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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 2:37 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Jagr 'probably' won't play vs. Panthers

The Philadelphia Flyers likely won't have forward Jaromir Jagr in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers.

Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren told reporters that Jagr, who suffered a hip injury in the second period of Tuesday's game against the Detroit Red Wings, "probably" won't play Thursday.

Jagr was hurt late in the second when he said teammate Braydon Coburn checked Wings forward Valtteri Filppula into him. Jagr said he was able to avoid most of the force of the collision, but wasn't able to finish the game.

He told reporters he would try to skate Thursday morning to see how he felt, then make a decision.

Jagr has missed games four different times this season due to lower-body injuries. In 56 games, he has 17 goals and 27 assists.

Also questionable for Thursday is forward Jakub Voracek, who was knocked out of Tuesday's game following a hard hit by Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall.

Voracek was looking down for the puck in the Philadelphia end and never saw Kronwall, who hit Voracek in the face with his shoulder. Voracek said he passed a concussion exam Tuesday but needed stitches for cuts around his mouth. He might take another concussion test prior to Thursday's game.

Voracek said he has a stiff neck from falling to the ice, and said, "I feel different, but I think anyone would feel different after that hit. Sometimes you can get slightly hit to the chin and be out a few months; sometimes you can get run over like I did and you can be back the next game. We'll see.

"I don't want to say I feel too good, because every day is different. Hopefully, I can get back as soon as possible."

Voracek said he did not fault Kronwall for the hit.

"I think it was clean," he said. "I had my head down. … I saw him standing on the blue line and I was kind of naive and thought he was going to back up. It was a tough hit to take, but I think it was a clean hit from my side. It was my bad, and I think those hits should stay in the game."

If Voracek and/or Jagr can't play, the Flyers will have to call up a forward from AHL Adirondack.

The Flyers also will be without defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Kimmo Timonen for a third straight game. Both are listed by the team as out indefinitely due to lower-body injuries.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 1:05 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Leafs lose Lupul for 3-4 weeks

The Toronto Maple Leafs' playoff push won't include top-line forward Joffrey Lupul.

The team announced Wednesday that Lupul will miss at least three weeks due to a separated shoulder. Also, forward Colby Armstrong is day-to-day with a broken nose.

Both players were injured in the second period of Tuesday's game against the Boston Bruins.

Lupul, second on the Leafs with a career-best 67 points, was hit hard in the corner by the Bruins' David Krejci and he immediately left the game.

Armstrong was injured in a fight with Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.

The Leafs have recalled forward Carton Ashton from AHL Toronto. Acquired at the trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Lightning, the 2009 first-round draft pick likely will make his NHL debut Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Leafs enter the game 12th in the Eastern Conference, five points behind eighth-place Winnipeg.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 12:32 PM

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

Turco clears waivers, able to officially join Bruins



Marty Turco cleared waivers Wednesday, and the goaltender was able to officially join the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins signed Turco, who had been playing in Austria, to a one-year contract Monday but he had to pass through waivers. Had another team put in a waiver claim on Turco, he would have been ineligible to play in any games for them.

Turco joined the team Wednesday for practice at Ristuccia Arena in Boston. He will not be eligible to play in the postseason because he signed too late, but Turco is expected to help offset the loss of Tuukka Rask, who is expected to be out four-to-six weeks with an abdomen/groin injury.

The 36-year-old Turco has 273 career victories in his 10-year NHL career. The first nine were spent with Dallas before he played one year with Chicago. Turco did some work as an analyst for NHL Network before signing with FC Red Bull Salzburg in Austria earlier this season.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 12:00 PM

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

Groin injury sidelines Garon for 3-4 weeks

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon will miss the next 3-4 weeks due to a slight groin tear suffered Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators.

Garon left Tampa Bay's 7-3 loss just 3:54 into the game when he fully extended to make a save. Dwayne Roloson replaced Garon and allowed five goals on 30 shots.

The Lightning will call up goaltender Dustin Tokarski from Norfolk of the AHL.

Roloson is having a nightmare of a season. He is 8-13-2 with a 3.82 goals-against average and .878 save percentage. 
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 12:00 PM

By Alan Robinson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bylsma assessing linemate options for Crosby

PITTSBURGH — The waiting game is on again for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
 
Just like a child awaiting Christmas, the Penguins know there's going to be a major payoff in the end -- if only they're patient.
 
Sidney Crosby is practicing, absorbing hits from teammates and rounding back into game shape. And his return from the concussion-like symptoms that idled him for three months now appears to be days away.
 
With the Penguins already on a six-game winning streak going into a game Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, it might be easy to get distracted. After all, the Penguins have had the NHL's biggest star in their lineup for only eight games in the last 15 months, and having him back should prove even more rewarding than any deal general manager Ray Shero could have pulled off at the NHL Trade Deadline last week.
 
Again, if only they're patient.
 
But could his return be a distraction? Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury says never.
 
"Sid's been a part of this team for a long time," Fleury said.
 
Dan Bylsma said every NHL coach would love to have this problem: Where does Sidney Crosby play when he returns?
 
"Great, great problem to ponder to think about, what line he would fit on," Bylsma said Wednesday. "Certainly, the (Chris) Kunitz-(Evgeni) Malkin-(James) Neal line has been spectacular and probably has been the best line in hockey the last two, two-and-a-half months. Having Sidney Crosby in that mix, the best player in the world, certainly is nice to ponder. Sid has been working hard, and at the trade deadline, there was talk he could be the best acquisition you could ever make. We've won some hockey games but we all know that adding that into our lineup would be the best acquisition we could make, and we welcome that sooner than later."
 
Bylsma has had discussions with Crosby about his possible linemates when he returns, but no final determination has been made.
 
Crosby talked with reporters following the morning skate but did not tip his hand as to a possible return date. On Tuesday, he said it won't be until Sunday at the earliest.
 
The Penguins try to keep their momentum going against the Maple Leafs, who lost 5-4 to Boston in new coach Randy Carlyle's home debut Tuesday night. The Maple Leafs not only lost a game -- their seventh loss in eight games -- but also lost forwards Joffrey Lupul (upper-body injury) and Colby Armstrong (nose) to injuries, and neither is expected to play Wednesday.
 
Playing back-to-back games, the Maple Leafs did not hold a morning skate, although their extra players did skate at Consol Energy Center. Because of the Lupul and Armstrong injuries, they brought rookie forward Carter Ashton with them to Pittsburgh.
 
Ashton, a Tampa Bay draft pick and the son of former NHL player Brent Ashton, was acquired in a trade deadline deal that sent defenseman Keith Aulie to Tampa Bay. Ashton has 20 goals and 17 assists in the minors this season and would be making his NHL debut.
 
The Penguins will start rookie Brad Thiessen in goal -- only his second NHL start. He beat Columbus 4-2 in his NHL debut on Feb. 26, stopping 24 of 26 shots. Rick Nash scored shorthanded for the first goal against Thiessen in the League.
 
Here are the likely lineups for the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season; the Penguins won the first three, including one in a shootout:
 
PENGUINS

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Steve Sullivan - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham - Craig Adams - Richard Park
 
Brooks Orpik - Zbynek Michalek
Paul Martin - Matt Niskanen
Deryk Engelland - Ben Lovejoy
 
Brad Thiessen
Marc-Andre Fleury
 
MAPLE LEAFS

Matt Frattin - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Nikolai Kulemin - Mikhail Grabovski - Clarke MacArthur
Carter Ashton - David Steckel - Tim Connolly
Jay Rosehill - Matthew Lombardi - Joey Crabb\Mike Brown
 
Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson
John-Michael Liles - Mike Komisarek
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn
 
James Reimer
Jonas Gustavsson
 
Carlyle did not announce his goaltender in advance, but Reimer is 2-0-1 with a 2.26 goals-against average in his career against Pittsburgh. Gustavsson has started the last three games.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 10:49 AM

By Craig Button -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - On the Playoff Button blog

Craig Button's formula for playoff projections

There are many variables to consider when factoring in probability, so what appears below is not based on probability. I don't take account of strength of schedule, record of remaining opponents, etc.

Utilizing a team's current points percentage, a projection is made on the assumption that they will continue at that rate for the remaining games. Using each team's remaining games, the season-ending projection is made based on the current points percentage.

Tabulating the top eight teams in each conference based on projected points at the conclusion of the season, the projected playoff positions can be established. Looking at the eighth-best projected total in each conference, the minimum point total is established for the teams with projected end-of-season positioning outside the Top 8. A projection is made based on their remaining games of how many wins and the corresponding win percentage a team must attain to gain the No. 8 position in the conference.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 10:35 AM

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

Sabres' lineup staying the same

According to the Buffalo News, the Buffalo Sabres will keep with the same lines they had Monday in Winnipeg for Wednesday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

It's the first home game for two of the newest Sabres, center Cody Hodgson and defenseman Alexander Sulzer, both of whom were acquired from the Vancouver Canucks at the trade deadline. Sulzer, however, likely won't play against the Hurricanes.

Here's how the Sabres' lineup could look when they hit the ice tonight:

Thomas Vanek - Derek Roy - Jason Pominville
Tyler Ennis - Cody Hodgson - Drew Stafford
Nathan Gerbe - Ville Leino - Patrick Kaleta
Matt Ellis - Brad Boyes - Corey Tropp

Christian Ehrhoff - Mike Weber
Jordan Leopold - Tyler Myers
Robyn Regehr - Andrej Sekera

Ryan Miller will start in goal, with Jhonas Enroth the backup. Monday's loss to Winnipeg was the Miller's first regulation loss in nine games. However, he's still 6-1-2 in his last nine games, with a pair of shutouts.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.
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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 10:24 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to 2012 NHL Draft

USNTDP forward Stefan Matteau to serve suspension

Forward Stefan Matteau of the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program knows he is much more valuable on the ice than watching his teammates from the sideline.

Unfortunately, however, Matteau will be doing the latter on Wednesday when the USNTDP host the Muskegon Lumberjacks in a United States Hockey League matchup at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Michigan.

Matteau, who NHL Central Scouting has ranked No. 13 among those North American skaters eligible for the 2012 Draft, will be serving a one-game suspension on Wednesday for spearing a player on the Green Bay Gamblers on March 1.

Matteau had scored a pair of goals to give the NTDP a 2-0 lead before being issued a game misconduct for his spear with 53 seconds remaining in the second. The gritty Gamblers scored three unanswered goals in the third to ultimately win the contest, 3-2.

For the season, Matteau has connected for 14 goals and 28 points in 39 games. He also leads the team with 151 penalty minutes.

"I can't take bad penalties when the team needs you most," Matteau told NHL.com. "We were up 2-0 and I was playing pretty well. But you learn from these things. I guess I have to be smarter, but the way I play, I think I will get penalties. It's going to get better, but I'm a physical player."

Matteau, the son of former 13-year NHL veteran Stephan Matteau, was asked if he is upset over the amount of time he's spent in the penalty box this season.

"I don't like getting the penalty minutes, but I like that physical game that makes me a tough player, gritty player," Matteau said.

Matteau racked up 67 PIM's with the U.S. National Under-17 Team last season and 98 penalty minutes with the Notre Dame (Sask.) Hounds midget program in 2009-10 prior to joining the NTDP.

"I'm a big bodied power-forward, got a lot of skill and got a good shot and I play with an edge," Matteau said. "I like to bring an all-around solid game."

The U18 NTDP will next host the Youngstown Phantoms on Saturday.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 03.07.2012 / 9:48 AM

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

Report: Rangers cut ties with Avery

It appears as though the New York Rangers have cut ties with 31-year-old forward Sean Avery for good.

According to ESPNNewYork.com, Avery was informed on Tuesday that he would not be on the postseason roster for the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate in Connecticut and told he no longer needed to report to the rink for practice or games.

Avery, who was twice waived by the Rangers this season, was last placed on waivers on Dec. 30, 2011, three days before the Rangers would visit Philadelphia for the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic. Since he wasn't claimed by any NHL team, he returned to the Connecticut Whale but of late has been scratched indefinitely. He last appeared in a game for the Whale on Jan. 27. 
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.06.2012 / 11:36 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

MIN @ COL - 13:09 of the Third Period

At 13:09 of the third period in the Wild/Avalanche game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Jamie McGinn's cross ice pass deflected off David Jones' skate and into the net.  According to rule 49.2 "A puck that deflects into the net off an attacking player's skate who does not use a distinct kicking motion is a legitimate goal."  Good Goal Colorado.
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For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory