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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 4:57 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Avalanche captain Landeskog returns after hit

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog left Saturday's game against the San Jose Sharks near the end of the first period but returned to the ice in the second.

Landeskog seemed to have suffered a lower-body injury and went to the dressing room with 4:20 to go in the first period after he took a hit from Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart.

Landeskog immediately left the game and appeared to be favoring his left leg as he limped toward the dressing room.

Moments after Stuart's hit, a fight erupted between him and Colorado defenseman Ryan O'Byrne. Stuart received a five-minute fighting major, and O'Byrne, the instigator, received a total of 19 penalty minutes.

San Jose scored twice after the fight to take a 2-0 lead.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 3:52 PM

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

Gaustad ready to return for Predators

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Paul Gaustad will return to the lineup for the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

Gaustad said he’s fit to go after he missed the previous three games with an upper-body injury. He is expected to take his center spot on the fourth line against the Anaheim Ducks.

“It’s good to be back tonight,” Gaustad said. “It wasn’t too long, and it’s good to be a contributor again.”

Nashville gets back one of the top faceoff men in the League and a key penalty killer. Coach Barry Trotz likened it to Vancouver Canucks faceoff ace Manny Malhotra.

“You can dictate where you’re putting the puck and hopefully if you have it, you’re getting out of your zone," Trotz said. "The great thing about 'Goose' is that he’s good on the left, but he’s one of the few guys that switches over the right and takes the right-hand draw.”

Fasth to start?

Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau was non-committal on whether goalie Viktor Fasth would make his NHL debut Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.

“I’ll have to go check and see what the goalie coach says,” Boudreau said, in reference to Ducks goaltending consultant Pete Peeters.

Jonas Hiller played Friday in a 5-0 loss to Vancouver. Three of those goals came on Vancouver power plays, but Hiller looked shaky on even-strength goals by Aaron Volpatti and Mason Raymond.

The Swedish Elite League’s Goaltender of the Year the past two seasons, Fasth was signed last May to be Hiller’s backup. His season was interrupted in November because of hip and groin issues and he was sent to the AHL to get playing time earlier this month.

Boudreau has previously suggested that he would like to split the goalie starts in back-to-back situations. The Ducks had an optional skate and, for what it’s worth, Fasth came off the ice first.

Speaking generally on how he manages the starts, Boudreau said, “You do it on feel. You can script out the first five games on who is going to play. But we’ll see how it works out. Viktor played three games last week in the American [Hockey] League last week, so it’s not like he’s totally rusty.”

PREDATORS

Colin WilsonMike FisherMartin Erat

Gabriel BourqueDavid LegwandPatric Hornqvist

Sergei KostitsynNick SpalingCraig Smith

Rich ClunePaul GaustadBrandon Yip

Roman JosiShea Weber

Hal GillRyan Ellis

Kevin KleinScott Hannan

Pekka Rinne

Chris Mason

Injuries: None

Scratched: Jonathon Blum, Brian McGrattan, Matt Halischuk

DUCKS

Kyle PalmieriRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

Bobby RyanNick BoninoTeemu Selanne

Andrew CoglianoSaku KoivuDaniel Winnik

Matt BeleskeyPeter HollandBrad Staubitz

Toni LydmanFrancois Beauchemin

Cam FowlerBryan Allen

Luca SbisaSheldon Souray

Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

Injuries: None

Scratches: Jordan Hendry, Devante Smith-Pelly, Rickard Rakell

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 3:29 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Hanzal back for Coyotes against Kings

Here is the projected lineup for the Phoenix Coyotes, who will welcome the Los Angeles Kings to Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night:

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Steve Sullivan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - David Moss

Alexandre Bouldoc - Nick Johnson - Paul Bissonette

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Milan Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

David Schlemko - Michael Stone

Jason Labarbera

Chad Johnson

Scratched: David Rundblad

Suspended: Raffi Torres

Injured: Mike Smith, Matthew Lombardi, Rostislav Klesla

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 3:05 PM

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

Hordichuk ready to add toughness to Alberta rivalry

CALGARY, Alberta – With the "Battle Of Alberta" considered among the League's most physical rivalries, Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger has opted to install one of the team’s tougher forwards into the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames.

Darcy Hordichuk will see his first action of the season when the Oilers visit the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome, and the six-foot, one-inch forward is expecting to spice up what should be a spirited affair between the provincial rivals.

"I think that’s why they’re putting me in there, to bring that physicality," Hordichuk said. "It’s going to be a fun game to play and every time we play these guys they’ve been a tough team to play against."

Hordichuk will also be tasked with keeping an eye on some of the Oilers’ young stars. With Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov all in the lineup, it’s Hordichuk’s responsibility to make sure the opposition doesn’t take liberties with Edmonton’s core.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 2:44 PM

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

Czech mates set for Calgary debut

CALGARY, Alberta – Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka will both make their debut with the Calgary Flames Saturday in this season's first installment of the "Battle Of Alberta."

Hudler left training camp and missed the opening three games of the season for Calgary after tending to the passing of his father, Jiri Hudler Sr., in the Czech Republic.

Cervenka missed training camp with issues relating to a blood clot. After seeing a hematology expert at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, the Czech forward has been cleared to play and is ready to be inserted in the lineup against the Oilers for his first career National Hockey League game.

"He’s confident and good for him," Hudler said of his teammate and countryman. "He’s got his big day. We took a picture having breakfast this morning, his first game-day breakfast. It’s nice."

Though he's no stranger to NHL action, the game will hold special significance for Hudler, too. Saturday's match will mark the 29-year-old’s first in a Flames uniform after signing a four-year, $16-million contract in July.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 2:44 PM

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

Fantasy Spin: Kovalchuk surpasses Ovechkin in value

The final sequence of the New Jersey Devils' overtime win over the Washington Capitals Friday night was a microcosm of where forwards Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk stand in the fantasy landscape at this stage in their careers.

Ovechkin, trying to create a scoring chance in transition, lost his footing before losing the puck, causing an odd-man rush in the opposite direction.

Alex Ovechkin
Left Wing - WSH
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 1
SOG: 13 | +/-: -1
Then, despite his teammate fanning on the ensuing shot, Kovalchuk didn't give up on the play. The Devils' sniper swooped around the Capitals' net, parked himself on the left wing and cashed in on a feed from Marek Zidlicky to win the game and keep Washington winless this season.

While it may only be a single play in a 48-game season, it really represented what has been a contrasting opening week for fantasy owners who spent first-round draft picks on either Kovalchuk or Ovechkin. Kovalchuk, 29, has fully lived up to fantasy expectations (2 G, 2 A, plus-5, 6 PIM, 1 PPP, 13 SOG), but Ovechkin is off to the least productive four-game start of his NHL career (0 G, 1 A, minus-1, 4 PIM, 0 PPP, 13 SOG). Both averaged better than a point per game playing in the Kontinental Hockey League during the work stoppage, but only Kovalchuk has risen to the occasion since returning to NHL action.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 2:23 PM

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

Howden could make NHL debut for Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers already have had three players make their NHL debut this season, and they could have a fourth Saturday night.

Forward Quinton Howden, one of the team’s three first-round picks in the 2010 NHL Draft, was recalled Friday from San Antonio of the American Hockey League and took part in the morning skate Saturday.

Howden skated on a line with Jack Skille and Drew Shore, with whom he played in San Antonio this season.

“Very excited,” Howden said. “This is what you dream of, opportunities like this. I’ve been working hard to get this opportunity and I’m looking forward to it.”

He was so excited, in fact, he didn’t mind dressing on a chair in the middle of the dressing room because all the seats were filled. Howden, who had nine goals and 10 assists in 41 games with San Antonio, is among the large group of blue-chip prospects in the Panthers organization.

Howden is in line to join 2011 first-round pick Jonathan Huberdeau, Shore and defenseman Michael Caruso in making his NHL debut this season.

“It’s exciting,” Howden said. “You can see that things are starting from the bottom and building up, but all those draft picks with [Shore] and [Huberdeau] and me and [Erik Gudbranson] and all that, there’s a lot of guys that are making their debuts and are going to make a name for themselves.”

A 6-foot-2, 189-pound left wing who can also play center, Howden was the 25th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft.

Asked what he was looking to get out of Howden, Panthers coach Kevin Dineen didn’t hesitate.

“Speed,” he said. “That’s his No. 1 asset is his speed. If he can come out and establish that, that’s a part of his game, that’s a good step.

“I think he’s had a solid first rookie season that he’s gone out there and he’s found the adjustment to the schedule and how it is to play against big men. He’s still a work in progress but he’s headed in the right direction and deserves his shot if he can get in there tonight.”

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 2:07 PM

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

Knuble excited to rejoin Flyers

SUNRISE, Fla. — Veteran forward Mike Knuble was the only Philadelphia Flyers player missing a nameplate in the visiting locker room at the BB&T Center Saturday morning.

After completing the morning skate in preparation for Saturday night's contest against the Florida Panthers, the first game of Knuble's second stint with the Flyers, the 40-year-old recent signee wasn’t about to complain.

While he enjoyed his one-game stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, Knuble is happy to be back in the NHL after signing Friday with the Flyers.

"It was good. It was in my hometown. It was important. [I'm] pretty shocked that it wasn’t a little bit longer," Knuble said of his stint with the Griffins. "I thought I had two, three weeks before anything would pop up, but it was fun. Good experience. It’s funny to say, but I wish it would have been a couple more games there. It would have been fun."

Knuble was signed after the Flyers lost wing Scott Hartnell for 4-8 weeks with a foot injury. Knuble isn’t likely to replace Hartnell’s scoring, but he’s the kind of veteran who should fit in comfortably.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 1:35 PM

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

Projected lineups for Flyers, Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. — Here are the projected lines for the game Saturday between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Florida Panthers.

FLYERS

Wayne Simmonds - Claude Giroux - Matt Read

Jakub Voracek - Sean Couturier - Maxime Talbot

Ruslan Fedotenko - Brayden Schenn - Mike Knuble

Tom Sestito - Eric Wellwood - Scott Laughton

Kimmo Timonen - Luke Schenn

Nicklas Grossman - Braydon Coburn

Kurtis Foster - Bruno Gervais

Ilya Bryzgalov

Michael Leighton

Injured: Danny Briere, Andrej Meszaros, Scott Hartnell, Zac Rinaldo

Scratches: Tye McGinn, Jody Shelley

Notes: Veteran defenseman Kurtis Foster returns to the lineup after sitting out the last two games. Foster said an undisclosed injury kept him out against New Jersey on Tuesday, but he could have played Thursday night against the Rangers. The Flyers also will have forward Brayden Schenn back in the lineup after he served his one-game suspension for his hit on New Jersey defenseman Anton Volchenkov. “You may not agree with it, but you respect their decision,” Schenn said. “It’s no fun missing a game, but I’m glad I’m back after sitting out one game.”

PANTHERS

Tomas Fleischmann - Tomas Kopecky - Alex Kovalev

Jonathan Huberdeau - Peter Mueller - Scottie Upshall

Quinton Howden - Shawn Matthias - Drew Shore

Jack Skille - Jerred Smithson - George Parros

Filip Kuba - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

Ed Jovanovski - Keaton Ellerby

Jose Theodore

Scott Clemmensen

Injured: Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg, Erik Gudbranson, Marcel Goc, Sean Bergenheim, Michael Caruso

Scratches: Mike Santorelli, Tyson Strachan

Notes: The Florida Panthers’ lineup was up in the air after the morning skate because of the uncertain status of both Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg. “We were a hard scout today,” Dineen said. “You look at the morning skate and you look at the bodies in the lineup and the possibilities. We’re not sure what we’re putting on the ice tonight just based on guys are that close to coming back.”

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 1:28 PM

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

Reimer poised to make MSG debut

NEW YORK – Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer doesn’t remember if he was tabbed to start against the New York Rangers on Oct. 27, 2011, but he knows he was definitely supposed to dress.

Reimer took part in the team’s morning skate that day, but was scratched with what was believed to be whiplash issues before later being diagnosed with a concussion near the end of the season. The Maple Leafs recalled Ben Scrivens to back up Jonas Gustavsson for that contest and Reimer didn’t see the ice again until early December.

More than a year later, Reimer will likely get a chance to make his Madison Square Garden debut against the Rangers on Saturday night. Reimer was the first goaltender off the ice at practice while Scrivens stayed longer for extra work.

Reimer was expected to be the No. 1 goaltender in Toronto this season, but rumors swirled that the Leafs would acquire Roberto Luongo from the Vancouver Canucks. That trade wasn't consummated by the start of this season and Scrivens was given the Leafs’ first two starts. Four games into the 2012-13 campaign, he has made three starts compared to just one for Reimer.

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Quote of the Day

We've got a team filled with captains, that's what I think. With these first two games we got in, we're really dominating and moving the puck really fast, and it's worked out really good.

— U.S. goalie Brandon Halverson after a 6-0 win against Germany in the World Junior Championship on Sunday