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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 2:28 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ducks looking forward to their crack at Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- It might be just another game on the schedule, with more points the biggest thing at stake, but Tuesday's matchup at United Center does carry with it a little more interest than normal.

The Anaheim Ducks come into the game knowing they could become the first team this season to hand the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks a regulation loss (10-0-2). That in itself adds a little more spice than normal to a game that features a pair of teams that weren't really discussed much as serious contenders in the Western Conference prior to the season.

The NHL record for most consecutive wins without a regulation loss to start a season is 16, held by the 2006-07 Ducks (12-0-4).

"I think you always want to beat a team that's undefeated," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said Tuesday prior to his team's morning skate. "You always think of it as quite a challenge. They're by and far, right now, the best team in the League. So it's a test for our team."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 2:18 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Both the Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks had some minor injury updates after their morning skates at United Center on Tuesday.

Joel Quenneville said Daniel Carcillo (knee sprain), Steve Montador (upper body) and Rostislav Olesz (knee) all skated on their own prior to the Blackhawks taking the ice for their team skate. Carcillo was injured in the third period of the season's first game at the Los Angeles Kings, and Montador is believed to be dealing with concussion symptoms that date to last season. Olesz is up with the Blackhawks rehabbing a knee injury that happened late last season in Rockford of the American Hockey League.

Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller did get on the ice for the skate at some point in his attempt to return from a lower-body injury that happened last Friday night at the Dallas Stars.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 2:15 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Smyth a surprising scratch for Oilers

The big surprise coming out of the Edmonton Oilers' morning skate is that forward Ryan Smyth will be a healthy scratch for Tuesday's game against the Dallas Stars.

Smyth, second all-time on the Oilers' list of games played (864) and fifth in goals (285), has two points in 12 games, and has 22 penalty minutes in his past four, including three minor penalties Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. His ice time also has gone down; he's played fewer than 15 minutes in three of the past four, including 11:25 on Sunday.

The 36-year-old, who has spent 14 of his 18 NHL seasons with the Oilers, chose not to talk to reporters after the team's morning skate.

Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said sitting Smyth out was an "extremely difficult" decision, but one he feels is best for the team ahead of Tuesday's game.

"The decisions I need to make, that are my responsibility, are the ones I believe are best for the team on a given day," he said. "Whether people are going to like it or not, or whether I'm popular or not is not the driving force."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 2:10 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Capitals chase first road victory, consecutive wins

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Fresh off their most impressive showing of the season, the Washington Capitals now are looking to build on Saturday's 5-0 victory against the Florida Panthers.

With a rematch against the Panthers at the BB&T Center coming up Tuesday night, the Capitals are hoping they've finally turned things around after their miserable start.

"Hopefully it's one of those turnaround games where we had our rock-bottom moment a few weeks ago and we wanted to be better, to a man," said wing Troy Brouwer, who scored twice in Saturday's victory. "Going into our last game, guys were real excited wanting to turn the season around. We feel we've taken the right steps toward moving forward here and we've got to continue that."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Panthers get immediate opportunity for payback

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers start an important four-game homestand Tuesday night and get an opportunity to avenge an embarrassing loss in their previous game.

The Panthers get another shot at the Washington Capitals, who shut them out 5-0 Saturday night at Verizon Center.

"For us, having come off a loss to them, a tough loss where it was a pretty lopsided score, that doesn't sit well with us," said Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen, who is expected to get the start Tuesday. "We're looking forward to getting another crack at them."

The game brought a disappointing end to what otherwise was a productive four-game road trip for the Panthers. Before the loss at Washington, Florida had gone 2-0-1, with victories at the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers and an overtime loss at the Winnipeg Jets.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 1:52 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Byfuglien returning for Jets vs. Flyers

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers have one thing in common heading into their game Tuesday at MTS Centre -- both are coming off recent losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Jets lost 3-2 at home to Toronto on Feb. 7, but they were able to rebound with a 1-0 road win two nights later against the Ottawa Senators. They've been off since then, while the Flyers lost 5-2 in Toronto on Monday.

The Jets will welcome defenseman Dustin Byfuglien back to the lineup against the Flyers after a five-game absence with an undisclosed injury. Byfuglien will reunite with defense partner Tobias Enstrom, whose two goals and 11 assists tie him for the NHL lead in scoring among defensemen. Winnipeg also anticipates the imminent return of Zach Bogosian to its blue line. Bogosian has not played this season after offseason wrist surgery.

Jets coach Claude Noel would not confirm his defensive mix, but it is expected Grant Clitsome will be a healthy scratch to make room for Byfuglien.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

With Rangers performing, Boyle to sit again

BOSTON -- With the New York Rangers coming off their second straight victory, coach John Tortorella is inclined to go with the same lineup he used in wins against the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

So that means another healthy scratch for Boston native Brian Boyle, who is scheduled to sit out his third straight game.

"I'm trying not to think about anything, really, honestly," said Boyle, who was bag skated by assistant coach Mike Sullivan along with fellow scratches Stu Bickel and Steve Eminger after the Rangers' morning skate at TD Garden. "I'm just trying to come work every day and work as hard as I can because it's ... I've said it before, I didn't play as well as I think I could've, but I know I can be a good player and effective player in this League and on this team. It's infuriating sitting out, it's awful. And it's [ticking] me off a lot."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 1:12 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bruins' Seguin back with Bergeron, Marchand

BOSTON -- Back on the ice for the Boston Bruins one day after sitting out practice due to a maintenance day, Tyler Seguin was back in a familiar spot, one he hadn't been in for a short while, during line rushes Tuesday at TD Garden.

Seguin skated on right wing alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. From the third period of Boston's win against the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 6 through their next game, at the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 10, Seguin had switched places with Nathan Horton and skated with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

That switch paid off in Montreal, as the newly formed Seguin-Krejci-Lucic top line scored goals on its first two shifts to lead the way to victory. Just because the lines reverted to their old form during the morning skate, however, doesn't mean coach Claude Julien won't shuffle things if his team needs another spark Tuesday against the New York Rangers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 1:07 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Boucher liked what he saw from Killorn's debut

TAMPA, Fla. -- There wasn't much for the Tampa Bay Lightning to cheer about Sunday as they concluded a winless 0-3 road trip with a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of the New York Rangers for their fourth consecutive loss, but coach Guy Boucher did find one bright spot.

Alexander Killorn, making his NHL debut after being called up from Syracuse of the American Hockey League, picked up an assist and skated aggressively in 13:17 minutes of ice time.

"The AHL is a development league; the NHL is a performance league," Boucher said. "You're here to win. When a young guy enters your lineup it is not time for experiments; it's time to see if he can hack it. Can he contribute? Is he reliable? And if he is, you can show him more ice time.

"I saw Killorn in the first two shifts, I start him on the third line and then I realized that he had assets and he's proving it right now and I can use him with top guys, so he deserves it. It's not a question of age or experience, it's a matter of if they are ready. If a guy is ready, let's go."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 1:03 PM

By Matt Sitkoff -  NHL.com Contributor /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Cisco NHL Live previews Ducks-Blackhawks

The top two teams in the Western Conference square off Tuesday night, and Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will have the Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks game covered. We'll be joined by Chicago forward Bryan Bickell on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam to preview this key matchup.

With nine other games on the schedule we'll get you ready for all of them, with live reports out of Boston, Winnipeg and Nashville. Detroit coach Mike Babcock will check in to talk about the Red Wings' recent success, and NHL Network analyst Darren Pang drops by the show to talk about goalie tandems around the League.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, keep an eye on this Senior Reporter’s dance moves in his EJ5: Hradek's Top 5 Thoughts of the Day with a power play theme, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks each game being played on Tuesday.

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Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh