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Posted On Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 1:03 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Ex-Flyer Boucher to start for Carolina

PHILADELPHIA -- Brian Boucher will get the opportunity to pick up his first win with the Carolina Hurricanes against his old team in a building he knows very well.

Carolina coach Paul Maurice confirmed after the Hurricanes optional skate Saturday morning that Boucher will be in the net against Philadelphia. Cam Ward, who made 30 saves Friday in a 3-0 win over Chicago, will be the backup.

Boucher is 0-1-1 with a 4.46 goals-against average and .850 save percentage. He allowed four goals on 36 shots in an overtime loss to Washington on Oct. 8, and then gave up five against 24 shots in a regulation loss at Winnipeg exactly two weeks later. Both of Boucher's starts have come on the back-end of a back-to-back.

"His first game we put him in Washington on back-to-back nights and he played great, we got a point out of it," Maurice said. "The next night we go from St. Louis and into Winnipeg, he wasn't at his best and neither were we. There's a lot going into tonight, but I have a lot of confidence in him and I am really looking forward to him controlling the game."

Boucher started his career with the Flyers from 1999-2002, and then played the last two seasons in Philadelphia. He was 18-10-4 with a 2.42 GAA last season. Boucher was also 4-4 with a 3.13 GAA in the playoffs.

Here is what the rest of Carolina's lineup should look like Saturday:

Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Chad LaRose
Jeff Skinner - Jussi Jokinen - Tuomo Ruutu
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Zach Boychuk - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart

Bryan Allen - Tim Gleason
Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain
Tomas Kaberle - Jay Harrison

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 11:34 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Jagr empathizes with Bryzgalov's struggles

PHILADELPHIA -- Jaromir Jagr doesn't play the same position, but he understands precisely what Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov means when he says he has "zero confidence in myself right now" as he did Thursday after an 9-8 loss to Winnipeg.

"No matter how good you are, if you're Wayne Gretzky or somebody from the fourth line, it has the same effect," Jagr told NHL.com on Saturday from Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers will take on Carolina with Bryzgalov in net. "The only difference is the great players, they can produce even without confidence. They're not going to play their top game, but even their 70 percent is good enough."

But how does it change for a goalie?

"Well, that's what I want to tell you," Jagr said. "It would help if we would play tighter defense and maybe don't take so much risk until he gets the confidence back, but I think it could change in a minute. One good save, one great five minutes, and it could change right away. That's the way it works."

Bryzgalov is going to get that chance despite giving up four goals on 10 shots in relief of Sergei Bobrovsky on Thursday. He is going to get that chance despite the fact that he's 0-4-0 with a 5.14 goals-against average and .802 save percentage in his last four appearances.

"It's all about belief," Jagr continued. "It's belief in yourself, belief in the things you do. If all of a sudden the result is not what you want, you start questioning the things you do even though you know it worked before. When you start questioning something there is not a 100 percent belief in it. It's all about the belief." Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has no choice but to believe despite what Bryzgalov's claim that he's "lost in the woods right now."

Remember, Bryzgalov came on in relief of Bobrovsky on Thursday after the younger goalie gave up five goals on 15 shots. No matter who Laviolette chose to start against Carolina, it was going to be a goalie that is currently fighting the puck.

"We feel like we've got two good goaltenders and we wanted to get Bryz back in there," Laviolette said. "We could have went with Bob, and I'm sure Bob wants to get back in there as well. I'd be confident with either one of them."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 11:19 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bryzgalov to start for Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start for the Flyers tonight against Carolina after giving up four goals on 10 shots in a relief appearance Thursday. Bryzgalov said he is suffering through a crisis in confidence after the 9-8 loss to Winnipeg, but Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he wants to get him right back in there.
 
Danny Briere did not skate this morning at Wells Fargo Center, but Laviolette did not provide any news on his status. The prevailing opinion here is that he will be able to play against the Hurricanes. Jody Shelley and Matt Walker stayed on the ice for extra work, so they appear to be the scratches.
 
More soon.
 
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 2:51 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Richards ready for MSG's glare

NEW YORK -- Brad Richards has been thinking about making his Madison Square Garden debut as a Ranger since July 2, when he signed his nine-year, $60 million contract.

"It just seems like it took forever to get here," Richards said Wednesday.

Forever ends Thursday night, when Richards finally gets to say hello to his new fans by skating onto the Garden ice in a Rangers sweater. He admitted he'll be nervous.

"It'll remind me a little bit of my first game," Richards said. "It's my first time in this type of market with these type of fans. When you sign with a new team the first thing you want to do is get in the building and play in front of those fans, but that hasn't been the case. I'm excited. I'm sure I'll have butterflies. I can't wait to experience it. It'll be a great experience in my life, my career."

Rangers coach John Tortorella, who was with Richards in Tampa Bay, is also eager to see the team's new superstar make his Garden debut. It'll be the first time Richards will be in the spotlight of Broadway.

"He wants this challenge and everything that comes with the city," Tortorella said. "It's a great city, a great sports town. There are different pressures coming here. There is accountability that comes into play when you come into a big market like this. But that's why Brad Richards is Brad Richards. He wanted this, and that's why we want him."

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 2:33 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Gaborik helps Sauer show he's ready

NEW YORK -- Michael Sauer should be on the ice with his teammates when the New York Rangers play their home-opener Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Sauer missed the last five games with an injured right shoulder, but after taking part in the team's full practice today at the Garden, and even taking some inadvertent contact from Marian Gaborik, the top-four defenseman said he will be good to go against Toronto.

"Gabby closed me out and bumped me from the side, but it was good," Sauer said. "I don't think he was happy that I got the puck from him that time. I did and it felt good."

Sauer missed the second half of training camp after injuring his right shoulder in a preseason game at Philadelphia. He did not play in the Rangers' four preseason games in Europe, but returned to play both games in Stockholm.

However, in the first period of the Rangers' second game, Sauer was hit along the boards and re-injured his shoulder. He played the rest of the game against the Ducks, but said he couldn't lift his stick.

"The hit (in Sweden) re-did it to a greater degree," Sauer said. "It was one of those things where I got hit just right and I needed to take that time off again because I was back to square one."

Sauer traveled to Western Canada and started to get back to skating in Vancouver, but the Rangers didn't have any long, hard practices in which he could test his shoulder in contact situations.

However, he worked with trainer Jim Ramsay and was pretty sure he'd be OK to play Thursday before the Rangers practiced Wednesday. The hit he took from Gaborik gave him the re-assurance that everything seems just fine.

"It's hard to simulate something like that, but we've gotten it strong and I should be able to take that blow," Sauer said.

Rangers coach John Tortorella is eager to get Sauer back in the lineup because it'll help him position the rest of his defense the way he feels most comfortable.

Tortorella wouldn't divulge the defense pairs he will use Thursday, but it's possible Sauer will play with Steve Eminger on the second pair, behind Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh. That means the likely third pair would be Michael Del Zotto with rookie Tim Erixon. In that case, Jeff Woywitka could be a healthy scratch.

"It puts some guys that we have slotted in areas that we didn't want to put them in back into areas that they can succeed in, or at least better try to succeed in," Tortorella said of getting Sauer back. "Michael came on strong last year. He was a surprise and turned into one of our top four. When you get one of your top four back, it certainly helps."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 12:50 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Rangers' Sauer says he'll play Thursday

Rangers defenseman Mike Sauer said after practice today that he will play his first regular-season North American game Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sauer has missed the last 5 games with a right shoulder injury. He first got hurt during training camp, and re-injured it against Anaheim in Stockholm.
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.26.2011 / 11:58 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

No Rupp for Rangers

Forward Mike Rupp is not skating with the Rangers this morning at Madison Square Garden. He has been nursing a sore knee.

Without Rupp, here's how the lines looked at practice:

Ruslan Fedotenko - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Wojtek Wolski - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Erik Christensen - Artem Anisimov - Kris Newbury
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 1:46 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Crosby stays behind with Penguins on Long Island

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby did not make the trip to Long Island for Tuesday's game against the Islanders simply because he was not going to play so there was no reason for him to go on a one-game trip with his teammates. He remains back in Pittsburgh working through his rehab as he nears a return to the ice.
 
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma addressed Crosby's status Tuesday morning:
 
"He's still in the process of his rehab. While we'd all like to put a timetable on it, we haven't. It's not about missing games or projecting when that game might be, he has to still go through the process. He's progressing really well. You see him on the ice, his level of compete, speed and skill is great to watch, and we're still going through that process. I think everyone would like to know when game one is or what a timetable is, but we're still in the process of going through his rehab and that doesn't have a timetable on it."
 
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 12:57 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Potential lineup for Penguins

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Based on what we saw in the morning skate, we're going to speculate that Evgeni Malkin returns to the Penguins' lineup Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum against the Islanders. Coach Dan Bylsma said Malkin would be a game-time decision, but if the Russian superstar plays, it would be his first game since Oct. 13.

If we're right, this is what the Penguins lineup should look like against the Islanders:

Steve Sullivan - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Dustin Jeffrey - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Matt Cooke - Richard Park - Arron Asham

Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik - Deryk Engelland
Matt Niskanen - Ben Lovejoy

Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal, and Brent Johnson will serve as the backup.
 
If Malkin doesn't play, look for Mark Letestu to get the call, which could shake up the rest of the lines as Jordan Staal might move up to center Neal and Sullivan.

Here's what the Islanders' lineup could look like, including Rick DiPietro's return to the lineup as Evgeni Nabokov's backup.

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

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 12:54 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Malkin a game-time decision

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Despite the fact that Evgeni Malkin skated with James Neal and Steve Sullivan during line rushes as well as on the Pittsburgh Penguins' first power-play unit, coach Dan Bylsma said Tuesday morning that Malkin availability for tonight's game against the Islanders wouldn't be made until game time..

Malkin has missed the last five games and seven of the last eight with a sore knee -- the same the Russian superstar had surgically repaired last season.

Asked what could change between the morning skate and the time he has to submit his lineup for the game against the Islanders, Bylsma joked that he just wanted to have a secret over the media for six hours.

Bylsma, though, said strength and skating is not what is holding Malkin back. Then again, he wouldn't say if anything is holding him back.

"His strength is there," Bylsma said. "I think the skating that he's demonstrated this year is stronger than what we saw from him last year."

Bylsma did announce that Marc-Andre Fleury would be the Penguins' starting goaltender.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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