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Posted On Saturday, 11.05.2011 / 11:50 AM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sabres, Senators

Here are the projected lineups for Saturday night’s game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. The Sabres did not skate, while the Sens held an optional practice, with only Chris Phillips, Filip Kuba and Erik Karlsson sitting out.

OTTAWA

Milan MichalekJason SpezzaColin Greening
Nick FolignoStephane Da CostaBobby Butler
Kaspars DaugavinsZack SmithChris Neil
Nikita FilatovJesse WinchesterErik Condra

Filip KubaErik Karlsson
Jared CowenSergei Gonchar
Chris PhillipsBrian Lee

Craig Anderson will get the start, with Alex Auld serving as backup.

Zenon Konopka and David Rundblad are the healthy scratches.

BUFFALO

Thomas VanekLuke AdamJason Pominville
Ville LeinoDerek RoyDrew Stafford
Nathan GerbePaul GaustadBrad Boyes
Cody McCormickMatt EllisCorey Tropp

Robyn RegehrJordan Leopold
Tyler MyersAndrej Sekera
Marc-Andre GragnaniChristian Ehrhoff

Ryan Miller is expected to get the start, with Jhonas Enroth backing him up.
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Posted On Saturday, 11.05.2011 / 10:55 AM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

DiPietro to start again; Isles shake up lines

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Rick DiPietro will get his third straight start when the New York Islanders play host to the Washington Capitals tonight, but the cast in front of him has been rearranged. With his team mired in a six-game losing streak and stuck in an offensive slump, coach Jack Capuano has completely revamped his lines.

John Tavares, who has seven of the Isles' 18 goals, will center the top line with Matt Moulson on the right side and Michael Grabner moving up and playing on the left. Frans Nielsen, Grabner's usual center, will have PA Parenteau, Tavares' regular right wing, and Brian Rolston, who moves up from the third line, on the left.

Marty Reasoner moves from the fourth line to the third and will center Blake Comeau and Kyle Okposo -- who usually plays with Nielsen and Grabner. Josh Bailey, who hasn't had a point in 11 games this season, will center a fourth line with Jay Pandolfo and Matt Martin.

"Obviously we haven't been scoring many goals," Capuano said. "We've got to do something."

Capuano did not tell his players about the changes until this morning; Friday's practice was run using the pairings that the Isles had maintained through their first 11 games.

"It doesn't matter who you play with," he said. "You have to do the little things."

DiPietro will make his third straight start, with Al Montoya dressing as his backup. Evgeni Nabokov continues to recover from a lower-body injury; Capuano said he's close to being at full strength and will skate Sunday.

The Capitals, who come to Nassau Coliseum with a 9-2-0 record after winning 5-1 at Carolina on Saturday, probably wouldn't be Capuano's choice of opponent as his team goes for its first win in three weeks. The Caps won their first seven games, lost at Edmonton and Vancouver, then bounced back by beating Anaheim and Carolina this week. They are also 11-0-3 in their last 14 games against the Isles.

"They have some guys who are obviously very skilled. Time and space are something that we have to take away as much as we can," Capuano said when asked about slowing down an attack that includes Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. "We can't let their fourth man beat us up the ice. We have to be very disciplined in our own end."
 
Here is the projected lineup for the Islanders:
 
Michael GrabnerJohn TavaresMatt Moulson
Brian RolstonFrans NielsenPA Parenteau
Blake ComeauMarty ReasonerKyle Okposo
Matt MartinJosh BaileyJay Pandolfo

Mark StreitSteve Staios
Andrew MacDonaldTravis Hamonic
Mark EatonMilan Jurcina

Rick DiPietro
Al Montoya

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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 8:44 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

CHI @ TBL - 4:55 of the second period

At 4:55 of the second period in the Blackhawks/Lightning game, video review determined that the puck entered the Chicago net in a legal fashion and that the net didn't completely come off its moorings before the puck entered the net. Call on the ice stands, good goal Tampa Bay.

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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 8:36 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

VAN @ STL - 13:13 of the first period

At 13:13 of the first period in the Canucks/Blues game, video review was used to determine if the puck was struck by a Vancouver high stick before entering the net. Video review determined that the puck deflected off of a St. Louis Blues defender. Call on the ice stands -- good goal Vancouver.

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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 3:40 PM

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

Reimer to miss seventh straight game

Toronto goalie James Reimer did not practice Friday and will miss his seventh straight game Saturday when the Maple Leafs host Boston. The Leafs are saying Reimer has an upper-body injury, but the fear is that he is suffering concussion-like symptoms after getting hit in the head against Montreal two weeks ago.

"I would say he kind of hit a plateau in his recovery so the trainers decided not to ask him to go on the ice," Leafs coach Ron Wilson told reporters in Toronto. "With the other two goalies (Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens) playing well, if he's not going to face a lot of shots (in practice) it's better for him to just work out off the ice."

Wilson expressed optimism in Reimer's recovery on Wednesday when the Leafs were in Newark to face the Devils. He had hoped that Reimer would be able to serve as Gustavsson's backup, but said it didn't happen because Reimer was gassed after a long workout in the morning and wouldn't have been able to play if he had to go in.

Wilson, though, said after Wednesday's game that he was hopeful Reimer would be able to start Thursday in Columbus. That didn't happen as Scrivens got the call with Gustavsson as the backup.

And now Reimer was held out of practice Friday. There's no word on who will start Saturday against Boston.

"I'm not a doctor or a trainer," Wilson said. "We've got the healthy guys and they're doing the job so we'll give James plenty of time to recover. There's no rush to get him back."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:12 PM

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

St. Louis seeking answers on special teams

ST. LOUIS -- The continued struggles for the St. Louis Blues' special teams -- particularly the power play -- has the team searching for answers and trying to find ways to break through.

The Blues are currently last in the league on the power play (3-for-36) at 8.3 percent. Only the Blues and fellow Central Division competitors Chicago (4-for-46, 8.7 percent) and Columbus (6-for-63, 9.5 percent) are below the 10-percent threshold.

But nobody's panicking in the locker room, since the Blues feel like the chances are there.

"We hadn't been (getting good opportunities), but I think the last couple games, they have been better," winger Matt D'Agostini said. "We're getting a lot better zone time, shots on net and chances. ... We've got talent on this team to put in goals. I don't think we're too worried about being snake-bitten or anything like that."

The Blues are ninth in the league in 5-on-5 situations, scoring 1.17 goals per game more than the opposition, and once they get the speciality teams straightened out, their 5-6 record should vastly improve.

"I think early on, there was some execution that didn't get in the net and then all of the sudden, we kind of got ourselves spun into a number of different situations where the unit's changing and Andy (McDonald's) out," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "Now all of the sudden, we have trouble getting the puck in the zone. I don't think that's as much of an issue now. Now you see teams really coming at us because they know we haven't scored a bunch of power-play goals.

"I think the guys are gaining an understanding of how we're going to counteract that and how we're going to stick with it. ... These guys are too good to be held off for too long."

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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:08 PM

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

Blues' offensive production slightly up from 'D'

ST. LOUIS -- On paper, it doesn't look like the Blues are getting quite enough offensive support from their defensemen. But in actuality, the numbers are higher than they were over an 82-game period last season.

Last season, the Blues got 38 goals, 123 assists and 161 points from their defensive unit. That averages out to 1.96 points and .46 goals per game.

Through 11 games, the Blues have 6 goals, 17 assists and 23 points from their blueliners, which averages out to 45 goals, 127 assists and 172 points over the course of 82 games. That translates to 2.09 points and .55 goals per game.

Still, the defensemen feel they can give more than they've produced thus far.

"It's something we chatted about over the weekend," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "How can we improve in the offensive zone? Whether it's moving around a little more and jumping down into the play. That's something that I haven't really brought to the table as much as I did last year. I need to start going more. I used to be in and out and having a little more movement in there. That's something that we're focusing on as a d-core as well."

Shattenkirk leads the way with 1 goal and 6 points, Alex Pietrangelo has 2 goals and 5 points, Kent Huskins has 2 goals and 2 assists, Carlo Colaiacovo has 1 goal and 2 assists, Roman Polak has 3 assists and Barret Jackman has 2 assists.
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:06 PM

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

Canucks turn back to Luongo in net

ST. LOUIS -- The Vancouver Canucks, on the heels of a 5-1 loss at Minnesota Thursday night, will go back to Roberto Luongo tonight against the Blues.

The Canucks (6-6-1) had an optional skate at Scottrade Center, with Luongo (4-3-1 with a 3.20 goals-against average and .883 save percentage) and defensemen Andrew Alberts and Aaron Rome (hand injury) as the only skaters.

"I think we're all disappointed with the performance last night," said Luongo, who did not play as backup Cory Schneider stopped 40 shots. "It's a good thing we get to play the next day and make sure that we come out with a good performance and redeem ourselves here."

Luongo, after backstopping the Canucks to a 5-1 win Tuesday in Calgary with a 28-save performance, had arguably his best performance of the season and hopes to continue that tonight.

"I just wanted to make sure I got a good sweat this morning and feel good about seeing the puck and feeling the puck and have a good feeling for tonight's game," Luongo said.

The Canucks and Blues have had a tight series in recent past, with the winning team scoring three goals in each of the last six games. The Canucks saw a two-game winning streak snapped with Thursday's loss and hope to build another one.

"We weren't really happy with the way we executed and the effort level last night," defenseman Dan Hamhuis said. "We've got to put that behind us ... maybe use it as motivation, too, and play a lot better tonight."

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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:02 PM

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

Blues pull one over on Polak

ST. LOUIS -- Apparently, Blues defenseman Roman Polak has to polish up on his baseball knowledge.

When St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter came into the locker room Thursday and introduced himself, Polak didn't know who he was and thought the Blues were working in a new player.

Fellow defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo made it known, and Polak was given a chance for a rebuttal.

"I told him not to tell anybody," Polak joked. "I thought we got a new player. He said, 'Hey I'm Chris.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm Roman what's up.' ... I didn't know. I probably should, but I'm not into baseball."

Tonight's game will feature honors for the World Series champions. Manager Tony La Russa, along with Carpenter and third baseman David Freese, will be on hand. La Russa will drop the ceremonial first puck.

There will be highlights of the World Series as well as other Cardinals-themed items throughout the night.
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Posted On Friday, 11.04.2011 / 2:00 PM

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

Projected lineups for Blues, Canucks

Tonight's probable lineups for the Blues and Canucks, who will meet for the second time this season after St. Louis won 3-0 on Oct. 26 in Vancouver:

BLUES

Vladimir Sobotka - David Backes - T.J. Oshie
Matt D'Agostini - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart
Alex Steen - Jason Arnott - Jamie Langenbrunner
Evgeny Grachev - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Taylor Chorney - Roman Polak

Brian Elliott will start in goal after blanking the Canucks last week with a 34-save effort. Jaroslav Halak, 1-5 with a 3.58 goals-against average and .843 save percentage, will be the backup.

Healthy scratches include defenseman Nikita Nikitin and winger Chris Porter. Defenseman Kent Huskins has a bone bruise on his left ankle and will not play. David Perron (post-concussion syndrome), Andy McDonald (concussion) and B.J. Crombeen (fractured shoulder) are on injured reserve.

CANUCKS
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
David Booth - Ryan Kesler - Cody Hodgson
Christopher Higgins - Manny Malhotra - Jannik Hansen
Aaron Volpatti - Maxim Lapierre - Dale Weise

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa
Alexander Edler - Sami Salo
Keith Ballard - Alexander Sulzer

Roberto Luongo gets the start. Cory Schneider will be the backup.

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Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres