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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 9:38 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

DAL @ STL - 3:40 of the Third Period



At 3:40 of the third period in the Stars/Blues game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Stars forward Toby Petersen kicked the puck away from the net prior to it crossing the goal line. No Goal St Louis.
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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 4:30 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Suter leaves game, doubtful to face Rangers

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Nashville All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter left Monday's game at Nassau Coliseum after the first period and did not return due to an upper-body injury. Predators coach Barry Trotz said following the team's 3-1 win over the Islanders that Suter is "doubtful" for Tuesday's game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's going to be day-to-day," Trotz said without elaborating on the specific nature of the injury. "If you want a questionable or doubtful, he's probably doubtful."

Trotz said Suter got "nicked up" Saturday against Philadelphia, and "strained it a little bit" in the first period Monday. Suter, who played 10 shifts totaling 7:04 of ice time, was questionable prior to Monday's game, but after taking warm-ups he told Trotz that he was good to go.

However, Trotz, who said it was Suter's call to play, decided to dress seven defensemen just in case. He went with ex-Islander Jack Hillen, who wound up playing 16 shifts totaling 13:27 of ice time.

"With guys like Sutes and Webs (Shea Weber), top players in the League, you don't really replace them, everybody just has to pick up more of the load and try to get it done together," Trotz said.

The good news for the Predators is they had a 3-0 lead after the first period on goals from Sergei Kostitsyn, Matt Halischuk and David Legwand.

"At least he played the first period," Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne said of Suter. "Hopefully we don't miss him more than this game because he's such a big piece of this team."

The Islanders had only six shots on goal in the first period, but with Suter out they managed 19 in the second and another 12 in the third.

"You miss Sutes back there, but we came out early and wanted to get the lead, and that's what we did," Legwand said. "We have to manage the game a little bit better in the second. That's a big thing for us, game management."

It's possible they'll have to manage an entire game without Suter on Tuesday.

"We're going to get tested by the Rangers," Trotz said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 3:42 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

'NHL36' to showcase Lidstrom behind the scenes

DETROIT -- As the captain of the Detroit Red Wings, Nicklas Lidstrom is almost always there to speak with reporters before and after games.

Away from the rink, however, he's not exactly a guy who seeks out the spotlight. The 41-year old Lidstrom, despite being one of the best defensemen who's ever played the game, prefers to keep a low profile in his life outside of hockey.

That's what made Monday's news that he would be the latest subject of NBC Sports Network's documentary series "NHL36" kind of surprising. Fans, media and maybe even some teammates will learn a little more about Lidstrom through the camera lens -- as the show follows players for 36 straight hours and documents the experience.

Lidstrom said he was "encouraged" to do the documentary by both the Red Wings and the National Hockey League Player’s Association, and signed off on it after thinking it through.

"I had to think about it for a little bit and kind of get the details of what to expect and what they were looking for and what they wanted," he said after Monday's morning skate at Joe Louis Arena, which he spent off the ice in a meeting about the team's penalty-killing strategy and then riding a bike -- all while being filmed. "I think it's good for hockey, so I was willing to do it."

Monday was the first day of filming, so it was a little strange for both Lidstrom and his teammates to get used to the roaming video cameras and large boom microphone.

"It's different having someone follow you (around) the whole time, (filming) whatever you do whether you're in (the locker room) or … today I rode the bike instead of going on the ice and did some stretching," Lidstrom said. "It's just a matter of getting used to it."

Lidstrom was asked if the cameraman who was recording him on the stationary bike also hopped on for a spin.

"No, he wouldn't," Lidstrom said. "There were a lot of bikes free … a lot of bikes available, but he wouldn't jump on there."

Lidstrom has spent countless hours on the bike in his career, which allows his teammates to see the kind of intense work ethic it takes to not only be a top player, but have the longevity to do it for such a long career.

Detroit center Justin Abdelkader said that's likely what fans will get most out of the documentary.

"(They'll see) his calm demeanor, how he goes about his business," Abdelkader said. "He's a professional in so many ways. He has such a calming presence. You learn from him not to get too high or too low, just stay on an even keel. He's a great presence to have in the locker room."

Yet, away from the rink even his teammates might learn something from the show, which will run at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 25 and lead into NBC Sports Network's 7:30 p.m. broadcast of the Red Wings playing on the road against the Montreal Canadiens.

"It's a tribute to his game and his skill, but also how he goes about his business on and off the ice," Abdelkader said. "I'm not really sure what he does with his down time. I guess we'll find out."
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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 3:35 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Playing better, not division lead, is Panthers' concern

SUNRISE, Fla. -- For the first time in almost two months, the Florida Panthers woke up Monday morning to find themselves out of first place in the Southeast Division.

Their run of 57 consecutive days at the top of the division ended on Sunday when the Washington Capitals beat Carolina 2-1 to match Florida's 50 points and take over first by virtue of their 24 victories to the Panthers' 21.

"Obviously, you're aware of what's going on around the League, but more importantly is you take care of the areas that you've got to strengthen and you keep on encouraging what our strengths are as a team and keep emphasizing those," coach Kevin Dineen said.

After a 3-2 overtime victory over Carolina on Dec. 18, the Panthers found themselves nine points ahead of the Capitals, winners of the division the last four seasons.

But Florida has won only three times in its last 10 games (3-5-2), while Washington is on a run of seven victories in nine games.

Kris Versteeg, who scored the game-winner in that Dec. 18 victory, says the Panthers are more concerned about regaining their earlier form than who's where in the standings.

"I don't think you think about that at all," he said. "They've had games in hand on us all season. We've always talked about it. It's hard to get on top and it's harder to stay. We're still learning that here."

With Washington idle before wrapping up a four-game homestand Tuesday with a game against the New York Islanders, the Panthers can quickly regain first place in the Southeast.

But to do so, they'll have to beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins on Monday night.

The Panthers are hoping the impending return of goalie Jose Theodore and four injured forwards -- Sean Bergenheim, Scottie Upshall, Marco Sturm and Jack Skille -- can get them back in the right direction.

Florida has gone a month without winning two in a row, and Versteeg knows that's not the way to get into the playoffs -- something the Panthers haven't done since the 1999-2000 season.

"We want to be better than we have as of late," Versteeg said, "but with the healthy bodies we're getting back a lot of things start to change and I think we're starting to get accustomed to that, too, and get used to the guys coming back.

"The last few games, you win one, you lose one, you win one, you lose one; we can't be a .500 team and expect to make the playoffs. We've got to find a way to string a few here together and be a little more consistent in our winning streaks."
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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 3:08 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Wings aim for franchise-record 15th straight home win

DETROIT -- It looks like one of those "sure wins" for the Detroit Red Wings when you look at Monday night's matchup against the Buffalo Sabres on paper.

Detroit has won 14 straight games at Joe Louis Arena -- which tied a club record set in 1965 -- and holds a 17-2-1 mark on home ice for the season. The Wings have also outscored their visitors this season by a 62-21 aggregate, with nine wins out of those 14 straight coming by three goals or more.

Buffalo, meanwhile, is just 1-7-2 in its last 10 trips to the Motor City and has lost eight straight games in regulation on the road for the first time in franchise history. The Sabres have also scored the least amount of goals on the road (36) in the entire League -- a paltry average of 1.9 goals a game.

"It's scary isn't it?" Babcock said on Monday morning, when the stark differences in each team's trends home and away were pointed out. "We have a game today. You can look at what you did over the last 15 or what they did … to me that doesn’t make any difference. They're getting prepared. We're getting prepared, and the team that plays the hardest is going to win. The onus on us is to play a real good game here tonight. You've got to find a way to win."

Luckily for Detroit, that hasn't been a big problem once they take the ice at home. It's been a much bigger issue in other rinks, where the Red Wings have a road record of just 11-13-0 so far -- a night-and-day difference that even strikes Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff as odd.

"Anytime you can win 14 in a row in your own building is an amazing feat, because you can get beat by a hot goaltender some nights," Ruff said. "The amazing part is to have that record and then to look at the road record and think, 'How come the road record isn't near as close as the home record?' But a lot of that has to do with getting your matchups and getting your personnel on a consistent basis. When they get their matchups with the personnel they have, they can take advantage of some tough situations."

A year ago, the Wings were better away from Joe Louis Arena than they were inside it. It's completely flip-flopped this season and Babcock just hunches his shoulders when asked for theories on why. Are the Wings actually playing their simpler "road game" on home ice and trying to be too fancy on the road?

"It's a good question and that's what we said about our team last year, when we were great on the road," Babcock said. "This year we're good at home and we don't know why we're not good on the road. I'd like to tell you I have all the answers. I don't. The bottom line … if you play well without the puck, I don't care if that's at home or on the road, you're going to win a lot of games. We've been way better without the puck in our own building than we have been on the road, and to me that's why we’re winning."

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom took it a step further. He said the Wings get after opponents more and take the action to them more on home ice this season than they do in other rinks. Part of that, he said, has to do with the current home winning streak boosting their confidence when playing in front of the home crowd.

"You always want to have that edge when you're playing at home," Lidstrom said. "Our fans have really been supporting us and been behind us and we've been real aggressive at home. We're going after teams a little bit more than we have on the road."

They ought to be just as hungry to get after the Sabres on Monday night, with the chance to set a record with a 15th straight home win that no other Red Wings team has done before in the 86-year history of the franchise.

"Looking at the teams we've had here in the last couple of decades, we've had some great teams back in the 1990s and early 2000s and we're still able to win 14 straight with the team we have today," Lidstrom said. "It proves we have a good team this time around, too."
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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 2:48 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sabres, Red Wings

DETROIT -- The League's best team on home ice will take on one of the worst away from its home rink on Monday night when the Detroit Red Wings host the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings, who tied the franchise record of 14 straight home wins this past weekend, will be looking to set a new franchise record against the Sabres -- who haven't won a road game since Dec. 3 in Nashville.

The Miller brothers -- Buffalo goalie Ryan and Detroit forward Drew -- will also square off as one of the game's other storylines. Ryan Miller is still finding his way back to top form in goal after a concussion knocked him out of action for about three weeks, while the Wings' Drew Miller has worked his way into an every-game role playing left wing on the third line and plenty of penalty-kill minutes.

Detroit is largely healthy, while Buffalo is riddled with injuries -- especially along the blue line. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said after Monday's skate that defenseman Robyn Regehr (upper body) will not play on Monday night and might not play this week, but Andrej Sekera (upper body) is ready to return after missing eight games on the injured reserve.

Buffalo also recalled defenseman TJ Brennan from Rochester of the American Hockey League on Monday and he could draw into the lineup against the Red Wings, as well. No matter who plays, Ruff expects them to be more careful with the puck than they were on Saturday night against the New York Islanders in a 4-2 road loss.

"Our defense is going to have to play better," Ruff said. "We're going to have to make smarter decisions and we have to be better with the puck in the offensive zone, so we get to play there more. I think that will be the key. It all starts with what we do up ice. If we allow them to control play in our end and give them that period of time, by the time we're done defending we're giving them back the puck usually … and that won't work."

Here's a look at how the Sabres and Red Wings might line up on Monday night.

SABRES
Thomas Vanek - Jochen Hecht - Jason Pominville
Nathan Gerbe - Derek Roy - Drew Stafford
Luke Adam - Ville Leino - Brad Boyes
Cody McCormick - Paul Gaustad - Patrick Kaleta

Brayden McNabb - Tyler Myers
Andrej Sekera/TJ Brennan - Jordan Leopold
Mike Weber - Marc-Andre Gragnani

Ryan Miller
Jhonas Enroth

RED WINGS
Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Danny Cleary
Cory Emmerton - Justin Abdelkader - Tomas Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jakub Kindl - Jonathan Ericsson

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin
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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 2:14 PM

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

Report: Wild's Koivu out a month with shoulder injury

The slumping Minnesota Wild will have to move forward for the time being without captain Mikko Koivu, who suffered what the team is calling an upper-body injury in Saturday's loss to the Blues.

The Wild are terming Koivu "week-to-week," but a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune indicates Koivu has a shoulder injury that will keep him out for at least a month.

Koivu appeared to suffer the injury on a hit by the Blues' Vladimir Sobotka.

"It's pretty frustrating right now," Koivu told the team's website on Monday. "Especially the time of the year. We play a lot of games and we're right in the middle of it, and so yeah. But there's nothing you can do about it, and you just got to move on and try and get better."

Koivu has a team-leading 24 assists and 33 points for the Wild, who led the Northwest Division for much of the first half, but are currently clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot after winning just two of their last 15 games.

"It'd be foolish of us to try and get anybody to be him," first-year coach Mike Yeo told the team's website. "It's a big challenge for us and we have to view it as such, and get excited about the opportunity to rise to it. A lot of people are probably writing us off right now … but the one thing I know is this team has a lot of character, and we need a lot of that right now."
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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 1:58 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Pietrangelo starting to produce points for Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Alex Pietrangelo's six-game points streak is no fluke. But the St. Louis Blues' top defenseman wasn't quite himself in the early portions of the first half of the season.

"I kind of found myself second-guessing my shot there in the first half of the season," said Pietrangelo, who has 9 points in his last six games after only picking up 11 in his first 37 contests. "I think just simplifying it and putting pucks towards the net. I just want to shoot pucks towards the net a little more. It's made a huge difference."

But instead of getting discouraged, Pietrangelo kept at things and did all the other things that was making his game more complete.

Plus, the Blues (26-12-6), who host the Dallas Stars (24-18-1) tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, KMOX 1120-AM), were doing what cures all players' ails.

"We were winning," Pietrangelo said. "If I don't get any points and we win every game, I'm happy.

"Watching some video, I caught myself passing off when I could have shot it. Ever since then, it's really been a turnaround."

------------

His mind and body was into accomodating all St. Louis Blues fans Sunday night at the team's annual Rink Tours event, but for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, a Greenwich, Conn. native and huge New York Giants fan, part of him was elsewhere ... and rightfully so.

Shattenkirk was also busy celebrating the Giants' 37-20 upset win over the Green Bay Packers, who many touted to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

Shattenkirk was able to watch the first half of the game before departing to his venue, which was the U.S. Ice Sports Complex in Fairview Heights, Ill.

"Fortunately, they had a little breathing room and I hopped in the car on my way there and turned the radio on and listened to the end of the game on the way there," Shattenkirk said. "I got to watch the majority of it and it was a great win for the G-Men.

"I've followed them through the tough times and the good ones."

But did you know Shattenkirk, listed as 5-foot-11 and 208 pounds, was a football player himself in high school?

It never amounted to much, especially when his hockey coaches got wind of what he was doing.

"My high school hockey coach told me no more. I had to causally let it go," Shattenkirk said. "When I was younger, I started playing (football) when I was like 10 years old or so. I played in high school for two years and once I went out to Ann Arbor (Mich.), that was it. I played linebacker and running back and then I was a punter."

Shattenkirk's popularity Sunday was not only evident by fans realizing he was a Giants fan but also because he helped the Blues snap their shootout funk with the winner in Saturday's 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

"A lot of people came up saying thanks for breaking the curse," Shattenkirk joked. "A lot of people were giving me props for the Giants, too. I think there were more Packers haters than Giants fans, but we'll take them."

------------

The Blues will go once again without winger Alex Steen (concussion symptoms) and defenseman Kris Russell (groin) tonight against the Stars. Both skated again and both didn't hit any speed bumps, and according to coach Ken Hitchcock, Thursday's home game against Edmonton is a realistic option.

"He had a very good day yesterday, very good day today," Hitchcock said of Steen, who will miss his ninth consecutive game tonight. "We'll practice him hard Tuesday and Wednesday and see how he is for Thursday. He hasn't had a team practice yet. All he's done is isolation practices. He'll get team practices in the next two days. Looks very good. We'll work him up and hopefully continue to get him ready for Thursday.

"Russell, same thing conditioning-wise. Not quite there. Tuesday, Wednesday practice and hopefully ready for Thursday also."

Forward Andy McDonald, out with a concussion, has played in three of 45 games this season.

Hitchcock was asked when he feels McDonald will shed the red no-contact jersey.

"Until the color changes, don't even get in there," Hitchcock said. "He's our best player on the ice, every day in practice but don't even get me going there. He scores all the goals in the shootouts, all the goals in the line rushes, but until the color of the sweater changes ... no."

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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 1:56 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Appendectomy sidelines Benn indefinitely

ST. LOUIS -- The Dallas Stars, who enter tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues having dropped two of their previous three games, will have their mettle tested now that they will be playing without two of their three top scorers and top two centermen.

Mike Ribeiro (knee) will miss his fourth consecutive game and the Stars will now be without leading scorer Jamie Benn, who had an appendectomy on Sunday and is sidelined indefinitely.

Benn has 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) in 43 games, while Ribeiro is third on the team with 10 goals and 31 points in 40 games.

"You don't wish it, but it's like anything, it's life. You can't control it," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "You just hope that Benny's OK and he is this morning. ... When you take your top two centermen out of your lineup, it forces you to play a certain way. Maybe this is a little bit of a blessing in disguise, because our team needed to play a certain way more consistently and now they're going to have to. If we come out of this stronger, that's what you always hope when you have injuries and these guys acclimate themselves back.

"It wasn't a kick in the gut or anything. You just deal with it one day at a time."

What it does is give other players an opportunity to step into the lineup and fill those roles. The Stars have recalled winger Francis Wathier from AHL Texas and he will be in the lineup tonight.

"They are really huge for our team," Stars winger Loui Eriksson said of Benn and Ribeiro, who has an MCL tear. "There's not much we can do about it. We've just got to keep working harder and some other guys are going to get some opportunities and get some chances. We still have a good team. We know where we are in the standings."

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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 1:54 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues, Stars

ST. LOUIS -- Tonight's probable lineups between the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars:

BLUES
David Perron - David Backes - Chris Stewart
Matt D'Agostini - Patrik Berglund - T.J. Oshie
Vladimir Sobotka - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
B.J. Crombeen - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Ian Cole - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

Halak is 8-0-3 in his last 11 starts with a 1.76 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. He is 1-4-0 with a 3.04 GAA and .874 save percentage in five career games against the Stars.

F Andy McDonald (concussion), D Kent Huskins (ankle) and D Kris Russell (groin) are on injured reserve. LW Alex Steen (concussion symptoms) is still day-to-day. Chris Porter is a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game and eighth out of the last nine.

STARS
Brenden Morrow - Tom Wandell - Loui Eriksson
Adam Burish - Steve Ott - Radek Dvorak
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Michael Ryder
Francis Wathier - Jake Dowell - Toby Petersen

Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Mark Fistric - Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Lehtonen is 7-1-0 with a 1.72 GAA and .944 save percentage in his career against the Blues.

The Stars are without C Jamie Benn (appendectomy), C Mike Ribeiro (knee), D Philip Larsen (concussion-like symptoms) and RW Tomas Vincour (knee). Defenseman Adam Pardy is a healthy scratch.
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