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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:54 PM

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

Wounded Panthers lose another in Caruso

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers will continue to be without some injured key players — at least in the short term.

And now there’s another player on the shelf, with coach Kevin Dineen confirming Thursday that defenseman Michael Caruso sustained a broken wrist in a 4-1 loss Tuesday at the Montreal Canadiens.

Caruso, a 2006 draft pick who made his NHL debut in the season opener Saturday, sustained the injury in the first period.

“Shame, I thought he actually had a couple of really good shifts to start the game in Montreal,” Dineen said. “Very unfortunate for him.”

The Panthers will face the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night and will again be missing four regulars from their Southeast Division championship team of 2011-12 — wings Kris Versteeg and Sean Bergenheim, center Marcel Goc and defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

All but Bergenheim have been skating, but Dineen said Goc and Gudbranson will be out at least through the game Tuesday at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Versteeg, who was placed on the injury list Monday, will be eligible to return Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, but Dineen said Versteeg was doubtful for that game.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:52 PM

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

Projected lineups for Predators, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- The probable lineups for Thursday night's Central Division matchup between the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center:

PREDATORS

Martin Erat - Mike Fisher - Sergei Kostitsyn

Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist

Brandon Yip - Nick Spaling - Gabriel Bourque

Matt Halischuk - Craig Smith - Brian McGrattan/Rich Clune

Roman Josi - Shea Weber

Scott Hannan - Kevin Klein

Hal Gill - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne

Chris Mason

Scratches: Either Clune or McGrattan, Jonathon Blum

Injuries: Paul Gaustad (upper body)

BLUES

David Perron - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Andy McDonald - Alexander Steen - Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart

Vladimir Sobotka - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Wade Redden - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Kris Russell - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Scratches: Jamie Langenbrunner, Matt D'Agostini, Ian Cole

Injuries: None

Defenseman Jeff Woywitka cleared waivers Thursday morning and was assigned to the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League. Cole, assigned to Peoria on Wednesday to make room for Redden on the active roster, was recalled Thursday morning.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:37 PM

By Ben Raby -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Wolski gets prime opportunity for Capitals

WASHINGTON -- In the six months since Wojtek Wolski signed with the Washington Capitals, the 26-year-old has repeatedly said he is simply looking for a chance to prove his doubters wrong.

The Capitals are Wolski's fifth team in less than three years, and he ended his time with the Florida Panthers last spring as a healthy scratch for Games 3-7 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the New Jersey Devils.

Through two games with the Capitals, though, Wolski has seen top-six minutes and power-play time, and tonight against the Montreal Canadiens he is expected to play alongside Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin on Washington's No. 1 line.

"I'm happy to play wherever I'm going to get ice time and I'm going to get a good opportunity," Wolski said.

"I've been working hard. I've been moving my feet. I'm getting up in the play and creating opportunities, turnovers. I think that's going to give Nicky and Ovi an opportunity to get some scoring chances."

Wolski started the season on Washington's second line with Mike Ribeiro and Troy Brouwer. The unit combined for two goals and five points through two games, including a Wolski tally in a 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But with Marcus Johansson struggling alongside Backstrom and Ovechkin on the No. 1 unit, lineup changes were expected.

"Just looking for a little spark, a little something," coach Adam Oates said. "I thought in the third [period against the Winnipeg Jets], I put [Wolski] up there and I thought that they had a little bit of chemistry, so hopefully we'll keep it going for tonight."

Wolski's addition to the top line should provide "more creativity," according to Ovechkin.

"You know, he's a skilled guy who can control the puck. Again, it's -- find out something new, maybe. We'll see how it works."

Ovechkin is still searching for his first goal of the season, and he enters tonight's game against the Montreal Canadiens with one assist and eight shots on goal in two games.

With Wolski expected to see more opportunity on Washington's top line, Johansson's early season struggles have landed him on the Caps' fourth line, where he will play with Mathieu Perreault and Joey Crabb.

Johansson is a team-worst minus-3 and was benched in the third period of Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets for all but 50 seconds.

"He's a young kid, he's still learning the game, he's a natural center and we have playing the wing so I'm sure that some of his reads and decisions are based on that," Oates said of the Capitals' first-round pick (No. 20) from the 2009 NHL Draft.

"So we just showed him a lot of video yesterday and we moved him today with [Perreault] to see if they can get a little spark and help him out."

The Capitals have been held to three even-strength goals in their first two games and have played with the lead for a total of 2 minutes, 32 seconds. They are 0-2-0 for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

"They lost their first two games, you know they're going to be fired up," Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges said.

"They're at home, so you know that they're going to throw everything at us. We have to expect their best, we have to expect that they're going to come out full of [grit] and that they're going to do everything they can to win, so we have to come out and be ready to win."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:27 PM

By Matt Cubeta -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Lupul sidelined for six weeks

Last season Joffrey Lupul had a breakout fantasy season, finishing the year with 25 goals, 67 points, a plus-one, 48 penalty minutes, 21 power play points and 191 shots on goal. This year, things aren't going quite as well.

Lupul was held without a point his first two contests and then on Wednesday night he suffered a broken right forearm after his teammate Dion Phaneuf's shot struck him while camped out in front of the net. This is a rough loss for Lupul fantasy owners, as six weeks in this 48-game schedule is extremely costly.

While Matt Frattin is expected to be called up to replace Lupul's roster spot, Clarke MacArthur could be the player to see an increased fantasy role for the six weeks. If last night is a sign of things to come, MacArthur will be slated on the top line alongside Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak.

In three games this season, MacArthur has one goal, one assist, a minus-one, two penalty minutes, one power play point and 12 shots on goal (last season he had 20 G, 23 A, plus-3, 37 PIMs, 9 PPP, 148 SOG). Don't expect MacArthur to produce at a level like Lupul did last season, but playing alongside Kessel could make him a nice stop-gap for the six weeks -- he's available in 89 percent of Yahoo! Leagues.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:09 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Eakin proving a solid addition for Stars

DALLAS -- When the Dallas Stars acquired Cody Eakin in a trade with the Washington Capitals on draft night for Mike Ribeiro, the general consensus was that the young center who appeared in 30 games for the Capitals as a rookie would center the Stars' fourth line this season.

And through Dallas' first two games, that's exactly where the 21-year-old skated for Stars second-year coach Glen Gulutzan, on the fourth line alongside Ryan Garbutt and Reilly Smith.

But before Tuesday's game at the Detroit Red Wings, Gulutzan informed Eakin he was flipping him and Tom Wandell, who had been centering Dallas' second line in the first two games. And in short, it was a move that paid off as Eakin assisted on both Stars goals, which were scored by Michael Ryder, in a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

"I wasn't really expecting it, but come game time it was nice to see that. I just keep playing the way I play -- get them the puck, create energy, be the first one on the forecheck, get them the puck," Eakin said of playing alongside Ryder and veteran Ray Whitney. "A couple of times they turned a little bit of nothing into something. It was a great opportunity for me. Hopefully I continue to work hard and stay on that line for a while.”

Of course, the man who made the call to put him on the second line couldn't be happier with how his decision turned out and plans to keep him alongside Ryder and Whitney for the time being.

"He's got great speed. He's got some grit. He plays the game hard and he has some offensive ability. He can think the game and he plays on both sides," Gulutzan said. "He's just got to get experience. The more experience he gets, the better player he'll become. Now it's not just about one time, it's about keeping that moving forward and being consistent. He was in the American (Hockey) League. He's just got to be that at this level."

As one of a number of young Stars players who played for the club's AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars, during the lockout, Eakin, who had 24 points (12 goals) in 35 games in the AHL, definitely hit the ground running for the start of training camp and hasn't looked back.

"Yeah, I think it was definitely nice to be playing. I think it'd be a little tougher coming off not playing like a lot of the guys have. Last year, too, helped me a lot with not being shell-shocked or a little caught off guard with how fast it is," he said. "Obviously there's a lot of room to improve. I don't think I've reached my goal yet of having a really, really good game yet. I think the legs are there from playing so many games. It's going to be a busy stretch, just got to make sure I'm ready to go."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:06 PM

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

Projected lineups for Senators, Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. — Here are the projected lineups for the Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at BB&T Center:

SENATORS

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Jakob Silfverberg

Guillaume Latendresse - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson

Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Jim O'Brien - Peter Regin - Erik Condra

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Chris Phillips - Sergei Gonchar

Patrick Wiercioch - Andre Benoit

Craig Anderson

Ben Bishop

Injured: Jared Cowen, Mike Lundin

Scratches: Kaspars Daugavins, Mark Borowiecki

Coach Paul MacLean is going with the same lineup he used in the 4-0 victory Monday against those same Panthers, which was the team’s last game. The only difference is that Ben Bishop will serve as the backup goalie after Robin Lehner was reassigned Tuesday to Binghamton.

PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Stephen Weiss - Alex Kovalev

Jonathan Huberdeau - Peter Mueller - Tomas Kopecky

Scottie Upshall - Shawn Matthias - Drew Shore

Jack Skille - Jerred Smithson - George Parros

Filip Kuba - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Ed Jovanovski - Keaton Ellerby

Jose Theodore

Scott Clemmensen

Injured: Kris Versteeg, Marcel Goc, Erik Gudbranson, Sean Bergenheim,

Michael Caruso

Scratches: Mike Santorelli, Tyson Strachan

Captain Ed Jovanovski will be back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday at Montreal, the second set of back-to-back games.

Drew Shore earned another start after making his NHL debut in a 4-1 loss against the Canadiens.

“He had a lot of enthusiasm out there,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. “Extremely coachable and knows the game. He’s a kid that has stepped in and really made a statement. I thought he had a good game to start his NHL career the other night.”

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:04 PM

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

Redden set to make NHL return for Blues

ST. LOUIS -- The last time Wade Redden suited up in a National Hockey League uniform, it was difficult to imagine at the time it would take that roughly three years to put on a jersey again.

The 35-year-old, who signed a pro-rated one-year, $800,000 contract with the Blues last week, will make his return to the NHL when the Blues host the Nashville Predators on Thursday night (8 p.m. ET).

Redden, whose last game was in a New York Rangers uniform on April 11, 2010, is likely to skate with Alex Pietrangelo on the Blues' top pairing tonight.

The wait is finally over, and Redden is glad to put the ordeal with the Rangers behind him after spending the last two seasons in the American Hockey League with the Connecticut Whale.

"It's been a while, but I've obviously been playing still," said Redden, whose last NHL points ironically came against the Blues when he scored a goal and added an assist on March 18, 2010. "The AHL is not the same level, but it's still a pretty good league. It's obviously a lot different atmosphere and I'm looking forward to being a part of it tonight again."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 1:00 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Hurricanes, Sabres

Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night's game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres:

HURRICANES

Jiri TlustyEric Staal – Alexander Semin

Jeff SkinnerJordan StaalZac Dalpe

Drayson BowmanJussi JokinenChad LaRose

Patrick DwyerTim BrentKevin Westgarth

Tim GleasonJustin Faulk

Jay HarrisonBobby Sanguinetti

Joni Pitkanen - Jay Harrison

Cam Ward

Dan Ellis

Scratches: Jeremy Welsh, Zach Boychuk, Joe Corvo

SABRES

Thomas VanekCody HodgsonJason Pominville

Marcus FolignoTyler EnnisDrew Stafford

Steve OttMikhail GrigorenkoNathan Gerbe

John ScottJochen HechtPatrick Kaleta

Robyn Regehr - Tyler Myers

Andrej Sekera - Jordan Leopold

Christian Ehrhoff - Alexander Sulzer

Jhonas Enroth

Ryan Miller

Scratches: Matt Ellis, TJ Brennan

Injured: Ville Leino

Gerbe has been cleared to play after off-season back surgery and will join the lineup tonight, paired with Ott and Grigorenko.

"Nathan's got a natural goal-scoring touch, so I think he's got some finish to him," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "He's got real good speed and we're hoping he can create a little bit of offense for us."

Enroth makes his first start of the season in goal for Buffalo. In two career games against Carolina, Enroth has a 0.49 goals-against average.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 12:54 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Stars, Blackhawks

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Patrick SharpDave BollandPatrick Kane

Bryan BickellAndrew ShawViktor Stalberg

Brandon BolligMarcus KrugerMichael Frolik

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook

Johnny OduyaNiklas Hjalmarsson

Nick LeddyMichal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Ray Emery

Injuries: Daniel Carcillo (lower body), Steve Montador (upper body)

Scratches: Sheldon Brookbank, Jamal Mayers

Notes: Chicago, which beat St. Louis 3-2 in its-home opener on Tuesday at United Center, is 3-0-0 to start the season for the first time since 1972-73. Through their first three games, the Hawks have killed off 90 percent of opposing power plays, allowing just one power-play goal, tying them for the second-best PK in the League. Chicago is 2-0-0 on the road so far this season. The Hawks and Stars split their four meetings last season with each team winning once at home and once on the road. Seabrook currently leads the league in blocked shots with 13.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Derek Roy - Jaromir Jagr

Ray WhitneyCody Eakin - Michael Ryder

Brenden Morrow - Vernon Fiddler - Eric Nystrom

Ryan GarbuttTom Wandell - Reilly Smith

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas

Jordie Benn - Trevor Daley

Brenden Dillon - Philip Larsen

Kari Lehtonen

Christopher Nilstrop

Scratches: Colton Sceviour

Injuries: Aaron Rome (groin)

Notes: Dallas split the two games on its first road trip of the season, losing at Minnesota on Sunday but prevailing 2-1 in Detroit on Tuesday. The Stars did not practice on Wednesday since mechanical issues with the team's plane forced them to spend Tuesday night in the Motor City. They did not arrive back in Dallas until Wednesday evening. Stars second-year head coach Glen Gulutzan flipped Eakin, who had been centering Dallas' fourth line, with Wandell, who had been skating on the second line, against the Red Wings and the move paid off as Eakin assisted on both Stars goals, which were scored by Ryder, who led Dallas with 35 goals last season.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.24.2013 / 12:50 PM

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

Cisco NHL Live checks in on Rangers-Flyers tilt

The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers square off on the NHL Network tonight and Cisco NHL Live, 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will have you covered, with Deb Placey and EJ Hradek. NHL.com's Adam Kimelman and CSN Philly Insider Tim Panaccio will be live from the Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Philadelphia to preview this big Atlantic Division matchup.

Teams all over the NHL are dealing with the injury bug, and today EJ will give his take on the players that cannot be replaced. With 10 games around the League tonight we'll preview them and have live updates from all the great matchups.

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, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks each game being played on Thursday.

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