PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers will have to try to snap their three-game losing without one of their leading scorers, Wayne Simmonds, who will sit out Saturday's game against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes due to head and neck injuries.
Simmonds, who is tied with Matt Read for the team lead with five points in seven games, was elbowed in the face by Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine late in the first period of Friday's game and did not return.
The Flyers gave no timetable for how long Simmonds would be out, but Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said Simmonds would be re-evaluated Sunday.
"It's disappointing," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said of Simmonds' absence. "We certainly could use him in the lineup right now. His ability to score, his physical presence, the roles and situations and the minutes that he plays on our team, we'll miss him."
Kopitar actually recruited Ryan through his agent to bring him overseas.
"You get to know the guy a little better," Kopitar said. "You get to know his strengths and weaknesses at the same time … We all know he's a goal scorer. You got to play [well against] him just like any other guy in the League."
Kopitar said he hung out with Ryan during their off time and it's clear the two have respect for each other. Kopitar has feasted on the Ducks, with 37 points in 36 career games, while Ryan is known to have big games against the Kings. His spin-o-rama goal to complete a hat trick at Staples Center on Jan. 8, 2009 stands out.
Their friendship might get up close and personal now that Ryan is playing center and might take a few faceoffs against Kopitar.
"We'll be facing each other pretty often," Kopitar said.
This is the first meeting of the teams since Los Angeles won the Stanley Cup to match Anaheim's 2007 Cup triumph. Outside of Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau's open dislike of the Kings, both sides have downplayed the dynamic.
"They were the champs a few years ago," Kopitar said. "It will be like any other game. It will be physical. It will be intense. The crowd's going to be into it. We're looking for two points. It doesn't matter how they come."
Penner returns to the lineup: Dustin Penner will return to the lineup as the Kings look to generate scoring from the left wing.
Coach Darryl Sutter confimed to reporters Friday that Penner would return. Penner has not played since Jan. 22. He had no points with a minus-2 rating in the first two games, and conditioning seemed to be part of the issue.
The Kings have reverted to last season and are averaging 1.83 goals a game. Their power play is 2-for-33.
"Our left side has a grand total of two goals this year," Sutter said. "We need more balance right now."
Penner will likely slide into the left wing spot on the second line with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, a line that was quite effective for the Kings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Penner practically resurrected his career with 11 points in 20 postseason games.
Willie Mitchell has not skated for a week but club officials have said the defenseman has not had a setback from December knee surgery to remove cartilage. Mitchell said last month he wanted to be smart in his recovery and has been working out away from the ice.
Toronto will go with James Reimer in goal, who stopped 20 shots on Thursday to help the Maple Leafs win at home for the first time this season.
This could mean that Toronto's recent waiver claim, 6-foot-5, 230-pound left wing Frazer McLaren, might play on the fourth line and if so, he will be counted on to add some toughness to counter the gritty Bruins.
"[The Maple Leafs] know how I play, I'm just a big physical winger [adding] toughness when it's needed," said McLaren, one of the last players off the ice at the morning skate. "I haven't heard for sure if I am going to play tonight but I will come ready and see what the lineup is."
In a less likely scenario, Clarke MacArthur may be ready return to action. He has been out with a lacerated finger but was on the ice Saturday morning.
The Maple Leafs have not beaten the Bruins at home since Dec. 4, 2010.
"We never lose respect for our opponents," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "I think that has served well in the past, because every time you do that, you get surprised and you are not prepared the way you should be. We are certainly a team that right now has an opportunity to finish this four-game stretch this week with a 3 -1 record or if not it's going to be a 2-2 record and for us that's not good enough."
"He is doing better, he got the high stick the other day just underneath the shield and he is progressing," Julien said. "He is a day-to-day situation right now, so we left him behind because our doctors wanted him to be cautious."
Jamie Tardif, a 28-year-old with no NHL experience, has been called up to replace Paille. Tardiff has 30 points in 39 games this season with Boston's American Hockey League affiliate, the Providence Bruins.
Dougie Hamilton, who was the ninth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft for the Bruins with one of the first-round picks acquired from the Maple Leafs in 2009 for Phil Kessel, will play Saturday night in front of friends and family. The 19-year-old from Toronto has shown poise on and off the ice this season and has earned him a full-time roster spot.
"I'm starting to get more adjusted now with the systems and the teammates and stuff like that," Hamilton said. "I think it's a much different game than in junior and [I'm] just trying to get used to that and play my best and have fun."
Here are the projected lineups for the game:
Dion Phaneuf – Mike Kostka
CALGARY, Alberta – Playing the second of back-to-back games and their third contest in four nights, the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to start Ray Emery against the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.
Emery’s only start this season came in a 6-4 win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Jan. 20.
Chicago could find itself without Dave Bolland, however. Bolland took a slash from Jannik Hansen in the third period of the Blackhawks’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday and didn’t return to the game.
The team is expected to give an update on Bolland’s status later Saturday.
With Bolland out, coach Joel Quinneville could shuffle his lines. Here is the lineup he could use when they visit the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Injured; David Bolland, Daniel Carcillo
Rangers coach John Tortorella has tapped Martin Biron to make his first start of the year, while Lightning coach Guy Boucher is expected to let Mathieu Garon start the second half of the team's back-to-back weekend set.
This will be Biron's first start of the season in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who started the team's first seven games.
“We have a philosophy about playing goaltenders and we’ll stick to it,” Tortorella said. “We felt really comfortable how we used our goalies last year and we didn’t stray from that. We’ll do the same this year. We have two good ones.”
After scoring three power-play goals on Friday night against Winnipeg, the Lightning have now scored 11 times out of 26 extra-man opportunities on home ice, good for a 42.3-percent success rate.
CALGARY, Alberta – In an effort to jump-start an offense that has scored 14 goals in five games this season, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley has reassembled one of the team’s most dangerous lines from a year ago as they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
Alex Tanguay, who shares the team lead with three goals and five points, will center captain Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri in an effort to ignite the two wings who are both searching for their first goal this season.
“Sometimes you shuffle the deck a little bit and you create reactions,” Hartley said. “It's all trying to help him and trying to help a couple others, and at the same time it’s to find the right combinations to allow us to win some hockey games.”
The combination meshed well a season ago after Cammalleri was acquired in January.
“We’ve had some success in the past playing together and I enjoy playing with both of them. Cammy is a very competitive guy,” said Iginla, who leads Calgary with 22 shots. “He’s a very smart hockey player. He gets himself into shooting positions and he creates a lot. Playing with him, we’re both going to try to shoot the puck.”
Here is the lineup the Flames will likely use when they host the Blackhawks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday:
Scratched: Tim, Jackman, Cory Sarich
Glendale, AZ -- Phoenix Coyote fans anticipating Ray Whitney's return to the desert will be disappointed. Whitney, who has been battling a foot injury for the past week, was placed on injured reserve after Friday’s contest and will miss at least four games.
The Coyotes have called up Reilly Smith from Texas of the American Hockey League to replace Whitney. Smith should slide into Whitney’s spot alongside Cody Eakin and Michael Ryder and will be facing off against Coyotes call-up Andy Miele, a teammate of Smith's at the University of Miami.
The Stars may go with Richard Bachman in goal tonight to change their luck in the finales of back-to-back games. Since last season, the Stars are 1-13-2 in the second half of back-to-backs, including 0-2-0 this year.
Glendale, AZ -- For the first time since his hit on Chicago’s Marian Hossa in last year’s playoffs, Raffi Torres will be back on the ice for the Coyotes tonight. Following that hit, Torres was suspended for the first eight games of this season along with 13 playoff games. Now that he's back in the lineup, his energy will be a welcome addition to a Phoenix team that has limped to a 2-4-2 start.
“I'm excited (to play), it's been quite a long time,” Torres said. “I just want to be out there helping the boys out.”
Torres knows that, as a repeat offender when it comes to suspensions, he needs to alter his game. Coach Dave Tippett has spent extended time reviewing film with the wing, who scored 15 goals last season. The goal of these video sessions is to emphasize how Torres can maintain his aggressive edge while curbing the type of hits that cause controversy.
“A bunch (of the video clips) were me running out of position to make a big hit. It's got to be non-existent this year. I can't be running out of position, giving up my man in order to throw a big hit," Torres said. "(Tippett) showed me a bunch of clips where I was thinking puck first and hit second and it worked out, where I got a lot of scoring chances out of it. It's just a matter of me controlling my emotions throughout the game.”
The Montreal Canadiens announced via their Twitter account that defenseman P.K. Subban will make his first appearance of the season Saturday afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres. It will be the 23-year-old's first game action since signing a two-year, $5.75-million contract with the team Monday.
The Canadiens' second-round pick in the 2007 NHL Draft led Montreal in ice time last season before holding out for the first nine days of the 2012-13 campaign as his agent, Don Meehan, and the club negotiated a new contract. Subban quarterbacked the team's power play last season and led the defensemen with 36 points, but Montreal has been surprisingly efficient with the man advantage in Subban's absence. They rank sixth in the League with the man advantage, scoring at a 27.3-percent clip.
"It's coach's decision. We'll see what happens tomorrow," Subban said Friday when asked about his eventual season debut. "I feel great. I've felt good for a while now. I've been skating non-stop for the last two weeks. I'm ready to go but at the end of the day it's not my decision."
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I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.