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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 1:17 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Niskanen skates, return not on horizon yet

PITTSBURGH -- Exactly two weeks into what was projected to be a 2-4 week recovery time, Matt Niskanen is closer to returning to the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup. It won't be Sunday against the New Jersey Devils, though.

Niskanen joined more than a dozen teammates for an optional morning skate at Consol Energy Center Sunday but remains on injured reserve due to an ankle injury sustained 14 days ago.

"It is feeling better, and I'm able to do more and more things on the ice every day," Niskanen said. "I'd like to think I'm close -- but we'll just have to wait and see how I progress. I've got a few more steps to take."

Coach Dan Bylsma said Niskanen "is progressing, and we'll see how he continues to go." Niskanen has been skating on his own with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar over the past week.

"It feels good to be out with the team again," said Niskanen, who had a goal and two assists in five games this season. "Mike Kadar does a good job -- but that gets old pretty quick."

Niskanen, who signed a two-year contract extension with Pittsburgh this past summer, opened the season with Kris Letang as his partner on the Penguins' top pairing. Letang will miss his third game due to a lower-body injury Sunday.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 1:07 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Penguins, Devils

PITTSBURGH -- The projected lines and defensemen pairings for tonight's game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils at Consol Energy Center:

PENGUINS

Chris KunitzSidney CrosbyPascal Dupuis

Zach BoychukEvgeni MalkinJames Neal

Matt CookeBrandon SutterTyler Kennedy

Tanner GlassDustin JeffreyCraig Adams

Brooks OrpikPaul Martin

Simon DespresDylan Reese

Robert BortuzzoDeryk Engelland

Tomas Vokoun

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injured: Matt Niskanen, Kris Letang

Scratched: Eric Tangradi, Joe Vitale, Joe Morrow

Morrow was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League this morning, so it's very possible the 2011 first-round pick makes his NHL debut tonight. Coach Dan Bylsma termed his recall "insurance" for "bumps and bruises" among Pittsburgh's defensemen. Martin was the only defenseman to skip the team's morning skate.

DEVILS

Stefan Matteau - Travis Zajac - Ilya Kovalchuk

Patrik Elias - Adam Henrique - David Clarkson

Ryan Carter - Stephen Gionta - Steve Bernier

Krystofer Barch - Jacob Josefson - Bobby Butler

Bryce Salvador - Mark Fayne

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

Anton Volchenkov - Marek Zidlicky

Johan Hedberg

Martin Brodeur

Injured: Dainius Zubrus

Scratches: Peter Harrold, Henrik Tallinder

Coach Peter DeBoer said there will be no changes in the lineup a day after the Devils beat the Penguins in Newark.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 12:57 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penguins recall Morrow, could make NHL debut

PITTSBURGH -- Could yet another young defenseman be making his Pittsburgh Penguins debut Sunday night?

Joe Morrow, the club's first-round draft choice 20 months ago, was recalled from Pittsburgh's American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre-Scranton. The 20-year-old had two goals and eight assists in 39 AHL games in his first season as a pro. In his past nine games, though, Morrow was a plus-5.

"He can skate, he's big, he's a strong guy," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's highlighted for his shot and offensive ability and skating ability -- which is very high-end -- but he's also a big body.

"This game today, if Joe Morrow were to get into the game, you're going to see some power-play time, see some skating ability and see him being able to handle guys down low."

Bylsma said Morrow was recalled for "insurance" because the Penguins' defense corps has "some bumps and bruises." Bylsma, as is his policy, said the lineup for the Sunday evening game against the New Jersey Devils will not be announced until gametime.

Paul Martin was the only healthy defenseman not to participate in what was an optional morning skate Sunday. There was no immediate indication Martin had any injury, and he amassed 28:49 of ice time -- by far a team high -- in Saturday's 3-1 loss at New Jersey. It would not be atypical for Martin to skip an optional skate under such circumstances. (The Penguins' top five forwards, for example, did not take part.)

Brooks Orpik was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in Saturday's game, but it seems highly unlikely he is in danger of being suspended. Orpik said the penalty was for saying something to Devils winger David Clarkson after Clarkson hit him behind the play.

With the team's top pairing of Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen both out with lower-body injuries and Ben Lovejoy traded to the Anaheim Ducks last week, Dylan Reese made his Penguins debut in Thursday's home win against the Washington Capitals. Other defensemen who were with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as recently as last month who are now playing regular shifts for Pittsburgh are Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres.

"They've done a great job," Niskanen said. "Simon Despres has been awesome, Robert Bortuzzo has been really solid, Dylan Reese has done really well in the short time he's been here. It's fun to watch young guys come in and have success ... they'll continue to get better."

To make room for Morrow on the roster, Letang was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Tuesday, when he most recently appeared in a game. He has missed the past two contests.

Morrow was a first-team Western Hockey League All-star last season, when he had 64 points (17 goals, 47 assists) in 62 games and added 17 points in 22 playoff contests. He was the 23rd pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 12:30 PM

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

Girardi back in Rangers' lineup vs. Lightning

After missing two games with an undisclosed lower-body injury, New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi will return to the lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

Girardi told reporters following Rangers practice in Greenburgh, N.Y., that he is good to go. He will replace Steve Eminger and return to his spot on the top pairing alongside Ryan McDonagh.

Brian Boyle and Stu Bickel stayed on the ice after practice and will join Eminger as healthy scratches.

Henrik Lundqvist was the first goaltender to leave the ice, a sure sign he will make his 10th start in 11 games. Backup Martin Biron's only start of the season came against the Lightning on Feb. 2, when he made 30 saves in a 3-2 victory.

On the Lightning side of gameday activities, they arrived at their team hotel late Saturday night after taking a bus from Boston following the cancellation of their game against the Bruins. They did not have a morning skate -- the New York Knicks are hosting the Los Angeles Clippers this afternoon -- but held a team meeting at their hotel.

Here are the projected lineups for Sunday's game, although the Lightning lines and d-pairs are pure guesswork, as they dressed seven defensemen against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday but that may not be the case Sunday.

RANGERS

Marian Gaborik - Brad Richards - Taylor Pyatt

Carl Hagelin - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash

Chris Kreider - J.T. Miller - Ryan Callahan

Arron Asham - Jeff Halpern - Darroll Powe

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi

Marc StaalAnton Stralman

Michael Del ZottoMatt Gilroy

Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

Scratches: Brian Boyle, Stu Bickel, Steve Eminger

LIGHTNING

Nate Thompson - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis

Cory Conacher - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell

Ryan Malone - Benoit Pouliot - Alex Killorn

BJ Crombeen - Tom PyattAdam Hall

Eric Brewer - Matt Carle

Sami Salo - Victor Hedman

Keith Aulie - Brendan Mikkelson

Mathieu Garon

Anders Lindback

Note: Dana Tyrell cleared waivers Sunday and the Lightning recalled Killorn to take his roster spot. Killorn, 23, would make his NHL debut after putting up 16 goals and 22 assists in 44 games with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.

Scratches: Brian Lee, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Pierre-Cedric Labrie

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 12:27 PM

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

Lightning recall Killorn from Syracuse, assign Tyrell

The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forward Alex Killorn from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, while reassigning forward Dana Tyrell to Syracuse.

Killorn, 23, has skated in 44 games with the Crunch this season, recording 16 goals and 38 points to go along with 32 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound forward ranks third in the AHL for rookie scoring with 38 points. Killorn ranks tied for second on the Crunch for assists with 22 and is tied for the team lead with seven power-play goals. He ranks first on the Crunch and third in the AHL with 166 shots on goal this season.

The Halifax, Nova Scotia native appeared in 130 career games with Harvard prior to joining the professional ranks, recording 53 goals and 109 points over four years from 2008 through 2012. He was the first player in Harvard history to notch 50 career goals at the school since 2004. Killorn joined the Norfolk Admirals at the end of last season and helped them to the Calder Cup Championship.

The Lightning selected Killorn in the third round at the 2007 NHL Draft.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 12:02 PM

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

Projected lineups for Oilers, Blue Jackets

Here are the possible line combinations and defense pairings for Sunday night's game between the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets:

OILERS

Taylor Hall - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky

Nail Yakupov - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Teemu Hartikainen - Eric Belanger - Magnus Paajarvi

Ben Eager - Ryan Smyth - Lennart Petrell

Ladislav Smid - Corey Potter

Justin Schultz - Nick Schultz

Mark Fistric - Jeff Petry

Devan Dubnyk

Nikolai Khabibulin

BLUE JACKETS

Vinny Prospal - Artem Anisimov - Mark Letestu

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Nick Foligno

RJ Umberger - Derick Brassard - Derek Dorsett

Colton Gillies - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin

Nick Johnson - James Wisniewski

Nick Holden - Tim Erixon

Sergei Bobrovsky

Steve Mason

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 11:49 AM

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

Belanger returning to Oilers lineup

The Edmonton Oilers will get a welcome addition for Sunday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets as veteran forward Eric Belanger returns to the lineup.

Belanger suffered an injury to his foot Feb. 2 against Colorado and hasn't played since.

"It (foot) feels as good as it could a week later," Belanger said in a quote provided by the Oilers' official Twitter account. "I want to be back. It's a short season and we're battling."

The Oilers are tied for second in the Northwest Division after Saturday's 2-1 loss in Detroit.

"He's one of the better faceoff guys in the National Hockey League. That's a critical role for us," Edmonton coach Ralph Krueger said about what Belanger brings to the team.

Devan Dubnyk will start in goal after Nikolai Khabibulin made his season debut on Saturday. Dubnyk is expected to oppose Sergei Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.09.2013 / 9:22 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

ANA @ STL - 5:08 of the Second Period

At 5:08 of the second period in the Ducks/Blues game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the net came completely off its peg prior to the puck crossing the goal line. According to Rule 78.5 (x) "Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the referee when the net becomes displaced accidentally. "The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the net." No Goal St Louis.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.09.2013 / 6:14 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Visnovsky, Bailey to make season debuts for Islanders

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Forward Josh Bailey and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will make their 2012-13 debuts when the New York Islanders host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Bailey, the Islanders’ top pick (No. 9) in the 2008 NHL Draft, hasn’t played due to a knee injury sustained while playing in Germany during the work stoppage. The Islanders activated him Saturday and placed defenseman Matt Carkner on injured reserve.

Visnovsky, acquired by New York from Anaheim last summer for a second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, did not report to the Islanders until this week. The native of Slovakia played with HC Slovan of the KHL during the work stoppage, and then stayed home for personal reasons until this week. He passed his physical on Thursday and had his first practice as an Islander on Friday.

The 36-year-old has 117 career goals and led all NHL defensemen with 68 points in 2011-12.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.09.2013 / 5:47 PM

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

Calgary's Street to debut in hometown Vancouver

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- If you handed Ben Street a team of Hollywood’s top screenwriters, he still can’t imagine coming up with a better script for his NHL debut than what will play out Saturday night.

Called up from the American Hockey League by the Calgary Flames the day before, Street will play his first NHL game in his hometown against the Vancouver Canucks, in front of family, friends and his fiancé, while the rest of the Street clan watches into the wee hours back in Newfoundland on "Hockey Night in Canada."

It’s hard to imagine a better way to celebrate Hockey Day in Canada.

"I don’t know what else I would add into the story," Street said after Saturday’s morning skate. "On 'Hockey Night in Canada' where you grew up, I don’t think there’s anything I can add to it at this point."

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Quote of the Day

This team has been a real treat to say you've been the head coach of them. I'm extremely proud of this group ... after the disappointment of (the Game 6 loss) is digested, it's always a lot easier as a coach when your team has emptied its tank, and that team emptied its tank for me for three months.

— Senators coach Dave Cameron after getting eliminated in the first round by the Canadiens