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At the Rink blog
Posted On Sunday, 01.27.2013 / 1:23 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Best start in club history in play for Blackhawks

It’s always a big game at United Center when the Detroit Red Wings come to play the Chicago Blackhawks, but Sunday night has the potential to be even more special for the home team.

The Blackhawks (5-0-0) beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on the road Saturday night to win their fifth straight game to start the season, which tied the 1971-72 mark for best record to start a season in franchise history.

This iteration of the Blackhawks can set the new record by beating Detroit on Sunday night (7 p.m., FS-Detroit; CSN-Chicago) – which could mean even more considering the opponent and intense Central Division rivalry.

The Red Wings are missing a number of injured regulars and are still getting used to playing without retired star captain Nicklas Lidstrom on the blue line. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are mostly healthy and getting a lot of production from the “core group” of players who were kept around long term after the 2010 Stanley Cup championship season.

RED WINGS

Johan FranzenHenrik ZetterbergDamien Brunner

Valtteri FilppulaPavel DatsyukTodd Bertuzzi

Justin AbdelkaderDarren HelmDanny Cleary

Drew MillerCory EmmertonJordin Tootoo

Niklas KronwallBrian Lashoff

Brendan SmithJonathan Ericsson

Kyle QuinceyKent Huskins

Jimmy Howard

Tom McCollum

Injured: Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Ian White (leg laceration),

Jonas Gustavsson (groin), Mikael Samuelsson (groin)

Scratched: Patrick Eaves, Jakub Kindl

Lineup notes: Without skating in the morning, it’s tough to say exactly what Detroit coach Mike Babcock will do with his lineup against the Blackhawks. Ericsson will likely be a gametime decision because of hip and shoulder injuries that are healing up, but he’s expected to return to the lineup by media covering the team on a regular basis.

Lashoff has played pretty well with Kronwall while filling in during all of the injuries, so that makes Kindl the most likely candidate to be scratched against Chicago. Eaves could potentially find himself drawing into the lineup somewhere in the bottom-six forward group, while Helm (back) and Filppula (knee) continue to battle nagging injuries that could potentially take them out of action if they worsen.

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Patrick SharpDave BollandPatrick Kane

Bryan BickellAndrew ShawViktor Stalberg

Brandon BolligMarcus KrugerMichael Frolik

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook

Johnny OduyaNiklas Hjalmarsson

Nick LeddyMichal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Ray Emery

Injured: Daniel Carcillo (lower body); Steve Montador (concussion symptoms)

Scratched: Sheldon Brookbank, Jamal Mayers

Lineup notes: Chicago did not hold a morning skate after beating Columbus 3-2 on the road Saturday night. Brookbank played alongside Leddy and Mayers played right wing on the fourth line in place of Frolik. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville may opt for the speedier Frolik against the Red Wings and could go back to Rozsival on the third defense pairing, after he’s played well in three games.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.27.2013 / 11:59 AM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Wild sending Dumba back to Red Deer

ST. LOUIS -- Matt Dumba's NHL experience was short-lived ... at least for this season. The seventh pick of the 2012 NHL Draft is headed back to his junior team.

Dumba, 18, was returned to Red Deer of the Western Hockey League for the remainder of the season so the Minnesota Wild could make room on the active roster to recall defenseman Marco Scandella, who will be in the lineup Sunday night against the St. Louis Blues [8 p.m. ET on NBCSN].

Dumba, who hasn't dressed in any of the Wild's four games, has been on the active roster since the start of the season.

"We really didn't even have any thoughts of keeping him here this long, but he earned it," Wild coach Mike Yeo said of Dumba. "Every day, he came to the rink and he proved himself a little bit more. We would have been very comfortable putting him in a game. He's an 18-year-old and that says an awful lot about him. You can see his skating ability, you can see his execution and I was very pleased with the way he was defending."

Yeo broke the news to Dumba on Sunday.

"He handled it very well," Yeo said of Dumba. "I think this is a real positive experience for him. He learned a lot. He was a sponge while he was here and took everything in and at the same time it was helpful in the fact that next year [when] he comes to camp, he's comfortable around the guys. He knows the guys respect him an awful lot. He's that much more familiar with how we operate."

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Posted On Sunday, 01.27.2013 / 11:50 AM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lightning welcome Flyers, hope to stay perfect at home

TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Lightning will look for recent history to repeat itself when they meet the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning will put their 2-0-0 home record on the line against a Flyers team that had gotten off to a slow start but now seem to have their game together. Philadelphia (2-3-0) has won two games in a row, including a 7-1 thrashing Saturday night of the Florida Panthers.

On Friday night, the Lightning faced the then-undefeated Ottawa Senators in the second of back-to-back games after Ottawa had skated against the Florida Panthers the day prior. In that contest, Tampa Bay fired three third-period goals for a comeback win.

The Flyers arrive in Tampa in the exact same situation and the Lightning are hoping for the exact same result.

“We have to take advantage of them early,” Steven Stamkos said. “Maybe they will be a little tired.”

Lightning coach Guy Boucher is not counting on that, however.

“I don’t think (playing back-to-back games) will be an issue for them,” Boucher said. “They won 7-1 last night and rested their top guys in the third period so they are coming in charging.”

The Flyers had an optional morning skate with only a few players on the ice.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

FLYERS

Wayne Simmonds - Claude Giroux - Matt Read

Danny Briere - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek

Mike Knuble - Brayden Schenn - Ruslan Fedotenko

Tye McGinn - Maxime Talbot - Scott Laughton

Kimmo Timonen - Luke Schenn

Nicklas Grossmann - Braydon Coburn

Kurtis Foster - Bruno Gervais

Ilya Bryzgalov

Michael Leighton

LIGHTNING

Ryan MaloneSteven Stamkos – Martin St. Louis

Cory ConacherVincent LecavalierTeddy Purcell

Adam HallNate ThompsonB.J. Crombeen

Tom PyattBenoit PouliotDana Tyrell

Eric BrewerMatthew Carle

Victor HedmanSami Salo

Brian LeeKeith Aulie

Anders Lindback

Mathieu Garon

Scratched: Brandan Mikkelson, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Marc-Andre Bergeron

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 7:39 PM

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

Briere makes season debut for Flyers

SUNRISE, Fla.Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere will be making his season debut Saturday night against the Florida Panthers.

Briere, who sustained a wrist injury while playing in Germany during the lockout, didn't sound optimistic after the morning skate about his chances of playing.

Briere said he feels comfortable in his ability to absord a hit and doesn't feel pain shooting the puck. The biggest problem, he says, is faceoffs.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 6:16 PM

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

Rangers' Kreider to 'get a couple days' rest'

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella said Saturday that Chris Kreider’s ankle injury is "not a severe injury."

Kreider was a healthy scratch for the Rangers’ 2-1 road loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, but was absent from the team’s practice Saturday morning with the injury. Tortorella said Kreider suffered in the injury during his time with Connecticut of the American Hockey League.

"I don’t know exactly what it is,' Tortorella said. "But it's not a serious injury. He'll get a couple days rest and we’ll see what happens from there."

The Rangers face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night and are scheduled to face the Flyers at home on Tuesday night.

---

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 4:57 PM

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

Avalanche captain Landeskog returns after hit

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog left Saturday's game against the San Jose Sharks near the end of the first period but returned to the ice in the second.

Landeskog seemed to have suffered a lower-body injury and went to the dressing room with 4:20 to go in the first period after he took a hit from Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart.

Landeskog immediately left the game and appeared to be favoring his left leg as he limped toward the dressing room.

Moments after Stuart's hit, a fight erupted between him and Colorado defenseman Ryan O'Byrne. Stuart received a five-minute fighting major, and O'Byrne, the instigator, received a total of 19 penalty minutes.

San Jose scored twice after the fight to take a 2-0 lead.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 3:52 PM

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

Gaustad ready to return for Predators

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Paul Gaustad will return to the lineup for the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

Gaustad said he’s fit to go after he missed the previous three games with an upper-body injury. He is expected to take his center spot on the fourth line against the Anaheim Ducks.

“It’s good to be back tonight,” Gaustad said. “It wasn’t too long, and it’s good to be a contributor again.”

Nashville gets back one of the top faceoff men in the League and a key penalty killer. Coach Barry Trotz likened it to Vancouver Canucks faceoff ace Manny Malhotra.

“You can dictate where you’re putting the puck and hopefully if you have it, you’re getting out of your zone," Trotz said. "The great thing about 'Goose' is that he’s good on the left, but he’s one of the few guys that switches over the right and takes the right-hand draw.”

Fasth to start?

Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was non-committal on whether goalie Viktor Fasth would make his NHL debut Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.

“I’ll have to go check and see what the goalie coach says,” Boudreau said, in reference to Ducks goaltending consultant Pete Peeters.

Jonas Hiller played Friday in a 5-0 loss to Vancouver. Three of those goals came on Vancouver power plays, but Hiller looked shaky on even-strength goals by Aaron Volpatti and Mason Raymond.

The Swedish Elite League’s Goaltender of the Year the past two seasons, Fasth was signed last May to be Hiller’s backup. His season was interrupted in November because of hip and groin issues and he was sent to the AHL to get playing time earlier this month.

Boudreau has previously suggested that he would like to split the goalie starts in back-to-back situations. The Ducks had an optional skate and, for what it’s worth, Fasth came off the ice first.

Speaking generally on how he manages the starts, Boudreau said, “You do it on feel. You can script out the first five games on who is going to play. But we’ll see how it works out. Viktor played three games last week in the American [Hockey] League last week, so it’s not like he’s totally rusty.”

PREDATORS

Colin WilsonMike FisherMartin Erat

Gabriel BourqueDavid LegwandPatric Hornqvist

Sergei KostitsynNick SpalingCraig Smith

Rich ClunePaul GaustadBrandon Yip

Roman JosiShea Weber

Hal GillRyan Ellis

Kevin KleinScott Hannan

Pekka Rinne

Chris Mason

Injuries: None

Scratched: Jonathon Blum, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk

DUCKS

Kyle PalmieriRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Bobby RyanNick BoninoTeemu Selanne

Andrew CoglianoSaku KoivuDaniel Winnik

Matt BeleskeyPeter HollandBrad Staubitz

Toni LydmanFrancois Beauchemin

Cam FowlerBryan Allen

Luca SbisaSheldon Souray

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Injuries: None

Scratches: Jordan Hendry, Devante Smith-Pelly, Rickard Rakell

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 3:29 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hanzal back for Coyotes against Kings

Here is the projected lineup for the Phoenix Coyotes, who will welcome the Los Angeles Kings to Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night:

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Steve Sullivan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - David Moss

Alexandre Bouldoc - Nick Johnson - Paul Bissonette

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Milan Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

David Schlemko - Michael Stone

Jason Labarbera

Chad Johnson

Scratched: David Rundblad

Suspended: Raffi Torres

Injured: Mike Smith, Matthew Lombardi, Rostislav Klesla

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 3:05 PM

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

Hordichuk ready to add toughness to Alberta rivalry

CALGARY, Alberta – With the "Battle Of Alberta" considered among the League's most physical rivalries, Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger has opted to install one of the team’s tougher forwards into the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames.

Darcy Hordichuk will see his first action of the season when the Oilers visit the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome, and the six-foot, one-inch forward is expecting to spice up what should be a spirited affair between the provincial rivals.

"I think that’s why they’re putting me in there, to bring that physicality," Hordichuk said. "It’s going to be a fun game to play and every time we play these guys they’ve been a tough team to play against."

Hordichuk will also be tasked with keeping an eye on some of the Oilers’ young stars. With Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov all in the lineup, it’s Hordichuk’s responsibility to make sure the opposition doesn’t take liberties with Edmonton’s core.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 2:44 PM

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

Czech mates set for Calgary debut

CALGARY, Alberta – Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka will both make their debut with the Calgary Flames Saturday in this season's first installment of the "Battle Of Alberta."

Hudler left training camp and missed the opening three games of the season for Calgary after tending to the passing of his father, Jiri Hudler Sr., in the Czech Republic.

Cervenka missed training camp with issues relating to a blood clot. After seeing a hematology expert at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, the Czech forward has been cleared to play and is ready to be inserted in the lineup against the Oilers for his first career National Hockey League game.

"He’s confident and good for him," Hudler said of his teammate and countryman. "He’s got his big day. We took a picture having breakfast this morning, his first game-day breakfast. It’s nice."

Though he's no stranger to NHL action, the game will hold special significance for Hudler, too. Saturday's match will mark the 29-year-old’s first in a Flames uniform after signing a four-year, $16-million contract in July.

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