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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 2:06 PM

By Chris Stevenson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Red Wings at Senators

OTTAWA -- Jimmy Howard will be back in goal Saturday for the Detroit Red Wings when they play the Ottawa Senators and try to win consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 6-7.

The Red Wings snapped a six-game losing streak (0-2-4) with a 6-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.

Howard has been out of action for a week with a groin injury since leaving the Red Wings 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders after one period Dec. 19.

He said the Christmas break should work to his advantage and welcomed the morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre as an opportunity to shake off the rust.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 2:02 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Veteran coaches Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues and Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars have been around long enough to understand that anything can happen when teams return from the Christmas break.

Games tend to be wide open, scoring is up, and defending is normally lacking.

The Stars and Blues are two teams that get back to the grind of the NHL schedule Saturday after three days away from the rink, away from watching video, and away from the rigors of the job.

"I find these games quite frankly are loose, very fast, very loose, and that's not to our advantage," Hitchcock said. "We have to get the bruise on bruise feeling going quickly, so that's going to be important for us. One of the things when you take three days off, your body really kind of mellows out, and getting back engaged and getting alert again is going to be important. If we're not alert against Dallas, they're going to just be blowing right by us like they did against Toronto. We've got to get really alert early, we've got to get to our game early. If we get to our game early, I really like our chances. But if we're chasing the game, then it's going to be advantage Dallas."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Joe Yerdon -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Islanders at Sabres

BUFFALO -- The Christmas break turned out to be a helpful one for the Buffalo Sabres.

The Sabres will have three players back in the lineup against the New York Islanders on Saturday they didn't have on Tuesday. Forwards Matt Moulson (illness) and Cody McCormick (lower-body) along with defenseman Mike Weber (knee) will return.

"I feel a little fragile this year so far," McCormick said with a laugh. "Hopefully I'll be a little more durable going forward. It feels good to be back in."

Moulson's return to the lineup came after he recovered from the flu. He went through testing for mumps, but was cleared from that.

"I think everyone's worried about [mumps], what's going on throughout the League, but I got all the testing done for it," Moulson said. "[I] started feeling better Monday … had to wait for tests."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:46 PM

By Corey Long -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Lightning

TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop will return to the starting lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes at Amalie Arena on Saturday.

The move was expected when the Lightning sent rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy back to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League after a 4-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. Vasilevskiy was 2-1-0 in three NHL starts.

Bishop suffered a lower-body injury and hasn't played since Dec. 15. He said he could have played Tuesday but the team wanted to give him the extra days off with the Christmas break.

"I would have liked to have played against Pittsburgh, but we won the game and that's all that matters," Bishop said. "I felt good at the last practice and I feel good today, so I'm excited to get back out there."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:32 PM

By Dan Myers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A mysterious stomach virus has been running through the Minnesota Wild dressing room for the past couple of weeks.

Unfortunately for the Wild, the three-day holiday break did not rid the room of the illness as forward Jason Zucker will be out Saturday as the Wild host the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center.

Zucker has had a breakout season in his first full season with Minnesota, scoring 12 goals in 32 games, third-most on the team. He is one of six players to have skated in every game.

After losing five players to the mumps at various points earlier this season, this stomach virus has also wreaked havoc, hitting each goaltender, forwards Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coyle, and defenseman Jared Spurgeon among others.

"It's his turn," Wild coach Mike Yeo said.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:14 PM

By Wes Crosby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Capitals at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Two familiar faces will step on the Consol Energy Center ice when Washington Capitals defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Orpik and Niskanen will play against their former team for the first time since signing with the Capitals during free agency. Orpik was the Penguins’ most-tenured player prior to his departure with 703 games played for Pittsburgh, a team-record for a defenseman. He played each of his first 11 NHL seasons in Pittsburgh since being drafted in the first round of the 2000 NHL Draft.

“I had nothing but good memories here,” Orpik said. “Obviously the last couple years were disappointing, with the way we finished, but that was just the hockey side of things. Away from some of the disappointing endings that we had, I have nothing but good memories here.

“Hopefully, the fans reciprocate those feelings.”

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 12:58 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Bruins at Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS -- Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will not play Saturday against the Boston Bruins at Nationwide Arena because of a stomach illness, coach Todd Richards said.

Curtis McElhinney, whose last start was Nov. 29 at the Nashville Predators, will start and Anton Forsberg was called up from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. Bobrovsky did not attend the morning skate.

"We've got to do a good job in front of (McElhinney) as a group of five," Richards said. "He's going to have to make saves when we need him to make saves, but the five guys in front have to help him out. It means we have to be disciplined, not take penalties."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 11:39 AM

By NHL.com Fantasy Hockey Staff -  /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Daily projected fantasy hockey goalies

Projected goalie starters are based on reporting of NHL.com staff and correspondents at morning skates, team announcements and media reports. While last-minute lineup changes are possible, these projections provide fantasy owners with the most up-to-date information available.

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Posted On Friday, 12.26.2014 / 9:02 PM

NHL.com - Noah Hanifin blog

HanifIn ready for fast-paced WJC

Defenseman Noah Hanifin is a member of the United States National Junior Team, which is competing at the IIHF World Junior Championship. The U.S. team is playing in Group A, which is being played at Bell Centre in Montreal. Hanifin, a freshman at Boston College who turns 18 on Jan. 25, is eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft. He has graciously offered to maintain a blog for NHL.com during the WJC.

This is going to be a lot of fun.

The game against Finland on Friday was an awakening for me of what the tournament is going to be like. Finland played unbelievable, and it showed us that every game is going to be a battle.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.25.2014 / 9:45 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Defenseman Santini released from U.S. Junior Team

Defenseman Steven Santini was the final player released from the United States National Junior Team on Thursday.

Santini, a New Jersey Devils prospect in his second season at Boston College, has not played in a game since Oct. 25 when he sustained a wrist injury. He had a cast removed from the wrist Monday but did not play in any of the United States' three exhibition games. 

"We wanted to see where Steve was after he had the cast removed and it's clear he needs more time before he's ready to play," U.S. general manager Jim Johannson said.


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Quote of the Day

It's always a little bit weird, but it moves on. They've got a good team, and they played well tonight. I think that's just part of it.

— Peter Laviolette on facing his former team (Flyers) for the first time since his departure