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Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 2:47 PM

By Pete Jensen -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Fantasy Spin Blog

Five unnoticed opening weekend fantasy storylines

Two days of games are already in the books, so it's appropriate to quickly reflect on a few storylines following an eventful opening weekend in the NHL.

While mainstream players (Martin St. Louis, Jaromir Jagr, Marian Hossa, Patrick Marleau, etc.) and highly-touted prospects (Vladimir Tarasenko, Jonathan Huberdeau, etc.) stole headlines by kicking their seasons off with a bang, here are five developments on the fantasy front that may have gone unnoticed:

Vokoun should be valued as the short season rolls on -- especially by fantasy owners who drafted Marc-Andre Fleury. (Photo: Getty Images)

-- Three teams (Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins) are off to 2-0 starts, with each riding backup netminders to wins Sunday. Josh Harding (owned in 35 percent of Yahoo! leagues), in his first appearance since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, stopped all 24 shots to blank the Dallas Stars. Tomas Vokoun (38 percent), who gave Marc-Andre Fleury a breather, held the New York Rangers in check by making 31 saves on 34 shots. Ray Emery (6 percent) was far from perfect against Phoenix (25 SV on 29 SOG), but still earned a victory as the Blackhawks scored five-plus goals for the second straight day.

These are small sample sizes, but this pattern indicates that backups are worth storing on your bench for these situations. Owners who drafted Fleury, Corey Crawford and Niklas Backstrom would be wise to snag their backups off the waiver wire, as this strategy can brace your team for potential injuries while also ensuring your maximum goalie starts each week.

Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 2:05 PM

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

Sabres likely to stick with Sunday's lineup

TORONTO -- One day after being the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 in their season opener Sunday, the Buffalo Sabres are right back at it Monday here at Air Canada Centre.

Coach Lindy Ruff is expected to go with the same lineup he iced at First Niagara Center against Philadelphia.

Ville Leino took part in the morning skate but will remain out of the lineup with a ¬lower-body injury.

"We'll just take it day by day," Ruff said. "He tried again today and didn't feel well enough to play."

Ryan Miller is projected to get the start in goal.

Here is the lineup the Sabres likely will use Monday night:

Thomas Vanek - Cody Hodgson - Jason Pominville

Marcus Foligno - Tyler Ennis - Drew Stafford

Steve Ott - Mikhail Grigorenko - Jochen Hecht

John Scott - Matt Ellis - Patrick Kaleta

Robyn Regehr - Tyler Myers

Christian Ehrhoff - Alexander Sulzer

Jordan Leopold - Andrej Sekera

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Injured: Ville Leino

Scratched: Mike Weber, T.J. Brennan

Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 1:52 PM

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

Scrivens likely to start in goal for Leafs

TORONTO -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to start Ben Scrivens in goal for their home opener Monday after he had a solid performance Saturday, stopping 21 shots in a 2-1 victory in Montreal on Saturday.

"Any chance you get to play is a huge honor for this franchise," Scrivens said after Monday morning's practice. "Both [James] Reimer and I are going to be called upon this year and we are both going to be ready. We are hoping to be a two-headed monster."

Jake Gardiner, who is recovering from a concussion, also was on the ice Monday morning and said he feels "100 percent," but is waiting for a coach Randy Carlyle to decide when he will play.

"I’m feeling pretty good," Gardiner said. "I am hoping to be back in the next couple of games. It's kind of a waiting game, I'm probably going to practice full-out on Tuesday and see how that goes."

Korbinian Holzer and Mark Fraser are expected to play Monday for the Leafs, while Mike Komisarek and Cody Franson will sit.

Here is how the Leafs' lineup likely will look Monday night:

Joffrey Lupul - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel

Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin

James Van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Leo Komarov

Mike Brown - Jay McClement - Colton Orr

Dion Phaneuf - Mike Kostka

John Michael Liles - Carl Gunnarsson

Mark Fraser - Korbinian Holzer

Ben Scrivens

James Reimer

Injured: Jake Gardiner
Scratched: Mike Komisarek, Cody Franson

Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 12:53 PM

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

Seidenberg misses Bruins-Jets game

BOSTON -- The injury bug has bitten the Boston Bruins for the first time in the shortened season.

Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg did not take part in the pregame skate and was not in the lineup for Monday afternoon's battle against the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden. Seidenberg's injury was classified as lower body and his status is day-to-day.

Aaron Johnson will make his Bruins debut in Seidenberg's place. Here are the projected lineups:

 

BRUINS

Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronTyler Seguin

Chris BourqueChris KellyRich Peverley

Daniel PailleGregory CampbellShawn Thornton

Zdeno CharaDougie Hamilton

Andrew FerenceAdam McQuaid

Aaron JohnsonJohnny Boychuk

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Injured: Dennis Seidenberg

Scratched: Lane MacDermid

JETS

Evander KaneOlli JokinenKyle Wellwood

Andrew LaddBryan LittleBlake Wheeler

Chris ThorburnJim SlaterMark Scheifele

Alexei PonikarovskyAlexander BurmistrovNik Antropov

Tobias EnstromDustin Byfuglien

Mark StuartRon Hainsey

Grant ClitsomePaul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Al Montoya

Injured: Zach Bogosian, Antti Miettinen

Scratched: Zach Redmond, Anthony Peluso, James Wright

 

 

Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 11:50 AM

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

Cisco NHL Live features Harding, Monday's action

What a great opening weekend of hockey! Monday's Cisco NHL Live, at 5 p.m. ET on the NHL Network, will get you caught up on all the action with Deb Placey and EJ Hradek. Wild goalie Josh Harding had a shutout in his first game of the season, and he will talk to us about the team's new additions and playing with multiple sclerosis.

With two afternoon games on this Martin Luther King Day, we'll have all the highlights plus the post-game interviews with stars on the Cisco NHL Arena Cam. Former Blues forward Kelly Chase and Predators play-by-play voice Peter Weber will be on the Cisco NHL Arena Cam to preview the big Central Division clash between the Preds and Blues.

Four more games to complete the night's schedule and we will preview them all. NHL Network insiders Bob McKenzie and Barry Melrose will also join us to give their take on the hot topics around the League.

Don’t forget to submit your #AskEJ questions through Twitter via @NHLNetwork or @EJHradek_NHL, keep an eye on this Senior Reporter’s dance moves in his EJ5: Hradek’s Top 5 Thoughts of the Day, and stick around for the shootout as EJ picks each game being played on Monday.

Make sure to tune into Cisco NHL Live on NHL Network at 5 p.m. ET with Deb Placey and EJ Hradek.

Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 10:00 AM

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

Lightning acquire Jacques from Panthers

The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired forward Jean-Francois Jacques from the Florida Panthers in exchange for future considerations.

Jacques, 27, has played in 24 games this season with the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League, collecting five goals and seven points to go along with 37 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound left winger ranks tied for first on the Rampage with three power-play goals.

The Montreal, Quebec native has skated in 166 career NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks, recording nine goals, 17 points and 197 penalty minutes. Last season, Jacques appeared in six games with the Ducks and tallied 12 penalty minutes.

Posted On Monday, 01.21.2013 / 12:14 AM

NHL.com - 2012-2013 Situation Room blog

CHI @ PHX - 0:14 of the Third Period

At 0:14 of the third period in the Blackhawks/Coyotes game, video review upheld the call on the ice that the original shot by Chicago's Marian Hossa completely crossed the goal line. Good goal Chicago.

Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 5:07 PM

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

Lundqvist starts, Asham debuts for Rangers

NEW YORK – Henrik Lundqvist will start his second straight game as the New York Rangers play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

Lundqvist played well in a 3-1 loss Saturday night to the Bruins in Boston, making 31 saves.

The only lineup change Sunday for the Rangers will be the return of Arron Asham from a four-game suspension he incurred as a member of the Penguins during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals last year against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Asham signed with the Rangers during the offseason in part to replace the loss of enforcer Brandon Prust to the Montreal Canadiens via free agency. The 34-year-old Asham isn’t shy about dropping the gloves and the occasional borderline hit, but Rangers coach John Tortorella doesn’t want to rein him in for his debut.

“I don’t expect him to be a saint,” Tortorella said. “The way he plays, I want him to be himself. I think you can play the game hard – and we have done that – without taking penalties.”

To make room for Asham, the Rangers sent forward Brandon Segal to Connecticut of the AHL. He had two penalty minutes (hooking) in 5:21 of ice time against the Bruins.

Here are the likely lines and d-pairs for the Rangers:

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Rick Nash
Marian Gaborik - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Chris Kreider - Bryan Boyle - Taylor Pyatt
Mike Rupp - Jeff Halpern - Arron Asham

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Posted On Sunday, 01.20.2013 / 4:32 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Many Oilers in mid-season form for opener

The Edmonton Oilers play their first NHL game of the season Sunday night in Vancouver, but a lot of them are already in mid-season form.

Top young players like Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and rookie defenseman Justin Schultz all played together for Edmonton’s American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City during the lockout. Others, like rookie Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, Lennart Petrell, Corey Potter and Ladislav Smid played in Europe. And even veteran forward Ryan Smyth and No. 1 goaltender Devan Dubnyk went overseas to play in the Spengler Cup.

Add it all up and the Oilers hope to have an advantage when they open against a Canucks team that only had a couple players in action – and looked like it during a 7-3 loss to Anaheim the night before.

“There's no rust in their system,” said Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who will face the Oilers after replacing new No. 1 Cory Schneider in the opening loss.

Edmonton’s young players tried to downlplay the advantage.

“Nerves are still going to be going for sure,” said Nugent-Hopkins, noting it’s been two weeks since they last played a game. “We worked on our game down in OKC and are just going to try and keep working on it up here.”

Here’s the way the talented young Oilers will line up against the Canucks:

Taylor HallRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan Eberle

Nail YakupovSam GagnerAles Hemsky

Ryan SmythShawn HorcoffTeemu Hartikainen

Ben EagerEric BelangerLennart Petrell

Ladislav SmidJeff Petry

Nick SchultzJustin Schultz

Ryan WhitneyCorey Potter

Devan Dubnyk gets the start in goal, while Yann Danis has been called up from the AHL to back up while veteran Nikolai Khabibulin continues to recover from offseason hip surgery.

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It's not just going to happen on its own. We have to have guys commit to the areas we need to improve on. We're going to be better than last year but there is still a long way to go. But I really like the pieces and where we're headed.

— Sabres forward Tyler Ennis on the progress of Buffalo's rebuilding process