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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 3:28 PM

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

Projected lineups for Sharks, Stars

Here are the projected lineups for the Sharks and Stars for their contest Saturday night in Dallas:

SAN JOSE

Logan Couture - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryan Clowe - Patrick Marleau - Martin Havlat
Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell
Andrew Murray - Andrew Desjardins - Brad Winchester

Douglas Murray - Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Colin White - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

DALLAS

Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krys Barch - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Mark Fistric - Adam Pardy

Andrew Raycroft
Kari Lehtonen
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 3:23 PM

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

Stars search for scoring tough against Sharks

FRISCO, Texas – It has been 147:19 since the Dallas Stars last found the back of the net, a second-period tally by captain Brenden Morrow at 12:11 of the second period in a 5-2 loss at Detroit seven days ago.
   
In the two games since their last tally, the Stars have been outscored by a combined 9-0, including a 6-0 loss Tuesday to Florida at American Airlines Center and a 3-0 blanking Friday against Colorado at the Pepsi Center, a setback which ran the current Dallas losing streak to four games.
   
But the Stars get little time to regroup as tonight they will host Pacific Division rival San Jose, a team that hasn’t played since Thursday night, when they handed the Red Wings a 5-2 defeat at HP Pavilion.
   
And to put their run of current consecutive games without a goal in proper perspective, some 961 games have passed since the last time it happened to Dallas. That was in January 1999, a team that would go on to win the Stanley Cup just a few months later.
   
Dallas head coach Glen Gulutzan is clearly concerned about his club’s current lack of scoring but admits he is adhering to a simple approach to make that lack of offensive punch a thing of the past.
   
“Keep going to the net. Keep putting pucks on net,” Gulutzan said. “It happens but we do need to shoot the puck more. We got outplayed a little bit [against Colorado]. We got outchanced.”
   
One change the Stars will make for tonight will be in goal where backup netminder Andrew Raycroft will get the start in place of Kari Lehtonen. Raycroft is 0-3-0 this season. His three starts have all come in the final game of back-to-backs and have all been on the road.

   
Dating back to last season, he has lost nine straight starts. His last win for Dallas came Jan. 9, 2011 at Minnesota and his last home win was on Dec. 10, 2010 against Carolina. Still, the Stars feel good about putting him in against the Sharks, possibly as a way to turn things around.
   
“Yeah, [Raycroft]’s going tonight. That kind of was our plan,” Gulutzan said. “We talked about it on the way home. We think with our schedule it’s probably the right call. He hasn’t had a home game since I don’t know when. It’ll be good to get him on the ice at home and turn this thing around.”

Besides their current lack of scoring, another area of fairly big concern for the Stars is the huge differential between how many penalties Dallas has been committing compared to how many they’ve been drawing during their current four-game losing skid.
   
During this stretch, the Stars have put the opposition on the power play 18 times while they’ve had the man advantage only six times in the last four contests, a trend that their head coach defensively doesn’t want to see continue heading forward.
   
“Just the differential is a little bit of a concern. I think it is a byproduct of we’ve been outworked the last four, five games and then you end up taking penalties,” Gulutzan said.

Contrast Dallas’ current offensive woes with how the Sharks have been playing in their last six games, where they are 4-1-1. San Jose is averaging three goals per game during that span and has netted at least four goals in half of those contests, including five just two days ago in their win against the Red Wings.
   
And it’s the Sharks’ top two lines that the Stars will have to mostly concern themselves with. Their top trio of Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski lead the way with 45 points but the second line of Ryan Clowe, Patrick Marleau and newcomer Martin Havlat, a group that has 34 points, has also made their share of contributions.
   
Gulutzan plans to match up his second line of Jamie Benn, Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson against the Sharks’ top group as a way to minimize how much damage they can do.

“Those elite players create challenges for you every night and they’re big,” he said. “Joe [Thornton]’s big. I think tonight [Benn] will match up there. It’s going to be a good test for him and [Ott]. It’ll be a good game for them.”
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 1:18 PM

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

Veterans Brodeur, Roloson square off in net

Youth must be served, so the saying goes, but don’t tell that to the two wily veterans who will occupy the opposing nets Saturday night when the New Jersey Devils meet the Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum.

For the visitors, there is future Hall of Fame member Martin Brodeur. The Lightning will send out Dwayne Roloson, who at 42 is the oldest active player in the NHL.

“Playing against Roloson makes me feel good,” the 39-year-old Brodeur said. “I’m not the oldest for a change. He’s a great goalie and anytime you face a great goalie you always want to play well. Dwayne and I have had our share of battles through the years.”

Roloson, coming off a 33-save 4-1 win Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, was somewhat less philosophical.

“It doesn’t matter at all to me who is the other goalie,” Roloson said. “I don’t have to deal with him. Our players have to deal with him.”

Ryan Malone returns to the ice for the Lightning Saturday night, after missing four games with an upper-body injury.

The Lightning are currently riding a six-game home win streak and enter Saturday’s game with the NHL’s top-ranked home power play at 28.0 percent.

Here are the projected lineups:

DEVILS

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

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

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

LIGHTNING

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

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

Dwayne Roloson
Mathieu Garon
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 12:49 PM

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

Projected lineups for Rangers, Canadiens

MONTREAL – Here are the potential lineups for tonight’s game between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens. The Rangers held an optional skate this morning, so these are the lines they have been practicing with of late.

RANGERS

Brandon DubinskyBrad RichardsRyan Callahan
Artem AnisimovDerek StepanMarian Gaborik
Sean AveryBrian BoyleRuslan Fedotenko
Andre DeveauxErik ChristensenBrandon Prust
 
Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi
Michael Del ZottoMichael Sauer
Jeff WoywitkaSteve Eminger
 
Martin Biron
 
CANADIENS

Michael CammalleriTomas PlekanecBrian Gionta
Max PaciorettyDavid DesharnaisErik Cole
Lars EllerScott GomezTravis Moen
Aaron PalushajPetteri NokelainenMathieu Darche
 
Josh GorgesP.K. Subban
Alexei EmelinRaphael Diaz
Frederic St-Denis – Yannick Weber
 
Carey Price

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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 12:46 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Penguins, Panthers

Here are the projected lineups for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers for their contest tonight in Sunrise, Fla.:

PITTSBURGH        

James Neal - Evgeni Malkin - Steve Sullivan
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham - Richard Park - Craig Adams

Paul Martin - Deryk Engelland
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen - Alexandre Picard

Brent Johnson
Marc-André Fleury

FLORIDA

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Kris Versteeg
Marco Sturm - Mike Santorelli - Evgeny Dadonov
Sean Bergenheim - Tomas Kopecky - Jack Skille
Shawn Matthias - Tim Kennedy - Michal Repik

Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver
Ed Jovanovski - Keaton Ellerby

Jose Théodore
Jacob Markstrom
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 12:41 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Top prospect Markstrom back with Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. — Goalie prospect Jacob Markstrom will be back up with the Florida Panthers on Saturday night  while the team gives veteran Scott Clemmensen at least a couple of days off.

Coach Kevin Dineen said the move isn’t related to the knee surgery Clemmensen underwent before the start of the regular season. Dineen instead used the term “soreness.”

Markstrom will join the Panthers sometime in the afternoon after playing in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday night. Markstrom, who will back up Jose Theodore against the Pittsburgh Penguins, stopped 28 of
32 shots in San Antonio’s 5-4 overtime victory.

Clemmensen was held out of the Panthers’ morning skate Saturday and a local amateur goalie filled in.

“It’s just a chance for us to keep making sure that I’ve got guys feeling 100 percent,” Dineen said. “If it was later in the season, our decision-making would be different than it is. I was going to go back with Theo tonight and felt that the extra day or two off the ice would benefit [Clemmensen] more than having him out there practicing today and backing up tonight.”

Clemmensen made his only start of the season Tuesday at Dallas when he stopped 25 shots in a 6-0 victory. Dineen said Clemmensen’s absence is “short term,” but didn’t dismiss the possibility of Markstrom getting a start.

After the game Saturday against Penguins, the Panthers have three more home games during the next week — Monday against New Jersey, Wednesday against the New York Rangers and Friday against Tampa Bay.

“I’ve been pretty vague about my goaltenders,” Dineen said. “I like keeping my options open. We’ll see where we’re at on Monday and we’ll just play it from there.”

The Panthers likely will be without forwards Marcel Goc (upper body) and Matt Bradley (upper body) against the Penguins.

To help up front, the Panthers on Friday recalled Michal Repik from San Antonio. He was the third forward called up in the past week, joining Evgenii Dadonov and Tim Kennedy.
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 12:22 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineup for Bruins, Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Here is what the lineups should look like when the scorching-hot Bruins and Islanders take the ice tonight at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum:

BRUINS
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 was the first goalie off the ice this morning, which means he'll likely get the start. Tuukka Rask would be the backup.

Boychuk is a game-time decision after missing Thursday's 2-1 shootout win against Columbus with flu-like symptoms. He skated this morning and appears ready to go. … Jordan Caron and Steven Kampfer are the likely healthy scratches for the Bruins, who have won seven in a row.

ISLANDERS
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Michael Grabner
Brian Rolston - Frans Nielsen - PA Parenteau
Blake Comeau - Marty Reasoner - Nino Niederreiter
Matt Martin - Josh Bailey - Jay Pandolfo

Mark Streit - Steve Staios
Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton - Milan Jurcina

Rick DiPietro gets the start for the Islanders in goal. He will be backed up by Anders Nilsson, who was recalled by AHL Bridgeport due to injuries to both Evgeni Nabokov (groin) and Al Montoya (hamstring). The Isles placed Nabokov -- who could miss up to a month -- on injured reserve this morning.

Nilsson, a third-round draft choice (No. 62) in 2009, is 5-2-0 with a 2.86 goals-against average in 7 AHL appearances this season, his first in North America.

Kyle Okposo, who has just 3 assists in 14 games, will be a healthy scratch for a third straight game. Mark Eaton is back in the lineup and will replace Mike Mottau, who is also a healthy scratch.

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 11:35 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

DiPietro excited for opportunity

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The New York Islanders began the 2011-12 season with three healthy goaltenders. Now, they're down to one.

And it's the one nobody would have guessed.

Rick DiPietro, who has spent a large chunk of the past four years in the infirmary, will be the Isles' starting goaltender Saturday night when the Isles host the Boston Bruins at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The 30-year-old relieved Evgeni Nabokov early in Thursday night's 4-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens after the latter suffered a groin injury that could sideline him up to a month.

Then, on Friday, the Isles announced that Al Montoya -- who has been sharp in the six appearances he's made this season -- is day-to-day with a strained hamstring. New York was forced to promote Anders Nilsson from AHL Bridgeport on Saturday morning to back up DiPietro, who now has been presented with a golden opportunity to regain his spot as the Isles' No. 1 goaltender.

"It's a good opportunity to get in there and get an extended chance to play some games," said DiPietro, who is 2-1-2 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in five appearances this season. "At the end of the day, it's all about winning and that's our main focus."

DiPietro, the No. 1 pick at the 2000 NHL Draft, made 26 appearances last season -- the most in three years due to various knee, hip and head injuries. Now healthy and eager to seize the moment, DiPietro -- who has 10 years left on his contract -- admits he will put added pressure on himself to reclaim his position as the Isles' franchise goaltender.

"I always end up putting a little added pressure on myself than I probably should," he said. "But really, the focus is winning. That's what I want to do and that's what this hockey club wants to do. We're in the middle of November here and it's time for us to turn this around and get things going in the right direction."

Montoya was rewarded for a strong training camp by starting the Isles' first three games of the season. With Nabokov also in the mix, DiPietro didn't receive his first start until Oct. 29. Suddenly, injuries to both Nabokov and Montoya have DiPietro back in the spotlight. Islanders coach Jack Capuano is hopeful DiPietro will make the most of this chance.

"It's a good opportunity for him," Capuano said. "If you know Rick at all like we know him, he's a competitive kid and he wants that challenge. There's no better place than against the Stanley Cup champions tonight, so it'll be a good test for him."

"I feel good," DiPietro said. "I had a good summer. I'm looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 1:39 AM

By Eric Lipschutz -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Giguere forcing his way into Avs' lineup

Is Jean-Sebastien Giguere finding the fountain of youth in Colorado?

The thirty four year-old goalie made 24 saves Friday night to blank the Stars 3-0.  Giguere's impressive performance against Dallas was his second straight solid start in net for the Avalanche.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Goalie - COL
RECORD: 4-2-0
GAA: 1.68 | SVP: 0.934
With his recent hot play, Giguere seems destined to wrestle plenty of playing time away from starting goalie Semyon Varlamov.  The Avs paid a steep price to acquire Varlamov in the offseason and are committed to making the twenty-three year old their franchise goalie for the long term.  All seemed to be going according to plan as Varlamov came out of the gates looking incredibly sharp while leading his young team to a surprisingly fast start.  Things quickly cooled for Colorado and Varlamov however.  Varlamov has not posted a win since October 30th and has lost his last six starts, erasing any remembrance of his hot start.  Varlamov now has an ugly 3.30 GAA and .890 save percentage for the season.

Meanwhile, Giguere has taken advantage of his latest opportunity to play while the struggling Varlamov sits.  In his start prior to shuting out the Stars, Gigure stopped 17 of the 18 shots he faced in a tough 1-0 loss to Minnesota.  Make no mistake, Varlamov is clearly the goalie of the future in Colorodo.  However, the youthful Avs have played above expectations to this point and as long as they stay in contention in the Western Conference, coach Joe Sacco is likely to stick with the goalie that gives his team the best chance to win.  At least for the time being, it seems like that guy is Giguere.

Giguere is currently owned in just 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues.  If you are a Varlamov owner or are in need of some help in goal, you might want to consider taking a flyer on Giguere as it appears the savvy veteran still has something left in the tank.
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Posted On Friday, 11.18.2011 / 10:59 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Life as a Scout

Edwards offers final assessment of Dumba

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards was taking plenty of notes in the upper deck of ENMAX Centre as the Red Deer Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes did battle in a regular season game here on Friday.

Edwards sat alone in the corner of the building -- away from the crowd.

His primary focus was Red Deer defenseman Mathew Dumba, who is rated No. 3 among on Central Scouting's preliminary list of Western Hockey League skaters. Not until the third period did Dumba really take his game to another gear.

Dumba dished out three assists in the third period of a 4-3 shootout loss and performed extraordinarily well following two average periods. Edwards came away very impressed with the 5-foot-11, 171-pound Calgary native in the games he witnessed this week, including Wednesday's contest when Dumba played for Team WHL against Team Russia in the Subway Super Series.

"Dumba was average through two periods against Lethbridge but really came on strong in the third when Red Deer came back, even though he did a lot of traveling in the last week," Edwards said. "He made good outlet passes and those passes were hitting the tape."

Dumba missed at an opportunity to win the game for the Rebels in the shootout, but his attempt was turned aside by Lethbridge goalie Damien Ketlo.

"He made one heck of a play at the point to deny a player late in the second period," Edwards said. "The thing I'm picking up [Friday] is the fact he'll take a hit to make a play. He's not just bailing when another player is bearing down on him and that means a lot in my eyes."

Edwards was also charting the progress of Lethbridge left wing Juraj Bezuch, who is also on the 2012 draft radar for some scouts.

"He worked hard and has been involved in the play," Edwards admitted. "He's a high-energy type guy. He's not big enough (5-10, 165) to really knock anybody around, but he was noticeable at time."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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