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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:50 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lightning ready for critical homestand

TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Lightning opens a season-long seven game homestand Saturday night which could make or break their season.

The Lightning, who play host to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, have closed the gap to three points between themselves and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Home has been good to Tampa Bay all season; they have compiled a 20-10-2 record on their home ice, and the players know the weight of these next seven.

“We’ve pointed to this homestand for quite a while,” Marin St. Louis said.  “We know what it means and what we have to do. I think the guys in this room are ready.”

Lightning coach Guy Boucher, however, wanted to down-play the importance.

“There’s no added pressure because we’ve been saying that since Christmas,” Boucher said.  “This game, that game, this homestand -- we played against the top team, the lowest team. There’s always a reason why that game is so important. Tonight it’s one game and, yes, it is a homestand, but we can’t think of the homestand. That’s seven games. That’s a lot of games. That’s two weeks; a lot of things will be done in those two weeks. Tonight, the first ten minutes against Carolina will be our focus. That’s how we’ve been going at it.”

And clearly they have gotten results with their one-game-at-a time viewpoint.

“We used to be, a month ago, 13 points behind Florida for the lead in the Southeast Division at one point; nine points behind Washington for the final playoff spot,” Boucher said. “We’ve caught up a lot but we’ve caught up a lot because we didn’t focus on those things; we didn’t focus on the standings and on intangible things that we don’t control. We focused on what we need to improve. Last game, we were up 2-1 and we weren’t smart in clearing the puck from our zone. That’s what is important. It has nothing to do with Carolina or any other team in front of us. Those are the things that matter to us.”

Dustin Tokarski will make his second start for Tampa Bay after being called up from Norfolk once Mathieu Garon went down with a groin injury.

Tokarski aquitted himself well against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night despite taking the loss 3-2 in overtime.

“You never want to be happy with a loss but I think I made the saves I had,” Tokarski said. “I made a couple of tougher ones and I would have liked to make another big save for the guys and get the win but I thought I stayed fairly calm and played my simple game; compact and no rebounds.”

Carolina trails the Lightning by four points and has hit a rough patch in their attempt to climb back into the postseason hunt, winning only two of their last seven games. They are in the middle of an extended road trip and have not fared very well on the road this season, going 8-14-9.

This meeting concludes the series between these two clubs, with Tampa Bay having won three of the previous five matchups.

Here are the projected lineups:

HURRICANES

Anthony Stewart - Eric Staal - Jiri Tlusty
Jeff Skinner - Jussi Jokinen - Chad LaRose
Patrick Dwyer - Brandon Sutter - Andreas Nodl
Derek Joslin - Tim Brent - Jerome Samson

Tim Gleason - Bryan Allen
Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Jaroslav Spacek - Jamie McBain

Cam Ward
Brian Boucher

LIGHTNING

Martin St. Louis - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Ryan Malone - Nate Thompson - Adam Hall
JT Wyman - Tom Pyatt - Brett Connolly
Ryan Shannon - Tim Wallace - Brandon Segal

Victor Hedman - Eric Brewer
Brett Clark - Brian Lee
Mike Commodore - Brendan Mikkelson

Dustin Tokarski
Dwayne Roloson




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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:42 PM

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

Agressive-minded Josi still adjusting for Predators

NASHVILLE – For the second time this season, Predators rookie defenseman Roman Josi took an aggressive approach in an even-numbered situation on Thursday and for the second time it ended up in the back of his net.

Earlier this season when Dallas’ Mike Ribeiro did it to him on Jan. 5, and Predators coach Barry Trotz said that Josi, an excellent skater with an offensive upside who has four goals and 11 assists in 46 games, needed time to learn the League’s personnel.

Trotz sounded that theme again Saturday after Colorado’s David Jones beat him Thursday night along the boards, creating a 2-on-1 that led to Jamie McGinn’s goal. (Nashville also had a blown coverage on the back end of the play, further complicating the situation.)

“What happened was he got bent over reaching,” Trotz said. “If you’re going to expose yourself to try to stand up a guy, you really can’t do that because you get on your toes, then you can’t turn. You’ve got to sit back on your heels and if you’re going to stand the guy, at least you can push forward… Those are little things we talk about one-on-one. He got a little bit anxious and he exposed himself outside the dots and he certainly got walked there….

"Those are just quick decisions that happen in games. Jose is pretty good one-on-one because of his skating ability. Once he goes through the League a couple of times, he’ll know what to expect all the time.”

Josi said it was a bad play, but he was glad later to earn a primary assist to help put Nashville ahead 2-1.

“You got 0.1 seconds to decide what to do,” Josi said. “I decided to be aggressive. … kind of a pretty good move. I got beat a little bit. I poke-checked him and the puck went in the corner, but it was 2-on-1 after that so it’s tough sometimes, but you have to learn out of those situations and next time you can avoid them.”

Nashville coach Barry Trotz would not say whether forward Colin Wilson would return to the lineup on Saturday against Detroit. Wilson was a healthy scratch for the first time this season in a 4-2 win Thursday over Colorado.

Last season, Wilson, 22, a high first-round pick of Nashville’s, was scratched for a protracted period at the end of last season and then into the start of the playoffs until the coaching staff convinced him his play had to improve. Trotz said after Thursday that he did not expect the situation to repeat itself.

Projected lineup:

Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Andrei Kostitsyn - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Matt Halischuk - Nick Spaling - Jordin Tootoo
Gabriel Bourque - Paul Gaustad - Brandon Yip

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Hal Gill - Roman Josi
Francis Bouillon - Ryan Ellis

Out: Brian McGrattan, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen
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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:35 PM

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

Projected lineups for Flyers, Maple Leafs

Here are the projected lineups for a game Saturday night between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers at Air Canada Centre:

MAPLE LEAFS

Tim Connolly - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Carter Ashton - David Steckel - Joey Crabb
Jay Rosehill - Matthew Lombardi - Colby Armstrong

Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson
John-Michael Liles - Mike Komisarek
Jake Gardiner - Luke Schenn

Jonas Gustavsson
James Reimer

FLYERS

Scott Hartnell Claude Giroux Brayden Schenn
Matt Read Danny Briere Wayne Simmonds
Maxime Talbot Sean Couturier Zac Rinaldo
Jody Shelley Eric Wellwood Jaromir Jagr

Nicklas Grossman  - Braydon Couburn
Matt Carle - Eric Gustafsson
Andreas Lilja - Brandon Manning

Ilya Bryzgalov
Sergei Bobrovsky
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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:29 PM

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

Report: Karlsson questionable for Senators

KANATA, Ont. – Here are the projected lineups for a game Saturday night between the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres. The Senators held a full practice, while the Sabres went with an optional skate.

SENATORS

Colin GreeningJason SpezzaMilan Michalek
Rob KlinkhammerKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno – Jim O’Brien – Chris Neil
Kaspars DaugavinsZack SmithErik Condra

Filip KubaErik Karlsson
Jared CowenSergei Gonchar
Chris PhillipsMatt Gilroy

Ben Bishop
Alex Auld

According to Cassie Campbell-Pascal of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, Erik Karlsson (general soreness) is a game-time decision for the Senators. Karlsson took part in practice Saturday, but did not participate Friday. If Karlsson does not play, Matt Carkner will re-enter the lineup.

Jesse Winchester (concussion) skated with the team during practice for the second consecutive day and he “appears to be symptom-free,” according to coach Paul MacLean. “At some point we have to do the protocol and see where he ends up, but it’s a process.” There is still no timetable set for his return.

Craig Anderson (hand) also saw ice time Saturday morning. “It’s positive, he practiced again today and he handled the puck,” MacLean said. “He’s getting more comfortable with that and I think they’re still making some adjustments to his glove.” There is no timeline on his return.

Zenon Konopka, Bobby Butler and Carkner would be the healthy scratches if Karlsson can play.

SABRES

The following are the lines from the Sabres’ practice Friday. Thomas Vanek, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and Patrick Kaleta (general soreness) are game-time decisions. On Friday, Marcus Foligno was called up on an emergency basis from Rochester. On Saturday morning, Lindy Ruff said of Foligno, “I want him to be the best Foligno on the ice.” This would appear to indicate that Marcus will be playing Saturday night, but it is uncertain whom he would be replacing, leaving the Buffalo lines in a great amount of flux.

Ville LeinoCody HodgsonJason Pominville
Drew StaffordTyler EnnisBrad Boyes
Nathan GerbeDerek RoyCorey Tropp
Matt EllisCody McCormickPatrick Kaleta

Jordan LeopoldTyler Myers
Christian Ehrhoff – Alexander Sultzer
Robyn RegehrMike Weber

Ryan Miller
Jhonas Enroth

Andrej Sekera (flu-like symptoms) did not travel with the team.
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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:19 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Stars

DALLAS-- Here are the projected lineups for a game Saturday between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

DUCKS

Niklas Hagman - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Andrew Cogliano - Ryan O’Marra - Matt Beleskey
Jason Blake - Rod Pelley - Devante Smith-Pelly

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Luca Sbisa - Lubomir Visnovsky
Tony Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Jeff Deslauriers

Injuries: Nick Bonino (lower body), Dan Ellis (sports hernia).
Scratches: Nate Guenin, George Parros

Notes:  The Ducks head into Saturday after losing 3-1 in St. Louis on Thursday, the first game of a three-game road trip. Anaheim is 0-3-0 against the Stars in Dallas this season, most recently losing 1-0 on Jan. 24 in the final game for both clubs before the NHL All-Star break. The Ducks have dropped four of their last six games and No. 1 goaltender Jonas Hiller has lost three consecutive starts between the pipes for Bruce Boudreau’s club. Anaheim recalled center Ryan O’Marra from Syracuse of the AHL on Saturday with Nick Bonino picking up a lower-body injury in the loss to the Blues. O’Marra had 17 points (8-9-17) and was a plus-17 player for Oklahoma City before being traded to the Ducks organization.

STARS

Loui Eriksson - Mike Ribeiro - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Jamie Benn - Steve Ott
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Ryan Garbutt - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas
Mark Fistric - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Adam Pardy

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Toby Petersen, Tomas Vincour, Jake Dowell
Injuries: Sheldon Souray (lower body)

Notes:  The Stars head into this contest with the Ducks on a nine-game point streak. Dallas is 8-0-1 dating back to their last loss in regulation on Feb. 19 against the Predators.  On Thursday, the Stars beat the Sharks 4-3 in a shootout with Tomas Vincour getting a game-tying goal late in the third period and also the deciding tally in the shootout. Winger Michael Ryder is currently on an eight-game point streak. The Stars are 4-1-0 in their four games against the Ducks this year and are averaging four points a game against Anaheim, having outscored them by 20-8. This game concludes a short two-game homestand for Dallas. The Stars could get captain Brenden Morrow back after he missed 18 games in a row with a lower body injury. Steve Ott could also return after missing the San Jose game with back spasms. 

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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:11 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Capitals, Bruins

BOSTON – Tim Thomas makes his fourth straight start in net for the Boston Bruins today against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden.

This is the first time last year’s Vezina Trophy winner has started more than three games in a row.

Tuukka Rask suffered a serious groin/abdominal injury one week ago today. Rask spoke for the first time since the injury today and reported little pain and a positive attitude about being able to return six weeks from the injury.

The Bruins’ lineup will be different from their last outing, as Benoit Pouliot will be scratched. The Bruins will dress seven defensemen.

Coach Claude Julien said before that game that injured defenseman Andrew Ference and forward Daniel Paille skated this morning and are “inching closer” to returning to the lineup.

With Mike Green suspended for three games, the Capitals will reinsert Roman Hamrlik into their lineup. The veteran blueliner has been a healthy scratch the past eight games. Forward Mike Knuble also gets back in after sitting out Washington’s last two games. Knuble will replace Jeff Halpern.
               
Here’s a look at both teams’ lineups after warm-ups:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Brian Rolston
Gregory-Campbell - Chris Kelly - Jordan Caron
Lane MacDermid - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Greg Zanon - Adam McQuaid
Mike Mottau

Tim Thomas
Marty Turco

CAPITALS

Alexander Ovechkin - Brooks Laich - Marcus Johansson
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Semin
Mike Knuble - Keith Aucoin - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Troy Brouwer
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik - Dmitry Orlov
Jeff Schultz - Dennis Wideman

Tomas Vokoun
Michal Neuvirth



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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 11:02 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NYR @ CHI- 19:07 of the Third Period

At 19:07 of the third period in the Rangers/Blackhawks game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Patrick Kane directed the puck into the net with his stick.  Good goal Chicago.
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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 9:36 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

WPG @ CGY - 6:47 of the First Period

At 6:47 of the first period in the Jets/Flames game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Jarome Iginla's skate and entered the net in a legal fashion. Good goal Calgary.

78.4 "If an attacking player has the puck deflect into the net, off his skate or body , in any manner, the goal shall be allowed."
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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 9:13 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

FLA @ PIT 8:53 of the Third Period

At 8:53 of the third period in the Panthers/Penguins game , video review was used to determine that the shot by Pascal Dupuis did not completely cross the goal line. No goal Pittsburgh.
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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 7:21 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Scott faces old team in return to Chicago

CHICAGO -- After he was dealt to the New York Rangers at the NHL's trade deadline on Feb. 27, former Chicago Blackhawks enforcer John Scott said he was shocked at the move.

Scott, in his second year of playing for the Hawks, was traded for a fifth-round pick in the NHL Draft this June. On Friday, he was already back in the Windy City with his new team a little more than a week after the deal was completed.

"It'll be weird in warmups, but I think that will go away as soon as the game starts," said Scott, whose wife and infant daughter remained in Chicago after the trade. "It's worn off by now, but it took a solid couple days just to take it all in and realize, 'Hey, I'm not in Chicago anymore. I'm in New York.' Change of venues. Change of scenery. It's sunk in now, and I'm used to it."

Scott, a defenseman by trade, spent time playing on the blue line and up front for the Hawks. He's found himself as a fourth-line forward for the Rangers and expects to stay there for the time being. He's played five straight games and could find himself back in the lineup on Friday night at the United Center against his old team thanks to an injury that will keep Brandon Dubinsky out for a second straight game.

"I fit in nicely on the fourth line," the 6-foot-8 Scott said. "We've been doing pretty well, getting some chances here and there. I didn't really want to mess things up. They had a good thing going when I got
there. I just went in there and tried to lay low and not mess up the winning ways they had going."

As for the talent that teams really love about him, his fighting acumen, Scott said he won't be surprised if several former teammates ask him to square off. After Scott's departure, Chicago recalled
6-foot-2, 225-pound rookie forward Brandon Bollig to fill the vacant fighting role -- and he's scrapped in two straight games.

"He'll probably ask me to go," Scott said. "They've got [Jamal Mayers] and [Andrew Shaw], so they've got a tough team and it's always a lively game versus Chicago. I won't turn anybody down, no."

Scott was informed that Hawks forward Bryan Bickell said he knew his former teammates' tricks during scraps, to which the new Rangers' tough guy kiddingly responded: "Well, I'll turn Bickell down then."

Scott never scored a goal for the Blackhawks, but found himself on a breakaway on Thursday night in Ottawa -- getting stopped by Ben Bishop. Scott said it was actually the second breakaway attempt of his NHL career, with the first happening against the Phoenix Coyotes when he was with the Minnesota Wild.

He didn't score on that one either.

"Oh my God, another breakaway," Scott said of Thursday's golden scoring opportunity. "[Bishop] is a big goalie. I tried to go low blocker, but he kicked it away.  I just missed the net the first time [against Phoenix]."

Scott will not only have his wife and in-laws at the United Center for Friday's game, but also some friends from California who originally planned the trip before he was traded.

Still, if you're going to get traded ...

"... it could've been to a worse place right?" Scott mused. "If I had a list of teams, this would probably been top three that I'd wanted to go to, so I was ecstatic when I heard it was the Rangers. I could've gone to a lot worse teams, that's for sure."
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Quote of the Day

He's able to play now, we just want to see other guys. We know what he can do.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on not rushing Steven Stamkos onto the ice