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At the Rink blog
Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 3:28 PM

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

Flames turn back to Sarich for blue-line help

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames will have Cory Sarich in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 31 when they host the Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday night.

Sarich, a healthy scratch for the last four games, is eager to make his presence felt on the Flames' blueline.

"Playing good defense is the No. 1 key and then trying to get some licks in when I can has always been a big part of my game," Sarich said. "I think I'm usually at my best when I'm playing physical."

For the most part this season, the Flames have rotated Sarich, Chris Butler and Derek Smith in and out of the lineup. Anton Babchuk, who is ready to return from an upper-body injury, further crowds the blue line.

Sarich, who will step in for Smith, is already used to the rotation.

"I've seen it enough now that I know what I need to do personally," he said. "Mentally I've dealt with it enough I think in and out of the lineup over the last couple years that this isn't going to phase me."

Though Sarich will see action tonight, forward Michael Cammalleri will not.

Cammalleri, who has missed the last two games with a hip flexor, is ruled out for the contest according to coach Bob Hartley and has been placed on the injured reserve list retroactive to Feb. 5.

"He's getting much better," Hartley said. "He skated yesterday and he's getting closer so he's on the ice this morning with us. Cammy's doing better, but he will not be in the lineup tonight."

Here is a look at who will take to the ice for the Flames when they face the Wild.

Curtis GlencrossAlex TanguayJarome Iginla

Jiri HudlerBen StreetRoman Cervenka

Blake ComeauMatt StajanLee Stempniak

Steve BeginBlair JonesTim Jackman

Mark GiordanoJay Bouwmeester

Dennis WidemanTJ Brodie

Chris ButlerCory Sarich

Scratched: Anton Babchuk, Derek Smith

Injured: Mikael Backlund, Sven Baertschi, Michael Cammalleri, Miikka Kiprusoff

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 3:22 PM

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

Canucks turn back to Luongo on Tuesday

Roberto Luongo has been confirmed as the Vancouver Canucks starting goaltender for Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Wild (10 p.m. ET, TSN) at Rogers Arena.

Cory Schneider started the Canucks' game last week in Minnesota, where Luongo has had notoriously poor performances in his career. Schneider won and had a solid outing, and he got the nod again Saturday against Calgary, earning a 5-1 victory over the Flames.

This will be Vancouver's 12th game of the season and will mark an even split between Luongo and Schneider in terms of starts (Luongo also has one appearance in relief of Schneider in the season opener).

Luongo currently posts a 3-0-2 record with a 1.53 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

Schneider has won two straight for a 4-2-0 record with a 2.36 GAA and .921 save percentage.

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 3:10 PM

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

Backstrom to start in goal for Wild

CALGARY -- Niklas Backstrom is expected to make his fifth consecutive start when the Minnesota Wild visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

Wild coach Mike Yeo confirmed Backstrom would start after the team's morning skate, but said he didn't have a plan beyond Monday, even with a game in Vancouver on Tuesday.

"Just going into [Monday] right now," Yeo said. "Spent very little time thinking about [Tuesday]. That's important for our entire group, that we're not thinking about last game or [Tuesday's] game. We're just ready to play against a team that we know is going to be hungry and come out hard."

With just five goals in their last four games, Devin Setoguchi said the Wild will rely heavily on a strong performance from their goaltender.

"You need good goaltending in this League and we've got it," Setoguchi said. "We're not scoring goals, definitely [Backstrom] needs to play good and he has been and we need to help him out here."

Yeo ruled out the return of defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who will miss his ninth consecutive game with a lower-body injury.

"He's getting closer, yeah," Yeo said. "Conditioning-wise he's looking good. Ideally I wish we had a few practices here to get him in and see how he's looking, but he's getting closer.”

Here is the lineup the Wild are expected to ice against the Flames:

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Dany Heatley - Mikael Granlund - Devin Setoguchi

Matt Cullen - Kyle Brodziak - Cal Clutterbuck

Mike Rupp - Zenon Konopka - Pierre-Marc Bouchard

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Clayton Stoner - Tom Gilbert

Justin Falk - Nate Prosser

Niklas Backstrom

Josh Harding

Scratched: Matt Kassian, Torrey Mitchell, Marco Scandella

Injured: Jared Spurgeon

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 2:27 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Coyotes, Avalanche

DENVER -- Here are the projected lineups for Monday night's game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

COYOTES

Steve SullivanAntoine VermetteShane Doan

Mikkel BoedkerMartin HanzalRadim Vrbata

Lauri KorpikoskiBoyd GordonDavid Moss

Raffi TorresKyle ChipchuraNick Johnson

Oliver Ekman-LarssonZbynek Michalek

Keith YandleDerek Morris

Rostislav KleslaMichael Stone

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Scratches: Paul Bissonnette, Chris Summers

Injuries: Matthew Lombardi (upper body), David Schlemko (shoulder)

AVALANCHE

Jamie McGinnMatt DuchenePA Parenteau

Aaron PalushajPaul StastnyDavid Jones

Cody McLeodMichael SgarbossaMilan Hejduk

Chuck KobasewMark Olver -- Patrick Bordeleau

Ryan O'Byrne -- Jan Hejda

Erik JohnsonTyson Barrie

Greg ZanonShane O'Brien

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratches: None

Injuries: Steve Downie (knee), Matt Hunwick (torso), Gabriel Landeskog (head), John Mitchell (flu), Ryan Wilson (ankle)

Palushaj will make his Avalanche debut. He was claimed off waivers Feb. 5 from Montreal. Palushaj, 23, has one goal and four assists in 41 career NHL games. He had one goal and four assists in 38 games last season with the Canadiens, and 15 goals and 20 assists in 35 games with Hamilton in the American Hockey League.

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 2:07 PM

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

Projected lineups for Flyers, Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- Maple Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will remain out of the Toronto lineup with a nagging hip injury but hopes to return soon.

According to coach Randy Carlyle, forward Mike Brown will return to action sooner than Gunnarsson. Brown has not played since injuring his shoulder Jan 29 in a game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Here is the lineup the Maple Leafs likely will put on the ice as they search for their fourth straight win, something they haven't done since Jan. 3-10, 2012, as well as for the visiting Philadelphia Flyers:

MAPLE LEAFS

James Van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Leo Komarov - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin

Clarke MacArthur - Nazem Kadri - Matt Frattin

Frazer McLaren - Jay McClement - Colton Orr

Dion Phaneuf - Korbinian Holzer

John-Michael Liles - Michael Kostka

Cody Franson - Mark Fraser

James Reimer

Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Mike Komisarek

Injured: Carl Gunnarsson, Mike Brown, Joffrey Lupul

FLYERS

Danny Briere - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Jakub Voracek - Brayden Schenn - Tye McGinn

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Mike Knuble

Ruslan Fedotenko - Maxime Talbot - Zac Rinaldo

Kimmo Timonen - Luke Schenn

Nicklas Grossmann - Kurtis Foster

Braydon Coburn - Bruno Gervais

Ilya Bryzgalov

Brian Boucher

Scratched: Jody Shelley, Tom Sestito, Andreas Lilja

Injured: Scott Hartnell, Andrej Meszaros, Michael Leighton

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 1:32 PM

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

Projected lineups for Kings, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Probable lineups for Monday night's game between the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center:

KINGS

Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford - Jeff Carter - Justin Williams

Dwight King - Mike Richards - Jordan Nolan

Dustin Penner - Trevor Lewis - Jarret Stoll

Keaton Ellerby - Drew Doughty

Rob Scuderi - Slava Voynov

Alec Martinez - Davis Drewiske

Jonathan Bernier

Jonathan Quick

Scratches: Colin Fraser, Brad Richardson, Jake Muzzin

Injuries: Willie Mitchell (knee), Matt Greene (back)

Note: Kings coach Darryl Sutter would not comment on who the starting goalie will be or any other lineup changes, although Bernier was the only netminder on the ice for Monday's morning skate and Quick was working extensively with scratches late after regular skaters left. It comes on the heels of Quick giving up a goal to Detroit's Jonathan Ericsson with 4.5 seconds remaining of a 3-2 Red Wings victory Sunday afternoon, and the Kings are playing their first back-to-back set of the season.

"You are allowed to ask," Sutter said jokingly about his starting goaltender for the game. "... Injury [to Quick's] a non-issue. That's a long time ago. That's a player that got hurt last year playing this year. That's not a factor. The factor that we have now is performance. It's simple. We're giving up three goals a game and you'll win one in three, which is kind of what we're doing. We need better goaltending; it doesn't matter who our goalie is, to tell you the truth."

BLUES

Andy McDonald - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

David Perron - Alex Steen - Vladimir Tarasenko

Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart

Matt D'Agostini - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Ian Cole - Alex Pietrangelo

Wade Redden - Kevin Shattenkirk

Barret Jackman - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Scratches: Kris Russell, Jaden Schwartz

Injuries: Jamie Langenbrunner (hip)

Note: The Blues get Halak (groin strain) back tonight after he missed the previous three-plus games. He was injured in the first period of a 5-3 loss at Detroit on Dec. 1. Elliott was 0-3-1 in Halak's absence and his numbers have dipped to 3-4-1 with a 3.51 goals-against average and .853 save percentage after leading the National Hockey League in both categories a season ago while tying with nine shutouts.

"The goalie gets the focus when things aren't going well," Hitchcock said. "Sometimes it's warranted and sometimes it's not. I think this is a combination. If you're talking about telling the truth, this is a combination where we needed Ells to play better, but we needed to play better in front of him."

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 12:41 PM

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

Flames claim MacDonald on waivers from Red Wings

The Calgary Flames announced Monday that they have acquired goaltender Joey MacDonald off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

MacDonald, 33, has yet to play this season due to a back injury. He split last season between the Red Wings and their American Hockey League team, the Grand Rapids Griffins. In 14 NHL games, he went 8-5-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

Long-time Flames top goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Leland Irving has started the last two games, going 1-1-0 while allowing eight goals on 60 shots. His backup, Daniel Taylor, has played one NHL game, for the Los Angeles Kings in the 2007-08 season.

In 101 NHL games with the Red Wings, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, MacDonald is 31-48-13 with two shutouts, a 3.04 GAA and .913 save percentage.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 2:23 PM

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

Flyers place Leighton on IR, recall Boucher

The Philadelphia Flyers placed goalie Michael Leighton on injured reserve with an upper-body injury and recalled Brian Boucher from Adirondack of the American Hockey League.

Leighton has appeared in only one game this season, giving up five goals on 26 shots in a loss to Tampa Bay.

Boucher is in his third stint with the Flyers, having led the team to the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals as a rookie and shared goaltending duties with Leighton on their run to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 2:10 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Pittsburgh still holds fond memories for Hedberg

PITTSBURGH -- Johan Hedberg enters Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh's Uptown neighborhood, takes a peek across Center Avenue and sees an expanse of asphalt.

"It's hard to imagine what was there when you just see a parking lot," Hedberg said, referring to the former Mellon Arena.

Less than 12 years ago, the now-New Jersey Devils goalie was living one of the top feel-good stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins' 46-year-history on that very site. Acquired for seldom-used defenseman Bobby Dollas from the San Jose Sharks' International Hockey League affiliate in Winnipeg in March, Hedberg quickly became the go-to goalie for the Stanley Cup-contending Penguins over the next two months.

"It's been (12) years, but for me it's a special place to come back to," said Hedberg, who will start against his former team Sunday night. "(The Penguins) always are going to be special for me."

Hedberg made his NHL debut four days after the trade and went 7-1-1 down the stretch for a Pittsburgh team that boasted Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Alex Kovalev, but had a question mark in net. He immediately filled that need and was a big reason why the Penguins advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

He became a folk hero in Pittsburgh. The trade went down so fast he was still wearing the powder-blue helmet of the Manitoba Moose for the Penguins. Fans at Mellon Arena chanted "Mooooooooose" after Hedberg saves. Some wore foam moose ears.

"I thought it was a great story back then, especially because of the Moose chant," said Martin Brodeur, the player Hedberg now backs up on the Devils.

Brodeur's Devils ended Hedberg's run in 2001 with a five-game series win in the conference finals.

"We knew they were riding a hot goalie," Brodeur said Sunday. "We were fortunate enough to be able to solve him, I guess, in that series."

Hedberg said that as time goes by, he gets asked about his magical run less and less. He added that trips to Pittsburgh aren't nearly as emotional for him now that Mellon Arena has been razed.

"It doesn't have the same feeling with the new building," Hedberg said. "Not like coming back to the old Igloo."

The results haven't been the same, either. Hedberg has never won in Pittsburgh since being traded by the Penguins to the Vancouver Canucks for a second-round draft choice in August 2003.

He allowed four goals on 29 shots of a loss in his most recent start here on Oct. 22, 2011. Hedberg also made two starts in the three-year-old building during the 2010-11 season. In all, Hedberg is 0-3 with a 3.35 goals-against average and .889 save percentage at Consol Energy Center.

At Mellon Arena after leaving the Penguins, Hedberg was 0-1-1 with a 4.87 GAA and .848 save percentage.

The Devils are out to complete a home-and-home weekend sweep of the Penguins, with whom they are in a tight battle for first place in the Atlantic Division. With Brodeur in net Saturday, New Jersey went 2-for-10 on the power play in a 3-1 win.

"I don't think you're going to see the same kind of game tonight as we did last night," Hedberg said. "I'm sure they don't want to spend the time in the box as they did. We have to clear our minds and know what their tendencies are, but it's more focusing on what we want to do."

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 2:07 PM

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

Blues activate Halak off injured reserve

The struggling St. Louis Blues got positive news for a change Sunday when goaltender Jaroslav Halak was activated from injured reserve.

Halak, 27, has appeared in five games this season posting a 3-0-0 record including a 2.10 goals-against average and an .889 save percentage, and is tied for the NHL lead with two shutouts. He had been out with a groin injury.

The Blues are 0-3-1 since starting the season with six wins in their first seven games.

The team also assigned goaltender Jake Allen to their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, Peoria Rivermen.

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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure