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At the Rink blog
Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 12:35 PM

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

Lightning still adjusting following St. Louis trade

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning continue a six-game homestand hosting the Boston Bruins Saturday. In preparation, each team held an optional morning skate.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper skipped the morning media session, sending associate coach Rick Bowness in his place.

The Lightning are riding a three-game losing streak and slipping in the Stanley Cup Playoff race. But despite the distractions surrounding the recent trade of captain Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers, Bowness characterized the team as "pumped up about the challenge to play the Bruins."

"We all know what has happened lately but the atmosphere around the players is good," Bowness said. "We need some wins to take it to another level. We have to keep working and keep pushing until we get this thing turned around."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 11:18 AM

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

Avalanche look to make up ground against St. Louis

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche believe they are better prepared to handle the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at Pepsi Center than they were in two earlier meetings, both losses in November.

"In my opinion, we're a different team than the last two times we played them," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "We're playing better defensively and we made some adjustments in our system. I think it's good timing for us to see where we are against these guys. They made a couple trades, they have a new goalie [in Ryan Miller]. I think it's going to be interesting to see what we can do better. We'll see where we are."

Colorado (41-17-5) sits third in the jam-packed Central Division, three points behind first-place St. Louis (42-14-6) and one point behind the second-place Chicago Blackhawks (37-13-14).

"This is a big one," Avalanche center Matt Duchene said. "We've had this one marked on our calendar for a while."

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Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 3:06 PM

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

Ducks' Getzlaf ready for rare visit by Crosby, Penguins

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf smiled because he knew the questions were coming about playing against Sidney Crosby, his teammate with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will make a rare appearance at Honda Center on Friday to face Getzlaf's Anaheim Ducks. Crosby has come here three times previously, but not since 2010.

So what about facing that Crosby kid?

"How did I know that question was coming?" Getzlaf said. "Any time we're playing an opponent from the East we want to send a message that we can compete in both [conferences]. I think that Sid and the Penguins bring a big test in our building and we're excited about it, for sure."

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Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 2:56 PM

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

Wotherspoon latest Flames player to make NHL debut

CALGARY -- As Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley said, one's misfortune is another's opportunity.

With injuries plaguing his roster, Hartley will ice a lineup Friday against the New York Islanders that will feature eight rookies, the most first-year players to skate in a single game for the Flames since Dec. 10, 1996.

"Injuries, we can talk about them all day," Hartley said. "There's nothing we can do about this. We don't like it. You never want to see guys laying down on the table in the medical room. But at the same time we're playing a contact sport. It [injuries] opens doors to younger players to come in and grab ice time, grab roles, grab responsibility and fulfill their childhood dreams. I think it's great."

Hartley has had to juggle his lineup substantially of late with Kevin Westgarth, David Jones, Jiri Hudler and Dennis Wideman all sustaining injuries in the past week. He hasn't had Matt Stajan either due to personal reasons.

It's bred plenty of opportunity for Calgary's prospects.

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Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 1:58 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Playoff atmosphere as Red Wings host Devils

With the slightest of holds on the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Red Wings host a New Jersey Devils team Friday that sits two points behind them in the standings.

Two points don't get much bigger.

These teams will be renewing acquaintances after competing Tuesday at Prudential Center, where Stephen Gionta scored with 37 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Devils a 4-3 win.

The lineups will see some marked changes for the rematch at Joe Louis Arena. Martin Brodeur and Jimmy Howard started in net Tuesday; Jonas Gustavsson will be in goal for Detroit against Cory Schneider, who in his most recent start allowed four goals on 22 shots Sunday in a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

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Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 1:02 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Luongo ready for return engagement with Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Roberto Luongo talked at length about his return to the Florida Panthers the past two days, but Friday was time to get ready for his first game with his old/new team.

Luongo didn't address the media after the morning skate Friday, but his coach and teammates had plenty to say about Luongo's first game back in a Panthers uniform.

"It's a big game for our fans to see Roberto back in net and for us here to play a big game in front of him," forward Scottie Upshall said. "It's a big match."

The first game of Luongo's second stint with the Panthers will come Friday against the Buffalo Sabres at BB&T Center. It comes a little less than eight years after Luongo was traded from the Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks after five seasons in Florida.

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Posted On Friday, 03.07.2014 / 12:54 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Zuccarello expected back for Rangers

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The New York Rangers will try to snap a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) when they face the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

Forward Mats Zuccarello is expected to return to the New York lineup after sustaining a broken hand during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He has missed the first four games since the Rangers returned from the break.

Newly acquired forward Martin St. Louis will play his second game for the Rangers, who did not skate Friday morning. He recorded three shots in his debut Tuesday, playing on a line with Carl Hagelin and Brad Richards.

The Hurricanes come off a 3-2 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, snapping a five-game losing streak.

"We want to play a fast game here [Friday] and build off the game against San Jose, which is arguably our best game of the year," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "I thought our compete level was real high. We put pucks in an area where we were able to retrieve them and we were able to spend a lot of time in the offensive zone."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 5:36 PM

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

Penguins see multiple options with Goc, Stempniak

SAN JOSE -- Forwards Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak joined their new Pittsburgh Penguins teammates at SAP Center and likely will be in the lineup Thursday against the San Jose Sharks (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Goc and Stempniak, acquired Wednesday at the NHL Trade Deadline, arrived after the Penguins were off the ice following an optional morning skate. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said his lines and lineup would be "game-time" decisions, but the Penguins have 13 forwards on their active roster and one of them, Joe Vitale, stayed late on the ice, indicating he likely will be a healthy scratch.

When asked what he would tell his two new players, Bylsma sounded as if Goc, acquired from the Florida Panthers, and Stempniak, who arrived in a trade with the Calgary Flames, would make their Penguins debut against San Jose.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 3:52 PM

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

Islanders, Oilers turn focus to finishing strong

EDMONTON -- With the NHL Trade Deadline behind them, the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders have shifted their focus, trying to finishing disappointing seasons off strong.

The Oilers host the Islanders at Rexall Place on Thursday with each team out of the race for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and having traded away key players the day before. The Oilers traded forward Ales Hemsky to the Ottawa Senators while the Islanders made a late deal, sending forward Thomas Vanek to the Montreal Canadiens.

"We knew what the situation was going into the deadline," Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo said. "We knew who was going to move, although it's never an easy thing. Now that it's over, we can just kind of focus on playing."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.06.2014 / 3:10 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes counting on Erat to provide spark

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- New Phoenix Coyotes forward Martin Erat has scored one goal this season and news of his acquisition at the NHL Trade Deadline barely registered around the League compared to some of the other big names changing addresses Wednesday.

But the Coyotes are hoping that adding Erat from the Washington Capitals will have a ripple effect when the team makes a final push for a Western Conference playoff spot. That push begins Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes had an optional skate Thursday and coach Dave Tippett wouldn't say who he plans to play Erat with in his Phoenix debut. That might depend on whether center Martin Hanzal, who missed the 1-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and hasn't skated since, can play against Montreal.

Erat would make sense as a partner for fellow Czech forwards Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. The players know each other well, and Erat's pass-first mentality (23 assists) would give Hanzal and Vrbata the element they have been missing since Ray Whitney left as a free agent after the 2011-12 season.

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Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season