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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 2:23 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Kings live blog

Rangers picking up the pace

The Rangers have found the right gear here in the second period to make things a bit more even.

The highlight of the early part of the period was a spirited fight between the Kings' Kyle Clifford and Brandon Prust of the Rangers, which was received enthusiastically by the crowd.

Shortly after that, the Rangers gave up a third power-play to the Kings, who had a few chances. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, however, made two big saves to deny the Kings on a third-straight man-advantage situation.

New York's best chance in the first half of the second came from Artem Anisimov, but Quick swallowed it up.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 1:50 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 NHL Face-Off Blog

Expected lineups for Hurricanes, Lightning tonight

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes will open their seasons today at the RBC Center in Raleigh. Based on this morning's practices, here are the expected forward lines and defense pairings for each team:

LIGHTNING

Martin St. Louis-Steven Stamkos-Steve Downie
Ryan Malone-Vincent Lecavalier-Teddy Purcell
Ryan Shannon-Dominic Moore-Brett Connolly
Adam Hall-Nate Thompson-Blair Jones

Victor Hedman-Eric Brewer
Marc-Andre Bergeron-Pavel Kubina
Brett Clark-Matt Gilroy

Dwayne Roloson will start in goal, with Mathieu Roy serving as the backup

HURRICANES

Jeff Skinner-Eric Staal-Tuomo Ruutu
Jiri Tlusty-Jussi Jokinen-Chad LaRose
Alexei Ponikarovsky-Brandon Sutter-Patrick Dwyer
Anthony Stewart-Tim Brent-Zac Dalpe

Joni Pitkanen-Tim Gleason
Jay Harrison-Bryan Allen
Tomas Kaberle-Justin Faulk

Cam Ward will start in goal, with Brian Boucher the backup
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 1:37 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 NHL Face-Off Blog

Expected lineups for Stars, Blackhawks today

The Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars will open their seasons today at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. Based on this morning's practices, here are the expected forward lines and defense pairings for each team:

BLACKHAWKS
Brandon Saad-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Sharp
Andrew Brunette-Patrick Kane-Marian Hossa
Bryan Bickell-Brandon Pirri-Michael Frolik
Jamal Mayers-Rostislav Olesz
 
Duncan Keith-Nick Leddy
Niklas Hjalmarsson-Brent Seabrook
Sean O'Donnell-Sami Lepisto
Steve Montador
 
Corey Crawford will start in goal, with Ray Emery the backup

STARS
Michael Ryder-Mike Ribeiro-Brenden Morrow
Loui Eriksson-Jamie Benn-Tomas Vincour
Steve Ott-Vernon Fiddler-Radek Dvorak
Jake Dowell-Tom Wandell-Toby Petersen
 
Stephane Robidas-Alex Goligoski
Trevor Daley-Sheldon Souray
Mark Fistric-Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal, with Andrew Raycroft serving as the backup.
 
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 1:25 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks-Sabres live blog

Local kid makes good

The Buffalo Sabres grabbed a 2-0 lead midway through the first period. Thomas Vanek put them in front at 4:02 of the opening period. Vanek put the rebound from a Sheldon Brookbank shot past Jonas Hiller after establishing a spot near the edge of the crease.

Finnish native Ville Leino excited what had been mostly a pro-Anaheim crowd by making it a 2-0 game. Leino played for Jokerit, the local team that calls Hartwall Areena home, for one season before coming to the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008-09.

The Ducks had a great first shift from the Teemu Selanne-Saku Koivu-Jason Blake line, but the Sabres took control after killing off an early penalty and were peppering Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 1:23 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Rangers-Kings live blog

Kings, Rangers tied 1-1 after one period

The Los Angeles Kings dominated the first period of Friday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere game against the New York Rangers, but the game was tied 1-1 after one period.

Kings forward Anze Kopitar opened the scoring with a laser-beam of a shot over the glove of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist after a bad turnover by Artem Anisimov. Justin Williams jumped on the loose puck just inside the Rangers blue line and was able to slip a pass to Kopitar in the slot for the quick release.

The Rangers struggled mightily to generate offense in the first and did not manage a shot on goal until right before the tying goal by Ryan Callahan at the 15:22 mark. The scoring play started with a turnover and an initial save by Jonathan Quick on Callahan. But Callahan re-acquired the puck, on a pass from Anisimov, and fired a bad-angle shot -- from the goal line -- over Quick's shoulder and inside the far post.

The pro-Rangers crowd at the Globe Arena cheered wildly for the Rangers, particularly Lundqvist and Norway's Mats Zuccarello, who played several years in Sweden before joining the Rangers. Lundqvist actually provided the period's biggest highlight with a lightning-quick glove save on Kings captain Dustin Brown in the high slot.

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 1:07 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 NHL Face-Off Blog

Expected lineups for Senators, Red Wings

The Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings will open their seasons today at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Based on this morning's practices, here are the expected forward lines and defense pairings for each team:

RED WINGS
Valtteri Filppula-Henrik Zetterberg-Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler-Pavel Datsyuk-Danny Cleary
Justin Abdelkader-Darren Helm-Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller-Cory Emmerton-Tomas Holmstrom

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

Jimmy Howard will start in goal, with Ty Conkin the backup.

SENATORS
Colin  Greening-Mika Zibanejad-Daniel Alfredsson
Milan Michalek-Jason Spezza-Nikita Filatov
Nick Foligno-Stephane Da Costa-Chris Neil
Erik Condra-Zack Smith- Billy Butler

Chris Phillips-Brian Lee
Filip Kuba-Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen-Sergei Gonchar

Craig Anderson will start in goal, with Alex Auld backing him up.
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 9:56 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Top five 2011 offseason moves

NHL Network's Barry Melrose breaks down his top five offseason moves.

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 8:25 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Gragnani in, Weber out for opener

HELSINKI -- Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff made one big decision Thursday -- who his captain for the 2010-11 season would be. He had another to make as well -- who would be the odd man out from his talented defense corps?

The answer Friday morning at Hartwall Areena was Mike Weber, as Marc-Andre Gragnani will be in the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks for the opening game of the season in the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

"(Gragnani) been a big part of our power play with the way he moves the puck," Ruff said. "Offensively, he did a very nice job for us at the end of the year and in the playoffs and even defensively he was quite strong. I think special teams is a big part and he's going to be a big, big player for us."

Weber had 4 goals and 17 points in 58 games for the Sabres last season. He also played in all seven Sabres playoff games. Gragnani played nine regular-season games for the Sabres, but had a breakout performance during the playoffs. He had a team-leading 7 points in the seven games against the Philadelphia Flyers and averaged the third-most minutes per game, behind Tyler Myers and the since-departed Chris Butler.

"It is extremely hard taking Mike out of the lineup, but we knew that … we knew that we have seven defensemen and we're going to have one really disappointed player," Ruff said. "There will be situations where we can utilize Weber, and we need our top six to play well for us.

"I'm going to just go game-to-game. I don't think there is ever going to be anything set in stone and I don't think there ever has to be."
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 8:16 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Ducks fly to Scandinavia

Foster, Beleskey likely out of opener

HELSINKI -- Kurtis Foster and Matt Beleskey played Tuesday for the Anaheim Ducks against local club Jokerit, but it does not appear they will be in the lineup for the season-opener against the Buffalo Sabres (1 p.m. ET, TSN2).

Foster and Beleskey were among the players taking part in the customary "scratches skate" after Anaheim's morning on-ice workout was complete. Brian McGrattan and Toni Lydman also were skating with the assistant coaches and No. 3 goaltender Jeff Deslauriers here at Hartwall Areena.

Beleskey, like Lydman, is coming back from offseason shoulder surgery to repair a torn laburm. Foster had surgery on his leg last month to repair the steel plate that was inserted when he broke that leg two seasons ago with Minnesota.

"I think both of them -- we played Foster and Beleskey in the exhibition game against Jokerit specifically for the reason if they didn't play in that game, then they wouldn't have a chance to play for us this weekend," Carlyle said. "I think now that they played in that game there is a possibility that we could use them tonight or tomorrow."

The Ducks obviously are looking for a better start to this season after winning just four of 12 (4-7-1) to begin last season. Earlier this week Carlyle, mentioned his team did less scrimmaging and spent more time practicing with the hopes of avoiding another slow start.

"It was paska," Carlyle said, using a Finnish word that translates -- politely -- to "garbage." "That's one of the things you always guard against. As a coach, if you had the answer at the time, it wouldn't be happening. All the time, you're searching for answers. The one thing we've tried to sell to our players that blocking a shot, taking a check to make a play, being on the defensive side of things -- this has to start from the first game of the season and not in January, where we seemed to come together as a group (last season)."

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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 6:55 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Erixon, Rupp and Tortorella's gems

STOCKHOLM -- Swedish journalists are quickly learning what not to ask Rangers coach John Tortorella.

For instance, someone asked him if he ever played in Sweden?

"Oh, don't ask me questions about me," was Tortorella's response.

The next question was from another Swedish journalist who wanted to know how Tortorella felt about what he's seen from Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards.

"They haven't started yet," Tortorella said. "You can come back to the States in a couple weeks and ask me that."

His comment drew some laughs and Tortorella smiled. He said it somewhat in jest, but everyone got the picture.

The Rangers coach was interested in one thing Friday morning, and that was talking about Friday night's game.

"I thought we created an identity of how we wanted to play and what we were last year and we want to go right back to it and keep building," Tortorella said.

Tortorella confirmed that Tim Erixon will be in the lineup for his NHL debut in his home country. Erixon's father, Jan Erixon, a former Ranger, is expected to be in the building Friday night.

Mike Rupp will also play after sitting out Thursday's practice with a sore knee. Rupp told NHL.com his knee had been acting up so he was given a day off to rest it and ice it.

"I'm ready to go now," he said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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It's such a privilege to be one of these 80 great players to do this milestone, and it doesn't get better than this doing it where I started. It means a lot to me. A big thanks goes to all the players tonight who helped me to achieve that and also all the players through my career.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa after scoring his 1,000th career point on Thursday night in Ottawa
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