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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 6:45 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers' Girardi to sit vs. Devils

NEWARK -- New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi will miss his first game of the season Tuesday night. The team said he's "banged up" and lists him as day-to-day.

Stu Bickel, who had been playing forward, will move back and take Girardi's place on the blue line when the Rangers take on the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

In addition, Rangers rookie forward Chris Kreider will make his return to the lineup after missing the last five games, including four in a row while dealing with bone chips in his ankle.

Kreider will start the game on a line with the recently acquired Darroll Powe and rookie call-up J.T. Miller, who is making his NHL debut.

Girardi, who played in all 82 games last season and 120 in a row, has missed only two games in the last five-plus seasons. He did not practice Monday, but the team said he was simply taking a "maintenance day." Girardi was on the ice for the morning skate Tuesday, but when the Rangers came out for warmups prior to the game he was not with them.

Girardi has two assists and is a minus-3 in eight games this season.

Ryan McDonagh, Girardi's normal defense partner, was paired with Anton Stralman in warmups. Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto remained together with Bickel and Matt Gilroy making up the third pair.

Henrik Lundqvist is starting in net for the Rangers opposite the Devils' Martin Brodeur.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 6:09 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

Shanahan explains non-discipline decisions on NHL Live

Brendan Shanahan, NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety, made an appearance Tuesday on Cisco NHL Live and provided analysis of a few plays from recent games that the League's Department of Player Safety determined did not warrant any supplemental discipline.

Three players have been suspended so far in the 2012-13 season -- Philadelphia's Brayden Schenn for a charging infraction on New Jersey's Anton Volchenkov, Colin McDonald of the New York Islanders for a boarding penalty on Pittsburgh's Ben Lovejoy and Washington's John Erskine for a hit to the head of Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds.

The incidents Shanahan highlighted during his appearance on the show included hits by San Jose's Brad Stuart on Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog, Toronto's Mike Brown on Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta and Los Angeles' Jarrett Stoll on Anaheim's Cam Fowler.
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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 5:39 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sharks, Blackhawks ready to measure up in showdown

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks are the two hottest teams in the NHL at start of the season.

Tonight at HP Pavilion, the NHL's top two teams will see how they measure up against each other in their first meeting of the 2012-13 campaign.

The Blackhawks (7-0-2) lead the league with 16 points, just one more than the Sharks (7-1-1). San Jose opened the season with seven straight wins, the Blackhawks six. Chicago has yet to lose in regulation.

"Both of us have had good starts to the year," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "We want to see what they have, and I'm sure they want to see what we have. We're looking forward to an exciting game."

Added Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane: "Both teams seem to be really good this year and obviously want to prove something to the world."

The Sharks will have the home-ice edge Tuesday, but the Blackhawks should have an advantage in terms of energy. San Jose played at Anaheim on Monday night, a 2-1 loss to end the Sharks' eight-game run with at least a point. Chicago hasn't played since Saturday night at Calgary.

"Whether it's back-to-back or not, there's no excuses out here," Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. "We're ready to play. We're going to go from there. There's going to be times throughout the season where everybody's tired. There's no excuses. They're big points early on. We're playing well and so are they, so it should be an exciting game."

Both teams have slowed down a bit since their blistering starts as opponents throughout the League have gotten back up to speed after the lockout. The Sharks averaged 4.6 goals in their first five games and got two goals from Patrick Marleau in each of their first four games. Now they've lost two straight, first 2-1 in a shootout to Nashville then 2-1 in regulation to the Ducks.

Before beating Calgary 3-2 in a shootout Saturday, the Blackhawks lost 3-2 to Minnesota and 2-1 to Vancouver, both times in shootouts.

"I think you could have predicted it was going to be wide open to start and then things would tighten up as the season goes on," Kane said. "They've been playing very good defensively all year, so hopefully we can sneak a few by them tonight. But for us, we've had a lot of success in this room offensively, five-on-five, every year I've been here. That's something we just have to continue to work at."

The Sharks' power play provided much of the offense during their fast start with 12 goals in 32 attempts. In the past four games, San Jose is just 1-for-18 on the power play. The Sharks will try to get back on track against the NHL's top-ranked penalty kill.

"They're going to come hard," Couture said of the Blackhawks' penalty killers. "They've got guys who are short-handed threats. They look for offense on it, so we got to be sharp, keep our shifts short, try to play in their end and just shoot the puck more.

"We just had a meeting to try to get it going. Obviously we started off well. We were supporting each other; we were getting pucks to the net. That's something we haven't done lately. We've left guys on islands by themselves in the zone and haven't gotten many shots on net. That's something we need to change."

The Blackhawks are preparing for a Sharks' power play that traditionally has been tough on opponents, especially at home.

"They have a great PP," Blackhawks center Dave Bolland said. "They're always moving around, they're never in the same spot, they're always moving from side to side. So we've got to be aware of where Marleau, where Joe [Thornton] is or any of them, or [Dan] Boyle. It's going to be a good test for us. It's going to be a great test."

For the Blackhawks and Sharks, this will be a proverbial "measuring stick" contest.

"We know that right now these are the two top teams in the West," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "The last couple years we've always had great games against San Jose, especially in this building. Even though they played last night, we always know it's going to be a high tempo. Regardless of what San Jose's capable of doing as a team, we know we've got to be way better than we were our last game in Calgary. So as a team it's more about us and how we're prepared to play in this locker room. If we get our game back on track, we'll give ourselves a good chance to win."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 4:18 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Blackhawks relieved to be getting Bolland back

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Second-line center Dave Bolland will return to the lineup Tuesday night for the Chicago Blackhawks against the San Jose Sharks after missing one game with an injury to his lower right leg.

Shortly after the Blackhawks' morning skate at HP Pavilion, Bolland broke the news that he'd be in the lineup, then coach Joel Quenneville confirmed it.

Bolland said he'll have no limitations in Tuesday night's game.

"Feels great," Bolland said.

Bolland was injured Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks when he took a slash from Jannik Hansen in the third period of Chicago's 2-1 shootout loss. He initially feared he had broken a bone and might be out for the season. But after missing Chicago's 3-2 shootout win Saturday night at Calgary, Bolland practiced Monday and skated Tuesday morning at HP Pavilion.

Linemate Patrick Kane said it will be "huge" to have Bolland back on the ice against San Jose.

"I don't know if any of us really knew the extent of the injury," Kane said. "He's a good player. He obviously can play in a lot of different roles -- penalty kills and plays the power play and is a very effective center for us. It's good to have him back, especially these type of games."

Bolland has three goals and one assist in eight games for the Blackhawks.

Quenneville had some more good news on the injury front regarding Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival, who has missed the past five games with a lower-body injury. Quenneville said Rozsival is now healthy enough to play, although it's doubtful he'll be in the lineup tonight.

Sharks veteran defenseman Dan Boyle could be back in the lineup after missing Monday night's 2-1 loss at Anaheim with the flu. Boyle skated on his own Tuesday morning, and Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he'll be in the lineup if he feels healthy enough to play.

Boyle has been battling the flu for a week. He missed San Jose's game against Anaheim on Jan. 29, played the next two games, then was out again Tuesday after a relapse.

Here's how the lineups could look Tuesday night when the Sharks face the Blackhawks at HP Pavilion:

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick SharpDave BollandPatrick Kane

Viktor StalbergAndrew ShawBryan Bickell

Jamal MayersMarcus KrugerMichael Frolik

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Niklas Hjalmarsson- Johnny Oduya

Nick Leddy - Sheldon Brookbank

Corey Crawford

Ray Emery

Injuries: Daniel Carcillo

Scratches: Brandon Bollig, Michal Rozsival

SHARKS

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

James Sheppard - Logan Couture - Ryane Clowe

Scott Gomez - Michal Handzus - Martin Havlat

TJ Galiardi - Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers

Brad Stuart - Dan Boyle

Douglas Murray - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Brent Burns

Scratches: Tommy Wingels, Matt Irwin, Nick Petrecki

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 3:23 PM

By NHL Green -  /NHL.com - NHL Green Slapshots™

In Buffalo, blue and gold make green

The Buffalo Sabres, through the Blue & Gold Make Green Initiative, are dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment of Western New York and Southern Ontario.

The organization is committed to developing initiatives and educational opportunities in the community, throughout the season, to help reduce the Sabres environmental footprint. The Blue & Gold Make Green Initiative encourages members of the Sabres front office, as well as players and fans, to actively participate in making the community a cleaner, safer and healthier place.

In 2006, a volunteer organization called Re-Tree WNY was established to re-forest every public area destroyed by the devastating October storm. Still in pursuit of this goal in 2012, the Sabres joined the campaign to raise funds for the purchase of trees to be planted along the city’s streets and parks.

The Sabres, in partnership with Re-Tree Western New York, have helped raise over $500,000 to reforest Buffalo and surrounding communities. These trees help to conserve and reduce energy use, reducing local carbon dioxide levels, improving air quality and mitigating storm water runoff. Re-Tree WNY has planted a total of nearly 25,000 of their 30,000 tree goal.

The partnership was a natural fit for the organization, who each season hosts a spring clean-up event along Buffalo’s waterfront, removing trash, litter and heavy debris from Western New York shorelines, waterfront parks and wetlands.

For more news and information on the Blue & Gold Make Green Initiative, visit the Sabres Green Team page and sign-up now to join the team.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 2:25 PM

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

Islanders sign Gallant to entry-level contract

The New York Islanders and forward Brett Gallant have agreed to terms on a one-year, entry-level contract.

Gallant, 24, is in the midst of his fourth professional season and third year with the Islanders American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Summerside, Prince Edward Island native has appeared in 37 games this season, registering 174 penalty minutes, ranking him third in the AHL.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 2:19 PM

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

Panthers hope to keep rolling in Winnipeg

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The Winnipeg Jets proved to be a good tonic for the Florida Panthers last week, and the Panthers hope that an encore engagement Tuesday night at MTS Centre will provide a similar result.

Florida thumped Winnipeg last Thursday at BB&T Center, using a five-goal third period to take a 6-3 decision. The Panthers followed that effort with a 4-3 road win at Buffalo that began a four-game road trip. The back-to-back two-point efforts have taken some of the sting out of a season-opening 1-5-0 start.

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen likes the steps that his team has taken.

"I think we're playing with little more group-of-five than the individual play that we saw earlier," Dineen said. "We were out of sync. There was not a whole of flow going on. I think there's better chemistry as a team and how we have to play."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 2:17 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Erat 'good to go' as Predators end lengthy road trip

ST. LOUIS -- Coaches Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators and Ken Hitchcock of the St. Louis Blues were not 100 percent forthcoming with what lineups they will use Tuesday night at Scottrade Center in the third matchup of the season of the two squads.

The Predators, on the last leg of a seven-game trip, will get Martin Erat back in the lineup. Erat missed Saturday's 2-1 shootout win at the San Jose Sharks with a foot injury, suffered at practice Friday.

"I'm good to go," said Erat, who has four points in seven games. "It was too swollen to play [Saturday], but right now it feels good. I've got no worries about it."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 1:50 PM

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

Jets limp home to face Panthers, with PK a focus

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Normally a midwinter trip that includes a stop in Florida is a welcome time for the Winnipeg Jets, but last week's three-game road trip left them limping home.

The Jets (3-4-1) dropped all three games, including a defeat last Thursday to the Florida Panthers, who visit MTS Centre for a Tuesday evening date. The penalty kill, a source of many of Winnipeg's defensive problems last season, has again become a major issue for coach Claude Noel and his club. Winnipeg has surrendered goals on eight of its past 16 shorthanded situations, and the Jets rank last in the League on the penalty kill.

Noel said defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will miss his third consecutive game with an undisclosed injury, but that a return for Thursday's game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs is a possibility. Winnipeg is also without Zach Bogosian, whose return remains slated for mid-February. Alexander Burmistrov centers Winnipeg's second line.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 1:47 PM

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

Neuvirth back in net for Capitals vs. Maple Leafs

Here is the projected lineup for the Washington Capitals when they play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Verizon Center on Tuesday night:

Wojtek Wolski - Mike Ribeiro - Alex Ovechkin

Jason Chimera - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer

Marcus Johansson - Joey Crabb - Joel Ward

Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Eric Fehr

Karl Alzner - Mike Green

Tom Poti - John Carlson

Jeff Schultz - Tomas Kundratek

Michal Neuvirth

Braden Holtby

Scratches: Roman Hamrlik, Mathieu Perreault

Suspended: John Erskine

Injured: Brooks Laich, Jack Hillen

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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff