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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 3:19 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

No Filppula for Wings

ST. LOUIS -- After suffering a cut on his shin due to a skate blade in Sunday's loss at Colorado, the Wings will be without winger Valtteri Filppula tonight against the Blues.

Filppula, who has 8 goals and 13 assists in 25 games this season, tried to give it a go by adjusting his skate to alleviate any pressure on the cut, but still couldn't make a go of it.

"It's as good as it can be, but I just can't push it," Filppula, who is listed as day-to-day, said after the morning skate. "I'm hoping it gets better soon. I can't say when it's going to be good enough, but probably every day, I'm going to give it a try.

"It was pretty painful. I could cruise around a little bit, but then when I had to try skating faster, I couldn't really do it."

The Wings will use Cory Emmerton tonight, and depending on coach Mike Babcock's thinking, could play him at fourth-line center or use him at wing on the third line and play Justin Abdelkader as a fourth-line center.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 3:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Potential lineups for Kings, Ducks

Here's how the lineups could look for tonight's game between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings at Honda Center:


Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Brown - Jarret Stoll - Trent Hunter
Dustin Penner - Andrei Loktionov - Ethan Moreau
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Kevin Westgarth

Drew Doughty - Rob Scuderi
Jack Johnson - Slava Voynov
Matt Greene - Davis Drewiske

Jonathan Quick

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell is skating but is still out with a groin injury. Alec Martinez (upper body) has been cleared for contact.


Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Niklas Hagman - Andrew Cogliano - Devante Smith-Pelly
Jean-Francois Jacques - Maxime Macenauer - George Parros

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

Jonas Hiller

Anaheim activated backup goalie Dan Ellis and re-assigned Jeff Deslauriers. Ellis had a groin injury.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 2:46 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Muller sticks with same lineup in search for first win

CALGARY -- Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller will continue with a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defensemen as he searches for his first win since taking over as coach.

Muller, who is 0-3-0 since replacing Paul Maurice, will have one new face in the lineup tonight. Goaltender Mike Murphy was called up on an emergency basis from AHL Charlotte to replace Brian Boucher, who suffered a lower-body injury in practice yesterday.

It's one face Muller will be familiar with.

"He's a Kingston (Ont.) kid, so I’ve known Murph since he was a kid," Muller said, himself a Kingston native. "One of the kids I know the most is coming up. I got a break there."

Muller hasn't gotten a break since joining Carolina. The team has lost five consecutive games as Muller looks to instill a new identity in the club, one of teamwork.

"I don't care if you're minus-15, I don't care if you have 1 goal, let's look at today and see how we can be better," Muller said. "Let's just do it together. No one has to be Superman. It's strength in numbers. Let's get out of this together. Let's just come tonight and have fun and play hard and let's see where we're at. We've been doing that for three games, so we just have to keep getting them to believe in it."

We had the likely Flames lineup earlier. Here's what the Hurricanes lineup likely will look like:

Jeff Skinner - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jussi Jokinen - Chad LaRose
Jiri Tlusty - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Andreas Nodl - Anthony Stewart

Bryan Allen - Derek Joslin
Tim Gleason - Justin Faulk
Joni Pitkanen - Tomas Kaberle
Jamie McBain

Cam Ward will start in goal, with Mike Murphy to serve as the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 2:46 PM

By John Kreiser - Columnist / - At the Rink blog

Bolts' scoring woes not for lack of chances

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning bring a four-game losing streak to the Nassau Coliseum for tonight's game against the New York Islanders. They've scored just seven goals in those games, including two each in 4-2 losses to the New York Rangers at home on Saturday and at Ottawa on Monday.

But coach Guy Boucher feels his team is doing a lot of things right -- except for putting the puck in the net.

"At the beginning of the year, on the road, we were horrible," Boucher said. "Plain and simple -- all over the place. The work ethic wasn't there. The relentlessness wasn't there, the physicality wasn't there. We were getting some chances, but not like now. Now, it's ridiculous -- our games could be 5-1 after two periods. That's frustrating -- to miss those goals.

“During the game, it's frustrating -- and when I look at the video it's really frustrating. You can't believe the goals that we've missed; it's unreal. We've had more scoring chances than even last year -- just ridiculous."

It's not that the Lightning lack firepower -- Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis are three of the best offensive players in the NHL. But for whatever reason, the pucks haven't been going in.

"I don't remember coaching a team that has misfired that much," Boucher said. "Look at Stammer -- he was wide-open, the puck on his stick, the goalie wasn't even there, but something happens and it trickles. That's just one of them.

"We're missing these goals, and that comes with swagger and swagger comes with results. It's a vicious circle. But one thing's for sure: We're playing great. If we keep at it and stick to it and continue working at the small details, we'll be a much better team, because once the (puck) goes in and we correct these little things … we can hope for good things."

The Lightning led 2-1 in the third period of the games against the Rangers and Senators, but allowed three goals each time and went home empty-handed -- dropping them to 11-13-2 and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.

"If we want to win games, we have to make sure we check in those moments," Boucher said. "Both those games -- one with three minutes left, one with four minutes left -- you go into overtime and lose, it's still a point and a point, like winning one of the two games, and those points are big."

After former Islander Dwayne Roloson played in Ottawa on Monday, Mathieu Garon will start in goal for the Lightning, who again will be without defenseman Pavel Kubina, out with a lower-body injury. Tampa Bay recalled Evan Oberg from the AHL Norfolk Admirals for the game -- they acquired Oberg just four days ago in a four-player swap with Florida.

Forward Adam Hall, a scratch in the last two games, is likely to dress -- "there's a big chance he plays," Boucher said. "Big, big chance."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 2:40 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - At the Rink blog

Blue Jackets get Carter back from ankle sprain

MONTREAL -- The Columbus Blue Jackets will welcome center Jeff Carter back to the lineup tonight when they face the Montreal Canadiens.

Carter missed the Blue Jackets' last game in Edmonton -- a 6-3 loss to the Oilers -- with a sprained ankle, but he declared himself fit and ready to go back to his spot next to Rick Nash on Columbus' top line.

"For the opposition coaches and the opposition players, he's a big threat," said Columbus coach Scott Arniel, who went without Carter for a 10-game stretch earlier this season. "When he's not there they can key on Nash and key on a few other people. Jeff, his ability to shoot the puck and to get into the offense and get open is so big. It helps our power play a lot and it makes teams adjust. We talked about it in the beginning of the year when we brought him in it would take some of the pressure off Rick. So when he's out, it is noticeable."

The Blue Jackets find themselves in the desperate situation of needing to make up ground in a hurry to save their season after an 0-7-1 start dug them into a serious hole.

Nash says that as captain, remaining positive has been a difficult task.

"It's been a tough job, for sure, especially as a leader on the team," he said. "You see the lowest that guys get, so it's tough to keep guys upbeat. But we knew we were going to work our way out of it. It's just a matter of making up as much ground as we can right now."

At the same time, Nash says it is just as important not to think of just how much ground there is left to make up.

"I think that's what we were doing early on in our losing streak, we were worrying about how we were going to make up all these games," Nash said. "But in that last few weeks we've taken it by period and even by five-minute segments within periods. We just tried to break it down as simply as we could and let the big picture take care of itself."

Curtis Sanford will get the start in goal against the Canadiens, his former employers last season when he was starring for the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL. Sanford will face several of his old Bulldogs teammates, including P.K. Subban, David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty, Yannick Weber and Mathieu Darche, with whom he was especially tight.

"I consider them good friends," Sanford said. "But tonight, we're not going to be friends out there."

Meanwhile, Blue Jackets center Derrick Brassard -- a native Quebecer -- will be a healthy scratch for an eighth time in 12 games. In Carter's absence in Edmonton, Brassard got 16:42 of ice time -- his highest total in three weeks -- registering four shots on goal and a plus-1 rating.

"I try to talk to him a little bit. It's not an easy situation," said fellow Quebecer Antoine Vermette in French. "I'm trying to encourage him as much as I can, but it's hard on him. He's still maintaining a good attitude about it, though. He's not hanging his head around the other players, he's not being negative and he's working hard in practice. That's what he needs to do."

For the Canadiens it should be Carey Price starting in goal after making 64 saves on 68 shots over his last two outings, a shootout loss in San Jose and a 2-1 win in Los Angeles. Defenseman Frederic St-Denis is out of the lineup as a healthy scratch.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 2:23 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Jets happy with next season's conference lineup

WINNIPEG -- No team in the NHL is more geographically displaced this season than the Winnipeg Jets.

Jets players and coaches roundly supported last night's realignment decision that is expected to move the club out of the Southeast Division for the 2012-13 season. Next season Winnipeg will play in a conference with the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues.

Minnesota is the Jets' nearest geographic rival and should allow fans to make the seven-hour car trip for road games next season. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is a Winnipeg product, and the Blue Jackets have former Winnipeg Jet Scott Arniel manning their bench.

While the Jets have the benefit this season of frequent travel to warmer climates for road games with the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, next season's schedule should ease the Jets' travel burden.

The Jets also have three Minnesota products on their roster, and a chance to play before family and friends at the Xcel Energy Center delighted Blake Wheeler, who also played his NCAA hockey at the University of Minnesota.

"I like being in the Midwest a little more and being in the Central time zone," Wheeler said. "It'll be fun to play back home a little more often, and more specifically, for our travel, it's going to be huge to play the majority of our games in this area."
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 2:12 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Jets hoping to continue strong home play vs. Bruins

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets have pinpointed December's home-heavy slate as a critical segment of their season.

A pair of wins last week against the Phoenix Coyotes and New Jersey Devils served as key points for a team looking to establish a home-ice presence in its first season at the MTS Centre.

Now the Jets, 7-4-0 at home this season, face their biggest test of the season at the MTS Centre tonight when the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins make their first visit to Winnipeg this season. The Bruins bring a 7-2-0 road mark into Winnipeg after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 on Monday and have not lost away from home since Oct. 29.

Jets coach Claude Noel watched a portion of last night's Bruins-Penguins game and was asked for his take on what he saw.

"I took out of it that Boston is a good team," Noel replied to laughs from the assembled media. "And I knew that before I watched that game."

"It's going to be an interesting game for us," Noel added. "They've got depth. Who doesn't scare you on that team?"

The Jets' top line of Evander Kane, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler continue to drive the Winnipeg offense. Kane has 6 goals in his last five games, 9 goals and 12 points in his last nine games, and owns a five-game point-scoring streak. Wheeler and Little, two important cogs who experienced very slow starts to their seasons, have four- and three-game point streaks, respectively.

"They've got some size on that line, especially on the wings," Noel said of his top trio.

The line has been defensively reliable, and Noel surmises that Kane has helped to draw out the speed Little and Wheeler possess.

"I didn't see the speed in Wheeler and Little before that I do now," he said. "It's been a really good asset for us."

Ondrej Pavelec will start in net for Winnipeg tonight, the 18th time in the team's last 19 games that he will received the starting nod.

Forwards Nik Antropov and Eric Fehr remain sidelined by injury and will not dress, while defensemen Ron Hainsey, Derek Meech, Randy Jones and Tobias Enstrom also are out with injuries.

The Jets returned defenseman Brett Festerling to the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League and reclaimed center Ben Maxwell on waivers from the Anaheim Ducks and assigned him to St. John's.

Here are tonight’s projected lines and pairings for Winnipeg.

Evander Kane - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd - Alexander Burmistrov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater- Chris Thorburn
Jason Jaffray - Tim Stapleton - Carl Klingberg

Johnny Oduya - Dustin Byfuglien
Mark Stuart - Zach Bogosian
Arturs Kulda - Mark Flood

Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets, with Chris Mason backing up.

With the Bruins having played last night, they didn't skate today. If they don't change things -- and with their current 14-0-1 stretch, why would they? -- here's what their lineup could look like:

Tyler Seguin - Patrice Bergeron - Brad Marchand
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Benoit Pouliot - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Joe Corvo - Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

With Tim Thomas starting last night, it's likely he'll be the backup and Tuukka Rask will start tonight.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 2:06 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Flu could keep Glencross out of Flames' lineup

CALGARY -- If a bout with the flu has KO'ed Calgary Flames forward Curtis Glencross, Brendan Morrison is ready to step in.

Coach Brent Sutter wasn't willing to rule Glencross out for tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, but couldn't confirm whether he would be available.

"He's not feeling very good, so we kept him away from the rink this morning," Sutter said. "We'll know more as the day goes on whether he's going to be able to participate or not."

The absence of Glencross could open the door for the return of Morrison, who has been a healthy scratch for the previous five games. Morrison would take Glencross' spot on Calgary's top line with Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen.

"It all depends on the situation with Glennie," Morrison said. "I'll be ready to play if that's the case."

Morrison has been in and out of the lineup sporadically this season. He started the year recovering from knee surgery before returning to the lineup for eight games. Having not fully recovered from the injury, Morrison was then placed on injured reserve, missing another six games.

"Nobody wants to sit and watch too many games, but at the same time you want to get back to a level where you can help the team when you're on the ice," Morrison said. "I feel I'm real close, if not there now. If I get the call, I'm ready."

Tonight's projected lineup for the Flames:

Brendan Morrison - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Blake Comeau - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak
Alex Tanguay - Roman Horak - Rene Bourque
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester
T.J. Brodie - Scott Hannan
Derek Smith - Joe Piskula

Miikka Kiprusoff
Leland Irving
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 1:49 PM

By Neil Acharya - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Potential lineups for Maple Leafs, Devils

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs did not skate this morning, so it is not certain what their lineup will look like, but it's unlikely they'll change much from Monday's game against the New York Rangers.

One notable absence likely will be forward Mikhail Grabovski, whose girlfriend went into labor yesterday.

Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Tim Connolly - Matt Frattin
Joey Crabb - Joe Colborne - Nikolai Kulemin
Jay Rosehill - David Steckel - Philippe Dupuis

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn
John-Michael Liles - Cody Franson
James Reimer will start in goal, with Jonas Gustavsson the backup.

Ilya Kovalchuk - Zack Parise - Adam Henrique
Mattias Tedenby - Patrik Elias - Petr Sykora
Dainius Zubrus - Ryan Carter - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Tim Sestito - Nick Palmieri

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

Martin Brodeur will start in goal, with Johan Hedberg the backup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Tuesday, 12.06.2011 / 1:21 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Likely lineups for Red Wings, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Here are the likely lineups for the Blues and Red Wings when they meet tonight in St. Louis (7:30 p.m. ET, Versus, TSN2):

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

Carlo Colaiacovo - Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Kris Russell - Roman Polak
Brian Elliott, who beat the Red Wings 2-1 here Nov. 15, starts tonight in goal for the Blues. Jaroslav Halak will be the backup tonight and start Thursday against Anaheim.

Defenseman Ian Cole and forwards Evgeny Grachev and Ryan Reaves will be healthy scratches. Grachev (eye) was activated from injured reserve Tuesday.

Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Danny Cleary - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Chris Conner - Darren Helm - Justin Abdelkader
Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Tomas Holmstrom

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

Jimmy Howard returns in goal after serving as the backup Sunday -- his first game off in 18 games. Ty Conklin, who stopped 32 shots in Sunday's loss, will be the backup.

Defenseman Mike Commodore is a healthy scratch.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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