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Posted On Saturday, 12.10.2011 / 1:03 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Staal injured, won't play against Isles

The injury-plagued Pittsburgh Penguins will look to avoid their third straight loss as they take on the New York Islanders tonight at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Pittsburgh (16-9-4) will once again be without captain Sidney Crosby, who is experiencing slight headaches. The hope is that he'll be able to play when the Pens host Detroit on Tuesday night. Crosby will be evaluated when the Pens return home.
 
The Penguins will also be missing defensemen Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek, as well as center Jordan Staal, who briefly skated this morning before heading to the dressing room due to a lower-body injury.

New York (9-11-6) has gone six straight games without a regulation loss. The Isles, who are 4-0-2 over that stretch, rallied from a 2-0 deficit Thursday night before losing in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Here are the projected lineups for the clubs:

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
David Ullstrom - Josh Bailey - Brian Rolston
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Tim Wallace

Mark Streit - Travis Hamonic
Steve Staios - Milan Jurcina
Mike Mottau - Dylan Reese

Al Montoya gets his third straight start in goal. Kevin Poulin will back him up.

Scratches for the Isles are Nino Niederreiter (concussion), Evgeni Nabokov (groin) and Rick DiPietro (groin). Andrew MacDonald (leg), Mark Eaton (MCL) and Jay Pandolfo (foot) are on injured reserve. Micheal Haley will be a healthy scratch.

PENGUINS

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

Paul Martin - Brooks Orpik
Deryk Engelland - Matt Niskanen
Simon Despres - Alexandre Picard

With Staal out of the lineup, Williams will be promoted from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Engelland returns to the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury.

Other scratches for the Penguins include Letang (concussion), Michalek (concussion), Brian Strait (elbow), Ben Lovejoy (wrist), Richard Park (lower body) and Robert Bortuzzo (concussion-like symptoms).

Marc-Andre Fleury is 16-4-1-3 with a 2.25 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 26 career appearances against the Islanders.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 12:38 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Islanders, Blackhawks

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders are gunning for their third straight victory as they host the Chicago Blackhawks this evening at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Here are the projected lineups for the clubs:

ISLANDERS
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
David Ullstrom - Josh Bailey - Brian Rolston
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Tim Wallace

Mark Streit - Travis Hamonic
Steve Staios - Milan Jurcina
Mike Mottau - Dylan Reese

Al Montoya gets the starting nod in goal. Kevin Poulin will back him up.

Scratches for the Isles are Nino Niederreiter (concussion), Evgeni Nabokov (groin) and Rick DiPietro (groin). Andrew MacDonald (leg), Mark Eaton (MCL) and Jay Pandolfo (foot) are on injured reserve.

Grabner will return to the lineup after missing Tuesday's 5-1 win against Tampa Bay due to a groin injury. Micheal Haley will likely be a healthy scratch.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Grabner said after participating in an optional skate this morning. "I got a good skate in. It's coming along. I'm starting to feel better."

BLACKHAWKS

Daniel Carcillo - Jonathan Toews - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Marcus Kruger - Marian Hossa
Ben Smith - Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Viktor Stalberg - Jamal Mayers - Andrew Brunette

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Nick Leddy - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Sami Lepisto - Steve Montador

Ray Emery will start between the pipes. He is 5-0-1 with a 1.64 goals-against average in six career appearances against the Islanders. Corey Crawford will be the backup.

Defensemen Sean O'Donnell and John Scott are likely to be the healthy scratches, along with left wing Bryan Bickell.
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 12:22 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineup for Bruins, Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Here is what the lineups should look like when the scorching-hot Bruins and Islanders take the ice tonight at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum:

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice this morning, which means he'll likely get the start. Tuukka Rask would be the backup.

Boychuk is a game-time decision after missing Thursday's 2-1 shootout win against Columbus with flu-like symptoms. He skated this morning and appears ready to go. … Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer are the likely healthy scratches for the Bruins, who have won seven in a row.

ISLANDERS
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Michael Grabner
Brian Rolston - Frans Nielsen - PA Parenteau
Blake Comeau - Marty Reasoner - Nino Niederreiter
Matt Martin - Josh Bailey - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina

Rick DiPietro gets the start for the Islanders in goal. He will be backed up by Anders Nilsson, who was recalled by AHL Bridgeport due to injuries to both Evgeni Nabokov (groin) and Al Montoya (hamstring). The Isles placed Nabokov -- who could miss up to a month -- on injured reserve this morning.

Nilsson, a third-round draft choice (No. 62) in 2009, is 5-2-0 with a 2.86 goals-against average in 7 AHL appearances this season, his first in North America.

Kyle Okposo, who has just 3 assists in 14 games, will be a healthy scratch for a third straight game. Mark Eaton is back in the lineup and will replace Mike Mottau, who is also a healthy scratch.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 11:35 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

DiPietro excited for opportunity

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders began the 2011-12 season with three healthy goaltenders. Now, they're down to one.

And it's the one nobody would have guessed.

Rick DiPietro, who has spent a large chunk of the past four years in the infirmary, will be the Isles' starting goaltender Saturday night when the Isles host the Boston Bruins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The 30-year-old relieved Evgeni Nabokov early in Thursday night's 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens after the latter suffered a groin injury that could sideline him up to a month.

Then, on Friday, the Isles announced that Al Montoya -- who has been sharp in the six appearances he's made this season -- is day-to-day with a strained hamstring. New York was forced to promote Anders Nilsson from AHL Bridgeport on Saturday morning to back up DiPietro, who now has been presented with a golden opportunity to regain his spot as the Isles' No. 1 goaltender.

"It's a good opportunity to get in there and get an extended chance to play some games," said DiPietro, who is 2-1-2 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in five appearances this season. "At the end of the day, it's all about winning and that's our main focus."

DiPietro, the No. 1 pick at the 2000 NHL Draft, made 26 appearances last season -- the most in three years due to various knee, hip and head injuries. Now healthy and eager to seize the moment, DiPietro -- who has 10 years left on his contract -- admits he will put added pressure on himself to reclaim his position as the Isles' franchise goaltender.

"I always end up putting a little added pressure on myself than I probably should," he said. "But really, the focus is winning. That's what I want to do and that's what this hockey club wants to do. We're in the middle of November here and it's time for us to turn this around and get things going in the right direction."

Montoya was rewarded for a strong training camp by starting the Isles' first three games of the season. With Nabokov also in the mix, DiPietro didn't receive his first start until Oct. 29. Suddenly, injuries to both Nabokov and Montoya have DiPietro back in the spotlight. Islanders coach Jack Capuano is hopeful DiPietro will make the most of this chance.

"It's a good opportunity for him," Capuano said. "If you know Rick at all like we know him, he's a competitive kid and he wants that challenge. There's no better place than against the Stanley Cup champions tonight, so it'll be a good test for him."

"I feel good," DiPietro said. "I had a good summer. I'm looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 12:26 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Jets dealing with injuries to their blue line

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Winnipeg Jets will have a different look on their blue line Thursday night against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Winnipeg will be without world-class defenseman Tobias Enstrom after he was injured during Monday's 4-3 shootout victory at Florida. Enstrom suffered an upper-body injury after being hit by Panthers forward Jack Skille and was sent back to Winnipeg for further evaluation.

The Jets are also likely to be without defenseman Mark Stuart, who is day-to-day after suffering an upper-body injury Monday.

Winnipeg is already without defensemen Derek Meech (lower body) and Ron Hainsey (upper body) and recalled Mark Flood and Brett Festerling from AHL St. John's on Thursday morning.

"Guys are going to have to pick up the slack," said Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian, who could conceivably play close to 30 minutes against the Isles. "For right now, I've just got to keep it simple and kind of read of who you're playing with."

Here are Winnipeg's projected lines for Thursday night:

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Kyle Wellwood
Evander Kane - Nik Antropov - Alexander Burmistrov
Kenndal McArdle - Tim Stapleton - Blake Wheeler
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Randy Jones - Dustin Byfuglien
Brett Festerling - Zach Bogosian
Johnny Oduya - Mark Flood

Ondrej Pavelec will get the start in goal for the Jets. Pavelec is 3-4-1 with a 3.62 goals-against average and .885 save percentage in nine appearances. Former Isles goalie Peter Mannino will be the backup as Chris Mason (groin) was placed on injured reserve Thursday morning.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 10:20 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

DiPietro to get second straight start for Isles

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders, who are in search of their first victory in 19 days, will boast the same lineup for Thursday's game against the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Rick DiPietro will make his second straight start after stopping 27 of 30 shots in last Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Here are the Isles' projected lines for Thursday night:

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Blake Comeau - Josh Bailey - Brian Rolston
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina

Mike Mottau will be the Isles' lone healthy scratch.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 12:50 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Lightning, Islanders

Here is what the lineups should look like for the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders when they meet tonight at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Neither team skated this morning, as both opted to only have meetings.

Both squads' lineups are expected to look very similar to their previous games. New York is coming off a 2-1 win against Minnesota on Monday afternoon, while the Lightning dropped a 6-5 shootout decision at Washington later that night.

LIGHTNING
Teddy Purcell - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Steve Downie - Vincent Lecavalier - Ryan Malone
Brett Connolly - Dominic Moore - Ryan Shannon
Adam Hall - Mattias Ritola - Nate Thompson

Victor Hedman - Eric Brewer
Brett Clark - Pavel Kubina
Marc-Andre Bergeron - Bruno Gervais

Dwayne Roloson, who turned 42 yesterday, gets the start in goal. Blair Jones, Tom Pyatt and Matt Gilroy will be the scratches.

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Brian Rolston - Josh Bailey - Blake Comeau
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Mike Mottau

Al Montoya will get his third straight start in goal, with Evgeni Nabokov dressing for the first time this season as the backup. Rick DiPietro is being re-evaluated today after being struck near the temple by a Rolston slap shot yesterday. Trevor Gillies skated this morning and is expected to be activated off the injured reserve list, but the Isles will again be without Nino Niederreiter and Milan Jurcina, who are out with groin injuries.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 7:04 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Vokoun makes Caps debut

Tomas Vokoun, who signed for a bargain ($1.5 million) this summer, is just minutes away from making his debut with the Washington Capitals as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center.

Here are Washington's forward lines, accoriding to Katie Carrera of The Washington Post:

Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble
Troy Brouwer-Marcus Johansson-Alexander Semin
Jason Chimera-Brooks Laich-Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks-Mathieu Perreault-Jeff Halpern

Dwayne Roloson gets the nod between the pipes for the Lightning, who swept the Caps out of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs five months ago.
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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 3:35 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Hockeyville Hubbub

A special night for Cody Porter

Last month, Conception Bay South resident Cody Porter was focused on attending and making a name for himself at the High Performance Program in Gander, where we was set to try out for Team Newfoundland & Labrador.
 
The 13-year-old arrived in Gander on Aug. 21 and completed his first round of on-ice and off-ice activities the following day. But that night, he failed to compete in his first game due to what he thought was a fever. He went back to his hotel with hopes that he could sleep it off.

On the morning of Aug. 23, Porter was still not feeling well but managed to make his way to the rink. But his condition continued to deteriorate, and he was soon placed in an ambulance. He was rushed to the James Paton Memorial Hospital in Gander, going in and out of consciousness along the way.
 
Within the next hour, Porter's temperature was up to 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It wasn't long after that his vitals flat lined. But with the help of some antibiotics, doctors were able to stabilize Porter and quickly placed him on an air ambulance headed for the Janeway Children's Hospital here in St. John's. During that trip, Porter flat lined a second time.

"I don't really remember much," Cody said. "I only remember getting in the ambulance. That's all I really remember."

"There's no words to explain how fast it all happened," Cody's mother, Laura Lee, told NHL.com. "We never thought he was as sick as what he was. Everything just happened so fast. They had him in St. John's in no time."

Porter was sedated for the next five days. During that time, doctors discovered a growth on his heart. Fortunately, all the tests performed came back negative. In all, he spent 11 days in the hospital. He lost 15 pounds during that span and needed roughly a dozen donations of blood platelets.

"He was asleep for five days and once they woke him up, he was doing good," Laura Lee said. "It took a few days for him to come home, but he's doing well now. The growth shrunk and it went away."

Tonight, Porter will find himself standing at center ice to drop the ceremonial puck for the Kraft Hockeyville game between the Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators at the Mile One Centre. It will be a great moment for a child who has been through so much in the last month.

"I'm really excited about tonight," Cody said. "It's going to be really cool."

"I'm going to cry," his mom said. "I'll be crying the whole time. He's a pretty special boy."
 
Porter hopes to continue his hockey career soon. Doctors have informed him that he won't have his full strength back until around Christmas, so he'll be staying off skates for the time being. He hopes to try out as a second-year Bantam next season.
 
"They said I can go back to playing hockey next year," Cody said. 

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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 2:41 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Hockeyville Hubbub

Forward lines for Hockeyville game

We're less than 90 minutes away from opening faceoff here in St. John's. Players and coaches seem genuinely thrilled to be a part of the Kraft Hockeyville experience and are primed to put on a good show for these rabid fans tonight.

Here are the expected forward lines tonight for each club:

Winnipeg
Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Blake Wheeler
Carl Klingberg-Jim Slater-Tim Stapleton
Evander Kane-Mark Scheifele-Chris Thorburn
Patrice Cormier-Ben Maxwell-Troy Bodie

Ottawa
Colin Greening-Mika Zibanejad-Daniel Alfredsson
David Dziurzynski-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Mike Hoffman-Corey Locke-Bobby Butler
Corey Cowick-Derek Grant-Mark Parrish

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When I first became captain here, Monsieur Beliveau came to me and said, 'You're going to be fine. You don't have to change, you got selected because of who you are.'

— Saku Koivu on Thursday, recalling what he was told by the late Jean Beliveau when he was named Canadiens captain in 1999
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