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Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Curtis Zupke - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Goaltender Jones could get another start for Kings

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Was the impressive NHL debut of goalie Martin Jones enough to earn him another start for the Los Angeles Kings?

It was difficult to tell if Jones would be back in goal Saturday night, when the Kings play the New York Islanders. Jones left the ice first at the morning skate, but usual starter Ben Scrivens wasn't far behind. Kings coach Darryl Sutter doesn't reveal his starting goalie, so it was anybody's guess.

Thrown into a rivalry game against an Anaheim Ducks team that hasn't lost in regulation on home ice, Jones made 26 saves and stopped all nine shooters in a 3-2 shootout win Tuesday in his first NHL game.

Scrivens has gone 6-1-3 in place of injured Jonathan Quick (groin). The first win of that stretch came against the Islanders on Nov. 14. Sutter has lately been stingy with the praise of Scrivens and said he's seen cracks in his game.

"I think he's been off and on lately," Sutter said. "To be able to win on a consistent basis and play at a high level is not just the physical, it's the mental part of it, and when you're not used to doing it, it trickles into your game."

Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 3:49 PM

By Derek Van Diest - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Smid returns for latest Oilers-Flames rivalry game

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames can still get temperatures rising. Saturday, the teams meet in the second game of the season series, at Rexall Place.

"Hockey is like everything, it goes in cycles," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "Both franchises are in unbelievable hockey markets. Right now we're in a rebuilding phase and there is no secret formula, you need time.

"With time you're going to have growing pains. You see some bright flashes, you look at [Calgary's] Sean] Monahan and [Edmonton's] Taylor Hall and [Nail] Yakupov, and those guys are the building blocks. You need to surround them with quality veterans. You look at teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks a few years ago, they went through the same thing and today they're leaders in the League."

Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:32 PM

By Louie Korac - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blues could be without Steen against Ducks

ST. LOUIS -- Forward Alexander Steen is the latest St. Louis Blues player to get hit with the flu bug.

Steen, who leads the Blues with 20 goals and is second to Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (21) for the NHL lead, will be a game-time decision when the Blues (19-5-3) host the Anaheim Ducks (19-7-5) in a battle of Western Conference heavyweights Saturday night.

It started when forward Chris Stewart was the first to get sick when the Blues visited the Buffalo Sabres, but he played. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk missed the Nov. 25 home game against the Minnesota Wild because of illness, and left wing Magnus Paajarvi sat out a 3-2 loss Monday against the Los Angeles Kings.

"Same rules ... doesn't feel well, stay home, stay away from the rest of us," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Steen, who leads the team with 32 points in 27 games. "Everybody else has been able to play that's been sick.

"We'll see how he feels later in the day. Rather than infect the rest of us, he didn't feel well and just stayed home."

Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:27 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Sabres hope to surprise hot Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Buffalo Sabres are hoping a game against the NHL's hottest team can help turn around their season.

No NHL team can match the Montreal Canadiens' 8-0-1 record over their past nine games, and the Sabres are hoping to put an end to that hot streak Saturday at Bell Centre.

With a 6-21-2 record through 29 games, the Sabres are on pace for just under 40 points in 82 games, which would be by far the lowest total since the introduction of the shootout in 2005-06. The 2006-07 Philadelphia Flyers had 56 points.

"Well, we're definitely not proud of it, to be honest with you," Sabres captain Steve Ott said. "We're not happy with our record, but our process needs to continue to work. No one has packed it in for the season. We have a lot of hockey games left and we want to continue to make a stand.

"A game like tonight is a perfect instance when you have a hot team that's 8-0-1 in the last little while. There's no better feeling than a team like us coming in and hopefully giving them a good show and maybe sneaking in a win."

Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:12 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ellis gets start for Stars against Flyers

DALLAS -- Dan Ellis is the starting goaltender for the Dallas Stars in an afternoon game with the Philadelphia Flyers at American Airlines Center. Ellis, who is 2-3-0 with a 3.52 goals-against average, is making his sixth start of the season for Dallas.

Kari Lehtonen had started the previous four games for the Stars. Ellis' last start came on Nov. 26 when he stopped 28 of 31 shots in a 5-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.

Steve Mason is in goal for the Flyers.

Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 2:03 PM

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

Senators not taking battered Maple Leafs lightly

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators captain Jason Spezza said he expects the Toronto Maple Leafs to compete through their injuries with the Battle of Ontario set to resume Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Maple Leafs, who did not hold a morning skate, put center Tyler Bozak on long-term injured reserve earlier in the week because of an oblique strain he suffered Tuesday in a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks that ran their losing streak to five.

Toronto, which snapped its skid Thursday with a 3-2 overtime win against the Dallas Stars, was already missing center Dave Bolland, who has been sidelined since Nov. 2 with an ankle injury.

"We know that they've had injuries, but if you look at us the last couple of years, we've had lots of injuries and managed to play well," Spezza said after Ottawa held an optional skate Saturday. "Injuries can be an opportunity for other guys to step up, so you don't take any team lightly. It doesn't matter who they are or who's hurt, there are some good hockey players on both teams and you don't take anybody for granted, or take anybody lighter."

Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 1:26 PM

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

Lightning scramble to field healthy lineup

TAMPA -- With injuries wreaking havoc with their regular lineup, the Tampa Bay Lightning are dodging and weaving to put skaters on the ice against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning lost defensemen Victor Hedman to a lower-body injury and Keith Aulie with a broken hand during a win against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. On the plus side, defensemen Radko Gudas and Eric Brewer, who have sat out five and two games respectively, appear ready to return.

"They should be good," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 1:13 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Bruins lose Boychuk with back sprain

BOSTON -– The Boston Bruins will be without defenseman Johnny Boychuk for three to seven days, including their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at TD Garden, general manager Peter Chiarelli said.

Boychuk suffered a back sprain against the Montreal Canadiens after he was hit into the end wall by Max Pacioretty. Boychuk left that game on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital, but he returned to Boston with the team after the game.

"Johnny's doing better," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the morning skate. "I think we dodged a pretty good bullet there, personally. You know those kind of injuries could have serious consequences. We feared the worst, and I think we got as good news as we could get. When he was down, he couldn't breathe. I guess he couldn't move either. So obviously on the medical side of it, our trainers, the Montreal doctors, did the right thing. They took him off in a stretcher, took him to the hospital and they got him checked out.

"And after the MRI [exam on Thursday], they found no fractures. So a lot of it has been based on him locking up from going into the board, muscle spasm and everything else. So we hope that it'll be a quicker recovery."

Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Steve Hunt - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Flyers' Couturier hopes to continue hot play in Dallas

DALLAS -- Three days after posting his first four-point game in a 6-3 win against the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier is hoping to continue his hot play as he and the Flyers visit the Dallas Stars Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center. Hoping to continue his hot hand, Couturier is also celebrating his 21st birthday Saturday. So another big game would only enhance the celebration.

Any plans for practice on Friday were halted when Dallas was hit by a major snowstorm, causing power outages and dangerous roads. So instead of skating, the Flyers opted for a workout at their hotel.

"I've seen weather like this in a lot of places, but in the other places they have trucks and vehicles that take care of the roads," Flyers coach Craig Berube told the team web site. "In Dallas they're not prepared for it."

Posted On Saturday, 12.07.2013 / 12:17 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Brodeur, Lundqvist meet again as Rangers host Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- For the 39th time in their rivalry, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur are expected to oppose each other when the Metropolitan Division foes face off Saturday at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET).

Lundqvist is 24-9-5 with a 1.69 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and five shutouts in his career against Brodeur. Lundqvist is 0-2-0 with a 3.53 GAA in two starts against the Devils this season; a 4-0 loss to Cory Schneider on Oct. 19 and 3-2 loss to Brodeur on Nov. 12.

In 98 career starts against the Rangers, Brodeur is 48-30-20 with a 2.12 goals-against average, nine shutouts and a .918 save percentage. The 41-year-old will be looking to snap a personal four-game losing streak. The Devils are coming off a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday when they generated 11 shots.

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