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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 3:10 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Backstrom to start in goal for Wild

CALGARY -- Niklas Backstrom is expected to make his fifth consecutive start when the Minnesota Wild visit the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.

Wild coach Mike Yeo confirmed Backstrom would start after the team's morning skate, but said he didn't have a plan beyond Monday, even with a game in Vancouver on Tuesday.

"Just going into [Monday] right now," Yeo said. "Spent very little time thinking about [Tuesday]. That's important for our entire group, that we're not thinking about last game or [Tuesday's] game. We're just ready to play against a team that we know is going to be hungry and come out hard."

With just five goals in their last four games, Devin Setoguchi said the Wild will rely heavily on a strong performance from their goaltender.

"You need good goaltending in this League and we've got it," Setoguchi said. "We're not scoring goals, definitely [Backstrom] needs to play good and he has been and we need to help him out here."

Yeo ruled out the return of defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who will miss his ninth consecutive game with a lower-body injury.

"He's getting closer, yeah," Yeo said. "Conditioning-wise he's looking good. Ideally I wish we had a few practices here to get him in and see how he's looking, but he's getting closer.”

Here is the lineup the Wild are expected to ice against the Flames:

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Dany Heatley - Mikael Granlund - Devin Setoguchi

Matt Cullen - Kyle Brodziak - Cal Clutterbuck

Mike Rupp - Zenon Konopka - Pierre-Marc Bouchard

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Clayton Stoner - Tom Gilbert

Justin Falk - Nate Prosser

Niklas Backstrom

Josh Harding

Scratched: Matt Kassian, Torrey Mitchell, Marco Scandella

Injured: Jared Spurgeon

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 2:46 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose: Five most underachieving teams so far

So we're just about one quarter of the way into the current NHL season, and while there is plenty of time for some teams to turn their fortunes around, there are plenty that are coming up short in the expectations department. From where I sit, these are the five teams in the NHL that have underachieved the most so far this season.

Washington Capitals

I think this is the most underachieving team of the year by far. When you look at their lineup, all the moves they've made and the money they've spent, for this team to be among the worst in the NHL is pretty crazy. None of their players are playing well, Mike Ribeiro hasn't been a good substitute for Alexander Semin, and despite their win Saturday night, they just aren't good at anything. Their numbers are bad defensively, they're bad offensively, it's sort of a complete breakdown.

Add into that that the goaltending has been inconsistent and it certainly doesn't help. Braden Holtby was very good Saturday night and Michal Neuvirth has been very good at times, but both have also been very average at times. To the goalies' credit, though, we need to keep in mind that they don't have the New Jersey Devils playing in front of them. Holtby and Neuvirth see a lot of two-on-ones and three-on-twos. That's tough for a young goaltender, and it goes right back to the defensive breakdowns the Capitals have been prone to this season.

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 2:27 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Coyotes, Avalanche

DENVER -- Here are the projected lineups for Monday night's game between the Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

COYOTES

Steve SullivanAntoine VermetteShane Doan

Mikkel BoedkerMartin HanzalRadim Vrbata

Lauri KorpikoskiBoyd GordonDavid Moss

Raffi TorresKyle ChipchuraNick Johnson

Oliver Ekman-LarssonZbynek Michalek

Keith YandleDerek Morris

Rostislav KleslaMichael Stone

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Scratches: Paul Bissonnette, Chris Summers

Injuries: Matthew Lombardi (upper body), David Schlemko (shoulder)

AVALANCHE

Jamie McGinnMatt DuchenePA Parenteau

Aaron PalushajPaul StastnyDavid Jones

Cody McLeodMichael SgarbossaMilan Hejduk

Chuck KobasewMark Olver -- Patrick Bordeleau

Ryan O'Byrne -- Jan Hejda

Erik JohnsonTyson Barrie

Greg ZanonShane O'Brien

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratches: None

Injuries: Steve Downie (knee), Matt Hunwick (torso), Gabriel Landeskog (head), John Mitchell (flu), Ryan Wilson (ankle)

Palushaj will make his Avalanche debut. He was claimed off waivers Feb. 5 from Montreal. Palushaj, 23, has one goal and four assists in 41 career NHL games. He had one goal and four assists in 38 games last season with the Canadiens, and 15 goals and 20 assists in 35 games with Hamilton in the American Hockey League.

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 2:07 PM

By Neil Acharya -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Flyers, Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- Maple Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will remain out of the Toronto lineup with a nagging hip injury but hopes to return soon.

According to coach Randy Carlyle, forward Mike Brown will return to action sooner than Gunnarsson. Brown has not played since injuring his shoulder Jan 29 in a game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Here is the lineup the Maple Leafs likely will put on the ice as they search for their fourth straight win, something they haven't done since Jan. 3-10, 2012, as well as for the visiting Philadelphia Flyers:

MAPLE LEAFS

James Van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Leo Komarov - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin

Clarke MacArthur - Nazem Kadri - Matt Frattin

Frazer McLaren - Jay McClement - Colton Orr

Dion Phaneuf - Korbinian Holzer

John-Michael Liles - Michael Kostka

Cody Franson - Mark Fraser

James Reimer

Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Mike Komisarek

Injured: Carl Gunnarsson, Mike Brown, Joffrey Lupul

FLYERS

Danny Briere - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds

Jakub Voracek - Brayden Schenn - Tye McGinn

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - Mike Knuble

Ruslan Fedotenko - Maxime Talbot - Zac Rinaldo

Kimmo Timonen - Luke Schenn

Nicklas Grossmann - Kurtis Foster

Braydon Coburn - Bruno Gervais

Ilya Bryzgalov

Brian Boucher

Scratched: Jody Shelley, Tom Sestito, Andreas Lilja

Injured: Scott Hartnell, Andrej Meszaros, Michael Leighton

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 2:04 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Barry Melrose ranks his top power forwards

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 1:32 PM

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

Projected lineups for Kings, Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Probable lineups for Monday night's game between the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues from Scottrade Center:

KINGS

Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford - Jeff Carter - Justin Williams

Dwight King - Mike Richards - Jordan Nolan

Dustin Penner - Trevor Lewis - Jarret Stoll

Keaton Ellerby - Drew Doughty

Rob Scuderi - Slava Voynov

Alec Martinez - Davis Drewiske

Jonathan Bernier

Jonathan Quick

Scratches: Colin Fraser, Brad Richardson, Jake Muzzin

Injuries: Willie Mitchell (knee), Matt Greene (back)

Note: Kings coach Darryl Sutter would not comment on who the starting goalie will be or any other lineup changes, although Bernier was the only netminder on the ice for Monday's morning skate and Quick was working extensively with scratches late after regular skaters left. It comes on the heels of Quick giving up a goal to Detroit's Jonathan Ericsson with 4.5 seconds remaining of a 3-2 Red Wings victory Sunday afternoon, and the Kings are playing their first back-to-back set of the season.

"You are allowed to ask," Sutter said jokingly about his starting goaltender for the game. "... Injury [to Quick's] a non-issue. That's a long time ago. That's a player that got hurt last year playing this year. That's not a factor. The factor that we have now is performance. It's simple. We're giving up three goals a game and you'll win one in three, which is kind of what we're doing. We need better goaltending; it doesn't matter who our goalie is, to tell you the truth."

BLUES

Andy McDonald - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

David Perron - Alex Steen - Vladimir Tarasenko

Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - Chris Stewart

Matt D'Agostini - Scott Nichol - Ryan Reaves

Ian Cole - Alex Pietrangelo

Wade Redden - Kevin Shattenkirk

Barret Jackman - Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Scratches: Kris Russell, Jaden Schwartz

Injuries: Jamie Langenbrunner (hip)

Note: The Blues get Halak (groin strain) back tonight after he missed the previous three-plus games. He was injured in the first period of a 5-3 loss at Detroit on Dec. 1. Elliott was 0-3-1 in Halak's absence and his numbers have dipped to 3-4-1 with a 3.51 goals-against average and .853 save percentage after leading the National Hockey League in both categories a season ago while tying with nine shutouts.

"The goalie gets the focus when things aren't going well," Hitchcock said. "Sometimes it's warranted and sometimes it's not. I think this is a combination. If you're talking about telling the truth, this is a combination where we needed Ells to play better, but we needed to play better in front of him."

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 12:45 PM

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

Cisco NHL Live talks Halak's return, Flyers-Leafs

Two players traded for each other face off in Toronto, and Jaroslav Halak returns for the St. Louis Blues. Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, has those stories and much more on Monday's show. We'll get a pre-game interview on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Toronto with Maple Leafs radio analyst Jim Ralph, to preview tonight's matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers. With five other games on the slate we will preview them all.

We'll also be joined by Chicago Congressman Mike Quigley as we celebrate Hockey is For Everyone Month. NHL Network Insider Bob McKenzie fills us in on the latest news and notes, while Barry Melrose breaks down the first quarter of NHL action.

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 d-men that need to step up, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks each game being played on Monday.

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 12:41 PM

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

Flames claim MacDonald on waivers from Red Wings

The Calgary Flames announced Monday that they have acquired goaltender Joey MacDonald off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

MacDonald, 33, has yet to play this season due to a back injury. He split last season between the Red Wings and their American Hockey League team, the Grand Rapids Griffins. In 14 NHL games, he went 8-5-1 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

Long-time Flames top goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Leland Irving has started the last two games, going 1-1-0 while allowing eight goals on 60 shots. His backup, Daniel Taylor, has played one NHL game, for the Los Angeles Kings in the 2007-08 season.

In 101 NHL games with the Red Wings, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, MacDonald is 31-48-13 with two shutouts, a 3.04 GAA and .913 save percentage.

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 11:39 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Report: MacKinnon out 1-2 weeks

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald is reporting top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Nathan MacKinnon will 1-2 weeks with a lower-body injury.

MacKinnon, a center listed at No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings of players for this year's draft, has 28 goals and 69 points in just 41 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League games this season.

He also has played for Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship and also served as a team captain at the 2013 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax last month.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 7:22 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

EDM @ CBJ - 9:18 of the Second Period

At 9:18 of the second period in the Oilers/Blue Jackets game, video review proved inconclusive. Therefore, the referee's call on-ice that Jordan Eberle high-sticked the puck into the net above the height of the crossbar stands. No Goal Edmonton.

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."

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Quote of the Day

As a player, it's obviously a sad day, but to be on the ice with some of those guys and show our respect as both teams did around center ice, it's definitely a nice touch.

— New Jersey defenseman Damon Severson on the ceremony to honor the fallen Canadian soldiers before the game Saturday in Ottawa
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