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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 5:19 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Flyers win, Flyers win, Flyers win

Glenn Anderson got a penalty shot opportunity with 5:01 to play due to a Flyers penalty, but Neil Little came up with an arm save to keep the puck out and preserve the Flyers 3-1 lead.

The Rangers tested Little a few more times before time finally wore out and the home team walked off the field with a 3-1 victory.

New York eventually pulled goalie Dan Blackburn with just over a minute left, but it didn't work.

The crowd of 45,808 thoroughly enjoyed the alumni game today. It was fun to watch from the press box, too.

If I had to give out three stars, they'd go to:

1. Bernie Parent -- 6 saves in four minutes, stole the show early

2. Dan Blackburn -- Tremendous game from the guy who had his career cut short due to injury

3. Shjon Podein -- Used his plethora of ice time well and scored a goal

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 5:09 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Under seven minutes left, Flyers lead

Time winding down here and the Rangers need a goal.

It remains 3-1 with under eight minutes left and the chants of "Let's go Flyers" are coming from the first base side of the stands.

Give these guys credit, they're still going hard with now under seven minutes to play.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 5:01 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Howe converts on penalty shot, Flyers lead 3-1

The third penalty shot of the game was given to Mark Howe, and the Hall of Famer delivered the Flyers a 3-1 lead with 15 and a half minutes left in the third period.

Howe was hooked on his way to the net by Kypreos, who earlier in the game failed on a penalty shot. Howe showed his hands by freezing Dan Blackburn, who apparently cana give up a goal, before firing a forehanded shot right past him.

The clock is ticking down, bleeding to under 14 minutes left, and the Flyers have themselves a comfortable yet feared two-goal lead.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:38 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Podein shows hands, misses penalty shot

Nick Fotiu wrapped his stick around the midsection of Shjon Podein as he was attempting to shoot, setting up another penalty shot, this time with 2:15 left in the second period.

Podein made a deke to his backhand and had Blackburn down, but he lifted the puck high over the crossbar and into the glass.

Blackburn is just too good right now to be scored on.

The best moment, though, was when Fotiu acted as if he did nothing wrong. There has never been a more blatant hook in the game of hockey.

The second period is now over with the Flyers alums clinging to a 2-1 lead over the Rangers alums. At the end of the period they announced an attendance of 45,808.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:32 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Rangers get one back

The Rangers have gotten one back to make it 2-1, and it's Glenn Anderson getting the credit.

Darius Kasparaitis delivered a shot-pass in the direction of Brian Leetch, but Anderson got his stick on it and deflected the puck past Flyers goalie Neil Little at the 9:25 mark of the second period.

It appears the Rangers are motivated by the impressive play of Dan Blackburn.

TV timeout now with 5:48 left in the second period.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:29 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Doughty feeling strong, confident

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – At first glance, it would appear that coach Darryl Sutter has sparked something in Drew Doughty.

The Los Angeles Kings defenseman has 5 points with a plus-3 rating in five games under Sutter. He also looks more active with 18 shots on goal and only 10 giveaways in that span going into Saturday's game against Vancouver.

But Doughty said he's felt a lot better for a few weeks.

"I feel like my last 15 games I've played really well," said Doughty, who has tied a career-high with points in five straight games. "Even when (former coach) Terry (Murray) was still here, I was playing some real good hockey. The points were going in for me. Since Darryl got here, the points started to happen so I feel that people are thinking that I'm playing better, but at the same time they don't realize the other things I was doing to get points.

"I felt like maybe I was struggling for a little bit there, but the last 15 games I don't think I've had a bad game."

Doughty missed training camp because of a lengthy contract negotiation and then he hurt his shoulder. It wasn't until the Nov.26 game against Chicago that he began to get back to really being physical.

"Coming back from a shoulder injury, that was tough to do. I came back slow but I definitely got my legs back under me."

Doughty also said he's ready to re-assume his role as a team leader.

"I just realized this team wants to be where we think we should be, every one of us needs to step up our game," he said. "That starts from our top players and I expect myself to be a top player every night. So I know I need to lead this team on and off the ice. If I do that, everyone will kind of pull up their socks and we'll turn this team around."

Kings power play struggling: Sutter is charged with improving the Kings' power play, which has converted only twice in its past 12 games (2-for-42).

Sutter interrupted a question about it to opine that he's seeing good things.

"Our power play's awesome," Sutter said. "Other than the 5-on-3 in the two games we just played ... in Chicago we had six minutes on the power play in the first period and had 12 shots. The next part is you and me tipping one in."

Sutter and the Kings will have their hands full against a seventh-ranked Vancouver penalty killing unit. He used a basketball analogy to describe what they need to do.

"The one thing we're trying to do more is get guys in the middle of the ice," he said. "We're a real perimeter power play – fadeaway jumpers."

Intriguing matchup: Saturday's game features a hot Canucks team, with the No.1-ranked power play, against a Kings team that is 3-0-2 under Sutter with the fourth-ranked penalty killing unit.

"At the beginning of the season, everybody predicted this was going to be one of the better teams in our conference," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "I think a lot of people still feel that way. There’s a lot of talent, a lot of upside on that team, and it's going to be a good game for us."

Higgins update: Vigneault said forward Chris Higgins is taking antibiotics for what is believed to be a staph infection in his hand.

"I think they're going to see how that reacts this morning, and if it's good, I think him and David (Booth) might skate today," Vigneault said. "Then we'll see how they'll react today and tomorrow."

Luongo vs. Quick: Roberto Luongo will start against Jonathan Quick. Including the playoffs, Luongo is 6-1-1 in his last eight starts against L.A. Quick is 3-7-1 lifetime in the regular season against the Canucks, but carries a 2.17 goals-against average in those 11 games.

Here are the lines and pairings:

Canucks
Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Alexandre Burrows
Mason Raymond-Ryan Kesler-Jannik Hansen
Dale Weise-Cody Hodgson-Andrew Ebbett
Mark Mancari-Manny Malhotra-Maxim Lapierre

Kevin Bieksa-Dan Hamhuis
Alex Edler-Sami Salo
Keith Ballard-Andrew Alberts

Kings
Brad Richardson-Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown
Andrei Loktionov-Mike Richards-Trevor Lewis
Dustin Penner-Jarret Stoll-Justin Williams
Kyle Clifford-Colin Fraser-Trent Hunter

Drew Doughty-Rob Scuderi
Willie Mitchell-Slava Voynov
Jack Johnson-Matt Greene

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:28 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Blackburn giving star performance

Dan Blackburn didn't have a long career in the NHL, and in the second period here he's looking like he's making up for some missed opportunities.

Blackburn just made a sprawling kick save on a one-timer from Jeremy Roenick. He went from his left to right, went down on his left hip, kicked up his right leg and kep the puck out of the net.

Minutes later, Blackburn read the pass from John Leclair to Mark Recchi on a 2-on-1, and he came across, this time from his right to left, to make another tremendous pad save.

Blackburtn is swimming all over his crease, but the Flyers can't seem to beat him. He's the only reason the Rangers alumni aren't getting blown out here.

It's still 2-0. Blackburn gets a star by his name.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:20 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Kypreos needs some penalty shot practice

The second period started much like the first, with the Rangers owning the territorial advantage. Except, this time there was no Bernie Parent to be the story.

Rangers goalie Dan Blackburn was instead the story early with a big-time split save with the left pad on Ken Linseman, who is wearing goggles for glasses, a new fashion statement that probably won't catch on in today's NHL.

Kerry Fraser whistled for a slashing penalty on Eric Lindros, who whacked Nick Kypreos' stick in the corner. Instead of getting a power play, Kypreos got a penalty shot opportunity, but Mark LaForest was up to the task, making a pad save to preserve the Flyers 2-0 lead with more than 15 minutes left in the period.
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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 4:04 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Czech Republic and Finland prepare for puck drop

EDMONTON - The Czech Republic and Finland are prepared to do battle in what is a pretty big hockey game today at Rexall Place.

The winner will earn the second seed in the Group B pool. Finland currently has two wins and one loss for 6 points and Czech has two victories and one loss with 6 points. The Czech Republic scratches for the game include Vancouver Giants defenseman David Musil.

Finland lineups
G-Samie Aittolkallio
Mikael Granlund-Markus Granlund-Pulkkinen (Hakanpaa-Makinen)
Donskoi-Salomaki-Armia (Pokka-Hovinen)
Barkov-Aaltonen-Ruuttu (Ristolainen-Riikola)

Czech lineups
G-Petr Mrazek
Sekac-Jaskin-Holik (Riha-Krejci)
Uher-Filippi-Nosek (Mozik-Jank)
Straka-Hertl-Pribyl (Hrbas-Zamorsky)

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Posted On Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 3:51 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012 Molson Canadian Winter Classic Alumni Game

Make it 2-0 Flyers, Keenan must be steaming

The Flyers grabbed a 2-0 lead on a goal by Shjon Podein at 12:15 of the first period.

Rick Tocchet came in almost alone, but he fanned on his backhand. The puck was loose in the slot and Podein cleaned it up.

The FLyers are getting outshot, 14-4, but they've got the 2-0 lead with 5:54 to play in the first period.

Ron Duguay has to still be kicking himself. Seriously, he couldn't score on a breakaway against a 66-year-old goalie.

Word is Mike Keenan is planning a bag skate for tomorrow's practice.

Or, at least he would be if there was a practice.






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Quote of the Day

I might have blacked out. I was pretty pumped.

— New Jersey Devils rookie goalie Keith Kinkaid on his first NHL win Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning