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Posted On Sunday, 02.24.2013 / 1:58 PM

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

With Malkin out, Neal gets chance to play with Crosby

PITTSBURGH -- Poor James Neal. The winger lost his world-class former scoring champion center to injury.

The replacement? A world-class former scoring champion center.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without Evgeni Malkin for Sunday night's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning due to an upper-body injury. As a result, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma bumped Neal, who is tied for the National Hockey League lead in goals, up onto a line with Sidney Crosby.

"James is an elite guy at getting open and finding areas, and that doesn't change who the centerman is," Bylsma said. "He's going to do that and that's what he's going to be able to do playing next to Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin."

Neal will begin Sunday's game on Crosby's right wing, with Chris Kunitz in his customary spot to Crosby's left.

Posted On Sunday, 02.24.2013 / 1:46 PM

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

Penguins still evaluating Malkin

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are not ruling out that star center Evgeni Malkin has a concussion, and the organization is following protocol to identify if he indeed does.

Coach Dan Bylsma indicated they are encouraged Malkin's condition since crashing into the boards during Friday night's game is not as dire as previously reported.

"He will be continue to be evaluated by doctors tonight before the game," Bylsma said following the Penguins' morning skate in preparation for the matchup Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. "At this point in time, we have not ruled out a concussion. But I am happy to report that he has not been suffering from headaches or disorientation."

That is in contrast to a report from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Saturday that cited multiple unnamed sources close to Malkin.

Asked to clarify his assertion that Malkin has not experienced headaches or disorientation, Bylsma said: "I mean at any point, yes."

Posted On Sunday, 02.24.2013 / 1:01 PM

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

Neal on Crosby's line with Malkin out

PITTSBURGH -- The projected lines and defensemen pairings for a game Sunday night between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning at Consol Energy Center:

LIGHTNING

Cory Conacher - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell

Benoit Pouliot - Vincent Lecavalier - Martin St. Louis

Alex Killorn - Nate Thompson - Tom Pyatt

Richard PanikAdam Hall - BJ Crombeen

Sami Salo - Victor Hedman

Eric Brewer - Matt Carle

Marc-Andre Bergeron - Brian Lee

Anders Lindback

Mathieu Garon

Injured: Ryan Malone, Mattias Ohlund, Matt Taormina

Scratches: Keith Aulie, Brendan Mikkelson, Pierre-Cedric Labrie

The Lightning did not have a morning skate Sunday, but they are expected to stick with the same lineup that produced a 5-2 victory at the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday -- with the exception of Lindback being back in goal.

Posted On Sunday, 02.24.2013 / 12:51 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Avlanche, Ducks

Here is the projected lineups for a game Sunday between the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center:

AVALANCHE

Jamie McGinnMatt Duchene – P.A. Parenteau

Gabriel LandeskogPaul StastnyDavid Jones

Cody McLeodJohn MitchellMilan Hejduk

Aaron PalushajMark OlverChuck Kobasew

Jan HejdaTyson Barrie

Greg ZanonStefan Elliott

Matt Hunwick – Ryan O’Byrne

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Semyon Varlamov

Giguere is expected to start in the second game of a back-to-back sequence. He is 2-1 against the Ducks since he was traded from Anaheim to Toronto on Jan.31, 2010.

Colorado got captain Landeskog back from a head injury Saturday night but lost, 4-1, to the Los Angeles Kings. It is looking for a better game from its top players as McGinn, Duchene and Parenteau were a combined minus-9.

Stastny has only one goal in his past eight games.

Posted On Sunday, 02.24.2013 / 10:02 AM

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

Report: X-rays on Girardi's foot come back negative

X-rays on Dan Girardi's right foot were negative, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie on Sunday morning, after the New York Rangers defenseman blocked a shot in a game against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Girardi absorbed a one-timer blast from Canadiens defenseman PK Subban in the final minutes of a 3-0 loss Saturday night at Bell Centre and had to be helped off the ice. Earlier in the game, Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh had to leave after a hit from behind by Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty that resulted in a boarding penalty.

The 28-year-old Girardi leads the Rangers in ice time at 25 minutes per game and was an All-Star in 2012. He is tied for 10th in the NHL in blocked shots with 45, but as played fewer games than everyone ahead of him.

The Rangers have yet to announce the health status of either player and likely won't do so until they practice Monday in Greenburgh, N.Y.

Posted On Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 8:56 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

TOR @ OTT - 19:17 of the Second Period

At 19:17 of the second period in the Maple Leafs/Senators game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Eric Gryba's initial shot deflected into the net in a legal fashion. Good Goal Ottawa.  

Posted On Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 8:43 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

NYR @ MTL - 13:36 of the Second Period

At 13:36 of the second period in the Rangers/Canadiens game, video review concluded that Alex Galchenyuk's shot went into the net in a legal fashion. The referee's call on the ice stands. Good Goal Montreal.

Posted On Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 2:42 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Konopka ready for physical affair against Flames

CALGARY – Zenon Konopka heard about Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley challenging his team to be tougher to play against.

Set to play in his first game since Feb. 14, Konopka sees that as a challenge of his own.

“It’s a situation where he needs to spark his team,” Konopka said. “It’s one of those games I’m excited to play and I’m excited for tonight. I wish it was a 7 o’clock start instead of an 8 o’clock start.”

No stranger to the physical side of the game with 52 penalty minutes in 14 games, the 32-year-old is excited at the prospect of some rough play tonight.

“This is old school hockey and this is the hockey I love,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun tonight. I think it’s going to be a great game for the League and the fans as well, to see a lot of physical play.”

Rookie Mikael Granlund is expected to come out of the lineup to make way for Konopka.

Posted On Saturday, 02.23.2013 / 1:58 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Baertschi back with Flames; lines changed

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames will see some fresh faces in a lineup completely shaken up by coach Bob Hartley.

Hartley will move wing Mike Cammalleri to the middle, welcome back rookie Sven Baertschi from injury, and inject recently recalled spark plug Akim Aliu for a completely new look at forward when the Flames welcome the Minnesota Wild to Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night.

"I sat with Cammy yesterday and I expressed a fact that I wanted to make some changes, and part of making changes was in order to allow me to make those changes I wanted to see if he was open to play at center," Hartley said.

The shakeup comes on the heels of Calgary's second-consecutive loss Wednesday and a record of 5-7-3.

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Quote of the Day

There's standards that this team is going to play to and there are expectations. We're going to hold these guys accountable to high standards.

— Coach Dave Lowry on Canada's junior team, the defending IIHF World Junior champions