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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 4:29 PM

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

Stars seek energy from third and fourth lines

Off to a 3-3-0 start that saw his team beat the previously unbeaten San Jose Sharks 4-3 in a shootout Thursday, Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff had few complaints about his top two forward lines.

His top-six forwards have produced, particularly leading scorer Tyler Seguin (eight points in six games), captain Jamie Benn (five assists in six games) and rookie Alex Chiasson (three goals in six games). But when it comes to his third and fourth lines, Ruff has made it clear what he wants to see from them.

"Energy. Along with energy comes some production," said Ruff, who said he saw some positives from his checking lines in the team's 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. "I thought the Colorado game was a game where they could have made a difference. They had three or four great scoring chances and didn't put it away. Even the [Shawn] Horcoff line could have made the game 3-2 and had a couple of other chances. With our top two lines going the way they are, if three and four can provide that, that's a good mix for our team."

That depth scoring up front will be needed Saturday as the Stars face the Los Angeles Kings, who have won four of their past five.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 4:09 PM

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

Oilers' Hall out of game with knee injury

OTTAWA -- Edmonton Oilers left wing Taylor Hall left his team's game Saturday against the Ottawa Senators in the second period with an injury to his left knee. He will not return.

Hall was called for slashing after he was hit hard by Senators defenseman Eric Gryba at 11:04 of the period. He came out of the penalty box and stayed on the ice briefly before going to the dressing room with 6:42 left in the period.

Hall, the first pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, has three goals and five assists in nine games.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 4:08 PM

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

Kronwall out, but Howard returns for Red Wings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -– For two teams that have played 25 times during the past four seasons, to be done with each other just three weeks into the season is a bit strange.

Western Conference foes and playoff opponents twice in the last four years, the Phoenix Coyotes host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday for the one and only time in Arizona. It's the second game in nine days between the two teams, but with Detroit now in the Eastern Conference, that's it unless the two teams meet in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Coyotes beat the Red Wings 4-2 on Oct. 10, snapping a two-game road losing streak. That win also began their current streak of five straight games with at least one point (3-0-2).

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 3:42 PM

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

Islanders, Hurricanes finding consistency up front

While their teams were mired in respective early-season three-game losing streaks, Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller and New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano preached patience. Neither coach felt compelled to make major changes during that time and both teams rewarded that patience with wins Thursday.

After the Hurricanes beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 and the Islanders topped the Edmonton Oilers by the same score, the two teams will face off Saturday on Long Island. The consistency both coaches were praising, even during their losing skids, primarily was regarding new forward combinations installed at the beginning of the season.

Capuano made his mark early this season by breaking up the combinations of captain John Tavares and Matt Moulson as well as emerging forwards Josh Bailey and Kyle Okposo. Bailey and Okposo were an explosive pair late last season but both have found success on new lines. Okposo has been skating on the top line with Tavares and speedster Michael Grabner while Bailey has found chemistry on the second line with Frans Nielsen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. That line opened the scoring Thursday against Edmonton and has provided a spark for the Islanders.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 2:15 PM

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

Capitals' Erat ready for expanded role

ARLINGTON, Va. -- When Martin Erat left the Nashville Predators for the Washington Capitals at last season's trade deadline, he ranked second in franchise history in most points, goals, assists and games played, accolades he accumulated as a top-six fixture.

Erat, however, never was afforded a proper opportunity to establish himself among the Capitals' top forwards upon his arrival as untimely injuries -- a left knee injury sustained in his second game against the Florida Panthers and a dislocated left elbow that ended his season in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the New York Rangers -- bookended his initial stint in Washington.

The Capitals acquired the 32-year-old to bolster their top-six forward depth, trading away highly touted prospect Filip Forsberg to do so. Yet when this season began, a healthy Erat found himself on the fourth line, playing single-digit minutes per night.

Erat's ice time reached its nadir Wednesday during the Capitals' 2-0 loss to the New York Rangers when he registered a season-low 6:20, the third-lowest ice time of his 739-game NHL career when he didn't leave the game early due to injury.

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 2:04 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Vigneault: Schneider 'one of the best … in the League'

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault will see a familiar goalie in the opposite net Saturday at Prudential Center as Cory Schneider is scheduled to get the start for the New Jersey Devils.

Schneider and Vigneault were together for the past several seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. They along with Roberto Luongo were part of the NHL's most publicized goaltending controversy in recent history.

Considering the opinion Vigneault offered on Schneider after the morning skate Saturday, clearly he thinks quite highly of his former goalie.

"I think he's one of the best goaltenders in the League," Vigneault said of Schneider. "He's really a student of the game and a great teammate. I'm sure that in time here people in Jersey are going to really appreciate him. He's a great goaltender."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 1:56 PM

By Alain Poupart - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Wild, Panthers experiment with forward lines

SUNRISE, Fla -- The Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild will go into their matchup Saturday with almost entirely new line combinations.

For Florida, the only line staying intact is the top trio of Tomas Fleischmann, rookie Aleksander Barkov and Brad Boyes.

For Minnesota, the only line unchanged is the fourth unit of Torrey Mitchell, Zenon Konopka and Stephane Veilleux.

"We need to try to find some offense here," Wild coach Mike Yeo said after his team's morning skate. "We've got to try to get more balance through our lineup."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 1:55 PM

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

Bruins' Soderberg could make season debut

TAMPA -- Carl Soderberg may make his season debut Saturday for the Boston Bruins when his team plays at the Tampa Bay Lightning. But then again, he may not.

Soderberg, recovering from an ankle injury, skated with the team Saturday morning but afterward was unsure if he would be in the lineup or not.

"I have no idea," he said.

His coach wasn't offering any answers either.

"I haven't told anybody yet if Soderberg is in the lineup," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "That's why the players don't know. I haven't made that decision yet."

Julien said he won't make that decision until shortly before the puck drops.

"It's a difficult decision as to who to take out," he said. "It's pretty obvious that it is not an easy decision but you better make those decisions come game time, right?"

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 1:42 PM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Strong defensive play leaves Del Zotto out of lineup

NEWARK, N.J. -- After watching his team put together it's most complete 60-minute, defensive effort of the season Wednesday in a 2-0 defeat of the Washington Capitals, New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he saw no reason to change the lineup for his team's game Saturday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

That means defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who sat out the game in Washington with the flu, will be a healthy scratch Saturday in New Jersey. Justin Falk, who played 15 shifts totaling 8:57 in Washington, will be in the lineup and on the third defense pair with John Moore.

"In our first five games we had one game where I was pleased with how our six [defensemen] had played and that was the L.A. game," Vigneault said, referring to the Rangers' 3-1 defeat of the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 7. "The three after that I could have taken any defensemen out and they all deserved it. Nobody was playing really well then. They gave up 20 goals in three games. Michael was sick; we went into Washington and played our best game of the year as far as a group of six defensemen. Nobody deserved to come out. Everybody played well. That's why I'm sticking with the same six guys."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.19.2013 / 1:26 PM

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

Sabres could add rookie Zadorov to lineup

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres had an optional skate Saturday so their lineup for their game Saturday against the visiting Colorado Avalanche won't be known until the teams take the ice at 7 p.m. ET.

Sabres coach Ron Rolston was able to confirm one player returning to action would be forward Zemgus Girgensons. Girgensons had missed the Sabres' game Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks after being struck in the face by a Tyler Myers shot Tuesday in New York.

"[Healing] was quick," Girgensons said. "The day after the eye was totally shut, but now it's perfect."

Forward Cody McCormick was hurt against Vancouver after taking a slap shot in the leg and will sit out Saturday. Rolston was coy about what other moves could happen, saying it's possible 2013 first-round pick defenseman Nikita Zadorov, who has been out all season with a badly cut finger, could play.

"He's ready to go at any time," Rolston said of Zadorov. "It could be [Saturday]."

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Quote of the Day

I'm very excited about what happened today. We've worked on this deal with Toronto for a month, or over a month. It got a little bit of legs on draft day, but it really heated up last night, and we were able to complete the deal today.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on Phil Kessel, who he acquired from the Maple Leafs in a trade on Wednesday