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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 1:36 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 NHL Face-Off Blog

Expected lineups for Bruins, Lightning

The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning are set to face off Saturday in a rematch of last spring's Eastern Conference Finals. Based on this morning's practices, here are the expected forward lines and defense pairings for each team:

BRUINS

Lucic-Krejci-Horton
Marchand-Bergeron-Peverley
Pouliot-Kelly-Seguin
Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Chara-Boychuk
Seidenberg-Corvo
Ference-McQuaid

Tim Thomas is expected to start in goal with Tuukka Rask backing him up.

LIGHTNING
Malone-Lecavalier-Purcell
St. Louis-Stamkos-Downie
Connolly-Moore-Shannon
Jones-Thompson-Hall

Hedman-Brewer
Clark-Gilroy
Bergeron-Kubina

Mathieu Garon looks like he may see the start in goal with Dwayne Roloson backing him up.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 1:34 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Sabres take Germany

Despite late arrival, Miller earns back-to-back starts

Lindy Ruff can't deny that the travel delays after Friday night's win against Anaheim in Helsinki didn't hurt his team, but he's not going to make any excuses heading into Saturday's game against Los Angeles in Berlin.

The Sabres arrived after 4 a.m. Saturday after problems with their airplane. But the Kings also got in late, Ruff noted. Los Angeles arrived at its hotel around 2:30 a.m. after beating the New York Rangers in Stockholm.

The Sabres scuttled their original plans because of the delay.

"In an ideal world, we would have probably have come down here this morning, but we have had travel delays in the past where you change," Ruff said Saturday before the game. "I think LA had a fairly late night too, so I think it's fairly even for both teams.

Plus, Ruff did not have to back off on his choice to start No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller in back-to-back games. Miller allowed just one goal in the 4-1 victory against the Ducks.

"We gave it some thought, but because it has been pretty light (on games) and he didn't play in the Manheim game (on Tuesday), I think we felt that with no practices this morning and we even delayed our meeting by an hour, that we could come back with Ryan," Ruff said.

There should be no other lineup changes.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 12:49 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - 2011 NHL Face-Off Blog

Expected lineups for Maple Leafs, Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators are set to face off Saturday in the second game of each team's season. Based on this morning's practices, here are the expected forward lines and defense pairings for each team:

MAPLE LEAFS
Frattin-Grabovski-Kulemin
Lupul-Bozak-Kessel
Armstrong-Steckel-Dupuis
Brown-Lombardi-Orr
 
Gunnarsson-Phaneuf
Liles-Schenn
Gardiner-Komisarek
 
James Reimer is expected to start in goal with Jonas Gustavsson backing up.

SENATORS
Michalek - Spezza - Filatov
Greening - Zibanejad - Alfredsson
Foligno  - Da Costa  - Neil
Condra - Smith - Konopka
 
Phillips - Lee
Cowen - Gonchar
Kuba - Karlsson
 
Craig Anderson is expected to start in goal with Alex Auld backing up.



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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 11:19 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Young defenseman Martinez has been gaining notice

Although he did not find his way on to the score sheet Friday night in the 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Rangers in Stockholm, it was hard to ignore young defenseman Alec Martinez, who is entering his second full season with the Los Angeles Kings.

On most of the 24 shifts he took Friday night -- combining for 19:44 of ice time -- he did something positive to catch the eyes of the coaching staff and spectators alike. At other times, he was not noticeable at all -- which is also good for a defenseman because it means he is not making mistakes.

Less than 15 hours removed from that performance, Murray had some high praise for Martinez, who played his college Hockey at Miami University and made his NHL breakthrough this past season, appearing in 60 NHL games, as well as the Kings' first-round playoff loss to the Sharks.

"He's the kind of player that you have to make room for and you want to see grow and you want to see get more minutes in a game," Murray told NHL.com. "He's got great mobility, vision, he jumps up in the play and he can score goals and defends very well because of his agility and mobility.

"He's a young guy that still has some stuff to figure out in the defending part of the game, especially the down-low part of the game. But we want to keep pushing and demanding more of him so his game will continue to improve and he can contribute more in the critical situations. "

One of the things that makes Martinez so noticeable is his ability to handle the transition game and get the puck to the right places, allowing the Kings to get into that quick counter-attacking mode they favor. Plus, he can do it either with the puck on his stick, lugging it to the offensive zone, or with the quick pass.

"It is the way the game is evolving, with the speed now and the necessity for defenseman to be able to carry the puck, move the puck through the middle of the ice," Murray said. "We see a tremendous upside with him and we just hope that he is going to be able to handle the workload that we're going to ask of him."

Martinez's workload is approaching 20 minutes per game despite the fact that he plays a similar style to franchise cornerstones Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty. All three like to look for offense and all three still need to work extra hard in their own end to make up for deficiencies there. But Murray says Martinez has earned the extra playing time and he will continue to get it until his play suggests otherwise.

"You do have to have four (defensemen) that play a big part of it," Murray said. "You are looking for your shutdown guys that are going to match up against top lines and your PK guys like Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi. The other players -- particularly with Martinez, I don't think is a problem with putting more of a workload on him. He's able to handle it -- we have seen it in the minors and we have seen it in training camp.

"I'm just excited for him because he's a player that really surprised us last year whenever we called him up. He's become a pretty important player for us."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 9:47 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Murray says Premiere experience has been positive

For the Kings, their European adventure is almost complete.

After arriving in Hamburg on Monday for a Tuesday night game against the Freezers of the DEL, the Kings settled in Stockholm for three days. That stay was finished off Friday night with a 3-2 overtime win against the New York Rangers in the first of two 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere games the Kings will play.

The team arrived in Berlin in the wee hours of the morning Saturday and will play the Buffalo Sabres, 4-1 victors against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday in Helsinki, Finland, on Saturday night at the O2 Arena here. After the game, the Kings fly to the United States for an extended stay on the East Coast before Thursday night's game in New Jersey.

Despite some obvious travel hardships, coach Terry Murray says his team's Premiere experience has been all the team could want.

"It's been a great week here (in Europe)," Murray told NHL.com. "To me, everything was really well done with the planning part of it. It's an incredible amount of work done by a whole lot of people. There's so many details. Our training staff has been phenomenal in getting done what they needed to get done in moving us around and having everything in place for the players.

"From the League standpoint, everything was exactly what we needed. There were plenty of people to give us whatever information we needed, to help us out to move around. I don't think you can ask for anything better than that actually."

Murray raved about Friday night's game in Stockholm, and not just because his team emerged victorious thanks to Jack Johnson's dramatic goal in overtime.

"Overall, I think the experience has been tremendous, giving back to the European fans," Murray continued. "The energy in the building (Friday) night was really good. It was a lot of fun playing in Stockholm. There are a lot of great Swedish players over the years, a lot of them in attendance (Friday night). That part of it was great and we are just looking forward to finish it off tonight in Berlin."

As mentioned, the Kings will charter home Saturday night after the game, arriving in the States in the early-morning hours of Sunday morning. After a rest-and-recuperation day Sunday, the team will hit the ice Monday to begin preparation for Thursday's game against the Devils. The team then plays the Flyers on Saturday night before heading home for next Tuesday's home opener against The St. Louis Blues.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 9:42 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - The Kings of Europe

Penner will miss second straight for Kings

Dustin Penner will not play in Saturday's 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere final against the Buffalo Sabres at O2 Arena, missing his second-straight game with an unspecified injury, coach Terry Murray stated Saturday morning.

"Every day that he is off the ice, he's going to get better, he's going to recover more," Murray told NHL.com at the team's Berlin hotel. "We'll get him through another day here with some treatment and then we'll get back over to East Coast after the game tonight and then we have four days before we play again. That's going to be good for him. We'll get him back on the ice on Monday and work on getting his conditioning back up. Three days of hard work and hopefully he'll be ready for the Devils."

Penner missed just the seventh game of his career since becoming a full-time player in the NHL during the 2006-07 season.

Murray also revealed on Saturday morning that Jonathan Bernier will get the start in goal for Saturday night's game. Jonathan Quick was the goalie in Friday's 3-2 OT win against the Rangers in Stockholm, stopping 24 of 26 shots. But Murray has decided to shuffle the deck, in part because of the hard travel conditions to get to Berlin post-game. The team did not arrive at the hotel until after 2 a.m. local time.

"It's back-to-back games and it was a very late night last night," Murray said. "Getting here, that is too hard. That's part of it and the other part of it is both goalies are looking good; they are fresh and we'll give Bernier his opportunity tonight."

Bernier is 15-11-3 in his 32 career appearances, posting a 2.56 goals against average, a .911 save percentage and 4 shutouts.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 6:57 AM

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

Ducks look to bounce back on 'the road'

STOCKHOLM -- While the Anaheim Ducks will get to wear their home uniforms Saturday night at Ericsson Globe Arena, they know they had their “home” game last night at Hartwall Areena and this contest against the New York Rangers here could feel more like a contest at Staples Center than Honda Center.

"Yeah, I would assume so," Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan said. "Obviously it was a pretty special night for Teemu and Saku. The crowd fed off them and the energy they brought, so I wouldn't expect anything less [for the Rangers] here."

The Ducks will also have the challenge of a short turnaround to contend with. New York played here last night, while Anaheim played in Helsinki and traveled afterwards.

This contest is at 7 p.m. after an 8 p.m. start Friday, though with the time change the games will start 24 hours apart. The Ducks who played against the Sabres did not skate this morning after a team meeting.

"It is challenging enough that we got to the hotel at 3:00 or 3:30 [a.m.], so obviously we're not really too fresh here this morning at 11:00," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We think it is important that we have our rest here today, and that's the most important factor of the day in our preparation. You can't ask them to give you 110 percent if they're not rested. That's our mandate for the team today."

The Ducks will try to bounce back after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Sabres in Helsinki. Buffalo's strong defensive effort frustrated Anaheim, especially because the Ducks controlled the puck for long stretches in the final two periods but weren't able to generate much offense.

Anaheim's top line of Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf in particular will look to get off the mark against the Rangers. That trio controlled the puck for long stretches, especially in the third period, but had little to show for it.

"There's different ways. I think they did a good job of collapsing low and taking away plays that our line is so good at," Ryan said of changes to make. "We had to get the puck high, and when you're shooting from the point and getting traffic things can happen, but a lot of times when they are boxing out like they were Ryan Miller is just going to eat those shots up. We've got find a way to spread them out some more and create some more room, but we we’re in there all night and couldn't find a way to crack Miller.

"Lundqvist is just as good, so we've got the spread them out and get more traffic right in front of him not just near him."

The Ducks got off to a slow start last season, dropping the first three games and eight of 12 to start the 2010-11 campaign. Not repeating that feat has been the reason for changing things up a bit this preseason -- beyond the obvious change of coming to Europe.

"Whenever you get down, and our team seems to have a lot of back-to-backs every year, when you get down and you're 0-1, certainly the intensity, the focus, the discipline -- whatever you want to call it -- they definitely go up a bit and it's what we missed in Game 1."

Added Carlyle: "I know our guys aren't happy with the way we played last night and some of the things we did. I know with this group I can trust that they'll have a better performance than we did last night."
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 6:52 AM

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

Woywitka arrives, eager to be a Ranger

STOCKHOLM -- Jeff Woywitka was wide awake and excited Saturday morning. Nothing could wipe the smile off his face, not even the jet lag he had to be feeling or the thought that he'll be back on a plane after the game against the Ducks, heading to another hotel bed.

The Rangers claimed Woywitka off waivers from Montreal on Thursday. He didn't play Friday and he won't play tonight either, but he's here and he's excited to be a Ranger despite his whirlwind last two days.

"It's been interesting and also exciting," Woywitka told NHL.com after taking part in his first optional skate as a Ranger. "I was put on waivers the other day, and you never know what can happen. If you clear you can end up going down, but obviously your main goal is to stay in the NHL. To get picked up and have another opportunity to play it's exciting for me, especially with an organization like the Rangers. I know a few of the guys here, and things are good."

Since Woywitka was in Toronto with the Canadiens, he left from there on an 8:50 p.m. ET flight to Copenhagen. After an hour and a half layover, he flew to Stockholm and got here around 1 p.m. local time Friday.

Woywitka didn't walk into the Rangers team hotel here until 2:30.

"Most of the guys were already in their pregame naps," said Woywitka, who played the last two seasons in Dallas with Brad Richards. "I got to the hotel and saw Brendan Bell, a guy I played World Juniors with. I hung out in the lobby, talked to him, met a few of the guys -- it was good. I came to the game, saw a good one, and Stockholm looks like a very historic, unique city. It's nice to get a chance to experience that and see a new part of the world."

Woywitka experienced his first team meeting with Rangers coach John Tortorella on Saturday. He was also one of 12 guys to skate after the meeting.

He'll get a better crash course in the Rangers ways when the team gets back on its routine in New York next week. For now, though, he couldn't stop raving about how well he is being treated.

"Everything was set up perfectly," he said about his travel here. "Everything was straightforward, lined up. You can just tell these guys do it first class here. That's all you can ask for. It makes you feel comfortable."

It also makes him feel confident that once he gets to New York, Woywitka will have some help setting up his life there. He's a single guy so he doesn't have to worry about moving a family, but the adjustment is still taxing.

"That's part of the NHL," Woywitka said. "There are a lot of movements here and there, but I'm excited about it. The way I've been treated here already, I'm sure it's not going to be a big issue getting settled. Obviously there is going to be a change, but I'm looking forward to it."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Saturday, 10.08.2011 / 6:29 AM

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

A new challenge from the Ducks

STOCKHOLM -- After getting beaten all over the ice by Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams and Simon Gagne in the first period Friday night, the Rangers tightened up against the Kings top line and managed to keep them in check.

The difference was in their forecheck. Or, better yet, the difference was that they actually forechecked starting in the second period.

"We knew the ice was bad so the times when you don't want to forecheck or stretch yourself out too much, we decided we were going to go and get two guys on (the Kings) D," Brian Boyle told NHL.com. "Once we started doing that we got the puck back more. When they got the puck back after that we were closer to them to have some contact. Earlier we were giving them too much room to skate."

The Rangers can't wait to do the same Saturday night against the Ducks leading trio of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. As good as the Kopitar line is, Anaheim's first line might be the best in the NHL.

"They're very dangerous," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan told NHL.com. "They have a lot of talent up front and the more time we spend in their zone below the dots it'll be for the better. That's a big thing for us, getting pucks deep behind their D."

The more the Rangers have the puck, the better their chances are to draw penalties. They only drew one Friday night, but they took five and the fifth one burned them.

"That's the biggest thing for us, we have to hold on to pucks, especially when you're up against top lines," Callahan said. "If you have the puck, they don't."

Slight advantage: The Rangers went back to their hotel Friday night, had a quick meal and were off to bed. They woke up Saturday and took what has become a familiar route to Ericsson Globe Arena, the arena they've called home since Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Ducks played in Helsinki Friday night, had a quick team meal, and then went to the airport, where they sat for a while before finally taking off to fly to Stockholm. They didn't get to the team hotel until close to 3 o'clock in the morning, and then woke up Saturday in an unfamiliar place and took an unfamiliar route to an arena they've never been in.

Advantage Rangers.

"Yeah, that might be," Boyle said. "It's easier when you don't have to travel, but we lost last night so I'm sure a lot of guys were up late trying to get to sleep. I know I was. It was tough. At this point, you could argue that we have a little bit of an advantage, but it's minimal. We know they're going to come hard and we've got to do the same."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 10.07.2011 / 6:41 PM

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

Wings to honor three victims of Lokomotiv crash

Detroit will do a number of things before Friday's opening game at Joe Louis Arena to honor the lives of former players Ruslan Salei, Stefan Liv and former assistant coach Brad McCrimmon.

The three were among those killed in the tragic September plane crash in Russia that killed 37 members of the KHL team Lokomotiv just outside of Yaroslavl. Salei played on the blue line for the Wings last season, Liv was once a Wings goalie prospect and McCrimmon was an assistant under Mike Babcock from 2008-11 - leaving after last season to become Lokomotiv's coach.

The Wings will wear a special patch in the Lokomotiv colors of blue and red on the left sleeve of their jerseys with the initials "BM, RS and SL."

Friday night's game-worn jerseys will also be used to raise funds for the three families, and wives of current Red Wings players will also sell honorary bracelets that say "Love for Lokomotiv" in the concourse - with the proceeds going to a fund for the families of players and staff killed in the crash.

Coaching staffs of both the Wings and Senators will also wear red and blue ribbons made by the wives of the Red Wings players. McCrimmon's family -- wife Maureen, daughter Carlin and son Liam -- still live in the Detroit area and will be honored on the ice prior to the game.
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