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Posted On Sunday, 01.12.2014 / 1:02 PM

By Joe Yerdon - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Leafs dealing with illness, winless streak

TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs have more than a four-game winless streak and the New Jersey Devils to contend with Sunday at Air Canada Centre. They're also battling illness.

According to Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, forwards Tyler Bozak and Jerry D'Amigo, defensemen Mark Fraser and Tim Gleason, and goalie James Reimer all missed the morning skate with some kind of sickness.

"There's either a flu bug or food poisoning," Carlyle said. "There's just too many of them under the weather and having the same symptoms. We don't quite have a finger on exactly what it is. We think that there's people that weren't skating this morning that will be available to us tonight."

Posted On Sunday, 01.12.2014 / 10:09 AM

By Adam Vingan - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Capitals winning with flair for the comeback

ARLINGTON, Va. – As the Washington Capitals began to establish themselves as Stanley Cup contenders several seasons ago, they did so with a penchant for late-game dramatics.

Since the 2008-09 season, no team has more wins when trailing in the third period than the Capitals' 49, according to Elias Sports Bureau. That trend has continued this season. Washington leads the NHL with nine such victories, the most recent coming Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Down 2-1 after Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel scored less than a minute into the third period, the Capitals rallied with goals from forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Joel Ward to win 3-2, their second straight victory.

"Aside from a handful of games, we feel like we can win every single game," defenseman Karl Alzner said. "Doesn't matter if we're playing great or just okay, we always have that feeling where [Alex Ovechkin] can break out and score three goals or [Backstrom] can set up 10 guys. We have that feeling that we can win every game."

Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 10:54 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Red Wings' Alfredsson out vs. Kings

Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson is out of the lineup Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Alfredsson missed the game due to back spasms, according to the team. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press he might also miss the game Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 10:21 PM - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

ANA @ PHX - 11:16 of the Third Period

At 11:16 of the third period in the Ducks/Coyotes game, video review supported the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Martin Hanzal's skate and into the net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 49.2 "A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal." Good goal Phoenix.

Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 7:25 PM - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

CBJ @ WPG - 3:25 of the First Period

At 3:25 of the first period in the Blue Jackets/Jets game, video review supported the referee's call on the ice that Devin Setoguchi's stick was above the height of the crossbar when he deflected the puck into the Columbus net. According to Rule 60.5 "An apparent goal scored by an attacking player who strikes the puck with his stick carried above the height of the crossbar of the goal frame shall not be allowed. The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick." No goal Winnipeg.

Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 4:27 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bruins' Eriksson, Thornton returning against Sharks

SAN JOSE -- Shawn Thornton and Loui Eriksson will be in the lineup Saturday night for the first time in more than a month when the Boston Bruins face the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center.

Eriksson sustained a concussion on a hit from the Pittsburgh Penguins' Brooks Orpik early in the first period of a Dec. 7 game in Boston. Later in that game, Thornton retaliated against Orpik, tripping him from behind and then punching him in the face twice while Orpik was on the ice. Orpik also ended up with a concussion, and Thornton was suspended 15 games by the NHL.

Thornton served the final game of his suspension Thursday night when the Bruins lost 4-2 against the Los Angeles Kings.

"I'm excited to be back, obviously," Thornton said after the Bruins' morning skate. "It was a tough night to sleep, for other reasons this time, which is good. I was a little excited. It's been a long time. I can't wait to get it going."

Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 4:19 PM

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

Kings' Richards looking to regain scoring touch

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – His Los Angeles Kings are still in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race but Mike Richards admits he's had better winters.

Richards is on a 20-game goalless streak dating back to his last goal Nov.25 and he has one goal in his past 28 games going into Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings. Coach Darryl Sutter broke up Richards and Jeff Carter in early December and Richards has played with a host of different wings, including Kyle Clifford, Matt Frattin and Trevor Lewis. Tyler Toffoli has assumed the right wing spot for several games, though.

Goals have been particularly difficult to come by lately as Richards has no shots on goal in his past two games. Something the forward credits to simply not being aggressive.

"It's been frustrating," Richards said. "But I'm not a natural goal scorer as Jeff would be. I have to kind of earn what I get. I have to stop looking for the pass-first mentality that I usually come with and try to get pucks to the net more. I don't use it very often, but I have a decent shot, so I think I have to get back to trying to shoot more instead of trying to pick your targets."

Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 4:17 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers, Devils searching for more offense

Goals will likely be at a premium Saturday night at Prudential Center when the Florida Panthers face the New Jersey Devils.

The Panthers have gone 2-1-1 in their past four despite scoring just seven goals in that span and the Devils have gone 3-2-1 with just 11 goals in their past six contests. Both teams hope to find some goals in a game featuring two of the NHL's lowest-scoring teams in the Devils (26th overall) and Panthers (28th).

"We're getting opportunities. We've got to bear down. Against this team [Saturday night], you're not going to get as many chances," Florida coach Peter Horachek said. "They play a very structured system down low. They're not going to be easy to play against. You have to work for your chances."

If Florida does have one thing going for it, it's the play of its top line. The trio of rookie Aleksander Barkov and veterans Sean Bergenheim and Brad Boyes has accounted for 10 goals in the past 10 games, making it one of the League's hottest lines.

Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 2:54 PM

By Aaron Vickers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Offensively challenged Flames welcome Penguins

CALGARY -- The Edmonton Oilers sure didn't do the Calgary Flames any favors Friday night.

The Oilers turned a late 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 overtime win thanks to goals by Anton Belov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, snapping Pittsburgh's three-game winning streak in the process.

The Flames know that as a result, they'll be dealing with an ornery Penguins squad when they play host to Pittsburgh at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

"They're going to be hungry," rookie Sean Monahan said. "They didn't expect to lose that game and in hockey anything can happen so I think they're going to be hungry for a win. But so are we."

With Calgary's recent struggles, coach Bob Hartley's attention is solely on his own bench, though.

Posted On Saturday, 01.11.2014 / 2:28 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Coyotes' Smith 'needs some work with his game'

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Mike Smith continues to struggle between the pipes and Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will sit his No. 1 goaltender in favor of backup Thomas Greiss for the second time in three games Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Smith was named to Canada's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics this week, but on the ice things aren't going well. He stopped 25 of 28 shots in a 4-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, and the game-winning goal by Kyle Brodziak was one Smith would like to have back.

"[Smith] needs some work with his game and [goalie coach Sean Burke] wanted to work with him for a couple days," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Greiss has played very well lately, so we're going to him tonight and we'll see if we can get a win."

The Wild jumped past Phoenix into the final Western Conference playoff spot Thursday but Tippett said he doesn't regret going with his struggling goalie. Smith has one win in his last nine decisions (1-5-3) and he has three wins in his last 17 starts. His goals-against average has risen to 2.90 and he hasn't given the Coyotes the consistent play they crave in net.

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Quote of the Day

It seems like I'm kind of making it a little difficult on myself here the last two games.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after tying the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with an assist on Duncan Keith's goal with 26.6 seconds left against the Anaheim Ducks Friday
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