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Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 2:13 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Conacher to debut for Sabres against Blackhawks

BUFFALO – Cory Conacher will make his Buffalo Sabres debut when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Conacher was picked up on waivers Wednesday from the Ottawa Senators, but hasn't been able to play due to visa issues. With those problems taken care of, Conacher, who played hockey at Canisius College in Buffalo, will make his first start with the Sabres at home.

"It's nice to be back here," Conacher said. "Ever since I came here with Canisius, it was a city I fell in love with pretty quick. It's close to home for me, so I probably have a lot of tickets to account in some of these games."

Posted On Sunday, 03.09.2014 / 11:50 AM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rangers' Lundqvist seeks 300th career win

NEW YORK -- One of the world's busiest goaltenders will remain in the crease Sunday afternoon when Henrik Lundqvist starts for the New York Rangers against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden.

Lundqvist enters the Sunday matinee one win short of 300 for his career. He is also two wins shy of Mike Richter's franchise record of 301.

If Lundqvist continues with his frantic pace of late, he should be New York's career wins leader within days. He played six games for Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the most of any goaltender in the tournament, and had a 1.50 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in leading the Swedes to the silver medal.

Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 6:59 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Khudobin in net for Hurricanes vs. Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Carolina Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin will be in net for a third straight game when his team plays the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Saturday.

Khudobin made 40 saves in a 4-2 loss against the New York Rangers on Friday at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. The 27-year-old goalie was named the game's first star.

For the season, Khudobin is 14-9-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 6:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils' Brodeur looking for third straight win

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is scheduled to earn his third start in five games when his team faces the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at Prudential Center.

Brodeur, who is 15-11-4 with a 2.49 goals-against average and .899 save percentage this season, has won his past two starts. Brodeur is 38-16-6 with a 2.07 goals-against average and nine shutouts in 61 career games against the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller doesn't announce his starting goalie until after pregame warmups. Cam Ward (6-9-5, 3.23 GAA, .891 save percentage), who is 9-12-2 with a 2.83 GAA and .899 save percentage in 23 career matches against the Devils, is the expected starter. The veteran goalie last won a game on Dec. 31, a 5-4 overtime victory against the Montreal Canadiens. Anton Khudobin stopped a season-high 40 shots in a 4-2 loss against the New York Rangers on Friday.

Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 5:21 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Murray, with Canadiens, returns to face Sharks

SAN JOSE -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray is braced for an emotional homecoming Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks when he faces his former team for the first time since being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins last March.

"It's special," Murray said after the Canadiens morning skate. "Can't really describe it yet. I think I've got to go through it to understand it. I obviously had a great 7-1/2 years here and loved everything about it. Have a lot of close friends in the area. It's exciting."

Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 4:13 PM

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

Call-up Jensen hopes to spark struggling Canucks

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks don't have a lot of young, promising forward prospects to call up from the American Hockey League, but they'll get a good look at one in Nicklas Jensen against the Calgary Flames Saturday night.

Jensen celebrated his 21st birthday on Thursday, was called up from the Utica Comets on Friday and will start against the Flames in a top-six role, playing right wing with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins.

The slumping Canucks have scored nine goals in their past nine games and hope Jensen can provide a needed offensive boost after scoring nine goals in his past 14 games in the AHL.

"He's come alive of late," coach John Tortorella said. "I'm going to put him in an offensive position at the start and see where we go."

The Canucks haven't looked like they are going anywhere lately.

A stretch of one win in 12 games has dropped Vancouver to 11th in the Western Conference and sparked talk of a need to rebuild a franchise thin on offensive forward prospects. When top-six right wing Zack Kassian was suspended three games for his hit on Dallas Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon in a 6-1 loss on Thursday, the Canucks finally turned to Jensen.

Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 2:38 PM

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

Stars hope to honor Modano with win against Wild

DALLAS -- When the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars meet Saturday night at American Airlines Center, much of the attention will be focused on the pregame ceremony to retire the No. 9 of former Stars franchise icon Mike Modano.

Dallas center Jamie Benn is one of two Stars who was a teammate of Modano, and the current captain considers it an honor to have skated with such a truly incomparable player.

"Obviously, he's a special player, a big part of the Dallas Stars organization and growing hockey here in Texas," Benn said. "He's still pretty much the face of the franchise and he always will be."

Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 2:19 PM

By John Manasso - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets shuffle lines against Predators

NASHVILLE -- Coming off a disappointing 6-1 loss Thursday to the Chicago Blackhawks that snapped a three-game winning streak, the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to shuffle their forwards when they visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The Blue Jackets also might have a new face on defense, as well, owing to a slew of injuries to their blue line.

Columbus coach Todd Richards said forward Blake Comeau, who has played in one of the past 20 games because of a knee injury, would return, as would Corey Tropp.

"Adding Tropp in the lineup, Comeau in the lineup, some physical players … getting some guys in the lineup, some straight-line players that can hopefully provide a physical edge for us but also just a spark in getting in on the forecheck," Richards said.

Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 1:35 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Maple Leafs' Clarkson could miss game against Flyers

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs may be without forward David Clarkson when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

Clarkson left the optional morning skate early with a pulled muscle and is questionable to play Saturday, according to Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle.

"We have the ability to recall people, we have the ability to go with 11 [forwards] and seven [defensemen]," Carlyle said about what he might do if Clarkson can't play. "So there are some options. It's always tough when you're missing quality players, and nobody wants to do that. But in the situation, if the player is not deemed healthy by our medical staff and himself, then we have no other choice than to make decisions."

Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 12:41 PM

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

Capitals stuck in neutral, look for answers

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals trudged listlessly through the start of consecutive losses to the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins earlier this week.

In their 6-4 loss to the Flyers on Wednesday, the Capitals registered a season-low eight shots through two periods, a total they matched the following evening in a 3-0 loss to the Bruins before finishing with a season-low 16.

The Capitals, who have been held to five or fewer shots in five of their past seven periods of regulation, pinpointed neutral-zone play as the source of their recent offensive frustration.

Against the Bruins in particular, the Capitals' poorly placed dump-ins allowed Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask to quickly reverse the flow before they could establish any sort of forecheck.

In preparation for the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday, Washington placed added emphasis on execution between the blue lines.

"It was the first thing in our meeting today," coach Adam Oates said. "Our neutral zone has to be better in terms of getting through their wave so we can put the puck in the right spot where we can actually forecheck, and if we don't, what's our fallout plan."

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Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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