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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 5:41 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Adjusting the game plan

PHILADELPHIA -- The last time the Flyers and Lightning met, Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette employed a stall tactic against Tampa Bay's 1-3-1 forecheck. When Tampa stuck to its system and didn't aggressively forecheck, the Flyers' defensemen sat back in their zone and waited, nearly motionless, until referees blew the play dead.


The Flyers' plan drew considerable reaction from around the hockey community, but in discussing how he would handle the Lightning's 1-3-1 on Friday, he made a joke, saying, "Typically we don’t like to announce our game plan for the opponent to the newspaper, but we might sit there for four or five minutes at a time. We might."


Speaking before tonight's game, however, Laviolette was a bit more serious, and wasn't ready to commit to any plan for countering the Lightning.

"I guess I've got to see how the game goes," he said. "It seems on the tape that they were sending the first man a little bit more, pressing a little bit more. … I'm not sure how the game will play out."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 5:30 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flyers play hot hand

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, in assessing the play of his goaltenders following Thursday's win against the Penguins, said it was important to him that Ilya Bryzgalov play back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday -- especially Thursday against the Pens, with first place in the conference at stake -- but that backup Sergei Bobrovsky would get games down the line.

That made tonight's game against the Lightning seemingly a good opportunity to give Bobrovsky his first action since Nov. 26. Instead, Laviolette has opted to start Bryzgalov for a fifth straight game. Bryzgalov has won four in a row, allowing just 11 goals in that span.

"He's rested, he's ready -- he's playing," said Laviolette. "It's a chance to get Bryz back in the nets. We brought him here for that reason. He's been winning games and we're going to put him back in there. Doesn't have anything to do with Tampa. I think it's different than what I said that last time, because we were playing the Penguins, they were the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference and we wanted to put Bryz in there. Tonight is just a game."

Here's how the rest of the lineup for the Flyers -- and the Lightning -- could look tonight.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 3:21 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Likely lineups for Flyers, Lightning

PHILADELPHIA -- Here is what the lineups could look like when the Flyers and Lightning hit the ice tonight (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) here at the Wells Fargo Center.

With wins in four straight, it's likely the Flyers' lineup remains the same as it did in Thursday's win against Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay didn't skate today, but Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune posted on his Twitter feed that he expected the lineup to remain the same as it did in Thursday's win against the Rangers, with one exception -- Nate Thompson replacing rookie forward Brett Connolly, who was loaned to Team Canada for the 2012 World Junior Championship.

FLYERS
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Matt Read - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
James van Riemsdyk - Maxime Talbot - Jakub Voracek
Zac Rinaldo - Sean Couturier - Harry Zolnierczyk

The defense pairings likely will be mixed around most of the night, with the foursome of Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Andrej Meszaros seeing the bulk of the minutes, with rookies Kevin Marshall and Marc-Andre Bourdon being spotted in.

After back-to-back starts against Buffalo and Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Thursday, this could be a chance for coach Peter Laviolette to get Sergei Bobrovsky a game.

LIGHTNING
Ryan Malone - Steven Stamkos - Steve Downie
Tom Pyatt - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell
Nate Thompson - Dominic Moore - Ryan Shannon
Dana Tyrell - Blair Jones - Adam Hall

Eric Brewer - Victor Hedman
Brett Clark - Matt Gilroy
Bruno Gervais - Marc-Andre Bergeron

Mathieu Garon likely will start in goal, with Dwayne Roloson backing him up.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 5:44 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Talbot ready for 'bizarre' game

PHILADELPHIA -- Maxime Talbot said when he left Pittsburgh for Philadelphia this summer, he circled a few days on his calendar. One of them was tonight, the first time Talbot will face the team he spent his first six NHL seasons with.

With the Penguins' roster pretty much in place from last season when Talbot was there, he still knows "pretty much everyone," he told NHL.com. "Lot of these guys I've been playing six years with."

One of those former teammates he's closest with is Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, a relationship that goes back to the 2004-05 season, when they were teammates with the Penguins' AHL team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

"'Flower' (Fleury) is going to be pretty fun to shoot on," Talbot said. "Hopefully I get one past him."

Talbot said it won't be the easiest night for him, starting with when he takes the ice tonight for pre-game warm-ups.

"I think warm-ups are going to be a little bizarre, but at the same time, it's a challenge," he said. "It's exciting and it's something new."

It's also Talbot's first chance to experience the Keystone Clash from the other side of the rivalry.

"I don't know if there's words that can explain (the rivalry)," Talbot said. "It's going to be exciting for me personally. But this rivalry this year, you look at the game tonight, it's one point difference, so the team that wins tonight will be first in the East. It's a pretty big game. It's nice to see these two teams battle. … These two teams have a lot of respect for each other. It's going to be fun."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK


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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 2:53 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Pens impressed by Giroux

PHILADELPHIA -- Claude Giroux's emergence as an NHL star might be traced to the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Giroux, in his first playoff action, led the Flyers in scoring with 5 points in the six-game series won by the Penguins.

Since then, Giroux has blossomed into an All-Star and current League scoring leader, with his 4-point game last night in Buffalo giving him 36 points, one ahead of Toronto's Phil Kessel.

"He's a talented, talented guy," said Pens forward Craig Adams. "We saw a little bit of that two years ago. You're like, 'Who is this guy?' Now everyone knows who he is. I watched the very end of that game last night and he put it away. He looks confident, he's got a lot of skill. We're going to have to do a good job against him tonight."

Pascal Dupuis said Giroux was mentioned prominently in the Pens' scouting report on the Flyers.

"He's another highly skilled player," said Dupuis. "He skates well, he's really good with the puck. He's making the right plays right now, playing some good hockey. We'll try to keep an eye on him all the time.

"Obviously he's a player to watch and we'll be playing him tight."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 2:25 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Potential lineups for Flyers, Penguins

PHILADELPHIA -- Here is what the lineups could look like tonight when the Flyers host the Penguins tonight (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers, after winning last night in Buffalo, did not have a skate today, but it's likely they go with the same lineup they used in their 4-3 overtime win against the Sabres.

The Penguins lineup obviously will be different from Monday since Sidney Crosby will be sidelined the next two games. Forward Richard Park and defenseman Deryk Engelland are game-time decisions.

Here's what the teams likely will go with tonight:

FLYERS
Jaromir Jagr - Claude Giroux - Scott Hartnell
Matt Read - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
James van Riemsdyk - Maxime Talbot - Jakub Voracek
Zac Rinaldo - Sean Couturier - Harry Zolnierczyk

Braydon Coburn - Kimmo Timonen
Matt Carle - Marc-Andre Bourdon
Andrej Meszaros - Kevin Marshall

It's unclear who could start in goal tonight. Ilya Bryzgalov played last night in Buffalo and has solid career numbers against the Pens (2-1-1, 1.73 GAA, .942 save percentage, one shutout in four games), but Sergei Bobrovsky was very good against the Penguins last season, going 3-1-1 with a 2.17 GAA and .926 save percentage, including a win in his first NHL start the night the Pens opened Consol Energy Center.

PENGUINS
Steve Sullivan - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Pascal Dupuis
Arron Asham - Craig Adams - Steve MacIntyre

Paul Martin - Simon Despres
Matt Niskanen - Brooks Orpik
Robert Bortuzzo - Alexandre Picard

Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal, with Brent Johnson backing him up. Johnson did not skate this morning, as coach Dan Bylsma said Johnson was sick, but Bylsma said he expects Johnson to be ready by game time.

MacIntyre has been on injured reserve since Nov. 30, but Bylsma said if the forward feels healthy, he'll be activated in time to play tonight. If MacIntyre and Park can't go, Bylsma said a forward will be recalled from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Engelland sat out Monday's game with a lower-body injury but skated this morning, and Bylsma said if the blueliner feels up to it, he'll play. There was no indication of who would sit out if Engelland did play.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 2:17 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Pens ready to face Jagr, Talbot

PHILADELPHIA -- Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma followed along with all the media reports during the summer that had Jaromir Jagr poised to return to the team he spent the first 11 seasons of his NHL career with, including a pair of Stanley Cup-winning campaigns.

Bylsma said he could imagine seeing Jagr back in a Penguins uniform, and even went as far as coming up with potential line combinations.

"Of course," said Bylsma of his fantasy lineups. "You fit him in where he would fit in, what players he would play with. We certainly did that."

Those hopes, however, were dashed July 1, when Jagr opted to sign a one-year contract with the cross-state rival Philadelphia Flyers.

Bylsma’s first glimpse at what might have been comes Thursday, when his Penguins face the Flyers (7 p.m., NHLN-US) here at Wells Fargo Center.

The Penguins coach, however, wasn't the only player hoping Jagr would bring his prodigious talent back to the franchise that selected him with the fifth pick of the 1990 Entry Draft.

"It looked like for a couple days there, if you believe what everyone was saying in the press, it was a done deal," Craig Adams said of Jagr's return to Pittsburgh. "For sure I thought OK, what's it going to be like with him on our team. Obviously he's still a world-class player. Obviously that would have helped."

Not that the Penguins have needed much help -- they arrive for the game Thursday leading the Eastern Conference with 36 points, one more than Jagr and the Flyers.

"It's fine the way things worked out," Adams said. "We're really happy with the group we have here. We believe we have a great team."

While none of the current Penguins played with Jagr during his time in Pittsburgh -- which ended in a 2001 trade to the Washington Capitals -- there is another former Penguin with the Flyers that this current group of Pittsburgh players knows quite well.

Maxime Talbot spent his first six NHL seasons with the Penguins, and had been a part of the organization since the 2004-05 season, when he and current Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury were teammates with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the American Hockey League. He also was teammates in the minors with Tyler Kennedy and Kris Letang.

Talbot's oversized personality and blue-collar work ethic made him a big fan favorite in Pittsburgh, as did the two goals he scored in the Pens' win in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final.

"He's a good friend of ours," Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis said. "He's playing some good hockey. We'll have to make sure we play well against him. It'll be interesting to see him out there, for sure."

Craig Adams said it would be a bigger game for Talbot than it would for anyone on the Penguins' side.

"It's bigger for him because he knows everyone over here," Adams said. "And he's just one guy over there."

Talbot has been a nice addition in Philadelphia, with seven goals and 13 points in 26 games, numbers which nearly match the eight goals and 21 points in he had in 82 games last season.

"He's playing some good hockey," said Dupuis. "It'll be different a little bit to see him on the other side. But we see one guy on the other side, he knows everybody on our side. It'll be a different game for him than us."

Talbot's former teammates said they'll know just what to expect when they see him hop over the boards.

"We know how he is," Dupuis said. "Max is going to be Max."

"I can't imagine what he would say," added Adams. "He's pretty harmless."

While those statements were made with smiles on their faces, Adams said all the friendships get put on the backburner once the puck drops.

"All those things go out the window once the game starts," he said. "He'll be trying to win and we'll be doing the same."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 2:03 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Slight headache, but no concussion this time for Sid

PHILADELPHIA -- For the Pittsburgh Penguins, it must have felt a rerun of a television show.

Once again, media members were asking them how they would cope without Sidney Crosby in the lineup.

The Pittsburgh captain will miss a game here Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US) and Saturday against the New York Islanders as a precaution after Crosby took a few hard hits Monday against the Boston Bruins.

It was Crosby's eighth game back after missing more than 10 months with a concussion from January.

The most obvious incident Monday was a third-period collision with teammate Chris Kunitz, but Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said it wasn't any one particular play that forced Crosby back to the sideline.

"Not a one-time incident in the game," said Bylsma following the Penguins morning skate at Wells Fargo Center. "He took a couple hits in the game and didn't feel 100-percent after the game. That was an indication. He went and saw Dr. (Micky) Collins the next day. His ImPACT test was exactly what it was when he returned to play. Dr. Collins said there's no indication of a concussion at this point in time."

Crosby practiced with the team Wednesday, but Bylsma said that's when the decision was made to bench Crosby for the next two games as a precaution.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 12.07.2011 / 1:08 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flames lose goalie Karlsson for 6-8 weeks

The Calgary Flames will be without backup goaltender Henrik Karlsson for 6-8 weeks due to a high-grade tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Karlsson suffered the injury during Sunday's game against Vancouver when teammate Tom Kostopoulos fell into him. Karlsson went down clutching his knee and was removed from the game.

Karlsson has played just six games Miikka Kiprusoff's backup, going 0-4-1 with a 3.48 goals-against average and .895 save percentage.

The Flames have recalled goalie Leland Irving from AHL Abbotsford to serve as Kiprusoff's backup.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Friday, 12.02.2011 / 1:58 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Woods added to Ducks' staff

The Anaheim Ducks filled out new coach Bruce Boudreau's staff today by hiring a familiar face.

Bob Woods, who was fired in Washington the same day Boudreau was let go, was hired today by the Ducks as an assistant coach. The Ducks also announced the hiring of Joe Piscotty as video coordinator.

Woods has worked with Boudreau in the NHL and AHL, working as an assistant on Boudreau's staff with the AHL Hershey Bears. When Boudreau was hired by the Caps, Woods replaced him in Hershey, and then joined Boudreau in Washington in June 2009.

Boudreau's other assistant is Brad Lauer.

A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Piscotty had been a video scouting analyst with the Ducks prior to today's promotion.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory