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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 3:04 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Martinez hopes to stay in Kings lineup

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- It's not the way Alec Martinez wanted to get back into the Los Angeles Kings lineup, but he's trying to make the most of his opportunity.

Los Angeles went down to six available defensemen when Matt Greene sustained an undisclosed injury, so the Kings had little choice but to insert Martinez back in the lineup. After he was scratched for the previous seven games, Martinez played Thursday and will be back in Saturday night when L.A. hosts the Vancouver Canucks.

"Obviously it's unfortunate that we've got other guys getting hurt but I think we've got a lot of depth in this room and injuries are going to happen," Martinez said. "You need to be able to rely on those players when it does happen. I'm just trying to play my game and help the team win."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 2:53 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues, Penguins each short a key defenseman

ST. LOUIS -- A battle of past Olympians and 2014 Sochi Olympics hopefuls representing a plethora of countries will happen Saturday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins face the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.

But each team, a top-tier team in each conference, will be missing some key pieces when the puck drops.

Pittsburgh will be without defenseman Paul Martin (undisclosed), but they are expected to get right wing Beau Bennett (lower-body) back into the lineup.

"He's not going to be available for tonight's game, Paul Martin," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "That leaves us with six defensemen here."

The Blues (10-2-2) will insert defenseman Ian Cole into the lineup in place of veteran Jordan Leopold (hand), who blocked a shot in a 3-2 victory Thursday against the Calgary Flames.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock called Leopold's injury day-to-day, but a better prognosis won't be known until after the weekend.

"We'll know a little bit better on Monday how long he's going to be out for," Hitchcock said. "Right now it's just day to day and we'll see how he feels. Whether it's a week or two, we'll see how it feels. We'll know more on dates on Monday."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 2:34 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stars look to continue streak against Blackhawks

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars' recent three-game road trip couldn't have gone much better as the Stars beat the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins in the shootout and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena in overtime.

But first-year Dallas coach Lindy Ruff knows his club faces another big test Saturday night as the reigning NHL Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks visit American Airlines Center for the first time this season.

"I think they're probably one of the best transition teams in the league," Ruff said of Chicago. "They're as good as any team at getting four guys up, sometimes five guys up. When you turn it over, it leads to them going the other way and they've got skill up front."

Kari Lehtonen, who is 5-1-2 with a 2.25 goals-against-average since returning from a lower-body injury on Oct. 24 against the Calgary Flames, will start his ninth straight game in net for Dallas.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Thomas activated as Horachek coaches first game

OTTAWA -- Goalie Tim Thomas was activated from injured reserve by the Florida Panthers on Saturday prior to the game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.

The two-time Vezina Trophy winner led the Panthers onto the ice for the pre-game warm-up. Thomas has won his past nine games at Canadian Tire Centre, all as a member of the Boston Bruins.

Florida interim coach Peter Horachek makes his debut on Saturday. One of the few certainties about his starting lineup is that Jesse Winchester won't be included.

Winchester was suspended for three games Friday for elbowing Boston Bruins forward Chris Kelly in the head in Florida's 4-1 loss at TD Garden on Thursday.

"I didn't know what to expect, really," Winchester said. "It is their ruling. I have to respect it, and live and learn, and move on."

Horachek was promoted from San Antonio of the American Hockey League by Panthers general manager Dale Tallon, who fired coach Kevin Dineen and assistant coaches Gord Murphy and Craig Ramsay on Friday.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Craig Merz -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets hope to snap slump against Islanders

COLUMBUS -- The Columbus Blue Jackets took a jolt to the system Thursday in a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

Both coach Todd Richards and forward Brandon Dubinsky used the word "embarrassment" to describe the Blue Jackets' fifth straight loss, which dropped them to 5-10-0.

What followed the next day was a players-only meeting as well as numerous player-coaches conversations.

How that translates to the game Saturday against the New York Islanders at Nationwide Arena is anybody's guess.

"I'll be able to answer that question after the game tonight whether it was a wakeup call or not," Richards said. "The alarm went off for them based on how we practiced but the question for me is if they hit the snooze alarm or did they really wake up?"

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 1:15 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Stoner out, Dumba in for Wild against Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding will make his fifth straigh start in net Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Wild coach Mike Yeo said he strongly considered Niklas Backstrom for a start.

"We're going to get [Backstrom] in here soon," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "But when a guy's playing really well, he deserves to keep on going."

Clayton Stoner, who fell into the boards awkwardly in a 3-2 shootout loss Thursday night at Washington, will sit out against the Hurricanes. In his place, rookie Matt Dumba will play his 10th NHL game, which makes the first year of his entry-level contract official.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 12:54 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Perron returns for Oilers; Flyers shuffle lines

PHILADELPHIA -- The Edmonton Oilers will have forward David Perron back in the lineup Saturday when they play the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center.

Perron, who missed four games with a neck injury, took line rushes in the pregame warmup at left wing on a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

Perron had nine points in 13 games prior to being injured.

The Flyers again have shuffled their lines, with Matt Read and Brayden Schenn moving up to flank Claude Giroux on the top line, and Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds joining Vincent Lecavalier on the second line.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 12:38 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rangers' Nash skates for first time since injury

Rick Nash skated Saturday prior to New York Rangers practice. Skating alongside the goalies, it was the first time Nash has been on the ice since sustaining a head injury in a game against the San Jose Sharks on Oct. 8. Since being hit by Brad Stuart, Nash has missed 13 games.

The Rangers have gone 7-6-0 without Nash and have no plans to rush his recovery.

"He's on the road to recovery, he's skating," Rangers general manager Glen Sather told reporters. "But he's got a ways to go with his conditioning."

Prior to his injury, Nash had no goals and three assists in three games. In his first season with the Rangers, Nash led the team with 21 goals in 44 games.

"Dealing with the brain, you always want to be careful," Nash said after his skate. "I'm inching forward here. I'm getting better."

Coach Alain Vigneault said, "To see him on the ice and skating and feeling good is a real positive sign for us."

The prolonged absence is something Nash is unaccustomed to. He entered this season having not missed more than seven games in a season since 2005-06, when he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He admitted it was good to be back on the ice, but no updates were made regarding his status. Considering they've won five of their past six games, the Rangers are in no rush to bring back their most potent offensive threat.

"It's good to be back and be around the guys. I've strung together a good three or four days here, so it's been all positive since then," Nash said. "It's tough when they take away the thing you love ... but it's been fun watching the guys lately, playing really well."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.09.2013 / 12:22 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bruins brace for strong Maple Leafs power play

BOSTON – Based on the statistics, the battle between the fifth-ranked power play of Toronto Maple Leafs could be a mismatch for the 16th-rated penalty kill of the Boston Bruins in their Atlantic Division game Saturday night at TD Garden.

However, take out the Bruins' 3-for-7 showing against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 26, the Bruins' penalty kill would be 36-for-40 (90 percent) this season. So Bruins coach Claude Julien has full confidence in his penalty killers' ability to slow down the first-place Maple Leafs, who are tied atop the division with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Well our PK has been good this year," Julien said after his team's optional morning skate. "The only reason we're down there in our PK is because of that one game against Jersey. Other than that we'd be in the top two or three in the League. ... Other than that it's been good."

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Posted On Friday, 11.08.2013 / 10:38 PM

NHL.com - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

NSH @ WPG - 15:27 of the Third Period

At 15:27 of the third period in the Predators/Jets game, the Situation Room initiated a review because the puck entered the Winnipeg net. The referee informed the Situation Room that he had blown his whistle prior to the puck crossing the goal line therefore this is not a reviewable play. No goal Nashville.

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Quote of the Day

I always feel the pressure to produce offensively. It's disappointing and frustrating when you can't help out your team the way you're supposed to.

— Rangers forward Rick Nash on scoring twice in a 5-1 Game 4 victory against the Lightning on Friday