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Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 7:47 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NYI @ NYR - 11:15 of the First Period



At 11:15 of the first period in the Islanders/Rangers game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off John Tavares  and entered the net in a legal fashion. Good goal Islanders.

According to rule 78.4 "If an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body , in any manner, the goal shall be allowed."
Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 7:34 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

CAR @ FLA -17:00 of Third Period



At 17:00 of the third period in the Hurricanes/Panthers game, video review was used to determine that Jerred Smithson kicked the puck into the net with his left skate. No goal Florida.
Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 6:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bobrovsky to start against Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will get his first start in almost a month on Sunday when the Philadelphia Flyers visit Prudential Center for an Atlantic Division showdown against the New Jersey Devils.
 
The Flyers scored a 1-0 shootout victory less than 24 hours earlier behind Ilya Bryzgalov's fifth shutout of the season. It was Bryzgalov's 11th straight start between the pipes. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told the media prior to faceoff that Bobrovsky would get the nod -- Bryzgalov is the likely starter on Tuesday in Philadelphia when the Flyers close out the home-and-home set with the Devils.
 
Bryzgalov is 8-2-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and three shutouts in Philadelphia's last 11 games -- including a no-decision. He's posted a 0.99 GAA and two of the shutouts during the Flyers' current five-game winning streak.
 
"We talked about this, looking at the schedule and what was coming up," Laviolette said. "The back-to-back and the fact Bryz has played 11 in a row, every other night, pretty much. It's a chance to get a fresh goaltender in there."
 
Bobrovsky, who last started Feb. 18 in a 6-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, is 12-8-1 with a 2.99 GAA and .900 save percentage in 24 appearances for the Flyers this season. He is 1-1-1 with a 4.71 GAA and .864 save percentage in three career games against New Jersey.
 
"You look at the schedule and what you have available, we got a guy who has been waiting and wants to get in there and play and this is a perfect spot to get him in there, as opposed to running Bryz down," Laviolette said.
 
Bobrovsky had lost four of the five starts he made in February.
 
The Flyers are 2-0-1 against the Devils in 2011-12 and have won five of eight and eight of the last 12 meetings. New Jersey has won its last two at the Wells Fargo Center, including a 4-3 shootout decision when the teams last met on Nov. 3.
 
The Devils will counter with Martin Brodeur in goal. Brodeur is 44-29-9 in 83 career games against the Flyers with a 2.50 GAA, .904 save percentage and nine shutouts.
 
Here are the projected lineups for each team:
 
DEVILS
 
Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Steve Bernier
 
Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson
Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky
 
Brodeur will start and Johan Hedberg, who earned a 23-save, 2-1 victory on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs, will serve as backup.
 
FLYERS
 
Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Matt Read - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
Max Talbot - Sean Couturier - Zac Rinaldo
Jody Shelley - Eric Wellwood - Brayden Schenn
 
Nicklas Grossmann - Braydon Coburn
Matt Carle - Erik Gustafsson
Brandon Manning - Andreas Lilja
 
Bobrovsky gets the start in goal, with Bryzgalov serving as backup.

Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 4:25 PM

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

Blues activate Langenbrunner off IR

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The St. Louis Blues announced that they have activated winger Jamie Langenbrunner off injured reserve and he will return tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Langenbrunner suffered a broken left foot blocking a shot on Feb. 19 in a 3-1 loss at Chicago. Langenbrunner has 21 points on four goals and 17 assists in 57 games.

Langenbrunner was originally supposed to be reevaluated in four weeks but will return ahead of schedule after practicing with the team in recent days.
Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 3:49 PM

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

Sutter: Brown's path on the ice determines his play

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings top-line forward Dustin Brown has a seven-game point streak going into Sunday night's road matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks (7 p.m., NBCSN) at the United Center.

He's recorded assists in three straight games and has five goals to go with six assists during the torrid stretch. Kings coach Darryl Sutter said it's come as the result of Brown's ability to play more of a vertical game with his skating instead of going horizontally, side to side, too often.

"Brown's been really solid," Sutter said after Sunday's optional morning skate. "He's got to play a straight-line game. If you see him going East to West on the ice, you'll know he's not on his game. He's got to play that North-South game."

Why?

"It allows him to play with power," Sutter said of the 6-0, 204-pound Brown. "When he does that, the nets are aligned for him. It's his game and he knows it. When he tries to do too much is when he gets out of his zone."

Brown, who's on the top line with star center Anze Kopitar and right wing Justin Williams, has scored 19 goals and added 23 assists in 68 games for the Kings.
Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 3:46 PM

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

Injured Hawks defenseman Montador skating again

CHICAGO -- Steve Montador has been out of the lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks for the past 15 games with an undisclosed upper body injury and will also miss Sunday night's home game against the Los Angeles Kings.

Montador, however, did participate in Chicago's optional morning skate -- which was his first time working out with teammates on the ice since incurring the injury, which is believed to be concussion-related.

Montador skated on his own a week ago, when the Hawks were on a three-game road trip, but didn't get on the ice this past week with his team at home until Sunday morning.

"I've never been out for this long during the regular season," said Montador, who's playing his 10th NHL season. "It's hard to just sit back and watch, I guess. When you feel like you're getting ready and then you're getting on the ice and have to take some time off, there's some psychological and emotional turbulence that goes with it. Certainly it was a challenge, but the overall trend has been pretty solid, which is exciting and encouraging for me."

How difficult has it been for him to not being around his teammates much and not play at all?

"The situation for me is kind of like any other[injury], although for me it's unique because it's the longest I've ever had throughout the middle of a season," Montador said. "That was just the biggest challenge for me, as far as seeing the guys play and expecting to be out there myself and practicing and being around the guys. Being around the guys was actually harder this time, because you feel like you want to join in and you're kind of left out obviously, because you're injured."

Montador, who said he's dealt with this kind of injury before in his career, was evasive about the nature of the ailment and gave no indication whether the speculation about it being concussion-related was accurate.

However, teammates Jonathan Toews and Niklas Hjalmarsson have also missed time recently with what's believed to be concussion-related injuries and Toews -- who's still out -- said it's been helpful to have a couple of teammates with similar injuries recovering at the same time. Either way, Montador said he's hoping to return before the end of the season -- which only has 13 games left in the regular season.

"That's my plan," he said on Sunday. "We've only got about a month or so left. I can't put an exact timetable on it, but I don't think I'm that far away."

Things might have changed on the Hawks blue line since Montador left the lineup, however. Rookie defenseman Dylan Olsen has stepped in and played very well, which will mean Hawks coach Joel Quenneville will have to make some decisions about who plays once Montador is ready to go again.

"We like tough decisions," Quenneville said. "We've had a couple times this year where we were short on the back end, but it [would give] us another option. He's got some versatility in his game, as well. We will be excited to have him back."
Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 3:42 PM

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

Toews skates for fourth straight day, eyes Tuesday

CHICAGO -- Jonathan Toews skated for the fourth straight day and third in a row with his Chicago Blackhawks teammates on Sunday morning at the United Center, which was another positive sign in his recovery from a concussion.

Toews will miss Sunday night's game against the visiting Los Angeles Kings, which will be his 10th straight game out of action, but he continues to feel optimistic about his eventual return. After Saturday's practice, Toews mentioned that he was hoping to be ready for Tuesday's home showdown against Central Division rival St. Louis, but qualified the statement by saying he was still just taking his availability on a day-to-day basis.

He said the pretty much same thing after Sunday's workout.

"About the same thing," the Hawks captain replied, when asked how he felt on Sunday. "I'm getting closer and closer as far as how I feel injurywise, but definitely can tell my conditioning needs some work. So, we'll work on that, too. I'm feeling better and better every day and more like myself out there. Just got to keep working through it."

As for the possibility of playing on Tuesday against the Blues?

"Like I said, every time we play a game I hope [to return] for that game," Toews said. "I'm not thinking about missing the game on Tuesday. I'm more focused on how this practice went and what I've got to do the rest of the day. I'm obviously not ready to play [right now]. If it comes to Tuesday and I feel the same way, I'll probably be saying the same thing. Let's just take it one day at a time."

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville mimicked that sentiment.

"He'll determine a lot of that," Quenneville said of Toews possibly playing on Tuesday. "He's got to pass some hurdles, as well. He's excited getting back on the ice. It was a long time coming for him and not [being] active like he'd like to be is probably frustrating for him. So, he's excited knowing he's out there and he's getting close."

One guy who's excited that Toews isn't quite ready yet is Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter, who will face the Hawks on Sunday night without having to worry about Chicago's dynamic captain.

"Well, he's kind of one of my favorite players," Sutter said. "So, it'd be nice to see him and not to coach against him.  He's probably the best two-way player in the NHL. [He's] a good faceoff man, good on the power play, good penalty killer, captain, plays 20 minutes, able to play a physical game but also plays the speed game. [It's] pretty tough to find anything like that. Nice to see him, but it's nice not playing him."

Toews said he hopes to get his clearance for contact in practice soon, however. Once that happens, both he and the Hawks ought to better know when he can return to playing in games.

"It's one step at a time," Toews said. "That might be the next step, so hopefully we can get that checked off the list here."

Toews was also asked if he's symptom free right now, which he said was not the case.

 "I wouldn't say I'm 100 percent," Toews said. "If I was, I'd be ready to push myself right to the limit to get back in the lineup. I'm still being smart and not rushing that too quickly, where I'm not quite 100 percent yet."

The fiery Hawks emotional leader is also not spending time getting his teammates fired up before home games that he's not able to play. His nickname is "Captain Serious" and it was assessed to him for a reason.

"If you're not playing, for the most part, you're worried about yourself and what you have to do to get yourself back in the lineup," Toews said. "For the guys [who] are playing, they've got their own routines and things to do to get ready. Kind of the last thing they want to get in the way is an injured guy who might be a little looser and more relaxed because he's not going through that same pressure that getting ready for a game puts on you. So, I'm not really that involved ... not as much as I'd like to be, I guess."
Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 3:12 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected Flames-Wild lineups

ST. PAUL -- With face-off at Xcel Energy Center between Minnesota and the Calgary Flames coming a couple of hours earlier than normal, Wild coach Mike Yeo won't have to wait long on a couple of game-time decisions he will make regarding two injured players.

Injured in Thursday's game at Phoenix, goaltender Josh Harding will back-up Matt Hackett if he's able to dress. If not, the Wild will likely sign a local amateur to play behind Hackett. Earlier this season, the Wild had to sign 51-year old Paul Deutsch to an amateur contract when a personal issue kept starter Niklas Backstrom from a game and Hackett was iffy to get to the arena in time after a call up. Hackett did, and Deutsch was only used during warm-ups.

"We have a back-up plan for that," Yeo said, divulging little.

But considering the Wild's luck with injuries this season, if they must make another signing tonight, whomever gets inked better stay warm. The Wild have used a team-record 44 players this season, tops in the NHL.

Also a game-time decision is defenseman Clayton Stoner who has not played since Feb. 2 after leaving that game against Colorado following a fight. He's missed 17 games with a hip injury.

"He had a good day yesterday," Yeo said. "It was just a matter of how he felt this morning."

Despite any hope for the playoffs being virtually gone, tonight's game is big for the Wild, who have not won a game at home since Feb. 26. Although that was just three games ago, Minnesota has been blanked by both Los Angeles and Colorado in the two games since -- making it feel like much longer.

"We haven't played real well in this building," said Wild winger Dany Heatley. "I think we got back to our game against Phoenix [Thursday]."

For Calgary, defenseman T.J Brodie did not make the trip and will be replaced in the line-up by veteran Anton Babchuk, who has five assists in 18 games this season and is a plus-1.

Unlike the Wild, Calgary is still very much in the playoff chase, entering play Sunday with 74 points, good for 10th in the west, but only two points behind eighth place-Colorado. The Flames also have two games in-hand on the Avs. San Jose is in ninth with 75 points. The Kings, also have 74 points before the log jam loosens -- the Wild are in 12th with 68.

WILD

Dany Heatley - Matt Cullen - Devin Setoguchi
Nick Palmieri - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Matt Kassian - Erik Christensen - Darroll Powe
Jed Ortmeyer - Warren Peters - Stephane Veilleux

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Tom Gilbert - Steven Kampfer
Clayton Stoner - Nate Prosser

Matt Hackett
Josh Harding

FLAMES

Alex Tanguay - Matt Stajan - Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - David Moss
Tom Kostopoulos - Greg Nemisz - Sven Baertschi
Krys Kolanos - Roman Horak - Guillaume Desbiens

Jay Bouwmeester - Derek Smith
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
Anton Babchuk - Cory Sarich

Mikka Kiprusoff
Henrik Karlsson
Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 2:27 PM

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

Projected Kings-Blackhawks lineups

Here's a look at how the Kings and Blackhawks are expected to line up on Sunday night:

KINGS

Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams
Dwight King-Mike Richards-Jeff Carter
Dustin Penner-Jarret Stoll-Trevor Lewis
Brad Richardson-Colin Fraser-Kyle Clifford

Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell-Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez-Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier


BLACKHAWKS

Andrew Brunette-Patrick Kane-Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp-Marcus Kruger-Viktor Stalberg
Bryan Bickell-Dave Bolland-Andrew Shaw
Jimmy Hayes-Jamal Mayers-Brandon Bollig

Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya-Nick Leddy
Nicklas Hjalmarsson-Dylan Olsen

Ray Emery
Corey Crawford
Posted On Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 2:26 PM

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

Kings say they've moved past loss in Detroit

CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Kings say they've completely forgotten about the gut punch they took on Friday night in Detroit, when a late one-goal lead and two standings points vanished in a matter of minutes before the final horn.

The Kings have moved onto their next game on Sunday night against the Chicago Blackhawks -- literally and figuratively speaking.

"We don't have any other choice," Los Angeles star center Anze Kopitar said after the Kings' optional morning skate at the United Center. "There's 14 games left and we're not in a position where we wanted to be, but we're still very much alive. We've got to look ahead. We can't worry about what happened on Friday or last month. We have to look ahead to [Sunday night] and focus on that."

That's because the Kings (31-25-12) come into the day's action 11th in the Western Conference, but just two points behind eighth-place Colorado for the last playoff spot. Calgary also has 74 points, while the San Jose Sharks have 75 in ninth. Only four points ahead of the Kings in seventh sit the Phoenix Coyotes, so these last 14 games ought to provide quite a bit of drama.

"We've been seventh to 11th since I've been here and two or three points either way," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter, a former Blackhawks player and coach who joined L.A. mid-season as Randy Carlyle's replacement. "It doesn't really change anything. You try to put an emphasis on each game and each game kind of takes on a life of its own. A couple teams have separated themselves at the top. A couple teams have separated themselves at the bottom. Everybody else is pretty much the same. It comes down to head-to-head [games] and move on."

Head to head against his former team has gone pretty well for Sutter thus far. He's faced the Blackhawks twice -- once at home and once here at the United Center -- and won both backed by shutouts from goalie Jonathan Quick.

In fact, Quick has faced the Hawks in each of the previous three games this season and allowed just two goals against 84 shots. Chicago will have to find a way to get him off his game on Sunday night, and it won't be easy -- Hawks captain and top-line center Jonathan Toews out for a 10th straight game with concussion symptoms.

"We've had a couple games against [the Kings] where we haven't been able to get any offense going," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Our special teams last game weren't very effective and that's got to be a priority. We know we've got to get traffic and look for scrappy goals against this team because they play well, they check well and they play tight in their own end. That's basically got to be our thought process is getting through that area and then finding ways to score."

Chicago hasn't scored on the power play in its last two games, despite trending up with the man-advantage recently, so getting that unit working again is high on the list of things to do. Quenneville said he's probably going to see how newly-acquired defenseman Johnny Oduya looks on one of the points of the power play, but in general is looking for his team to get in Quick's way more often.

"Whether it's 5-on-5 or on the power play, we've got to get traffic, we've got to get through and penetrate that slot area kind of like we did against the Rangers [on Friday night]," Quenneville said. "Whether it's screens, tips, deflections, second opportunities or ugly goals ... that's what we've got to look for."

Ray Emery will start in net for the Blackhawks (37-25-7), who are sixth in the West standings with 81 points. Toews, who skated for the fourth straight day, won't play. Neither will Hawks defenseman Steve Montador, who skated for the first time in a week but is unavailable with an upper body injury that's believed to stem from a concussion.

Quick is expected to get the start for the Kings.
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Quote of the Day

That's today's game. That's one of the things you have to deal with when you're a championship team. Guys are going to earn more money based on their performance and what they've achieved, [and] deservedly so. [Saad] falls into that category.

— Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Brandon Saad, who was traded by Chicago to the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason