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Posted On Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 1:00 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lightning figure to have hands full with Maple Leafs

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Lightning will be seeking to end a three-game home slide Tuesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The good news? Their opponent is playing the second half of back-to-back road games, and the Lightning have had excellent results when catching a team in that scenario.

The bad news? Their opponent is the sizzling Toronto Maple Leafs, coming off a 3-0 shutout of the Florida Panthers on Monday night. Toronto has posted a 7-2-0 record in their first nine road games of the season, a record of road success the likes of which the Maple Leafs have not enjoyed since the 1940-41 season.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 12:54 PM

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

Blues, Predators make minor-league swap

The St. Louis Blues traded defenseman Scott Ford to the Nashville Predators for forward Jani Lajunen on Tuesday.

Ford is a 33-year-old who spent four years at Brown University and has logged more than 400 games in the American Hockey League. He had two goals and six points in 43 games this season with the Peoria Rivermen after spending the previous four seasons with Milwaukee, which is Nashville's AHL affiliate.

Lajunen was a seventh-round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft by the Predators. The 22-year-old Helsinki native is in his second season in the AHL, and had one goal and five points in 40 games for the Admirals in 2012-13.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 12:27 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Gaustad a no-go as Predators host Red Wings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday center Paul Gaustad, who is tied for fourth in the League in faceoff efficiency at 62.8 percent, would miss that night's game against the Detroit Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena with an upper-body injury.

Gaustad got hurt in Monday's 6-5 loss at the Colorado Avalanche in the first period, playing 58 seconds, and did not return. Trotz said he would know more about Gaustad's injury in a few days. Gaustad also missed the second, third and fourth games of the season with an upper-body injury that could be related.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 12:05 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Islanders, Senators

OTTAWA -- Here are the projected lineups the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators likely will use when they play Tuesday at Scotiabank Place:

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Brad Boyes

Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner - Keith Aucoin - Marty Reasoner

Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald

Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald

Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky

Mark Streit - Joe Finley

Rick DiPietro

Evgeni Nabokov

Injured: Radek Martinek, Matt Carkner, Brian Strait

Scratched: David Ullstrom, Eric Boulton

Coming into Ottawa after a 7-0 blowout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at home, the Islanders are looking to regroup on this road trip.

"[Monday] was a horrible game for us," Streit said. "If you lose 7-zip, you want to turn the page. We have a big opportunity [Tuesday] to play better. As the captain, didn't really need to say anything [after that loss]. Everybody knew what happened on the ice and how awful we played. I didn't think it was the right moment to step up in the locker room. [Tuesday] on the ice, we need to play a really good game and come together."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.19.2013 / 12:13 AM

By NHL Green -  /NHL.com - NHL Green Slapshots™

10 Hat Tricks Scored, 500 Trees Pledged

In January, NHL Green announced the launch of Hat Tricks for Trees™, an initiative assisting The Nature Conservancy’s effort to save Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. The National Hockey League Foundation is donating 50 trees for every hat trick scored throughout the 2012-13 regular season and NHL Playoffs.

On February 16, John Tavares tallied his fourth career hat trick, the tenth hat trick scored in the NHL this season. To date, the League has now pledged to plant 500 trees as part of the initiative.

Let’s take a look back at the players who notched the first ten hat tricks this season:

Thomas Vanek (Buffalo Sabres) - Vanek began the NHL season on a torrid pace and is currently the League-leader with 25 points in 15 games played. On Thursday, January 31st, Vanek recorded his second five-point game when he had a hat trick and added a pair of assists, in a 7-4 Sabres win in Boston.

Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings) - Detroit's new captain owns a five-point game this season as well -- he had a hat trick and two assists in the Red Wings' 5-3 victory against St. Louis in early February. On a team in transition, Zetterberg has raised his game.

Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh Penguins) – Penguin’s Chris Kunitz broke from a scoring drought in early February when he clinched the third hat trick in his career and a 6-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. “You know what to expect,” said Captain Sidney Crosby of Kunitz. “(Kunitz) works hard, gets to a lot of loose pucks and creates a lot of pressure on other teams. Nobody likes to deal with him in front of the net.”

Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) - Staal and teammate Jeff Skinner scored 9 seconds apart during a four-goal second period for the Hurricanes, a game which they went on to win 6-3 over the Sabres. Staal restored Carolina's two-goal lead in the third period by firing the puck past Jhonas Enroth. He polished off his 13th career hat trick with an empty-netter with 1:28 left in the contest.

Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers) - Gaborik, who moved to the left wing this season to accommodate new teammate Rick Nash, is a pure goal scorer with hands that goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said are some of the best in the League around the goal crease. He put them on display twice against the Bruins in late January, finessing the puck into the net for three important goals. Gaborik finished off a hat trick with a breakaway goal 26 seconds into overtime to give the Rangers their first win of the season.

Matt Read (Philadelphia Flyers) - Matt Read notched his first career hat trick in late January — and he thought it came pretty easily. Read helped his Philadelphia Flyers beat the Florida Panthers 7-1. "It's pretty special getting your first hat trick," Read said. "I'm the beneficiary of playing with two good guys (Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds). It's pretty easy when you're playing with two good players. Just be at the right spot at the right time -- and just do the little things right -- and good things are going to happen."

Nick Bonino (Anaheim Ducks) - Bonino scored two goals in the first six minutes of an early February game to chase Jonathan Quick from the net, before completing his first career hat trick against Jonathan Bernier. Bonino scored his third goal on a power play with 11:21 left in the game. The Anaheim Ducks beat the Los Angeles Kings in the first Freeway Faceoff of the season.

Steve Sullivan (Phoenix Coyotes) - Steve Sullivan scored three goals, his eighth career hat trick, when the Phoenix Coyotes skated passed the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 5-1 for their first win of the season. Sullivan put the game out of reach near the midpoint of the third period, squeezing a shot between goalie Steve Mason's pads on a redirect off a pass by Derek Morris. It was his first hat trick since Dec. 14, 2009.

Michael Cammalleri (Calgary Flames) - Still seeking his first goal of the season, Michael Cammalleri felt he was rounding into form before suffering a slightly torn hip flexor that forced him out of the Calgary Flames' lineup for three games. He didn't hesitate to make up for lost time. Coming back off the injury, Cammalleri had a hat trick – including the 200th goal of his career – as part of a four-point night as the Flames earned a 7-4 victory against the Dallas Stars on February 13.

John Tavares (New York Islanders)John Tavares recorded his fourth career hat trick, and assisted on another goal, to lead the New York Islanders to a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on February 16. Tavares, the first player taken in the 2009 NHL Draft, is doing everything he possibly can to get the New York Islanders into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Continue to follow the NHL Green Slapshots blog, and NHL (@NHL) on Twitter (#NHLGreen), as we track hat tricks throughout the season.

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Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 10:19 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

CBJ @ ANA - 3:30 of the First Period

At 3:30 of the first period in the Blue Jackets/Ducks game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Columbus forward Vinny Prospal put the puck in the net in a legal fashion. Good Goal Columbus.

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Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 7:44 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Isles' Strait suffers fractured ankle

If it wasn’t bad enough that the New York Islanders had their doors blown off by the Philadelphia Flyers in a 7-0 rout at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Monday afternoon, they received more bad news later in the day.

Isles defenseman Brian Strait, a waiver-wire acquisition just prior to the start of the season who has emerged as one of the club’s more reliable blueliners, suffered a fractured left ankle and has been placed on injured reserve.

Strait, 25, caught an edge and crashed hard into the side boards and had to crawl back on to the Islanders’ bench. Moments later, he limped off to the team’s dressing room.


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Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 7:40 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Gunnarsson returns to Leafs' lineup

SUNRISE, Fla.Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson is back in the lineup Monday night against the Florida Panthers.

Gunnarsson had missed the previous eight games because of a hip injury. He took part in the morning skate Monday and coach Randy Carlyle said he would become available soon.

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Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 4:14 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hiller, not Fasth, likely starting for Ducks vs. Jackets

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks have as good a reason as any to put Viktor Fasth back in goal Monday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The traditional strategy is not to mess with a streak and go with the hot goalie. Fasth is 8-0-0 and one win away from tying Ray Emery for longest winning streak to begin an NHL career.

But Fasth has played twice in the previous three nights and it appears that Jonas Hiller will return to the lineup now that he’s healthy. Hiller was first off the ice at the morning skate and said he’s back from a lower-body muscle strain that forced him out of his last start Feb. 8.

“I’ve been skating full practices for the last few days and I’ve felt good and never gotten worse,” Hiller said. "I definitely feel comfortable where I’m at.”

Coach Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t tip his hand. Hiller served as Fasth’s backup last Saturday even though the club also has Jeff Deslauriers available.

“He’s ready to play – when we decide to play him,” Boudreau said of Hiller.

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Posted On Monday, 02.18.2013 / 3:32 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Staals hope for better ending in front of parents in Montreal

The first time Henry and Linda Staal watched their two eldest sons play on the same NHL team, things didn’t go so well for Eric and Jordan Staal’s Carolina Hurricanes.

It went so badly, in fact, Eric Staal all but erased it from his memory.

Henry and Linda Staal will be at Bell Centre to watch their sons take on the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night, and Eric thought it would be their first time watching a game live since Jordan was traded to the Hurricanes by the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2012 NHL Draft.

Not so, says Jordan, who pointed out his parents were in the building in Florida on the 2012-13 season’s opening night to watch the Hurricanes play the Panthers.

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Quote of the Day

[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday