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Posted On Monday, 01.23.2012 / 12:52 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Yip's addition making things tough for Trotz

NASHVILLE -- After claiming forward Brandon Yip on waivers from the Avalanche last Thursday, Nashville now has 14 healthy forwards. That's made for some difficult decisions for coach Barry Trotz, as the team is playing well, having won 10 of 12 entering Monday.

On Saturday, the healthy scratches were Brian McGrattan and Matt Halischuk, who has 10 goals and also kills penalties. While McGrattan likely will continue to sit out for the time being, the other scratch will be a tough call on a nightly basis.

Trotz said he did not anticipate a roster move and said the Predators benefit from having the depth.

"The season's going to ramp up a little bit here," Trotz said. "We're going to have the trade deadline (Feb. 27). I think it was a great move picking up on Brandon. He's a player we've liked for a while. Hopefully, a new lease on life. We've had a number of players that's been a real good thing for us.

"It gives us a lot more depth and it allows even (general manager David Poile), if something comes up for the trade deadline and if we have to add or delete, in the past we'd add someone, but by adding someone, you create other holes and then we've had to expend a third- or a fourth-, fifth-round pick to fill that hole. With a Brandon Yip or whatever … you don't have to do that if you have more depth."

Here is what lineup the Predators could put out tonight -- one that includes defenseman Ryan Suter for the first time since Jan. 16.

Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Jordin Tootoo - Nick Spaling - Gabriel Bourque
Jerred Smithson - Craig Smith - Brandon Yip

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein
Jack Hillen - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne will start in goal, with Anders Lindback the backup.

Matt Halischuk and Brian McGrattan also took shifts on the fourth line, sharing time with Yip.
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Posted On Monday, 01.23.2012 / 12:45 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Suter back in for Predators

NASHVILLE -- Predators defenseman Ryan Suter will return to the lineup tonight when his team hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets, securing his ability to play in the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game.

Suter, who ranks third in the League in average time on ice at 26:30, missed the last three games with an upper-body injury, potentially jeopardizing his ability to play in his first All-Star Game. However, that issue seems to have resolved itself.

"What I said before was if I don't play with my team before the All-Star break, then it's not fair to go and play in something like that," said Suter, who turned 27 on Saturday. "Hopefully, everything goes well in the next couple of days and go have fun."

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said Suter wanted to play in Saturday's 5-2 win against Chicago, but the team held him out as a precaution.

Suter's return comes at an opportune time for Nashville, as veteran defenseman Francis Bouillon is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Bouillon got hurt Saturday and did not return.
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Posted On Monday, 01.23.2012 / 12:26 PM

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

Stars sign Goligoski to four-year extension

The Dallas Stars and defenseman Alex Goligoski agreed to terms Monday on a four-year, $18.4 million contract extension.

Goligoski is in the final season of a three-year, $5.5 million contract and would have been a restricted free agent after the season.

"We're very pleased that we were able to sign Alex to this extension," said Stars owner Tom Gaglardi. "We are committed to building a winner here in Dallas and that starts with re-signing your key players and maintaining a solid foundation for your roster."

Goligoski, 26, has 15 points in 34 games, and leads the team with an average of 22:34 of ice time per game. He had 15 points in 23 games after arriving in Dallas in a trade last season.

Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the 2004 Entry Draft, Goligoski has 33 goals and 120 points in 236 games with the Pens and Stars.

"Alex Goligoski is one of our core players and we are very pleased to get him under contract during the prime of his career," said Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "Alex is a character person and one of the anchors of our blue line. He's a big part of our hockey club."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 01.23.2012 / 10:58 AM

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

Caps' Backstrom takes short turn on ice

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, who hasn't played since being hit in the head by then-Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque during a game Jan. 3, skated for the first time today since Jan. 6.

According to the Washington Post, Backstrom skated for five minutes at the team's practice facility wearing warm-up clothes rather than his full equipment, and during his time on the ice he did nothing strenuous.

Backstrom took part in two practices in the three days after the Calgary game, but after a practice Jan. 6 in San Jose, Backstrom suffered a setback which kept him off the ice until this morning. There's still no timetable for his return.

Despite missing the last nine games, Backstrom still leads the Capitals with 42 points.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Monday, 01.23.2012 / 10:18 AM

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

Howard a fan when it comes to shootouts

The shootout is a bit of a polarizing topic among goalies.

They either like the excitement or dislike the fact that  of the hard work they put in to get to that point comes down to a contest of breakaways. Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard is among those who enjoy it.

"I don't mind it," he said of shootouts, following a 3-2 win in the breakaways contest on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. "It's fun. It's fun for the fans. It's intense. You can just see by the reaction of the fans how much they enjoy it. It's just about being patient as a goalie, let them run out of room and have to make a move and just push the puck. It's working on it in practice. It's also having fun out there."

It's also a good thing for the Wings that Howard has that kind of outlook about it.

Heading into Monday night's Central Division showdown with the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena, the Wings have won four of their last six games in shootouts, including their last three in a row. They've also been in five shootouts this season and triumphed in every one -- four won by Howard and one by backup Ty Conklin.

In his four victories, Howard has allowed just two goals, which doesn't surprise his teammates.

"We face him in practice all the time and we know he's a really good goalie when it comes to shootouts," said Valtteri Filppula, who clinched Saturday night’s 3-2 shootout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets by roofing a wrister past Curtis Sanford. "I think it definitely gives us confidence if we score. It always gives us a good chance to win and (Saturday night) was a good example of that."

In that one, Howard made saves against three Blue Jackets shooters and waited out power forward Rick Nash -- who lost the puck as he was going to shoot, with the puck sliding wide of the net. Each save that Howard made, the home crowd got louder and more into the shootout.

Filppula said each save has the same effect on the Wings' bench.

"There's a lot of good shooters on the (opposing) teams and he makes really good saves," Filppula said. "It definitely pumps up the team and we really want to win those games."

If Monday night's game goes to the breakaways, however, the opposing goalie will be the red-hot Jaroslav Halak, who’s 11-0-3 in his last 13 starts and within two more games of tying the team record for consecutive games without a regulation loss.

However, Halak's been in net for all six of the Blues' shootouts and won just one -- allowing five goals.

Here is a look at how the Blues and Red Wings might line up on Monday night:

BLUES

David Perron - David Backes - TJ Oshie
Matt D'Agostini - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Vladimir Sobotka - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
B.J. Crombeen - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak
Brian Elliott

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
Jonathan Ericsson - Mike Commodore

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin
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Posted On Monday, 01.23.2012 / 9:00 AM

By Pat LaFontaine -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Making of a Royal

Shattuck-St. Mary's Showcase recap

In this week's 'Making of a Royal' blog, head coach Pat LaFontaine discusses his team's opening game of the Shattuck-St. Mary's Showcase in Faribault, MN. The team rallied from a 3-0 deficit to earn a 5-5 tie against the host school, Under-16 Shattuck-St. Mary's. Brent D'Iorio and Michael Marnell each had two goals apiece and Nicholas Hutchison had a goal and one assist to spark the comeback.


It was great for the kids to experience Shattuck St. Mary's and talk about the hockey tradition it's turned out. If you look at the names of the players who have come out of there, like [Sidney] Crosby, [Jonathan] Toews and [Zach] Parise … it's basically a hockey factory.

Everybody knew where we were at and how special a place it really was. There have been a lot of tremendous hockey players coming out of Shattuck, but it didn't matter whether you flew four hours or sat in a hotel room because come game time, it's all jam. The kids had to put on their game face and be ready to play. We needed to just show up by setting the tempo, moving our feet and getting some shots off.

After the first period, I had to remind the players to stop acting like they were feeling sorry for themselves. They had to play with a purpose and not just go through the motions out there. The players needed to find some energy, some fire in their veins. Probably the hardest thing about coaching, and any coach will tell you this, is motivating and preparing kids to be ready to play at a high level.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.22.2012 / 9:59 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

COL @ ANA - :20 seconds of the Third Period



At the :20 seconds mark of the third period in the Avalanche / Ducks game, video review determined that Ryan Getzlaf's shot crossed the goal line in a legal fashion. Good goal Anaheim.
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Posted On Sunday, 01.22.2012 / 2:13 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Panthers finally snap road hex

WINNIPEG -- On Saturday night for the first time since early December, the Florida Panthers could leave a visiting building for the airport with two points packed away.

The Panthers' 4-3 shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre finally ended an eight-game road drought for the Panthers. Florida had not won in an opponent's building since taking a 2-0 decision at Boston back on Dec. 8. That win in Boston was the Panthers' 10th road victory of the season before their long 0-4-4  tailspin unfolded.

"[Strong road play was] something that we really prided ourselves in at the start of the year," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "We had a strong road record, we played hard on the road, and it's something that we talked about before the season."

Given the circumstances, while the Florida dressing room fully acknowledged that the process lacked beauty and regretted surrendering a point to a division rival, the two points that the club carried back to South Florida were all that really mattered.

"We just needed a way to get a win, no matter how it happened," said Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen, whose 41-save evening helped the Panthers to steal a point in Winnipeg.

The Panthers are jostling with the Jets and Washington Capitals for control of the Southeast Division, which would help them avoid the dogfight for the seventh and eighth spots in the Eastern Conference playoff race that continues to unfold.

"We've got to keep pace with everyone," Clemmensen said. "We've got teams in front of us, we've got teams behind us, including [the Jets]. We had a good start to the season, but we can't just float on that."
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Posted On Sunday, 01.22.2012 / 1:09 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Just as Jets get Bogosian back, Kane goes out

WINNIPEG -- Zach Bogosian and Evander Kane passed like ships in the night for the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

The Jets welcomed Bogosian back to their blue line after he missed five games with a lower-body injury. However, the Jets lost the services of Kane, who missed Saturday's 4-3 shootout loss to the visiting Florida Panthers with a concussion.

Kane's timetable remains unknown, and he will join defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and center Tim Stapleton as injured Jets. Byfuglien has not played since Dec. 23, and Winnipeg has lost 216 man-games to injury so far this season.

But coach Claude Noel wasted little time easing Bogosian back into the line-up. The 21-year-old logged a team-high 25:19 of ice time, including more than six minutes on the power play, and set a new career high with nine shots against the Panthers.

"I felt good," Bogosian said. "I got thrown right in the mix there, but, you know, it's good just to get the momentum going. You know, whenever you play a lot, you get into kind of a groove, and everything felt good out there."

While the Jets squandered an opportunity to apply further pressure in the Eastern Conference standings on the tired Panthers and Washington Capitals, Bogosian viewed the outcome with a half-full perspective.

"I think that anytime you battle back [from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits], it's kind of more of a point gained," Bogosian said. "We did show that we can battle back and we didn't give up right until the end."
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Posted On Sunday, 01.22.2012 / 12:48 PM

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

Off-ice issues leave Flyers, Bruins lineups in question

PHILADELPHIA -- It's a quiet afternoon here at the Wells Fargo Center. Because of the early start to today's game, plus the fact that both teams played yesterday, there was little happening prior to puck drop.

How the team's rosters could look today also is in question. The Bruins could be without defenseman Andrew Ference, who was facing a disciplinary hearing early Sunday for his hit yesterday on the Rangers' Ryan McDonagh.

Meanwhile, the Flyers will be without two of their top-six forwards due to injuries suffered in yesterday's game in New Jersey. Jaromir Jagr played just four shifts totaling 3:16 before being forced out with a lower-body injury, while forward Danny Briere is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a concussion following the game.

Also, the team could be without fourth-line forward Zac Rinaldo, who left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury.

The Flyers called up forwards Tom Sestito and Ben Holmstrom from AHL Adirondack to fill out the roster.

Briere is the sixth Flyer to miss time with a concussion, and the third to currently miss time, joining defenseman Chris Pronger and forward James van Riemsdyk.

Jagr's loss marks the third time this season he'll miss time with a lower-body injury, which Jagr has said is a groin issue. Yesterday, rookie Brayden Schenn moved into Jagr's top-line spot, alongside Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell. Whether he stays there remains to be seen.

Also up in the air is the starting goalie for either team. Philadelphia's Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 30 of 31 shots yesterday against New Jersey, and has started games on back-to-back days four times this season. However, he also was in goal the last time these teams met, allowing five goals on 20 shots in a 6-0 loss in Boston on Dec. 17. Lifetime against the Bruins, Bryzgalov is 5-2-1 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in eight games. Backup Sergei Bobrovsky is 0-1-0 with a 1.96 GAA and .938 save percentage in two games against Boston.

Tuukka Rask stopped 30 of 33 shots in yesterday's 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers, meaning it's likely Tim Thomas starts today against the Flyers. In 16 games against the Flyers, Thomas is 11-3-2 with a 2.04 GAA, .939 save percentage and two shutouts. He stopped all 31 shots Philadelphia threw at him in that Dec. 17 game.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins