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At the Rink blog
Posted On Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 1:46 PM

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

Maple Leafs won't make changes if St. Louis plays

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers are hoping to have Martin St. Louis in their lineup Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden. But the Leafs won't be making any tweaks in their game plan, regardless of whether or not St. Louis makes it to the Rangers' locker room in time to play.

St. Louis, the defending Art Ross Trophy winner, was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline for Ryan Callahan and two draft picks.

"You have two players that are the faces of their franchise exchanging places. Those are big deals, but we can only worry about what we have to do," Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said after the team's morning skate. "We always respect the opposition. We know the Rangers are going to play an aggressive forechecking style of hockey. They're going to come after us. It doesn't matter if Marty St. Louis is there or not. We've got to be ready to play our game and manage the puck properly."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 6:41 PM

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

Oilers to dress college goaltender as backup

The Edmonton Oilers will dress University of Alberta goaltender Kurtis Mucha as the backup to Ben Scrivens when they host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

Mucha is doing his second tour of duty with an NHL team this season; he filled in for the Boston Bruins during their practice in Edmonton..

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 5:10 PM

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

Sharks stick with Stalock against Hurricanes

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks backup goaltender Alex Stalock will get a second straight start for the first time in his NHL career Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at SAP Center.

Stalock is 10-4-0 with a 1.78 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. He won two games on the Sharks' recent three-game road trip, beating the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils while allowing a combined five goals on 53 shots.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he's playing the hot hand but is also giving No. 1 goaltender Antti Niemi more time to adjust after his return from the 2014 Sochi Olympics with Finland's bronze medal-winning team.

"He's playing well right now," McLellan said of Stalock. "He's won some games for us. He looks comfortable in the net. Gives [Niemi] time to come home. When you think of his trip back from Europe, he hasn't had any practice time. So it gives him a day here to skate and another one tomorrow."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 4:04 PM

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

Oilers, Senators waiting for chips to fall

EDMONTON -- With the NHL Trade Deadline approaching and the rumor mill swirling, there was uneasiness in both the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators dressing room Tuesday morning.

The Oilers executed a couple of trades following their morning skate, acquiring goaltender Viktor Fasth from the Anaheim Ducks, and then sending Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wild.

The Oilers announced University of Alberta Golden Bears goalie Kurtis Mucha will dress as the backup. The Sherwood Park, Alberta native is doing his second tour of duty with an NHL team, after he filled in for the Boston Bruins during their practice in Edmonton earlier this season.

Earlier in the day, the Oilers also waived defenseman Corey Potter.

With the team out of the playoff race, other chips are expected to fall prior to the deadline Wednesday.

"You just have to go about your business," Oilers center Sam Gagner said. "I think for me, I feel like I can make improvements and that's what I'm focusing on right now.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 3:10 PM

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

Predators also expect Spaling back vs. Penguins

NASHVILLE -- In addition to franchise goaltender Pekka Rinne, center Nick Spaling was expected to return to the Nashville Predators lineup on Tuesday for the first time since Jan. 31, after suffering a lower-body injury.

When he was injured, Spaling had had three goals and three assists in his past seven games. Spaling's nine goals last season were tied for fourth on the team.

"Nick brings a pretty complete game," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "[Spaling] was having a pretty solid offensive and defensive year. Obviously, he got hurt right before the Olympics. He was playing with a lot of confidence. He's a guy that has good instincts. He doesn't cheat on the ice. He plays the game 200 feet. … He will help the penalty kill, he'll help our depth, all those things."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:45 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Saad's versatility key for Blackhawks with Hossa out

CHICAGO -- A combination of skill and versatility make Brandon Saad a valuable asset for the Chicago Blackhawks, who are prepared to lean heavily on the second-year forward to fill in for injured Marian Hossa.

Saad's two-way style is even starting to resemble Hossa's, so it's not too surprising he'll get the first look to fill the Blackhawks' vacant spot at right wing on the top line Tuesday night at United Center in a big game against the Colorado Avalanche.

After playing all of last season on the left side of that line, Saad has shifted around the lineup this season. He's played on both wings, on the second and third lines, and even dabbled a bit at center in training camp. That experience could now pay off in a pinch for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who expect to be without Hossa for 2-3 weeks.

"It's huge to have depth on a team," Saad said following Chicago's morning skate. "Injuries are going to happen, so I think with the team we have and the depth we have, it's why we had success before. To be able to fill those roles or take [people's] places as best you can, it's a huge help to the team."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:41 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Amid trade rumors, Islanders set to face surging Jets

WINNIPEG -- Stuck in a 2-7-1 slide, the New York Islanders face the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday along with many trade rumors.

Defenseman Andrew MacDonald was traded Tuesday afternoon to the Philadelphia Flyers for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, a second-round pick in 2015 and center Matt Mangene.

Left wing Thomas Vanek may also be on the move leading into the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET.

Though the Islanders have a game to play against the Jets, they have not been able to seal off their dressing room completely from the trade talk that is dominating television and radio as they begin their four-game journey through Western Canada this week.

"The bottom line is that you have to try not to think about it, it's really out of your control at this point," Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic said after the team's morning skate at MTS Centre. "If management is going to make a move, they're going to make a move. You try not to worry about it, but as a player it definitely looms over your head."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:32 PM

NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Canucks, Coyotes plagued by injury issues, slumps

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With injury issues and the NHL Trade Deadline looming, the slumping Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes play a pivotal game at Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday that could have a tangible effect on what their teams might look like the next day.

The Coyotes have lost four in a row and five of their past six games and are 0-2-1 since the Olympic break. Phoenix is two points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Stanley Cup Playoff spot in the Western Conference but three teams, including Vancouver, are between Phoenix and Dallas.

Both teams are coming off frustrating and important losses at home Sunday, each blowing a 2-0 lead and losing a key forward to injury.

Vancouver lost forward Daniel Sedin to a left leg injury in its 4-2 loss against the Ottawa Senators when he was hit along the end boards by Senators defenseman Marc Methot.

"He's out for a while," Vancouver coach John Tortorella said Tuesday of Sedin. The Canucks are now 1-8-1 in the past 10 games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 2:02 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Filppula plans to return for Lightning; Stamkos close

ST. LOUIS -- The Tampa Bay Lightning are on the verge of getting a pair key pieces back into their lineup.

Steven Stamkos, who's missed 44 games since a horrific injury against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 11 that saw him break his right tibia, continues to progress and skated again with the Lightning on Tuesday morning ahead of Tampa Bay's matchup with the St. Louis Blues (8 p.m., NBCSN, TSN2).

Stamkos will not play Tuesday but hasn't ruled out a home game Thursday against the Buffalo Sabres. First, the team will look at another X-ray in order to determine just how good the bone is.

"I feel great. I feel the last two weeks, I've felt ready to play," Stamkos said. "We'll see what happens [Wednesday].

"It feels way better than it did a month ago. It's only going to continue to get better. We've been skating, we've been pushing it off the ice, we've been doing a lot of single-leg testing. It feels as good as it's going to get for the rest of this year. It feels pretty much the same as my other leg. It's kind of not based on how I feel, it's how the X-ray looks. I'm hoping third time's a charm. Hopefully that holds true [Wednesday]."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.04.2014 / 1:36 PM

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

Red Wings' Datsyuk day-to-day with knee issue

NEWARK, N.J. -- Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard will get the start against New Jersey Devils veteran Martin Brodeur on Tuesday in a battle of teams jockeying for playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Howard, who is 1-1-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in two career starts against the Devils, will have to be at his best with forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss, and defenseman Jakub Kindl, all sidelined by injury. Zetterberg had back surgery on Feb. 21 and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

Datsyuk sustained a lower-body injury in the first period of a victory against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. He told reporters Monday that he's dealing with an "issue with my knee and looking day-to-day."

Joakim Andersson will take Datsyuk's spot on the top line, centering Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen.

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