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Posted On Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 11:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Duchene could be set for early return to Avs' lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- There's a good chance the Colorado Avalanche will welcome forward Matt Duchene back to the lineup on Thursday when they visit the Prudential Center to face the New Jersey Devils.
 
Duchene, who suffered a right ankle injury on March 6 against the Minnesota Wild, was originally thought to be sidelined three to four weeks. The third-year forward, who has missed four games, skated on his own Tuesday and felt good.

The Avalanche, winners of three straight, enter their showdown with the Devils in eighth place in the Western Conference with 80 points through 72 games. They lead San Jose, which has played three fewer games, by only two points.
 
The Avalanche didn't skate Thursday in Newark after scoring a 5-4 shootout decision over the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center on Wednesday.
 
"His ankle was feeling better, so he skated (Tuesday) for about 40 minutes on his own," Avs coach Joe Sacco told Adrian Dater of The Denver Post. "The plan is to play him (Thursday) if all goes accordingly."
 
If Duchene returns, he would likely center Peter Mueller and Milan Hejduk.
 
Sacco didn't reveal his starter in goal against the Devils following Wednesday's victory over Buffalo. There's a good chance Jean-Sebastien Giguere will get the nod, however, after Semyon Varlamov stopped 20 of 24 shots through regulation and overtime in the victory over the Sabres. The shootout win over the Sabres gives the Avalanche a 12-4-0 record against Eastern Conference opponents this season.
 
Colorado wing Chuck Kobasew did skate Wednesday morning in Buffalo, but remains out with a back injury.
 
Here are the probable line combinations for the Avalanche:
 
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Steve Downie
Jamie McGinn - Paul Stastny - David Jones
Peter Mueller - Mark Olver/Matt Duchene - Milan Hejduk
Cody McLeod - Jay McClement - Kevin Porter
 
Shane O'Brien - Erik Johnson
Jan Hejda - Ryan O'Byrne
Matt Hunwick - Ryan Wilson
 
Giguere is the probable starter with Varlamov serving as backup.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 8:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Alex Galchenyuk's season debut impresses scout

One of the top North American prospects eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, Sarnia Sting center Alex Galchenyuk, returned to the lineup for the first time in 66 games on Wednesday to the delight of the hometown faithful at RBC Centre in Sarnia.

Galchenyuk, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a Sept. 16 preseason game and underwent surgery in October, said he felt no pain following the game. The only pain felt was the postgame sting that accompanied a 7-1 loss to the Saginaw Spirit.

Ho totaled approximately 10 minutes of ice time and played on a line with Brett Thompson and Charles Sarault.

Despite the long absence, there's a strong possibility Galchenyuk still could be drafted among the top 10 players in the first round of this year's draft. He's ranked as a "limited viewing" player on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term rankings, but was No. 2 among OHL skaters in Central Scouting's preliminary rankings.

Playing alongside top North American draft prospect, Sarnia's Nail Yakupov, Galchenyuk produced 31 goals and 83 points in 68 games last season. It was enough to make believers out of any scout who had the opportunity to watch him play. Yakupov is currently sidelined with an upper-body injury.

On Wednesday, NHL.com caught up with Central Scouting's Al Jensen, who provided immediate reaction to Galchenyuk's anticipated debut this season.
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Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 6:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bobrovsky to start against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will get his first start in almost a month on Sunday when the Philadelphia Flyers visit Prudential Center for an Atlantic Division showdown against the New Jersey Devils.
 
The Flyers scored a 1-0 shootout victory less than 24 hours earlier behind Ilya Bryzgalov's fifth shutout of the season. It was Bryzgalov's 11th straight start between the pipes. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told the media prior to faceoff that Bobrovsky would get the nod -- Bryzgalov is the likely starter on Tuesday in Philadelphia when the Flyers close out the home-and-home set with the Devils.
 
Bryzgalov is 8-2-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and three shutouts in Philadelphia's last 11 games -- including a no-decision. He's posted a 0.99 GAA and two of the shutouts during the Flyers' current five-game winning streak.
 
"We talked about this, looking at the schedule and what was coming up," Laviolette said. "The back-to-back and the fact Bryz has played 11 in a row, every other night, pretty much. It's a chance to get a fresh goaltender in there."
 
Bobrovsky, who last started Feb. 18 in a 6-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, is 12-8-1 with a 2.99 GAA and .900 save percentage in 24 appearances for the Flyers this season. He is 1-1-1 with a 4.71 GAA and .864 save percentage in three career games against New Jersey.
 
"You look at the schedule and what you have available, we got a guy who has been waiting and wants to get in there and play and this is a perfect spot to get him in there, as opposed to running Bryz down," Laviolette said.
 
Bobrovsky had lost four of the five starts he made in February.
 
The Flyers are 2-0-1 against the Devils in 2011-12 and have won five of eight and eight of the last 12 meetings. New Jersey has won its last two at the Wells Fargo Center, including a 4-3 shootout decision when the teams last met on Nov. 3.
 
The Devils will counter with Martin Brodeur in goal. Brodeur is 44-29-9 in 83 career games against the Flyers with a 2.50 GAA, .904 save percentage and nine shutouts.
 
Here are the projected lineups for each team:
 
DEVILS
 
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier
 
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky
 
Brodeur will start and Johan Hedberg, who earned a 23-save, 2-1 victory on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, will serve as backup.
 
FLYERS
 
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Matt Read - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
Max Talbot - Sean Couturier - Zac Rinaldo
Jody Shelley - Eric Wellwood - Brayden Schenn
 
Nicklas Grossmann - Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle - Erik Gustafsson
Brandon Manning - Andreas Lilja
 
Bobrovsky gets the start in goal, with Bryzgalov serving as backup.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 3:44 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Report: Tyutin (broken hand) likely out for season

The return of Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter certainly wasn't the only big story coming out of Nationwide Arena in Columbus on Thursday morning.

According to Blue Jackets TV play-by-play voice Jeff Rimer, the team has not only lost third-line center Derek MacKenzie with concussion-like symptoms, but defenseman Fedor Tyutin might be lost for the remainder of the season.

Rimer told NHL Home Ice on Thursday that Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards informed the media of the injuries following the team's afternoon practice.

"Tyutin wasn't on the ice for practice," Rimer said. "He had blocked a shot in third period [of a 3-2 win over Phoenix on Tuesday] from the point and continued to play, but broke his right hand and is likely out for the balance of the season."

Additionally, MacKenzie is out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms. No timetable has been given on his return and, according to Rimer, the team's medical staff will be monitoring him closely.

MacKenzie and Tyutin, along with captain Rick Nash and Vinny Prospal, were the only four to play in every game for Columbus this season. Tyutin has 5 goals and 26 points in 66 games, and MacKenzie has 7 goals and 14 points in as many games.

The absence of MacKenzie opens the door for rookie Ryan Johansen, who had been a healthy scratch the last two games. Johansen will draw back into the lineup and play center. Additionally, Maksim Mayorov has been recalled from the team's AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Johansen has 9 goals and 17 points in 51 games for Columbus this season. Mayorov has 1 goal in eight appearances in 2011-12.

On Feb. 23, the Blue Jackets dealt Carter to the Kings in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick. Carter has 2 goals in five games for Los Angeles after scoring 15 goals in 29 contests for Columbus. This will be Carter's first visit to Columbus since the trade.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 11:47 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

"Boo" Nieves ready to join USHL's Indiana Ice

Indian Ice head coach and general manager Kyle Wallack is looking forward to getting New England prep school standout Cristoval "Boo" Nieves on the ice for his first practice with the team on Thursday at Pepsi Coliseum.

Nieves closed out his high school season at the Kent School in Connecticut last weekend with a semifinal-round loss to St. Sebastian's School (Mass.) in the New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association large-schools tournament.

Nieves made the flight to Indiana on Thursday morning.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 11:02 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Ankle injury to sideline Duchene 3-4 weeks



The Colorado Avalanche on Thursday announced that center Matt Duchene would be sidelined approximately 3-4 weeks while he recovers from a right ankle injury.

Duchene, who was hurt in the third period in a victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday, does not need surgery. The Avalanche made the announcement via their Twitter account on Thursday morning.

Duchene needed help getting off the ice after coming in contact with Minnesota's Nick Palmieri.

"We hope he will be OK," Avalanche rookie forward Gabriel Landeskog told local reporters. "We have a good team even without him. It is a team sport and we have a good group."

Duchene, who is in his third season with Colorado, has 13 goals and 26 points in 48 games with the Avalanche this season. He also has 36 hits and 31 blocked shots. The club will play eight of their remaining 14 regular-season games on the road, starting with Thursday's visit to Nashville. The Avs are 10th in the Western Conference with 74 points.

On Thursday afternoon, Duchene tweeted: "I'm gonna work as hard as I possibly can to be back in an Avs jersey before the season is over. It kills me to be out again."
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 9:52 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flyers recall pair from Adirondack

The Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday recalled defenseman Brandon Manning and forward Harry Zolnierczyk from the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League.

The Flyers, who play host to the Florida Panthers on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center, are without defensemen Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros due to lower-body injuries. Forward James van Riemsdyk is out 4-6 weeks following foot surgery earlier this week and Jacob Voracek (head) and Jaromir Jagr (hip) are questionable after being injured in Tuesday's game against Detroit.

Zolnierczyk, 24, has 3 goals and 5 points in 36 games with the Flyers this season. He last played Feb. 5 at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers. Manning, 21, has yet to play in an NHL game. In 32 games with the Phantoms this year, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound defenseman has 4 goals and 9 points.
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Posted On Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 10:24 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

USNTDP forward Stefan Matteau to serve suspension

Forward Stefan Matteau of the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program knows he is much more valuable on the ice than watching his teammates from the sideline.

Unfortunately, however, Matteau will be doing the latter on Wednesday when the USNTDP host the Muskegon Lumberjacks in a United States Hockey League matchup at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Michigan.

Matteau, who NHL Central Scouting has ranked No. 13 among those North American skaters eligible for the 2012 Draft, will be serving a one-game suspension on Wednesday for spearing a player on the Green Bay Gamblers on March 1.

Matteau had scored a pair of goals to give the NTDP a 2-0 lead before being issued a game misconduct for his spear with 53 seconds remaining in the second. The gritty Gamblers scored three unanswered goals in the third to ultimately win the contest, 3-2.

For the season, Matteau has connected for 14 goals and 28 points in 39 games. He also leads the team with 151 penalty minutes.

"I can't take bad penalties when the team needs you most," Matteau told NHL.com. "We were up 2-0 and I was playing pretty well. But you learn from these things. I guess I have to be smarter, but the way I play, I think I will get penalties. It's going to get better, but I'm a physical player."

Matteau, the son of former 13-year NHL veteran Stephan Matteau, was asked if he is upset over the amount of time he's spent in the penalty box this season.

"I don't like getting the penalty minutes, but I like that physical game that makes me a tough player, gritty player," Matteau said.

Matteau racked up 67 PIM's with the U.S. National Under-17 Team last season and 98 penalty minutes with the Notre Dame (Sask.) Hounds midget program in 2009-10 prior to joining the NTDP.

"I'm a big bodied power-forward, got a lot of skill and got a good shot and I play with an edge," Matteau said. "I like to bring an all-around solid game."

The U18 NTDP will next host the Youngstown Phantoms on Saturday.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.06.2012 / 12:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Shot to hand won't keep Parise from facing Rangers

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils captain Zach Parise declared himself good to go on Tuesday following his team's morning practice at Prudential Center in preparation for the New York Rangers.
 
In the second period of a 1-0 loss to the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Sunday, Parise was struck in the left hand with a shot by Isles defenseman Milan Jurcina. While he was able to finish the game, he appeared a bit uncomfortable at times and was ultimately taken for X-rays. Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello informed the local media on Monday that the results were negative and showed no broken bones.
 
"Yeah, it would take a lot for me to miss this game," Parise told reporters. "I wouldn't want to miss this game … I'll be alright.

"Everyone is hurt and sore one way or another, and that's just how it is in March and April. Probably 15 or 20 guys are dealing with some type of injury, so it's nothing really."
 
The Devils are certainly going to need all hands on deck in their fifth meeting against their Atlantic Division rival this season. The Rangers are 2-1-1 against the Devils, scoring a 2-0 victory in the most recent meeting on Feb. 27 at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have outscored the Devils, 9-5, including a 6-2 advantage in the third period. Additionally, 12 of the last 16 meetings have been decided by two goals or less.
 
"It's great rivalry," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "If you can't get up for this game … they're leading the conference. They're a team we're trying to close the gap and a team we might see in the playoffs at some point. It's two critical points for us where we're sitting in the standings, so all that factors in, and then you have the rivalry. The games we've had with them have been great; emotionally and from a hockey point of view, so it's exciting."
 
Meanwhile, left wing Alexei Ponikarovsky, who has skated the last two days after missing the last two games with a right knee injury, will be sidelined again. An MRI on Ponikarovsky's knee on Saturday revealed no damage.
 
"I did some conditioning and skating," Ponikarovsky said. "I'm doing well and [the knee] feels much better right now. It's been three days since it happened and I'm taking it day by day. I'll practice again [Wednesday] and see how it goes. I'm definitely not going [Tuesday]."
 
On defense, Andy Greene, who sat out Sunday's game after suffering back spasms during his pre-game stretching routine, did practice but admitted he'll be a game-time decision against the Rangers.
 
Martin Brodeur will face the Rangers in the regular season for the 94th time in his career. He sports a 45-28-20 mark with a 2.11 goals-against average, nine shutouts and a .919 save percentage.
 
Here are the probable line combinations for the Devils:
 
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Steve Bernier - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Cam Janssen
 
Adam Larsson - Matt Taormina
Bryce Salvador - Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky

Game time decision: Andy Greene
 
Brodeur will start and Johan Hedberg will serve as backup.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Monday, 03.05.2012 / 12:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Tringale excels for Lawrence in N.E. Prep tournament

If forward Devin Tringale of Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts wasn't on the radar of those NHL scouts prior to the New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association tournament, he is now.

The 5-foot-11 3/4, 195-pound left wing, ranked No. 98 on NHL Central Scouting's list of 2012 draft-eligible North American skaters, scored the overtime winner in the tournament semifinals on Friday before connecting for the eventual game-winner in the championship contest on Sunday at the IceCenter in Salem, N.H.

It marked the first time the fourth-seeded Spartans, who defeated top-seeded Salisbury in the semifinal and then No. 2 seeded Noble & Greenough in the final, celebrated a state championship.

"This is quite an achievement for our boys and we're all very proud of them," Lawrence athletic director Kevin Potter told the media.

Tringale, who is bound for Harvard, scored the decisive goal with 18 seconds left in the second period against Noble & Greenough (Mass.) en route to a 3-2 championship verdict. He also assisted Tyler Whitney's goal a little over two minutes earlier to pull Lawrence into a 2-2 tie.

"It's crazy," Tringale, the team's captain, told ESPNBoston.com following the victory. "We got the coach with the bucket of water. We're all on top of the world right now. On top of New England."
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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens