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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 1:42 PM

By Steve Hunt -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Ducks, Stars

DALLAS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight’s game between the Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

DUCKS
Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Niklas Hagman - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Jason Blake - Nick Bonino - Andrew Cogliano
Rod Pelley - Mark Bell - George Parros

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Luca Sbisa - Lubomir Visnovsky
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Brookbank

Jonas Hiller
Jeff Deslauriers

Scratches: Nate Guenin.
Injuries: LW Matt Beleskey (hand), G Dan Ellis (groin), RW Devante Smith-Pelly (foot).

Notes: Anaheim is an impressive 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and heads into Tuesday's final game before the All-Star break fresh off a 3-2 win over Colorado on Sunday. Hiller had 43 saves in that win over the Avs, getting the victory in his fifth straight start. Getzlaf had a goal and an assist in that victory, which gives him 9 points in his last nine games. Ryan had a pair of tallies vs. Colorado, giving him 4 goals in his last five and 9 in his last 13.

STARS

Michael Ryder - Mike Ribeiro - Loui Eriksson
Steve Ott - Tom Wandell - Adam Burish
Eric Nystrom - Vernon Fiddler - Radek Dvorak
Matt Fraser - Jake Dowell - Tomas Vincour

Sheldon Souray - Stephane Robidas
Nicklas Grossman - Trevor Daley
Philip Larsen - Alex Goligoski

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman

Scratches: Mark Fistric, Adam Pardy, Toby Petersen.
Injuries: Brenden Morrow (neck), Mike Ribeiro (knee).

Notes:  The Stars head into their final contest before the break on a five-game winless streak. Most recently, Dallas fell 5-2 at Minnesota on Saturday night. Ribeiro, who has missed the last seven games with a knee injury, returns to the ice for the first time since Jan. 7 against Edmonton, when he bumped knees with the Oilers' Theo Peckham. Fraser will be making his NHL debut against the Ducks. He had 21 goals and 35 points in 40 games for the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League. These clubs met on Jan. 10 at the Honda Center with Anaheim prevailing, 5-2.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 1:38 PM

By Dennis Ryan -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Plenty at stake as Maple Leafs host Senators

TORONTO -- Much more than provincial bragging rights will be on the line in tonight's edition of the Battle of Ontario. The surprising Ottawa Senators sit in a tie for fourth spot in the Eastern Conference with 56 points, while the Toronto Maple Leafs are seven points behind, in ninth place, just one point back of Pittsburgh and Washington.

Ottawa's fantastic 8-0-1 run came to a halt last night on home ice, as the Senators were shut out for the first time this season, 2-0 by the Winnipeg Jets. Tonight's game is the start of a tough six-game road trip that will take the Senators out west to face all three California teams, Phoenix, and then back east to finish against the defending Stanley Cup champions in Boston.

Center Jason Spezza, Ottawa's scoring leader with 47 points, is looking forward to taking on the Leafs.

"It's an exciting game, both teams are in the playoff picture," Spezza said. "Coming off a loss last night it's nice to get back playing right away. We expect them to give us their best tonight, and we need a better game than we had last night."

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson expects a fast pace.

"Both teams play an up-tempo game, a lot of skating," Alfredsson said. "We know Toronto, especially at home, they like to get on the forecheck and create turnovers. For us it's a matter of being good in our own end, breaking the puck out as quick as we can, and hopefully bypass their first two or even three forecheckers and get some chances that way."

Like the Senators, the Leafs were shut out on home ice in their last game, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers Saturday night. Coach Ron Wilson will make a number of lineup changes after two consecutive losses.

Of particular note, Toronto's high-scoring duo of Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, who have been held without a point in three straight games, will have a new centerman. Tyler Bozak, who has missed the last seven games with a shoulder injury, will replace Tim Connolly as the No. 1 pivot.

Bozak, who has developed good chemistry with Kessel and Lupul this season, is happy to return to action between the two wingers, both of whom sit in the top 10 in League scoring.

"They're usually not going to be held off the scoresheet for that long, it's exciting to be back for them on a night like tonight," Bozak said. "They're both due for a really good game, and I got lucky enough to be slated in between them. So hopefully I can get them the puck and try to get them out of this little funk they're in."

James Reimer, who has a 3-0-1 career record against Ottawa, will make his first start since Dec. 31 in Winnipeg. Reimer, who has been supplanted as the starter by Jonas Gustavsson, gets an opportunity to win back the No. 1 job.

"It's a huge four-point game," Reimer said. "We can't give them any more points and let them widen the gap. We want to close it as much as possible. Seeing the standings, it makes it more important of a game and adds excitement. There should be good energy out there."

Defenseman Jake Gardiner and winger Jay Rosehill will also be back in the lineup, but Wilson wouldn't tip his hand on who would come out, citing a game-time decision.

Mike Komisarek and Nazem Kadri are most likely to sit.

According to coach Paul MacLean, Ottawa will ice the same lineup as last night in Winnipeg. Goaltender Craig Anderson, the NHL's Third Star of last week, will make his 10th straight start.

Here are tonight's projected lineups:

SENATORS
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Erik Condra - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Kaspars Daugavins - Zenon Konopka - Bobby Butler

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Matt Carkner

Craig Anderson
Alex Auld

MAPLE LEAFS
Joffrey LupulTyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Matthew LombardiTim Connolly - Joey Crabb
Jay Rosehill - David Steckel - Mike Brown

Keith Aulie - Dion Phaneuf
Carl Gunnarsson - Luke Schenn
Jake Gardiner - Cody Franson

James Reimer
Jonas Gustavsson
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 1:38 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Lineups for Oilers, Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS -- Here are the projected lineups for tonight when the Edmonton Oilers face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena:

OILERS
Taylor Hall - Sam Gagner - Ales Hemsky
Anton Lander - Shawn Horcoff - Ryan Jones
Ryan Smyth - Ryan O'Marra - Magnus Paajarvi
Ben Eager - Josh Green - Darcy Hordichuk

Ladislav Smid - Jeff Petry
Andy Sutton - Corey Potter
Theo Peckham - Colten Teubert

Devan Dubnyk will start in goal, with Nikolai Khabibulin serving as the backup.

Jordan Eberle skated this morning with the team for the first time since a knee injury knocked him out of the lineup. He ruled out playing against Columbus, but left the possibility open for Thursday's game in St. Louis. He said he needs at least one real practice to test his right knee.

Coach Tom Renney said Eric Belanger is not on the trip, but doesn't think it will be more than 4-5 days before he returns to the lineup. Belanger sustained a leg injury Friday against Anaheim.

The Oilers also are without Calder Trophy candidate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder) and half the team's regular defense corps -- Ryan Whiney, Tom Gilbert and Cam Barker all are out with injuries.

BLUE JACKETS
Vinny Prospal - Derick Brassard - Rick Nash 
Ryan Johansen - Antoine Vermette - Tomas Kubalik
Ryan Russell - Samuel Pahlsson - Derek Dorsett
Colton Gillies - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll

Fedor Tyutin - Nikita Nikitin
Aaron Johnson - David Savard
John Moore - Marc Methot

Curtis Sanford will start in net, with Steve Mason the backup.

Gillies, who was claimed on waivers Saturday, slides into the lineup in place of Dane Byers, who was suspended for three games after his hit on San Jose’s Andrew Desjardins on Saturday night. Interim coach Todd Richards said he likes how the top three lines have played in his three games since taking over for Scott Arniel, so Gillies just moves into Byers' spot with the fourth unit.

The Blue Jackets are missing top center Jeff Carter (shoulder) and top defenseman James Wisniewski (ankle) because of injuries. Versatile forward R.J. Umberger was placed on injured reserve today because of a concussion. Forwards Kristian Huselius and Mark Letestu and defenseman Radek Martinek are also missing from the lineup.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 1:29 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Shelley returns to lineup for Flyers

PHILADELPHIA -- At age 35 and in his 11th NHL season, Jody Shelley understands how the NHL works and knows what his role is with the Philadelphia Flyers.

That role has consisted of him spending the last 10 games as a healthy scratch, but that stretch comes to an end tonight, as Shelley rejoins the lineup tonight against the Minnesota Wild in place of Zac Rinaldo, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Rinaldo was hurt in practice yesterday.

Shelley hasn't played since Dec. 23 against the New York Rangers, and this will be just his 15th game of the season.

It certainly hasn't been easy for Shelley, nor for coach Peter Laviolette, who respects what Shelley brings to the team.

"Jody has had a tremendous work ethic," said Laviolette, who talked prior to the announcement on Rinaldo. "He's remained very positive in waiting for an opportunity to get back in the lineup. When he does get back in there I'm sure he'll be a positive influence. He's a good teammate and he works hard. He tries to stay positive."

Shelley, who has 1 assist, a minus-4 rating and 17 penalty minutes, told NHL.com his most important job is being a role model to the Flyers' collection of younger players.

"It had a huge impact on my career when I had guys like Luke Richardson, Mike Sillinger, Tyler Wright, Lyle Odelein show up and do their job every single day," he said. "You learn from the men in the room as a young guy. If you pick up on it, you can stay around a while. You try to do that. That's what you try to do. You try to bring something every day, whether it's a positive attitude, a little extra work or a little advice or be there for questions. You just do it. That's part of being an older guy in here."

Here's how the rest of the lineup shapes up tonight:

Jaromir Jagr - Claude Giroux - Scott Hartnell
Maxime Talbot - Danny Briere - Jakub Voracek
Matt Read - Brayden Schenn - Wayne Simmonds
Jody Shelley - Sean Couturier - Harry Zolnierczyk

Braydon Coburn - Kimmo Timonen
Matt Carle - Marc-Andre Bourdon
Andrej Meszaros - Erik Gustafsson

Ilya Bryzgalov will start in net, with Sergei Bobrovsky the backup.

Defenseman Andreas Lilja will be a healthy scratch.

For more on tonight's game, check out the preview here.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 1:16 PM

By Alan Robinson -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Only one Staal present for Canes-Pens matchup

PITTSBURGH -- Hockey players often say the best way to deal with an unsatisfactory performance is to move on quickly and simply forget it.
 
That's not quite as easy to do when a key player gets upstaged by his little brother.
 
When the Carolina Hurricanes last played in Pittsburgh -- they make their second and final visit there this season on Tuesday night -- captain Eric Staal's line was regularly matched against that of Penguins center Jordan Staal.
 
The Staal vs. Staal result? The Penguins outshot the Hurricanes 52-18 while winning 4-2 on Dec. 27, with Jordan Staal getting a goal and being chosen as the No. 1 star. Eric Staal's line was a minus-2.
 
So while Eric Staal obviously doesn't want to see his brother injured and out -- he's currently sidelined for a month to six weeks with a torn MCL in his left knee -- he said the Hurricanes need to capitalize on the absence of one of the NHL's best two-way forwards.
 
The Penguins also will be without their captain, Sidney Crosby, who remains out with a concussion, and defenseman Kris Letang, who is close to returning from a seven-week layoff with a concussion but will not play Tuesday.
 
"It's always a battle whenever you play him," Eric Staal said of his brother, who was having his best season statistically before he was hurt Jan. 6 against the Rangers. "Obviously he's a big part of their team, along with a couple of other players who are out, and we need to take advantage of that. Any time you play against him, it's competitive and a lot of fun and, unfortunately for Jordy, he's out a little bit."
 
The Penguins have slumped since that Dec. 27 game, going 7-10 and losing six in a row before rebounding with weekend wins against Florida and Tampa Bay. Carolina is 4-4-1 since then and is third from the bottom in the Eastern Conference standings.
 
"They're a little lower in the standings, but they're a team we've got to be aware of," Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. "It seems like every time we play them, it's a close game, overtime or shootout, so it's something we have to expect."
 
What Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller doesn't expect again is the Penguins getting off so many shots. By comparison, the Hurricanes gave up 24 shots while losing to Washington 2-1 on Sunday.
 
"It's the scoring chances, the effective ones, we've got to take away. They're a team that throws everything at the net," Muller said of the Penguins, who have averaged 37 shots since that Dec. 27 matchup. "It's not allowing them to get to the second and third rebounds."
 
Here are the probable lineups for the fourth and final game between the Eastern Conference teams this season. Pittsburgh won two of the first three.
 
HURRICANES
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Jussi Jokinen - Jeff Skinner - Alexei Ponikarovsky
Andreas Nodl - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Brett Sutter - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart
 
Bryan Allen - Tim Gleason
Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Derek Joslin - Jamie McBain
 
Cam Ward will make his fifth consecutive start in goal, with Justin Peters as the backup. Ward is 11-5-2 with a 2.41 goals-against average against Pittsburgh during his career.
 
PENGUINS
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Pascal Dupuis - Dustin Jeffrey - Tyler Kennedy
Steve Sullivan - Richard Park - Matt Cooke
Eric Tangradi - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
 
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Brooks Orpik - Matt Niskanen
Ben Lovejoy - Deryk Engelland
 
Marc-Andre Fleury, who hasn't had a full game off since a 3-2 win at Carolina on Dec. 3, will be in net. Backup Brent Johnson, who hasn't won since that Dec. 3 start, was pulled against Ottawa during each of his last two starts, on Dec. 16 and Jan. 10.
 
Penguins forward Arron Asham has an undisclosed illness and is not expected to play.
 
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 1:04 PM

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

Projected lineups for Predators, Rangers

NEW YORK -- The Rangers appear to be back at full strength with Brandon Dubinsky (shoulder) and Ruslan Fedotenko (back) taking part in practice Tuesday.

Dubinsky missed three games while Fedotenko missed one. Both reported feeling good after practice and will be in the lineup against the Predators as long as there are no setbacks between practice and gametime.

Henrik Lundqvist will start in net for the Rangers. He'll be opposed by backup Anders Lindback, who gets the start with the Predators playing the second half of a back-to-back.

Lindback won't have the luxury of Ryan Suter on the blue line, as the defenseman is out with an upper-body injury. Rookie Craig Smith, who missed the last two games while feeling under the weather, will check back into the lineup.

The Predators didn't take part in a full practice Tuesday, so their lines are guesswork. The Rangers unveiled some news lines during their skate. Here's what each team could look like when the puck drops at Madison Square Garden:

PREDATORS

Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Nick Spaling - Gabriel Bourque - Jordin Tootoo
Brian McGrattan - Craig Smith - Matt Halischuk

Francis Bouillon - Shea Weber
Roman Josi - Kevin Klein
Jack Hillen - Ryan Ellis

Anders Lindback
Pekka Rinne

RANGERS
Brandon Dubinsky - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Artem Anisimov - John Mitchell - Mike Rupp

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

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 12:48 PM

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

Rangers expected to get Dubinsky, Fedotenko back

NEW YORK -- The Rangers received a wealth of good news on the injury front Tuesday morning.

Both Brandon Dubinsky (shoulder) and Ruslan Fedotenko (back) are expected to be in the lineup against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. Dubinsky has missed the last three games, while Fedotenko sat out the Rangers' most recent game against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

Coach John Tortorella said he wants to make sure Dubinsky and Fedotenko feel good enough to play in the hours following Tuesday's practice, but he believes they'll be back. Kris Newbury was optioned to the Connecticut Whale on Monday afternoon and Wojtek Wolski would be a healthy scratch if Dubinsky and Fedotenko both give Tortorella a thumb's up.

Dubinsky said the reason for his extended absence had more to do with the Rangers playing three games in four nights and not the injury. He said if this was the playoffs, he wouldn't have missed a game.

"There's always aches and pains when you're 45 games into the season," Dubinsky said. "It's not just me playing through a little bit of pain. It's bearable. It's nothing that's going to keep me out."

It didn't stop there for the Rangers.

Defenseman Michael Sauer, out with a concussion since he taking a massive hit from Toronto's Dion Phaneuf on Dec. 5 that sent his helmet flying and head crashing into the boards, skated for the second time since the injury.

Sauer skated during the Rangers' off-day Monday and with the team Tuesday in an orange, non-contact jersey Tuesday. He said he's been symptom-free for about 10 days, and the team considers him day-to-day for now.

When asked about the hit that caused the injury, Sauer said the reason his helmet came off had nothing to do with him not wearing his helmet properly. He said the force of the hit broke the chin strap, pushed the visor down on his face and popped the helmet off the back of his head. Sauer believes if he wasn't wearing a visor, his helmet would've remained in place.

"Every concussion is different," Sauer said when asked if Marc Staal, who missed the first 36 games of the season with concussion issues, offered any advice. "You have to listen to your body, your head. If your head's not feeling good, and you're not seeing things and you're forgetting stuff, it's probably a symptom. We just wanted to get myself to the point where I was feeling good. Once I started feeling good enough for a long enough period of time, they decided to get me on the bike, get me moving."

Defenseman Steve Eminger, who suffered a separated shoulder against the Phoenix Coyotes on Dec. 17, skated for the first time since his injury. He said he doesn't expect to be back until after the All-Star break.

Defenseman Jeff Woywitka, who has a bone bruise in his foot, also took part in practice after being shut down for a week.

In non-injury news, the Rangers will start Henrik Lundqvist in net against the Predators. He'll be opposed by backup Anders Lindback, who will get a rare start in place of Pekka Rinne.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 12:38 PM

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

No Rinne, Suter for Preds vs. Rangers

NEW YORK -- The Nashville Predators will be without two of their most important players when they face the New York Rangers tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSP, TSN2).
 
The Predators will give Pekka Rinne a rest, instead starting backup goaltender Anders Lindback. They also will be without defenseman Ryan Suter, who aggravated an upper-body injury during the Predators' 3-1 win against the Islanders on Monday afternoon.
 
Rinne is coming off a brilliant 36-save performance on Monday, but coach Barry Trotz is trying to see the big picture with his Vezina-worthy goaltender.
 
"We're going to have to play Lindy a little bit here," Trotz said of Lindback. "We really looked at the schedule, and we just played a back to back. This will probably be more of the norm in the second half of the season."
 
Including tonight's game at Madison Square Garden, the Predators have five back-to-backs over the rest of the season. Rinne has started 41 of Nashville's 45 games this season.
 
Suter played just 7:04 on Monday and following the game was deemed doubtful for today's contest. He did not take part in the team's optional practice this morning.
 
The 26-year-old Suter is second in the NHL in average ice time per game at 26:30, which is 51 seconds fewer than what League-leader Dan Girardi of the Rangers averages. Trotz said it will have to be a group effort in replacing Suter against the Rangers.
 
"Everybody has to make sure they're diligent defensively as a five-man group," Trotz said. "You have to pay attention to the details of the game. I'll have to spread around some of those minutes."
 
Trotz said he can't see how he can get more minutes for Shea Weber, who already plays 26:13 per game, but he will disperse Suter's minutes to defensemen Jack Hillen and Kevin Klein.
 
One piece of good news for the Predators is the return of forward Craig Smith, who was feeling under the weather Monday and did not play. The rookie has 9 goals and 26 points in 43 games this season.
 
Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 12:36 PM

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

No time for Lightning to hang heads as Bruins visit

TAMPA -- In the middle of a seven-game losing streak, their longest of the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are  fighting the urge to hang their heads, but as they look forward now, they come face-to-face with the formidable Boston Bruins.

Boston, the defending Stanley Cup champion, comes calling Tuesday night for the first time this season as the Bruins face the Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

For Tampa Bay, beset with key injuries and shaky goaltending, the timing couldn't be worse. The defensive corps, particularly, has been decimated. Defensive stalwart Mattias Ohlund has not appeared in a game yet this season after surgery to both knees, Victor Hedman will miss his 10th consecutive game with a concussion, Marc-Andre Bergeron will sit out with a bad back and penalty-kill and faceoff specialist Adam Hall is still sidelined with an upper-body injury.

Other players expected to miss action include Dana Tyrell and Ryan Shannon, both with upper-body injuries, and JT Wyman with a lower-body injury.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher has worked at adjusting his players' expectations going forwarded.

"Expectations have to match the circumstances," Boucher said. "We have to fight. The shame doesn't come from losing, it comes from not fighting. That's an attitude. You can be disappointed, but you can't let that bring you down.

"It's not about the entire season and it's not about the playoffs and it's not about last year. It's about being able to focus on today, the moment."

Admittedly, the moment just ahead looks scary. The Bruins are one point out of tying for the Eastern Conference lead and are 13-5-0 on the road.

"It's only about Boston now, and they've been killing teams; not just winning, but destroying teams," Boucher said. "We are aware that this is the powerhouse team in the League; the team that destroys everybody. It's a difficult mountain that we face."

If the Lightning are to have any chance Tuesday night, they'll need a big game from NHL goals leader Steven Stamkos. Stamkos collected a point on an assist Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was held without a shot on goal for only the second time this season.

"Stamkos didn't have his best game against Pittsburgh," Boucher said. "Why? Because we were pushing in the previous game and I had on the ice for 20:57 and he had no more juice."

Stamkos has had more than 20 minutes of ice time for nine consecutive games and skated for just under 27 minutes Jan. 10 against Vancouver.

"Do I want to blame him for not playing his best game?" Boucher said. "No, because he's fighting so hard. He's giving everything he's got; the battle level, the fight level, the leadership."

"You're not going to feel your best every game of the year," Stamkos said. "If you think you are, you're leading yourself down the wrong path. I have been playing a lot, but there is no way I'll ever tell the coach I'm playing too much. I'll play as much as I can and try to contribute every shift."

This is the first time that Boston has returned to Tampa since the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Finals last season when the Bruins edged the Lightning 1-0 to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

"We've been through a lot since then," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "This team surprised a lot of people last year."

Meanwhile, in the middle of a difficult year, Boucher is taking the opportunity to assess his team in new ways.

"It's one of those years," Boucher said. "But then you get to see who is what. Which guy fights, which guy folds and which guy flies away.

"Instead of hiding, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, no, it's what can we manage. It's not about crying over circumstances. So we take the elephant and eat it one bite at a time."

And that's a pretty daunting elephant they're facing Tuesday night.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 12:28 PM

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

Projected lineups for Bruins, Lightning

Here's how the lineups could look tonight when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins at the Tampa Bay Times Forum:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Benoit Pouliot - Patrice Bergeron - Tyler Seguin
Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly - Zach Hamill
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

LIGHTNING

Tom Pyatt - Vincent Lecavalier - Ryan Malone
Martin St. Louis - Steven Stamkos - Steve Downie
Dominic Moore - Nate Thompson - Teddy Purcell
Pierre-Cedric Labrie - Trevor Smith - Brett Connolly

Eric Brewer - Pavel Kubina
Brett Clark - Matt Gilroy
Bruno Gervais - Brendan Mikkelson

Mathieu Garon
Dwayne Roloson
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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff