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Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 4:38 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche minus Stastny against Jets

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny has a back injury and won't play Monday against the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center.

Stastny, who has 20 goals and 27 assists in 58 games, was injured on his first shift in the opening minute Saturday in the Avalanche's 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said he had "no idea" when Stastny would be available, but is hopeful he'll be able to play Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Stastny missed two games earlier this season because of back spasms.

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon moved from right wing to center against the Blues after Stastny was injured and he'll be there again Monday, on a line with left wing Gabriel Landeskog and right wing Jamie McGinn, who has moved from the third line.

Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 4:17 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Maple Leafs' Holland gets first crack at facing Ducks

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks couldn't wait any longer for Peter Holland to grab hold of a center position in their lineup. Now they will get an up-close look how he has progressed.

Holland will play Anaheim on Monday night at Honda Center for the first time since the Ducks traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 16. He was the 15th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, but Holland couldn't carve out a spot in Anaheim's lineup after numerous training camps to prove he belonged there.

The Ducks were also deep at center, which didn't help, but Holland understands and looks forward to the game.

Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 4:12 PM

By Kevin Woodley - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks hope Jensen can spark offense

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella will tinker with his top line to find some needed offense against the New York Islanders on Monday.

In his second game since being called up from the American Hockey League on Friday, rookie right wing Nicklas Jensen will move up to play alongside center Henrik Sedin and left wing Alexandre Burrows. Given the lengthy scoring slumps of the other two first-line forwards, Jensen may be the one counted on to provide a spark.

Burrows has yet to score a goal in a season limited to 34 games by a variety of injuries, while Sedin doesn't have a point in 12 games and hasn't scored in 23 games. Jensen, a 21-year-old picked 29th in the 2011 NHL Draft, had nine goals in his past 14 AHL games before being held without a shot in 16:18 of ice time against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

"You need that as an organization to have young guys come in and get some minutes," Sedin said. "They play with a lot of excitement and energy. There are going to be some mistakes, but it's not like we've been mistake-free all the other nights either."

Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 3:39 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Kings hope to keep momentum going in Calgary

CALGARY -- The Los Angeles Kings hope to keep their post-Olympic roll going when they visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

The Kings have won seven straight dating to their final game prior to the Olympic break, the fourth-longest stretch in club history and longest since establishing a new franchise mark at nine from Jan. 21-Feb. 6, 2010.

"I think we're just back playing with confidence," said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. "We had a little bit of a down slope right before the Olympics. The guys really took it upon themselves to turn things around. We were drifting out of a playoff spot. We need to get back into that. We know how good this team can be when we do get into the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs."

The stingy Kings have allowed 10 goals during the streak. More surprisingly, Los Angeles has had an offensive outburst, finding the back of the net 22 times during the run.

The spike in offense, much like the Kings' turnaround, isn't much of a surprise to coach Darryl Sutter.

Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 3:00 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Thomas to make first start for Stars vs. Blue Jackets

DALLAS -- When the Dallas Stars host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night at American Airlines Center, the Stars will not only look to extend their current winning streak to three games, but also attempt to sweep a three-game homestand.

Dallas is six days removed from a 4-2 loss to Columbus at Nationwide Arena, a game where the Stars didn't start well and found themselves down 3-0 after one period. Avoiding a repeat of those opening 20 minutes is imperative for Dallas coach Lindy Ruff.

"Like I said, I thought we were kind of half-in in the game. We really didn't engage. I thought when we engaged, we played pretty well. Fought hard to get back in the game but didn't quite get it done," Ruff said. "I thought last couple games here at home, we've done a real good of job coming out and playing hard early, like to build off of that."

Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 2:42 PM

By Sean Farrell - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Trotz wants struggling Predators to 'stay the course'

OTTAWA -- Both the Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators are on the outside looking in at the Stanley Cup Playoff picture.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz recognizes Ottawa has a better vantage point at the moment on playing later into April as the two teams get ready for their game Monday at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Predators arrive in Canada's capital on a four-game losing streak and with one win in their past eight games (1-5-2). Nashville (26-28-10) is last in the Central Division with 62 points and 12th in the Western Conference, 10 points behind the Dallas Stars, who currently hold the second wild-card spot.

Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 1:54 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes' Smith returns to face Lightning

TAMPA -- When the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday, a familiar goaltender will be on the ice, but at the opposite end from what once was his accustomed spot.

Mike Smith, who played for the Lightning from 2007-11, makes his return to Tampa Bay Times Forum, and in the time since he left much has changed for the 31-year-old goalie.

When Smith was obtained in a trade with the Dallas Stars, hopes were high that Tampa Bay had settled its goaltending picture for the foreseeable future.

It didn't work that way. Smith occasionally flashed signs of brilliance but was inconsistent and finished his time in Tampa Bay with a demotion to the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.

"It was a tough situation, being sent to the minors," Smith said. "I never thought I'd play in the NHL again so I was just making the best of the situation. Obviously I got a second chance and I was very fortunate."

Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 12:20 PM

By Adam Vingan - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Capitals to start Kuznetsov on fourth line

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov will make his highly anticipated NHL debut Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

The 21-year-old, Washington's first-round pick (No. 26) in the 2010 NHL Draft, will start on the fourth line with center Jay Beagle and right wing Tom Wilson.

Though the idea of slotting Kuznetsov in alongside center Nicklas Backstrom and right wing Alex Ovechkin certainly is tantalizing, coach Adam Oates said he wants to manage Kuznetsov's minutes as he acclimates himself to the NHL.

"I think it makes sense to start him on that line no matter what quite honestly, in fairness to the other guys," Oates said. "Obviously everybody's excited to see him, but for the team he's got to earn his stripes.

"I think starting him there and let him ease into the team and the system and not put him in a situation where he might make a mistake right off the hop and get off on the wrong foot, I think it makes sense to do it that way."

Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 3:55 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bryzgalov expected to make Wild debut

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to debut with his new team Sunday against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center.

Bryzgalov, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, was 5-8-5 with a 3.01 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 20 appearances with the Oilers this season. The Wild, playing the second-half of back-to-back games, lost 4-3 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper made his 16th consecutive start in goal and the Wild will play 19 games in 36 days to finish the season.

Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 2:24 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Oilers' Scrivens to face Kings for first time since trade

EDMONTON -- Ben Scrivens bears no ill will towards the Los Angeles Kings.

Had it not been for his time in Los Angeles behind Jonathan Quick, Scrivens may not be in a situation to establish himself as a starting goaltender with the Edmonton Oilers.

Sunday night, when the Oilers play the Kings, Scrivens will face his former team for the first time since being traded to Edmonton. Quick will start in goal for Los Angeles.

"They gave me an opportunity to develop my game even further, so I'm extremely thankful for that," Scrivens said. "Both teams tried to make a move to make them a better team, so no hard feelings. I'm an Edmonton Oiler now and it's good to be home. I'm just going to try to play the game like I normally would."

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