SCOREBOARD
Wednesday, April 9
N.Y. Rangers at New Jersey (7 p.m. EDT). The Rangers won seven of the eight meetings during the regular season with the Devils' only win last Sunday. The last time the teams met in the playoffs was 2006 when the New Jersey swept New York in the first round.

BRIERE BACK?
Daniel Briere practiced with the Flyers on Tuesday for the first time since he injured his knee in a collision last week at Pittsburgh, and the star center said he's confident he'll be ready to play against Washington. Briere missed the final two games of the regular season, watching in street clothes while Philadelphia clinched a playoff berth and missing a win against Pittsburgh that gave Philadelphia the sixth seed.

TRIO OF TROUBLE
Ottawa's top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley combined for 13 goals and 22 points in four games against Pittsburgh this season, with Heatley recording six of the tallies. The Senators carry a three-game winning streak against the Penguins into the opener of the first-round series on Wednesday.

FAMILIAR FOES
Nashville went 3-3-2 against Detroit, its first-round opponent, including a stretch of 22 days in March during which the teams played four times. The Red Wings won three of those, with three decided by one goal. The final game March 30 was a 1-0 overtime win in Detroit, and the Red Wings outscored Nashville 20-19 overall this season.

FISHING FOR A WIN
Calgary has lost all three of its playoff series since defeating San Jose in the 2004 Western Conference final. The Flames and Sharks begin their first-round series at San Jose on Wednesday night. The Flames fell to Tampa Bay in the 2004 Stanley Cup finals before losing in the first round to Anaheim and Detroit in each of the past two postseasons.

SPEAKING
``Every postseason, you really start with the slate clean again. I'd just hate to be on vacation right now with those 14 other teams.'' - San Jose captain Joe Thornton on the second-seeded Sharks' reputation of having shaky playoff showings following a strong regular season.

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