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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 4:27 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL.com Countdown to the Trade Deadline blog

Ducks, Oilers make minor deal

The Anaheim Ducks acquired Ryan O’Marra from the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Bryan Rodney, both teams announced Thursday.

O’Marra played seven games for the Oilers this season, and has one goal and seven points in 31 career NHL games. He was a first-round pick by the New York Islanders in the 2005 Entry Draft.

Rodney has spent the entire 2011-12 season with Syracuse in the American Hockey League. He has five goals and 20 points in 41 games for the Crunch this season. Rodney has one goal and 13 points in 33 career NHL games – all with the Carolina Hurricanes.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:36 PM

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

Blues look to get back to basics against Islanders

ST. LOUIS -- It's been more than three months since Ken Hitchcock took over the reigns of the St. Louis Blues, but winger T.J. Oshie remembers a specific point of emphasis.

"When Hitch came in, step one was getting pucks to the net and funneling pucks to the net," Oshie said. "That's the very first thing he said, 'We're shooting pucks every chance we get.' And we've gotten away from that. I think that's the biggest part, getting back to that ... then after that, guys are going to be getting more scoring opportunities."

Following a disturbing 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, owners of the worst record in the NHL, on Tuesday night, the Blues (34-15-7), who entertain the rising New York Islanders (24-24-8) tonight, have gotten back to it the last couple days. And the message is funnel pucks to the net, specifically off the goalie's pads.

"It was nothing that was too technical out there," defenseman Barret Jackman said of practice. "It was a lot of straightforward 3-on-2 rushes, 5-on-5 play, getting the pucks on net, battling in front of the net. That's the way our team should play ... very simple, very direct. Getting that work ethic back mentally is a good sign."

And why did things need to be reiterated?

"I think we were trying to move a lot of pucks sideways (Tuesday) instead of just putting the puck on net and letting those guys drive the net and getting rebounds and getting the dirty goals," Jackman said. "I think we were trying to maybe make plays above the d-men where they can get sticks on it or their trackers could come back and be effective. I think it's tough for a d-man when a shot goes in behind you off the pads, you've got to turn around, find it and box a guy out. That's what you need to do.

"Collectively, I think it's the worst game we've played all year. I don't think we played a strong team game, I don't think we won many battles and won clean draws that turned into scoring chances. Our defensive play was not there."

The loss Tuesday thwarted the the Blues' fifth chance at a five-game winning streak this season. They've had a handful of four-game winning streaks and been good at nipping prolonged losing skids in the bud.

The Blues have a neighbor roughly 300 miles north in Chicago that is currently living a nightmarish 0-8-1 skid. Things can snowball on you quickly, and the Blues have gone no more than three straight games with a loss (only once, when they were 0-2-1).

"I think they realize that good teams can go through bad stretches, and you have to recognize it right away," Hitchcock said. "First, know that there's a problem and you're willing to look at the problem right square in the eye and then deal with it.

"I was impressed with the way guys dealt with it (Wednesday). The response at practice was good. It was competitive, guys had fun competing against each other, it was a lot like game-like situations. A lot of competitive scoring and guys really dug in and did a good job. I'm impressed by that. Now it's all about the response. We want to get back on the bike (tonight) and start to play well again."

Added Oshie: "It's been tough on (Chicago) and we talked about that. That's not where we want to be. This could be a step in that direction but hopefully we save it, hopefully everyone bears down. ... (Tonight) is a huge game for us ... character-wise as a team, if we can bounce back from a tough loss."


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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:31 PM

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

Blues need to get more out of Stewart

ST. LOUIS -- What seems like an ever-lasting time zone in which St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is trying to light a candle under underachieving power forward Chris Stewart was on full display Wednesday at practice.

Stewart, a top-six forward by nature, was skating on the Blues' fourth line with Scott Nichol, Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves, in an effort to find that spark plug that has mysteriously been hidden from a player coming off back-to-back 28-goal seasons.

"It's a working foundation," Hitchcock said. "You couldn't get a better worker than Scott Nichol. Before you can think about scoring goals, you've got to start to work. So we need a working foundation so we can get to the next end. Whether it's for one period, one shift, one game, 10 games ... who knows. We need the working foundation here.

"We need a working foundation. When the work is there, the reward will be there.

Is this something Hitchcock has considered for a while?

"Yes," he quickly replied.

Stewart, who has 11 goals and 22 points in 53 games this season, was one of the Blues' best skaters and performers in a full-scale practice Wednesday following a bad 2-1 loss at NHL-worst Columbus on Tuesday night.

"It's obviously a message ... message loud and clear," Stewart said. "I've been in this position before ... just got to get back to work. Obviously not contributing offensively and something had to be done. They feel like that's the right approach and I'll just go from there.

"It is what it is. I can't really do anything about it now. Come out tomorrow and put together a good first period and hopefully get back up there. Just take it one game at a time."

There have been rumblings as to whether Hitchcock would consider sitting Stewart a game or two to get the message across.

"No, but we need to see more," Hitchcock said. "We need to see more work, more second and third effort so his skill can take over.

"He's got elite skill. We just need to see more. Your skill can't come out until the work foundation's in place."

Stewart said it's not from a lack of trying.

"Yeah. I mean, I'm obviously out there trying, giving it my all every night," he said. "But at the end of the day, if they don't feel that's good enough, then I've got to show more. It's up to them to give me the job description and up to me to do it. The good thing about this game is we've got another game tomorrow, come out and give it my best."
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:26 PM

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

Mutual respect between Tavares, Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS -- Count Blues coach Ken Hitchcock as a fan of Islanders sensation John Tavares, the No. 1 pick of the 2009 Entry Draft.

Tavares, who has 22 goals and 55 points in 56 games this season, played for Hitchcock last summer for Team Canada at the World Championship in Slovakia. He led Canada with 5 goals, 4 assists and 9 points in seven games.

"I think Tavares is an elite player in the League right now. I really liked him as a player in the World Championships," Hitchcock said. "He was arguably our best player by the end of the tournament. I think as good a player he is, I think he's still an underrated player.

"Everybody said, 'Not sure if he can help you here, blah, blah, blah.' They were worried about his speed on the big surface, which was not relevant at all. They were worried about his quickness ... he pulled away on guys. And he is really strong on the puck. To me, he's Jonathan Toews-strong on the puck. He's a heck of a player and he has puck patience like not very many players do. He's got strength and puck patience where he's able to protect the puck ... I don't think there's maybe five guys in the League that can play like that."

Tavares said he learned a lot under Hitchcock.

"He was very thorough," Tavares said. "For young players, that can be really helpful understanding parts of the game. He understood managing the game. Coaching the game, you could tell what he expected from you and how we wanted to approach every game and what he expected out of us. He pushed the right buttons at the right times and did the right things in giving us a chance to win. It's good to see him doing well now.

"When I go to a tournament like that representing my country, it's a chance for me to learn from not only my teammates, but a guy like him that's got so much knowledge and experience in the game. I definitely tried to learn from him and find some things that can make me a great player."

Tavares' play in Slovakia certainly has carried over to his third season in the NHL.

"I just think it's the overall mindset of the player, a player that wants to be an All-Star, that wants to put the team on his back," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "How do you do that? It starts in the summer, starts with his training, his preparation, how he prepares for the season. He's finding his way through this League now.

"He is an elite player. He's going to continue to get better. He's a lot stronger on the puck now, playing with more confidence and the ability to make some plays."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:12 PM

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

Reasoner, Weight looking forward to facing Blues

ST. LOUIS -- When No. 16 of the Islanders steps out onto the ice tonight, there may not be many Blues fans that remember, but Marty Reasoner was the franchise's No. 1 pick (No. 14) way back in the 1996 Entry Draft.

Reasoner, who played parts of three seasons with the Blues totaling 95 games (17 goals, 30 assists), is on his sixth franchise after signing a one-year deal to play on Long Island this past summer.

"It's a story of survival, trying to hang on," Reasoner said. "When I came in coming out of college, I was scoring a lot of points. I was an offensive guy. Even here, I was put in that role a little bit on and off. I had short spurts of success. It was definitely a big learning experience, learning to become a pro and how to play. It's that evolution of a player: you start out one way and you get chewed up and spit out totally different. I look at myself now and that was like I was a different person."

Reasoner credited current Blues director of hockey operations Al MacInnis and team color analyst Kelly Chase as being most influential on his career, and mentioned players like current assistant coach Scott Mellanby, Pierre Turgeon and Scott Young as players he enjoyed here.

"Starting as a young guy, it was an exciting time," Reasoner said. "We had some pretty good teams and some pretty good memories. I learned a lot as a player. At times it seems like a long time, but other times it seems like it was yesterday. It was definitely a fun time, and it's good to see this organization come full circle and back to its winning ways. It's definitely a great sports town.

"There's a lot of range of emotions as far as it being your first team, good memories. It's definitely a special place. It's always fun to come back and play and relive old times. There's not much of that team left. There's been a lot of turnover. I don't know if that's just me being around too long, or there's been that much turnover. It was definitely a great time, played with some great players and learned a lot from some very good players in this League."

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

Sticking with the Blues reunion theme, current Islanders senior advisor to the general manager and assistant coach Doug Weight is back in St. Louis as well.

Weight, who spent parts of six seasons and two stints with the Blues, playing in 364 of his 1,238 games (75 goals, 220 assists), retired after the 2010-11 season, his 19th in the game.

"It's been fun, it's been educational, and I've learned a lot in helping (general manager) Garth (Snow) on the managerial side and certainly being on the bench. These coaches have been good to me, and it's been very educational," Weight said. "To be around the game, and what we're trying to build here, it's exhilarating. It's never going to feel like when you're walking out of the tunnel, going on the ice and competing, but certainly the next best thing."

Weight was traded twice by the Blues, once to Carolina near the trade deadline in 2006 before resigning here in the offseason, and again in 2007 to Anaheim, netting the Blues Andy McDonald.

"They seemed to have found their ground and the way they have to play," Weight said of the Blues. "Of course they've had some great goaltending and that's been a key for them. But they're battling and they're committed ... it's going to be great to see the fans and it's going to be a great atmosphere tonight."

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The Islanders, eight points in back of Toronto in the Eastern Conference, know their challenge is great tonight despite a 4-0-1 run in their last five on the road.

The Blues are tied with Detroit for most home wins (24) and are 16-0-3 in their last 19 games at Scottrade Center. Their last regulation home loss was Dec. 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"We're up against a real good hockey team tonight," coach Jack Capuano said. "We're going to have to be at our best.

"It's a challenge and it's a good challenge. It gives us a chance for our team to see where we're at to play against a big, physical team. A team that's got good size, good goaltending, special teams. They've really done well on home ice. They're a stingy team, there's no question. They play solid defensively. The territorial edge will be key in tonight's game for sure."
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:11 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Grigorenko compared to two big legends

The closer we get to the 2012 NHL Draft, the more fans will want to know which Russian forward will be the first off the board -- Sarnia's Nail Yakupov of the Ontario Hockey League or Quebec's Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

While the odds are squarely in the corner of Yakupov, NHL Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau wouldn't at all be surprised if Grigorenko gets the nod. Many draft pundits have compared Grigorenko with Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin, but Bordeleau offered another interesting take.

"Mikhail doesn't possess the speed of Malkin, but do you remember Alexander Yakushev, the big center on the Russian team from the 1972 Summit Series?" Bordeleau asked.

Yakushev, nicknamed 'The Big Yak', led the Soviets in scoring against Team Canada in the famous '72 Summit Series with 7 goals and 11 points. His goal total tied him with Canada's Phil Esposito and Paul Henderson for the tournament lead.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 3:10 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Drewiske replacing Martinez on defense for Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The personnel of the Los Angeles Kings’ defense hasn’t changed much this season, but there will be one wrinkle Thursday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Seldom-used Davis Drewiske will get the call in place of Alec Martinez in the third defensemen pairing.

Drewiske has only played in seven games this season and not since Dec.19, but coach Darryl Sutter said it was time to change it up.

Martinez has been in that spot the past five games with Slava Voynov re-assigned to the AHL, and Sutter hasn’t been pleased with what he’s seen.

“[Martinez] and [Drewiske] are those guys that fight for those spots, and it’s about competing for ice time,” Sutter said. “[Martinez] can certainly play better than he has in the last two or three games, so it’s Davis’ turn.”

Drewiske has made the most of his limited time with two goals and an even plus-minus rating in seven games.

Second line gets another look: Thursday will mark the third time rookies Dwight King and Jordan Nolan flanked Mike Richards on the second line.

King and Nolan were recalled from the AHL last weekend and both got their first NHL goals Sunday against Dallas.

The 6-foot-3, 234-pound King and plays a power forward role while the 6-3, 227-pound Nolan is more of an enforcer type.

“You play with two people that are 6-3, it obviously creates a lot of room on the ice,” Richards said. “They’re big, strong, hard-working guys. I think when you get called up, your first couple of games with the team, you obviously play with a little (fire).

“We’re getting more and more comfortable with each other, and hopefully we can keep having success.”

Sutter hasn’t thrown a ton of praise on the youngsters and made it clear about their situation.

“I just don’t want them to tail off,” Sutter said. “If they have one practice where they tail off … You know what? They’re nothing special. They’re kids who are trying to learn how to play the game. We’re in a position, because of injuries and not scoring enough goals, to give them a chance. They better take full advantage of it.”

Stoll closer, Penner out: Thursday could be the last game for King and Nolan with Jarret Stoll eligible to come off injured reserve on Saturday.
Stoll has been progressing from a hip injury, but Sutter stopped short of saying he could be ready this weekend.

Dustin Penner is expected to be a healthy scratch for a third straight game.

Asked Tuesday about the message to Penner , Sutter said, “Work your (butt) off. Then you get a chance to play again. If you don’t, you don’t.”

Richards on NHL 36: Richards is being followed by a camera crew for the latest edition of “NHL 36,” a day-in-the-life segment in which a player if profiled for 36 hours.

“It’s a little bit different,” Richards said. “I thought the room was little quieter (Tuesday) morning. Not too many people were talking. …everybody was trying to stay away from me.”

The episode will air Feb. 22 before the Kings-Avalanche game on NBCSN.

Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night:

COYOTES

Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Daymond Langkow - Mikkel Boedker
Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Gilbert Brule

Keith Yandle - Adrian Aucoin
Rostislav Klesla - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Chris Summers - Michal Rozsival

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

KINGS

Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dwight King - Mike Richards - Jordan Nolan
Kyle Clifford - Andrei Loktionov - Trevor Lewis
Brad Richardson - Colin Fraser - Kevin Westgarth

Drew Doughty - Rob Scuderi
Willie Mitchell - Jack Johnson
Matt Greene - Davis Drewiske

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 2:58 PM

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

Big night for Sabres' Leino

PHILADELPHIA -- There hasn't been a lot for Buffalo Sabres forward Ville Leino to smile about this season, but a return to Philadelphia certainly is a high point for him.

Leino had his best NHL experiences in his two seasons with the Flyers, going to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010 and setting career highs last season with 19 goals and 34 assists while playing on a top line with Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell.

An unrestricted free agent after the season, he signed a six-year, $27 million deal with the Sabres in the hope that last season was the foundation for extended success. It hasn't worked out, though, as Leino has just four goals and 11 assists in 45 games, and was a healthy scratch once.

"I had a lot of fun here," Leino told reporters following the Sabres' morning skate. "It was so far the best time of my career. But it's still fun in Buffalo. ... We've been struggling a little bit, but we have a good team here and it can get better."

Leino has bounced from center to the wing, and tonight will play left wing on a line with center Derek Roy and right wing Jason Pominville.

"I think we had a good run those five games or whatever we were playing (together earlier in the season)," said Leino. "We were winning games, so hopefully we can get back to those winning ways and get some goals tonight and help the team."

"When he's played with Derek he's played well," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. "We're hoping to get the same type of play."

While Leino already has faced the Flyers twice this season, Pominville told NHL.com he expects to see Leino have an extra jump in his skates tonight.

"It's going to be a special night for him, I'm sure," he said. "This is the place where he really made a name for himself, had the most success, and has done really well here. It's a special night. He wants to do well in front of friends and old teammates. We'll try to help him out. He won't need that extra motivation tonight, he'll already have that."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 2:37 PM

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

Ruff feeling better, Sabres happy to have him back

PHILADELPHIA -- About the only thing that's been in Western New York longer than Lindy Ruff is Niagara Falls.

So it was a bit of a strange sight for the Buffalo Sabres players to look toward their team's bench the last week and not see Ruff, who has been coaching the team since 1997.

"Definitely was different," right wing Drew Stafford told NHL.com. "He was still around, but to not have him on bench, even during practice a couple times, he wasn't on the ice because he couldn't go on the ice. It was a little different having that feeling."

Ruff ended up with three broken ribs in a collision with defenseman Jordan Leopold in a practice Feb. 6. Leopold lost his footing during a puck-retrieval drill and slid into Ruff, who was looking the other way. The force of the blow took Ruff's legs out from under him, and the coach, who turns 52 on Friday, hit the ice hard.

"He got it pretty bad but he could have gotten it a lot worse," Sabres captain Jason Pominville told NHL.com. Pominville is one of 15 Sabres whose only NHL coach has been Ruff. "If he hits his head (on the ice) at the speed those guys were going when they hit him, he could have had some pretty big damage to his head. … As he was falling he tucked his head so it didn't hit the ice."

The injuries kept Ruff off the bench for three games, with assistant coaches James Patrick, Kevyn Adams and Teppo Numminen running the bench in Ruff's absence.

The Sabres won two of the three games before Ruff returned Wednesday against the New Jersey Devils.

"It's good to have him back on the bench, back to normal," said Stafford. "The rest of the coaching staff did a great job on the bench in his absence. They did a great job, made it comfortable for us, made it easy for us. At the same time, to have Lindy back, it's nice."

Pominville, now in his eighth season playing for Ruff, said little changed in the coach's absence.

"Maybe the first meeting," he said. "You're so used to having Lindy control the meeting. Hearing somebody else was a little different.

"The only difference was the voice, a different voice speaking in the room. The message was the same. They (Ruff and the assistant coaches) were constantly in communication with each other. The message was absolutely the same, just someone else delivering it to us."

Ruff is back to being able to deliver the message himself, but he said he's far from 100 percent. His injuries prevent him from raising his voice to yell out instructions, he's wearing a flak jacket on the bench and he's not yet able to get on the ice for practice yet.

"I don't feel good enough yet, but it feels better," he said. He added that flying Wednesday from Buffalo to Philadelphia was uncomfortable.

"I traveled OK," said Ruff. "I don't think it was ideal, but I traveled OK."

His players are happy he's able to be with them in any shape or form.

"The (assistant coaches) did a good job, but at the same time, Lindy's our guy," said Pominville. "He's the voice that needs to be heard, he's the leader of this whole boat. … He's the one that gets us going and finds different ways. Just his presence is nice."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 02.16.2012 / 2:26 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

As trade rumors swirl, Zidlicky sits for Wild

ST. PAUL -- The Marek Zidlicky watch is in full effect today at Xcel Energy Center.

The disgruntled defenseman, subject of trade rumors for much of the last 24 hours, skated this morning for the Wild, but will be a healthy scratch tonight against Winnipeg.

It's not to say a trade is imminent, or is even going to happen at this point. But the trade talk has been so thick in the Twin Cities of late that Wild coach Mike Yeo made the decision to sit Zidlicky down tonight -- the fifth time this season he will be scratched.

"All coaching decision," Yeo said. "I don't know what's going on. I don't know what is going to happen. But what I can say is, it's quite obvious that focus-wise, it'd be a tough game for him to go out and perform the way we need him to."

Zidlicky's desire to leave Minnesota became obvious last month when he told Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune of his displeasure about being scratched three games in January. On Wednesday, TSN's Darren Dreger reported Zidlicky had waived his no-trade clause in order to facilitate a trade to New Jersey. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said he had not approached Zidlicky about a trade to the Devils, or anywhere else for that matter.

It is believed Fletcher is working on something, but as of early Thursday afternoon, there was nothing new to report.

Zidlicky's teammates say it's business as usual, especially for a team desperate to break a five-game losing skid. The Wild have also lost four games in a row at Xcel Energy Center, the first time that's ever happened.

"Everybody reads the papers and is aware of what's in the papers. There's no secrets anymore," Wild forward Matt Cullen said. "That sort of thing, you can't allow to creep in. You just have to leave it alone, and let that take care of itself. Guys are aware of what's going on, but to be honest, there's really nothing we can do about it.

"As a player, you've got plenty to worry about, getting yourself to play and trying to find a way to win a game here."

In that regard, both the Wild and Jets have plenty on their plates. Minnesota has lost 21 of 26 games, a stretch that began Dec. 13 in Winnipeg. At the time, the Wild had won seven straight games and were the best team in the National Hockey League.

"And do you want me to cry or what?" said Jets coach Claude Noel when asked about the quirky statistic. "It's funny, because some teams, when you're hot like they were when they came in, some teams springboard off of a game like that. We've springboarded off that game and had a pretty good month. We've used that to build confidence.

"When you watch them play at that time and then now, you can see the magnitude of what confidence does with a team, both good and bad."

The Jets pounded on the Wild physically that night, including a Zach Bogosian check-from-behind on Pierre-Marc Bouchard that some feel is the main reason why Bouchard has missed several weeks, and could perhaps miss the rest of season, with yet another concussion. Bouchard missed a couple of games after that because of a broken nose and facial lacerations, but returned for a spell shortly after. On injured reserve since Jan. 7, the Bogosian hit is believed to be the incident that set the wheels in motion on yet another head injury for Bouchard.

Bogosian is not in St. Paul because of a lower-body injury. Noel said he will be re-evaluated tomorrow and will be a game-time decision against Boston on Friday.

Both Minnesota and Winnipeg are both struggling to score of late, with the Wild 29th in the NHL in goals per game and the Jets 25th. Winnipeg took the first game by a score of 2-1, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see a similar score tonight.

"Just the way both teams play, I see it being a low-scoring game," Noel said. "I think it has the makings of a good game, a really good game. Both teams are going to have some urgency."

On the lineup front, Chris Mason will start in goal for the Jets. He's lost three straight starts, but has allowed just two goals in each of his last two. He hasn't played since a 2-1 loss at Florida on Feb. 3.

For Minnesota, Yeo said winger Cal Clutterbuck looked good this morning and will skate before the game. He's missed two games with a charley horse and is a game-time decision tonight. If Clutterbuck can't go, Jeff Taffe, called up Wednesday from AHL Houston, will take his place. Cody Almond, also just called up, will play, taking the place of Carson McMillan, who was placed on injured reserve following Minnesota's 2-1 loss to Anaheim Tuesday.

Niklas Backstrom will get the nod in goal.
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Quote of the Day

When I first became captain here, Monsieur Beliveau came to me and said, 'You're going to be fine. You don't have to change, you got selected because of who you are.'

— Saku Koivu on Thursday, recalling what he was told by the late Jean Beliveau when he was named Canadiens captain in 1999
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