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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 2:06 PM

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

Devils search for consistency in Dallas

DALLAS -- The New Jersey Devils have been something of a mixed bag during their current road trip, losing both at Pittsburgh and Phoenix but blanking Los Angeles 3-0 at Staples Center on Tuesday night.
   
Tonight, Peter DeBoer's club will look to finish the trip on a high note against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center against a Stars team the Devils split their two games against last season.

"We have an opportunity here on a tough swing and in three tough buildings to take two out of three and that's the goal," DeBoer said. "We would have taken that to start the trip and we have an opportunity to do that, so that's the good news."
   
New Jersey won during their last trip to Dallas, shutting out the Stars 1-0 back on Feb. 22. Past results aside, the Devils know they're in for a tough one tonight in the Lone Star State.
   
"Look at their record, they're a very good team," Devils defenseman Andy Greene said. "They play a good team game. They're quick to pucks and they play physical down low. It's a good test for us. They're not where they're at [for no reason], it's not a fluke. They're a good team and we have to be on our game tonight."   
   
A win tonight would give New Jersey a  2-1 record during the Western Conference portion of their current road swing, which would definitely be a nice plus heading into Wednesday's home game against the Maple Leafs at Prudential Center.
   
"It'd be nice for us to finish a tough road trip over .500. We've played three pretty good teams, so if we can kind of correct some stuff we did in Phoenix the other night, we should be a little better. You've almost seen two different teams in LA and in Phoenix," Devils captain Zach Parise said. "Hopefully we can find a little consistency and clean up some different areas."
   
Greene agrees that finding some consistency tonight in Dallas would be a huge step in the right direction for the Devils.
   
"We had one good game and one bad game [on this portion of the trip]," he said. "If we can come out tonight with a real good effort and do things right, it'll be a good road trip. For the most part, when you do the right things, you're going to win the games. That's what we have to do, continue to do that tonight and end this road trip good."
   
For at least one regular contributor, the results so far on this trip have been a bit perplexing to say the least.
   
"I'd say more puzzling than anything," Parise said. "In some games, we do everything right-we break out well, we forecheck the right way and then sometimes for whatever reason, if things aren't going right, we get a little frustrated and a little overaggressive and you get picked apart like we did in Phoenix. A lot of times we got beat, all three guys, by one pass and that can't happen in this league. That's something we've got to be a little better at tonight."
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POSTED ON Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 1:19 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Tortorella splits Richards, Gaborik

After eight games together, it looks as though Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards will be playing on different lines for the time being.

Rangers coach John Tortorella said Saturday before his team faced the Ottawa Senators that one reason for the breakup is the fact both players want the puck on their stick, and putting them on different lines will alleviate that problem and perhaps help those struggling to score find their games.

There was no morning skate before this afternoon's 3 p.m. game at Madison Square Garden, so here are the lines Tortorella displayed at practice Friday.

Wojtek Wolski - Erik Christensen - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Derek Stepan - Artem Anisimov - Kris Newbury

Tortorella spoke at length Friday about not wanting to mix and match lines as heavily as he has in the early going, but with so many players struggling, he's had no choice. Dubinsky, Anisimov and Stepan, who combined for 63 goals last season, have yet to score to this season.

“The thing with our team right now is, it’s not one or two guys you need to get going," Tortorella said Friday. "It’s a team thing -- offensively, anyway. There are a number of people struggling. The way I look at it is, you have decisions to make. Do you keep on mixing them up and try to find a combination or do you go to a situation where you really think through prior experience with the player that they’d work together, do you go back to that and just work through it? Because this is a team thing. It’s not about getting one or two guys going. It’s really a team funk."

Michael Del Zotto (hip) will play, and the Rangers' D pairings will likely be the same as they were against the Maple Leafs on Thursday night. Henrik Lundqvist will be in net.

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Michael Sauer
Tim Erixon - Steve Eminger

The only news for Ottawa this afternoon is the team recalled goaltender Robin Lehner from Binghamton of the AHL to replace backup Alex Auld, who is out with an undisclosed injury from practice Friday. Craig Anderson will make the start as the Senators look to win their fifth straight game.

Here is what the Senators will throw out there this afternoon:

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Nick Foligno - Stephane Da Costa - Daniel Alfredsson
Erik Condra - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Jesse Winchester - Zenon Konopka - Kaspars Daugavins

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

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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POSTED ON Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 1:15 PM

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

Boston's Chara, Seidenberg reunite, projected lineups

MONTREAL – The Boston Bruins appear to be going back to some winning combinations for their game against the rival Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre tonight.

Captain Zdeno Chara was paired with his defense partner from last year’s Stanley Cup run, Dennis Seidenberg, at this morning’s skate. If the pairing remains for the game, it would be the first time this season the two have played together.

Coach Claude Julien also re-united the line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton, a combination that was a force in last year’s playoffs. Benoit Pouliot did not make the trip with the Bruins because he is dealing with an illness, so his return to the Bell Centre will need to be put off for now.

Julien would not confirm his goaltender, but Tuukka Rask was off the ice first at the morning skate, which normally means he will start over Tim Thomas. If so, Rask would be seeking his first win of the season after losses in his only two starts.

For the Canadiens, coach Jacques Martin made no line changes from his
team’s 2-1 win against the Bruins in Boston on Thursday. In fact he hasn’t touched his lines the past two games, both victories. Carey Price gets the start in goal for Montreal.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

MONTREAL


Max PaciorettyTomas PlekanecBrian Gionta
Michael CammalleriDavid DesharnaisErik Cole
Andrei KostitsynLars EllerTravis Moen
Mathieu DarchePetteri NokelainenMichael Blunden
Injured: Scott Gomez

Josh GorgesP.K. Subban
Hal GillRaphael Diaz
Jaroslav SpacekYannick Weber
Scratch: Alexei Emelin

Carey Price

BOSTON

Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton
Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronTyler Seguin
Jordan CaronChris KellyRich Peverley
Daniel PailleGregory CampbellShawn Thornton
Scratch: Benoit Pouliot

Zdeno CharaDennis Seidenberg
Joe CorvoAdam McQuaid
Andrew FerenceJohnny Boychuk
Scratch: Steven Kampfer

Tuukka Rask
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POSTED ON Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 1:03 PM

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

Ex-Flyer Boucher to start for Carolina

PHILADELPHIA -- Brian Boucher will get the opportunity to pick up his first win with the Carolina Hurricanes against his old team in a building he knows very well.

Carolina coach Paul Maurice confirmed after the Hurricanes optional skate Saturday morning that Boucher will be in the net against Philadelphia. Cam Ward, who made 30 saves Friday in a 3-0 win over Chicago, will be the backup.

Boucher is 0-1-1 with a 4.46 goals-against average and .850 save percentage. He allowed four goals on 36 shots in an overtime loss to Washington on Oct. 8, and then gave up five against 24 shots in a regulation loss at Winnipeg exactly two weeks later. Both of Boucher's starts have come on the back-end of a back-to-back.

"His first game we put him in Washington on back-to-back nights and he played great, we got a point out of it," Maurice said. "The next night we go from St. Louis and into Winnipeg, he wasn't at his best and neither were we. There's a lot going into tonight, but I have a lot of confidence in him and I am really looking forward to him controlling the game."

Boucher started his career with the Flyers from 1999-2002, and then played the last two seasons in Philadelphia. He was 18-10-4 with a 2.42 GAA last season. Boucher was also 4-4 with a 3.13 GAA in the playoffs.

Here is what the rest of Carolina's lineup should look like Saturday:

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

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

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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POSTED ON Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 12:57 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Streaks on the line for Lightning, Jets

Several streaks will be on the line Saturday night as the Winnipeg Jets make their first visit to Tampa, Fla., to face division foe Tampa Bay Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Jets forward Alexander Burmistrov is riding a six-game scoring streak (three goals, five assists during the streak), tied for the longest active streak in the NHL. Just behind him is Lightning forward Steven Stamkos, with a five-game streak (five goals, one assist). Saturday is the 12th Annual Tampa Bay Fights Cancer night, and the Lightning are undefeated the previous 11 nights.

The most noteworthy streak going into the game Saturday is the 11 consecutive wins Tampa Bay boasts against the Jets franchise (dating back to their time in Atlanta), the longest-active win streak by one team against another. Although the team won all six games against the franchise last season, coach Guy Boucher quickly dismissed any significance.

“I never look at that,” Boucher said. “Each year is different and to me, it’s not about a franchise, it’s about the players that are on the ice at that particular moment. If the Boston Red Sox would have thought only of the past, they never would have won a world’s championship. It’s all about today.”

Here are the expected lineups for both clubs:

TAMPA BAY

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

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

Dwayne Roloson
Mathieu Garon

WINNIPEG

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Kyle Wellwood
Alexander Burmistrov - Nik Antropov - Evander Kane
Kenndal McArdle - Tim Stapleton - Blake Wheeler
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian
Randy Jones - Johnny Oduya

Ondrej Pavelec
Peter Mannino
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POSTED ON Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 12:48 PM

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

Projected lineup for Dallas, New Jersey

Here is the projected lineup for the Dallas Stars as they face the New Jersey Devils at American Airlines Center on Saturday night. A win or an overtime/shootout loss will keep Dallas in first place in the Western Conference:
 
DALLAS

Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krys Barch - James Wandell - Adam Burish

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Adam Pardy - Alex Goligoski
Nick Grossman - Trevor Daley

Kari Lehtonen
Andrew Raycroft

NEW JERSEY

Ilya Kovalchuk - Zach Parise - David Clarkson
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Danius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Adam Henrique - Nick Palmieri
Brad Mills - Ryan Carter - Cam Janssen

Henrik Tallender - Adam Larsson
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Johan Hedberg
Keith Kinkaid


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POSTED ON Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 11:34 AM

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

Jagr empathizes with Bryzgalov's struggles

PHILADELPHIA -- Jaromir Jagr doesn't play the same position, but he understands precisely what Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov means when he says he has "zero confidence in myself right now" as he did Thursday after an 9-8 loss to Winnipeg.

"No matter how good you are, if you're Wayne Gretzky or somebody from the fourth line, it has the same effect," Jagr told NHL.com on Saturday from Wells Fargo Center, where the Flyers will take on Carolina with Bryzgalov in net. "The only difference is the great players, they can produce even without confidence. They're not going to play their top game, but even their 70 percent is good enough."

But how does it change for a goalie?

"Well, that's what I want to tell you," Jagr said. "It would help if we would play tighter defense and maybe don't take so much risk until he gets the confidence back, but I think it could change in a minute. One good save, one great five minutes, and it could change right away. That's the way it works."

Bryzgalov is going to get that chance despite giving up four goals on 10 shots in relief of Sergei Bobrovsky on Thursday. He is going to get that chance despite the fact that he's 0-4-0 with a 5.14 goals-against average and .802 save percentage in his last four appearances.

"It's all about belief," Jagr continued. "It's belief in yourself, belief in the things you do. If all of a sudden the result is not what you want, you start questioning the things you do even though you know it worked before. When you start questioning something there is not a 100 percent belief in it. It's all about the belief." Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has no choice but to believe despite what Bryzgalov's claim that he's "lost in the woods right now."

Remember, Bryzgalov came on in relief of Bobrovsky on Thursday after the younger goalie gave up five goals on 15 shots. No matter who Laviolette chose to start against Carolina, it was going to be a goalie that is currently fighting the puck.

"We feel like we've got two good goaltenders and we wanted to get Bryz back in there," Laviolette said. "We could have went with Bob, and I'm sure Bob wants to get back in there as well. I'd be confident with either one of them."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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POSTED ON Saturday, 10.29.2011 / 11:19 AM

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

Bryzgalov to start for Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start for the Flyers tonight against Carolina after giving up four goals on 10 shots in a relief appearance Thursday. Bryzgalov said he is suffering through a crisis in confidence after the 9-8 loss to Winnipeg, but Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he wants to get him right back in there.
 
Danny Briere did not skate this morning at Wells Fargo Center, but Laviolette did not provide any news on his status. The prevailing opinion here is that he will be able to play against the Hurricanes. Jody Shelley and Matt Walker stayed on the ice for extra work, so they appear to be the scratches.
 
More soon.
 
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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POSTED ON Friday, 10.28.2011 / 9:29 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

CHI @ CAR 14:02 of the third period

At 14:02 of the third period in the Chicago/Carolina game, video review confirmed the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected by Jiri Tlusty hit the crossbar of the Chicago net. No Goal.

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POSTED ON Friday, 10.28.2011 / 5:01 PM

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

Markov close to returning to practice

According to Canadiens coach Jacques Martin, Montreal's top defenseman is ready to make a big step in his quest to return to the lineup.

Martin told reporters today that Andrei Markov is about 1-2 weeks away from practicing with the team.

Markov hasn't played since Nov. 13, 2010, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He was just seven games into his return from surgery on the same knee the previous spring.

Markov has been in Florida rehabilitating under the supervision of Dr. James Andrews.
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It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday