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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 12:45 PM

By Alain Poupart -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Weiss out again for Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla.Florida Panthers center Stephen Weiss will miss his second consecutive game Saturday night, but coach Kevin Dineen didn’t rule out the other two members of his top line, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann, for the matchup against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Versteeg has yet to play in a game this season after he sustained a lower-body injury in practice the day before the Jan. 19 opener against the Carolina Hurricanes. He took part in the morning skate Saturday, but didn’t work with a line and stayed on the ice for extra work after his teammates went off.

“He looked pretty good there today,” Dineen said. “With [Versteeg], I always have to be careful because his heart is telling him one thing and we’ve got to make sure that we get over this hump of our early-season injuries and make sure that guys are fully prepared to go instead of getting along with not firing on all the pistons. We’ll see where he’s at after a good skate today. It’s encouraging. There’s a possibility he can even play tonight.”

Fleischmann had the most ice time of any Florida forward in a 3-1 loss Thursday against the Ottawa Senators, but he sustained a cut on top of his right foot during the game.

Fleischmann stepped onto the ice before his teammates Saturday morning wearing warmup gear and skated briefly before stepping off. He returned after the start of the morning skate again in warmup gear before leaving after a short while and returning a third time in his full gear.

Dineen said Fleischmann’s availability has nothing to do with his past medical history — Fleischmann missed the second half of the 2010-11 because of a pulmonary embolism.

“Him and his medical team have done a really good job of staying on top of that,” Dineen said. “He’s aware of his history, but it’s all based on whether he can go out and be able to perform like he usually does.”

Like Versteeg, Fleischmann didn’t work with a line in the morning skate.

As for Weiss, who was a late scratch Thursday after taking part in the morning skate, Dineen said keeping him out because of his lower-body injury was a matter of playing things safely.

“Stephen is slowly coming along,” Dineen said. “It’s no different than anybody else. We want to make sure that when he comes back he’s feeling like he can contribute the way he usually does. He’s such a big part of everything we do here. He’s missed in the lineup. We’ll wait and get an evaluation, but he won’t be available for tonight.”

Because of the uncertain status of both Fleischmann and Versteeg, Dineen might have some line juggling to do before the puck drops Saturday night.

“We look at the morning skate and you look at the bodies in the lineup and the possibilities, we’re not sure what we’re putting on the ice tonight just based on guys are that close to coming back. It’s a little bit of a stickhandling to see where we’re at when we drop the puck tonight.”

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 12:30 PM

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

Atkinson could miss 'a week or two weeks' for Columbus

Second-year wing Cam Atkinson is out of the lineup Saturday night for the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Chicago Blackhawks, and his absence might not be a brief one.

Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch of the Atkinson injury, "This could be a week or two weeks." Atkinson missed time during training camp with a lower-body injury, and he did not play Thursday in a 4-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

Atkinson is one of Columbus' top young forwards and began this season on the top line. He has eight goals and 15 points in 30 career NHL games, and boasts an impressive scoring record at the American Hockey League level (49 goals in 89 games).

Portzline (@Aportzline) also reported on Twitter that Steve Mason will be in net for the Blue Jackets, who have dropped three straight after winning their opener against the Nashville Predators. Mason yielded five goals on 42 shots in a 5-1 loss Wednesday to the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Blackhawks are the only 4-0-0 team in the NHL. Corey Crawford will be in net for Chicago, according to multiple reports.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.26.2013 / 11:39 AM

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

Kreider out with ankle injury, Ferriero in for Rangers

Two days after being scratched for Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers rookie Chris Kreider is expected to miss the next few days of action because of an injury. According to Jim Cerny of the Rangers' website, Kreider, who did not skate Saturday morning with the team, is expected to be out a few days because of bone chips in his ankle.

It's a difficult end to what has been a frustrating first week of the 2012-13 season for the Massachusetts native. After going pointless in his first three games, Kreider was held out of the game Thursday, sparking speculation he might be assigned to the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Connecticut. To say the least, it's been a disappointing start for the young player who captured the imagination of Rangers fans after scoring five goals during the team's Stanley Cup Playoffs run that ended in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

While Kreider was out, new addition Benn Ferriero, who was acquired Thursday in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, did skate Saturday. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was reportedly the first to leave the ice, meaning he will likely get the start Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

These are the team's projected lines, according to Pat Leonard of New York Daily News:

Rick Nash - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik

Taylor Pyatt - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan

Carl Hagelin - Brian Boyle - Mike Rupp

Jeff Halpern - Benn Ferriero - Aaron Asham.

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Michael Del Zotto

Steve Eminger - Anton Stralman

Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 10:00 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

OTT vs. TBL - 5:25 of Third Period

At 5:25 of the third period in the Senators/Lightning game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Chris Neil's shot did not completely cross the goal line. No Goal Senators.

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 8:14 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

NYI v@ BOS - 0:19 of Second Period

At 0:19 of the second period in the Islanders/Bruins game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Matt Moulson's shot did not completely cross the goal line. No Goal Islanders.

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 7:49 PM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

NYI @ BOS - 17:57 of first period

At 17:57 of the first period in the Islanders/Bruins game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Tyler Seguin's shot did not completely cross the goal line. No Goal Boston.

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 7:18 PM

By Matt Sitkoff -  NHL.com Contributor /NHL.com - NHL Live blog

CISCO NHL Live: The EJ 5

We saw a great Nail Yakupov celebration, that got E.J. Hradek thinking for his Top 5 goal celebration in Friday's EJ5.

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 6:58 PM

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

Gomez debuts for Sharks on Saturday

Scott Gomez is making his debut for the San Jose Sharks on Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche.

"[There's] a very good chance we’ll see him tomorrow," coach Todd McLellan told the Sharks' website Friday. "We'll get a health update tomorrow morning on the roster, and obviously we've got to get him into the lineup."

CSN Bay Area reports Gomez took line rushes at center with Adam Burish and James Sheppard.

"[Scott] had a good practice today," McLellan said. "We used him in some different situations in practice, so he should feel a little more comfortable. We'd really like to see what he's going to do."

The 33-year-old, who signed with the Sharks on Wednesday, also practiced with the second power-play unit.

"That's an area that we think he can contribute in and he'll get every opportunity to do that," McLellan said.

CSN said Andrew Desjardins likely would sit out, and Michal Handzus would remain in the lineup.

"Because we have signed Scott Gomez, I don’t think that’s any reason for Michal Handzus to lose his job or his position," McLellan said. "They can battle it out, they can continue to push each other. Obviously different situations allow for different players to use a certain skill set.

"[Michal] has been very good on the penalty kill this year so far, very good in the faceoff circle. Scotty might be a little more offensive in power-play situations. There's room for both of them, and they can push each other."

The coach also said there was a chance backup goalie Thomas Greiss would play on the weekend.

CSN said Saturday's game is the first afternoon game scheduled for HP Pavilion since March 21, 2009.

The Sharks play Sunday night at home against the Vancouver Canucks.

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 5:59 PM

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

Panthers call up 2010 first-round pick Howden

The Florida Panthers, who could have their entire top line -- Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss -- out for Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers, on Friday called up Quinton Howden from the American Hockey League team, the San Antonio Rampage.

Howden, the 25th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, is playing his first professional season after spending the last four seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. The 21-year-old center has 19 points in 41 AHL games this season.

Versteeg has yet to play this season due to a groin injury, while Weiss and Fleischmann were hurt Thursday. Weiss injured his groin prior to Thursday's game against the Ottawa Senators, while Fleischmann sustained a cut to the top of his foot during the game. None of the three practiced Friday, and coach Kevin Dineen said he was unsure if any of them would be available for Saturday's game.

"All those players right now are question marks for [Saturday]," he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "We're cautiously optimistic that they're going to be short-term injuries."

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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 5:42 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Ovechkin moving back to left wing for Capitals

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Alex Ovechkin at right wing experiment is on hold for the moment. The Washington Capitals superstar said he is moving back to the left wing for Friday's game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Ovechkin has lined up on the right side in each of the first three games, but he shifted to the left side in the third period of Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

The Capitals are 0-3 and Ovechkin has not scored this season.

"We'll see how it goes," Ovechkin said prior to the game. "It doesn't matter if I'm going to play left side, center or right side; we just have to play the system that [coach Adam Oates] tells us. We just have to be mentally ready. It's not about one player or two players, it's everybody."

Ovechkin said he spoke with Oates about moving back to the left side, where he has played his entire career up until now.

"Of course I feel much more comfortable on the left side; it's not a secret," Ovechkin said. "But, again, creativity, what we try to do, it's working but we have to work harder, I think."

Oates said he doesn't see the pressure to score getting to Ovechkin, at least not yet, but he knows it is there and perhaps this move back to the left wing will give the Capitals' captain a sense of comfort heading into the game.

"He has that pressure [to score] every night," Oates said. "He comes to the rink expecting to do that and he's done it his entire career. That never changes and it never will. In saying that, he's gotta play his game and be part of the team and the structure, and hopefully over time he'll have success."

Ovechkin said he was OK with playing on the right side, but clearly it has not worked as of yet.

"I feel responsible for the opportunities we have and I have to find the space in the offensive zone," Ovechkin said. "My linemates have to play better. I have to play better. It starts with me and it goes to everybody."

Oates confirmed that Michal Neuvirth will get the start in net for the Capitals after giving up four goals on 22 shots in Thursday's loss to the Canadiens.

Neuvirth is 4-1-2 with one shutout, a 1.95 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in seven career starts against New Jersey. He is 5-2-1 in the second game when he starts two nights in a row.

"He played really well [Thursday] night and I felt bad for him that we let it get away," Oates said. "I thought he really gave us a chance in the first 30 minutes and he looked very sharp, so he gets it tonight."

For Oates, Friday's game is a mini-homecoming. He was an assistant on Devils coach Peter DeBoer's staff last season and said walking back into Prudential Center brings back great memories of New Jersey's run to the Stanley Cup Final, which they lost to the Los Angeles Kings.

"It was a great year, a great run," Oates said. "We got very close and when you go through that as a staff you get closer. You get closer to with the players. I got to be here for two years. It was a great feeling. It will be great to see the guys, but obviously I'd like to get the win."

Wojtek Wolski - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer

Alex Ovechkin - Jay Beagle - Joey Crabb

Jason Chimera - Mike Ribeiro - Joel Ward

Matt Hendricks - Marcus Johansson - Eric Fehr

Karl Alzner - Mike Green

John Erskine - John Carlson

Jeff Schultz - Tomas Kundratek

Michal Neuvirth

Braden Holtby

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Quote of the Day

I don’t know if it was more relief for me that [Stamkos] scored or the power play scored. It was a whole compilation of Alka Seltzer.

— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Steven Stamkos broke a long scoring drought and Tampa Bay's struggling power play scored four times in Game 2 at Montreal