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Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 2:53 PM

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

Leafs send Gardiner back to AHL

The Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday returned defenseman Jake Gardiner to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

Gardiner had no points and four shots on goal in two games with the Leafs. They were his first games since Dec. 8, when he sustained a concussion playing for the Marlies.

Prior to his injury, Gardiner had 17 points in 22 AHL games this season. He had 30 points in 75 NHL games last season.

Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 2:26 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penguins look to rebound from first loss of season

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Pittsburgh Penguins arrived here Thursday evening looking to move past a 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in their home opener Wednesday.

The defeat took some of the shine off a season-opening built on consecutive road wins against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers last weekend. Pittsburgh's run of four road games in its first five contests continues Sunday at the Ottawa Senators. The Penguins face a Winnipeg Jets team they tormented last season. Center Evgeni Malkin posted three goals and eight assists in his three games against the Jets.

Coach Dan Bylsma will make two changes to the lineup that faced Toronto. Offseason acquisition Tomas Vokoun will make his second start in net for Pittsburgh. Ben Lovejoy will dress for the first time this season and take the place of Simon Despres on the Penguins' third defensive pairing with Deryk Engelland.

Right wing Tanner Glass, will make his return to Winnipeg, where he was a fan favorite last season with the Jets before signing in the summer with the Penguins.

Here are the possible line combinations for the Penguins:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis

Tyler Kennedy - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal

Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tanner Glass

Eric Tangradi - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams

Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin

Matt Niskanen - Kris Letang

Deryk Engelland - Ben Lovejoy

Tomas Vokoun

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Dustin Jeffrey

Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Patrick Williams -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Wellwood in, Scheifele out of lineup for Jets

WINNIPEG -- The Winnipeg Jets returned home from a brief two-game road swing to Boston and Washington in a much better mood than when they departed last Saturday.

A 2-1 shootout loss to the Bruins and a 4-2 win against the Capitals took some of the sting out of a season-opening 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators that opened the Jets’ home schedule last weekend. The Jets’ 1-1-1 start represents the franchise's best beginning to a season since 2009-10, when it was the Atlanta Thrashers.

However, the Pittsburgh Penguins arrived in town Thursday, presenting a potential road block to a Winnipeg club looking to earn its first home win and establish itself as a legitimate contender for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot.

Coach Claude Noel repeatedly emphasized the need for his club to avoid any temptation to trade goals with the Penguins, a trap the Jets often fell into last season against Pittsburgh and other high-scoring opponents. Pittsburgh tormented the Jets last season, taking three of the four meetings between the clubs, including an 8-4 loss at Consol Energy Center that dealt a devastating blow to Winnipeg's postseason ambitions last March.

Noel continues to tinker with his lineup and will re-insert veteran Kyle Wellwood, a healthy scratch against the Capitals, on the right wing on the third line in place of rookie Mark Scheifele.

Ondrej Pavelec will make his fourth start of the season in goal for Winnipeg.

Here is how the lineup likely will look Friday:

Evander Kane - Olli Jokinen - Blake Wheeler

Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Bryan Little

Alexei Ponikarovsky - Alexander Burmistrov - Kyle Wellwood

James Wright - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Tobias Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Mark Stuart - Ron Hainsey

Grant Clitsome - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Al Montoya

Injured: Zach Bogosian, Antti Miettinen

Scratched: Anthony Peluso, Mark Scheifele

Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 2:16 PM

By Matt Cubeta -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Fantasy Spin: The impact of Jamie Benn

With hockey talk surrounding key injuries to Joffrey Lupul and Scott Hartenll, fantasy owners finally received some relieving news: Forward Jamie Benn agreed to a five-year deal with the Dallas Stars.

Drafted on average with the 79th overall pick in Yahoo! Leagues, Benn will be a welcome sight for his owners after he had an extremely productive and well-rounded 2011-12 season -- 26 goals, 63 points, plus-15, 55 penalty minutes, 10 power play points and 203 shots on goal in 71 games.

Benn, center and left wing eligible in Yahoo! Leagues, is not expected to make his season debut until Monday, where he'll likely center the team's top line with Jaromir Jagr and Loui Eriksson as his wings. That's an extremely talented group of forwards and it could turn Benn into an elite fantasy player for the remainder of this condensed season.

The 23-year-old forward has all the tools to become one of fantasy hockey's most dominant players -- he has size and grit and plays a physical game, which will result in solid penalty minutes; he will see more power play time this season after averaging 2:17 last year; he has a quality team around him which will result in a good plus/minus; he has unbelievable hands which should result in plenty of points (just check out this goal from last season, and how about this pass?); and he has improved his stats every year he's been in the NHL (22 G, 41 points as a rookie in 2009-10, 22 G, 56 points in 2010-11, 26 G, 63 points last season). There's literally no flaw in his game from a fantasy standpoint.

Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 2:16 PM

By Lonnie Herman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Lightning start long homestand against hot Senators

TAMPA, Fla. -- This is the first of five straight home games for the Tampa Bay Lightning -- the team's longest homestand of the season.

“For us, this is one game. [Friday night], we are playing the Ottawa Senators,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. “That’s all I’m focusing on. This game. Period.”

Vincent Lecavalier will be honored before the game for playing in his 1,000th NHL game Monday night in Uniondale against the New York Islanders. This will be the first home game since Lecavalier reached his milestone.

The Lightning will hold an eight-minute ceremony prior to the game during which his teammates will present gifts and the team will honor him with the traditional inscribed silver stick. Lecavalier is expecting 35 friends and family members to be in attendance.

The Senators are undefeated after three games and have yielded two goals, but will have a slightly different look against the Lightning. Coach Paul MacLean announced after the team's skate Friday that forward Kaspars Daugavins and defenseman Mark Borowiecki will replace Guillaume Latendresse and Patrick Wiercioch in the lineup. Latendresse reportedly has a minor injury, while Wiercioch appears to be a healthy scratch.

Ottawa goaltender Ben Bishop will get the call in net, his first start of the season. Bishop collected his first win with the Senators against the Lightning, a 7-3 victory on March 6, 2012.

“That’s got to help,” Bishop said. “It’s a good memory.”

LIGHTNING

Martin St. Louis – Steven StamkosRyan Malone

Cory ConacherVincent LecavalierTeddy Purcell

Nate ThompsonAdam HallB.J. Crombeen

Tom PyattBenoit Pouliot

Eric Brewer – Matt Carle

Victor HedmanSami Salo

Brian LeeMarc-Andre Bergeron

Keith Aulie

Anders Lindback

Mathieu Garon

Scratched: Dana Tyrell, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Brendan Mikkelson

NOTE: Tampa Bay will dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

MacLean told reporters he wasn't sure how the Senators' lineup would shake out because of the two changes. Latendresse had been skating on Ottawa's second line with Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson, while Wiercioch had been part of the team's third defense pairing with Andre Benoit.

SENATORS

Milan MichalekJason SpezzaJakob Silfverberg

Kaspars DaugavinsKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson

Colin GreeningZack SmithChris Neil

Peter Regin – Jim O’Brien – Erik Condra

Erik KarlssonMarc Methot

Sergei GoncharChris Phillips

Andre BenoitMark Borowiecki

Ben Bishop

Craig Anderson

Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:54 PM

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

Cisco NHL Live looks back at fantastic finishes

We are almost done with the opening week of the 2012-13 National Hockey League season, and we had some fantastic finishes last night in the NHL. Cisco NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will review and preview with Bill Pidto and EJ Hradek. Nail Yakupov's fantastic goal celebration got EJ thinking of his Top 5 celebrations. We will have them in his signature segment, The EJ5.

 

We'll also go live to Detroit, on our Cisco NHL Arena Cam, to preview the Red Wings vs. the Wild, which airs tonight 7:30 ET on the NHL Network. NBC Sports analyst Eddie Olczyk, Jeremy Roenick and NHL Network's Barry Melrose will all stop by the program to give their opinions on some of the great starts to the season.

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

NAIL YAKUPOV - SLIDING CELEBRATION VS. KINGS

THEO FLEURY - SLIDING CELEBRATION VS. OILERS

Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:42 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Capitals aiming to avoid an 0-4 start

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Washington Capitals conducted an optional skate Friday afternoon at Prudential Center in the wake of their third straight loss to open the 2012-13 season to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday at Verizon Center.

Washington coach Adam Oates will look to avoid an 0-4 start against the New Jersey Devils, for whom he served as an assistant under Peter DeBoer in 2011-12. The Capitals are winless in their first three games for the first time since 1993-94.

Capitals defenseman Mike Green is glad the team will be right back on the ice following Thursday's disappointing 4-1 loss on home ice.

"It's good to get right back after it, especially after a loss like that [against Montreal]," Green told NHL.com. "The way the last three games have gone, you can put it in the past right away and not dwell on it. This will be a good test for us. [The Devils] are playing well and we play similar systems, so it'll be a battle of attrition out there until the end."

The Capitals are the only team remaining in the NHL without a point and have been outscored 14-6. They've led for 2:32 in three games or 180 minutes, are 2-for-12 (16.6 percent) on the power play and have allowed seven power-play goals in 18 times short (61.1 percent penalty kill).

"You have to make your own opportunities ... we have to earn it," Green said. "I don't think we've earned it yet. For whatever reason, and there could be a lot of excuses with the season starting in January, but there's no excuse. We have to earn everything we get and it starts against New Jersey."

On top of the losing streak, Alex Ovechkin, who was inserted on right wing for the first time in Thursday's loss, has also struggled. The Capitals captain has taken a team-high 11 shots, but has one assist and a minus-1 rating for the season.

It appears as though Michal Neuvirth, who made 18 saves in the loss to Montreal on Thursday, will get his second straight start for Washington. New Jersey will counter with Martin Brodeur (2-0-0, 0.50 goals-against average, .977 save percentage).

Here are the possible line combinations for the Capitals:

Wojtek WolskiNicklas BackstromAlex Ovechkin

Matt HendricksMike RibeiroTroy Brouwer

Jason ChimeraJay BeagleJoel Ward

Marcus JohanssonMathieu PerreaultJoey Crabb

Karl AlznerJohn Carlson

Tom PotiMike Green

Roman HamrlikTomas Kundratek

Michal Neuvirth

Braden Holtby

Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:36 PM

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

Ruff says Leino doesn't need surgery -- yet

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Buffalo Sabres forward Ville Leino has not played this season due to a hip injury. He was placed on injured reserve before Thursday night’s game at the Carolina Hurricanes, but Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said he does not anticipate Leino needing surgery.

"There's no talk about surgery right now. We might as well just squash that," Ruff said. "Maybe down the road it happens; I don't know. Right now, there are some other treatment options that are possible."

Leino took the ice this morning at First Niagara Center in an optional skate with Cody McCormick, who also is on injured reserve, and anticipated healthy scratches Matt Ellis, TJ Brennan and Mike Weber. The Sabres and Hurricanes face each other in the second game of a back-to-back home-and-home series tonight at 7 p.m. Carolina won last night’s contest, 6-3.

Ruff told the media after this morning’s team meeting that Leino has been re-examined and had an MRI eaxam. The MRI looked “OK.” Among other treatments, they’ve tried giving Leino some rest.

"These hip things are things that can go in a lot of different directions," Ruff said. "We've had one player last year that had the same treatment Ville's going through and has been good ever since."

Leino skated for 20 minutes today before his hip started to tighten up again, according to Ruff. No timetable has been set as to when he will return to the lineup.

"We're going to do everything we possibly can to get him healthy," Ruff said. "We're just going to see where it goes."

Posted On Friday, 01.25.2013 / 12:32 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Seidenberg could return for Bruins

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg might make his return to the lineup Friday when his team hosts the New York Islanders on Friday at TD Garden.

Seidenberg has missed the Bruins' last two games due to a lower-body injury. He skated Friday morning and has been on the ice a couple times between games this week.

"Something like that can happen to a guy that's in the best shape of his life," Seidenberg, who was one of 12 Bruins to play overseas during the lockout, said. "So it's not anything you could've prevented. So you've just got to deal with it and try to get back."

With the Islanders playing the second half of back-to-back games, coach Jack Capuano has decided to give Rick DiPietro the start in goal in his hometown after Evgeni Nabokov beat Toronto on Thursday. It will be DiPietro's first start since Dec. 3, 2011.

Here are the projected lineups for both teams:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin

Chris Bourque - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk

Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton

Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Aaron Johnson, Lane MacDermid

ISLANDERS

Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo

Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Brad Boyes

David Ullstrom - Keith Aucoin - Colin McDonald

Matt Martin - Marty Reasoner - Casey Cizikas

Mark Streit - Brian Strait

Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic

Joe Finley - Matt Carkner

Rick DiPietro

Evgeni Nabokov

Scratched: Radek Martinek, Eric Boulton, Thomas Hickey

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Quote of the Day

After being through it and seeing the other [outdoor] games on TV, just the atmosphere is spectacular. To stand here -- and we are essentially almost on the blue line -- and look up [into the stands] and knowing it is going to be packed and playing our biggest rival in this setting is going to be pretty special.

— Bruins president Cam Neely on the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between Boston and Montreal at Gillette Stadium on
Jan. 1, 2016