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Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 2:09 PM

By Neil Acharya - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs looking for home improvement

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes meet Monday at the Air Canada Centre, where the Toronto is just 1-3-0 so far this season.

"Obviously we would like to win more games in our building … it's imperative that we have a strong home record to qualify for the playoffs. It's as simple as that," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said after the morning skate.

James Reimer will start in goal for the Maple Leafs after stopping 33 of 34 shots in a 1-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday. It will be Reimer's fifth consecutive start, and after a tumultuous 2011-12 season, he's looking more comfortable in goal.

"I feel like being healthy is maybe the biggest thing," Reimer said of his stronger play so far. In six games, he's 3-2-0 with a 2.47 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

Forward Clarke MacArthur may return to the line-up, as Carlyle referred to him as being "available" for Monday's game. The 27 year old has missed three games with a lacerated finger.

Cam Ward will start in net for Carolina. He has had a slow start to the season with a 1-3-0 record and 4.05 GAA, but did stop 11 of 12 shots after relieving Dan Ellis in a 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

"I think he has got that bug in him that he wants to show people how good of a goalie he can be," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said of Ward's mindset. "Technique-wise he has always had it, that drive to be the number-one goalie, and that will drive him right now."

Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said he feels his team has played well at even-strength but has been hurt by poor special-teams play. "We've got to get better on the power play and be sharper on the penalty kill," he said.

The Hurricanes enter the week 26th in the League with the man-advantage (11.1 percent), and 27th on the penalty kill (69.7 percent).

"[At even strength] our game has been pretty good besides the first two when we were adjusting at the start," Staal said. "We've got some new faces, and I think we've been a pretty good team and [have] stacked up with anybody."

Forward Tim Wallace, recalled Sunday from the AHL, will play Monday on the fourth line. The 28-year-old will skate for the first time in a Hurricanes uniform. He has played 73 NHL games, totaling three goals and eight assists, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders.

Here is how the lineups likely will look:


James Van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Jay McClement - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin

Matt Frattin - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Clarke MacArthur - David Steckel - Colton Orr

Dion Phaneuf - Michael Kostka

Mark Fraser - John-Michael Liles

Cody Franson - Mike Komisarek

James Reimer

Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Frazer McLaren, Korbinian Holzer

Injured: Mike Brown, Joffrey Lupul, Carl Gunnarsson


Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Alexander Semin

Jeff Skinner - Jordan Staal - Patrick Dwyer

Drayson Bowman - Jussi Jokinen - Chad LaRose

Tim Wallace - Tim Brent - Kevin Westgarth

Tim Gleason - Justin Faulk

Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain

Jay Harrison - Bobby Sanguinetti

Cam Ward

Dan Ellis

Scratched: Andreas Nodl, Joe Corvo

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 1:11 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flyers rule Simmonds out for Tuesday's game

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told reporters Monday that forward Wayne Simmonds will not play Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning due to a concussion.

"Nothing's really changed," Holmgren said. "He's not going to be able to play [Tuesday]. We'll see how he is [Tuesday]."

Simmonds was injured during a Feb. 1 game against the Washington Capitals when Washington defenseman John Erskine elbowed him in the face. Erskine was suspended three games by the NHL for the hit.

Simmonds also sat out Saturday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes. He has two goals and three assists in eight games.

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 1:10 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Barry Melrose's weekly power rankings

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 12:59 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Has Luongo won his job back in Vancouver?

This summer and this fall it was crazy in Canada. I was up there working for NHL Network, and I saw and read the press regarding the Vancouver Canucks goalie situation. In the end, by the time the season had started, everyone handled it the right way. Roberto Luongo handled it right, Cory Schneider handled it right, they didn't give the media any fuel, and now, as Luongo gets ready to make his fourth straight start, it looks like the situation has been settled on the ice -- the way it should be. Luongo has been the best goaltender, he plays the games.

Now, I think it's pretty clear at this point that Luongo is the No. 1 goaltender. In the last three games he's started, he's 2-0-1 with three goals against, a shutout and a .963 save percentage. Overall, his save percentage and goals-against average are the second-best in the League. I think he's taken over the job and there's just no way they can trade him now because coach Alain Vigneault just isn't playing the other guy. Right now, when wins are so important, he's going to Luongo.

You have to remember that it's not what they say, it's what they do. They can say he's not the No. 1 goaltender, but if he's playing three games in a row, he's the No. 1 goaltender.

Many people are probably surprised that Luongo might have won back his job and won it back this quickly, but he's a professional athlete, and while he kept his mouth shut and handled this whole situation very professionally, he's very proud like every professional athlete is. He's not going to take losing his job quietly. Of course, he didn't cause any problems. He didn't demand to be traded tomorrow, but he did his talking on the ice. That's all you can do when you're a pro. He's outplayed Schneider, he's earned the No. 1 job, and Vancouver, because they didn't pull off a trade, might be the luckiest team in the League right now.

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 12:43 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

Cisco NHL Live talks with Sean Burke, Chris Bourque

Colorado Avalanche winger Milan Hejduk plays his 1,000th NHL game and Roberto Luongo makes his 4th consecutive start for the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night. Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, has those stories and much more.

As the Phoenix Coyotes get set to host the Minnesota Wild, we'll chat with the man behind the man behind the mask -- Sean Burke, the Coyotes goalie coach.

We have another guest whose dad, Ray Bourque, is a Boston legend -- now Chris Bourque is trying to make his own mark in Beantown. Chris will tell us what it felt like to score his first goal as a Bruin.

NHL Network Insider Bob McKenzie will join the show to talk about his mid-season NHL Draft Rankings. We will also have NHL Network Analyst Barry Melrose to preview some West Coast hockey.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL. And also keep an eye on this Senior Reporter's dance moves in his EJ5: Hradek’s Top 5 Thoughts of the Day with a Super Bowl twist today.

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 12:29 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Report: Smith out with shoulder injury

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith told that he has a sprain of the AC joint in his right shoulder, and estimated he would be out 3-4 weeks.

Smith was injured midway through the first period of Saturday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, when he was hit into the boards by Columbus' Derek MacKenzie.

The Red Wings' defense corps has been hit hard by injuries. Smith will be the sixth blueliner to miss time due to injury already this season.

Smith is second on the Wings with a plus-4 rating, and he has one assist in eight games.

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 11:43 AM

By Staff -  / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Marchand missing from Bruins' practice

The Boston Bruins practiced Monday without Brad Marchand, who left Saturday's game with an injury.

Marchand crashed awkwardly into the boards midway through the second period of Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and did not return. Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game that Marchand had been removed for precautionary reasons and that he could have played in the third period if the Bruins were "in a pinch."

Marchand leads the Bruins with five goals in eight games.

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 11:24 AM

By Staff -  / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers' Callahan back on the ice

New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan joined his teammates on the ice for Monday's practice, wearing a yellow, non-contact jersey.

Callahan suffered a subluxation (partial dislocation) of his left shoulder Jan. 29 during a fight with the Philadelphia Flyers' Maxime Talbot.

The initial diagnosis was for Callahan to miss 10-14 days.

"It definitely could have been a lot worse than it was," Callahan said last Thursday when he learned of the diagnosis.

Posted On Sunday, 02.03.2013 / 2:48 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Luongo to start again Monday for Canucks

Roberto Luongo will once again be between the pipes when the Vancouver Canucks return to action Monday night.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault announced Sunday that Luongo will receive his third straight start when the Canucks face the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.

Luongo, 33, stopped 27 of 28 shots on home ice Friday night in Vancouver's 2-1 shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks. That victory came two nights after Luongo blanked the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-0 victory. He is 2-0-2 with a 1.46 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in five games.

Cory Schneider, who was labeled the club's No. 1 goaltender prior to the start of the season, hasn't seen any action since allowing four goals on 27 shots in a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 27. Schneider has a 3.13 GAA and .897 save percentage in four appearances.

Luongo has been the subject of trade rumors for several months. Canucks general manager Mike Gillis was in Washington on Sunday afternoon to watch the Capitals host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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