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At the Rink blog
Posted On Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 3:55 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Hot memories of Ottawa for Wild

The Minnesota Wild doesn't travel to Ottawa very often, but their most recent trip prior to today's visit was a memorable one -- for all the wrong reasons.

On Dec. 17, 2009, the day before their game, a blow torch left in a bag ignited and destroyed 95 percent of the Wild's gear.

Thanks to hard work from a pair of equipment managers, they were able to get back to Minnesota, round up enough gear and get back to Ottawa in time for the morning skate, which at least allowed the players a bit of practice time a chance to get used to their equipment.

"It's not the way you want to prepare for a game, but the trainers did an unbelievable job to even make this game possible," goalie Niklas Backstrom said following the loss. He was wearing replacement gear after most of his original equipment was burned in the fire.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 1:49 PM

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

One more opening night for Pens

For openers -- that is, NHL home openers -- this will be the Pittsburgh Penguins' fourth in as many games.
 
After playing the home openers for Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton in a four-night span, the Penguins returned home from their Western Canada road trip to take on the Florida Panthers on Tuesday in their own home opener.
 
The Penguins are looking to do better than last year's home opener, when they opened the Consol Energy Center with a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
 
While there are ceremonies associated with each opening night, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said the only adjustment the players must make is to a little more idle time than usual in the dressing room and on the ice during the pregame introductions.
 
"It's a little longer to wait, so you kind of just stand there," Fleury said. "It's a little longer, but it's not a big deal. You try to move around in the room and stay loose."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 1:23 PM

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

Projected lineups for Senators, Wild

Here are what the lineups could look like for Tuesday's game between the Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Place. The Senators had a full practice, while the Wild held an optional skate.

SENATORS
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Mika Zibanejad
Milan Michalek - Stephane Da Costa - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Peter Regin - Chris Neil
Zack Smith - Zenon Konopka - Erik Condra

Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - David Rundblad
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson

Craig Anderson will get the start in goal, with Alex Auld serving as back-up.

There will be a few lineup changes, as forwards Bobby Butler and Nikita Filatov, and defenseman Brian Lee all will sit out.

Of Filatov, Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said, "Other guys have played better."

Rundblad will replace Lee.

"We've had some issues getting pucks out of our own end and being efficient with it," said MacLean. "What David brings to the table is being good with the puck and making good outlet passes."

WILD
Dany Heatley - Mikko Koivu - Devin Setoguchi
Guillaume Latendresse - Matt Cullen - Brett Bulmer
Colton Gillies - Kyle Brodziak - Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Kassian - Darroll Powe - Nick Johnson

Marek Zidlicky - Greg Zanon
Marco Scandella - Nick Schultz
Clayton Stoner - Jared Spurgeon

Nicklas Backstrom will get the start, with Josh Harding serving as back-up.
 
This is Cullen's first game in Ottawa since playing the final 21 games of the 2009-10 season there after being traded by the Carolina Hurricanes in February 2010.

Defenseman Marek Zidlicky was among those who skipped Tuesday's skate, but coach Mike Yeo insists he will play.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.11.2011 / 12:38 PM

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

With Malkin out, Letestu remains on top line

With center Evgeni Malkin (lower body) out for the Penguins' home opener Tuesday night against Florida, Mark Letestu again moved into his spot on a line with Steve Sullivan at left wing and James Neal at right wing. That could very well be one of the Penguins' lines once Sidney Crosby returns from his concussion.
 
Crosby took part in the Penguins' morning skate, as he did during their three-game road trip to Western Canada, but again wore a white helmet signifying he cannot be hit. He said he is closer to being cleared for contact, but that he is not certain when he will get the go-ahead to take part in all aspects of practice.
 
The Penguins' other line combinations were: Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy; Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Pascal Dupuis; and Arron Asham - Richard Park - Craig Adams. The defensive pairs were Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek, Kris Letang - Deryk Engelland and Ben Lovejoy - Matt Niskanen. Marc-Andre Fleury will be in goal.

The Panthers, coming off a 2-0 victory over the Islanders on Saturday, are something of an unknown quantity to the Penguins given all of their roster changes since last season. Among the additions were Jose Theodore, Brian Campbell, Tomas Fleischmann, Scottie Upshall and Kris Versteeg, plus coach Kevin Dineen.

"It's a lot of new players, a new coach, a new goalie, a lot of different things," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "The similarities, the things we know about them are from people from other teams. I coached against their coach in the minor leagues. Their goalie (Theodore) we've seen at different spots. (There's a) familiarity with some of the players and the parts, but not necessarily the team."
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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 7:04 PM

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

Vokoun makes Caps debut

Tomas Vokoun, who signed for a bargain ($1.5 million) this summer, is just minutes away from making his debut with the Washington Capitals as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center.

Here are Washington's forward lines, accoriding to Katie Carrera of The Washington Post:

Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble
Troy Brouwer-Marcus Johansson-Alexander Semin
Jason Chimera-Brooks Laich-Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks-Mathieu Perreault-Jeff Halpern

Dwayne Roloson gets the nod between the pipes for the Lightning, who swept the Caps out of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs five months ago.
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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 2:34 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lineups for Canucks, Blue Jackets

Here is what the lineups for the Canucks and Blue Jackets could look like when the teams meet today at Columbus' Nationwide Arena.

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

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler - Sami Salo
Keith Ballard - Christopher Tanev

Cory Schneider will get his first start of the season, with Roberto Luongo backing him up.

BLUE JACKETS
Vinny Prospal - Jeff Carter - Rick Nash
R.J. Umberger - Antoine Vermette - Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Maksim Mayorov - Derek MacKenzie - Derick Brassard
 
Fedor Tyutin - Radek Martinek
Marc Methot - Grant Clitsome
Kris Russell - David Savard
 
Steve Mason will start in goal, with Curtis Sanford backing him up.

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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 12:37 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Rask to get first start

BOSTON -- After earning their first win of the season in their second game played Saturday, the Bruins are heading into today's home matinee against Colorado with the same lineup, minus one change: Tuukka Rask will get his first start of the season in goal.

Rask last played in a game that counts April 10, the regular-season finale in New Jersey, before Thomas the Bruins started their run to the Stanley Cup. Thomas played every minute in the Bruins' net en route to helping the franchise win its first Cup in 39 years.

"He's played well in preseason," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Rask. "We've always liked him, obviously. It's just a matter of making sure that he's not on the sideline for too long. We've got a busy week again this week. So we're giving both those guys an opportunity to play here and do their share."

In 29 games last season, Rask was 11-14-2 with a 2.67 goals-against average and .918 save percentage; in 2009-10, he led the league in GAA and save percentage.
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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 12:15 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Montoya gets second start for Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Al Montoya will be in goal again for the New York Islanders when they host the Minnesota Wild on Monday afternoon.

Montoya, a midseason pickup in 2010-11 who played well in the final weeks of the season, allowed two goals on 29 shots in Saturday's season-opening 2-0 loss to Florida. He got the start ahead of veterans Rick DiPietro and Evgeni Nabokov in the opener and will do so again against the Wild.

"There's no statement (being made). Al got the start on Saturday and he played extremely well," coach Jack Capuano told the media before the game. "You can't win playing the way we played. We'll go with the same lineup and hope it works out. If not, there'll be changes, for sure."

Despite being out-played for most of the first two periods by the Panthers, the Isles plan no lineup changes against the Wild, who opened their season Saturday with a 4-2 victory at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 11:57 AM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lineups for Stars, Coyotes

Due to their earlier-than-usual start time today in Dallas (6 p.m. ET), neither the Stars nor the Coyotes skated this morning. So here's the best approximation of what their lineups could look like when they hit the ice today.
 
COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Lauri Korpikoski - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Mikkel Boedker
Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Petteri Nokelainen

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Rostislav Klesla - Derek Morris
Michal Rozsival - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

This game could mark the season debut of Jason LaBarbera -- and his new military appreciation helmet. Mike Smith would then serve as the backup.

STARS
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Tomas Vincour
Steve Ott - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Tom Wandell - Jake Dowell - Adam Burish

Stephane Robidas - Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley - Sheldon Souray
Mark Fistric - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal, with Andrew Raycroft as the backup.
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Posted On Monday, 10.10.2011 / 11:35 AM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lineups for Bruins, Avalanche

Due to their 1 p.m. start today in Boston, neither the Bruins nor the Avalanche skated today. So here's the best approximation of what their lineups could look like when they hit the ice today.

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Rich Peverley
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask will make his season debut in goal, with Tim Thomas serving as the backup.

AVALANCHE
Peter Mueller - Matt Duchene - Milan Hejduk
David Jones - Paul Stastny - Chuck Kobasew
Gabriel Landeskog - Ryan O'Reilly - Daniel Winnik
Cody McLeod - Jay McClement - T.J. Galiardi

Shane O'Brien - Kyle Quincey
Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson
Ryan Wilson - Ryan O'Byrne

Semyon Varlamov likely will start in goal, with Jean-Sebastien Giguere the backup.
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Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares