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Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 10:16 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

BOS @ LAK - 3:18 of the First Period

At 3:18 of the first period in the Bruins/Kings game play was stopped in a neutral zone face-off in front of the Boston bench. When play resumed the clock was not started with the puck drop, it started 1 second prior to a whistle and then was stopped when the play was blown dead.  The official timekeeper removed 6 seconds from the clock to account for the missed time.
Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 8:31 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NYR @ TOR - 6:53 of the Second Period

At 6:53 of the second period in the Rangers/Maple Leafs game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Joey Crabb's shot went into the net in a legal fashion. Good Goal Toronto.
Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 7:32 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Sharks need fast start vs. Coyotes

SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks forward Daniel Winnik played for Phoenix two years ago during coach Dave Tippett's first season with the Coyotes.

Winnik said he'd always hear opposing players say how "hard and frustrating" it was to play against the Coyotes, but he didn't truly understand why until he was traded to Colorado the next year and had to face Tippett's team.

"They're extremely patient," Winnik said after Saturday morning's optional skate at HP Pavilion. "The way (Tippett) coaches, they don't care if they ice the puck seven times in a row, their whole bench isn't getting frustrated. They try and slow the game down and make it boring enough that you get disinterested and try plays that create turnovers, and that's where they score their goals.

"It's kind of like playing St. Louis in a sense where they don't give you much, you don't get many shots. That's how St. Louis beats teams as well -- thrive off your turnovers and you getting frustrated by not being able to get to the net and to plays inside."

The Sharks lost all four of its games against St. Louis this season, and they've lost three of four to Phoenix entering Saturday's night's game against the Coyotes at HP Pavilion.

San Jose (84 points) and Phoenix (86) are both fighting for a playoff spot in a wild Western Conference race, and the Sharks need to solve the Coyotes' frustrating defensive puzzle or risk falling farther back.

Phoenix has defeated San Jose three straight times by a combined score of 11-3. Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith had two 3-0 shutouts during that stretch. The Sharks' only win in the series came in the season-opener on Oct. 8, a 6-3 victory at HP.

"After the first game of the year where we got dominated, I think our guys have really tried to hunker down," Tippett said. "You can't give away a lot of free chances. They're a really good team. If you give them extra time in your zone or give them outnumbered rushes, they're going to hurt you. Those are things we have to do to make sure we play a sound game. Again, that's whether it's the Sharks or whoever it is. We've had some success against the Sharks because our goaltending has been very good and we've been able to play a good defending game."

The Coyotes will play their second straight game without captain Shane Doan, who was suspended three games for elbowing Dallas' Jamie Benn in the head on Monday night. With Doan out of the lineup on Thursday night, Phoenix jumped to a 3-0 lead and held on to beat Colorado 3-2.

"He's one of their best players, but the way they play it's a team game, and I think probably out of all the teams in the league they're the least affected by losing a top player just because everyone seems to fill in real well for Tippett," Winnik said. "But he is a big loss. On the power play, they lose his one-timer on that side. He's been a threat for them there. He's really like the heartbeat of the team and obviously the organization because he's been there forever."

Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris, who will play in his 999th career NHL game tonight, said it takes a total team effort to compensate for Doan's absence.

"His leadership he brings in our room is huge," Morris said. "He's on the trip right now with us. He's around because he's the leader of our team. None of us expect any of us to replace him, but we expect all of us to be a little bit better. We can't rely on Shane to score a big goal for us or make a big play for us. The rest of us have to do it ourselves. If we can get five percent more out of each guy to fill in while Shane's out, that will be even better when he comes back."

Smith has been a force Phoenix's past three wins against San Jose, and not only because of his stingy play in goal. He is one of the NHL's most skilled goaltenders in terms of handling pucks and getting them quickly to his defensemen.

"It's definitely helped out," Morris said. "With the new game you see a lot of guys now are just dumping pucks and going and getting them. If they make them a little bit far we know that we don't' have to go back there and get in that battle with that guy because Smitty's going to make a good play out of the zone. We just got to get open for him. You don't even have to yell at him. He sees the play as it's coming in. He knows what he's going to do with it."

The Sharks always stress the importance of getting off to a fast start, but defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said starting quickly is more important against Phoenix than against most teams.

"They try to lull you into their system, their way of playing," Vlasic said. "Especially when they get the lead they're really good at holding the lead. You really want to jump all over them right off the start, maybe the first 10 minutes, jump all over them, get the lead. They're a different team when … they're trailing. When they have to come back, they're opening their system up more, the game more. It's a totally different (team) when they have the lead or don't have the lead."

The Sharks are coming off a 2-1 win Thursday night against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins that snapped a two-game skid. Their final eight games are against Western Conference teams, including two against Phoenix.

The Sharks will be without forward TJ Galiardi (upper body) for the fifth straight game, but he returned to the ice Saturday morning for the first time in nearly a week.

"Nice to get back out there," Galiardi said. "I don't really know the timetable yet, just kind of playing it day by day, see how it feels. But getting better."

Here's how the lineups could look Saturday night when the San Jose Sharks face the Phoenix Coyotes at HP Pavilion:


Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Ryane Clowe - Logan Couture - Martin Havlat

Dominic Moore - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell

Daniel Winnik - Andrew Desjardins - Tommy Wingels

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Dan Boyle

Douglas Murray - Brent Burns

Jason Demers - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss

Niemi will make his 14th straight start tonight. He's 0-2-0 against the Coyotes this season with a 3.56 goals-against average.


Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Ray Whitney - Antoine Vermette - Lauri Korpikoski

Raffi Torres - Daymond Langkow - Gilbert Brule

Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Paul Bissonnette

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michal Rozsival

Rostislav Klesla - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Smith is 3-1-0 with two shutouts and a 2.27 goals against average vs. the Sharks this season. … Phoenix recalled center Alexandre Bolduc from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.

Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 6:49 PM

By Neil Acharya - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Rangers projected lineups

TORONTO -- Despite playing back-to-back nights, Rangers coach John Tortorella has elected to go with Henrik Lundqvist when the club meets the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the Air Canada Centre.

"He has plenty of rest, our team has had plenty of rest," Tortorella said late this afternoon. "They are off again tomorrow. I think we have done what we need to do with the club as far as resting. We need to also get need to get Hank into some sort of flow as far as playing games – so he goes tonight."

Lundqvist has lost twice to Toronto this season and was on the bench in place of Martin Biron in the lone victory against the Maple Leafs, a 3-0 blanking at the Air Canada Centre on Jan. 14.

The Rangers not only lost last night's contest 4-1 to Buffalo, but they also lost forward Mats Zuccarello to a broken wrist, which he suffered in the first period. While Tortorella did not tip his hand as to who will fill the void left by Zuccarello, the odds-on favorite is veteran Ruslan Fedotenko.
"I know Feds very well … he is a good player and has been a good player for us," Tortorella said. "This is the time of year where he needs to find his defensive game and offensive game, and I believe he will."

Fedotenko has been a healthy scratch for the last two games. In 65 games played this season, he has eight goals and eight assists along with a minus-10 rating. He has been in the lineup for all three games against Toronto this season.
Here are the projected lines for the Rangers:

Brandon DubinskyDerek StepanRyan Callahan
Carl HagelinBrad RichardsMarian Gaborik
Artem AnisimovBrian BoyleRuslan Fedotenko
Brandon PrustJohn MitchellMike Rupp

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi
Marc StaalMichael Del Zotto
Tim ErixonStu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 3:23 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Canucks, Avalanche

DENVER – These are the projected lineups for a Saturday night contest between the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center:


Mason RaymondHenrik SedinZack Kassian
David BoothRyan Kesler – Alex Burrows
Chris HigginsSamuel PahlssonJannik Hansen
Manny Malhotra – Max Lapierre – Dale Weise

Alex Edler – Kevin Bieksa
Dan Hamhuis – Chris Tanev
Aaron RomeSami Salo

Roberto Luongo
Cory Schneider

INJURIES: LW Andrew Ebbett (broken collarbone), D Keith Ballard (neck), LW Daniel Sedin (head) and LW Aaron Volpatti (shoulder) are out.


Gabriel Landeskog – Ryan O’Reilly – Steve Downie
Jamie McGinnPaul StastnyDavid Jones
Peter MuellerMatt DucheneMilan Hejduk
Cody McLeodJay McClementMark Olver/Chuck Kobasew

Shane O’Brien - Tyson Barrie/Erik Johnson
Jan Hejda - Ryan O’Byrne
Matt Hunwick - Ryan Wilson

Semyon Varlamov
Jean-Sebastien Giguere

INJURIES: D Erik Johnson (back spasms) is day-to-day.
Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 2:38 PM

By John Manasso - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Noel mum on choice in net against Predators

NASHVILLE – The day after a big comeback against Southeast Division rival Washington, Winnipeg coach Claude Noel was mum on who would start Saturday against the Predators.
Down 3-0 on Friday against the Capitals, the Jets rallied to win 4-3 in overtime to move within four points of the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot with eight games to play as goalie Ondrej Pavelec made 20 saves and did not allow a goal after the 5:47 mark of the second period. The Jets hold a game in hand on Washington, which has 82 points.
Pavelec is 28-25-7 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. Backup Chris Mason, a former Predator who played in the playoffs for Nashville, is 7-6-1 with a 2.40 GAA and .903 save percentage.
“We’ll see at game time,” was all Noel would say. Noel did say right wing Eric Fehr (shoulder) would miss the Saturday night contest.
Here is the projected lineup for the Jets:
Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane - Alex Burmistrov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Antti Miettinen
Spencer Machacek - Ben Maxwell - Tim Stapleton
Toby Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien
Ron Hainsey - Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart - Randy Jones
Ondrej Pavelec
Chris Mason
Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 2:33 PM

By Neil Acharya - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Rangers out to retain hold on first in East

The New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs meet for a fourth and final time Saturday at Air Canada Centre. Toronto took the first two games of the season series but lost 3-0 to the Rangers in their last meeting.
While Martin Biron earned the shutout in that game, the Rangers will start Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed four goals Friday night in a loss to the surging Buffalo Sabres.  The All-Star netminder was in net for both losses earlier in the season to Toronto.
New York sits atop the Eastern Conference but they are in a fight with the Pittsburgh Penguins for that mantle.  A loss in Toronto, combined with a Penguins win in Ottawa, will vault Pittsburgh ahead of the Rangers.
The Maple Leafs are also playing the second of back- to-back contests.  Nazem Kadri scored a lovely shootout goal, faking to the backhand and then going forehand to beat Martin Brodeur and give Toronto a 4-3 victory Friday night in New Jersey.
“I am pretty happy with how it ended,” said Kardi of his heroics at Prudential Center.  “It was pretty nerve wracking going in one-on-one with Marty Brodeur.” 
He also scored a goal in regulation, which gives him five on the season.
The young forward has spent the majority of the season with the Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, and was called up on an emergency basis Thursday along with forward Ryan Hamilton after Matt Frattin and Clarke MacArthur both went down to injuries.
The seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft had his first opportunity to play for coach Randy Carlyle on Friday. Carlyle was complimentary of Kadri, but feels that there is much more work ahead for the 21-year-old.
“I don’t want things to get blown out of proportion, that’s one thing about this market, when somebody has success there is a lot of accolades and he earned them last night.” Carlyle said. “But he is a young player that has to push to be better, and give us the type of minutes that are safe ... he has areas to improve and defensive play would be one of them.”
James Reimer stopped 43 shots to earn the victory against the Devils, but there was no indication whether he or Jonas Gustavsson will be starting against the Rangers. Gustavsson has been in net for all three meetings with the Rangers this season.
Injured forward Mike Brown skated Saturday, one of nine forwards and defenseman that took part in the optional skate. He indicated that he is still not ready to play at this juncture but hopes to return within the week.
“I guess if there is practice tomorrow, I will go full practice with the team and hopefully get a few practices in before Tuesday and if not Tuesday then maybe Thursday,” Brown said. “At this point, [I’ll] just see how it is every day and listen to the trainers and wait for them to tell me if I am OK to play.”
Carlyle also expressed that he will go with a similar lineup to the one he deployed Friday night. Here is the projected lineup for the Leafs:
Matthew Lombardi - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Nazem Kadri - Mikhail Grabovski - Ryan Hamilton
Tim Connolly - David Steckel - Joey Crabb
Jay Rosehill - Carter Ashton - Colby Armstrong

Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson
Mike Komisarek - John Michael-Liles
Luke Schenn - Jake Gardiner
Cody Franson

Jonas Gustavsson
James Reimer

Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 2:03 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Injuries hamper once-wonderful season for Howard

DETROIT -- Jimmy Howard had just played in his first NHL All-Star Game when a magical season in which he was on pace to set a new League record for wins came to a screeching halt in Vancouver.

A hard shot by Maxim Lapierre struck the Red Wings goalie in the right hand and broke his index finger -- that kept him out for eight games in February. After making five of six starts when he returned, Howard left a game March 4 against Chicago after just one period because of an issue with his groin.

That one kept him out for three straight games. He returned to start three of four before leaving with another groin issue, which still has him sidelined heading into a Saturday night game at Joe Louis Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ty Conklin will instead get the start with rookie Jordan Pearce filling the back-up role.

"Groins are an important part of being a goaltender," Howard said on Saturday morning, after taking shots for the first time in a week. "It is frustrating. I mean, I thought we got a good handle on it prior to me coming back in L.A. Everything was feeling really good. It was frustrating, but at the same time [I'm] just trying to be optimistic and staying positive, trying to keep my mind in the right frame of mind."

He's also working on rehabbing the groin muscle in question.

"We're trying to really strengthen it so it's stronger than what it was before," Howard said. "We're doing a lot of stuff in the weight room with the bands and stuff, really trying to make it a lot stronger. Not so much stretching it. The flexibility's there, it's just strengthening it.

"I don't know what the magic number is or anything like that for getting ready. Just being out there and taking shots in practice feels good again. I'm hoping it's not going to take that much longer."

Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 1:59 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Wings close to having full complement on defense

DETROIT -- It seems like ages ago, but only a month has passed since the Detroit Red Wings traded to get 26-year old Kyle Quincey and create a logjam on their blue line.

At that point, Detroit had eight NHL defensemen and the Wings talked about how important that kind of depth heading into the playoffs.

Rookie Brendan Smith wasn't even up from the minors yet, as he was still developing with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. Four days later, in Quincey's second game back with the team that originally drafted him, the Red Wings quickly had their depth challenged when three defensemen got hurt against Quincey's former team, the Colorado Avalanche.

Quincey strained his groin, captain Nicklas Lidstrom sustained a deep bone bruise in his ankle and Jonathan Ericsson fractured his wrist. While Quincey only missed one game, Lidstrom and Ericsson have both missed 11 straight.

Red Wing veteran Mike Commodore was also dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning hours before the trade deadline expired and then Jakub Kindl left the lineup with an oblique strain that's kept him out for eight games. Smith was recalled from the minors and played solidly, but the Wings are currently without some key pieces on the back end -- especially Lidstrom and Ericsson.

Lidstrom, who is a game-time decision Saturday night against Carolina, is the quarterback of the power play. Ericsson was a big part of the penalty kill with his big frame.

"I think we're going to get [Ericsson] back for next game [Monday]," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Anytime you lose three [defensemen] like that and your starting goalie and [Pavel Datsyuk] and all these guys ... you know, we've been skinny for a while here. But I think it's been good for our game honestly. You have to work real hard at your game and improving your game defensively because you can't score."

That could start to change in a hurry over the next week, as several of Detroit's injured players start to make their way back into games with the regular season winding down.

Lidstrom might be the first to return, but Ericsson said he's not far off.

"It's been better every day," he said after on-ice work Saturday morning. "I notice the difference every day. It feels good to me. It's in progress and getting closer every day. I said I was ready, but the doctors have their say, too. I think they're making probably the smartest choices, too, if I'm playing or not. Gotta listen to what they're saying, too. It feels pretty good. I feel like I'm close anyway."

Still, he needs to pass a few more tests in order to get clearance.

"There's a few things I kind of need to improve before I'm game ready," Ericsson said. "My range is pretty good, but I'm pretty weak at some spots and I'm not pain-free or anything like that ... so we don't want to make anything worse."

Kindl, however, is ready to go. He'll get back in the lineup Saturday night after dealing with an oblique strain for the first time in his career.

"It's a part of the body you're using it for everything, like stickhandling, shooting [and] skating, so it was a part I couldn't do but now I feel really good and I'm ready to go," he said. "It's part of our sport, injuries. I had to deal with it and I did everything I could to stay in shape and worked hard. Finally I feel good."
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I would definitely love to play with him. He's a skilled player and over the years he definitely has shown that he can score a lot of goals. I think it would work out well.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on Alexander Semin