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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 12:01 PM

By Alan Robinson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Still no Malkin for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Star center Evgeni Malkin will miss a fifth consecutive game Saturday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins take on division rival New Jersey at Consol Energy Center.
 
Malkin, bothered by soreness in his surgically repaired right knee, went through a full practice Friday -- creating optimism he might be ready to return. But after Malkin went through the morning skate -- during which he and Sidney Crosby manned the points on the power point during one drill -- coach Dan Bylsma ruled him out.
 
Malkin hasn't played since getting two assists during Pittsburgh's 3-2 overtime loss to Washington on Oct. 13. He has a goal and 3 assists in three games but, if he sits out the Devils' game, will have missed seven of Pittsburgh's first 10 games.
 
Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy (concussion) will be out for a fourth consecutive game. He must be symptom-free before he can return, and Bylsma has not speculated when that might be.
 
The Penguins, the NHL's most active team this season, are 5-2-2 and have earned at least a point in all but two of nine games. They will be playing their fourth game in six nights. New Jersey is 3-1-1 following a 4-3 shootout loss Friday to San Jose, which scored the tying goal in the final minute of regulation.
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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 8:39 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

SJS@NJD - 3:39 of the 2nd Period

Video review was initiated at 3:39 of the second period in New Jersey to determine if the puck entered the New Jersey net in a legal fashion. The puck deflected off the skate of San Jose forward Ryan Clowe, but there was no distinct kicking motion. The call on the ice stands, good goal San Jose.
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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 4:08 PM

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

Inflammation in wrist won't sideline Souray

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Dallas Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray participated on the morning skate and declared himself fit to play against the Anaheim Ducks in an early matchup Friday between the Pacific Division leaders.

Souray had an injection in his wrist on Wednesday to relieve inflammation and sat out Thursday's practice. He broke his hand in the minors at the beginning of last season and said "it just gets a little irritated."

Souray said the day off was more for practical reasons.

"The whole point of getting an injection is to settle it down, and that takes a day to two days, so it would be pointless to get it done and aggravate it the next day," Souray said.

"I don't expect to get maintenance days. Everyone gets them throughout the year, I guess."

Souray, 35, has a history of injuries and the team might have to monitor him closely this season, but Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan wasn't too concerned.

"You look at Hammer and he's a great big, in-shape guy and usually those big men that are in good shape like that, they can go," Gulutzan said. "With our older guys, we'll watch them, but he's in pretty good condition."

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

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

Kari Lehtonen will get the start in goal.

DUCKS

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

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

Jonas Hiller will get the start in goal

Foster could make his season debut this weekend as he is recovered from surgery to have a wire removed from his thigh.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle did not play Foster on Monday and was typically coy about his lineup. But Carlyle will soon have to work Foster into the third defense pairing with Sbisa as Brookbank has played with Sbisa in the early going.

"He's worked hard and we've pushed him," Carlyle said. "He's still an option for us in these games and now it's back to a lineup decision."

Meanwhile, Beauchemin is sporting a scar above his left eye after he was hit by a shot from San Jose's Dan Boyle on Monday night.

Beauchemin only missed a few shifts, and he knows it could have been a lot worse had he not been wearing a visor.

"It was really scary," Beauchemin said. "It was a good thing I had a visor on because, without it, there would have been a lot more damage to my eye. Luckily it was just a pure cut."

Beauchemin said he's not apprehensive about getting in front of the net, but he's more aware.

"It was just one of those plays that I was battling in front and I lost the puck," he said. "It was coming pretty hard from the point. Obviously you want to know where the puck is at all times, especially when you're in front of the net."
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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 2:18 PM

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

Hurricanes stuck with game plan despite slow start

ST. LOUIS -- The Carolina Hurricanes, after starting the season 0-2-1, have reeled off three straight wins and are going for four in a row tonight against the St. Louis Blues.

Captain Eric Staal said it was just a matter of sticking with the game plan despite the winless start.

"We've come with energy and aggressiveness every game," said Staal, who has 3 goals and 1 assist in six games. "I think we're pretty comfortable with the way we need to play to win. We were doing that for parts of games the first couple of the year but weren't getting results. We didn't alleviate from that and stayed with it and have gotten the results the last three. We want to keep it going."

The Hurricanes, who won 1-0 here in the only matchup between the teams a season ago, realize this is a desperate team they will face tonight.

"For us, it's we want to make sure we're matching or bettering that aggressiveness and intensity every single game," Staal said. "It's a good test for us. It's a team we don't see a lot, but it's a team that plays hard every time we've been in this building. It's been a close game and we need to expect that and look forward to bringing our work ethic and worrying about our game.

Carolina coach Paul Maurice expects the Blues to be flying.

"It's a similar situation to Boston," Maurice said regarding their 4-1 win over the Bruins Tuesday. "Desperation does kick in very early for teams. We all know what that means. It's difficult to have a rough start and then you're fighting for it the rest of the year. Confidence is very important to develop and we expect them to come hard, chip a lot of pucks, try to get their forecheck established early."

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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 2:16 PM

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

Blues weren't counting on early-season struggles

ST. LOUIS -- Struggling out of the gates wasn't what the Blues expected. In fact, there was so much hype coming out of camp that a 2-4-0 start was the furthest thing from their minds.

"We'd love to be 6-0 right now," veteran winger Jamie Langenbrunner said, "but it's all part of the process and we'll continue to work through it."

The Blues, who entertain the Carolina Hurricanes (3-2-1) tonight, have work to do in all areas of their game. Special teams is an obvious area, where the Blues are 30th in the league in both power play and penalty killing.

"I think we just need to simplify it," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "Once we don't have the success we want initially, I think we kind of want to look for some alternate options rather than sticking with who we have and getting back to the basics.

"With what we had going last game in L.A., we had some good scoring chances, some good opportunities. Right now, I think it's just a matter of coming out tonight and doing the same thing. When we get that one chance to score, we have to really bear down and put it in the back of the net."

It seems teams are relegating the Blues to the outside and not allowing any interior play, which was pretty evident in their recent road swing where the team went 0-for-16 with the man advantage.

"Penalty killing, it seems like it's even better this year than it was last year," Shattenkirk said. "It comes as a result of us not being successful getting the puck in and setting up. When you're scrambling and looking for pucks, it's kind of easy for teams to set their pressure and not allow us to get that time and space to work."

Said Blues coach Davis Payne, "We're concerned about every aspect of our game. Our game isn't up to snuff. Goaltending's one of them, power play's one of them, penalty kill's one of them. ... There's a number of areas that's concerning. We've got to get them corrected."

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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 2:10 PM

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

With Halak struggling, Blues turn to Elliott vs. Canes

ST. LOUIS -- Getting the ship righted in goal is an area that's a must for the Blues, and Brian Elliott will spell the struggling Jaroslav Halak against the Canes tonight.

Halak, who began last season with an 8-1-1 record, a 1.46 goals-against average and .944 save percentage, is only 1-4-0 with a 3.47 GAA and .835 save percentage.

"You've got a proud athlete," coach Davis Payne said of Halak. "He knows he's got to get better. He's accountable to it. He's not hiding from that fact. His assessment is no different from ours. We know where we are and we know where we've got to go. He's a good goaltender. He's going to put the work in and he's going to be a good goaltender."

Elliott is 1-0-0 with a 2.26 GAA and .929 save percentage in two games. In his only start against San Jose, Elliott stopped 34 shots, including a highlight-reel save on the Sharks' Dan Boyle in a 3-2 game late in the third period.

Payne said the decision to go with Elliott tonight is simple.

"The way he played in San Jose, the way he played in the third period against L.A. and Jaro's play," Payne said. "Quite simply put, (Elliott) has given us a chance. He needs to give us another."

Here's how the lineups for tonight's game should look:

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

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kent Huskins - Alex Pietrangelo
Carlo Colaiacovo - Roman Polak

Elliott gets the start in goal; Halak will be the backup. No decision has been made yet who starts Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Colaiacovo (concussion) has been taken off of injured reserve and will be back in the lineup tonight. He missed the previous five games after being injured in the season-opener Oct. 8.

"Three good practices under his belt, but a solid practice yesterday, handled the pace and the competitive aspect of it," Payne said of Colaiacovo. "He should be ready to go, give us a boost."

HURRICANES
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Jiri Tlusty - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Jussi Jokinen - Jeff Skinner - Chad LaRose
Brett Sutter - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart

Tim Gleason - Bryan Allen
Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain
Jay Harrison - Tomas Kaberle

Cam Ward gets the start in goal; Brian Boucher is the backup.
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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 1:49 PM

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

Weekes: Montreal always is a fun place to visit

When it comes to restaurants, atmosphere and just a great place to be, Montreal was one of my favorite cities to frequent on the road.

If you have time, you have to visit old Montreal. You'll feel like you're in Europe, not North America. That's one of my favorite sites, especially during the day time. Obviously the summer is better than the winter, but if you dress for it, you'll be fine.

As far as restaurants, for me, one of the best steakhouses in the League -- top three -- is La Queue de Cheval. It's unbelievable. Great food, sick atmosphere, cigar lounge, great bar -- all rolled into one. It's not your typical steakhouse. If you go there, ask for the owner -- his name is Peter.
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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 1:43 PM

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

Lidstrom demanding more

When the captain says something is wrong, you fix it.

That's the tact Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has taken with 41-year old captain and top defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who made it known after last season that he didn't really like having his ice time reduced.

Lidstrom still led the Wings in ice time last year, with an average of 23:28 per game, but he didn't play much on the penalty kill and Babcock also tried to back off his usually heavy workload through the regular season.

However, Lidstrom wasn't a big fan of sitting more.

"Last year we backed him off a little bit and he told me in the spring he didn't like it, so we just fixed it," Babcock said following the Red Wings' morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. "He says he plays better when he's playing. Last year, we didn't penalty kill him near as much. This year we are. We've got a little different rotation, so this year we are. He's been excellent."

He's also leading the Wings in ice time yet again through the first four games, logging an average of 24:01 per game thus far. That could change a little because of the schedule. Only playing four games to this point has allowed the players to get plenty of rest, but also will require some taxing back-to-back games ahead.

"When you play night in and night out and you travel like we do in the West here, especially with the three-hour time change, that might be different as time goes on," Babcock said of Lidstrom leading in ice time. "Right now it hasn't been an issue."

Lidstrom concurred.

"I still take a lot of pride in playing a lot of minutes and playing against the top lines and still being on specialty teams as well," said Lidstrom, who will play in his 1,500th NHL game Saturday against the Washington Capitals. "That's something we talked about in the offseason, to get the minutes up a little bit more. (Babcock) asked if I was ready for it and could still do it, and I said, 'Oh yeah. I'm more than willing to play more minutes.' When you're used to it, I think it's harder to play less and stay in a good rhythm."
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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 1:05 PM

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

Devils expect to see extra motivation from Sharks

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Havlat will make his Sharks debut tonight and he'll play on the second line with Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe. San Jose coach Todd McLellan has talked about how Couture and Clowe have to be better than they have been through four games, and hopes Havlat's presence will give them a jolt.

"Hopefully this is a catalyst to get them going," McLellan said.

McLellan said he will try to manage Havlat's minutes depending on how the forward feels, but he expects the speedy right wing to be flying tonight.

"Usually when guys come back, their first game is a good one and you have to watch them in Games 2 and 3 after that," McLellan said. "We hope we get that from him tonight."

Devils coach Peter DeBoer expects Havlat to be dangerous.

"He's another talented weapon they're adding to the arsenal," DeBoer said. "It doesn't change the game plan, but he's another guy you have to deal with. It spreads their offense over two lines and makes it a difficult matchup."

DeBoer also expects the Sharks to play with desperation because they're 1-3-0 and need to start their six-game road trip on a positive note.

"Obviously they're one of the best teams in the League and they're not where they want to be, which tells you there is going to be some desperation in their game," DeBoer said. "That makes them very dangerous. We have to be prepared for that."

The Sharks will have extra incentive tonight because Joe Thornton is playing in his 1,000th NHL game, and defenseman Colin White is returning to New Jersey as a visitor for the first time in his long career.

"White and Thornton shouldn't be the motivators for our team; it should be getting a win and playing properly for 60 minutes," McLellan said. "We've played well in a lot of the games, but not for a full 60. We've made some errors that have cost us, and we've talked about that -- how it's been on our tape, on their tape and into the net. We have to clean that up."

The Sharks are averaging over 40 shots per game, but they've scored only 10 goals.

"I'd like to see us get more determined around the opposition's net," McLellan said. "With the amount of opportunities we've created, not many have come on second and third chances."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Friday, 10.21.2011 / 12:32 PM

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

Projected lineups for Blue Jackets, Red Wings

Here's what the projected lineups could look like for Friday night's game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena:

BLUE JACKETS
RJ Umberger - Derick Brassard - Rick Nash
Vinny Prospal - Antoine Vermette - Alexandre Giroux
Maksim Mayorov - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Cody Bass - Derek MacKenzie - Ryan Johansen

Fedor Tyutin - Radek Martinek
Grant Clitsome - Marc Methot
Kris Russell - Aaron Johnson

Steve Mason is expected to be the starting goalie with Allen York, an emergency recall from AHL Springfield, backing him up.

RED WINGS
Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Danny Cleary
Jiri Hudler - Valtteri Filppula - Johan Franzen
Justin Abdelkader - Darren Helm - Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Tomas Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Niklas Kronwall - Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson - Jakub Kindl

Jimmy Howard is expected to be the starting goalie with Ty Conklin backing him up.




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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential