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Posted On Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 12:58 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Markstrom to get first start for Panthers?

The Florida Panthers will see their past in net Tuesday night when Tomas Vokoun starts for the Washington Capitals, but they might also get a glimpse of their future.

It is possible Jacob Markstrom will make his first career NHL start against the Capitals after starter Jose Theodore played Monday night in a win against Tampa Bay. Markstrom, the 31st pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, is with the club because backup Scott Clemmensen is injured.

Markstrom is generally considered the best goaltending prospect in the world. He tops the list for Justin Goldman, who runs the site Goalie Guild and contributes to NHL.com. He’s the second-ranked goaltender on Hockey’s Future top prospects list behind Los Angeles’ Jonathan Bernier, who has appeared in too many NHL games to be eligible for Goldman’s list.

The Gavle, Sweden, native (same hometown as the No. 1 center he’d face if he plays, Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom) was a star for Brynas IF in the Swedish Elite League and at the world junior championships before spending last season with Rochester in the American Hockey League.

Markstrom made a relief appearance for Clemmensen last season, playing the final two periods Jan. 23 against New Jersey. He allowed two goals on 14 shots, but should he get the nod tonight it would be the first start for the tall goaltender who turns 22 in January.

Here is what the lineup should look like for the Panthers:

Tomas FleischmannStephen WeissKris Versteeg
David BoothTomas KopeckyScottie Upshall
Sean BergenheimMarcel GocJack Skille
Ryan CarterShawn MatthiasMatt Bradley

Ed JovanovskiErik Gudbranson
Mike WeaverDmitry Kulikov
Brian CampbellJason Garrison

Jacob Markstrom
Jose Theodore

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 10:31 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Caps recall Sabourin, projected lineup

Goaltender Michal Neuvirth is still ailing because of a bruised foot, so the Washington Capitals have recalled Dany Sabourin again Tuesday.

Neuvirth was injured during warmups before the Capitals played the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 10 when he took a shot in the foot. Tomas Vokoun has started three straight games for Washington, and he will likely be in net against his former team, the Florida Panthers, for the Capitals at Verizon Center.

The Capitals have recalled both Braden Holtby and Sabourin during the time Neuvirth has been injured, but neither has seen any game action. Holtby would likely be the one who gets the call if either Neuvirth or Vokoun is out for an extended period.

Vokoun had a shaky outing in his debut with Washington, but has had two consecutive strong performances in wins against Pittsburgh and Ottawa.

Here is what the Capitals’ lineup will likely be against the Panthers:

Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromTroy Brouwer
Alexander SeminMarcus JohanssonMike Knuble
Jason ChimeraBrooks LaichJoel Ward
Matt HendricksJeff HalpernMathieu Perreault

Roman HamrlikMike Green
Karl AlznerJohn Carlson
Jeff SchultzDennis Wideman

Tomas Vokoun
Dany Sabourin
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 2:58 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Ducks live blog

Ducks lead 1-0 after two

The Ducks continue to lead 1-0 through two periods. There were more penalties in the second, but both teams' penalty killers have been up to the task.

Henrik Lundqvist made a few great saves in that period, and he might not make a better one the rest of the season than the beauty he had on Bobby Ryan after a tic-tac-toe play from Anaheim's top line. The Rangers had more pressure in the final minutes of the period, but still only have 12 shots on net.

Andrew Cogliano not only has the lone goal, but he's been Anaheim’s best player. He's got four shots on net, and three of them have been great chances. One in the second in particular could have found the top right corner of the net if not for a fantastic save from Lundqvist.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 1:57 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Rangers-Ducks live blog

Ducks draw first blood on Cogliano goal

After falling behind 2-0 early in the first period Friday night at Hartwall Areena, Andrew Cogliano put the Anaheim Ducks ahead at 9:26 of the opening period here at Globe Arena and they held a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes of a penalty-filled period.

Andrew Gordon went into the right corner and sent a pass to the slot for a wide-open Cogliano. Gordon got blasted into the boards as he let it go, but it was on the mark and Cogliano didn't miss on the one-timer. It was Gordon's third career NHL point, while rookie Devante Smith-Pelly collected the first of his career with a secondary assist.

This game has definitely been full of the rough stuff after both teams lost last night. Even star players have gotten into it -- Corey Perry and Brandon Dubinsky fought (even if they weren't assessed fighting majors), while Ryan Getzlaf and Marian Gaborik got into a shoving match.

Cogliano had another chance alone in front with less than a minute left, but he didn’t have much time to do anything with it. Brian Boyle had the best chance for the Rangers, getting behind the defense for a shot from between the circles that Hiller got a piece of with his right arm/glove.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 6:57 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Ducks look to bounce back on 'the road'

STOCKHOLM -- While the Anaheim Ducks will get to wear their home uniforms Saturday night at Ericsson Globe Arena, they know they had their “home” game last night at Hartwall Areena and this contest against the New York Rangers here could feel more like a contest at Staples Center than Honda Center.

"Yeah, I would assume so," Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan said. "Obviously it was a pretty special night for Teemu and Saku. The crowd fed off them and the energy they brought, so I wouldn't expect anything less [for the Rangers] here."

The Ducks will also have the challenge of a short turnaround to contend with. New York played here last night, while Anaheim played in Helsinki and traveled afterwards.

This contest is at 7 p.m. after an 8 p.m. start Friday, though with the time change the games will start 24 hours apart. The Ducks who played against the Sabres did not skate this morning after a team meeting.

"It is challenging enough that we got to the hotel at 3:00 or 3:30 [a.m.], so obviously we're not really too fresh here this morning at 11:00," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We think it is important that we have our rest here today, and that's the most important factor of the day in our preparation. You can't ask them to give you 110 percent if they're not rested. That's our mandate for the team today."

The Ducks will try to bounce back after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Sabres in Helsinki. Buffalo's strong defensive effort frustrated Anaheim, especially because the Ducks controlled the puck for long stretches in the final two periods but weren't able to generate much offense.

Anaheim's top line of Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf in particular will look to get off the mark against the Rangers. That trio controlled the puck for long stretches, especially in the third period, but had little to show for it.

"There's different ways. I think they did a good job of collapsing low and taking away plays that our line is so good at," Ryan said of changes to make. "We had to get the puck high, and when you're shooting from the point and getting traffic things can happen, but a lot of times when they are boxing out like they were Ryan Miller is just going to eat those shots up. We've got find a way to spread them out some more and create some more room, but we we’re in there all night and couldn't find a way to crack Miller.

"Lundqvist is just as good, so we've got the spread them out and get more traffic right in front of him not just near him."

The Ducks got off to a slow start last season, dropping the first three games and eight of 12 to start the 2010-11 campaign. Not repeating that feat has been the reason for changing things up a bit this preseason -- beyond the obvious change of coming to Europe.

"Whenever you get down, and our team seems to have a lot of back-to-backs every year, when you get down and you're 0-1, certainly the intensity, the focus, the discipline -- whatever you want to call it -- they definitely go up a bit and it's what we missed in Game 1."

Added Carlyle: "I know our guys aren't happy with the way we played last night and some of the things we did. I know with this group I can trust that they'll have a better performance than we did last night."
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 4:47 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Sabres live blog

Sabres proud of third-period defensive-zone effort

Try as they did, the Anaheim Ducks couldn't break through in the third period and the Buffalo Sabres came away with a 4-1 win at Hartwall Areena.

The Ducks outshot the Sabres 11-0 in the final period, but few of those were "Grade A" chances. Anaheim hit the post twice, but other than one floater through traffic, Ryan Miller was solid in making 29 saves.

After the game, Buffalo captain Jason Pominville and Miller praised the team's effort in its own end, particularly in the third. Thomas Vanek said he might feel that stick in the back he took as he scored the first goal, but those types of hits are worth it when the goal light goes on.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle felt his team played well at times, but lost the battle on special teams and in front of the nets. Buffalo found a couple of rebounds, but Carlyle also said poor defensive positioning played a role. He didn't fault goalie Jonas Hiller for any of the goals, though he assumed the Swiss netminder would want Pominville's goal back.

It is on to Stockholm for the Ducks now, while the Sabres are off to Berlin. Expect a role reversal for both clubs -- Anaheim will now be the "visiting" team in the home country of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist when they play the New York Rangers, while Buffalo can expect more support in Germany against the Los Angeles Kings, with Christian Ehrhoff in the lineup.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 2:51 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Sabres live blog

2 goals for Vanek put Sabres up 4-1

Anaheim got one goal back on a wrist shot from near the Ducks' bench by defenseman Nate Guenin at 4:32 of the second period. It traveled past a host of bodies before finding the back of the net.

However, new Buffalo captain Jason Pominville restored the Sabres' two-goal lead just 73 seconds later, making it 3-1. He fired a shot from inside the right circle, and while Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller got a piece of the puck, it trickled by him across the line.

Thomas Vanek scored his second power-play goal of the game at 11:59 of the period. Both of his goals have come from about a combined five feet from the net. He and Pominville each have 3 points.

The Ducks were better at times in the second, but Buffalo's power-play prowess and a soft goal from Hiller are the difference to this point.

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 1:25 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Sabres live blog

Local kid makes good

The Buffalo Sabres grabbed a 2-0 lead midway through the first period. Thomas Vanek put them in front at 4:02 of the opening period. Vanek put the rebound from a Sheldon Brookbank shot past Jonas Hiller after establishing a spot near the edge of the crease.

Finnish native Ville Leino excited what had been mostly a pro-Anaheim crowd by making it a 2-0 game. Leino played for Jokerit, the local team that calls Hartwall Areena home, for one season before coming to the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008-09.

The Ducks had a great first shift from the Teemu Selanne-Saku Koivu-Jason Blake line, but the Sabres took control after killing off an early penalty and were peppering Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 8:25 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Gragnani in, Weber out for opener

HELSINKI -- Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff made one big decision Thursday -- who his captain for the 2010-11 season would be. He had another to make as well -- who would be the odd man out from his talented defense corps?

The answer Friday morning at Hartwall Areena was Mike Weber, as Marc-Andre Gragnani will be in the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks for the opening game of the season in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

"(Gragnani) been a big part of our power play with the way he moves the puck," Ruff said. "Offensively, he did a very nice job for us at the end of the year and in the playoffs and even defensively he was quite strong. I think special teams is a big part and he's going to be a big, big player for us."

Weber had 4 goals and 17 points in 58 games for the Sabres last season. He also played in all seven Sabres playoff games. Gragnani played nine regular-season games for the Sabres, but had a breakout performance during the playoffs. He had a team-leading 7 points in the seven games against the Philadelphia Flyers and averaged the third-most minutes per game, behind Tyler Myers and the since-departed Chris Butler.

"It is extremely hard taking Mike out of the lineup, but we knew that … we knew that we have seven defensemen and we're going to have one really disappointed player," Ruff said. "There will be situations where we can utilize Weber, and we need our top six to play well for us.

"I'm going to just go game-to-game. I don't think there is ever going to be anything set in stone and I don't think there ever has to be."
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 8:16 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Foster, Beleskey likely out of opener

HELSINKI -- Kurtis Foster and Matt Beleskey played Tuesday for the Anaheim Ducks against local club Jokerit, but it does not appear they will be in the lineup for the season-opener against the Buffalo Sabres (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

Foster and Beleskey were among the players taking part in the customary "scratches skate" after Anaheim's morning on-ice workout was complete. Brian McGrattan and Toni Lydman also were skating with the assistant coaches and No. 3 goaltender Jeff Deslauriers here at Hartwall Areena.

Beleskey, like Lydman, is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn laburm. Foster had surgery on his leg last month to repair the steel plate that was inserted when he broke that leg two seasons ago with Minnesota.

"I think both of them -- we played Foster and Beleskey in the exhibition game against Jokerit specifically for the reason if they didn't play in that game, then they wouldn't have a chance to play for us this weekend," Carlyle said. "I think now that they played in that game there is a possibility that we could use them tonight or tomorrow."

The Ducks obviously are looking for a better start to this season after winning just four of 12 (4-7-1) to begin last season. Earlier this week Carlyle, mentioned his team did less scrimmaging and spent more time practicing with the hopes of avoiding another slow start.

"It was paska," Carlyle said, using a Finnish word that translates -- politely -- to "garbage." "That's one of the things you always guard against. As a coach, if you had the answer at the time, it wouldn't be happening. All the time, you're searching for answers. The one thing we've tried to sell to our players that blocking a shot, taking a check to make a play, being on the defensive side of things -- this has to start from the first game of the season and not in January, where we seemed to come together as a group (last season)."

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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday