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Posted On Saturday, 12.21.2013 / 1:07 PM

By Lonnie Herman - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lightning take pride in third-period performances

TAMPA -- The third period of a game has been like unwrapping a big Christmas present of late for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In their previous three contests, the Lightning have used the final period to propel themselves to three consecutive wins. They produced three unanswered goals to break a scoreless tie against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 15. Tampa Bay scored two goals in the final three minutes, including one with four seconds left in regulation before winning in a shootout two days later against the New York Islanders.

Two days later against the Nashville Predators, the Lightning proved they could take a lead into the third and still control the final 20 minutes in a 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators.

Success in the final period is no accident, Tampa Bay coach John Cooper said.

"We've talked about that," Cooper said. "Get the lead, extend the lead, protect the lead, kind of deal. You have to be able to do it during games. You've got to give yourself a chance to win the game when you get to the third, and we've been doing that."

Posted On Saturday, 12.21.2013 / 12:47 PM

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

Devils lose forward Brunner for at least month

ARLINGTON, Va. -- New Jersey Devils forward Damien Brunner sustained a right knee injury in New Jersey's 3-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday and will be out for at least one month.

"He'll be out a minimum of four weeks," Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello told The Star-Ledger's Rich Chere. "He does not need surgery." Brunner has eight goals and 13 points for the Devils.

Washington Capitals left wing Marcus Johansson will be a game-time decision Saturday against the Devils.

Posted On Saturday, 12.21.2013 / 12:16 PM

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

Depleted Penguins go for 10 straight at home

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins will attempt to win their 10th consecutive home game Saturday afternoon before emarking on an extended road trip when they face the Calgary Flames at Consol Energy Center.

Pittsburgh, which is on a season-high nine-game home win streak, has won six straight overall and leads the NHL in wins (14) and points (29) since Nov. 18. Its record is 14-2-1 during that stretch.

"There's no secret. We're just trying to compete every night with guys out," Sidney Crosby said on Friday. "I think everyone is just trying to find a way to contribute and make sure we're picking up our game as best we can."

The Penguins played well despite facing a rash of injuries and suspensions that have sidelined five of their top seven defenseman and five forwards, including Evgeni Malkin. None of their injured players will return Saturday in their last home game until Jan. 3, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

Bylsma said it is possible Malkin, who has missed three games with a lower-body injury, could return against the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 8:52 PM

By Staff -  / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Sweden tops U,S. Juniors in WJC tune-up

Alexander Wennberg, a 2013 first-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, had a goal and three assists to lead the Swedish Junior National Team to a 4-2 victory against the United States in an exhibition game Friday in Angelholm, Sweden.

The U.S. National Junior Team will play a final exhibition match against Finland on Sunday before beginning preliminary-round action in Group A of the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Dec. 26.

The U.S., which outshot Sweden 38-23, received third-period goals by Ryan Hartman (Plymouth Whalers; Chicago Blackhawks) and Daniel O'Regan (Boston University; San Jose Sharks). Goalie Anthony Stolarz (London Knights; Philadelphia Flyers) made 19 saves.

Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 6:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada cuts two from WJC roster

Canada cut two players from its roster for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship on Friday.

Sent home were forward Hunter Shinkaruk, a Vancouver Canucks prospect, and defenseman Damon Severson, a New Jersey Devils draft pick. Neither player skated in Canada's 4-2 victory against Finland on Friday in a pre-tournament game in Angelholm, Sweden.

The moves leave Canada's roster at 23 players; one more player must be cut prior to the start of the tournament, which runs Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2014 in Malmo, Sweden.

Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 4:35 PM - 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

World Junior Championships moments

Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 3:21 PM

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

Jets focused on ending home skid as Panthers visit

WINNIPEG -- The team that played a role in triggering the Winnipeg Jets' latest slump makes a return appearance Friday at MTS Centre.

The Florida Panthers, who beat the Jets 5-2 at BB&T Center on Dec. 5, arrived from Ottawa at 3 a.m. Friday looking to move their winning streak to six games when they play the struggling Jets.

The Panthers’ early-morning arrival meant they did not hold a morning skate at MTS Centre. Florida is on a 7-1-0 run after a 4-2 come-from-behind win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. A four-game Canadian road trip ends here before the Panthers return home for a five-game homestand. The five-game winning streak is their longest since March 2012.

Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 2:16 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Islanders-Rangers rivalry renewed

NEW YORK -- The rivalry between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders has always been one of the NHL's most intense, and that doesn't figure to change Friday night at Madison Square Garden as each team is in dire need of points.

The Rangers have gotten off to a 1-3-2 start to their franchise-record nine-game homestand. The Islanders haven't won in regulation since Nov. 12 and find themselves in last place in the Metropolitan Division with 25 points in 35 games. Each team will look to turn things around against its heated rival in a preview of the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game set for Jan. 29 at Yankee Stadium.

"It's always fun to play these games. They're always heated, they're always close," Islanders forward Matt Martin said. "There's no better place to get two points than in Madison Square Garden."

This is the second game this season between these regional rivals, who met Oct. 29 at Nassau Coliseum in a game the Rangers won 3-2. For players who are new to the history of these two teams, that game was an eye-opener.

"People have been talking about it [the rivalry] since I got here. I didn't really realize how serious it was until the first game at the Coliseum. It was pretty crazy. The intensity level was just ratcheted up that much more. It kind of had a playoff feel to it," said forward Cal Clutterback, acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild over the summer.

Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 2:15 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rookies Miller, Strome play out rivalry at MSG

NEW YORK -- Rookie forwards J.T. Miller of the New York Rangers and Ryan Strome of the New York Islanders don't really know each other. It just seems like they do.

The pair were taken 10 picks apart in the 2011 NHL Draft, Strome fifth and Miller 15th, and have spent much of their lives facing off on every conceivable stage: the Ontario Hockey League, under-17 World Hockey Challenge, IIHF World Under-18 Championship, and World Junior Championship. They last met three weeks ago in an American Hockey League game between Strome's Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Miller's Hartford Wolf Pack. Strome scored twice in Bridgeport's 3-2 win.

Friday at Madison Square Garden the pair will face off for the first time in an NHL game.

"It will be a little different. This game is a little different from the other levels we've played at," said Miller, who was called up Thursday by the Rangers after a two-game stint with Hartford. "We just know each other because we've played against each other for so many years, going back to U.S.-Canada games so many times with the national team."

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Quote of the Day

Yeah, I guess so. That empty-netter was pretty lucky, but I'll take it.

— Senators forward Mike Hoffman when asked if his two-goal game was a good way to celebrate his 26th birthday
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