Round 2
Round 3
Stanley Cup Final
Posted On Sunday, 02.12.2012 / 12:49 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected Lineups: Kings at Stars

DALLAS --- Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game between the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams
Dwight King-Mike Richards-Jordan Nolan
Kyle Clifford-Andrei Loktionov-Trevor Lewis
Brad Richardson-Colin Fraser-Trent Hunter

Rob Scuderi-Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell-Jack Johnson
Alec Martinez-Matt Greene

Jonathan Bernier (starter)
Jonathan Quick

Scratches: Davis Drewiske, Dustin Penner, Kevin Westgarth.

Injuries: Simon Gagne (concussion), Scott Parse (hip), Jarret Stoll (lower body).

Notes:  Los Angeles heads into Dallas at the end of a six-game road trip. The Kings are 1-3-1 in the first five games of that trek, falling 2-1 in overtime at the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon. LA is 2-3-4 in the second leg of a back-to-back this season and the Kings are 11-8-7 on the road this season. Darryl Sutter’s club has scored just five goals in the first six games of their current road trip and is currently on a two-game losing streak. Sutter likely gives Jonathan Bernier the start in goal and he is 1-2-1 in his four starts in the second game of a back-to-back this season with a goals-against-average of 2.52.

Steve Ott-Jamie Benn-Tomas Vincour
Loui Eriksson-Mike Ribeiro-Michael Ryder
Eric Nystrom-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Toby Petersen-Tom Wandell-Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski-Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman-Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen-Mark Fistric

Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Jake Dowell, Adam Pardy.

Injuries: Brenden Morrow (upper body), Sheldon Souray (foot).

Notes:  Dallas had Saturday off, one day after falling 3-2 at Buffalo in a shootout to finish a quick two-game road trip with three of a possible four points. The Stars have won three straight against the Kings after dropping the first two meetings of the season back in October 2011. Sunday’s game will be the final regular season meeting between these Pacific Division foes this year.  Jamie Benn, a 2012 NHL All-Star has seven points (4-3-7) in the first six games of the second half.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.12.2012 / 12:44 PM

By Alan Robinson - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected Penguins lineup vs. Lightning

PITTSBURGH — The standings might not show it, but the Tampa Bay Lightning-Pittsburgh Penguins game on Sunday night matched two of the NHL’s hottest teams.
While the Lightning are currently out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference with 54 points,  13 behind the fifth-place  Penguins and eight points out of the conference’s final playoff spot , they appear to be making a determined playoff push with a 7-1-2 record in their last 10 games. 
The Lightning won at Buffalo 2-1 on Saturday night, and they recently ran off a five-game winning streak in which they defeated Boston, Dallas and Washington.
Despite going 1-2-1 on a road trip that wound up Tuesday, the Penguins are 7-2-1 in their last 10 after riding Evgeni Malkin’s five-point game to an 8-5 win over Winnipeg on Saturday at Consol Energy Center. They have won their last five at Consol, where they are playing 10 of 14 games during a stretch that began Saturday and ends March 11.
The Lightning know they must keep playing like this if they are to return to the playoffs, where they ousted Pittsburgh in seven games last season. The Penguins, even without injured captain Sidney Crosby, know they can put a relatively firm grip on a sixth consecutive postseason appearance if they can maintain their home-ice edge over the next month.
Less than a year since the Lightning rebounded from a 3-1 series deficit to beat his Penguins in the final three games of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma understands how dangerous the Steven Stamkos-led Lightning can be.
“Just seeing them back in this building, for our team, regardless of how many points they do have, this is the team that beat us out of the playoffs. And that’s the reminder I was stricken with this morning when I saw their logo on their bags,” Bylsma said. “I know we’ll have some of that tonight. They have dangerous aspects of their team.”
The most dangerous is Stamkos, who leads the League with 37 goals – seven more than the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel of Toronto. Stamkos, currently on a six-game scoring streak in which he has five goals, has 3 goals and 10 assists in 14 career regular-season games against Pittsburgh.
Defenseman Matt Niskanen said the Penguins must be much more defensively sound than they were against Winnipeg, which opened a 2-0 lead against them. The Jets scored on five of their 25 shots against goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who was propped up by an offense that matched the Penguins’ season high with eight goals.
“It’s always better to learn a lesson when you get a win like that,” Niskanen said. “That’s not the type of game we want. We don’t want it to be a 50-50 game where we’re exchanging chances. I think we can do a better job of spending more time in their zone and controlling the play there, and that will cut down on some of our chances against.”
Nine players took part in an optional morning skate Sunday as the Penguins finish up what , at least for them, is an uncommon set of back-of-back games in which they play in the afternoon one day and the evening the next. Because Tampa Bay played Saturday night, the game could not be scheduled in the afternoon.
Bylsma did not reveal his goalie, although he recently said Brent Johnson would get more playing time down the stretch. Johnson took part in the morning skate and Fleury did not. Fleury has played on all but one of the Penguins’ last 27 games, starting 24 times.
Johnson is 7-2-3 with a 2.52 goals-against average against Tampa Bay.
Defenseman Simon Despres, who has missed  14 games with a knee injury, did practice. He appeared to aggravate the injury while practicing Thursday.
Pittsburgh is 4-5-1 in the second half of back-to-back games.
The Penguins’ likely lineup:
Chris KunitzEvgeni MalkinJames Neal
Matt CookeJordan StaalPascal Dupuis
Steve Sullivan – Cal O’Reilly – Dustin Jeffrey
Craig AdamsJoe VitaleRichard Park
Brooks OrpikKris Letang
Paul MartinZbynek Michalek
Matt NiskanenDeryk Engelland
Brent Johnson
Marc-Andre Fleury
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Posted On Sunday, 02.12.2012 / 11:59 AM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Projected Flyers-Red Wings lineups

Philadelphia played on Saturday afternoon and had an optional morning skate in Detroit on Sunday that was sparsely attended, but here is how the Flyers and Red Wings will likely line up on Sunday night:


Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jaromir Jagr
Brayden Schenn - Danny Briere - Wayne Simmonds
Matt Read - Max Talbot - Zac Rinaldo
Jody Shelley  - Sean Couturier - Tom Sestito

Kimmo Timmonen - Bradon Coburn
Marc-Andre Bourdon - Matt Carle
Erik Gustafsson - Andrej Meszaros

Sergei Bobrovsky
Jason Bacashihua


Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyuk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller - Darren Helm - Justin Abdelkader
Jan Mursak - Cory Emmerton - Tomas Holmstrom

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

Joey MacDonald
Ty Conklin
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Posted On Sunday, 02.12.2012 / 11:57 AM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - At the Rink blog

Howard's finger improving for Red Wings

DETROIT -- After facing live shots in a practice on Saturday for the first time in 10 days, Jimmy Howard took more shots on Sunday morning and continues to takes steps toward returning from a broken index finger on his blocker-side hand.

Howard, who said the pain in the finger subsides each day, is aiming to return for the Detroit Red Wings on Friday at home against the Nashville Predators in a Central Division showdown.

"There's no reason to rush back," Howard said. "Give it a couple more days to heal and allow me to get a couple more practices under my belt, so I can get my game back to where it was."

Howard had posted a League-high 32 wins prior to leaving the starting lineup after beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 2 at Rogers Arena. Howard's finger was broken early in the third period against the Canucks on a shot by Maxime Lapierre.

"I went out there again and took shots again today," Howard said after Detroit's optional morning skate on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena. "It's just going out there and basically getting confidence in that it's not going to hurt or anything like that. The pain level has been going down every day."

Backup Ty Conklin started the first game that Howard missed, but was replaced by Joey MacDonald mid-game. The journeyman goalie has played well in three straight starts since, including the last two in a row at home to put the Wings on the verge of tying the NHL record for consecutive home wins (20) on Sunday night (7:30 p.m., NBCSN) against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Joey's stepped in and done a tremendous job," said Howard, who has a notch cut out of his goalie stick to help reduce the effects of vibrations from a puck hitting it. "It's great. We've got to continue to get points, and Joey's doing a hell of a job."

Howard said his main goal right now is just to get his body and eyes back into game-ready condition.

"After not seeing shots for 10 days, following the puck around was really difficult," he said. "Just working here and doing the drills, hopefully I can get myself right back in there. It's going to take a few days to get your timing back. It's just amazing how fast it goes. I'm trying to treat the practices here as a game."

As for that consecutive home wins record, which Howard prevailed in the first 17 games?

"You come this far, now you want it," Howard said. "Everyone in this dressing room, you're not really talking about it, but you know it's in the back of everyone's mind. To put this many consecutive wins together at home, now you want to continue to keep it going. Now that's right on top of us, we're not really talking about it in the dressing room but I think it would be an absolute great achievement."

MacDonald, however, said that he's trying not to put any added emphasis on the game in the way that he's preparing to play.

"I'm trying not to think about it," he said. "It's there. You know about it. I'm just going to go into it like I did the last couple games. Just go in, try to stay nice and calm and relax in there. You know the guys in front of you are going to do a nice job, so just keep building on it."
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Posted On Sunday, 02.12.2012 / 11:09 AM

By Dave Lozo - Staff Writer / - At the Rink blog

Projected Capitals-Rangers Lineups

NEW YORK -- The Rangers and Capitals will likely go with the same lineups they used in their most recent contests when they square at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon (12:30, NBC).

Henrik Lundqvist will be in goal for the Rangers, opposed by the Capitals' Tomas Vokoun.

The Rangers went with seven defensemen against the Flyers, with Stu Bickel moved up on the fourth line at times, and that will be the case Sunday. Capitals forward Mike Knuble was a healthy scratch against the Jets on Thursday. Here's what to expect this afternoon when the teams take the ice.


Alex Ovechkin - Marcus Johansson - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward
Brooks Laich - Keith Aucoin - Jay Beagle
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Roman Hamrlik
Jeff Schultz - Dennis Wideman
Tomas Vokoun
Michal Neuvirth


Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Mike Rupp - John Mitchell

Marc Staal - Steve Eminger
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Anton Stralman
Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Sunday, 02.12.2012 / 7:29 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Yakupov suffers wrist injury in return to lineup

Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater, returned to the lineup on Saturday after serving a two-game suspension but would ultimately return to the dressing room with a wrist injury.

Yakupov, who did score his 23rd goal of the season in a 5-3 loss to the Sudbury Wolves, apparently suffered his ailment in the third period.

 "He’s got a bad wrist and couldn’t finish the game," said Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. We don’t know if he can play in Sault Ste. Marie [on Sunday].”

Yakupov had been sidelined the previous two games for skipping the 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Feb. 1 in Kelowna, B.C.

The extent of the injury to Yakupov, who has 23 goals and 33 assists in 30 games, was unknown after the Saturday's game.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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Posted On Saturday, 02.11.2012 / 10:49 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

VAN @ CGY - 17:23 of the First Period

At 17:23 of the first period in the Canucks/Flames game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Mike Cammalleri's pants and into the net. 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." Good Goal Calgary.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.11.2012 / 10:38 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

Howson soon to focus on draft

PHILADELPHIA -- The first priority for Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson is determining how best to handle his roster heading into the Feb. 27 trade deadline.

After that, he said he'll turn his focus toward the 2012 NHL Draft.

"It's certainly started already," Howson told prior to watching Saturday's Flyers-Rangers game in person at Wells Fargo Center. "We're getting multiple views (of top draft prospects). I think that will pick up in intensity as we get through the deadline and get into March. But our amateur scouts are all over, they're in Europe some of them. For the guys in the Ontario league, the Western league, the Quebec league, we'll have lots and lots of opportunities to see them over the next month, two months."

Howson said he's done some scouting already, and said he'll start doing even more once the trade deadline passes.

"I think I'll see a little bit more," he said. "(Senior Advisor) Craig Patrick is going to see a little bit. The scouts are the ones who are going to see these guys 10, 20 times this year."

Howson said Director of Amateur Scouting Tyler Wright and Director of Amateur Scouting and Development Coach Paul Castron will have the final decision on the team's selection.

"We'll let them make the decision (but) it's good for us to have a little bit of familiarity with the players," said Howson.

Howson wouldn't reveal much as far as personal favorites or which way the staff is leaning, but added he feels like many others that the strength of this year's draft lies in its deep pool of talent on defense.

"Throughout the first round there will be a lot of defensemen picked," he said. "Looks like we're going to be picking fairly early, so there's other things that will come into play with that. I think with this draft it's correct to say it's very strong in defense."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Saturday, 02.11.2012 / 9:30 PM - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

CBJ @ MIN - 13:12 of the Second Period

At 13:12 of the second period in the Blue Jackets/Wild game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Kyle Brodziak's shot didn't cross the goal line. No Goal Minnesota.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.11.2012 / 8:36 PM

By Derek Mori -  Special to / - Gretzky Fantasy Camp Blog

Mori: Another Cup, another fantastic experience

Derek Mori has been attending Wayne Gretzky's Fantasy Camp since 2006, when his wife sprung the trip on him as a 40th birthday gift. He is here for a seventh straight year and has agreed to blog his experiences for

Derek, who lives in Oakville, Ont. with his wife, Anita, and twin boys, says he's certainly not an ex-pro, but he's not a beginner either. He's been on the team that has won the Gretzky Fantasy Camp Cup four out of the six years he's been here, and he intends to do it again.

Read on to learn more about Derek's experience and what No. 99's camp is all about:

LAS VEGAS -- It's over, and I'll be heading back home with my fifth Gretzky Cup championship. This was a tight one, too.

My team, known as Team D all week, knocked off Team A by the slim 2-1 margin. Our team was coached by Glen Gretzky, Joe Lama and Marty McSorley while the opposing team was coached by Walter Gretzky and Charlie Henry.

It really could have gone either way, but I have to give credit to Marty for his pregame pep talk. He spoke about strategy, which I thought was extremely helpful for our cause. He also gave us sound, sage advice on the bench after our shifts.

Marty can coach. We were thrilled to have him behind our bench.

We played two periods and were down 1-0 after the first. But, I struck for our first goal in the second period to tie it up at 1-1. It came on a deflection.

The game-winner came off a scramble in front of the net. They pulled their goalie in the final minutes and put some serious pressure on us, but we shut them down and got to enjoy our celebration on the ice.

And, yes, it is very much like the Stanley Cup celebration, except Gary Bettman doesn't present our captain with the Gretzky Cup. Wayne is the one who presents the trophy to us and Joey Moss wore white gloves and carried the trophy onto the ice.

This win is my fifth, but it is particularly gratifying because there are many first-time campers on our team as well as one veteran, Chris Sealy, who has been coming here as long as I have and still hadn't won until this year. We kept telling him he was a jinx and nobody wanted him on their team, but we were thrilled to win this one for him and I was genuinely excited when I saw him raise the Cup over his head.

Everybody was already talking about coming back next year to defend the title. I'll take Chris on my team again. He's no jinx for me.

Tonight we have a Awards Ceremony and Banquet Dinner at the Bellagio. Everyone is pumped.

We head home Sunday and I have so many more stories to tell my family and buddies back home.

Until next year.

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Quote of the Day

It was a different game in the past, that's for sure. It's not exactly what I was expecting but I think the experience paid off for a lot of our guys that realized what it takes in a Game 7. Realistically the effort we put forward, we might not even had to put 60 [minutes], but we just couldn't get a couple bounces to go our way and we just kept pushing.

— Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby on Washington's play in Game 7 vs. the Islanders