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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 3:02 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Panthers at Avalanche

DENVER -- Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant is aware the Colorado Avalanche have struggled to score goals this season -- nine in six games -- and is hopeful they won't break out Tuesday at Pepsi Center.

"They haven't scored a lot but they have the potential to score a lot of goals," Gallant said after an optional morning skate. "With their talent and the skill over there it's just a matter of time, so hopefully it's not [Tuesday]."

The Panthers are in a similar situation with five goals in five games, but they've been getting strong goaltending from Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya while playing solid team defense. Montoya made 26 saves Saturday when the Panthers began a three-game trip with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals. Luongo, who will play Tuesday, has turned aside 48 of 49 shots in his past two starts.

"Hopefully we'll keep playing our game and shut them down and play a real solid game," Gallant said. "They're a dangerous team like Washington is a dangerous team. We have to make sure we're playing our game. We're working hard, we're having good gaps, not giving odd-man rushes. I think if we keep playing that way we'll have a chance to win every night."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 2:39 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Jets

WINNIPEG -- The reinforcements are beginning to arrive for the Carolina Hurricanes, who continue a five-game road trip Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

Left wing Jeff Skinner will make his season debut for the Hurricanes after sustaining a concussion in the final preseason game, Oct. 5, and play on a line with center Victor Rask and right wing Elias Lindholm.

"I hope that I can help the guys get it done," Skinner said. "For me coming back, I'm just going to try to keep it simple. I think that as a team we've been getting better. Just keep building on the good things in our game and hopefully I can add to that. It's a big game because it could be the start of a big road trip for us."

Defenseman Andrej Sekera (upper body) will return to the lineup after a one-game absence that was the result of a collision Oct. 14 against the Buffalo Sabres.

"It's just good to get some guys back," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "Instead of calling up a guy from Charlotte [American Hockey League], we're able to put in a guy that is a proven 30-goal scorer."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 2:24 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canucks at Stars

DALLAS -- When the Vancouver Canucks and Dallas Stars play Tuesday at American Airlines Center, two streaks will be on the line.

Vancouver, which lost 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday at Rogers Arena, looks to remain unbeaten on the road, where the Canucks are 2-0-0 this season.

The Stars, who lost 6-5 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday in Dallas, still are seeking their first home win of the season (0-0-2).

Facing Dallas is a homecoming for first-year Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, who spent the past four seasons in the Stars organization, two as an assistant to former coaches Marc Crawford and Glen Gulutzan (now part of his staff in Vancouver), and the past two seasons coaching the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, the 2014 Calder Cup champions.

"Yeah, it's a special game for me. This is a good organization and I know a lot of guys in the organization, so it is a special place," Desjardins said. "So right from the start I knew when this game was going to be."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 2:14 PM

By Robby Stanley - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Predators

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators have gained at least one point in all five of their games to start the season (3-0-2) and will try to extend that streak to six Tuesday when they host the Arizona Coyotes.

Nashville got three of four points during its two-game weekend road trip at the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks. The Predators' early success has them leading the Central Division heading into games Tuesday.

"Hard work ethic has been the No. 1 key for us, I think," Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "We're always working hard. I don't know one game that we can say we got outworked. And then the system has been working for us so far. That's a huge part of it too. I don't think I can say one thing that just sums it all up. I think it's all the little pieces and all the little details."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 2:02 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Just as they're about to get forward Kris Versteeg back, the Chicago Blackhawks lost another important puzzle piece Tuesday in goalie Corey Crawford.

Crawford, who started Chicago's first four games, is day-to-day with an upper-body injury that will cause him to miss a game Tuesday at United Center against the Philadelphia Flyers (8:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Backup Antti Raanta will make his season debut, while 25-year-old Scott Darling was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League to be the backup.

"He didn't feel great [Monday after practice], it was bothering him, and this morning it got a little worse," Quenneville said of Crawford. "I don't think it was a defining blow [that caused it]."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 2:00 PM

By Sean Farrell - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Red Wings at Canadiens

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk may be playing out of position when he makes his season debut Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens.

Datsyuk lined up at left wing at the Red Wings' morning skate at Bell Centre in Montreal, with Henrik Zetterberg at center and Justin Abdelkader on the right side.

Even Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was caught off guard by Datsyuk's position change.

"That was a bit of a surprise for me this morning," Babcock said after confirming Datsyuk would be in the lineup.

Datsyuk played coy when asked if he'll play left wing during the game.

"It's a secret," Datsyuk said. "We try to switch. I need work. I'll play center too."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 1:46 PM

By John Kreiser - Managing Editor / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- John Tavares grew up watching the Toronto Maple Leafs. As captain of the New York Islanders, he always seems to save a little extra when they're the other team on the ice.

That will be the case Tuesday when the Maple Leafs come to Nassau Coliseum for their first game of the season against the improved Islanders. New York won its first four games before a 3-1 road loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday, a game that saw Tavares fail to get a point for the first time this season.

Though he's in his sixth NHL season, Tavares said that there's still something a little special about playing against the team he grew up rooting for.

"I don't get to eat lunch as quickly," he joked with the media horde that surrounded him after the morning skate. "Every game is a new challenge, every team. But obviously growing up there, what hockey means to the people, it's obviously a lot of fun playing against the Maple Leafs. At the same time I try not to change a whole lot or do a lot of things differently. I want to try to prepare the same way and focus on the things I need to do to contribute."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 1:19 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Live blog

NHL Live welcomes top prospect McDavid

NHL Live with Steve Mears and E.J. Hradek is on the air at 5 p.m. ET on NHL Network.

Erie Otters center Connor McDavid, one of the top prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft, will call into the show at 5:35 p.m. McDavid was named to the Ontario Hockey League team for the 2014 Subway Super Seriesand leads the OHL with 25 points in nine games.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 1:12 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2015 NHL Draft blog

McDavid to lead Erie Otters at First Niagara Center

The pressure associated with performing well in a draft season hasn't gotten the best of Erie Otters center Connor McDavid.

McDavid leads the Ontario Hockey League with 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in nine games. He has a point in all nine games, and eight straight multipoint games. He has 61 goals, 190 points and a plus-39 rating in 128 games in three OHL seasons.

The 17-year-old Erie captain will lead the Otters against the Niagara IceDogs on Wednesday in a special regular-season game at First Niagara Center in Buffalo at 7 p.m. ET. The game will give fans in the area a glimpse of McDavid, who is expected to be a top-two pick at the 2015 NHL Draft.

"I've been to a couple Sabres games," McDavid said in August during the announcement of the game in Buffalo. "I was here last year and it's a pretty nice spot. The fans are crazy here; they're great. I'm really excited to play here with my team."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 1:04 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sharks at Bruins

BOSTON -- The San Jose Sharks' first regulation loss of the season and the return to health of center James Sheppard have caused coach Todd McLellan to juggle his forward lines against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday.

San Jose's 4-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday put the Sharks' record at 4-1-1.

Sheppard is scheduled to make his season debut after recovering from knee surgery. He thinks he's just about 100 percent healthy.

"I've gone through this rehab more than one time. And it kind of gets redundant but you get a better feel for where you are in your rehab process, things like that," said Sheppard, who had four goals and 20 points in 67 games last season. "My biggest thing was just trying to get back where I was at the end of last year because I think that's the best that I've played in my career, having a bum knee or a good year. So I kind of got a better feel for where I was and I know that now I'm ready to go, I’m ready to contribute to our team."

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Quote of the Day

My job was to get that puck and put it on net, and his job was not letting me do it. I got the best of that, but that game's over and to be honest I already forgot about it.

— Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on his late game-tying goal in Montreal's 2-1 OT win
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