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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.
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.
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:


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

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:


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


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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Posted On Tuesday, 01.17.2012 / 12:02 PM

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

Henrique still out; Devils recall Josefson, Mills

NEWARK, N.J. -- Rookie center Adam Henrique will miss his second straight game for the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday when the club opens a six-game home stand against the Winnipeg Jets at Prudential Center.
Henrique, who returned to the ice for a 20-minute skate Monday morning to test a groin injury that kept him out of the Devils 2-1 win over Winnipeg on Saturday, wasn't a participant at Tuesday's skate but did skate on his own prior to the team practice.
The Devils recalled centers Jacob Josefson and Brad Mills from their American Hockey League affiliate in Albany on Tuesday morning and both players will be in the lineup against the Jets. Josefson, who has missed 37 games with a broken right clavicle suffered Oct. 21 against the San Jose Sharks, played two games in Albany, producing 1 goal and two penalty minutes.
"[Devils general manager] Lou [Lamoriello] saw Josefson in Albany and reports out of there were all good," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "Out of necessity, sometimes you have to move guys in maybe sooner than you want to. But he's healthy and we think he can help us."
In five games with the Devils this season, Josefson has 1 assist and a plus-1 rating. He'll open Tuesday's game centering left wing Ryan Carter and right wing Mattias Tedenby.
"We'll start it that way," DeBoer said. "It gives us some flexibility up the middle. I want him to get out there and feel good about himself. A lot like when Travis [Zajac] first game back from his injury. This will be a slow build to where he needs to get to, and we have to be prepared for that."
Zajac, meanwhile, is sidelined through the All-Star break with an Achilles problem.
"He's back here resting and he'll shut it down for two weeks; then I believe he'll see the doctor and go from there," DeBoer said. "Hopefully, then he'll get the green light to go again."
DeBoer said Henrique, who is second among rookies in scoring with 34 points (13 goals), could return to the lineup on Thursday against the Boston Bruins.
"[Henrique] is getting better and feeling better every day," DeBoer said. "I think if tonight was a playoff game, you might see him in the lineup. But I think we're looking long-term at this, and he'll skate [Wednesday] and practice with us as long as he keeps progressing the way he is."
With Henrique out, Dainius Zubrus will again center the top line between Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. Petr Sykora, who sat out Monday's practice for some "rest," was back on the ice Tuesday alongside Patrik Elias and David Clarkson.
Martin Brodeur will start in goal for the Devils. The Jets, coming off a 2-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday, didn't practice on Tuesday. Ondrej Pavelec is expected to get the start in goal for the Jets, although Chris Mason is coming off a 25-save shutout.
Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday night's game between the Jets and Devils at Prudential Center:
Zach Parise - Dainius Zubrus - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - David Clarkson
Ryan Carter - Jacob Josefson - Mattias Tedenby
Eric Boulton - Steven Zalewski - Brad Mills
Bryce Salvador - Adam Larsson
Henrik Tallinder - Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov - Kurtis Foster
Martin Brodeur gets the start; Johan Hedberg will serve as backup.
Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Evander Kane - Bryan Little - Alexander Burmistrov
Antti Miettinen - Tim Stapleton - Eric Fehr
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Tobias Enstrom - Ron Hainsey
Johnny Oduya - Mark Flood
Mark Stuart - Randy Jones
Ondrej Pavelec is the expected starter; Chris Mason to serve as backup.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 9:40 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

WPG @ OTT - 5:14 of the Third Period

At 5:14 of the third period in the Jets/Senators game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Chris Neil's shot was stopped by Chris Mason and did not cross the goal line.  No Goal Ottawa.
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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 9:38 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

DAL @ STL - 3:40 of the Third Period

At 3:40 of the third period in the Stars/Blues game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Stars forward Toby Petersen kicked the puck away from the net prior to it crossing the goal line. No Goal St Louis.
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Posted On Monday, 01.16.2012 / 4:30 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Suter leaves game, doubtful to face Rangers

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Nashville All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter left Monday's game at Nassau Coliseum after the first period and did not return due to an upper-body injury. Predators coach Barry Trotz said following the team's 3-1 win over the Islanders that Suter is "doubtful" for Tuesday's game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's going to be day-to-day," Trotz said without elaborating on the specific nature of the injury. "If you want a questionable or doubtful, he's probably doubtful."

Trotz said Suter got "nicked up" Saturday against Philadelphia, and "strained it a little bit" in the first period Monday. Suter, who played 10 shifts totaling 7:04 of ice time, was questionable prior to Monday's game, but after taking warm-ups he told Trotz that he was good to go.

However, Trotz, who said it was Suter's call to play, decided to dress seven defensemen just in case. He went with ex-Islander Jack Hillen, who wound up playing 16 shifts totaling 13:27 of ice time.

"With guys like Sutes and Webs (Shea Weber), top players in the League, you don't really replace them, everybody just has to pick up more of the load and try to get it done together," Trotz said.

The good news for the Predators is they had a 3-0 lead after the first period on goals from Sergei Kostitsyn, Matt Halischuk and David Legwand.

"At least he played the first period," Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne said of Suter. "Hopefully we don't miss him more than this game because he's such a big piece of this team."

The Islanders had only six shots on goal in the first period, but with Suter out they managed 19 in the second and another 12 in the third.

"You miss Sutes back there, but we came out early and wanted to get the lead, and that's what we did," Legwand said. "We have to manage the game a little bit better in the second. That's a big thing for us, game management."

It's possible they'll have to manage an entire game without Suter on Tuesday.

"We're going to get tested by the Rangers," Trotz said.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Quote of the Day

I downplayed the first one because I thought it's just a hockey game. We just want to win the game; it's against our rival and we want the two points. I downplayed it, but now having gone through the first one I look back and say, 'Geez, that was really cool.' I think as I've grown a bit older I've got a lot more appreciation for what we're allowed to do every day.

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the second one of his career after 2011 in Pittsburgh