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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 12:50 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Predators ready to get Rinne more rest

NASHVILLE – Despite goalie Pekka Rinne having the benefit of the All-Star break off, Nashville coach Barry Trotz nonetheless gave him a rare night off this past Thursday eventhough the Predators were not in a back-to-back games situation.

Rinne, who has won 11 straight and has 30 wins, ranks second in the League with 47 starts. Trotz said it was an effort to get back-up Anders Lindback, who has played in only 10 games, a start.

Trotz said Lindback is going to start playing more for the Predators.

“I wanted to re-introduce everybody back into the lineup, if you will, and Anders is going to have to play some games here,” Trotz said of both goalies and forwards alike. “I don’t want him sitting too long either.”

Rinne, however, is back in the lineup for Tuesday night's showdown with Vancouver.


Lindback has played so rarely the past two seasons that despite being on the roster for virtually the entire 2010-11 season, he preserved his rookie status entering this one. He also has been sent to the minors at times simply to get in some games.

But that has changed perhaps because Rinne, by winning so much of late – the Preds have won 14 of their past 17 -- has given the Predators the luxury of not having to be desperate to earn every point.

With 68 points and 29 games remaining, Nashville basically only has to average a point per game to reach a threshold that should get the team into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I think it gives you a little bit of breathing room,” Trotz said. “If you’re trying to catch everybody, you need every point, yeah, you don’t have that luxury. From our standpoint, we’re going to need both of them anyways. But when I can get Peks some rest, when I feel I can get him some rest, I try to do that. And we’ve been managing his practice, sort of, and game time, even in terms of drills we select so he’s not getting worn out."

Trotz said that forward Jerred Smithson, one of Nashville’s better faceoff men and penalty killers, would likely get back in the lineup. Smithson, a mainstay in the lineup as a checking line player, has only played in four of the past 12 games, owing both to injury and a logjam of 14 healthy forwards.
 
Projected lines:
 
Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patrick Hornqvist
Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Jerred Smithson - Nick Spaling - Jordin Tootoo
Matt Halischuk - Craig Smith - Brandon Yip
 
Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein
Francis Bouillon - Ryan Ellis
 
Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback
 
Out: Brian McGrattan, Gabriel Bourque, Jack Hillen
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 12:30 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Blues vs. Senators

KANATA, Ont. -- Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday’s game between the Ottawa Senators and the St. Louis Blues at Scotiabank Place:

SENATORS
Milan MichalekJason SpezzaColin Greening
Erik CondraKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson
Nick FolignoZack SmithChris Neil
Kaspars DaugavinsZenon KonopkaJim O'Brien

Filip KubaErik Karlsson
Jared CowenSergei Gonchar
Chris PhillipsMatt Carkner

Craig Anderson
Alex Auld

Brian Lee is day-to-day with a lower-body injury while Bobby Butler is a healthy scratch.

BLUES

Jamie LangenbrunnerDavid BackesT.J. Oshie
David PerronPatrik BerglundMatt D'Agostini
Chris PorterVladimir SobotkaChris Stewart
B.J. CrombeenScott NicholRyan Reaves

Carlo ColaiacovoAlex Pietrangelo
Kris RussellRoman Polak
Barret JackmanKevin Shattenkirk

Brian Elliott
Jaroslav Halak

Jason Arnott is day-to-day with a bruised shoulder. He made the trip to Ottawa but is not expected to play. Alexander Steen (concussion), Andy McDonald (concussion) and Kent Huskins (ankle) remain out.
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 11:51 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Capitals projected lineup; Laich likely to play

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Brooks Laich left Verizon Center late Sunday afternoon on crutches with his left knee in a large brace.

About 42 hours later, Laich was on the ice at Washington’s practice facility, and if he has his way, the versatile forward will be in the lineup Tuesday night in a key division showdown with the Florida Panthers.

“I wanted to skate. It felt OK. I’m not really in charge right now, unfortunately,” Laich said. “Today felt really good. I woke up this morning feeling pretty good.

“I want to play every game. Especially tonight could be the most important game of our year, a team that we have to beat."

Laich did not practice Monday with the Capitals. He went to the doctor in the afternoon, and he said the prognosis was good -- or at least he can’t do any more damage. He was one the ice Tuesday ahead of his teammates and stayed for the morning skate.

He skated on the fourth line during an early drill, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him  move up in the lineup as the game progresses. That is, of course, if he convinces the coaches and trainers that he is OK to play.

“I hope so. I felt good on the ice -- turning, pivoting and everything felt pretty good,” Laich said. “Usually the decision isn't up to the player. It's whether the coaching staff – you've got to try and convince them sometimes. Hopefully, we'll see tonight.”

Here’s the projected lineup for the Capitals:

Alex Ovechkin - Marcus Johansson - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin

Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward

Mike Knuble - Brooks Laich - Keith Aucoin


Karl Alzner - John Carlson

Jeff Schultz - Dennis Wideman

Dmitry Orlov - Roman Hamrlik


Tomas Vokoun

Michal Neuvirth

NOTE: Jay Beagle will play in place of Laich if he is not able to go.
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 11:49 AM

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

Briere back in lineup for Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers will have forward Danny Briere back in the lineup when they host the New York Islanders Tuesday.

Briere has missed the last six games with a concussion suffered in a Jan. 21 game against the New Jersey Devils.

"I'm back and I'm in," Briere said following the Flyers' morning practice here at Wells Fargo Center. "Things have been going well the last two-and-a-half, three days. I feel ready. I feel like it's time. No symptoms the last few days. We'll give it a go. I know I'm excited."

Teammates were also excited, especially coming off their lost weekend -- a 6-4 home loss to the Devils on Saturday followed by a 5-2 defeat at the Rangers on Sunday.

"It's going to be awesome," Scott Hartnell told NHL.com. "Anytime you come off an injury, especially a concussion, he might be a little bit nervous. But I know everyone on our dressing room … can't wait to see him back. He looks good in practice the last few days. I'm excited for him to get back in the lineup."

Briere has 17 goals and 13 assists in 43 games, and likely will center the second line. The hope is his presence can lighten the checking load on the team's top line of Claude Giroux, Hartnell and Jaromir Jagr.

"Anytime you get pieces back in the lineup it's good," said coach Peter Laviolette. "I think it'll add to the offensive punch. … When you take a guy like Danny and put him back in the lineup, it makes it harder to defend. You can't just focus on one line or one player."

Briere said he's been symptom-free for about three days, and after meeting with doctors Monday, Briere said it came down to his decision.

"We had some talks (Monday)," said Briere. "And just basically what they told me was it's all up to me, depending on how I felt this morning waking up. It was good even after the contact I had yesterday. That was part of the reason why."

Briere, who had been averaging 18:15 of ice time per game prior to his injury, said he feels capable of playing his usual ice time.

"I'm 100 percent," he said. "It's all about the symptoms. It's not like a knee or a shoulder where you're finding your way back. Basically when you don't have symptoms you're ready to go. It's not something that's lingering or preventing you from doing a few things. Whenever you're symptom-free, you're 100 percent.

"The conditioning is not going to be an issue. I was working with Blair Betts for a few days, and you know how hard he works. That wasn't relaxing. I think it's more the timing of the game -- making plays, read and react. That's something that we'll see. I don't know what to expect in that regard. Conditioning I should be OK."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 11:36 AM

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

Janssen back in lineup for Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils aren't back to 100 percent healthy just yet, but they will add a dose of toughness to the lineup for Tuesday night's showdown with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Right wing Cam Janssen, who hasn't played since Jan. 19, will take the place of forward Brad Mills in the lineup for Tuesday's game. Mills was sent to the Albany of the AHL, opening a spot for Janssen.

"I'm very, very excited," Janssen said. "What a cool game to come back to, first time at MSG this year. I'm just very excited. They've got a fun team to play against, a rough team. Last game we played them was a really rough game. The rougher the better, for guys like me."

Coach Peter DeBoer is welcoming back Janssen to the lineup three days after the Devils found themselves in a fight-filled contest against the Philadelphia Flyers, one that saw Ilya Kovalchuk drop the gloves with Brayden Schenn after the Flyers' Zac Rinaldo slew footed Zach Parise. Rinaldo draw a $2,500 fine from the League for the slew foot and was fined another $2,500 for another incident in the game.

"We want everything he brings," DeBoer said when asked if he wanted Janssen to tone down his game. "We've been in some physical games. There's probably been a couple nights here the last few weeks where we could've used them, Philly is one example. He knows how to walk that line and how to play that role as good as anybody I've had."

Kovalchuk joked he's happy to have Janssen back to ease his fighting workload.

"It's nice," Kovalchuk said. "He deserves to be back in. He's practiced really hard. He's one of those guys that brings a lot of energy to the room. We're all excited."

Defenseman Adam Larsson (back), Ryan Carter (hand), and Henrik Tallinder (leg) won't be back for the Devils. None of the three skated Tuesday, with DeBoer saying they are "not ready yet."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 12:34 AM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

CGY @ ANA- :24 seconds of overtime



At  the :24 seconds mark of overtime in the Flames/ Ducks game, video review was used to determine that Teemu Selanne's shot did not cross the goal line. No goal Anaheim
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POSTED ON Monday, 02.06.2012 / 8:12 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

EDM @ TOR -17:47 of the first period



At 17:47 of the first period in the Oilers/ Maple Leafs game following a scrum in front of the Maple Leafs net in which the puck crossed the goal line, the referee determined on the ice that there was goaltender interference by  incidental contact . No goal, no penalty.

According to rule 69.3 "If an attacking player initiates contact with a goalkeeper, incidental or otherwise, while the goalkeeper is in his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed."
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POSTED ON Monday, 02.06.2012 / 7:00 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL.com Countdown to the Trade Deadline blog

Report: Rutherford, Ruutu to meet this week

Will Tuomo Ruutu remain a member of the Carolina Hurricanes?

The Raleigh News and Observer reported Monday that 'Canes general manager Jim Rutherford will be holding "an important meeting" with Ruutu this week.

"I want to talk to him about where he's at, this season and in the future," Rutherford told the paper. "We'll talk about that and see where it goes. We're closing in on the (NHL) trade deadline, so we need to make a decision.

"I've had casual conversations with his agent the past month or so. The next step is to meet with (Ruutu) and make a decision on what direction would be the best for everyone."

Ruutu, who turns 29 next week, is believed to be seeking a long-term contract. Set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, Ruutu leads Carolina with 16 goals.


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POSTED ON Monday, 02.06.2012 / 4:55 PM

By Neil Acharya -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lineups for Maple Leafs, Oilers

TORONTO -- Here are the lineups the Maple Leafs and Oilers likely will use tonight when the teams meet at the Air Canada Centre:

MAPLE LEAFS
Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Mathew Lombardi - Tim Connolly - Joey Crabb
Mike Brown - David Steckel - Colby Armstrong
 
Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf
John-Michael Liles - Cody Franson
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn
 
James Reimer will be back in goal. Jonas Gustavsson will serve as the backup

OILERS

Taylor Hall - Sam Gagner - Jordan Eberle
Shawn Horcoff - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Ales Hemsky
Ryan Jones - Eric Belanger - Ryan Smyth
Lennart Petrell - Anton Lander - Ben Eager

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry
Cam Barker - Andy Sutton
Ryan Whitney - Corey Potter

Devan Dubnyk will start in goal, with Nikolai Khabibulin the backup.

The game also marks the return home for Gagner, named the NHL's First Star of the Week for his record scoring outburst last week.
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POSTED ON Monday, 02.06.2012 / 4:04 PM

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

Kiprusoff chases 300th win, first in Anaheim

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A sort of daily double is on the line when the Calgary Flames take on the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.

Miikka Kiprusoff is going for his 300th career victory, and it would snap a 13-game losing streak by Calgary in Anaheim's building.

Calgary coach Brent Sutter, who coached Martin Brodeur in New Jersey, likened Kiprusoff to Brodeur in his ability to not let personal milestones distract from the task at hand.

"There's an element about those guys that's really hard to put into words," Sutter said. "I played with Billy Smith. Eddie Belfour was the same way. Kelly Hrudey was the same way. These guys … they had a very calming influence inside the room but they were also very, very confident in their abilities and everyone knew it inside in the room, which is huge for a goalie, and it's huge for the psyche that it brings inside the room."

Kiprusoff would be the 27th goalie to reach 300 wins. Remarkably, he has never won a regular season game in Anaheim as a Flame.

Kiprusoff was injured when Calgary last won in Anaheim on Jan. 19, 2004.

"That is surprising," Jarome Iginla said. "I think he's going to play a number of more years. Hopefully we've got to change that now."

Iginla optimistic:
Iginla said he plans on staying in Calgary with the Flames on the outside of the playoff picture with the Feb. 27 trade deadline looming.

"I think we're going to be a playoff team," he said. "I believe that. In the Western Conference, it's tight. I don'’t think there's any heavy, favorite front runner. I think we've got a shot. We've played Detroit. We've played Vancouver. We played San Jose and we played them (tightly). While we respect them, we definitely believe we can beat them.

"I believe we can make it here this year. We're four points out, but that can change quickly. That's where the focus is. As far as trade deadline rumors, I haven't kept up on them."

Long drought:
Not only has Calgary not won in 13 straight in Anaheim, it is 1-13-9 past 23 here and the last six games were decided by one goal.

"We don’t bring it up," Iginla said. "The team's turned over so much that most people haven't been through it, so why bring it up and act like they haven't won here? They probably have with other teams. There's only a handful of us that have been through that really tough stretch here.

"We hope that we're due. We'll go with that mindset."

Iginla also missed that 2004 game with an injury. Anaheim defenseman Toni Lydman is the only player from that game that will dress tonight -- Lydman played for Calgary.

"That's a while ago," Lydman said. "Now you made me feel old."

Hagman demoted:
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau broke up the Finnish line of Niklas Hagman, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne and demoted Hagman to the fourth line.

Matt Beleskey takes the spot of Hagman, who thrived earlier this season but has one goal in his past 17 games.

"He's been up and down," Boudreau said. "There's time when you can see why he was a 28-goal scorer (actually 27) and there's times when he just works and he gets opportunity after opportunity and it seems like he's shooting everything five feet wide. It's never for a lack of work. Sometimes his hands are moving way too quick for his body. But his work ethic is always there."

Sbisa's accident:
Anaheim defenseman Luca Sbisa is sporting a nasty red blemish on the right side of his face from what he told The Orange County Register was a bicycle accident, which has given teammates ammunition for some gentle ribbing.

"We have a bicycle helmet back there somewhere," Lydman said with a smile. "I don't know whose it is."
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Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1