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Posted On Friday, 11.11.2011 / 12:48 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Vokoun to start, lineup unknown for Caps

NEWARK, N.J. -- Tomas Vokoun will start in net for the Capitals tonight at Prudential Center, but the rest of Washington's lineup won't be determined until later today.

Mike Green will likely get back in after missing six games, but for now he's considered a game-time decision.

Matt Hendricks will also be a game-time decision because his wife, Kim, gave birth to twins Gunnar and Lennon on Thursday. Hendricks was not here this morning, but is supposed to be on his way and should arrive before the game. There is no word on if he will play.

It is also possible that Marcus Johansson swaps with Nicklas Backstrom to play center between Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer. Johansson missed Thursday's practice, but Mathieu Perreault (healthy scratch if Hendricks plays) was in between Ovechkin and Brouwer while Backstrom was centering Alex Semin and Brooks Laich.

It looks like we'll all have to wait until pre-game warmups to figure anything out about the Capitals lineup tonight.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Friday, 11.11.2011 / 12:43 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Green could return for Capitals

NEWARK, N.J. -- Capitals defenseman Mike Green could return to the lineup tonight at Prudential Center. He has missed the last six games with a right ankle injury.

Both Green and Washington coach Bruce Boudreau used the words "gametime decision" to describe the blue-liner's status for tonight against the Devils, but all indications are that he will play.

Green has participated in every full practice this week, including a bag skate Wednesday. He didn't look to be in any discomfort this morning and came off the ice when the rest of his teammates did. Had he stayed on for extra work, it would have been an indication that he is definitely out.

"It's more how he feels," Boudreau said. "He's cleared to play. It's just up to him."

Boudreau also said the back-to-back against the Devils (Washington plays host to New Jersey on Saturday at Verizon Center) has nothing to do with the decision on Green for tonight.

"Tomorrow might be a different issue, but if he feels good enough to play he's going to play," Boudreau said. "His conditioning is fine after this week."

Washington needs to get Green back in the lineup.

"We're 7-0 with him and 2-4 without him," Boudreau said. "He's a pretty important piece to our puzzle."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 11.11.2011 / 12:40 PM

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

Projected lineups for Blackhawks, Flames

CHICAGO -- After breaking a three-game losing skid Thursday night in Columbus, the Chicago Blackhawks opted not to hold a morning skate Friday at the United Center.

The Calgary Flames, Chicago's opponent Friday night, did have a morning skate after making a couple of roster moves Thursday. The Flames placed veteran center Brendan Morrison on injured reserve because of "inadequate rehabilitation of ACL knee surgery," and placed veteran defenseman Anton Babchuk on IR because of a broken bone in his hand that happened while blocking a shot Tuesday in Minnesota.

They called up defenseman T.J. Brodie to replace Babchuk and center Paul Byron to take Morrison's spot on the roster.

The Blackhawks could be without two-way center Dave Bolland for the second straight game, after he injured his foot while blocking a shot against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.

If Bolland is unable to play, look for Chicago coach Joel Quenneville to go with a similar lineup to the one he used against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 6-3 win Thursday night -- save for sixth defenseman John Scott potentially being replaced by Sami Lepisto or Sean O'Donnell.

The Blackhawks finally found some success on their struggling power play against the Blue Jackets, going 2-for-3 after coming into the game having scored just once in their previous 30 man-advantage situations.

One of the biggest changes Quenneville has made to the power-play units is putting defenseman Steve Montador in front of the net as a forward -- which paid off against Columbus. Montador scored one of Chicago's power-play goals and was on the ice for the other one, as well -- scored by veteran forward Andrew Brunette.

"We had a real good first period and when you get the power play going all of a sudden you get some excitement in the team game,"Quenneville told reporters after the game. "It was nice to see a couple nice plays and a couple nice finishes around the net."

Here are the projected lineups for Friday night:

CALGARY

Jarome Iginla - Mikael Backlund - Alex Tanguay
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Rene Bourque
Paul Byron - Roman Horak - Lee Stempniak
Tom Kostopoulos - David Moss - Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
Scott Hannan - Mark Giordano
Derek Smith - T.J. Brodie

Miikka Kiprusoff will start in goal for the Flames, while Henrik Karlsson will be his back-up

CHICAGO

Viktor Stalberg - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Daniel Carcillo - Patrick Kane - Patrick Sharp
Bryan Bickell - Marcus Kruger or Dave Bolland - Michael Frolik
Andrew Brunette - Jamal Mayers or Marcus Kruger - Rostislav Olesz or Jamal Mayers

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson - Nick Leddy
Steve Montador - John Scott or Sami Lepisto or Sean O'Donnell

Quenneville didn't reveal Thursday night who would start for the Hawks, but the regular starter is Corey Crawford with veteran Ray Emery backing him up.
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Posted On Friday, 11.11.2011 / 12:31 PM

By Alan Robinson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Likely lineup for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Here's the Pittsburgh Penguins' likely line combinations for tonight's game against the Dallas Stars (7 p.m., NHLN-US), a matchup of the teams currently leading the Eastern and Western conferences, respectively.

The Penguins are playing their first game since a 3-2 shootout win at Los Angeles on Saturday.
 
Steve Sullivan - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Richard Park - Arron Asham
Eric Tangradi - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
 
Coach Dan Bylsma rotated his six healthy defensemen -- Paul Martin, Deryk Engelland, Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang, Alexandre Picard and Matt Niskanen -- during the morning skate. Bylsma has been using different pairings since Zbynek Michalek (broken finger) and Ben Lovejoy (broken wrist) have been hurt, and was forced to improvise Saturday when Niskanen didn't play against the Kings because of a lower-body injury.

Marc-Andre Fleury will start in goal, with Brent Johnson the backup.
 
Tyler Kennedy (concussion) skated mostly by himself during the morning practice and will not play. He has been out since Oct. 15. Sidney Crosby (concussion) also took part in the game-day skate, as he has been doing all season, even though he has yet to play in a game. On Thursday, Crosby was ruled out of the Penguins' games this weekend, against the Stars and at Carolina on Saturday.

We'll have more on the Stars' lineup after their skate.

For more on today's game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Friday, 11.11.2011 / 12:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Enroth to start for Sabres

The Buffalo News is reporting Jhonas Enroth was the first goaltender off the ice today in Buffalo, making it likely he'll start for the third time in the last four games when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators.

Enroth is 4-0-0 in five games this season, with a 1.41 goals-against average and .952 save percentage. In his last three games -- two starts and a relief appearance -- he's stopped 70 of the last 73 shots he's faced.

Ryan Miller, the presumptive No. 1 goalie in Buffalo, has struggled mightily this season. He won his last start, Tuesday against Winnipeg, to snap a four-game losing streak, but allowed five goals on 31 shots in a 6-5 overtime victory.

On the season, Miller is 5-5-0 in 10 games, with a 2.74 GAA and .913 save percentage.

For more on today's game, check out the preview here.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Friday, 11.11.2011 / 12:00 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Brodeur settling in after uneven start

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils goalie Martin Brodeur finally feels as though he's found a rhythm to his season. It's showing in his play.

Brodeur will get his third straight start tonight when the Devils take on Washington. He has won the last two and allowed only four goals in the process.

This is the first time this season Brodeur is on a starting streak. He lost the season-opener, 3-0, and sat out the second game before coming back in Oct. 13 to play Los Angles. He lasted only one period before suffering a shoulder injury that kept him out until Nov. 2, when he returned but gave up five goals to the Maple Leafs in a loss.

Johan Hedberg, who started the six games that Brodeur had to miss because of his injury, got back in the night after the Devils lost to the Leafs and picked up a 4-3 shootout victory against the Flyers the very next night. Brodeur, though, comes into the game Friday after making 21 saves in a 3-2 overtime win against the Jets on Saturday and then 25 saves in a 3-2 regulation win against Carolina on Tuesday.

"The more you play the more you feel comfortable." Brodeur, who isn't expected to play Saturday in Washington, told NHL.com. "It helps to get in somewhat of a rhythm. I didn't have one earlier due to the lack of playing. It felt for a while like the season never started for me, so this is the start of my season now."

As much as the consistent starts matter to Brodeur, the wins mean more to him because now it tells him he's contributing, not just playing.

"For a forward, even if you win but you don't score, you feel you're left out. It's the same thing with a goalie," Brodeur said. "If you can't put anything together to try to get the team to advance in the standings it's hard. It's nice to do that and be part of the team."

For the Devils, it's just nice to have Brodeur back in rhythm. As solid as Hedberg has been, he just doesn't have the same reputation as Brodeur, who is still arguably the most talked about player by opposing coaches and players when they're getting ready to face the Devils.

"It's good for us because he's starting to play really well," Devils captain Zach Parise told NHL.com. "I think he's got that ability to make the opponents think. He definitely at times gets in players heads and makes them overthink. If you can have that as an advantage, that's great."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 11.11.2011 / 11:30 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kovalchuk to miss home-and-home vs. Capitals

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils coach Pete DeBoer confirmed that forward Ilya Kovalchuk will not play in either of the home-and-home games against the Washington Capitals this weekend due to a pulled leg muscle. The Devils host Washington tonight at Prudential Center and play the Capitals at Verizon Center on Saturday.

Kovalchuk has missed the last two games with a pulled leg muscle, an injury he suffered in Philadelphia last week.

"He did skate this morning, but we're in November and … we don't want to turn this into something that lingers," DeBoer said. "Lingering is probably the best way to describe it."

Vladimir Zharkov, who was recalled from Albany late Thursday, will play on the fourth line alongside Brad Mills and Cam Janssen. Rod Pelley will be the healthy scratch among the forwards.

"Early in the season we've made a habit of shuffling our fourth line around, our lines around in general," DeBoer said. "Hopefully (Zharkov brings) some energy and a different look. He's a little bit of a different player than Pelley. He plays a different game and can complement Mills and Janssen hopefully."

Martin Brodeur, who missed several games earlier in the season with a shoulder injury, is expected to get his third straight start in goal. He's won the last two, giving up just 4 goals in the process.

"I'm getting there," Brodeur told NHL.com. "The more you play the more you feel comfortable. It helps to get in somewhat of a rhythm. I didn't have one earlier due to the lack of playing. It felt for a while like the season never started for me, so this is the start of my season now."

Here are the Devils lines and defense pairings from the skate:

Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Nick Palmieri
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Mattias Tedenby - Ryan Carter - David Clarkson
Vladimir Zharkov - Brad Mills - Cam Janssen

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson
Henrik Tallinder - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Anton Volchenkov

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 8:55 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Coyotes play without Langkow; Canadiens minus Cammalleri

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Coyotes get one center back tonight, but another will be missing.
 
Martin Hanzal, who has missed the past two games with a lower body injury, will be back in the lineup tonight as the Coyotes wrap up a three-game homestand against Montreal. Hanzal, who had three goals and seven points in the five games prior to his injury, will fill the middle between wingers Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata -- a trio that produced seven goals and 17 points in three games before Hanzal went down.
 
But as Hanzal returns, the Coyotes will be missing center Daymond Langkow, who has been away from the team since Tuesday because of a death in the family. Boyd Gordon, who had a goal and an assist Saturday against Edmonton, skated between wingers Lauri Korpikoski and Shane Doan at Thursday's skate.
 
Montreal will play without left wing Mike Cammalleri, who suffered a knee-on-knee collision in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton.
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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 6:21 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Winnipeg loses Maxwell on waivers

WINNIPEG - The NHL's waiver wire claimed its second Winnipeg Jet this season.

The Anaheim Ducks claimed Jets center Ben Maxwell off waivers on Thursday morning. Maxwell joins forward Brett MacLean, whom the Phoenix Coyotes reclaimed on waivers from the Jets on Oct. 29. Maxwell's addition will provide the Ducks with further depth down the middle, particularly with Nick Bonino sidelined with a knee injury.

The 23-year-old Maxwell's stay in Winnipeg was brief -- he logged four games with the Jets after returning from a season-opening injury. Maxwell went scoreless with the Jets after playing 12 games with the Atlanta Thrashers following a Feb. 24 trade from the Montreal Canadiens.

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Posted On Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 4:42 PM

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

Islanders, Avs looking to end slides

DENVER -- Two teams experiencing prolonged slumps, the New York Islanders and Colorado Avalanche, face off tonight at the Pepsi Center.

The Islanders have gone 1-5-2 since beginning the season with three wins in their first four games, while the Avalanche are in a 1-5-1 slide after winning six of the first eight games.

Both teams will start a goalie -- Al Montoya for New York and Jean-Sebastien Giguere for Colorado -- that played well in relief in the previous game. Montoya stopped 22 of 24 shots after replacing Evgeni Nabokov on Monday in the Islanders' 6-2 loss in Boston, while Giguere turned aside 12 of 13 shots after taking over for Semyon Varlamov on Tuesday in the Avalanche's 5-2 loss in Detroit.

Giguere, who signed a two-year, $2.5 million contract as a free agent July 1, will be making his first home appearance as a member of the Avalanche. He has a 2-1-0 record with a 1.98 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

"I'm very excited," Giguere said after this morning's skate. "I think it's a great building to play in. it should be easier, I guess, to play at home although (it hasn't been). I'm looking forward to playing in front of our home fans. I feel good, rested. If there's any positive to being a backup, at least you should be rested when you get to play, and you should be excited. I feel like a little kid."

The Avalanche have scored just seven goals while losing five of six home games this season. Three of the goals came Oct. 30 in a 3-2 win against Los Angeles.

"This is a must-win for us," said Giguere, who stopped 31 of 34 shots in his previous start, a 4-2 loss in Calgary on Oct. 26. "We have to stop the bleeding right now. We can't let this go on any longer. We need to establish ourselves at home."

The Avalanche, who have gone 0-3-1 in the past four games overall, held a players-only meeting after practice Wednesday.

"We've done enough talking; now it's time to see some action," Giguere said. "We have no chance in hell in this League to make the playoffs if you don't (win at home). We had a good team meeting yesterday afternoon -- players only -- and we made sure that everybody's desperate level needs to go up a bit. Hopefully we will see that tonight."

Avalanche fans won't see left wing Peter Mueller, who had hoped to play after taking part in Wednesday's practice and in this morning's skate. Mueller, who missed all of last season to recover from a concussion, will sit out his 12th consecutive game with what the team lists as a head injury.

"He's still listed as day to day," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "We thought there might be a chance that he might play, but after the morning skate … he's not ready yet. He's still improving."

Montoya will make his first start since Oct. 20, when he stopped 26 of 30 shots in a 4-1 loss at Tampa Bay. He owns a 2-2-0 record with a 2.12 GAA and .928 save percentage.

The Islanders, who still are carrying three goalies, will use Rick DiPietro as the backup tonight.

The game also will feature a matchup between the Islanders' John Tavares and the Avalanche's Matt Duchene, the first and third picks, respectively, in the 2009 Entry Draft.

Tavares has 2 goals in the three previous meetings, all New York wins, while Duchene has none. Tavares leads the Islanders in scoring this season with 8 goals and 5 assists in 12 games. Duchene is tops among Avalanche scorers with 5 goals and 7 assists in 15 games.

The Islanders have beaten the Avalanche five times in a row and are 7-0-2 against Colorado since a 1-0 regulation loss in Denver on Nov. 16, 2001.
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I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic