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Posted On Friday, 02.24.2012 / 10:40 AM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flood's return to lineup eases burden on Jets' defense

WINNIPEG -- Zach Bogosian's continued absence finally meant an entry into the Winnipeg Jets' lineup for Mark Flood.

The injured Bogosian missed the Jets' 4-3 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night, his fifth consecutive absence. Randy Jones had replaced Bogosian on the Winnipeg blue line. Flood continued to remain a healthy scratch and before playing the Lightning had not dressed for a game since Jan. 19.

But Jets coach Claude Noel opted to go with seven defensemen against Tampa Bay and scratch forwards Eric Fehr and Antti Miettinen. A chaotic 5-4 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night had left the Winnipeg defense corps drained, and neither Fehr nor Miettinen has shown any indication of breaking loose of their season-long slumps.

Returning Flood to game action has been an objective for Noel in recent days. The Jets are loathe to attempt slipping Flood through the NHL waiver wire in order to assign him to the St. John's IceCaps, their AHL affiliate. Playing both Flood and Jones also allows the Jets to showcase one of the two for a potential trade before the NHL's Monday deadline, though Noel shooed away any such speculation on Thursday morning.

Flood stepped into the lineup and allowed the Winnipeg coaching staff to dial down the minutes that their workhorse defensemen had to play. Dustin Byfuglien, who played 26:51 against Philadelphia, logged a more manageable 20:32 with Flood available to provide blue-line relief. Ron Hainsey's ice time decreased from 24:24 on Tuesday to 19:51 against the Lightning.

Flood finished with 9:03 of ice time and assisted on the Jets' second goal.
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Posted On Friday, 02.24.2012 / 10:34 AM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Trades, injuries have depleted Tampa's scoring lines

WINNIPEG -- Guy Boucher managed to survive a game-day without any dents to his roster.

Prior to the Tampa Bay Lightning's 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, Boucher's club had seen three players traded on the day of their previous three games over a five-day span. Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina and Steve Downie all departed in separate trades, and none of the trio yielded a roster player in return.

For a club that began the night only five points out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference and owning games in-hand, the losses hurt in the short-term. Those moves, coupled with captain Vincent Lecavalier's upper-body injury that will sideline him into March and Marc-Andre Bergeron's ongoing injury woes, left the Lightning roster thin for their crucial meeting with the Jets. Tampa Bay's second line of Ryan Malone, Nate Thompson and Adam Hall had combined for just 18 goals this season prior to facing the Jets.

The personnel losses left the scoring burden squarely on the shoulders on the Martin St. Louis-Steven Stamkos-Teddy Purcell first line, allowing Winnipeg to key on that trio throughout the contest until they finally broke loose late in the third period when the Jets already owned a 4-0 lead.

"Well, obviously, depth is huge in this League," Boucher said. "If [Lecavalier is] here tonight, we would certainly have two lines of guys who can score goals."

Adjusting to the changes has been a challenge, Boucher acknowledged.

"It's been tough for some of the players to manage it, but whether this year or last year, we have shown a lot of character," Boucher said. "We've had injuries all year. We've basically never played with our full lineup and it keeps on going. We've been adjusting for a while now."

While some clubs would bristle at losing roster players while fully engaged in a playoff battle, Boucher insists that Tampa Bay management has the support of the Lightning dressing room.

"The thing is that I'm the first guy that trusts (general manager) Steve Yzerman and the plan that he is putting forth, and the players that we have got all trust in him," he said. "In the long run, we know that it's going to be a plan that is going to take us closer to what we want to do."
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Posted On Friday, 02.24.2012 / 10:26 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Mullet of the Week: Steven Stamkos

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Posted On Friday, 02.24.2012 / 10:25 AM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Barry's Best: Trade Deadline Moves

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Posted On Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 10:58 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

DAL @ CHI - 16:12 of the Third Period

At 16:12 of the third period in the Stars/Blackhawks game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Loui Eriksson batted the puck into the net with his stick below the crossbar.  According to rule 60.5 "The determining factor is where the puck makes contact with the stick. If the puck makes contact with the stick below the level of the crossbar and enters the goal, this goal shall be allowed."  Good goal Dallas.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 8:21 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

STL/NSH - 4:13 of the First Period

At 4:13 of the first period in the Blues/Predators game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Jason Arnott's centering pass deflected off Predators defenseman Kevin Klein's skate and then off Blues forward Chris Stewart's skate and into the Predators 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 St Louis.
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Posted On Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 6:06 PM

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

Hand laceration has Anderson out indefinitely

KANATA, Ont. -- After coming off a 5-2 victory against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson suffered a hand laceration at home while preparing a meal, which required medical treatment at a local hospital.

Anderson is expected to make a full recovery, but is out indefinitely. The Senators have yet to make any call-ups from Binghamton. 
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Posted On Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 3:44 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Panthers activate Jovanovski; Garrison nears return

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers' defensive corps is finally getting healthy.

Veteran Ed Jovanovski was taken off the injury list on Thursday and he's expected to be in the lineup when the Panthers face the Minnesota Wild at the BankAtlantic Center.

Jason Garrison, who leads all NHL defensemen with 13 goals, took part in Thursday's optional skate after participating in his first practice the day before. He's not going to play against Minnesota, but could make his return this weekend, either Saturday at Carolina or Sunday at home against Montreal.

The third injured Florida defenseman, Dmitry Kulikov, is expected to miss a couple more weeks after undergoing knee surgery in late January.

Jovanovski has been out since Jan. 16 when he broke his hand while fighting Boston's Daniel Paille.

"If there's one thing that anybody that's been around or has seen Eddie play, whether it was here as an 18-year-old or this year, our fan base knows that he brings a high level of intensity," coach Kevin Dineen said. "He's a player. He comes to play and he'll be a great benefit for us."

Jovanovski has missed the Panthers' last 14 games and has watched the team drop its last three, all at home.

"It's never fun watching," Jovanovski said. "The team is facing a little adversity right now and it's tough not being a part of it. But it's good to be back with the guys."

Jovanovski's return not only figures to help the Panthers on the ice, but his leadership should help a team in the heat of a battle for its first playoff berth since 2000.

"I'm excited, I think the whole team is," said rookie Erik Gudbranson, Jovanovski's defense partner. "He's a huge piece of the package we have here. He's very good in the room. That's excluding what he does on the ice. He's a veteran leader and we need him back, that's for sure."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 3:38 PM

By Louie Korac -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Hitchcock has Nashville bugaboo to erase

NASHVILLE -- St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock needs to remind himself that he's won in this building before, but it's been a long time coming.

Heading into tonight's matchup with the Predators, Hitchcock, owner of 563 wins in his NHL career, doesn't have many of them here at Bridgestone Arena. In fact, the Blues' coach last won here four teams ago -- as coach of the Dallas Stars.

Hitchcock comes into tonight's game 0-11-6-1 in his last 18 visits to Nashville, spanning games coached with Dallas, Philadelphia, Columbus and now the Blues.

His last win here was on Feb. 13, 2001. So what's the key to winning here tonight and hurling that gorilla off Hitchcock's back?

"We've got to understand that the best player on their team is their goalie," Hitchcock said of Pekka Rinne, who is 12-5-2 lifetime against the Blues, including 4-0-0 this season. "It starts with outworking him. And you've got to plow through adversity.

"You're going to get adversity because they've got players who know how to win, they've got players who know how to play, they've got good structure, a good system. You're just plowing through a lot adversity and you've just got to stay determined like that. Nashville wins a lot of games by frustrating the opposition. ... They wear you down mentally and I think you've just got to be able to stay with it."

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Whether they like it or not, the Blues (36-17-7) will get acclimated with one another, and they'll do it away from home where the road record is not as good as they'd like it to be.

Of the next 16 games, 13 of them will be spent away from Scottrade Center, and after losing two in a row for the first time in regulation for the first time since Oct. 28-30, they'll get the opportunity to deal with some adversity for the start of a six-game trip.

"Good or not, it's coming," captain David Backes said. "We're going to play some tough teams on the road. We need to find a way to get points. We haven't had this streak of losses very often this year. The quicker we turn around, the better off we're going to be."

Added defenseman Barret Jackman: "It's definitely a big test for us coming up heading on the road for 10 days. It's going to test our team, but we're definitely ready for the challenge."

The Blues have not lost three in a row in regulation all season long. A loss here tonight would make that all come to fruition, but it's something they'd like to avoid heading down the home stretch.

"The year that I won the Cup (in New Jersey), we went on an eight-game losing streak before the end of the year and fired our coach," Arnott said. "We thought all heck was going to break loose and we ended up going out, coming together and winning.

"You just never know, but you don't want to go through those things. You want to go through the last stretch on a high and playing well together. Obviously things aren't going to go your way the whole time, but if you can narrow the gap down and play more of a solid game than just half, you're going to be better off."

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The Blues have suddenly gone south with their play in the third period, an area that has been rock-solid for this team in winning 36 games.

They've given up three goals to Chicago and one to Boston in third periods over the last two games. Prior to that, the Blues allowed a total of four third-period goals in 22 games, including a stretch in which they had 10 in a row without allowing anything.

"The last couple games for us, we've really liked our first 40 minutes. We've not liked our third period," Hitchcock said. "In order to beat a team like Nashville, it's a lot like beating us. You've got to trust your work. I think that knowing Nashville, both teams have been able to come back in games. It's because the other team's maybe let up a little bit. For me, tonight's a game about trusting our work, trusting our work for 60 minutes."

What's happened in the last couple third periods? Hitchcock said it's all about the team believing in what they do.

"We've got to trust our work a little bit more," Hitchcock said. "We're kind of pulling back a little bit and kind of allowing the other team to maybe even out the dictating part of the game. That's not how we're built, that's not how we're structured, that's not how we play.

"We're a very good team when we're in attack mode and staying in attack mode. You saw that in the last 10 minutes of the first period yesterday and the whole second period, we're a really good team when we play that way. That's the way we have to play is stay in attack mode. I thought we came off it again in the third. It's been two games in a row we've done that. We don't want to see that."
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Posted On Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 3:26 PM

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

Quincey thrilled to be back where he started

DETROIT -- The new face inside the Detroit Red Wings locker room on Thursday morning was actually a familiar face.

Kyle Quincey made a familiar walk down the hallway decorated with Red Wings history, hung a left turn and headed straight into the locker room where he made his NHL debut with Detroit in 2005. After departing the Red Wings through the waivers process and being claimed by the Los Angeles Kings, Quincey developed into a solid NHL defenseman.

He spent one year in Los Angeles and the next three in Colorado, before being dealt back to Detroit on Tuesday in a three-team deal that had his head spinning when he finally got to his cell phone.

"I think I was the last to find out," said the 26-year old Quincey, a restricted free agent after this season. "I was in the dentist's chair and I had about 50 messages when I got out. The trade was already made with Detroit before I found out, so that was kind of nice. All my buddies in Tampa were calling, excited, but I guess they'll have to wait."

His buddies in Detroit only had to wait until Thursday morning, when he showed up at Joe Louis Arena once again as a Red Wing. How has Quincey changed as a player since the last time he wore the Winged Wheel logo on his chest?

"Last time I was here I didn't have any confidence," said Quincey, whom Detroit took in the fourth round of 2003 NHL Draft [No. 132]. "I was just a young guy trying to squeak under the radar, but getting the opportunity and getting the confidence and knowing I can be a good player in the NHL, play good minutes, it's huge. I'm just so excited to come back to this team."

Almost as excited as he was to leave. Getting claimed by the Kings off waivers wasn't all that painful for Quincey to accept, mainly because he knew the opportunity ahead of him was a good one.

"At the time it was actually awesome because it gave me the opportunity to play," said Quincey, who played just 13 regular season games with the Red Wings spread over three seasons. "If I went through waivers and went to Grand Rapids [again], that would have been real frustrating. But if you ask a lot of guys that aren't playing, they'd
probably asked to get waived. That's the great system we have, the CBA. It's a rule that helped my career. Who knows, I could still be in Grand Rapids. I'm very fortunate [the Kings] took a chance on me. I just went from there. I told [Holland] that back then, 'Thanks for the opportunity and I appreciate it.'"

On Thursday morning, Holland had a message for him.

"I just saw him on my way to the ice, so it wasn't that much, but we smiled and he just said, 'Welcome back,' and just laughed," Quincey said. "I was glad to be back, for sure."

He not only knows all but three Red Wings players from his previous stint here, but he's also happy to be back in coach Mike Babcock's system -- where he'll start out paired with Jonathan Ericsson on the third defense unit, get some time on the second power-play group and maybe log some penalty-kill time.

"I played with [Ericsson] in Grand Rapids," Quincey said. "Hopefully it's a pretty seamless transition. This system by far, with [Babcock], is by far the best I've ever played in. Absolute nightmare playing against these guys, so I'm glad I'm on the other side of the puck. I'm happy to be back in this system. I think it's good for everybody. Players with skill … they have so much of it here. By far the best system I've ever played in."

Will the skills that got him established in Los Angeles and Colorado fit back in with that system?

"For sure," Quincey said. "A lot of other teams try to get you to rim the puck along the glass and I know these guys don't like that. I'm all for that. I don't like giving the puck up either. I'm excited to play in this system."

Babcock and Holland are pretty stoked about it, too. Now the Red Wings have eight NHL-caliber defensemen, so if injury strikes they'll be prepared down the stretch and into the postseason.

"He's a good player," Babcock said. "It gives us depth. We're in a situation now where we have a lot of top-four [defensemen]. We think it's great for now and it's really great for the future of our team."
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Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season