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Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 1:46 PM

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

Blue Jackets, Penguins open home-and-home set

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets will meet for the first of two games in two nights between the new division rivals on Friday at Consol Energy Center.

The Blue Jackets are fourth in the Metropolitan Division with 10 points, eight behind the first-place Penguins. Columbus will have a chance to cut into that lead during the home-and-home set.

Forward Brandon Dubinsky said the Blue Jackets will need to come out strong Friday to set themselves up for the rematch Saturday in Columbus.

"You have to make it a hard game," Dubinsky said. "You have to come out, be ready to compete right from the get-go. We know these guys come hard at home. They play with speed. They generate a lot of speed through the neutral zone and they got some top-end guys.

"We have to find a way to stay disciplined, stay out of the box and be ready to play a physical and hard game."

Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 1:32 PM

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

Downie returns to Flyers against Washington

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is hoping forward Steve Downie will do for captain Claude Giroux what he was able to do for Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche.

Specifically, provide him with some space and time to rekindle a little offensive magic.

Downie will return to the place where it all began for him Friday in Philadelphia when the Flyers host the Washington Capitals at Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). Philadelphia reacquired Downie, 26, in a trade with the Avalanche on Thursday in exchange for forward Maxime Talbot.

In 11 games with the Avalanche, Downie saw plenty of time on the top line with Duchene, who currently leads the team in goals (nine), power-play goals (three) and points (13). Giroux has no goals and six assists in 11 games this season, and is a minus-7, tied for the worst mark on the team.

Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 1:19 PM

By Kurt Dusterberg - Correspondent / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Malhotra excited to be back in NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Veteran forward Manny Malhotra, signed by the Carolina Hurricanes to a one-year, two-way contract Thursday, will be in the lineup Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Hurricanes are dealing with injuries and a three-game losing streak. Coach Kirk Muller felt the time was right to introduce a veteran presence to the team.

"You can never have enough experience, [plus] the value of faceoffs and killing some penalties," Muller said. "Being just a mentor to some guys in our lineup. I think his experience on and off the ice will be huge for our group."

Malhotra lost much of the vision in his left eye when he was injured during a game in March 2011. He has played a limited role since then, but said he has full clearance by doctors to return to play.

"My vision is not what it was; it never will be, but it's fine," he said. "I'm accustomed to what I do have."

Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 1:08 PM

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

Blues want to re-focus Lapierre's energy

SUNRISE, Fla. -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock still wants to see the same kind of energy from center Maxim Lapierre as he returns from his five-game suspension. He just wants to see it applied a different way.

Lapierre will play Friday against the Florida Panthers for the first time since he was suspended for a hit on San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle in a game Oct. 15.

"He brings a different energy that's winning energy on the road," Hitchcock said after the Blues' optional skate Friday. "He plays hard. He draws our fourth line into a game that we need our fourth line to play in. It just adds stability to our lineup. He's a guy that can kill penalties.

"We're asking him to kind of channel his energy in a little bit different direction here than he's used to. I think he's really adapted to that. It's unfortunate because he was playing great until the incident. Our hope is he just gets back on the bike and just starts playing again like before that incident with Danny."

Lapierre said he understood the message.

Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 12:20 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

NHL Live features look at best moments of October

NHL Live, which airs from 5-7 p.m. ET on NHL Network, will get fans' favorite #NHLMoment of the first month of the season and give their own.

There's eight games on the slate and we'll get a live preview of the Flyers-Capitals game, which airs at 7 p.m. ET on NHL Network, from Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley. We'll also fire up our Arena Cam in Florida and chat with Darren Pang about the St. Louis Blues' torrid start to the season.

NHL Network Analyst Barry Melrose will join the show to give his Mullet of the Week and San Jose Sharks forward Brent Burns will call in as he will change his look for "Burnzie's Buzzcut for Charity."

Remember to submit your #AskEJ questions all season long to @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, submit your favorite #NHLMoment of October and join the conversation on Twitter as we ask your opinion on some hot topics around the NHL.

Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 10:18 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2014 NHL Draft blog

Barbashev returning to Moncton lineup

Moncton Wildcats left wing Ivan Barbashev, the only "A"-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list of the top 2014 NHL Draft-eligible players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will return to the lineup Friday at the Saint John Sea Dogs after sitting out the previous five games with a lower-body injury.

Wildcats coach Darren Rumble said he intends to give Barbashev between 15 and 20 minutes of ice time in his anticipated return. The coach said the 6-foot-1, 185-pound left wing has looked good in practice the last few days.

"I'll ease him in, but I'm not a big believer in [easing a player in]," Rumble said. "If you're cleared to play, you're cleared to play. Now I'm not going to give him 30 minutes but I think he'll get a regular shift and power-play time, so we'll try and get him no more than 20 minutes; about to the 15-minute mark."

Barbashev was injured while taking a faceoff in a game against Saint John on Oct. 16 when he attempted to kick the puck but instead caught his skate in a rut. At the time of his injury Barbashev led the team in points (18) and was tied for the team lead in goals (seven) and assists (11). He's averaging 1.29 points per game.

Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 9:39 AM

By Kevin Weekes -  NHL Network Analyst / - Weekes on the Web

Weekes: Sid, Ovi look right back on top

I was looking at the stats page on earlier this week and couldn't help but notice two very familiar names right at the top: Sidney Crosby leading the League in points and Alex Ovechkin leading the League in goals.

Ovechkin has since been overtaken by Alexander Steen of the St. Louis Blues, but it was nice to see the two biggest names in our game back on top, especially when you consider the noticeable lack of buzz surrounding these two players last season. With Crosby rehabbing from injuries and Ovi off to a slow start that saw him score two goals in his first 10 games, the narrative had switched to how the Sid vs. Ovi show was a thing of the past.

I can see why people were saying it. Sid was banged up and battling the health challenges he had, and Ovi had lost his way. At the end of the day, the fortunate and unfortunate thing about our business is it is performance-based. That's what it is about. People look at numbers and interpret them how they want, but I don't always believe that numbers tell the whole story. I believe it's more about the process. Sometimes you can have the right process and for an extended period not have the numbers. Then you get discouraged because people say you're not producing.

That process has helped the two biggest names in hockey get back on top. And we're all the better for it.

Posted On Friday, 11.01.2013 / 12:26 AM - 2013-2014 Situation Room blog

NSH @ PHX - 8:17 of the Third Period

At 8:17 of the third period in the Predators/Coyotes game, video review supported the referee's call on the ice that Antoine Vermette's shot crossed the goal line before the net was displaced. According to Rule 78.4 "The goal frame shall be considered in its proper position when at least a portion of the flexible peg(s) are still inside both the goal post and the hole in the ice". Good goal Phoenix.

Posted On Thursday, 10.31.2013 / 6:39 PM - NHL Live blog

NHL Live chats with Wild forward Charlie Coyle

Posted On Thursday, 10.31.2013 / 6:36 PM - NHL Live blog

NHL Live looks at top player tweets on Halloween

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Quote of the Day

Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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