Knee ‘definitely not anywhere near 100 percent,’ says Seguin

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Tyler Seguin will play his second game tonight after missing three weeks with a knee injury.

In his first game back, Saturday’s 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay, Seguin scored a pair of goals — impressive, especially given where he’s at in terms of recovery.

“It’s definitely not anywhere near 100 percent,” Seguin said prior to Tuesday’s tilt versus the Flyers, per NHL.com. “But you do what you can. … It’s pretty much do or die every night.”

Dallas heads into tonight’s contest all but out of playoff contention, sitting 10 points back of Winnipeg for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. While the Stars are still mathematically alive, they’d need to go on some kind of insane winning streak to really get back in the mix, and that could prove difficult given they play six of their next 10 on the road, and three of their four home dates are against top-flight teams in St. Louis, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Despite that, Seguin said he wanted to return to the team as quickly as possible — even if he’s not fully recovered from a MCL sprain following a low hit from Panthers d-man Dmitry Kulikov.

“I think a lot of guys at this point in the year in the league are playing through stuff; mine is just a little bit more publicly known, you can see it [knee brace],” he explained. “Try to do what you can to help the team.

“I think I can be more helpful in the lineup at 60, 70 percent than sitting in the stands not playing at all.”

Luongo (shoulder) skates, aims for Thursday return versus Jets

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Roberto Luongo returned to the ice on Monday for the first time since injuring his shoulder, and sounded hopeful he’d be back in goal when the Panthers host the Jets three days from now.

“I would love to [play Thursday] but right now it’s too early to tell,” Luongo said, per NHL.com. “There’s been some improvement over the past 24 hours but the next two days will be key to see if I’m able to play on Thursday.

“It’s not comfortable but it has gotten better over the past 24 hours so that’s encouraging.”

Luongo was hurt during a crazy game against Toronto last week, during which backup netminder Al Montoya was also lost to a groin injury (that will sideline him for the next few weeks). The situation forced Luongo to return to the game while still smarting from a Leo Komarov shot — “it caught me in a spot at a weird angle,” he explained — and, since then, goaltending duties have been turned over to veteran Dan Ellis, who’s up from AHL San Antonio.

Ellis, 34, has fared reasonably well in his two-game stint, helping Florida gain three of a possible four points. But it’s clear the club needs Luongo (23-16-11, 2.37 GAA, .921 save percentage) back in goal, especially with the playoff chase alive and well — Florida sits just four points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“It’s no more than day-to-day,” Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant said of Luongo’s injury. “[Thursday] is the goal and the hope but we’ll see how he gets along.”

NHL on NBC: Boston looks for a third straight win against Detroit

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NBC continues its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Boston Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings at the TD Garden this afternoon at 12:30 pm ET. In addition to NBC, you can also watch the game online.

The Boston Bruins will look for a third straight win over the Detroit Red Wings this season when the two teams meet at the TD Garden this afternoon.

The Bruins have points in four straight including the first three games of their four-game home stand.

Boston (32-22-10) won in dramatic fashion Saturday afternoon maintaining space between themselves and the Florida Panthers for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Trailing 2-1, Brad Marchand scored with 14.1 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. The Bruins’ forward then netted the overtime winner as Boston edged Philly 3-2.

The Bruins have a two point lead on the Panthers for the second wild card spot and have two games in hand.

Detroit (36-16-11) will look to avoid its first back-to-back regulation losses this season. Jimmy Howard allowed four goals on 23 shots as the Red Wings lost 5-2 to the Calgary Flames on Friday night.

Detroit has not dropped back-to-back in regulation since March 25-27 of last year.

The Wings, who are currently the third seed in the Atlantic Division, have a nine-point lead and a game in hand on the Bruins.

Jonas Gustavsson, who is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA in his last two meetings with Boston, gets the start for Detroit.

Tuukka Rask has a 1.97 goals-against average in his last five starts, but has appeared in 21 of Boston’s last 22 games and could get the day off Sunday in favor of backup Niklas Svedberg.

Detroit won its season opener against Boston 2-1 on Oct. 9, but has since dropped two straight while being out-scored 8-4.

The two teams meet for a fifth and final time on April 2 at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.

Panthers squeak by Islanders in SO to stay on Bruins’ heels

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The Boston Bruins pulled off a dramatic comeback against the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon, putting the pressure on the Florida Panthers to beat the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders just to keep pace. The Panthers didn’t make it look easy, but they got two points in a 4-3 shootout victory.

Without defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Tomas Kopecky (both flu), the Panthers leaned heavily on 35-year-old Brian Campbell and 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr, giving them 26:18 and 21:12 minutes of ice time respective. However, it was ultimately Jonathan Huberdeau, 21, that proved to be the hero tonight.

He netted a key goal for the Panthers in the third period and accounted for the only marker in the shootout.

The Panthers also had Dan Ellis playing between the pipes as goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya are both sidelined. Ellis kicked out 25 of 28 shots before out dueling Frans Nielsen, John Tavares, and Josh Bailey in the skills competition.

Florida improved to 29-23-14 to remain two points shy of the Bruins in the battle for the second Wild Card spot. It’s worth noting though that Boston has a huge lead in ROW (30 to 22), so any tie is projected to go to the Bruins.

Seguin (knee) back as Stars cling onto playoff hopes

At this point, the odds are heavily stacked against the Dallas Stars in their fight to advance to the postseason, but at least they’re getting a key player back for the final stretch. Tyler Seguin returned from a knee injury Saturday night that was the result of a hit from Panthers’ defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on Feb. 13.

Seguin was originally projected to miss three to six weeks so the fact that he’s already good to play is a stroke of luck in favor of Dallas. Prior to being injured, Seguin had been one of the league’s top players this season with 29 goals and 59 points in 55 games.

Dallas was just three points shy of a Wild Card spot when he went down, but the team has gone 3-5-2 in his absence. Dallas consequently is eight points behind the Winnipeg Jets and the second Wild Card spot as a result.

The Stars are playing against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.