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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 6:55 PM

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

Bobrovsky in net for Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette said because the team played last night in Montreal, he was planning all along to use Sergei Bobrovsky in net tonight, and that the decision had nothing to do with how Ilya Bryzgalov played.

"We looked at the schedule and this was an opportunity to get him some time," said Laviolette.

Bryzgalov has three straight poor starts, allowing four goals in each, including five last night against the Canadiens. However, Laviolette wasn't ready to pin the blame on his netminder.

"We've got to do a much better job of playing in front of him than we did the last three," said Laviolette. "Far too careless with the puck. We need to tighten it up."

When asked if he thought Bryzgalov looked "comfortable" with the defense in front of him -- a defense missing it's leader, Chris Pronger -- Laviolette said, "I think if we tighten things up in front of him I  think he'd have a little more comfort. We turned it over, there's too many odd-man rushes coming back the other way, too many times we're chasing things down."

Laviolette said because last night's game was so disappointing, he's actually happy to have another game tonight.

"It's a good thing," he said. "We can get right back at it and go play a game and try to fix some of the things we need to do better. That's a good thing."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 6:42 PM

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

Couturier staying with Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- No one told Sean Couturier not to come to the game tonight, so the rookie forward did the same thing he's done for the first nine games of his initial NHL season -- show up for work.

"I sort of figured it out," he said prior to the game. "I haven't talked to anyone. I'm doing what I have to do."

What he's done so far has been pretty impressive. The 18-year-old center has 2 goals and 2 assists in nine games, but also leads the team with a plus-4 rating, and his average of 4:06 per game shorthanded is third among all NHL forwards.

"He's been really good," said coach Peter Laviolette. "He's been solid. Defensively he's been responsible, offensively he's given us what we've asked for. I think we put him in a lot of situations where he's handled it and done a good job."

Couturier was unsure of what to expect when he arrived for training camp, but figured if he worked hard, he'd be able to find a spot.

"I've always taken price in taking care of little details," he said. "The coach has confidence in me and it's fun to see. I'm just doing whatever I can to help the team. … I've just been doing my little thing and trying to work hard and get better every day and do what I can to stay here."

Couturier said while he knew tonight was his 10th game, it's not something he spent time worrying about.

"I knew there was a 10-game rule," he said. "I never really thought too much about it. I tried to take it one game at a time, one day at a time and see where it brings me."

Where it's brought him is to the NHL on a full-time basis, and as a key contributor on a team with Stanley Cup hopes.

Danny Briere, who has invited Couturier to live with him and his three sons this season, said there's no chance he could have played in the NHL as an 18-year-old coming out of junior hockey.

"You don't see guys with his maturity at such an early age usually," Briere told NHL.com. "His defensive game, his positioning -- he's always in a good position, and it's impressive. When you're a coach, there's no worries to send him on the ice. You're safe when he's on the ice. He's definitely ahead of the curve in that department."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 5:24 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Tippett shaking things up with Coyotes' lines

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Whether he's impressed with his young players or disappointed with his veterans after eight games this season, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett has shaken up all four of his forward line combinations after a 3-3-2 start that isn't sitting well with anyone.
 
The veteran No. 1 line of Ray Whitney, Daymond Langkow and captain Shane Doan has been broken up and the players scattered among the other lines. Rookie center Andy Miele earned a promotion after only his second NHL game and is now centering a line with Doan and young winger Mikkel Boedker. All three earned plenty of ice time in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss to Dallas.
 
Miele has yet to record his first NHL point and has been weak on faceoffs (0-5 against Dallas), but his offensive creativity is obvious and the Coyotes, who have scored two goals or less in three of the last four games, could use the boost.
 
Langkow, off to a very slow start with just 1 goal in the first eight games, was dropped to the fourth line during the second period of the Dallas game and was practicing with winger Patrick O'Sullivan and Taylor Pyatt on Thursday. Whitney has moved into Boedker's spot alongside Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. That line was very effective at times last season and might succeed in giving a jump-start to Vrbata, who also has 1 goal in the first eight games and has struggled to find his groove.
 
At this time, the Coyotes are happy to see any opponent not named the Stars, after Dallas rallied from a goal down for the second time in 15 days and turned what looked like a Phoenix win into an eventual shootout loss. But the Phoenix franchise has had particular success on home ice against the Devils, winning 23 of 33 all-time meetings (23-7-3), including six of nine meetings since moving to Arizona. The Devils haven't beaten the Coyotes on the road since the 2002-03 season and will be playing without Hall of Fame goalie-to-be Martin Brodeur, who will miss his fifth straight game with a bruised right shoulder.
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 5:22 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Hedberg going strong for Devils

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The New Jersey Devils have gotten great efforts from Martin Brodeur's backup, Johan Hedberg, who has gone 4-1-1 with a 1.86 goals-against average and has kept New Jersey rolling early in the season.

Brodeur missed his fourth straight full game Tuesday night with a bruised right shoulder and isn't likely to play on the final two games of the current road trip. He is with the team, skating and working on as much of his game as he can, including shot work.

Ryan Carter, claimed off waivers from the Panthers earlier this week, makes his New Jersey debut centering the fourth line. Rod Pelley will be a healthy scratch.

Center Jacob Josefson will miss 3-4 months after undergoing surgery to repair a broken right clavicle.

Left wing Eric Boulton had an MRI on the right hand he injured punching Douglas Murray in the head and was again out of the lineup Tuesday night. "The MRI was good," he said. "There is some soft tissue damage I still have to have some treatment on. I should be day-to-day."

The update on center Travis Zajac is that he's likely out until after Christmas as he rehabs the torn left Achilles tendon he suffered in offseason skating.
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 5:11 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Devils, Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Here are how the lineups could look when the New Jersey Devils face the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at Jobing.com Arena:

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

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

Johan Hedberg is expected to start in goal with Keith Kinkaid as his backup.
 
COYOTES
Mikkel Boedker - Andy Miele - Shane Doan
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Raffi Torres - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Taylor Pyatt - Daymond Langkow - Patrick O'Sullivan

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith is expected to start in goal with Jason LaBarbera as his backup.
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 4:23 PM

By Alan Robinson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Pens hope All-Star Game follows draft to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- The Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and 2009, the 2011 Bridgestone Winter Classic, now the 2012 Draft. Obviously, Pittsburgh has been a busy port of call for the NHL over the past few seasons.
 
According to Penguins CEO David Morehouse, not quite busy enough.
 
Now that the much-praised Consol Energy Center is their home, the Penguins are making a major push to also play host to the NHL All-Star Game. The All-Star game was last played in Pittsburgh in 1990, when Mario Lemieux scored four goals in his one and only all-star appearance on home ice. A season later, he would lead the Penguins to the first of two successive Stanley Cups.
 
That 1990 All-Star Game was notable for being the first to stage a Heroes of Hockey Game and an All-Star skills competition.
 
Morehouse promised the Penguins will remain aggressive in pursuing the All-Star Game, which will be played this season on Jan. 29 in Ottawa.
 
"I know we're going to ask an awful lot," Morehouse said. "We're going to see if we can wear them down. In a few years, I think it's a great place to host an All-Star game. It's one of the premier facilities, if not the premier facility, in the NHL. And Pittsburgh has proven itself a great hockey town -- we continue to lead U.S. teams in television ratings and merchandise sales and almost every other category. We're very excited about the growth of hockey in Pittsburgh, and how it continues to grow."
 
The Penguins will play before their 216th consecutive sellout crowd Thursday night when they meet the Islanders, a streak that began when they played in the Civic Arena. The 18,387-seat Consol Energy Center opened last season.
 
At least one more major hockey event will be played in Pittsburgh in the near future -- the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four. Morehouse also wants to bring the world junior championships to Consol, but has been told there is a waiting list for that popular, holiday-time tournament.
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 3:58 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Barry's Best: Phaneuf, Sedin Twins and Quick

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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 3:09 PM

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

Doughty won't return to lineup against Stars

DALLAS -- The return of standout Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty will be at least one more game away. The 21-year-old blueliner won't play tonight against Dallas at the American Airlines Center, the fifth straight game he will miss with an upper-body injury.

"No, he's not cleared to play. He's cleared to practice. He was cleared to practice, full contact in practice by the doctor last game," Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. "So he's getting close, getting better. He's out on the ice. He's doing everything now. We’ll get through one more game here without him and hopefully we can make a decision after that."

With Doughty unavailable for tonight, the Kings will likely go with rookie Slava Voynov alongside veteran blueliner Willie Mitchell.

But with Los Angeles currently tied with Winnipeg for the third-fewest goals scored in the League at 14 and heading into tonight's game having scored just three goals in its last three games, Murray will make one change to his lineup designed to energize its attack.

"We're going to get [Scott] Parse in. The offensive part of the game is something we want to get better at. We need better numbers," Murray said. "We're like third lowest in the League right now in the offensive category and we have to get some scoring. Parse is a player that we've often talked about as to why he's with us. He's an offensive, creative thinker. He can score some goals. I think he's getting through his offseason surgery and becoming a healthier player every day. He seems to be skating with more of a purpose out there in practice. I want to get him in and see if he can contribute on that offensive part of the game."

So far this season, the Kings are 2-0-1 on the road and in 2009-10, were 24-14-3, the second-best road mark in the NHL. It's clear their coach considers getting favorable results away from the Staples Center a top priority.

"We're a comfortable team on the road. We feel we can play well in any building in the League," Murray said. "We just rely on our structure and our system."

Tonight, his Kings will face a Stars team they beat in Los Angeles 1-0 on Saturday night. But Dallas is a perfect 4-0-0 at the American Airlines Center this season and 7-2-0 overall under new coach Glen Gulutzan.

Murray sees several reasons why the Stars have gotten off to such a solid start under their new man behind the bench.

"I'm seeing Dallas a little more on the defensive part of the game right now," Murray said. "I thought their game last year offensively was pretty effective. They do some nice things in the offensive zone-changing the point of attack but they have a bigger focus on the checking part. We did see that our last time in here last year and it's been a follow through on it. Their awareness without the puck is greater. They're recovering more of those pucks and getting back on the counterattack because of it."
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 2:45 PM

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

Burmistrov a year older, a year much better

PHILADELPHIA -- Eight games into last season, Jets forward Alexander Burmistrov was an 18-year-old rookie still looking for his first NHL point. Eight games into this season, he's the team's leading scorer with 7 points, including at least a point in five straight games.

"He's been one of our best forwards," said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. "He's such a dynamic player. The way he handles the puck, his speed, he creates so much. He's been great for us so far. He's been put in a lot of different situations, he's penalty killing, getting a lot of ice time. He's taken that next step."

"I think it's just maturity," added coach Claude Noel. "He's been one of our better players. He has real good chemistry with (Nik) Antropov. He just looks patient on the ice, he looks like he has the puck a lot. I think he feels more confident making plays. He's way more effective with the puck. I think it's just a maturity thing with him. It's what happens when you get a year's experience under your belt."

Burmistrov said the biggest change for him is going not being awestruck by some of the players he would take the ice against.

"Last year I was coming on the ice and watching the stars, these unbelievable players to play against," he told NHL.com. "I just enjoyed playing against them. This year I try to play hard against them. I want to be like them or better than them. I want to beat them on the ice."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 2:43 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Wild

ST. PAUL -- The Anaheim Ducks are looking to stop a three-game losing skid while the Minnesota Wild are hoping to win for the sixth straight time against the Ducks here at Xcel Energy Center.

Guillaume Latendresse is back in the lineup for the Wild after being out with a groin injury. He'll start the game on the fourth line, but could move up if his play or others' dictates it, said coach Mike Yeo.

Devante Smith-Pelly is a game-time decision for the Ducks. He missed the opener of this seven-game, 13-day road trip with the flu. Either he or George Parros, who is sporting a nasty cut under his eye after getting hit with an errant puck Wednesday in practice, could skate alongside Andrew Cogliano and Andrew Gordon on the third line.

Defenseman Kurtis Foster expects to be back in the lineup for Anaheim as well. Here's a projected lineup for both teams based on the morning skate and their previous games:

DUCKS

Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Devante Smith-Pelly / George Parros - Andrew Cogliano - Andrew Gordon
Brandon McMillan - Maxime Macenauer - Matt Beleskey

Lubomir Visnovsky - Toni Lydman
Cam Fowler - Francois Beauchemin
Luca Sbisa - Kurtis Foster

Jonas Hiller is expected to start in goal with Dan Ellis serving as the backup.

WILD

Dany Heatley - Mikko Koivu - Cal Clutterbuck
Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Nick Johnson - Kyle Brodziak - Brett Bulmer
Colton Gillies - Darroll Powe - Guillaume Latendresse

Justin Falk - Marek Zidlicky
Nick Schultz - Clayton Stoner
Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon

Niklas Backstrom is expected to start in goal with Josh Harding serving as the backup.
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Quote of the Day

I'm hoping Bob [Murray] didn't go out and get Dany Heatley just to get someone. I'm sure he's excited and motivated.

— Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on general manager Bob Murray's decision to sign Dany Heatley