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At the Rink blog
Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 7:10 PM

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

Devils' Zidlicky scratched with upper-body injury

NEW YORK -- New Jersey Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky will be sidelined with an upper-body injury on Saturday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The announcement was made by the Devils during pre-game warmups.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 6:09 PM

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

Capitals' Brouwer staying calm despite slow start

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Before the 2013-14 season, Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates singled out right wing Troy Brouwer when asked which player he expected to enjoy a breakout year.

It was a sensible prediction considering Brouwer's success in 2012-13. In 47 games, the 28-year-old finished second on the Capitals with 19 goals, which put him on pace for a career-high 33 over a full season. With his new role as the finisher on the second line, Brouwer enjoyed the new responsibilities bestowed upon him by the Washington coaching staff.

That is why Brouwer is taking his slow start this season so seriously. He has five goals and nine points, with one goal at even strength. It's a far cry from the numbers he expected from himself at this juncture.

"Coming off a season like last year where I was one of the guys who was looked at to put points on the board, be an impact every game, those expectations were a little bit higher than they have been in previous years," Brouwer told NHL.com. "Maybe that's the reason why I feel that I'm struggling, because I feel I should be doing more. I should be scoring more goals and putting up more points."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 5:35 PM

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

Young players focus for Red Wings, Panthers

With captain Henrik Zetterberg still out with a back injury and forward Pavel Datsyuk not cleared to play after sustaining a concussion, the Detroit Red Wings will again rely on their top prospects when they face another youthful team, the Florida Panthers, Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

Datsyuk has missed six games but is expected back in the lineup Tuesday when Detroit completes the home-and-home with Florida and starts a two-game road trip. Zetterberg has missed two games but was at practice Saturday and praised the young Red Wings who have picked up the offensive slack.

That group is headed by forwards Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, who were members of the Grand Rapids team that won the Calder Cup last summer. The pair have found chemistry with the Red Wings and combined for three points Friday in a 3-1 win against the New Jersey Devils. Tatar has four goals in his past five games.

"Guys are having an opportunity to play and they've been doing well. I think Tatar and Gus do great stuff all the time they're on the ice," Zetterberg told the Red Wings website. "Obviously you don't want to see injuries, but it's how you play through that as a team, sometimes it will make teams stronger."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 4:06 PM

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

Goaltender Jones could get another start for Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Was the impressive NHL debut of goalie Martin Jones enough to earn him another start for the Los Angeles Kings?

It was difficult to tell if Jones would be back in goal Saturday night, when the Kings play the New York Islanders. Jones left the ice first at the morning skate, but usual starter Ben Scrivens wasn't far behind. Kings coach Darryl Sutter doesn't reveal his starting goalie, so it was anybody's guess.

Thrown into a rivalry game against an Anaheim Ducks team that hasn't lost in regulation on home ice, Jones made 26 saves and stopped all nine shooters in a 3-2 shootout win Tuesday in his first NHL game.

Scrivens has gone 6-1-3 in place of injured Jonathan Quick (groin). The first win of that stretch came against the Islanders on Nov. 14. Sutter has lately been stingy with the praise of Scrivens and said he's seen cracks in his game.

"I think he's been off and on lately," Sutter said. "To be able to win on a consistent basis and play at a high level is not just the physical, it's the mental part of it, and when you're not used to doing it, it trickles into your game."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 3:49 PM

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

Smid returns for latest Oilers-Flames rivalry game

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames can still get temperatures rising. Saturday, the teams meet in the second game of the season series, at Rexall Place.

"Hockey is like everything, it goes in cycles," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "Both franchises are in unbelievable hockey markets. Right now we're in a rebuilding phase and there is no secret formula, you need time.

"With time you're going to have growing pains. You see some bright flashes, you look at [Calgary's] Sean] Monahan and [Edmonton's] Taylor Hall and [Nail] Yakupov, and those guys are the building blocks. You need to surround them with quality veterans. You look at teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks a few years ago, they went through the same thing and today they're leaders in the League."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:32 PM

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

Blues could be without Steen against Ducks

ST. LOUIS -- Forward Alexander Steen is the latest St. Louis Blues player to get hit with the flu bug.

Steen, who leads the Blues with 20 goals and is second to Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (21) for the NHL lead, will be a game-time decision when the Blues (19-5-3) host the Anaheim Ducks (19-7-5) in a battle of Western Conference heavyweights Saturday night.

It started when forward Chris Stewart was the first to get sick when the Blues visited the Buffalo Sabres, but he played. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk missed the Nov. 25 home game against the Minnesota Wild because of illness, and left wing Magnus Paajarvi sat out a 3-2 loss Monday against the Los Angeles Kings.

"Same rules ... doesn't feel well, stay home, stay away from the rest of us," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Steen, who leads the team with 32 points in 27 games. "Everybody else has been able to play that's been sick.

"We'll see how he feels later in the day. Rather than infect the rest of us, he didn't feel well and just stayed home."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:27 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres hope to surprise hot Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Buffalo Sabres are hoping a game against the NHL's hottest team can help turn around their season.

No NHL team can match the Montreal Canadiens' 8-0-1 record over their past nine games, and the Sabres are hoping to put an end to that hot streak Saturday at Bell Centre.

With a 6-21-2 record through 29 games, the Sabres are on pace for just under 40 points in 82 games, which would be by far the lowest total since the introduction of the shootout in 2005-06. The 2006-07 Philadelphia Flyers had 56 points.

"Well, we're definitely not proud of it, to be honest with you," Sabres captain Steve Ott said. "We're not happy with our record, but our process needs to continue to work. No one has packed it in for the season. We have a lot of hockey games left and we want to continue to make a stand.

"A game like tonight is a perfect instance when you have a hot team that's 8-0-1 in the last little while. There's no better feeling than a team like us coming in and hopefully giving them a good show and maybe sneaking in a win."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:12 PM

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

Ellis gets start for Stars against Flyers

DALLAS -- Dan Ellis is the starting goaltender for the Dallas Stars in an afternoon game with the Philadelphia Flyers at American Airlines Center. Ellis, who is 2-3-0 with a 3.52 goals-against average, is making his sixth start of the season for Dallas.

Kari Lehtonen had started the previous four games for the Stars. Ellis' last start came on Nov. 26 when he stopped 28 of 31 shots in a 5-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Steve Mason is in goal for the Flyers.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:03 PM

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

Senators not taking battered Maple Leafs lightly

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza said he expects the Toronto Maple Leafs to compete through their injuries with the Battle of Ontario set to resume Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Maple Leafs, who did not hold a morning skate, put center Tyler Bozak on long-term injured reserve earlier in the week because of an oblique strain he suffered Tuesday in a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks that ran their losing streak to five.

Toronto, which snapped its skid Thursday with a 3-2 overtime win against the Dallas Stars, was already missing center Dave Bolland, who has been sidelined since Nov. 2 with an ankle injury.

"We know that they've had injuries, but if you look at us the last couple of years, we've had lots of injuries and managed to play well," Spezza said after Ottawa held an optional skate Saturday. "Injuries can be an opportunity for other guys to step up, so you don't take any team lightly. It doesn't matter who they are or who's hurt, there are some good hockey players on both teams and you don't take anybody for granted, or take anybody lighter."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 1:26 PM

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

Lightning scramble to field healthy lineup

TAMPA -- With injuries wreaking havoc with their regular lineup, the Tampa Bay Lightning are dodging and weaving to put skaters on the ice against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning lost defensemen Victor Hedman to a lower-body injury and Keith Aulie with a broken hand during a win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. On the plus side, defensemen Radko Gudas and Eric Brewer, who have sat out five and two games respectively, appear ready to return.

"They should be good," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

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Quote of the Day

Great players need great players to play with. That's why we'll have a training camp and we'll find who the best two guys are suited to play with Stamkos.

— Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on Steven Stamkos' potential linemates for the 2014-15 season