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At the Rink blog
Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 1:43 PM

By Alan Robinson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Sick Fleury to get night off; Vokoun in for Caps

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has an undisclosed illness, which means backup Brent Johnson is expected to start Thursday against Washington (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US), his former club. Fleury would be the backup.

Johnson has started once during the Penguins' first four games, their 2-1 shootout loss in Edmonton on Sunday, in which Johnson stopped 34 of 35 shots. Johnson played for the Capitals from 2005-09.

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said Tomas Vokoun would make his second start in goal. Michal Neuvirth has an undisclosed injury and did not make the trip to Pittsburgh. Braden Holtby was recalled from AHL Hershey and will be the backup.
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Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 1:40 PM

By Alan Robinson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Sid, Geno availability leaves Pens' lines a question

The Penguins' line combinations during the morning skate weren't what they'll use in the game since captain Sidney Crosby -- cleared for full contact in practice for the first time this season -- centered a line with Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis.

Joe Vitale, who had 2 assists in a 4-2 win against Florida on Tuesday, is expected to remain on that line.

Evgeni Malkin centered Steve Sullivan and James Neal on another line. Malkin has missed the last two games with right knee soreness and is a game-time decision. If he can't go, Mark Letestu likely would move into this spot.

The other Penguins lines were:

Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham - Richard Park - Craig Adams.

The defensemen pairs were:
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Kris Letang - Deryk Engelland.
Ben Lovejoy - Matt Niskanen

Brent Johnson will start in goal in place of Marc-Andre Fleury, who is sick, but still will serve as the backup.

More coming soon on the goaltender situation for both teams tonight.


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Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 1:02 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Canadiens, Flames

Here are the lines for tonight's game between the Canadiens and Flames tonight in Montreal, based on this morning practices.

CANADIENS
Max Pacioretty - Scott Gomez - Brian Gionta
Travis Moen - Tomas Plekanec - Erik Cole
Mathieu Darche - David Desharnais - Andrei Kostitsyn
Lars Eller - Andreas Engqvist - Aaron Palushaj

Hal Gill - P.K. Subban
Josh Gorges - Raphael Diaz
Alexei Emelin - Yannick Weber

Carey Price will start in goal, with Peter Budaj backing him up.

Injured and sitting out tonight are forwards Michael Cammalleri and Ryan White, and defensemen Chris Campoli, Jaroslav Spacek and Andrei Markov

FLAMES
Alex Tanguay - David Moss - Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Lee Stempniak
Tim Jackman - Roman Horak - Rene Bourque
Niklas Hagman - Matt Stajan - Tom Kostopoulos

Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
Derek Smith - Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff will start in goal, with Henrik Karlsson serving as the backup.

Forwards Brendan Morrison and Mikael Backlund are injured and will not play. Healthy but sitting out are forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and defenseman Anton Babchuk
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Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 12:50 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Lightning, Islanders

Here is what the lineups should look like for the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders when they meet tonight at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Neither team skated this morning, as both opted to only have meetings.

Both squads' lineups are expected to look very similar to their previous games. New York is coming off a 2-1 win against Minnesota on Monday afternoon, while the Lightning dropped a 6-5 shootout decision at Washington later that night.

LIGHTNING
Teddy Purcell - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Steve Downie - Vincent Lecavalier - Ryan Malone
Brett Connolly - Dominic Moore - Ryan Shannon
Adam Hall - Mattias Ritola - Nate Thompson

Victor Hedman - Eric Brewer
Brett Clark - Pavel Kubina
Marc-Andre Bergeron - Bruno Gervais

Dwayne Roloson, who turned 42 yesterday, gets the start in goal. Blair Jones, Tom Pyatt and Matt Gilroy will be the scratches.

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Brian Rolston - Josh Bailey - Blake Comeau
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Mike Mottau

Al Montoya will get his third straight start in goal, with Evgeni Nabokov dressing for the first time this season as the backup. Rick DiPietro is being re-evaluated today after being struck near the temple by a Rolston slap shot yesterday. Trevor Gillies skated this morning and is expected to be activated off the injured reserve list, but the Isles will again be without Nino Niederreiter and Milan Jurcina, who are out with groin injuries.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

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Posted On Thursday, 10.13.2011 / 12:22 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Avalanche, Senators

Here's what the projected lineups could look like for Thursday's game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. The Sens held a full practice, while the Avalanche had an optional skate, after their overtime victory in Columbus Wednesday night:

SENATORS

Milan MichalekStephane Da CostaDaniel Alfredsson
Colin GreeningJason SpezzaMika Zibanejad
Nick FolignoPeter ReginChris Neil
Zack SmithBobby Butler

Filip KubaErik Karlsson
Chris PhillipsDavid Rundblad
Jared CowenSergei Gonchar
Brian Lee

Craig Anderson will get his fourth-straight start in goal, with Alex Auld serving as backup.

Zenon Konopka skated with the fourth line in Tuesday's practice, but head coach Paul MacLean has made him a healthy scratch, along with Erik Condra and Nikita Filatov. MacLean did not specify who will be playing with Smith and Butler, so expect some line juggling, possibly with Colin Greening and Peter Regin seeing time on the fourth line.

MacLean is also going with seven defensemen, with Brian Lee returning to the lineup after being named a healthy scratch in Tuesday’s game against the Wild.

Thursday night will also be the debut of Ottawa's Heritage jersey.

AVALANCHE
Peter MuellerMatt DucheneMilan Hejduk
David JonesPaul StastnyChuck Kobasew
Gabriel LandeskogRyan O'ReillyDaniel Winnik
Cody McLeodJay McClementTJ Galiardi

Shane O'BrienKyle Quincey
Erik JohnsonJan Hejda
Ryan WilsonRyan O'Byrne

Jean-Sebastien Giguere gets his first start of the season Thursday night, with Semyon Varlamov serving as backup.

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 5:31 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Philly pick-me-up

It hasn't been a good week to be a Philadelphia sports fan.

First, the Phillies and their baseball-best 102 wins were drummed out of the playoffs in the first round, and the Eagles lost their third straight game to fall to 1-4. And with the NBA lockout meaning no 76ers basketball, that leaves the Flyers to lift the town's spirits.

"It's not something we think about when we're out there, but walking around town the last few days, that's what people are talking about," Flyers center Danny Briere told NHL.com. "'You're our hope now, we're relying on your guys.' It's good to hear, it's good to see. Although it would have been nice to have the Phillies keep playing and the Eagles doing a little better. Sometimes that's the way it is and we have to try and capture the attention while we can have it."

Scott Hartnell isn't a native Philadelphian, but he's become a huge Phillies fan in his four years with the Flyers.

"I'm just as sad as everyone else the Phillies are out," he told NHL.com. "I was planning on going all this week to a couple games, just like everyone else. And the Eagles are having a tough time as well."

Hartnell said he plans on giving the forlorn fans a fun night tonight against the Canucks.

"It's going to be an exciting night," he said. "That's all we care about, getting a win tonight."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 5:07 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kesler getting close

Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kesler was one of the nine skaters on the ice in Philadelphia this morning for the team's optional skate as he continues to work his way back from offseason hip surgery.

Kesler has been on the ice with the team since Oct. 5, and today marks the 10-week anniversary of the Aug. 2 surgery that repaired the labrum in his left hip. The initial recovery time was pegged for 10-12 weeks.

He's not quite ready yet, but said this morning, "I'm getting closer. It’s a matter of time."

That time could come as soon as the Canucks return home from their current four-game road trip, which would be Oct. 18 against the New York Rangers.

Kesler wouldn't commit to any date, saying, "I don't want to come in the lineup and not be at full speed, be in the best condition I can be in. That's what they have me doing."

Henrik Sedin, who was on the ice with Kesler this morning, said his teammate doesn't look too far removed from the All-Star who scored 41 goals last season.

"I don't know how he feels out there, but he looks good," Sedin said. "He's got a good stride out there, skates hard. Should be pretty close. … We'll see. It'll take some time for him to get back to game shape. We've got to give him some time."

Roberto Luongo, who also took part in this morning's skate, said he thought Kesler looked awfully good, too, but wasn't going to rush him back into the lineup.

"Health-wise I think he's feeling pretty good," Luongo told NHL.com. "With an injury like that you want to make sure you're 100 percent before you come back because it's a long season and we don't want to take any chances there."

Whenever he does return, the players know just how important Kesler is to the Canucks' success.

"We all know what he can do when he's healthy," said Sedin. "He's huge for the team, and when he comes back he'll help us big time. It's nice to see him getting closer."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 2:40 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Johansen earns another start for Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel told reporters that rookie Ryan Johansen will be in the lineup on Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche.

Johansen, the team's fourth overall choice in the 2010 Entry Draft, earned 8:46 of playing time in his NHL debut against the Nashville Predators in the team's season-opener on Oct. 7. He totaled 40 goals and 92 points with the Portland WinterHawks of the Western Hockey League last season.

In other news out of Columbus, Arniel said that center Jeff Carter is questionable with the flu.

"We'll see how he is when he comes back in this afternoon," Arniel told The Columbus Dispatch. "We just wanted to get him home, get him away from everybody and let him rest. We'll see if he's feeling better tonight."
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 12:48 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Canucks, Flyers

Here is what the lineups could look like for the Philadelphia Flyers and Vancouver Canucks when they meet tonight at the Wells Fargo Center for the Flyers' home opener.

The Flyers had a full skate while the Canucks had an optional, with only nine players on the ice -- among them Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo and Corey Schneider.

So while the Flyers' lineup will look similar to what they've used in their first two games, the Canucks could change a bit before the puck drops tonight:

FLYERS

Wayne Simmonds - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
Jaromir Jagr - Claude Giroux - James van Riemsdyk
Scott Hartnell - Sean Couturier - Matt Read
Zac Rinaldo - Maxime Talbot - Andreas Nodl

Chris Pronger - Matt Carle
Kimmo Timonen - Braydon Coburn
Andrej Meszaros - Andreas Lilja

Ilya Bryzgalov will make his third straight start in goal, with Sergei Bobrovsky backing him up. The only healthy scratch will be defenseman Matt Walker.

CANUCKS
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Marco Sturm - Cody Hodgson - Mikael Samuelsson
Jannik Hansen - Manny Malhotra - Chris Higgins
Dale Weise - Maxim Lapierre - Aaron Volpatti

Andrew Alberts - Keith Ballard
Sami Salo - Alexander Edler
Kevin Bieksa - Dan Hamhuis

Roberto Luongo will start in goal, with Cory Schneider the backup. Kesler skated this morning but won't be playing -- more on him in  a bit -- while also sitting out will be defenseman Christopher Tanev and Alexander Sulzer, and center Andrew Ebbett.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 12:38 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Bruins, Hurricanes

Here are what the lineups could look like for Wednesday's game between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.:

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - Tyler Seguin - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Rich Peverley
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Shawn Thornton
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Jordan Caron
 
Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas will get the start in goal with Tuukka Rask serving as backup.

David Krejci is out of the lineup. He remains day-to-day with a core injury. He will be replaced on the top line by Tyler Seguin. Forward Jordan Caron will return to the lineup after two games as a healthy scratch.

HURRICANES

Jeff Skinner - Eric Staal - Chad LaRose
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Tuomo Ruutu - Jussi Jokinen
Jiri Tlusty - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Anthony Stewart - Tim Brent - Zac Dalpe

Tim Gleason - Bryan Allen
Tomas Kaberle - Jay Harrison
Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain

Cam Ward will get the start in goal with Brian Boucher serving as backup.

Carolina will dress defenseman Jamie McBain for the first time this season. He replaces 19-year-old rookie Justin Faulk, who played in the first three games.
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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players