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Posted On Sunday, 11.20.2011 / 3:39 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineup for Sharks-Avalanche

These are the projected lineups for tonight's game between the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center:

SHARKS

Logan CoutureJoe ThorntonJoe Pavelski

Ryane ClowePatrick MarleauMartin Havlat

Jamie McGinnMichal HandzusTorrey Mitchell

Brad WinchesterAndrew DesjardinsAndrew Murray

Dan Boyle, Douglas Murray

Brent Burns, Marc-Eduoard Vlasic

Jason Demers, Jim Vandermeer

Antti Niemi is expected to start in goal with Thomas Greiss as the backup.

AVALANCHE

Gabriel LandeskogMatt DucheneMilan Hejduk

Kevin PorterPaul StastnyBrandon Yip

David JonesRyan O'ReillyDaniel Winnik

TJ GaliardiJay McClementChuck Kobasew

Kyle QuinceyShane O'Brien

Ryan WilsonErik Johnson

Jan HejdaRyan O'Byrne

Jean-Sebastien Giguere will start in goal with Semyon Varlamov as the backup.
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Posted On Sunday, 11.20.2011 / 3:35 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Senators-Canucks

The Senators won't have any problem getting up to play in Vancouver Sunday night. Not only is there the "measuring stick" aspect of facing a team that went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last summer, but they've already got a pre-game speech ready.

It will sound a lot like the one they used to end a length drought in Calgary, where they hadn't won since 2003, a streak of five-straight that ended with a 3-1 win on Tuesday.

Ottawa hasn't won in Vancouver since 2004, a drought exacerbated by the lack of head-to-head meetings with Western Conference teams. Still, the Canucks have won seven of the last eight meetings dating back to 2005-06, and done so by a total score of 29-13.

"We have a tape recording of whatever was said in Calgary and we're going to play that again," defenseman Chris Phillips said. "I can't remember exactly what was said but it was a while since we won in there so we'll try to do that. Year to year it is different guys and different scenarios, but obviously we'd like to change that and get a win here."

To do so the Senators will try not to change anything else.

Their yo-yo of a season is back on a winning streak upswing with three-straight victories through four stops of a six-game road trip that will end in Pittsburgh on Friday. Coming off wins in Calgary and Edmonton, they've got a chance to sweep a Western Canadian swing for the first time in franchise history with a win at Rogers Arena Sunday.

It has started with a tighter effort in their end, and needs to include staying out of penalty trouble to keep a 23rd-ranked penalty kill way from the Canucks' No.1 power play.

"These guys were in the Stanley Cup final last year and it's going to take what we've been doing," Phillips said. "A solid effort just trying to keep it simple and force other teams to really work at getting their chances, to not give stuff up, and take advantage of that. It's been working for us lately and we want to keep it going."

Ottawa is expected to so with the same lineup that won in Alberta, including fours goals the last two games from what has been a strong fourth line of late:

SENATORS


Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek

Nick Foligno - Stephane Da Costa - Daniel Alfredsson

Kaspars Daugavins - Zack Smith - Erik Condra

Zenon Konopka - Jesse Winchester - Bobby Butler

Erik Karlsson - Filip Kuba

Chris Phillips - Sergei Gonchar

Jared Cowen - Brian Lee

Craig Anderson start again in goal, with former Canuck Alex Auld backing up.
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Posted On Sunday, 11.20.2011 / 11:02 AM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Maple Leafs Hurricanes

While Toronto and Carolina did not skate this morning, these are the projected lineups for tonight's game at the RBC Center:

Toronto

Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Nikolai Kulemin - Tim Connolly - Matt Fratin

Les Steckel - Joe Colborne - Joey Crabb

Jay Rosehill - Phillipe Dupuis - Colton Orr

Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson

John-Michael Liles - Cody Franson

Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn

Ben Scrivens
 
Carolina
 
Anthony Stewart - Eric Staal - Chad LaRose

Jeff Skinner - Jussi Jokinen - Tuomo Ruutu

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer/Zac Dalpe

Jiri Tlusty - Tim Brent - Zach Boychuk

Bryan Allen - Tim Gleason

Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk

Jamie McBain - Tomas Kaberle

Cam Ward
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Posted On Sunday, 11.20.2011 / 1:48 AM

By Sergei J. Feldman -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Oilers' youth growing up quickly

While the club is not quite there yet, the two fresh faces of the franchise are taking major strides in their pursuit of becoming elite players night in, night out. Saturday night, the two spilled oil all over the Chicago Blackhawks, combining for three goals, five assists, eight points and seven shots. Not a bad night.

The tough part is deciding which player had the better night. Hall collected a hat trick, but Nugent-Hopkins amassed five assists. Let'Tyler s call it a tie.

This year, fantasy owners have seen unexpected greatness from Nugent-Hopkins, a small-framed, inexperienced rookie. Through 19 games, RNH has 19 points on seven goals and 12 assists and has thrown 40 shots on the cage. Fellow stud Hall, meanwhile, has 14 points in 18 games and has 52 shots thrown on net.

The dynamic duo in Oil Country could be emerging as the next Sidney Crosby-Evgeni Malkin or Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane. Fantasy owners are taking notice, too. Nugent-Hopkins is owned in 68 percent of Yahoo! leagues and has jumped from an original ranking of 244 to 93, currently. Hall is owned in 82 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

While you search for the next long-term solution for your fantasy teams, look no further than the two headliners in Edmonton.

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Posted On Sunday, 11.20.2011 / 1:31 AM

By Eric Lipschutz -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Big Buff back on track

Dustin Byfuglien is having a November to remember after experiencing an October to forget.

Byfuglien had another big game Saturday, scoring a goal and adding two assists in Winnipeg's 6-4 win against Philadelphia. That makes three goals and seven assists for Byfuglien in nine games this month. During that span, the 26-year old defenseman has totaled 30 shots on goal while racking up 20 penalty minutes.

With 10 points in nine November games, Dustin Byfuglien appears to have put his slow start to the season behind him. (Photo: Getty Images)
Byfuglien's impressive month is quite the turnaround from his lackluster October in which he posted a meager seven points and was a minus-5 in 11 games. Concerns by the Jets and fantasy owners about Byfuglien in the season's opening month were only compounded by a disappointing finish to the 2010-11 season and growing concerns about his weight. However, Big Buff's strong November performance seems to indicate that he has put all his issues behind him and is ready to return to his elite status among fantasy blue liners.

In his latest On the 'D'-Fence segment, Brian Metzer moved Byfuglien up two spots to No. 12 in his weekly rankings. If Byfuglien can continue to produce up to his potential, then the offensively-gifted defenseman could easily crack the top 10 and even has the ability to soar into the top 5.

Unfortunately, fantasy GMs looking to buy low on Byfuglien may have missed their opportunity. However, if you are still looking to target Byfuglien in a trade, then you should feel confident Byfuglien is back on track and poised for his typical all-around stellar production at the always-thin defenseman position.
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 10:03 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

PIT @ FLA - 16:30 of the Third Period

At 16:30 of the third period in the Penguins/Panthers game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Florida forward Stephen Weiss directed the puck into the net with his stick during the scramble in front of the Pittsburgh net.  Good Goal Florida.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 7:40 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

PHX @ BUF - 11:57 of the First Period

At 11:57 of the first period in the Coyotes/Sabres game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Buffalo forward Luke Adam deflected the puck into the net with his stick below the crossbar. According to rule 60.5 "If the puck makes contact with the stick below the level of the crossbar and enters the goal, this goal shall be allowed."  Good Goal Buffalo.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 5:01 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

PHI @ WPG - end of the Second Period

In the Flyers/Jets game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice, Philadelphia forward Wayne Simmonds shot the puck into the net after time had expired in the second period. No Goal.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 3:28 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sharks, Stars

Here are the projected lineups for the Sharks and Stars for their contest Saturday night in Dallas:

SAN JOSE

Logan Couture - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryan Clowe - Patrick Marleau - Martin Havlat
Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell
Andrew Murray - Andrew Desjardins - Brad Winchester

Douglas Murray - Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Colin White - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

DALLAS

Brenden Morrow - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Jamie Benn - Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Krys Barch - Tom Wandell - Toby Petersen

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Trevor Daley - Nicklas Grossman
Mark Fistric - Adam Pardy

Andrew Raycroft
Kari Lehtonen
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Posted On Saturday, 11.19.2011 / 3:23 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Stars search for scoring tough against Sharks

FRISCO, Texas – It has been 147:19 since the Dallas Stars last found the back of the net, a second-period tally by captain Brenden Morrow at 12:11 of the second period in a 5-2 loss at Detroit seven days ago.
   
In the two games since their last tally, the Stars have been outscored by a combined 9-0, including a 6-0 loss Tuesday to Florida at American Airlines Center and a 3-0 blanking Friday against Colorado at the Pepsi Center, a setback which ran the current Dallas losing streak to four games.
   
But the Stars get little time to regroup as tonight they will host Pacific Division rival San Jose, a team that hasn’t played since Thursday night, when they handed the Red Wings a 5-2 defeat at HP Pavilion.
   
And to put their run of current consecutive games without a goal in proper perspective, some 961 games have passed since the last time it happened to Dallas. That was in January 1999, a team that would go on to win the Stanley Cup just a few months later.
   
Dallas head coach Glen Gulutzan is clearly concerned about his club’s current lack of scoring but admits he is adhering to a simple approach to make that lack of offensive punch a thing of the past.
   
“Keep going to the net. Keep putting pucks on net,” Gulutzan said. “It happens but we do need to shoot the puck more. We got outplayed a little bit [against Colorado]. We got outchanced.”
   
One change the Stars will make for tonight will be in goal where backup netminder Andrew Raycroft will get the start in place of Kari Lehtonen. Raycroft is 0-3-0 this season. His three starts have all come in the final game of back-to-backs and have all been on the road.

   
Dating back to last season, he has lost nine straight starts. His last win for Dallas came Jan. 9, 2011 at Minnesota and his last home win was on Dec. 10, 2010 against Carolina. Still, the Stars feel good about putting him in against the Sharks, possibly as a way to turn things around.
   
“Yeah, [Raycroft]’s going tonight. That kind of was our plan,” Gulutzan said. “We talked about it on the way home. We think with our schedule it’s probably the right call. He hasn’t had a home game since I don’t know when. It’ll be good to get him on the ice at home and turn this thing around.”

Besides their current lack of scoring, another area of fairly big concern for the Stars is the huge differential between how many penalties Dallas has been committing compared to how many they’ve been drawing during their current four-game losing skid.
   
During this stretch, the Stars have put the opposition on the power play 18 times while they’ve had the man advantage only six times in the last four contests, a trend that their head coach defensively doesn’t want to see continue heading forward.
   
“Just the differential is a little bit of a concern. I think it is a byproduct of we’ve been outworked the last four, five games and then you end up taking penalties,” Gulutzan said.

Contrast Dallas’ current offensive woes with how the Sharks have been playing in their last six games, where they are 4-1-1. San Jose is averaging three goals per game during that span and has netted at least four goals in half of those contests, including five just two days ago in their win against the Red Wings.
   
And it’s the Sharks’ top two lines that the Stars will have to mostly concern themselves with. Their top trio of Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski lead the way with 45 points but the second line of Ryan Clowe, Patrick Marleau and newcomer Martin Havlat, a group that has 34 points, has also made their share of contributions.
   
Gulutzan plans to match up his second line of Jamie Benn, Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson against the Sharks’ top group as a way to minimize how much damage they can do.

“Those elite players create challenges for you every night and they’re big,” he said. “Joe [Thornton]’s big. I think tonight [Benn] will match up there. It’s going to be a good test for him and [Ott]. It’ll be a good game for them.”
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Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday