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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 8:07 PM

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

Kings give Quick the night off

The NHL's reigning Player of the Week will be wearing a baseball cap instead of a goalie's mask on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said Jonathan Quick, who's riding a streak of three consecutive shutouts, will be the backup when the New Jersey Devils come to the Staples Center on Tuesday night.

Murray said at Tuesday's morning skate that he made the decision prior to Quick's 28-save, 1-0 victory against Dallas on Saturday night.

"He’s got to play. Quick can’t play 82 games," Murray told the media. "We’ve got 17 games here in front of us until the end of the month (of November). Fifteen are conference games. So what do you do? Am I going to wait until December, when we have five Eastern Conference games, and get him in then? He’s got to play. He’s a good goalie and he played great for us in the second half of the year last year. We’ve got a lot of big games right in front of us now, so it’s time to start putting him into some games.

"The decision was made Saturday morning. It’s not like it was after Quick’s third shutout. It was before, to give him a heads up. It was fair to give him an opportunity to think about it over the weekend, the day off on Sunday, and come in to work hard yesterday in practice. There’s no second-guessing this one for me. It’s just time for him to get playing again.”

Bernier said he's not feeling any extra pressure because of Quick's hot streak, which has seen the former UMass star keep opponents off the scoreboard for 188:10.

"First of all I was happy for him, but then I wasn’t sure if I was still going to be in net tonight,"  he told Rich Hammond of Kings Insider. "But I guess he [Murray] kept his word, and I’m happy to be back in.”

One player who won't be in the lineup is defenseman Drew Doughty, who's eligible to come off IR but isn't ready. He's been out since Oct. 15 with a shoulder injury.

Murray said Doughty was scheduled to see the doctor today and could be back by the end of the week.

“The opportunity will probably be tonight, to see the doctor at the rink," he said. "We plan on taking him with us on the road trip, kind of shooting for the end of the week here as a possibility.” The Kings hit the road after the game against the Devils -- they play at Dallas on Thursday, at Phoenix on Saturday and at Colorado on Sunday.



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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 5:00 PM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Weekes on the Web

Weekes' 'Fall Classic' Game

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:39 PM

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

Hawks to keep close eye on Ducks’ top line

CHICAGO – The Blackhawks know from first-hand experience last season how much the Ducks’ top line of Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry can impact a game – especially if left unchecked for even a couple seconds.

Last season, the Ducks beat the Hawks 2-1 on March 26 at the United Center and Perry scored both of Anaheim’s goals. Getzlaf and Ryan also picked up assists on both markers, as the Ducks’ top line dominated the puck most times they were on the ice.

“You’ve really got to be mindful when they’re out there and really try to limit their time deep in the zone,” said Blackhawks back-up goalie Ray Emery, who started that game for Anaheim and picked up the win. “Those three players are dominant players on their own, and when they play together it’s that much more special. They can kind of find each other with little blind plays and quick spins to the net and they’re always dangerous when they’re out there. More nights than not, if you shut them down you’re going to do pretty well against their team.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville agreed with that assessment, stating that his team can’t even have one lapse when the Ducks’ top trio is on the ice. The Hawks had a number of defensive miscues on Saturday night that led to a 5-4 shootout loss at home to the Colorado Avalanche and will need to be a lot better on against the Ducks on Tuesday.

Quenneville even said he’ll likely use more than just the energy checking line of Bryan Bickell, Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik to defend them.

“That line does a lot of things you don’t see,” Quenneville said. “They can make special plays and they kind of have an understanding of where other guys are and they’re dangerous around the net with quick sticks. There’s got to be an awareness of when they’re on the ice. They play so much it’s a tough responsibility for one line (to defend them), so hopefully a couple of guys will have a chance of seeing them as well.”
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:37 PM

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

Hawks hope to end shootout struggles

CHICAGO – The good news for the Chicago Blackhawks so far is that they’re not leaving as many points on the table this season as they did a year ago.

Last year, a trend of blowing third-period leads put the Hawks in a difficult position in the Western Conference standings at the end of the season – when about five teams were battling for the last two playoff spots.

Still, Chicago has lost both of the shootouts it’s been in through the first seven games and losing those extra points is unacceptable in their minds – especially with an all-star trio of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp making up the first three in their shootout lineup.

Alas, Toews and Kane – who’ve been good in shootouts historically – are both 0-for-2 so far, while Sharp is 0-for-1.

“There are key points that have been left on the board, especially in the shootout,” said Kane, who is 17-for-45 in shootouts for his career. “With the talent we have in our room, you definitely want to get that other point and we feel like we should every time. It’d be nice to get those. They add up at the end of the season when you’re picking spots for the Western Conference.”

Asked if maybe goalies are just getting better at shootouts, Toews scoffed at that notion.

“Nothing’s changed,” said Toews, who leads the Hawks with a mark of 19-for-39 in shootouts for his career. “Everybody wants to talk about (shootouts) since Kaner and I are 0-for-2, but we’ve had a pretty good history at that. We’ve got a lot of good shooters on this team, so at the end it’s the coach’s decision if they want to mix things up, but when we’re in that situation we trust fully the guys who are going out there. It’s not for lack of trying. Sometimes it just doesn’t go in.”
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:34 PM

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

Coyotes hoping to get more sticks hot

The Coyotes were looking for a jump in offense after scoring two goals in two games in home losses to Chicago and Los Angeles. And two key players to the Phoenix offense, Martin Hanzal and Keith Yandle, responded with their first goals of the season as the Coyotes used three goals in the first eight minutes of the second period to beat Anaheim 5-4 on Sunday.

"It was good to see those guys get on the board for us. Hanzal had two big goals early in the game and Yandle wound up getting the game-winner," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Boyd Gordon got his first goal as well. We're the kind of team where everybody has to contribute, so that game was a good sign."

Now Phoenix would like to see a few more sticks get hot as it opens a three-game homestand against the Dallas Stars tonight. The Coyotes had the Stars shut out for more than 59 minutes in Dallas on Oct. 10 before the Stars forced overtime and eventually prevailed 2-1 in a shootout. Phoenix had many offensive opportunities in that game to give ex-Star goalie Mike Smith a bigger cushion, and the season-high five goals against the Ducks is a positive sign.

"Dallas is playing a solid team game and they are willing a lot of close game like the one against us, Tippett said. "We've been kind of up and down and we'd like to put together a few games together and get on a run like Dallas has done. We gave up more goals than we'd like but in the end we did what we had to do to win. We want to clean some things up."

The Coyotes shook up their fourth line Sunday, trading center Petteri Nokelainen to Montreal and bringing up collegiate scoring machine Andy Miele from Portland of the AHL. Miele, getting a shot to provide some of the punch lost during the Kyle Turris contract holdout, had a two-goal, three assist game against Manchester last week, prompting the Coyotes to revamp their fourth line. Offensive-minded Patrick O'Sullivan got the start over enforcer Paul Bissonnette as well, although the selection between those two will likely be a game-time decision.

The game will also feature the return to Glendale of popular center Vernon Fiddler, who led the team in faceoff percentage and was a big part of Phoenix's back-to-back playoff runs from 2009-11. Fiddler signed with Dallas as a free agent in the summer, but the Coyotes have found his replacement to be a good fit so far.

Gordon currently leads the NHL in faceoff winning percentage at 63.8 percent and has won 53 of 79 draws (67 percent) over the last five games. Gordon not only scored his first goal against the Ducks, he won 12 of 17 faceoffs. He is also a main cog on the Phoenix power-play unit that has allowed just two goals since the season opener and stopped a potent Anaheim power play on all five chances (10 shots) on Sunday.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 4:30 PM

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

Projected lineups for Stars, Coyotes

Here's how the lineups are projected to look when the Dallas Stars face the Phoenix Coyotes tonight at Jobing.com Arena:

STARS
Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Loui Eriksson
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen - Jake Dowell - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Adam Pardy
Stephane Robidas - Sheldon Souray
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman

Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in goal with Andrew Raycroft serving as his backup.

COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Patrick O'Sullivan - Andy Miele - Raffi Torres

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

Mike Smith is expected to start in goal with Jason LaBarbera serving as his backup.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 3:59 PM

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

Maroon may make NHL debut for Ducks

CHICAGO -- After skating with the Ducks’ second line in Tuesday’s morning skate, 6-foot-4, 225-pound rookie forward Patrick Maroon is hoping to make his NHL debut on Tuesday night in Chicago.

Maroon is from St. Louis, which is just a four-hour drive from Chicago, so his family will be in attendance to hopefully see his first game.

Maroon skated with center Saku Koivu and forward Teemu Selanne on Tuesday, but there seems to be some feeling among the Ducks traveling media contingent that Maroon could find himself replacing Bobby Ryan on the left wing of the top line with center Ryan Getzlaf and right wing Corey Perry.

Neither place in the lineup would change his designated role to use his big frame and help open up the ice for whomever’s playing with him.

“I’m just going to play my game, get pucks in, go to work and create offense for those guys,” he said of the Ducks’ top forwards. “Just create havoc, so they have room to play their game. It’s just exciting. If I play it will be my first game ever and first NHL experience.”

Maroon was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round (No.161) of the 2007 Entry Draft. He was traded to Anaheim on Nov. 21, 2010 along with David Laliberte in exchange for Danny Syvret and Rod Bordson.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 3:56 PM

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

Ducks may take longer look at Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO -- The Anaheim Ducks are prepared to pay the price to keep 19-year-old rookie forward Devante Smith-Pelly longer than the nine games if they want to take a longer look.

Smith-Pelly, a two-way forward with a big body, is currently playing the wing on the Ducks’ third line. He’s recorded just one assist in seven games with a minus-3 rating, but his defensive ability and physicality (11 hits) are intriguing to Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle.

“(He’s a) big physical winger that has to play the body to be effective,” Carlyle said. “If he’s not skating and playing the body, he just becomes another player out there. He’s a 19-year-old kid we’re asking a lot of to play a third-line role for us, but again, that’s what it’s about.”

If the Ducks opt to keep Smith-Pelly longer than nine games, his time clock for NHL free agency would start with Game 10. They could still return him to the OHL’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors later in the season, but the season would count toward his eventual NHL free agency instead of counting as a junior season if he’s sent back before or at the nine-game mark.

Smith-Pelly hopes to make it a very tough decision no matter what the Ducks decide.

“I talked to (Ducks General Manager) Bob Murray and he said that nine-game mark … he’s not too worried about burning a year on the contract or whatever,” Smith-Pelly said on Tuesday. “He says as long as I deserve to be here I will be. If or when that time comes, if I don’t deserve to be here I won’t … whether it’s seven games, 10 games or 80 games. That kind of makes me feel like I’m doing some things right and making the decision pretty hard on them.”
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 3:45 PM

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

Quick gets a rest as Kings go with Bernier

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Jonathan Bernier will start Tuesday night for the Los Angeles Kings despite Jonathan Quick riding a franchise record shutout streak, coach Terry Murray said.

Murray said he mapped out his starters prior to last Saturday's game because he wants Bernier to see action before the team goes on the road.

The Kings host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday before playing at Dallas, Phoenix and Colorado.

"It's a decision I made a couple of days ago," Murray said. "I want to get him prepared. I knew Sunday was going to be a day off and let him have an opportunity to get himself ready over the day off … we've got a lot of games coming up. Right now the schedule starts to get a little busy. It's an opportunity early out of training camp."

Quick was named the NHL's First Star of the week after he recorded his third straight shutout last Saturday. He has gone a club record 188 minutes, 10 seconds without allowing a goal and carries a 0.81 goals-against average with a .972 save percentage (151 saves on 154 shots faced) over his past five games.

Bernier has made only one appearance this season, a loss to Buffalo on Oct. 8 in the second of back-to-back games for the Kings in the NHL Premiere Games in Europe.

Asked if Quick tried to coax him into starting Tuesday, Murray laughed and said, "He's very understanding that it's the early part of the year and we have a lot of games coming up that are huge games for us."
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.25.2011 / 3:36 PM

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

Projected lineups for Devils, Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Here's how the lineups are projected to look when the New Jersey Devils face the Los Angeles Kings tonight at the Staples Center:

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

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

Johan Hedberg will get the start in goal with Keith Kinkaid serving as the backup.

Parise will move from wing to center for the first time since his rookie season in the NHL because the Devils are without Travis Zajac and Jacob Josefson.

Parise played center when he was younger, "but college is a little different than the NHL," he said.

"It will be pretty different. I'm going to have to re-learn the position. Hopefully, D-zone coverage will be pretty simplified for me. Hopefully I won't be too lost."

New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer hasn't seen Parise with Ilya Kovalchuk but he likes the potential.

"On the face of it I see arguably two of the top 10 forwards in the world," DeBoer said. "You never know how chemistry is going to work, but I like the fact that both guys are world class players and we'll hope it works."

Sykora isn't feeling well and if he can't play, defenseman Mark Fraser will play at forward, DeBoer said.

Meanwhile, goalie Martin Brodeur came on the ice at the end of New Jersey's morning skate Tuesday and took shots, but DeBoer said he probably won’t play on this road trip.

The team brought Brodeur on the trip to get him some work after he suffered a right shoulder injury diving when he made blocker save on Alec Martinez during an Oct. 13 game against the Kings.

KINGS
Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Brad Richardson - Jarret Stoll - Ethan Moreau
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Kevin Westgarth

Jack Johnson - Rob Scuderi
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene

Jonathan Bernier will get the start in goal with Jonathan Quick, he of the three consecutive shutouts, serving as backup.

It appears that defenseman Drew Doughty probably won’t return until the latter half of the week.

Doughty wore a no-contact yellow jersey in practice Monday and coach Terry Murray indicated he'll probably have no contact for "another few days."

Doughty injured his right shoulder when he was hit by Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo last Saturday. The team initially said he would be out 7-10 days.

"It's kind of out of my hands," Doughty said. "I know how I feel. But the trainers know what they're talking about, too, and they've seen these injuries so many times, so obviously I've got to listen to them."

There is no pressing need for Doughty to return. Voynov, a rookie, has taken his place.

"I definitely need to get some practice in with some contact before I play, so that's why I'm kind of assuming I won't play tomorrow," Doughty said.
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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