friday night.

"Mentally, I'm preparing to play Joe Pavelski, but we'll see during warmups and how he feels," said Wilson, who had not spoken to Cheechoo.

Cheechoo, who had a team-high 37 goals during the season, hurt his right knee nine minutes into the second period Wednesday night in a knee-on-knee collision with Nashville forward Scott Hartnell. The Sharks had hoped for a one-game suspension that did not happen.

An MRI showed only a sprain, and Wilson said he would talk to the team doctors about whether Cheechoo could further damage the knee if he played. The Sharks have the advantage of two days off before Game 3 in San Jose to let Cheechoo rest.

Cheechoo had no brace on his right knee. He is a key piece of the Sharks' top line, and his 130 goals are the most among players entering the NHL since 2002-03.

The Predators contend the collision was unintentional. Cheechoo doesn't agree.

"He stuck out his knee whether he wants to admit it or not," he said. "I've seen the tape. His knee came out."

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