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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 2:46 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Detroit's Emmerton OK after collision Friday

DETROIT -- Cory Emmerton won't be in the lineup Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena against the visiting Nashville Predators, but Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said it's not a decision based on his health.

Emmerton appeared to be hurt during a collsion at center ice with Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who was assessed a kneeing penalty on the play. Emmerton left the ice, but returned to finish the game.

He also participated in an optional morning skate on Saturday morning.

"I don't think it was intentional," Emmerton said of the hit. "It was just trying to make a hit there at center ice and I don't really know what happened, but (we) just kind of collided or whatever. It's more like a stretching of the leg than a direct hit on anything, so I was very fortunate."

Emmerton said there isn't much lingering pain and he could've played Saturday had Babcock called his number to go.

 "I don't think there's anything wrong besides a little bit of stiffness," said Emmerton, who has one goal and one assist in 18 games as the fourth-line center. "I'll take that any day over an injury. I feel fine."
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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 2:39 PM

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

Jets analyst Hnidy enjoyed time with Bruins

BOSTON – He only played seven minutes during the Boston Bruins’ postseason run to the Stanley Cup championship last season.
   
But Shane Hnidy made many more contributions to the Bruins’ cause off the ice, by providing verbal encouragement to his teammates and imparting knowledge on Boston’s younger players. That was what Boston brought him back into the fold to do in the middle of last winter, and it paid off with a Stanley Cup ring.
   
Hnidy is now the color analyst on radio for his hometown Winnipeg Jets, who play the Bruins at TD Garden tonight for the first time this season. Although he filled just a bit part in Boston’s 2011 triumph, Hnidy still attracted the type of media attention normally reserved – as he pointed out – for the likes of Shawn Thornton.
   
“I’ve always said, when you win a Cup you’re forever bonded with that city and those guys,” said Hnidy. “It’s a real special feeling every time I come back to Boston, every time I see the guys. It’s a memory that lasts forever.”
   
Like his Hall of Fame-bound Bruins teammate Mark Recchi, Hnidy’s last official on-ice act in the NHL was hoisting the Cup. He says his transition from player to analyst has gone smooth with some help from his colleagues.
   
While he played more games in places like Ottawa and Atlanta, Hnidy’s rugged style of play was always perfectly suited to being a Bruin.
   
“When I put on that jersey, it felt right. It was a jersey that, you put on a Bruins jersey, you’re proud to wear it and there’s something special about it,” he explained. “To be able to come back and raise that Cup while wearing a Bruins jersey is another moment that you’re just going to remember forever and there’s always going to be a Bruin in me.”
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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 2:30 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Against Detroit, familiarity breeds Nashville's success

DETROIT – Barry Trotz has been on the bench leading the Nashville Predators in every year of their existence, so he would know better than anybody just how far his team has come in terms of measuring up against the Detroit Red Wings.

Nashville has played the Wings as tough as any team in the League and took four of six regular-season games from them last year. The secret really isn’t a secret at all, according to Trotz. It’s just the Nashville organization growing and adapting to playing Detroit often as Central Division rivals.

“We’ve played them a lot,” said Trotz, whose Preds will try to break a three-game winless streak on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena. “The one year we met them in the playoffs, we played them twice in the pre-season, played them six or eight times in the regular season and then played them six times in the playoffs. You start playing teams 15 times a year, you get a good feel for what their DNA is all about. That’s probably the biggest thing.”

Incremental increases in confidence that each close game brought also factors into it.

“I think over the course of time we’ve grown,” Trotz said. “We used to be almost terrified to come into the Joe the first couple years as an expansion team because they had the puck the whole time. Now (we have) great respect for what the Red Wings do as a team and organization, but not too much respect where you’re intimidated coming into the Joe. That’s probably been the biggest thing over the course of time that allows us to have success here.”
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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 2:24 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NYI @ NJD - 11:59 of the Second Period

At 11:59 of the second period in the Islanders/Devils game, video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that the goalposts did not come off the moorings when Josh Bailey shot the puck into the net. Good Goal Islanders.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 2:24 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Nashville's Josi looking forward to NHL debut

DETROIT – Nothing is set for sure, but it looks like rookie defenseman Roman Josi will make his NHL debut for the Nashville Predators on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena against the Detroit Red Wings.

Josi, 21, was a second-round pick for the Predators in the 2008 Entry Draft (No.38 overall) and appeared to be in good position to make a run at a roster spot in training camp. Instead, the puck-moving Swiss blueliner had a concussion early in camp and that set him back.

Now, he’s been called up and may make his debut playing next to Jonathan Blum for the Predators. Nashville coach Barry Trotz didn’t confirm Josi is playing, but did say he’s looking forward to seeing what the young defenseman can add.

“He’s a pretty dynamic player,” Trotz said after Nashville’s morning skate. “He’s such a great skater and he’s more of a puck-mover. If I had to describe him, he’d be more like a Ryan Suter. He’s got great ability to move laterally and he’s got great escapability and is a great passer. He’s a good young defenseman. I’d use him on the power play. That’s a strength for him.”

Trotz said it was simply time for Josi to get more familiar with the League.

“I brought him up to get him acclimatized to the National Hockey League a little bit, with no expectations that he’s going to be in the lineup or not in the lineup,” Trotz said. “I need him to get used to us and us to him.”

If Josi does play for the Predators tonight, he’ll be playing against one of his childhood favorites in Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom – who fronts a team that’s quite popular where he’s from.

“They always had a good team and I always watched the Red Wings (growing up),” Josi said. “They’re pretty famous in Switzerland, too. Everybody watches the Red Wings, especially Lidstom. He was always great and is still great, so I’m excited to see him out there. He was always one of the best players and defensemen and I always looked up to him.”
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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 2:05 PM

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

Rangers, Flyers don Winter Classic tuques for anthem

NEW YORK -- With the 2012 NHL Winter Classic a little more than a month away, the New York Rangers and Flyers will start the process of building animosity for the outdoor clash in Philadelphia with Saturday afternoon's tilt at Madison Square Garden.

But in a show of solidarity, both sides wore Winter Classic tuques during the national anthem before Saturday's game. Only the Flyers' Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds were willing to don the cap during pregame warmups. The tuques are available for purchase on shop.nhl.com.

The Flyers and Rangers will meet one more time before the outdoor battle at Citizens Bank Park on Jan. 2 at noon. Entering Saturday afternoon's game, the Rangers and Flyers were the top two teams in the Eastern Conference based on points percentage.


Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 1:25 PM

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

Ex-Bruins Wheeler, Stuart back in Boston

BOSTON – Although they didn’t get to hoist the Stanley Cup last June with the Boston Bruins, Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler still played a role in ending Boston’s championship drought.
   
Both players, who were prized prospects once projected as cornerstones of the Boston franchise, were shipped to Atlanta in the same trade last February – a deal that made Rich Peverley a member of the Bruins.
   
For the first time since Boston raised the Cup and put a banner in the rafters, Stuart and Wheeler returned Saturday to TD Garden as members of the Winnipeg Jets. While Stuart said he spied the banner, Wheeler admitted he forgot to look up at it during his twirl on the ice during the optional morning skate in preparation for tonight’s Bruins-Jets clash. Wheeler said he’d be sure to check it out before game time.
   
Both players, who live nearby one another in Minnesota during the offseason, admitted to watching some of the Bruins’ championship run on television, and viewing the drama with heavy hearts.

Wheeler explained that having Stuart close by to lean on and talk about it with made the disappointment easier to swallow.
   
“It was a weird feeling,” Stuart said. “You’re happy for those guys, you’re happy they won, and the also it’s tough to watch because you want to be there and you want to be part of it.”
   
Added Wheeler: “It was gratifying, but it was hard at the same time. You want to be a part of it but you certainly take something out of it just watching the guys that you played with for so many years. That was the hardest part of getting traded, Stewie and I both knew that it was a very real possibility that that was going to happen. And to see it come true certainly was kind of mixed emotions, for sure.”
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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 1:18 PM

By Brian Hedger -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Red Wings back at home to face physical Predators

DETROIT – Their 3-2 shootout win Friday afternoon against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in Beantown still had the Detroit Red Wings talking about the atmosphere of that game Saturday morning.

It was the first NBC broadcast of the season, it was the NHL’s inaugural “Thanksgiving Showdown” and it was intense from start to finish, which ended with Todd Bertuzzi’s slick top-shelf move to beat Tuukka Rask for the win.

Some of the Wings even said it felt a little like a playoff game, with the balance of the game hanging on seemingly every rush up the ice down the stretch. Now, Detroit has to face the always-physical, grinding style of the Nashville Predators a day later back home at Joe Louis Arena.

“Every game is a battle and if you’re not up for it or you’re not 100 percent going into the game, you probably will not be in the game,” 38-year old Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom said following the Wings’ optional morning skate. “[Nashville] doesn’t give up much. They really seem to block lots of shots and their best player is probably the goalie (Pekka Rinne), so we’ve got to get lots of shots and get in his face [so he doesn’t] see the shots coming.”

That probably sounds easier than it’s going to be for the Wings to do. Asked what’s the most difficult challenge about playing back-to-back games, let alone ones that involve a defending Cup champion, Detroit coach Mike Babcock was to the point.

“Energy,” he said. “It’s real simple. You don’t like to play back-to-back if you don’t have to. We’re fortunate it was an afternoon game (in Boston) and we’ll come here and get after it.”

They’ll also “get after it” with a new face in the lineup, as forward Patrick Eaves will get back on the ice for the first time since a Nov. 15 loss against the St. Louis Blues – a span of six games as a healthy scratch.

Detroit didn’t skate forward lines Saturday morning, but Eaves will likely slot into the right wing slot of the third line for Justin Abdelkader – who may drop down to center the fourth line in place of Cory Emmerton. That would mean Eaves would be paired with speed center Darren Helm and another good skater in Jiri Hudler.

“Eaves has been fine,” Babcock said. “The reality is, the way our lineup’s been this year, I like Patty to play with two skaters, so he’s been the odd man out not because of things he’s done. He played great in St. Louis his last time out.”

Eaves also battled a back issue that kept him out for three games in the first week of November, but he said that’s healed and he’s ready to contribute.

“I’ve been waiting to get this opportunity and it should be fun,” said Eaves, who has one assist in nine games played. “Just staying in shape and keeping your mind in the hockey mode is all you can do. You can control what you can control and that’s about it. As a player you’re always motivated to play.”

Here are the projected lineups for the Red Wings and Predators:

PREDATORS

Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Martin Erat - Mike Fisher - Sergei Kostitsyn
Jordin Tootoo - Craig Smith - Nick Spaling
Matt Halischuk - Blake Geoffrion - Jerred Smithson

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Francis Bouillon - Kevin Klein
Roman Josi - Jonathan Blum

Pekka Rinne will get the start in net, while Anders Lindback will be on the bench as the backup.


RED WINGS

Johan Franzen - Pavel Datsyk - Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula - Henrik Zetterberg - Danny Cleary
Jiri Hudler - Darren Helm - Justin Abdelkader
Drew Miller - Cory Emmerton - Tomas Holmstom

Nicklas Lidstrom - Ian White
Jonathan Ericsson - Niklas Kronwall
Jakub Kindl - Brad Stuart

Jimmy Howard will get his 15th straight start in net, while Ty Conklin will be on the bench as the backup.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 1:08 PM

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

Jets coach Noel helped Peverley reach NHL

BOSTON – These days, Rich Peverley is a key contributor in all situations for the Boston Bruins, armed with a three-year contract extension he signed last month and a Stanley Cup championship he earned with the Bruins in June.
   
Not that long ago Peverley was a longshot skating in the ECHL and American Hockey League after his career at St. Lawrence University. Every player’s success story requires a coach or two to help move things along, and Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel was one of those guys for Peverley.
   
The forward skated for Noel with Nashville’s Milwaukee (AHL) farm club in the middle of last decade.

“He was a guy who gave me a real opportunity in the American League when I got called up from the Coast League,” said Peverley today after the Bruins’ morning skate in preparation for tonight’s game with Noel’s Jets at the TD Garden. “He gave me an opportunity at the American League level, and I was really thankful for that. He played an important part in my career, helped me out a lot and he’s a really smart coach, he’s very passionate about the game and he doesn’t like to lose. So he brings a good winning mentality over there.”
   
Noel says he could tell Peverley had the necessary skills to achieve a career at the game’s highest level as long as he put the work in and stayed on track. Noel also said after he moved on to coach in Columbus, he had the Blue Jackets put in a waiver claim on Peverley, who wound up moving on to Atlanta via the waiver wire.
   
“We brought him in and he was really good. Showed a lot of skill,” Noel recalled. “Same skill set that he has now, only he’s matured. But he’s come a long way, he’s done a great job. … And I’m really happy to see that he’s turned into a key player. He’s always been a good player. He’s a conscientious player, when he was a little younger, he just didn’t have the experience when he was young. But he had such good skill and speed, it was evident to be really early that if he did his part he could get himself potentially to the National Hockey League.”
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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 12:53 PM

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

Surging Jets ready for stiff challenge from champs

BOSTON – Winnipeg arrived at TD Garden this morning to prepare for its game with the Boston Bruins having picked up at least a point in each of its last five games (4-0-1).
   
Concluding their three-game road trips against the defending Stanley Cup champions, however, might be the Jets’ stiffest test in some time.
   
“This is our third game in four nights, so for us it’s important that we wrap our heads around what we’re going to be facing tonight,” said Jets head coach Claude Noel after his team’s optional morning skate. “This is a well-coached, well-managed team. You don’t win the Stanley Cup by accident. They defend very well. We’re going to have to battle for every inch of ice in this game tonight. And if we don’t put our hard hats on tonight, it’s going to be a challenge.”
   
The Jets’ lineup might look a little different than it did Friday during their win at Carolina. Defenseman Ron Hainsey, who suffered a setback after returning to action from a 16-game injury absence, will be a game-time decision, according to Noel.
   
“He feels a lot better today, so we’re going to see how he’s doing this morning and we hope that he’s in the game tonight,” said the coach.

Here is the projected lineup for the Jets:

Andrew Ladd - Nik Antropov - Kyle Wellwood
Evander Kane - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Alexander Burmistrov - Tim Stapleton - Eric Fehr

Mark Stuart - Dustin Byfuglien
Eric Bogosian - Johnny Oduya
Ron Hainsey - Mark Flood

If Hainsey cannot play, Arturs Kulda would again be in the lineup.

Ondrej Pavelec should get the start in goal.


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Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild