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Posted On Saturday, 03.15.2014 / 2:31 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ottawa's Lehner to start for injured Anderson

MONTREAL -- The Ottawa Senators have a long road ahead if they hope to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first step on that journey comes Saturday at Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Senators are 12th in the Eastern Conference standings with 16 games to play, and have one win in their past four (1-2-1).

"If we can have a full team effort, it will sort itself out," said Senators goaltender Robin Lehner, who will start in place of the injured Craig Anderson. "We've got to have some desperation. We can't be laid back."

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.12.2014 / 1:26 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canadiens to sit Bourque for Prust vs. Bruins

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien made a questionable lineup call the prior time his team played the Boston Bruins and it worked out well.

He appears to be doing the same thing Wednesday.

When the Canadiens played the Bruins in Boston on Jan. 30, Therrien decided to sit goalie Carey Price and start Peter Budaj. The result was a 4-1 win, with Budaj making 34 saves.

Budaj will start Wednesday against the Bruins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS) because Price has a lower-body injury. Left wing Rene Bourque will be a healthy scratch with the return from injury of Brandon Prust.

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Posted On Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 1:08 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2014 Trade Deadline blog

Canadiens add goalie Dubnyk from Predators

The Montreal Canadiens acquired goaltender Devan Dubnyk from the Nashville Predators on Wednesday in exchange for future considerations.

Starter Carey Price aggravated a lower-body injury while helping Canada to the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and has not played a game since the NHL schedule resumed last week.

Peter Budaj has performed relatively well in Price's absence, going 2-1-1 with a 2.87 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage in four games.

The Canadiens called up Dustin Tokarski from Hamilton of the American Hockey League to serve as Budaj's backup while Price has been out.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.01.2014 / 1:24 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Maple Leafs preach attention to detail vs. Canadiens

MONTREAL -- If the Toronto Maple Leafs needed a reminder just how thin the margin is between victory and defeat, they got it in their first game back following the Olympic break.

The Maple Leafs lost 5-4 in overtime on the road against the New York Islanders on Thursday, a game where they allowed three goals off sloppy turnovers, including the overtime winner by Lubomir Visnovsky.

Coach Randy Carlyle could have taken that game and used it as an example of what happens when his team is not focusing on the right things, but he's already had enough of that material this season.

"We've had lots of those lessons," Carlyle said. "The teacher's tired of bringing the same lesson."

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Posted On Sunday, 02.23.2014 / 7:04 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Backstrom missing from Sweden lineup

SOCHI -- Sweden was without Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom for the gold medal game against Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Sunday (7 a.m. ET, NBC, CBC).

Backstrom was listed on the lineup sheet but did not come out for pre-game warmups. There was no immediate explanation for Backstrom's absence but multiple media reports cited his the reason for his absence was a migraine.

The Washington Capitals center is tied for the team with four assists in five games. Backstrom also has a plus-3 rating while averaging 18:22 of ice time per game. He had been centering Sweden's top line, between Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks and Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins.

Jimmie Ericsson, the only non-NHL player in Sweden's lineup, started the game in Backstrom's spot. He's the brother of Sweden teammate and Jonathan Ericsson and plays for Skelleftea in the Swedish Hockey League.

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Posted On Friday, 02.21.2014 / 5:57 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canadian women provide inspiration for men's team

SOCHI -- Canada had some inspiring visitors at its pregame skate Friday.

As the team prepared for its semifinal game against the United States at the training rink of the Bolshoy Ice Dome, sitting in the stands were two key players from Canada's women's team that won gold against the U.S. in a dramatic, come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory 12 hours earlier.

Forward Hayley Wickenheiser and starting goaltender Shannon Szabados were there to support the men in their bid to move past the U.S. and reach the gold medal game Sunday.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 7:06 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canada's Subban takes scratching in stride

SOCHI -- Goaltender Carey Price hit the ice for Canada's pregame skate Wednesday to prepare for the quarterfinal matchup with Latvia later that night and took his usual spot in front of his net.

His Montreal Canadiens teammate, defenseman P.K. Subban, immediately skated over, grabbed a pile of pucks and offered to warm up Price prior to the skate, diligently shooting pucks first to his glove hand, then his blocker side.

This is the role Subban has been given for Canada. He is there to practice and keep the players who will participate in the games sharp.

Aside from Canada's second game of the tournament, a 6-0 win against Austria, Subban has not been in uniform for any games.

It's not easy for the reigning Norris Trophy-winner, who plays 25 minutes a night for the Canadiens and leads them in scoring with 39 points in 59 games.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.19.2014 / 5:32 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

St. Louis back in Canada lineup vs. Latvia

SOCHI -- Martin St. Louis has built a career as a high-energy player, a water bug on the ice who keeps his powerful legs moving at all times to overcome his lack of size with his overwhelming will.

A player like that requires a certain degree of rhythm to play his game.

But even though St. Louis will be in the lineup for Canada when it plays Latvia in a 2014 Sochi Olympics quarterfinal Wednesday (noon ET, MSNBC, CBC), the Tampa Bay Lightning captain will have trouble creating that rhythm he so desperately needs to be effective.

"He's just a good, veteran player," Canada coach Mike Babcock said. "The reality is we dress 13 forwards each game. One guy hardly gets on the ice. It's a hard, hard situation for people that play 22 minutes [in the NHL]. That's the way it is. You've got to find a way to help out when you get a chance."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 9:28 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Canada juggles lines again, Kunitz back with Crosby

SOCHI -- Another day, another set of linemates for Sidney Crosby.

Canada coach Mike Babcock shuffled his deck of forwards again at practice Tuesday, reuniting the Pittsburgh Penguins duo of Chris Kunitz and Crosby on a line with Patrice Bergeron.

Crosby has had different linemates during Canada's three preliminary-round games here at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and it looks like he will again when Canada plays Latvia in the quarterfinals Wednesday (Noon ET, MSNBC, CBC).

"I think you prepared yourself for that when you got selected to the team," Kunitz said Tuesday after practice. "They're going to try to put the best combinations [for] our team … to win. Wherever they put that, now you want to go on the ice and have your best game."

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Posted On Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 9:11 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Road to Sochi blog

Russia's Kovalchuk returns for third period

SOCHI -- Russia forward Ilya Kovalchuk returned for the third period of his team's Group A game against Slovakia on Sunday after missing the final minutes of the second with an apparent leg injury.

Kovalchuk was fighting for a puck with Slovakia forward Richard Panik in the Russian zone when the two fell awkwardly to the ice. Kovalchuk appeared to be in pain as he writhed on the ice for a few moments, but he was able to get up and limp toward the Russian bench under his own power.

Kovalchuk remained on the bench for a few minutes testing the leg and standing on it before leaving for the dressing room.

But when the third period started Kovalchuk was on the ice for the completion of a Russia power play.

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Quote of the Day

I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.

— Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien on forward Loui Eriksson's potential