James O'Brien

Cedric Paquette

Quick healer: Paquette’s playing for Lightning

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Just two days ago, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette suffered a fall that brought back unsettling memories of Steven Stamkos’ ruinous crash. Despite that scary scene, Paquette’s in the starting lineup against the Montreal Canadiens tonight.

If you cannot see that Tweet, note that Paquette is skating with Ryan Callahan and Jonathan Drouin, at least to start things off.

It’s quite the turnaround by Paquette. Feel free to file this under “Why hockey players are tough.”

Tampa Bay made an adjustment with Paquette back.

Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane

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Patrick Kane might return from his broken clavicle far earlier than expected, but note that nothing is official.

(Yeah, chances are we just got Chicago Blackhawks hopes up anyway right there. Sorry about that.)

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville didn’t outright say that Kane is ahead of schedule, but it was hard not to read some serious optimism in his comments to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“There’s been some excellent progress,” Quenneville said. “It could be good news. We’ll see.”

The original outlook had the 26-year-old’s absence pegged until about halfway through May, but perhaps it will be quite a bit shorter. He’s now five weeks into his rehab, spending quite a few days skating (including some time in full equipment).

Quenneville said it ultimately comes down to getting the doctor’s OK.

“You watch him today, he does everything you’d want him to do, or that he wants to do,” Quenneville said. “So I guess now we’ll just listen [for him to be] medically cleared. I would feel he’d be ready to go soon as he gets clearance. That’s what we’re waiting for.”

There are about two weeks remaining in the regular season, so there’s plenty of time for good news to come (or not). Naturally, the Blackhawks still have some work to do without Kane, including tonight’s NBCSN contest vs. the Los Angeles Kings.

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For what it’s worth, Quenneville said he expected the timetable to remain the same just a few days ago.

Video: Brent Burns on tattoos, missing teeth … and dragons

BurnsTeeth
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San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns is probably entertaining enough to get his own documentary, if not his own reality TV show.

For the time being, hockey fans have to settle for smaller snippets of insight about a blueliner who looks like a caveman and eats pizza during post-game interviews. Jeremy Roenick sat down with Burns to discuss his missing teeth, the history behind his tattoos and more:

No pizza talk though, disappointingly.

Ducks punch their playoff ticket, too

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With a 3-2 win against the struggling New York Islanders, the Anaheim Ducks became the third team to secure a spot in the 2015 postseason.

You could probably put an appropriate letter for “division-winner” next to Anaheim’s name in the standings, too, as they have a 13-point lead on the Vancouver Canucks for the Pacific’s top spot (although Vancouver does hold three games in hand).

Either way, things look great for Anaheim right now. The Ducks now have one more standings point on the Nashville Predators. While the Predators have a game in hand and the New York Rangers hold three games in hand (if Ducks fans are looking at the NHL standings rather than the rest), the bottom line is that life is generally good for Anaheim.

In other clinching news, the Nashville Predators made it official, the Montreal Canadiens still need to play their game and the Tampa Bay Lightning will need to try again next time.

Bruins ruin Lundqvist’s return

Henrik Lundqvist
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The Boston Bruins leave Saturday’s game with their own concerns regarding their top goalie, but they made life difficult for the New York Rangers’ returning No. 1 this afternoon.

After taking a 3-0 lead, the Bruins cruised to a 4-2 win that was probably more lopsided than the score indicated.

Again, plenty of thoughts revolve around Tuukka Rask’s status; the Bruins haven’t been particularly forthcoming regarding his condition. Niklas Svedberg was able to maintain Boston’s lead after taking over early in the second period, yet considering the Bruins’ thin grasp on a wild card spot (Ottawa can go right back ahead by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight), this is a worrisome situation.

On the bright side, the Bruins looked strong for much of this game, as it would be unfair to blame the loss totally on a rusty Henrik Lundqvist.

(That said, it was clear that Lundqvist was rusty.)

The B’s place in the postseason is shaky – Ottawa can knock them back out of the wild card ranks by beating the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs tonight – but this is still a big win.

Note: An earlier version of this post mentioned that Boston’s win clinched for Montreal, but that is not true.