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At the Rink blog
Posted On Friday, 02.01.2013 / 11:30 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Wings will have Zetterberg in lineup vs. Blues

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg told MLive.com that he will be in the lineup when his team hosts the St. Louis Blues on Friday (7:30 p.m., NHLN-US).

Zetterberg reported that he had a sore throat and a fever Thursday, but felt well enough to play Friday.

Zetterberg is second on the Red Wings with two goals and seven points.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 7:35 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets scratch Byfuglien vs. Panthers

Dustin Byfuglien
Defense - WPG
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 7
SOG: 25 | +/-: 0
SUNRISE, Fla. - Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was scratched from the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Florida Panthers.

After Byfuglien did not take part in the morning skate, coach Claude Noel said a determination on Byfuglien's status would be made later, but the defenseman did not take part in pregame warmups.

"He aggravated something previous to the morning skate," Noel said.

Byfuglien played a team-high 28:26 of ice time in the Jets' 4-3 loss at Montreal on Tuesday. The Jets did not practice on Wednesday.

Byfuglien is tied for the team scoring lead with Evander Kane and

Tobias Enstrom with seven points.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 7:01 PM

By Neil Acharya -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Capitals trade for Wellman to help AHL team

TORONTO -- The Washington Capitals traded for forward Casey Wellman on Thursday, acquiring the rights of the Californian from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Zach Hamill.

The Capitals made the deal in hopes of improving their American Hockey League team, the Hershey Bears. The 11-time Calder Cup champions are ninth in the Eastern Conference and have gone 4-4-1-1 in their past 10 games.

"Hershey isn't playing the way we would like them to play; we have had really good teams there for a number of years and we are just trying to shake things up a little bit," Capitals general manager George McPhee said Thursday before the Capitals played the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 6:32 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers ready for first game without Callahan

NEW YORK - The New York Rangers will play their first game without injured captain Ryan Callahan Thursday night when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden.

Callahan suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder when he and Philadelphia Flyers forward Max Talbot scuffled early in the third period of Tuesday night's game. An MRI confirmed the injury, but Callahan is expected to be back in 10-14 days, which is about 5-7 games.

Considering the worst-case scenario, a maximum of two weeks without their most complete forward seems like good news for the Rangers. Coach John Tortorella, however, didn't see the silver lining in the prognosis.

"I don't want to lose Cally for a day," Tortorella said.

Callahan spoke with reporters Thursday morning and lamented what was essentially an unlucky injury.

"It's tough any time you miss time, especially in a shortened season like this. It's hard," Callahan said. "I wish I was out there. At the same time, injuries happen during the year, and these things are going to happen and it's just a matter of getting back as you as you can. The first days [of rehab] are trying to get it to settle down, the inflammation and things like that. After that, I'll start to be able to strengthen it. Hopefully, they're saying two weeks, 10 to 14 days and I'll be back at it."

The Rangers have been thin at forward this season, and the loss of Callahan only amplifies the problem. For Thursday's game against the Penguins, Tortorella will use defenseman Stu Bickel as a fourth-line forward; blueliner Matt Gilroy will make his season debut in his second go-round with the Rangers.

The line shuffling will likely be fluid throughout the game, but this is what the Rangers should employ at the start of Thursday's game:

Marian Gaborik - Brad Richards - Rick Nash

Carl Hagelin - Taylor Pyatt - Derek Stepan

Mike Rupp - Brian Boyle - Benn Ferriero

Arron Asham - Jeff Halpern - Stu Bickel

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Michael Del Zotto

Anton Stralman - Matt Gilroy

Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

It will be interesting to see who patrols the front of the net in place of Callahan when the Rangers find themselves on the power play. Taylor Pyatt has spent some time there on the second power-play unit, so it could be him and Brian Boyle trying to obstruct the view of Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun.

Henrik Lundqvist will make his seventh start of the season. Only the Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers have yet to start a backup goaltender this season.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 4:50 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sharks expect Oilers will be looking for payback

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It was just nine days ago that the San Jose Sharks exploded for six goals in the first period and defeated Edmonton 6-3, spoiling the Oilers' home opener.

They meet again Thursday night, and the Sharks expect to face a motivated team looking for payback.

"Obviously, Edmonton's going to play hard," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "We kind of embarrassed them in their building. They're coming off a big win last night, so they'll want to kind of get revenge for their loss."

The Oilers beat the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night 2-1 in overtime as they kicked off a three-game road swing. Edmonton improved to 4-2-0 but will face the NHL's last undefeated team. San Jose improved to 6-0-0 with a 3-2 shootout win Tuesday night against Anaheim.

The Sharks beat Anaheim despite being outshot 30-18 and playing what they said was their worst game of the season.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he doesn't expect a first-period replay of San Jose's first game against Edmonton.

"I don't think we're going to see the same start from Edmonton," McLellan said. "They were a young team that was real excited at home in front of their crowd. They made some mistakes. I haven't seen them make those mistakes since that first period. The second and third was a pretty evenly-played match. I think you'll see more of that tonight.

"Our game against Anaheim was not to our standards in a lot of different areas, so we have to get better. That will be our goal, to improve and clean a few things up. It will be more of a speed game, I believe, than it was against Anaheim. That's just how Edmonton is built. They can fly. We'll have to be well aware of that."

McLellan shuffled his bottom three lines in the third period and overtime against Anaheim, and, based on Wednesday's practice, he'll likely open with that new look. The biggest change is Scott Gomez moving to the second line as a wing alongside center Logan Couture with Martin Havlat dropping to the third line.

"He's a good player, sees the ice well, good passer, speed," Couture said of Gomez. "It's going to be fun playing with him and (Ryane Clowe) tonight."

McLellan said he shuffled his lines Tuesday because "a couple lines were very unproductive last game, not even creating anything toward the net, just minute eaters. We need more production from different people, so we moved things around. We'll take a look at how they're going to start, who will be in their lineup, and make decisions from there."

The Sharks' roster will definitely have a different look tonight. They lost forward Frazer McLaren off waivers to Toronto, and that open roster spot will likely go to defenseman Jason Demers, McLellan said. Demers has been recovering from a fractured wrist he suffered while playing in Europe during the lockout.

"Not everybody can stay on a roster," McLellan said. "Unfortunately you're only given 23 spots. Organizations have to make decisions. We had to make a tough one yesterday in putting (McLaren) on waivers. Doesn't surprise me that he was picked up. He's a quality individual, fulfills a role in the League right now and on many teams, and fulfills that role well. He'll do well in Toronto, and we wish him all the best. We're proud he was a Shark at one point."

McLaren, a seventh-round pick by San Jose in the 2007 NHL Draft, racked up 490 penalty minutes for Worcester of the American Hockey League, a franchise record. He appeared in 40 career games for the Sharks, including one this season, compiling 85 penalty minutes, one goal and five assists.

McLellan said there's a chance Demers could be in the lineup tonight. But there's also a good chance that defenseman Dan Boyle will return to the lineup after missing Tuesday night's game with the flu.

Boyle, who missed practice Wednesday, took part in an optional morning skate and said he would play tonight.

Boyle said he felt "better, or I wouldn't be here. Whatever I had kicked my [rear]."

Boyle also missed the entire third period of Sunday's game against Vancouver because of a nosebleed that trainers had trouble stopping. Boyle said he got hit in the nose in the second period but "was fine" when he came off the ice at the end of that period.

"They started playing around up in there and then waterworks came out," Boyle said. "It was nonstop. I've never experienced a nosebleed like that in my life. … I don't know if there's an artery up there, but something. We hit something. It was disgusting is what it was."

Boyle said he's glad to be back on the ice and part of the NHL's last undefeated team -- Chicago fell to 6-0-1 with a 3-2 shootout loss Wednesday to the Minnesota Wild.

"I like being a part of that," Boyle said. "Obviously we're probably going to lose at some point, but it's fun. It's fun to have something like that going for us. See how far we can take this."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 4:47 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Oilers, Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Here are how the lineups could look Thursday night when the Sharks face the Oilers at HP Pavilion:

OILERS

Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky

Ryan Smyth - Eric Belanger - Lennart Petrell

Teemu Hartikainen - Anton Landers - Darcy Hordichuk

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry

Nick Schultz - Justin Schultz

Ryan Whitney - Corey Potter

Devan Dubnyk

Nikolai Khabibulin

Injured: Shawn Horcoff

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Theo Peckham

The Oilers did not have a morning skate, but captain Shawn Horcoff reportedly will miss the game with a strained neck. The Oilers sent forward Magnus Paajarvi to Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League and called up forward Anton Landers. Coach Ralph Krueger has not named his starting goaltender for tonight's game, but it's likely Dubnyk, coming off a strong game Wednesday, will be in net again, despite facing a back-to-back. Khabibulin started the season on injured reserve and has been active for only Wednesday's game.

SHARKS

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Scott Gomez

Tommy Wingels - Michal Handzus - Martin Havlat

TJ Galiardi - Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brad Stuart

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Douglas Murray - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Brent Burns

Scratched: James Sheppard, Nick Petrecki, Jason Demers

Demers, recovering from a broken wrist, was expected to be activated and might be in the lineup. Boyle, who missed Wednesday's game with the flu, will be a game-time decision. McLellan said Sheppard could potentially be in the lineup for third time this season.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 3:57 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kings' Clifford making a name for himself

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Few observers of the Los Angeles Kings in last year's Stanley Cup Playoffs got to know Kyle Clifford.

The Kings' rough-and-tumble wing was concussed after a hit by the Vancouver Canucks' Byron Bitz in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals and didn't play the rest of the postseason. But Clifford is making up for that lost time with a role on L.A.'s second line.

Clifford is again expected to play beside Mike Richards and Jeff Carter when the Kings host the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

"I'm coming in and not changing my game -- I'm playing my style," Clifford said at the morning skate. "It's a privilege to play with those two guys -- Carts and Richards. I'm just trying to do my best and keep it simple."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 3:10 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes expect Smith will start in goal Friday

According to the Phoenix Coyotes, starting goaltender Mike Smith will return from a lower-body injury and start Friday night against the Dallas Stars.

"He's going to play tomorrow, barring anything between now and then," Coyotes goaltending coach Sean Burke told NHL.com Thursday. "He'll go out in the morning skate tomorrow and if everything goes well he'll play tomorrow night in Dallas."

Smith, who enjoyed a breakout year last season in Phoenix when he set career highs in games (67), wins (38), minutes (3.902), goals-against average (2.21) and save percentage (.930), missed four games with the injury. He initially suffered a groin injury during pregame warm-ups before the Jan. 23 game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was pulled from that game after facing four shots and was officially placed on the injured reserve list Monday.

According to Dave Vest, the Coyotes senior director of news content, Smith participated in the team's optional skate Thursday before declaring himself ready to play.

"It's gotten a lot better over the last few days, so I'm excited to get back in the lineup. I'm ready," Smith said.

In his absence, the Coyotes suffered losses to the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings in which backup Jason LaBarbera stopped 57 of 65 shots for an .877 save percentage. Following those two losses, Phoenix decided to replace LaBarbera as starter with Chad Johnson, who was called up from the American Hockey League's Portland Pirates on Monday. In the two games Johnson started, Phoenix went 1-0-1 with Johnson allowing two goals, including Nail Yakupov's overtime winner on the power play for the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.

"I think we've played a lot better as of late ... so it's an exciting time to get back in," Smith said.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 3:05 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Luongo will start third straight for Canucks on Friday

The Vancouver Canucks will continue to ride the hot hand in goal, and for now that means Roberto Luongo.

The Canucks announced Thursday via their official Twitter account that Luongo will receive his third straight start on Friday when the team hosts the Chicago Blackhawks.

Luongo shut out the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night, giving him a 1-0-2 record with a 1.61 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in four appearances (three starts) this season.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 2:28 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Avs expected to give Giguere first start of season

CALGARY, Alberta -- Jean-Sebastien Giguere is expected to get his first start of the season Thursday night when the Colorado Avalanche visit Scotiabank Saddledome to take on the Calgary Flames.

In his only appearance this year, Giguere kicked aside 17 shots in relief of Semyon Varlamov in Colorado's 4-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks Saturday.

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog remains questionable to face the Flames.

Here are Colorado's lines as the Avalanche look to snap a three-game losing streak against the Flames:

Jamie McGinnMatt DuchenePA Parenteau

John MitchellPaul StastnyDavid Jones

Chuck KobasewMichael SgarbossaMilan Hejduk

Cody McLeodMark OlverPatrick Bordeleau

Erik JohnsonRyan Wilson

Greg ZanonMatt Hunwick

Ryan O'ByrneJan Hejda

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Tyson Barrie, Shane O'Brien

Injured: Steve Downie, Gabriel Landeskog

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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff