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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 3:29 PM

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

DiPietro to start in Islanders' goal

The New York Islanders announced goaltender Rick DiPietro will make his second start of the season when the team faces the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

In DiPietro's previous game this season, Jan. 25 against the Boston Bruins, he allowed four goals on 27 shots in a 4-2 loss.

Due to a series of injuries, it will be just the 49th game DiPietro has played in since the start of the 2008-09 season. He's spent this season watching as Evgeni Nabokov has gotten the majority of the playing time.

"I think he's been handling it fine," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "He obviously hasn't played a lot, but at the same time, he's sharp. He's had a lot of practice time with us now. When you haven't played a lot, obviously practice is what you need. He gave us a chance in Boston, he just got a couple of unlucky bounces."

The loss in Boston was DiPietro’s first appearance since Dec. 3, 2011, when he was injured in a 5-4 victory at Dallas. He's elated at the chance to play.

"This opportunity to feel healthy and practice, and have a chance to come out here and help this team win hockey games is truly a blessing," he said. "I feel good. Hopefully that translates onto the ice."
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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 3:28 PM

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

Flames turn back to Sarich for blue-line help

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames will have Cory Sarich in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 31 when they host the Minnesota Wild at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday night.

Sarich, a healthy scratch for the last four games, is eager to make his presence felt on the Flames' blueline.

"Playing good defense is the No. 1 key and then trying to get some licks in when I can has always been a big part of my game," Sarich said. "I think I'm usually at my best when I'm playing physical."

For the most part this season, the Flames have rotated Sarich, Chris Butler and Derek Smith in and out of the lineup. Anton Babchuk, who is ready to return from an upper-body injury, further crowds the blue line.

Sarich, who will step in for Smith, is already used to the rotation.

"I've seen it enough now that I know what I need to do personally," he said. "Mentally I've dealt with it enough I think in and out of the lineup over the last couple years that this isn't going to phase me."

Though Sarich will see action tonight, forward Michael Cammalleri will not.

Cammalleri, who has missed the last two games with a hip flexor, is ruled out for the contest according to coach Bob Hartley and has been placed on the injured reserve list retroactive to Feb. 5.

"He's getting much better," Hartley said. "He skated yesterday and he's getting closer so he's on the ice this morning with us. Cammy's doing better, but he will not be in the lineup tonight."

Here is a look at who will take to the ice for the Flames when they face the Wild.

Curtis GlencrossAlex TanguayJarome Iginla

Jiri HudlerBen StreetRoman Cervenka

Blake ComeauMatt StajanLee Stempniak

Steve BeginBlair JonesTim Jackman

Mark GiordanoJay Bouwmeester

Dennis WidemanTJ Brodie

Chris ButlerCory Sarich

Scratched: Anton Babchuk, Derek Smith

Injured: Mikael Backlund, Sven Baertschi, Michael Cammalleri, Miikka Kiprusoff

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 3:22 PM

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

Canucks turn back to Luongo on Tuesday

Roberto Luongo has been confirmed as the Vancouver Canucks starting goaltender for Tuesday night's game against the Minnesota Wild (10 p.m. ET, TSN) at Rogers Arena.

Cory Schneider started the Canucks' game last week in Minnesota, where Luongo has had notoriously poor performances in his career. Schneider won and had a solid outing, and he got the nod again Saturday against Calgary, earning a 5-1 victory over the Flames.

This will be Vancouver's 12th game of the season and will mark an even split between Luongo and Schneider in terms of starts (Luongo also has one appearance in relief of Schneider in the season opener).

Luongo currently posts a 3-0-2 record with a 1.53 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

Schneider has won two straight for a 4-2-0 record with a 2.36 GAA and .921 save percentage.

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Posted On Monday, 02.11.2013 / 3:20 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: Chicago's Kane re-discovers elite form

Leading up to the 2012-13 season, Patrick Kane was simply an enigma from a fantasy standpoint.

Patrick Kane
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 10 | PTS: 19
SOG: 33 | +/-: 7
In four of his first five NHL seasons, Kane has played in 80-plus games. In all but one of those five seasons, he's mustered 200-plus shots on goal. He's never had fewer than 66 points in a season and is regarded as one of the most talented forwards League-wide. In only his third NHL season, he fueled a Stanley Cup championship run for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-10 with 28 points in 22 postseason games.

At that time, Kane was on the fast track to stardom. So why was he selected on average in the third round of fantasy drafts entering this season with an average position of 32.8 in Yahoo leagues?

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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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The old saying in hockey is 'weather the storm.' I put the notion in their heads that we don't want to weather the storm, we want to push just as hard and matched their work ethic. I thought our guys exceeded that in the first period.

— Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins after their loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday
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