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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 2:28 PM

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

At the Rink: Penguins at Lightning

TAMPA – Don't expect the Tampa Bay Lightning to have much sympathy for the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.

The Penguins are down 13 players with sickness or injuries. They used a seventh defenseman in place of a fourth-line forward in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday.

However, the Penguins have managed to remain atop the Eastern Conference with 49 points (22-6-5). The Lightning have struggled to a 3-5-2 record in their past 10 games.

Tampa Bay is also winless in its past 10 regular-season games against Pittsburgh (0-9-1).

"They seem to be getting points regardless of who is in the lineup," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "And they have [Sidney Crosby] playing tonight, which they didn't have last time we played. [Evgeni] Malkin is playing. They are a dangerous team."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 2:02 PM

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

At the Rink: Jets at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Brad Richards will miss a second straight game for the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, but it's mainly to capitalize on the upcoming break in the schedule.

Richards, who participated in Chicago's morning skate prior to the game against the Winnipeg Jets at United Center, missed his first game Sunday with an undisclosed upper-body injury. The Blackhawks put forward Kris Versteeg at Richards' spot centering the second line, bumped forward Patrick Sharp to left wing of that unit and cruised to a 4-0 home victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The reconfigured line helped generate the Blackhawks' first two goals against Toronto, including Versteeg's goal with less than a second left in the first period. They will line up that way again Tuesday, which gives Richards more time to recover with the Christmas break starting Wednesday.

"With three days off, rushing into a game tonight, why not just get a few more days and come back after the break and know I'm ready to go?'" said Richards who has 18 points (six goals) in 33 games. "That's kind of the plan. Maybe if we didn't have the three-day break it would be different, but why not take advantage of it?"

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 1:52 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Oilers

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers are looking to avoid a regular-season sweep against the Arizona Coyotes at Rexall Place on Tuesday.

The Coyotes (11-18-4) have won all four games against the Oilers (7-20-7) going into the finale of the season series. Arizona has earned at least a point against Edmonton in their past 17 games (14-0-3).

"I think they just kind of wait for us to make mistakes and we've kind of killed ourselves in a lot of the games," Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle said. "Tonight will hopefully be a different story. I like to think we're playing a bit of a smarter game right now. We've addressed the way we need to play with our new coach, with a little bit of energy. I'm excited tonight. The last game before Christmas, where you get a few days off, you really want to try and get a win and feel good about yourself."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 1:39 PM

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

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Stars

DALLAS -- The Toronto Maple Leafs head into American Airlines Center on Tuesday to play the Dallas Stars on a three-game losing streak, but coach Randy Carlyle isn't calling his team desperate in its final game before the Christmas break.

"Desperation can take people out of their confidence, take confidence away," Carlyle said. "We don't want to go into the break with four losses. Who does? Who does in pro sports? We don't want to lose any games, simple as that."

Toronto lost 4-0 at the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday and Dallas overcame a three-goal deficit in the second period before winning 6-5 at the Edmonton Oilers to cap a perfect road trip through Western Canada at 3-0-0. Even though the Stars have won four straight, coach Lindy Ruff is always alert for signs of a letdown, especially against the struggling Maple Leafs, who remain a potent offensive team.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 1:22 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Over the Boards blog

Rangers' Boyle hopes holiday break revives game

NEW YORK -- Defenseman Dan Boyle is hoping the three-day holiday break helps revive his immune system so his energy returns to a normal level because he's admittedly been scuffling and hasn't delivered to the New York Rangers the type of offensive game he's capable of providing.

Boyle has two goals and no assists in 15 games this season. He has no points in the past seven games since returning from a two-game absence because he was sick.

"The last couple weeks, and I don't want to sound like it's making excuses, but I don't know what I have, if it's a cold or a New York flu," Boyle told Tuesday. "I've been fighting it a little bit energy wise. I guess I'm fine, but since I missed those two games definitely energy-wise I'm not where I need to be or want to be so it's been a little bit of a battle."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 1:10 PM

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

At the Rink: Flyers at Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund is expected to play Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers after missing one game with an illness. He missed the Wild's game Saturday against the Nashville Predators, as well as the past two days of practice, with a stomach ailment that has gone through the Wild dressing room.

Coach Mike Yeo said he expects Granlund to assume his duties on Minnesota's top line despite a solid game Saturday by Charlie Coyle, who skated between Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek after Granlund was scratched following pre-game warm-ups.

Minnesota aims to snap a three-game losing streak and head into the NHL's three-day holiday break with some momentum. To do that, Yeo hopes significant changes to Minnesota's bottom-six group will make things more difficult on the Flyers. Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine will be scratched and Stu Bickel will be in the lineup at right wing on the fourth line.

"Teams have been too comfortable coming in here lately," Yeo said.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 12:58 PM

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

At the Rink: Predators at Bruins

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins played the Nashville Predators to a draw for 65 minutes before losing 3-2 in a shootout one week ago.

So despite the Bruins recent struggles -- they're 2-2-2 in their past six games -- they can at least take the ice Tuesday against the Predators at TD Garden with confidence they can skate with the NHL's fourth-place team.

"I think no matter what the situation is, confidence or no confidence, we have to come out and start playing well for as close to 60 minutes as possible," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the morning skate. "As we keep mentioning day after day here, get some results from our scoring chances and from the end of the game ending up with wins. Like I mentioned with our chances, coming up with some goals and making those kind of things happen here. Again it's, when you get on a roll, everything seems to follow. Right now our job is to get on a bit of a roll here."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 12:53 PM

By Staff -  / - NHL Live blog Top Play Faceoff: Ovechkin vs. Ryan

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 12:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils left wing Mike Cammalleri, who has sat out the past four games with a groin injury, is expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes at Prudential Center.

Cammalleri, who leads the Devils in goals (11), power-play goals (five) and game-winning goals (three), will be a welcomed addition; the Devils have scored four times and have been shut out twice in the past four games without him.

"I think I'll be good to go," Cammalleri said. "I practiced [Monday] and felt good, and I'm excited to get back. I don't think I'll have too must rust; I'll be able to handle it."

Cammalleri, 32, was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 13 and can be removed at any time; that will likely happen prior to puck drop. He practiced Monday and stayed off the ice for the morning skate Tuesday. He's expected to join center Scott Gomez and right wing Jaromir Jagr on the top line.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.23.2014 / 11:57 AM

By Staff -  / - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Eichel named captain of U.S. World Junior team

Boston University freshman Jack Eichel was named captain of the United States National Junior Team that will compete in Montreal and Toronto at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, according to USA Hockey.

Forward John Hayden (Chicago Blackhawks) and defenseman Will Butcher (Colorado Avalanche) will serve as alternates.

Considered a top-two pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Eichel scored a shorthanded goal and had four shots on goal to help lead the U.S. to a 5-2 win against Boston University in a Dec. 19 exhibition game. The 6-foot-1 center hit the Christmas break as the NCAA leader with 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) and a 1.69 points-per-game average in 16 games. He had one goal and four assists in five games for the fifth-place U.S. team in last year's tournament.

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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday