Joel Ward, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, Nicklas Backstrom

Ward back for Capitals in Game 1


Washington will have Joel Ward back in the lineup for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Rangers, according to Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times.

Ward, 32, has been out with a knee injury after blocking a Sami Salo shot on Apr. 7.

He missed Washington’s final nine games of the regular season, cutting short a productive second campaign in the nation’s capital that saw him score more points (20) in 39 games than he scored all of last season (18 in 73 games).

Getting Ward back for the playoffs is key for the Caps, as he’s been something of a clutch postseason performer during his six-year career.

He scored four points in six games during his playoff debut — Nashville’s loss to Chicago in the opening round of 2010 — then broke out by scoring seven goals in 12 games during the 2011 postseason.

Last year, Ward famously scored the Game 7 OT winner as the Caps upset the Bruins in the opening round.

It’s expected he’ll skate on the Caps’ fourth line tonight with Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle.

Memorial Cup champion goalie Appleby signs with Devils

Ken Appleby
The Canadian Press via AP
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Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.

Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.

Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.

Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.

PHT Morning Skate: NHL stars weigh in on McDavid

Connor McDavid
The Canadian Press via AP
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)

While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)

Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)

The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (