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Posted On Tuesday, 12.17.2013 / 11:12 AM

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

Stars back home for second crack at Avalanche

After a solid 6-3 win on Saturday at Winnipeg, the Dallas Stars headed into their game Monday with the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center looking to finish their three-game Central Division road trip on a high note.

However, the Stars were overwhelmed by the speed of the Avalanche, who lit the lamp four times in the middle frame, including a goal with three seconds left to make it 5-1 heading into the second intermission.

"I think just as a team, we kind of got away from our game there," said Stars rookie defenseman Kevin Connauton, who had his first NHL goal late in the first period. "We handed them some easy chances and they've got so much skill up front that if you're going to give them looks like that they're going to bury them."

Posted On Monday, 12.16.2013 / 4:24 PM

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

Roy wants to see Avalanche get more pucks to net

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said a lack of confidence has been a major factor in the team's recent offensive woes. The Avalanche have scored 12 goals during a 2-3-1 slump heading into their game Monday against the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche have been held to one goal three times and to two goals once in the streak. Colorado also has failed to score a power-play goal in 10 consecutive games, going 0-for-26 in this stretch.

"Put pucks at the net, simple things, and bear down on our chances," Roy said after the morning skate. "Right now we don't shoot with the confidence we should. All I'm asking is put pucks at the net and traffic. They have one of the best goalies [Kari Lehtonen] in the League and we're going to have to be good around the net if we want to score goals."

The Stars' power play hasn't been much better, going 2-for-21 in the past four games.

Posted On Monday, 12.16.2013 / 2:52 PM

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

Blues make lineup adjustments for Senators

OTTAWA -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is going to wait as long as he can before deciding whether forwards Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka will play against the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

"They're both banged up, like a lot of guys on our team," Hitchcock said after neither St. Louis forward took part in the team's morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre.

Schwartz and Sobotka played Saturday in the Blues' 4-3 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets that began their two-game road trip.

"We went the other way against Columbus and neither guy was effective in the tail end of the game," Hitchcock said. "It's not starting the game, it's finishing the game. And for us, if we feel like we want them to finish the game, then we're going to have to give them as much rest as we can so that they're ready to go, so we opted not to skate them [Monday]."

Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester were split during the game against the Blue Jackets, resulting in new defensive pairings.

"Quite frankly we weren't playing very good," Hitchcock said. "We weren't playing very good defensively and we needed to make some adjustments."

Posted On Monday, 12.16.2013 / 1:27 PM

By Craig Merz - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Jets look to Kane for spark in return from injury

COLUMBUS -- Winnipeg Jets left wing Evander Kane hopes his return Monday at the Columbus Blue Jackets can help put an end to a three-game winless streak.

Kane has missed the past six games since Dec. 2 with a lower-body injury, but will play alongside new linemates in Mark Scheifele and Michael Frolik.

"Getting the legs going is probably the biggest thing, hopefully feeling the puck early on and putting the puck in their zone," Kane said. "Getting on the forecheck and getting some scoring opportunities is what I'm trying to do the first period."

Kane had seven goals and seven assists in 26 games before the injury. The Jets (14-15-5) went 2-3-1 in his absence.

"It will be good to get him back in the game," Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said. "He just needs to get himself going the best he can. How much he'll play is to be determined by different factors. He's a guy that can have an impact on the game and create some offense."

Posted On Monday, 12.16.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Without Malkin, Letang, Penguins looking younger

PITTSBURGH -- The largest set of injuries the Pittsburgh Penguins have faced this season will lead to a nearly unrecognizable Pittsburgh lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Forward Evgeni Malkin, who sustained a lower-body injury against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, is day-to-day and will not play Monday, according to coach Dan Bylsma. He also said defenseman Kris Letang has been placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

Sidney Crosby said his team will need to play at its best to compensate for the injuries.

"I think you want to make sure you're at your best," Crosby said. "I think that's always the case but I think it's pretty natural when guys are missing for everyone to want to pick it up a little bit more and find ways when guys are out."

Posted On Monday, 12.16.2013 / 9:40 AM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Penguins recall Samuelsson, Zolnierczyk

Defenseman Philip Samuelsson, a second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2009 NHL Draft and son of two-time Stanley Cup winner Ulf Samuelsson, was recalled by the team Monday from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.

The Penguins also recalled forward Harry Zolnierczyk. Both could be available for Pittsburgh's game Monday against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Samuelsson has six assists, a plus-3 rating and 35 penalty minutes in 26 AHL games this season. The Penguins are battling numerous injuries on their blue line that have sidelined Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi and Paul Martin.

Posted On Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 6:01 PM

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

Goaltending has helped Flames exceed expectations

NEW YORK -- In what was supposed to be a rebuilding season for the Calgary Flames, goaltending was the biggest issues during training camp. With longtime franchise goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff retiring after nine seasons in Calgary, there were plenty of question marks surrounding the Flames' crease.

But as the Flames have managed to defy expectations in 2013-14, a major key for them has been the contributions from goaltender Karri Ramo, who will make his third start in four days when the Flames take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

"Our goaltending has been really solid," Flames associate coach Jacques Cloutier said. "Karri Ramo has been playing extremely well of late. He's a big reason we're able to win games."

Posted On Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 5:47 PM

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

Kings, Blackhawks face off in playoff rematch

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks are ready to pick up where they left off last spring.

Two of the top three teams in the Western Conference will face each other Sunday night at United Center for the first time since Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane scored 11:40 into the second overtime of Game 5, in the same arena, to end their 2013 Western Conference Final series.

Each team is finding ways to win without their top goalie, but the results Saturday were split. The Kings, who are still without goalie Jonathan Quick (groin), beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2 at Canadian Tire Centre before the Blackhawks, playing without Corey Crawford (lower body), lost 7-3 to theToronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre to end a three-game winning streak.

Los Angeles also extended its streak of not allowing a first-period goal to 18 straight games and has a record of 13-1-4 in that span.

Posted On Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 5:39 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Huberdeau out; backup goalies start for Panthers, Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Jonathan Huberdeau missed the Florida Panthers game against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday with a foot injury.

Huberdeau took a shot off the foot but finished the Panthers' game Friday against the Washington Capitals, taking part in the shootout that gave Florida a 3-2 victory.

Posted On Sunday, 12.15.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flames stick with Ramo in net against Rangers

The Calgary Flames will start Karri Ramo in goal for the second consecutive game Sunday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Ramo stopped 27 shots in the Flames' 2-1 overtime victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Ramo has 131 saves on 138 shots in his past six games. He is 4-1 in his past five, allowing only a goal in each of his victories. For the season he is 6-5-1 with a .907 save percentage and a 2.67 goals-against average in 14 games.

"It's a progression rather than a change," coach Bob Hartley told the Flames' official website. "I think for him, it was important that he got a feel back for the league, size of the rinks, the shooters.

"We have two great students in net. They work very hard with [goalie coach] Clint [Malarchuk], they watch tape, they look at other team's lineup, they work on the ice. It's nice. Plus I think our total team game is getting better also."

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Quote of the Day

We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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