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Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 2:38 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sullivan returning to Coyotes' lineup

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For the third straight game, the Phoenix Coyotes will be welcoming back a key player for Monday's game with the Minnesota Wild at Jobing.com Arena.

After getting goalie Mike Smith and center Martin Hanzal back for Friday's overtime loss in Dallas and Raffi Torres back prior to Saturday's win against the Stars in Arizona, forward and leading goal-scorer Steve Sullivan will return after missing the last three games with a lower-body injury.

Sullivan will be playing with Antoine Vermette and Shane Doan and will allow coach Dave Tippett to put one of his top lines back in place.

Defenseman Rostislav Klesla (lower body) and forward Matthew Lombardi (shoulder) are the only Coyotes still out with injuries. Both were on the ice taking part in limited practice Monday. Klesla is day-to-day, while Lombardi could take a bit longer. However, the hope is he will be able to return by the end of the month.

The Coyotes have points in four straight games (2-0-2) and can even their record at 4-4-2 after a 1-4-0 start. Here is the lineup they'll likely use in their attempt to continue their strong play:

Steve Sullivan - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan

Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata

Lauri Korpikoski - Boyd Gordon - David Moss

Raffi Torres - Kyle Chipchura - Nick Johnson

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

David Schlemko - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Paul Bissonnette, Alexandre Bolduc, David Rundblad

Injured: Rostislav Klesla, Matthew Lombardi

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 2:30 PM

By Neil Acharya -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Leafs' Gunnarsson out with hip injury

TORONTO -- After being ruled out of Saturday's game against the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Carl Gunnarsson remains sidelined with a hip injury.

Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle revealed the nature of the injury this morning.

"[Gunnarsson] had an MRI done and he has an ailment in his hip area that is causing a little bit of discomfort," Carlyle said. "There is no muscular tear. He irritated it probably when he first came over after lockout … he should be back with us shortly."

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 2:09 PM

By Neil Acharya -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Maple Leafs looking for home improvement

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes meet Monday at the Air Canada Centre, where the Toronto is just 1-3-0 so far this season.

"Obviously we would like to win more games in our building … it's imperative that we have a strong home record to qualify for the playoffs. It's as simple as that," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said after the morning skate.

James Reimer will start in goal for the Maple Leafs after stopping 33 of 34 shots in a 1-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday. It will be Reimer's fifth consecutive start, and after a tumultuous 2011-12 season, he's looking more comfortable in goal.

"I feel like being healthy is maybe the biggest thing," Reimer said of his stronger play so far. In six games, he's 3-2-0 with a 2.47 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

Forward Clarke MacArthur may return to the line-up, as Carlyle referred to him as being "available" for Monday's game. The 27 year old has missed three games with a lacerated finger.

Cam Ward will start in net for Carolina. He has had a slow start to the season with a 1-3-0 record and 4.05 GAA, but did stop 11 of 12 shots after relieving Dan Ellis in a 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

"I think he has got that bug in him that he wants to show people how good of a goalie he can be," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said of Ward's mindset. "Technique-wise he has always had it, that drive to be the number-one goalie, and that will drive him right now."

Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said he feels his team has played well at even-strength but has been hurt by poor special-teams play. "We've got to get better on the power play and be sharper on the penalty kill," he said.

The Hurricanes enter the week 26th in the League with the man-advantage (11.1 percent), and 27th on the penalty kill (69.7 percent).

"[At even strength] our game has been pretty good besides the first two when we were adjusting at the start," Staal said. "We've got some new faces, and I think we've been a pretty good team and [have] stacked up with anybody."

Forward Tim Wallace, recalled Sunday from the AHL, will play Monday on the fourth line. The 28-year-old will skate for the first time in a Hurricanes uniform. He has played 73 NHL games, totaling three goals and eight assists, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders.

Here is how the lineups likely will look:

MAPLE LEAFS

James Van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Jay McClement - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin

Matt Frattin - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Clarke MacArthur - David Steckel - Colton Orr

Dion Phaneuf - Michael Kostka

Mark Fraser - John-Michael Liles

Cody Franson - Mike Komisarek

James Reimer

Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Frazer McLaren, Korbinian Holzer

Injured: Mike Brown, Joffrey Lupul, Carl Gunnarsson

HURRICANES

Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Alexander Semin

Jeff Skinner - Jordan Staal - Patrick Dwyer

Drayson Bowman - Jussi Jokinen - Chad LaRose

Tim Wallace - Tim Brent - Kevin Westgarth

Tim Gleason - Justin Faulk

Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain

Jay Harrison - Bobby Sanguinetti

Cam Ward

Dan Ellis

Scratched: Andreas Nodl, Joe Corvo

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 1:11 PM

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

Flyers rule Simmonds out for Tuesday's game

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren told reporters Monday that forward Wayne Simmonds will not play Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning due to a concussion.

"Nothing's really changed," Holmgren said. "He's not going to be able to play [Tuesday]. We'll see how he is [Tuesday]."

Simmonds was injured during a Feb. 1 game against the Washington Capitals when Washington defenseman John Erskine elbowed him in the face. Erskine was suspended three games by the NHL for the hit.

Simmonds also sat out Saturday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes. He has two goals and three assists in eight games.

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 1:10 PM

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

Barry Melrose's weekly power rankings

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 12:59 PM

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

Has Luongo won his job back in Vancouver?

This summer and this fall it was crazy in Canada. I was up there working for NHL Network, and I saw and read the press regarding the Vancouver Canucks goalie situation. In the end, by the time the season had started, everyone handled it the right way. Roberto Luongo handled it right, Cory Schneider handled it right, they didn't give the media any fuel, and now, as Luongo gets ready to make his fourth straight start, it looks like the situation has been settled on the ice -- the way it should be. Luongo has been the best goaltender, he plays the games.

Now, I think it's pretty clear at this point that Luongo is the No. 1 goaltender. In the last three games he's started, he's 2-0-1 with three goals against, a shutout and a .963 save percentage. Overall, his save percentage and goals-against average are the second-best in the League. I think he's taken over the job and there's just no way they can trade him now because coach Alain Vigneault just isn't playing the other guy. Right now, when wins are so important, he's going to Luongo.

You have to remember that it's not what they say, it's what they do. They can say he's not the No. 1 goaltender, but if he's playing three games in a row, he's the No. 1 goaltender.

Many people are probably surprised that Luongo might have won back his job and won it back this quickly, but he's a professional athlete, and while he kept his mouth shut and handled this whole situation very professionally, he's very proud like every professional athlete is. He's not going to take losing his job quietly. Of course, he didn't cause any problems. He didn't demand to be traded tomorrow, but he did his talking on the ice. That's all you can do when you're a pro. He's outplayed Schneider, he's earned the No. 1 job, and Vancouver, because they didn't pull off a trade, might be the luckiest team in the League right now.

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 12:43 PM

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

Cisco NHL Live talks with Sean Burke, Chris Bourque

Colorado Avalanche winger Milan Hejduk plays his 1,000th NHL game and Roberto Luongo makes his 4th consecutive start for the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night. Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, has those stories and much more.

As the Phoenix Coyotes get set to host the Minnesota Wild, we'll chat with the man behind the man behind the mask -- Sean Burke, the Coyotes goalie coach.

We have another guest whose dad, Ray Bourque, is a Boston legend -- now Chris Bourque is trying to make his own mark in Beantown. Chris will tell us what it felt like to score his first goal as a Bruin.

NHL Network Insider Bob McKenzie will join the show to talk about his mid-season NHL Draft Rankings. We will also have NHL Network Analyst Barry Melrose to preview some West Coast hockey.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL. And also keep an eye on this Senior Reporter's dance moves in his EJ5: Hradek’s Top 5 Thoughts of the Day with a Super Bowl twist today.

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 12:29 PM

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

Report: Smith out with shoulder injury

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith told MLive.com that he has a sprain of the AC joint in his right shoulder, and estimated he would be out 3-4 weeks.

Smith was injured midway through the first period of Saturday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, when he was hit into the boards by Columbus' Derek MacKenzie.

The Red Wings' defense corps has been hit hard by injuries. Smith will be the sixth blueliner to miss time due to injury already this season.

Smith is second on the Wings with a plus-4 rating, and he has one assist in eight games.

Posted On Monday, 02.04.2013 / 11:43 AM

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

Marchand missing from Bruins' practice

The Boston Bruins practiced Monday without Brad Marchand, who left Saturday's game with an injury.

Marchand crashed awkwardly into the boards midway through the second period of Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and did not return. Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game that Marchand had been removed for precautionary reasons and that he could have played in the third period if the Bruins were "in a pinch."

Marchand leads the Bruins with five goals in eight games.

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