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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 3:23 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Revved-up Baertschi ready for NHL debut

CALGARY -- Sven Baertschi has had two nights to mull over his National Hockey League debut with the Calgary Flames.
 
He didn't get much sleep in either of them.
 
The Portland Winterhawks standout admitted that, with his first game just hours away, catching up on sleep during his afternoon nap isn't likely.
 
"It's really hard to describe how I feel right now," Baertschi said. "It's pure excitement and a little bit nervous, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to nap this afternoon. I'm just going to lay in bed and try to relax and settle things down."
 
An emergency recall from the Western Hockey League after a rash of injuries has ravaged the Flames' lineup, Baertschi is getting his professional career underway sooner than expected. It hasn't allowed the Langenthal, Switzerland product much time to prepare.
 
That's fine, said the reigning WHL player of the week.
 
"Probably better because it's my dream," Baertschi said. "I'm just a couple hours away and it's a really exciting time. It's the same as celebrating Christmas with your family."
 
Captain Jarome Iginla is interested in seeing what kind of youthful exuberance Baertschi will bring in his first taste of the big leagues.
 
"I wouldn't be too surprised if you see him out there a lot," Iginla said. "It's nice to see the young guys bring that enthusiasm and energy and excitement. On the guys, we build on it."
 
Baertschi is expected to play on a line with fellow Flames' first-round pick Greg Nemisz and veteran Tom Kostopoulos. Kostopolous, who played in his 600th NHL game in Tuesday's win over the Montreal Canadiens, will do what he can to keep the call-up level.
 
"I'll be yapping in his ear all game about nothing important, but everyone here just wants him to have fun and relax and enjoy it as much as possible," Kostopoulos said. "Sometimes talking too much is counterproductive. I'll help him out when I can, but we all just want to see him play and see what he can do."
 
The mandate for Baertschi from coach Brent Sutter is simple -- enjoy.
 
"Number one is I want him to enjoy the fact that this is his first professional game," Sutter said. "It's something I want him to remember and have good memories about it."
 
And undoubtedly, sweet dreams.
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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 3:03 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Matchup: Red Wings at Predators

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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 3:03 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Flames get first look at Jets

CALGARY -- It's been nearly 16 years since the old Winnipeg Jets made their last visit to the Scotiabank Saddledome.
 
So understandably, when the Calgary Flames host the new version of the Jets on Friday night, tickets are at a premium -- even for players, according to Olli Jokinen.
 
"Team service guy Sean (O'Brien) sent us a text message last night that we have to put our ticket orders in today at 10 o'clock," Jokinen said. "That never happens. I guess it's a pretty hot ticket tonight."
 
Which means the 'Dome could be rocking, and not necessarily in favor of the Flames. With that in mind, defenseman Cory Sarich isn't about to give Winnipeg any help.
 
"I had a few Jets fans coming out of the woodworks seeing if I can get them a couple tickets," Sarich said. "Well, if they're cheering for that team then they're paying for tickets."
 
All joking aside, the Flames universally agree it's great to see the storied city get a team back in the National Hockey League.
 
"It's great," Jokinen said. "It's good to see them back on the hockey map and it's good to see them do well. They're playing in a market where people actually know about hockey and care about hockey."
 
But Jokinen warned that the Flames, who are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase, aren't about to give the Jets a warm welcome in Calgary.
 
"This is just a game for us at the end of the day," he said. "All that matters is to get two points. We're at the point of the season we can't really worry about who we play against. The biggest thing for us is to play our game and do things right and stick with our team structure and get two points and move on."
 
Here's the Flames projected lineup:
 
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - David Moss
Alex Tanguay - Matt Stajan - Jarome Iginla
Sven Baertschi - Greg Nemisz - Tom Kostopoulos
Guillaume Desbiens - Roman Horak - Krys Kolanos
 
Derek Smith - Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano - Scott Hannan
TJ Brodie - Cory Sarich
 
Miikka Kiprusoff
Henrik Karlsson
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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 2:37 PM

By Aaron Vickers -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Jets hoping for home-ice advantage in Calgary

CALGARY -- At home, they're nearly unbeatable.
 
But on the road, the Winnipeg Jets have failed to find the winning formula.
 
One of the reasons the Jets have compiled a 21-10-4 record at the MTS Centre is the boisterous crowd that has pushed them to be one of hockey’s best home teams.
 
Facing the Calgary Flames on the second half of a two-game road swing, the Jets are hoping they can use crowds on the road to their advantage as well as they push for a playoff berth.
 
"Our fans are a passionate bunch and they seem to be in all the Canadian rinks and a few of the American rinks, too, and you can definitely hear it when they're there," Tanner Glass said. "I think they're trying to get our road record up a bit, because they sure help us at home."
 
Just 11-18-4 on the road, the Jets will rely on a boisterous bunch in Calgary to simulate a home atmosphere. They may just find it in Alberta.
 
"My understanding is that some people have left Winnipeg to come west and we've run into them in Vancouver and now we're in Calgary, so the support seems to be everywhere, we just have to visualize we're at home," coach Claude Noel said.
 
With eight of their remaining 14 games away from Winnipeg, the ninth-place Jets need to remedy their road woes in a hurry.
 
"We have more road games than home, so we're going to have to find a way to do it," said goaltender Chris Mason, who confirmed he will be backing up Ondrej Pavelec in Calgary.
 
"It's definitely been tough on the road for us," he said. "At home we've done well and really fed off the crowd. We get that support on the road as well. It's harder to win on the road, and that means details are that much more important. That's something going down the stretch we're going to have to pay huge attention to."
 
Upping the road record could be the difference between playing in the playoffs and ending the season early.
 
"For us, we're looking at it as a new time," Noel said. "Closing down the end of these last eight games, if we can get to .500 or a game over that I think we'll be happy with that."
 
Here's the Jets' projected lineup:

Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane - Alexander Burmistrov - Kyle Wellwood
Tanner Glass - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn
Tim Stapleton - Nik Antropov - Antti Miettinen
 
Dustin Byfuglien - Tobias Enstrom
Ron Hainsey - Grant Clitsome
Mark Stuart - Randy Jones
 
Ondrej Pavalec
Chris Mason
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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 2:30 PM

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

Panthers know time to perform has arrived

PITTSBURGH -- No time to rest now.
 
With the first-place Florida Panthers coming off a 5-0 loss in Philadelphia barely 12 hours before, coach Kevin Dineen held a morning skate in advance of Friday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
 
It wasn't a full-squad workout, but 11 players showed up -- a significant number at a time of the season when every player covets his time away from the rink.
 
With the Panthers leading Washington and Winnipeg by only two points each in the Southeast Division standings, coach Kevin Dineen said every game has become a must game, every point possible must be won, every moment of preparation is important.
 
"One of our players (John Madden) described it earlier this week, you've got to have amnesia when things don't work out and believe in the positives, and a quick turnaround is the best way to get back at it," Dineen said.
 
The Panthers have lost three of four and are 7-6-1 over their last 14 with four shutout defeats, but Dineen said it doesn’t matter as much what happened then as what happens now.
 
Florida plays every other day for the next week, taking on Carolina on Sunday, Toronto on Tuesday, and Boston and Buffalo following that during what could be a make-or-break four-game homestand.
 
"I look at it as an exciting time of the year. We've had our opportunity to separate ourselves from the muck and now we're right in the thick of it," Dineen said. "This is what you play for. You train all summer, you get personal trainers, you get psychologists, guys flying all over working to prepare for the season. And now is the time you look forward to, get excited about. This is what you work for."
 
He added, "You like to say you're working for April and May and early June, but it's right now. It's not the end game, it's the road traveled. And we're right in the thick of it."
 
The Panthers are proving to be resilient, winning 14 times following a loss, but Dineen wishes they didn't have to bounce back so much.
 
"You can call that a good thing, or call it a little inconsistent as well," Dineen said. "We need some consistency within our game as well as game to game. That's part of our growth as a group, and something we'll address and learn from. It's getting down to the time of the season where that's really important to come out. We had a decent start last night, played some solid hockey, created some chances early, but when we had adversity, we didn’t respond."
 
The Panthers have won only two of their last 11 against the Penguins, who won two of the first three this season. Florida's likely lineup:
 
Sean Bergenheim - Stephen Weiss - Mikael Samuelsson
Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Wojtek Wolski
Shawn Matthias - Mike Santorelli - Tomas Kopecky
Krystofer Barch - Jerred Smithson - Jack Skille
 
Eric Gudbranson - Ed Jovanovski
Jason Garrison - Brian Campbell
Keaton Ellerby - Mike Weaver
 
Dineen didn't disclose his goalie, but Jose Theodore (18-13-6) has allowed three goals or more in three of his last four starts. Scott Clemmensen (11-6-5)  is 4-6-2 in his career against Pittsburgh.
 
 
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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 2:00 PM

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

Bylsma wants Pens to adopt playoff mentality now

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are discovering how difficult it can be to make a push in the standings at a time when the schedule is winding down, the Stanley Cup Playoffs aren't far away and every game is vitally important.
 
The Penguins carried a seven-game winning streak into their game against division-leading Florida on Friday night, yet they have gained only four points on the New York Rangers, who lead both the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division. And the Philadelphia Flyers are only two points behind them.
 
If Pittsburgh is to somehow catch the Rangers over their final 16 games, they almost certainly have to sweep their two remaining games, Thursday at Madison Square Garden and April 5 at Consol Energy Center.
 
But it will take more than that. That's why coach Dan Bylsma's message to his players, in essence, is it's playoff time now.
 
"I think we know how hard it is to move," Bylsma said Friday. "It's hard to move six points, let alone 10 points. I think we understand that. When we were 10 points behind, we knew we would play them three more times and we knew the only chance we'd have is to win all six points and not give them any points in those games. … We still have our eyes set on them. We know right where they're at. We know how difficult it's going to be. We know we have to win our two games against them for it to be a possibility."
 
The Penguins also understand they need to keep focused and not be distracted by the seemingly impending return of superstar Sidney Crosby, who is practicing daily as he mends from a recurrence of concussion-like symptoms. Crosby could return as early as Sunday against the Boston Bruins, but might wait until the Penguins go on a three-game Atlantic Division road trip next week.
 
"For the most part, we don't change the way we are playing. I think that's the biggest strength of our team," forward Matt Cooke said. "It's enabled us to get through with injuries to Sid, (Kris) Letang and a few others."
 
Bylsma is being forced to juggle his lineup, especially his defensive pairings, on a nearly game-by-game basis.  Defensemen Kris Letang (concussion symptoms) and Deryk Engelland  (undisclosed injury) already were out, and defenseman Paul Martin (undisclosed illness) didn't take part in the morning skate.
 
Because Martin might not play, defenseman Simon Despres was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL), four days after defenseman Brian Strait was recalled. Despres would take Martin's spot on the second power-play unit.
 
The likely Penguins lineup:
 
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Steve Sullivan - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham - Craig Adams - Richard Park
 
Brooks Orpik - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Simon Despres
Ben Lovejoy - Brian Strait
 
Marc-Andre Fleury, riding a six-game winning streak, will be back in net after backup Brad Thiessen won for the second time in as many NHL starts, beating Toronto 3-2 on Wednesday. Brent Johnson remains out with an undisclosed injury. Fleury is 8-6 against Florida.
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Posted On Friday, 03.09.2012 / 12:04 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Barry's Best: Eriksson, Orpik, Varlamov

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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 11:09 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

SJ @ DAL - 18:45 of the Third Period



At 18:45 of the third period in the Stars/Sharks game, video review conclusively determined that Tomas Vincour's shot completely crossed the goal line. Good Goal Dallas.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 11:07 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

MTL @ EDM - 15:58 of the Second Period



At 15:58 of the second period in the Canadiens/Oilers game, video review conclusively determined that Rene Bourque's shot did not completely cross the goal line. No Goal Montreal.
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Posted On Thursday, 03.08.2012 / 10:02 PM

NHL.com - 2011-2012 Situation Room blog

NYR @ OTT - 17:28 of the third period



Video review upheld the referee's call on the ice that Carl Hagelin's shot at 17:28 of the third period never crossed the goal line. No Goal New York.  Subsequently on the ensuing sequence Jason Spezza scored at 18:33. The Spezza goal stands. Good Goal Ottawa.
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I've never seen anything like that. The great thing is I don't know how many times guys bailed me out where they had to score to keep it alive and they did every time. It was amazing. It's not the way we draw it up, to go 20 rounds here, but obviously it's a big win.

— Florida goalie Roberto Luongo after the Panthers defeated the Capitals in the longest shootout in NHL history on Tuesday
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