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Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 1:25 PM

By Matt Sitkoff - Contributor / - NHL Live blog

Hat trick hero Kunitz joins Cisco NHL Live

With only two games on the schedule Monday night, Cisco NHL Live with Steve Mears and EJ Hradek, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will have both covered. We'll get a pre-game interview on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam in Ottawa with Bruce Garrioch form the Ottawa Sun. We'll also break down the third and final meeting between the Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings. Fresh off his hat trick and five-point game Sunday night, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz will also join the show as well as Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly, who has scored in each of his past two games.

NHL Network insider Bob McKenzie will drop by the show to give the latest on realignment and some trade rumors floating around. We'll also examine some lesser known league leaders with our resident coach NHL Network analyst Barry Melrose.

Don't forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks both games being played on Monday.

Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 1:20 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst / - Melrose Minute

Crosby, Stamkos battling for NHL hardware

As the NHL season chugs along, all but one team has reached the halfway point in its season, and the one team that hasn't, the Los Angeles Kings, will get there Monday when they play the Calgary Flames. With the abbreviated 2012-13 season moving so quickly, it's amazing that we're already halfway through the schedule, but it doesn't mean we can't see which players are having tremendous seasons and who has the leg up for this season's major honors.

Here are my picks for some of the NHL's major awards at the midway point:

Hart Trophy -- Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

One of the most important things to me is that I just don't think an MVP can be on a team that doesn't make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Plenty of players are having great seasons, but players like Steven Stamkos or John Tavares probably are not going to be in the postseason mix at the end. I've got to look at a team that's going to the playoffs and right now Pittsburgh is winning even if they really aren't playing that well, and Sidney Crosby is the reason. Sid is leading the NHL in scoring and assists. On Saturday night he scored a goal against Toronto and then got the winner in the shootout, and with Evgeni Malkin missing chunks of time, Sid is regularly seeing the other team's best players every night and he's still producing. He's very quietly had a great year, and it looks like he's playing hard as if his injury worries are a thing of the past. He's flying around and playing with reckless abandon because he's confident that his injury won't come back every time he gets nailed. He's past that mentally and all the good things in Pittsburgh this season -- the Pens' record, Chris Kunitz's 17 goals, Pascal Dupuis' 11 goals -- those just don't happen without Sid.

Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 12:59 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Luongo gets nod for Canucks against Blue Jackets

Roberto Luongo will start in net for the Vancouver Canucks when they visit the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, the team announced Monday.

Cory Schneider started the Canucks' previous three games -- all losses -- and has just two wins in his last eight starts. The Canucks have lost four straight and have been overtaken by the Minnesota Wild for first place in the Northwest Division.

Luongo hasn't played since March 3, when he allowed three goals on 24 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. For the season, Luongo is 5-2-3 with a 2.19 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 12:50 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - 2013 NHL Draft blog

Tambellini honored by BCHL

The coaches of the British Columbia Hockey League recently revealed their league all-star team selections for the 2012-13 season.

Among those listed were two skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft -- forward Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles was named a Second-Team All-Star, and defenseman Dane Birks of the Merritt Centennials was named to the league's All-Rookie Team.

Tambellini, son of Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, was listed as a 'B' prospect at the start of the season for the Vernon Vipers before his trade to Surrey on Jan. 10. Tambellini, who is committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2013-14 season, had 36 goals and 65 points in 52 games for Vernon and Surrey. In 16 games with Surrey, he's totaled 14 goals and 26 points.

Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 12:33 PM

By Staff -  / - 2013 Trade Deadline blog

Report: Struggling Lightning not ready to be sellers

The mindset of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the NHL Trade Deadline is a topic now being addressed with more regularity.

Inconceivably, the Lightning sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings -- eight points adrift in both the Southeast Division and the Eastern Conference -- thanks, in large part, to a 4-13-1 streak that has all but erased memories of their rather torrid start to the season.

Yet, general manager Steve Yzerman still believes his club has the goods to develop into a Stanley Cup Playoffs-caliber team.

Posted On Monday, 03.11.2013 / 12:33 PM

By Staff -  / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Canucks recall Ebbett, send Schroeder to AHL

The Vancouver Canucks on Monday recalled center Andrew Ebbett from Chicago of the American Hockey League, and re-assigned center Jordan Schroeder to the AHL.

In five games earlier this season with the Canucks, Ebbett had no points, two penalty minutes and four shots on goal, while averaging 11:50 of ice time per game.

Schroeder, who played his first 22 NHL games this season, has two goals and three assists.

Posted On Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 10:06 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

VAN @ MIN - 1:02 of the Third Period

At 1:02 of the third period in the Canucks/Wild game, video review determined the puck deflected off Henrik Sedin's skate and into the net in a legal fashion. 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 Vancouver.

Posted On Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 8:45 PM - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

EDM @ CHI - 15:05 of the Second Period

At 15:05 of the second period in the Oilers/Blackhawks game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the puck deflected off Sheldon Brookbank and into the net in a legal fashion. According to Rule 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." Good Goal Chicago.

Posted On Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 6:31 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sabres activate defenseman Jordan Leopold

PHILADELPHIA -- The Buffalo Sabres activated defenseman Jordan Leopold from injured reserve and he will be in the lineup Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Leopold had missed nine games with an upper-body injury. Interim coach Ron Rolston had said following the morning skate he was looking forward to having Leopold in the lineup for the first time since he replaced Lindy Ruff behind the Sabres' bench. Leopold was injured in practice the same day Ruff was fired.

"It'll be good back there," Rolston said of Leopold. "He's a good puck-mover, and that's what we've been emphasizing form our defense corps. He'll be one of those guys that can get us out of our zone. … He can be a player that can really be a difference-maker back there on the blue line."

To make room on the roster, the Sabres announced defenseman Adam Pardy had been sent to Rochester of the American Hockey League. Pardy had one assist, a plus-2 rating and 10 penalty minutes in five games this season. He had been a healthy scratch the previous two games.

Here is what the Sabres' lineup could look like:

Thomas Vanek - Cody Hodgson - Jason Pominville

Marcus Foligno - Kevin Porter - Brian Flynn

Steve Ott - Tyler Ennis - Nathan Gerbe

John Scott - Jochen Hecht - Drew Stafford

Robyn Regehr - Jordan Leopold

Christian Ehrhoff - Tyler Myers

Mike Weber - TJ Brennan

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Mikhail Grigorenko

Suspended: Patrick Kaleta

Injured: Andrej Sekera (upper body), Ville Leino (hip)

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 6:22 PM

By Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Bryzgalov gets the call for struggling Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has opted to start Ilya Bryzgalov for a League-high 25th time Sunday when his team faces the Buffalo Sabres (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Bryzgalov gave up three goals in a 2:18 span midway through the first period Saturday in a 3-0 loss at Boston, and he has allowed 11 goals on 64 shots in his previous three games, a save percentage of just .828. His 1,349:58 of ice time is three seconds less than Nashville's Pekka Rinne for the League lead; he's faced the third-most shots (621) and made the fourth-most saves (558).

Even with a three-day break coming up, as well as the recall of goalie Michael Leighton from Adirondack of the American Hockey League, Laviolette said he believes Bryzgalov is the best option to help the Flyers snap their three-game losing streak.

"I think you go through everything, you roll though all your options of personnel that's available to you," Laviolette said. "I think just coming off [Saturday], Bryz is a guy that needs to be in there and we need to get a win. Our group needs to dig out of this. Not to put him in there and give him that opportunity doesn't seem right."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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