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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 12:14 AM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

CHI @ PHX - 0:14 of the Third Period

At 0:14 of the third period in the Blackhawks/Coyotes game, video review upheld the call on the ice that the original shot by Chicago's Marian Hossa completely crossed the goal line. Good goal Chicago.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 5:07 PM

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

Lundqvist starts, Asham debuts for Rangers

NEW YORK – Henrik Lundqvist will start his second straight game as the New York Rangers play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

Lundqvist played well in a 3-1 loss Saturday night to the Bruins in Boston, making 31 saves.

The only lineup change Sunday for the Rangers will be the return of Arron Asham from a four-game suspension he incurred as a member of the Penguins during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals last year against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Asham signed with the Rangers during the offseason in part to replace the loss of enforcer Brandon Prust to the Montreal Canadiens via free agency. The 34-year-old Asham isn’t shy about dropping the gloves and the occasional borderline hit, but Rangers coach John Tortorella doesn’t want to rein him in for his debut.

“I don’t expect him to be a saint,” Tortorella said. “The way he plays, I want him to be himself. I think you can play the game hard – and we have done that – without taking penalties.”

To make room for Asham, the Rangers sent forward Brandon Segal to Connecticut of the AHL. He had two penalty minutes (hooking) in 5:21 of ice time against the Bruins.

Here are the likely lines and d-pairs for the Rangers:

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Rick Nash
Marian Gaborik - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Chris Kreider - Bryan Boyle - Taylor Pyatt
Mike Rupp - Jeff Halpern - Arron Asham

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 4:32 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Many Oilers in mid-season form for opener

The Edmonton Oilers play their first NHL game of the season Sunday night in Vancouver, but a lot of them are already in mid-season form.

Top young players like Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and rookie defenseman Justin Schultz all played together for Edmonton’s American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City during the lockout. Others, like rookie Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, Lennart Petrell, Corey Potter and Ladislav Smid played in Europe. And even veteran forward Ryan Smyth and No. 1 goaltender Devan Dubnyk went overseas to play in the Spengler Cup.

Add it all up and the Oilers hope to have an advantage when they open against a Canucks team that only had a couple players in action – and looked like it during a 7-3 loss to Anaheim the night before.

“There's no rust in their system,” said Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who will face the Oilers after replacing new No. 1 Cory Schneider in the opening loss.

Edmonton’s young players tried to downlplay the advantage.

“Nerves are still going to be going for sure,” said Nugent-Hopkins, noting it’s been two weeks since they last played a game. “We worked on our game down in OKC and are just going to try and keep working on it up here.”

Here’s the way the talented young Oilers will line up against the Canucks:

Taylor HallRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan Eberle

Nail YakupovSam GagnerAles Hemsky

Ryan SmythShawn HorcoffTeemu Hartikainen

Ben EagerEric BelangerLennart Petrell

Ladislav SmidJeff Petry

Nick SchultzJustin Schultz

Ryan WhitneyCorey Potter

Devan Dubnyk gets the start in goal, while Yann Danis has been called up from the AHL to back up while veteran Nikolai Khabibulin continues to recover from offseason hip surgery.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 4:24 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Schultz excited to face childhood team in NHL debut

Edmonton Oilers defensman Justin Schultz can’t think of a better place to make his NHL debut than Vancouver, against the team he grew up cheering.

Not that Schultz, who is from Kelowna, just a five-hour drive to the northeast, expects a warm welcome from his home province. After choosing the talented, young Oilers ahead of the more established Canucks during the final stage of a free-agency pursuit that made headlines across the NHL, Schultz expects to hear boos.

They rained down on him during his only other trip back to British Columbia this season, when fans in nearby Abbotsford jeered almost every time he touched the puck while playing an American Hockey League game for the Oilers’ affiliate from Oklahoma City.

“I heard a little bit of that in Abbotsford when we played there, but you don’t really hear that stuff when you are playing,” said Schultz, who can count on some crowd support with “a lot of friends” and his parents in attendance Sunday.

The skilled 22-year-old defenseman was a prize addition for the Oilers over the summer, and made an immediate impression in the AHL, where he played with other top young Oilers like Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Despite leaving Oklahoma City when the NHL lockout ended two weeks ago, Eberle (51 points) and Schultz (48 points) are still the top two scorers in the AHL. Schultz’s totals, which include 18 goals in just 34 games, are obviously even more impressive given he’s a defenseman.

Still, he’s admittedly nervous about his first NHL game.

“Excited, nervous, sure I’ll have butterflies before the game but can't wait,” Schultz said. “(Playing in the AHL) helps, especially playing with so many of the guys who are here right now, but this is another big jump.”

It's a jump that Schultz, a Hobey Baker finalist in his final two seasons at the University of Wisconsin before using a loophole in the old CBA to become a free agent, seems ready to make.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 4:02 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Quebec's Erne, Duclair allowed to play Sunday

           Adam Erne, Quebec Remparts, QMJHL
After initially suspending top 2013 NHL Draft prospects Adam Erne and Anthony Duclair, Quebec Remparts coach Patrick Roy changed course and inserted both forwards into the lineup for Sunday's game against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.

The Journal de Quebec had reported Saturday that Erne and Duclair had been suspended for Sunday's game by the team.

"We believe that we are not all on the same wavelength and what we want is a team concept," Roy told Gilles Moffet of Journal de Quebec. "This is a life lesson for these young people and I hope they will grow out of it. They will not play Sunday, then we'll see."

There was no report as to what persuaded Roy to change his mind.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 3:46 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Canucks hope to bounce back against Oilers

The only change the Canucks are making after a 7-3 loss to Anaheim is in goal, where Roberto Luongo gets his scheduled start Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers after taking over for new No. 1 Cory Schneider the night before.

Schneider was pulled after five goals on 14 shots, while Loungo gave up two on 12, but it won’t matter who is playing if the rest of a roster that remains intact doesn’t play better, especially in their own end and on the penalty kill.

“We've analyzed some things we need to do,” coach Alain Vigneault said after announcing Luongo as his starter Sunday morning, citing a big gap between his forwards and defense as one main issue. “Overall we were doing a pretty good job as far as keeping the chances against to a reasonable number but we did have some breakdowns and they found the back of our net.”

Turning that around against the Oilers will be up to the same group:

Alexandre BurrowsHenrik SedinDaniel Sedin

Mason RaymondAndrew EbbettZack Kassian

Chris HigginsMaxim LapierreJannik Hansen

Aaron VolpattiManny MalhotraDale Weise

Dan HamhuisKevin Bieksa

Jason GarrisonAlexander Edler

Keith Ballard – Chris Tanev

Roberto Luongo

Cory Schneider

The Canucks have three spare defensemen, but no extra forwards on the roster – unless you count Jim Vandermeer, who has played up front in the past – something Vigneault doesn't expect to last long. In addition to Vandermeer, defensemen Cam Barker and Andrew Alberts will be healthy scratches for a second-straight game.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 3:44 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Start unexpected by Luongo, not Vigneault

Roberto Luongo didn’t think he’d ever play another game for the Vancouver Canucks.

That was back in May, after losing his starting job to Cory Schneider two games into a five-game playoff loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

Now the veteran goalie is preparing to play for the second straight day to start the new season.

“Probably most of you don't believe it right now, either," Luongo said after the announcement was made following the morning skate Monday.

Coach Alain Vigneault explained the decision by saying he was just sticking to his plan to start Luongo against Edmonton on Sunday night, one day after pulling Schneider early in the second period of a 7-3 loss to Anaheim.

“This was my plan that I figured out a couple of days ago and nothing happened last night that changed my mind,” Vigneault said.

That plan certainly didn't include seeing Schneider give up goals on three straight shots over a three-minute span early in the second period against the Ducks – and five on 14 overall.

Luongo took over, giving up two goals on 12 shots. He said after he should have stopped both goals by Teemu Selanne, who had four points for the Ducks, but said he felt good about his game overall. He will get a chance to build on that feeling against a talented Oilers team that was at least rumored to be interested in acquiring him in a trade last summer.

“To start a game with this logo on is something I’m happy to be doing right now,” Luongo said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen. I would have been fine with either way. I just got myself ready, no matter what the situation."

Neither Luongo nor Schneider had much help against the Ducks. Vancouver gave up quick goals on all three Anaheim power play opportunities, and its highly touted defense surrendered several point blank scoring chances.

Schneider, though, wasn’t making any excuses after the game, shouldering the blame when there was plenty to go around by saying it was up to him to make some big saves to keep the Canucks in the game.

“Sometimes you need to make that one big save and that will get you on your rhythm and send you on your way and I couldn’t make that big save,” Schneider said after the game. “You start pressing a little harder and trying to make that save and sometimes it’s a little counter-productive.”

Schneider, who lamented the three shots that went “through” him the most, said he “felt just a half-second off,” wanted to go over video on Sunday and then, “put my head down, work my butt off and fix any mistakes I made.”

Now he will get that chance to work with goaltending coach Roland Melanson, at least until a game Wednesday against Calgary.

"I want to keep playing,” Schneider said after the skate Sunday. “I'm not worried to get back in the net. I'm eager to do so. This will give me time to work on things."

In Vancouver, where most expected Luongo to be long gone by now, it also provides time for a potential goaltending controversy to simmer.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 3:11 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

PHI @ BUF - 16:13 of the Third Period

At 16:13 of the third period of the Flyers/Sabres game, video review determined that there was no distinct kicking motion by Buffalo forward Cody Hodgson and that his stick made contact with the puck prior to it crossing the goal line. Good goal Buffalo.

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Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 2:54 PM

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

Saad set to replace injured Carcillo for Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks will try to spoil an opponents' banner-raising celebration for the second time in two nights Sunday when they meet the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz. The Blackhawks spoiled the Kings' Stanley Cup party Saturday in Los Angeles and will watch the Coyotes raise their Pacific Division banner -- the first in franchise history -- Sunday.

Chicago beat the Kings 5-2 but lost ex-Coyotes forward Daniel Carcillo -- he is expected to be out a month -- when he injured his right knee in the second period. Carcillo was lost for the 2011-12 season with a left knee injury that required surgery Jan. 17. Carcillo was injured in a collision along the boards with Los Angeles' Drew Doughty.
 
Brandon Saad, a second-round pick in 2011 who played just two regular season game before appearing in Game 4 of the playoffs against Phoenix, will replace Carcillo against the Coyotes. The highly-skilled Saad will take Carcillo's spot alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa -- who combined for two goals and five points against the Kings.

Raffi Torres, who still have seven games to serve on his suspension for his hit on Chicago's Marian Hossa in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last year, remains out for Phoenix but the rest of the lineup that played Saturday in a 4-3 loss at Dallas came out OK to go against the Blackhawks.

Here are the projected lines for Sunday. The Coyotes did not skate and the Blackhawks did not show lines at their brief skatearound:

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick Sharp - Dave Bolland - Patrick Kane

Andrew Shaw - Marcus Kruger - Viktor Stalberg

Brandon Bollig - Bryan Bickell - Michael Frolik

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Sheldon Brookbank - Nick Leddy

Ray Emery

Corey Crawford

COYOTES

Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Steve Sullivan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Matthew Lombardi - David Moss

Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Alexandre Bolduc

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Zbynek Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

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Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 2:40 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Luongo to start Sunday for Canucks

Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault is sticking with his plan and starting Roberto Luongo against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.

That plan certainly didn't include seeing Cory Schneider getting shelled Saturday night in the season-opening 7-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, or being pulled early in the second period after giving up goals on three straight shots in just more than three minutes – and five goals on just 14 shots overall. Luongo took over from there, giving up two goals on 12 shots as well.

Vigneault said the plan all along was to split goalies over the back-to-back weekend games, and nothing on opening night changed his mind. He said he told the goaltenders about his decision after the one-sided loss to the Ducks, which saw the Canucks give up quick goals all three times they were shorthanded amid a series of defensive breakdowns.

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Quote of the Day

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.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic