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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:59 PM

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

Stars hope to keep rolling agianst speedy Islanders

DALLAS -- It has already been a successful week for the Dallas Stars. On Monday, Dallas handed Colorado a 3-1 defeat at Pepsi Center, a building where the Stars have struggled in recent years. Three days later the Stars beat Ottawa, 3-2, in overtime for a second straight win.
   
In the victory against the Senators, Dallas got the game-winner from Eric Nystrom in the third period. Another big story in the win for the Stars was their power play converted an opportunity for the first time in 22 chances when Steve Ott scored in the first period.

While the Stars have struggled on the power play, they have been pretty adept at killing penalties of late, allowing just one power play goal in their last six games, killing off 17 of 18 chances in that stretch (94.4 percent).
   
Dallas (15-9-1, 31 points) will look to make it three in a row against the New York Islanders (7-11-5, 19 points) tonight at American Airlines Center, their last game at home before they head out on a five-game road trip next week.

“It’s good to try to leave with a win and have that good feeling of having the wind at your back, especially when you’re going on the road,” Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman said. “The main thing for us is to put a good 60 minutes together. If we can do that, the score will take care of itself. We’ve just got to play hard. That’s the main thing for us.”

The Islanders have gotten points in their last three contests, going 2-0-1 in that stretch. This will be the second game in a back-to-back after they fell 5-4 at Chicago in a shootout Friday night.
   
Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan saw that loss to the Blackhawks and knows that like recent foes Edmonton and Ottawa, New York promises to deliver a game with plenty of speed.

“What a collection of guys that can really hurt you – we saw the talent a little bit on display last night, some great individual efforts. We thought that they controlled the pace against Chicago, who is one of the pacier teams and they were pretty good,” Gulutzan said. “We’ve got to be ready for that pace and we’ve got to make sure we’re hard on these young guys with the skills they do possess for sure.”
   
Grossman is one of the Stars’ defensemen who will be asked to help neutralize the young, speedy Islanders.

“The games I’ve watched, they’re a pacey team. They’ve got a lot of skill up front,” he said. “We’ve just got to be ready for that. It’s another important game for us. We’ve had a couple of good games lately but we always want to keep building and getting better. We’ve got to come out and play hard. We expect a hard game because these guys are hungry. It will be a tough game.”
   
Dallas will again be without defensemen Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski, along with captain Brenden Morrow. However, their coach did offer some encouraging news prior to the start of what will be a crucial road trip for his club.
   
“We’re going to be very close but on the road trip, we will have [Goligoski], Daley and Morrow back at some point on the road,” Gulutzan said. “Morrow and Daley are probables for Thursday [at San Jose], so that will be good news.”
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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:49 PM

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

Leafs' Reimer returns, hopes to end skid against B's

BOSTON – Toronto coach Ron Wilson told goaltender James Reimer during practice Friday that he would get the start Saturday night against the Boston Bruins.

Because of that the Maple Leafs' pregame skate at TD Garden had a little different feel this morning for Reimer, who has been out since he was hit in the head by Montreal's Brian Gionta on Oct. 22 and started suffering from concussion-like symptoms.

"It's more exciting, that's for sure. The last week, week and a half, I've been taking morning skates, but in the other net and staying out there until 1 or longer and working as hard as I can," said Reimer after he was the first goaltender off the ice, which was the first public acknowledgement that he would start. "So today it was a lot more fun to get in there, feel the puck, get a little sweat on and come off when you feel you've had enough shots."
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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:33 PM

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

Cup heroes return to Tampa with Rangers

TAMPA - Should old acquaintances be forgotten?

That’s a good question, and especially appropriate as the Tampa Bay Lightning play host to the New York Rangers on Saturday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, because New York (14-5-3) features three old acquaintances that were here, and were big parts of the Lightning team that won the Stanley Cup in 2004.

Brad Richards, currently leading the Rangers in scoring with 20 points, was the hero of the Tampa Bay playoff run in 2004, and collected a Conn Smythe Trophy as the Playoff MVP; Ruslan Fedotenko scored both Lightning goals in their 2-1 Cup-clinching Game 7 win against Calgary; and John Tortorella, the coach of the Rangers, guided Tampa Bay to 106 points and won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.

But don’t expect fond memories to slow down a Rangers team that is sitting in second place in the Atlantic Division, just three points behind Pittsburgh.

“I don’t want to say that returning to Tampa is just another stop because that would be disrespectful to an organization and place that I worked at for eight years,” Tortorella said, “But I’m not here warm and fuzzy; we’re here to win.”

For the Lightning (11-11-2), returning after a two-game road trip in which they dropped both games, seeing their home ice again, where they have gone 7-3-0, is a welcome reprieve.

In an attempt to increase scoring against a Rangers squad that has allowed the fewest goals in the NHL (49), Lightning coach Guy Boucher scratched fourth-line defensive grinder Adam Hall for the first time this season and added Ryan Shannon to the line-up.

“The plan for today was to go after more offense.” Boucher said. “Adam Hall is playing great defensively; it’s just that we’ve been lacking secondary scoring. Not that Adam can’t score, but he’s not known to be an offensive player. The Rangers are beating everybody and seem unbeatable, and if we don’t score goals, we’re not going to beat these guys.”

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

RANGERS

Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin - Brian Boyle - John Mitchell
Sean Avery - Brandon Dubinsky - Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Michael Sauer
Jeff Woywitka - Steve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

LIGHTNING

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

Eric Brewer - Victor Hedman
Marc-Andre Bergeron - Matt Gilroy
Brett Clark - Pavel Kubina

Dwayne Roloson
Mathieu Garon
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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:21 PM

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

Projected lineups for Islanders, Stars

Here’s a look at the projected lineups for the New York Islanders and the Dallas Stars for their contest Saturday night at American Airlines Center:

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - P.A. Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
David Ullstrom - Josh Bailey - Brian Rolston
Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Nino Niederreiter

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Dylan Reese - Travis Hamonic
Milan Jurcina - Mike Mottau

Al Montoya (starter)
Rick DiPietro

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Mike Ribeiro - Tomas Vincour
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen

Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Nicklas Grossman - Adam Pardy
Mark Fistric - Philip Larsen

Andrew Raycroft (starter)
Richard Bachman

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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:12 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Crosby still searching for peak form

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, who was held off the scoresheet Thursday against Washington for the second time in six games this season, is still finding his comfort level following his long absence with post-concussion symptoms.

"Some things are right where they need to be, other things aren't as consistent," the Penguins captain said. "Some things aren't near where they need to be. It's doing it over the course of the season."

After scoring twice in his first game back, Crosby hasn't found the net in the Penguins past five games.

"Finishing is one thing that takes a lot of focus,” he said. “You've got a split second to put a shot where you want to and you've got guys on you. It takes time getting into those areas and comfortable. That's something I want to improve on. I know it's going to take some time getting back into things."

The Penguins will turn to backup goaltender Brent Johnson tonight against Carolina. He will be looking for his second win of the season (1-3-2).

Carolina coach Kirk Muller did not confirm a starter in goal.

Here’s a look at the projected lineups for both teams in their matchup Saturday night at RBC Center:

PITTSBURGH

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
James Neal - Evgeni Malkin - Steve Sullivan
Matt CookeJordan StaalTyler Kennedy
Craig AdamsRichard ParkArron Asham

Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland
Robert Bortuzzo - Simon Despres

Brent Johnson
Marc-Andre Fleury

CAROLINA

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

Bryan Allen - Tomas Kaberle
Tim Gleason - Justin Faulk
Joni Pitkanen - Derek Joslin

Cam Ward
Brian Boucher
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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:00 PM

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

Leafs hope to solve struggles against Bruins

BOSTON – The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to try for the fourth time to solve the Boston Bruins, and a victory would mean no worse than a share of first place at TD Garden tonight.
   
Toronto will have James Reimer in net for the first time since he began suffering concussion-like symptoms Oct. 22. The Maple Leafs will also have some extra-interested spectators among the Garden faithful, as this is Toronto’s “dads’ trip.”
   
“It’s good for the dads, but I want our players to appreciate that they do have a dad who can watch them and all of the support,” said Toronto head coach Ron Wilson after his team’s morning skate. “You don’t get to this level without the support of your parents. And that’s the one big, strong thing in hockey, whether it’s Canada or the United States, it’s the involvement of the parents to get them to this level, because it’s certainly a financial burden, and a time burden as well. You’ve got all those 5 o’clock [in the morning] practices, and you’ve got to get to the rink and your parents are completely dedicated to your love of hockey because they have the same thing, and they share their passion with their sons.”
   
Here is the Leafs’ projected lineup:

Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Tim Connolly - Matt Frattin
Joey Crabb - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Joe Colborne - Dave Steckel - Philippe Dupuis

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn
John-Michael Liles - Cody Franson

James Reimer
Jonas Gustavsson
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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 12:52 PM

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

Bruins still rolling but seek improvements

BOSTON – His team’s win Wednesday night in Toronto ran its point streak to 13 games, but that didn’t prevent Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien from seeking out areas his club can improve.
   
After all, the Bruins got into a bit of a run-and-gun game with the Maple Leafs for stretches of their 6-3 victory.
   
“I think we didn’t play as well, as far as closing the ice, which is part of our game,” said Julien today after his team’s morning skate in preparation for its rematch with the Leafs tonight at TD Garden. “It’s not about being better defensively, it’s about closing the gap quicker. To me there’s a difference there – playing them a little tighter. Certain teams are good skating teams, and the more room you give them the better they are. I just felt we gave them a little bit too much room in that game in Toronto and got away from our game a little bit. But that’s just something you need to adjust.”
   
Some of Julien’s charges also saw the error of their ways despite the positive end result.
   
“I felt like there was a lot of lulls,” forward Milan Lucic said. “Even though we did win 6-3, I felt like there was some lulls in our game that we need to touch up on because if we keep making some of the mistakes that we did last game, it will definitely wind up in the back of the net more so than it did last game.”
   
Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice and should get the start tonight. Here is the rest of the Bruins’ projected lineup:

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

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

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask
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Posted On Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 2:16 AM

By Sergei J. Feldman -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Kane blossoms at new position

It's fun being the center of attention. Even more fun when you're doing it at right wing.

Chicago Blackhawks playmaker Patrick Kane spent all of 2011-12 playing the center position until Friday night, when he joined teammate Jonathan Toews on the right side of the ice - the side of the ice he's been accustomed to playing since breaking into the League in 2007-08.

The result: a solid two-assist, two-shot outing in what was a winning effort in the shootout for the Blackhawks over the New York Islanders.

For the most part, fantasy owners should've been pleased with Kane's production this year. After all, he ranks third in the NHL in assists, 10th in points and is a top-20 shot producer. Those are more than respectable numbers for any fantasy contributor. But Kane has never finished a season with less than 70 points and 21 goals.

Leading up to Friday's til, though, Kane went six games without registering a goal. Dig deeper and you'll notice he has scored just seven goals in 26 games this year.

Project jumpstart is underway. So despite the goal-scoring dry spell,which has now reached eight games, Kane appeared to be more than comfortable playing alongside captain Toews.

If the two can develop some chemistry, Kane could see a huge jump in production, which would only mean good things for your fantasy squads moving forward.

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Posted On Friday, 12.02.2011 / 11:37 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

STL @ COL - 4:43 of Overtime

At 4:43 of overtime  in Colorado, video review was used to determine if the puck crossed the goal line of the St. Louis net. Video review determined that the puck never completely crossed the goal line. No goal Colorado.

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Posted On Friday, 12.02.2011 / 11:22 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

PHI @ ANA - 6:31 of the 2nd

At 6:31 of the second period in the Philadelphia/Anaheim game, video review was used to determine if the puck entered the Philadelphia net in a legal fashion. Video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off of Anaheim forward Andrew Gordon. Call on the ice stands, good goal Anaheim.
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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players