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Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 4:32 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

NHL Live: E.J. Hradek's Friday game picks

E.J. Hradek Game Picks Friday November 15th:

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Buffalo Sabres - Sabres

Los Angeles Kings vs New Jersey Devils - Devils

Nashville Predators vs Pittsburgh Penguins - Penguins

Anaheim Ducks vs Carolina Hurricanes - Hurricanes

Montreal Canadiens vs Columbus Blue Jackets - Blue Jackets

Boston Bruins vs Ottawa Senators - Bruins

Washington Capitals vs Detroit Red Wings - Red Wings

Florida Panthers vs Minnesota Wild - Wild

Philadelphia Flyers vs Winnipeg Jets - Flyers

San Jose Sharks vs Edmonton Oilers - Sharks

E.J.'s Season Record: 104-60-18

Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 4:04 PM

By Patrick Williams - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flyers, Jets hope to keep solid play going

WINNIPEG -- The Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets will see similar opponents when they meet Friday at MTS Centre.

Both teams have used three-game winning streaks to revive seasons that had been in danger of unraveling after slow starts. The Flyers won 2-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday and will wrap their three-game road trip against a Winnipeg Jets team that beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout on Tuesday.

"We have to be ready to go," Jets coach Claude Noel said. "Philly has got the same mojo that we have so they're going to be wanting to go as well."

Philadelphia has used a 6-3-1 run to move back into the Eastern Conference pack after a 1-7-0 start.

Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 2:27 PM

By Dan Myers - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers move on without Versteeg

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Change has been afoot with the Florida Panthers. Last week it was replacing their entire coaching staff. Then late Thursday Florida traded forward Kris Versteeg and minor-league forward Philippe Lefebvre to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for prospects Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen.

Panthers general manager Dale Tallon had hinted changes could be coming to the roster earlier in the week after coach Kevin Dineen and his staff were let go. His team snapped a nine-game winless skid Tuesday with a 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks, but has sandwiched three losing streaks between their four wins this season.

The Panthers will try and put together their first winning streak of the season Friday against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Versteeg was off to a slow start with two goals with five assists in 18 games. He also was a minus-9 and hadn't scored a goal in 11 games, making him expendable for a team that appears ready to get younger.

Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 2:05 PM

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

Canadiens welcome Prust back against Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS -- Montreal Canadiens coach Michel Therrien saw enough in practice to know that it would be unwise to keep left wing Brandon Prust out of the lineup any longer.

That's why Prust, who has missed the past 10 games because of a shoulder injury, will play Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

Therrien said Prust went against defenseman Douglas Murray in 1-on-1 drills Thursday before the team flew to Columbus.

"He felt pretty good," Therrien said after the team's morning skate Friday. "There's no reason for him to be out of the lineup. He battled hard [Thursday] in practice and he's feeling good this morning."

Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 2:00 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ericsson back for Red Wings, Green out for Capitals

DETROIT -- Jonathan Ericsson isn't cherry-picking his return to the Detroit Red Wings starting lineup.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound defenseman will make his return to Detroit's top defense pairing Friday night at Joe Louis Arena against the high-powered Washington Capitals, who are led by superstar Alex Ovechkin (14 goals, seven assists).

After missing 10 games with a shoulder subluxation, Ericsson is ready to get back on the ice with defense partner Niklas Kronwall.

"We'll keep him under 30 minutes and obviously he's a real good defender for us and can pass the puck [and has] huge size," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said following Detroit's optional morning skate. "It gives us one more high-end guy to get the puck going and be a better team. The forwards need the puck and he can do that plus play against real good players."

Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 1:37 PM

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

Nolan shifts Sabres' lines for first game of return

BUFFALO -- Ted Nolan's first game as interim coach of the Buffalo Sabres will be one loaded with potential storylines as they host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.

The Sabres worked through drills during the morning skate after a vigorous practice Thursday. There will be a few notable switches in the team's lineup as Zemgus Girgensons and Ville Leino will play center and Marcus Foligno will return to the wing.

"We want to put these players in a position where they feel comfortable so there's no excuses," Nolan said of the moves.

Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 1:32 PM

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

Flu bug continues to leave Ducks in tough spot

RALEIGH -- The Anaheim Ducks are fighting through a bout with the flu.

One day after a 5-1 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Ducks had a light showing at their optional morning skate prior to their game Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Defenseman Francois Beauchemin and forward Corey Perry made brief appearances on the ice, while Teemu Selanne, Mathieu Perreault and Bryan Allen stayed at the team hotel.

"There's a lot of game-time decisions," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "There's three more guys sick who stayed back so we don't know what's going on. We might be short."

Goaltender Viktor Fasth, who missed 13 games with a lower-body injury, may start in goal against Carolina. He was in the visitor's net for the morning skate.

Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 1:23 PM

By Pete Jensen - Fantasy Insider / - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Sharks' Boyle on fire in contract year

San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle was undervalued going into most fantasy drafts this season. His average draft position in Yahoo leagues was 107th overall and 21st among blueliners.

When he missed time due to injury early on, many owners were especially down on his value. Some even bailed on him, making him temporarily available in shallow leagues.

With the 37-year-old facing unrestricted free agency next summer, the clock began to tick for him to perform -- both in fantasy and reality.

Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 1:11 PM

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

Senators stick with Anderson to face Bruins

OTTAWA -- Despite allowing five goals in his previous start, Craig Anderson will be in net again for the Ottawa Senators on Friday against the Boston Bruins at Canadian Tire Centre.

In his first start since Nov. 3, Anderson stopped 26 of 31 shots Tuesday in a 5-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. He missed three games because of a sore neck, the result of a goalmouth collision with Dallas Stars rookie Valeri Nichushkin.

Robin Lehner led Ottawa to three straight wins while Anderson was sidelined. Lehner was named the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday after posting a 1.33 goals-against average and .958 save percentage in wins against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers.

After making the point that "Craig's the No. 1 goalie," Senators coach Paul MacLean joked about how he arrived at the decision to come back with Anderson against Boston.

"It came up heads?" MacLean said after Ottawa's morning skate.

Posted On Friday, 11.15.2013 / 1:08 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Letang, Martin expected to play for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators enter Friday with three-game losing streaks. One of the teams will snap its skid when they meet at Consol Energy Center.

After averaging 3.13 non-shootout goals per game through its first 15 games, Pittsburgh's offense has slowed considerably, scoring one goal in each of its past three games. The Penguins haven't scored an even-strength goal in their past three games and will attempt to avoid extending that drought against the NHL's 25th-ranked defense.

"We have to stay to our game plan and stay to our systems and stick to the little things and keep working," Penguins forward James Neal said. "That's the only way to get through it."

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Quote of the Day

I'm a hockey player and that's what I love to do. That is what I am here for. Everything else is just a side note.

— Oilers forward Connor McDavid on moving beyond the anticipation of his long-awaited arrival in the NHL