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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 6:48 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Sweden cuts deficit to 2-1 early in the third

CALGARY - William Karlsson has pulled Sweden to within 2-1 on a power-play goal just 3:11 into the third period.

Finland's Simo-Pekka Riikola was whistled for hooking at 2:38 and the Swedes would make him pay 49 seconds later when Karlsson drove the slot and had the puck deflect off his leg and behind goalie Sami Aittokallio.

Max Friberg had taken the intial shot.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 6:19 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Finland opens 2-0 lead over Swedes

CALGARY -- Can the Finnish National Junior Team pull off the first major upset of the medal round in the 2012 World Junior Championship?

The Finns find themselves one defensive period away from elminating Sweden from gold medal contention. Joel Armia scored an unassisted goal with 4:30 remaining in the second period to give the Finns a 2-0 lead. Armia, who has been playing extremely well this year following a below average debut for Finland at the WJC in 2011, connected for his fifth goal.

Armia skated in on Swedish goalie Johan Gustafsson and snapped a shot that hit the iron to the goalie's left before the disk deflected into the net. Finland goalie Sami Aittokallio stopped 20 shots in the second and has 34 saves for the game.

The survivor of the match advances to Thursday's gold medal game to face either Canada or Russia at 6 p.m. ET.

The Finns opened a 1-0 lead with 1:31 left in the first when Alexander Ruuttu converted a great pass from Miro Aaltonen at the right post. The Finns last reached the gold medal game in 2001. 
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 6:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Finns cling to 1-0 lead midway through second period

CALGARY -- The Finnish National Junior Team is clinging to a 1-0 lead over Sweden midway through the second period of their semifinal round match in the 2012 World Junior Championship.

The Swedes are holding a 31-8 advantage in shots but haven't been able to solve goalie Sami Aittokallio. Mika Zibanejad, a first-round draft choice of the Ottawa Senators, had a great opportunity to even the score for for the Swedes with 7:41 left in the second, but was denied by Aittokallio.

Alexander Ruuttu's first-period goal with 1:31 on the clock remains to be the difference so far.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 5:45 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Ruuttu gives Finns 1-0 lead over Sweden after one period

CALGARY -- Alexander Ruuttu scored off a perfectly placed pass from Miro Aaltonen with just 1:31 remaining in the first period to give the Finnish National Junior Team a 1-0 lead over favored Sweden after one period of their semifinal round match in the 2012 World Junior Championship at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Aaltonen appeared as though he was going to curl behind the Sweden net with the puck but, at the last possible second, zipped a pass to Ruuttu, who popped home his third of the tournament to the left of goalie Johan Gustafsson.

The Swedes held a 14-6 advantage in shots in the opening 20 minutes. Sami Aittokallio turned back all 14 shots. Both coaches had no issues having their top lines matched against the other's until late in the frame.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 5:13 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012 World Junior Championship blog

Finland-Sweden drop the puck in WJC semifinal

CALGARY -- So the Swedish National Junior Team and Team Finland are on the ice here at Scotiabank Saddledome getting set for the opening faceoff in what should be a pretty entertaining contest in the semifinal round of the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Finland has been led by the top line of Teemu Pulkkinen, Markus Granlund and Mikael Granlund on offense. In goal will be Sami Aittokaillio.

The Swedes have received major contributions from Johan Larsson, Johan Sundstrom and Max Friberg. The trio of Filip Forsberg, Mika Zibanejad and Rickard Rakell has also been sharp throughout the tournament. The Swedes will start Johan Gustafsson between the pipes.

Sweden lineups:

G-Johan Gustafsson
J. Larsson-Sundstrom-Friberg (Klefbom, Brodin)
Nordstrom-Rensfeldt-Thorell (Granberg-Nemeth)
Filip Forsberg-Zibanejad-Rakell (Backman-Claesson)
Collberg-Karlsson-Rask-Boyce Rotevall (Klingberg)

Finland lineups:

G-Sami Aittokallio
Pulkkinen-Ma. Granlund-Mi. Granlund (Makinen-Hakanpaa)
Armia-Salomaki-Donskoi (Hovinen-Pokka)
Ruuttu-Aaltonen-Barkov (Riikola-Ristolainen)
Ma. Hannikaninen-Ro. Hamalainen-Kuronen-Paajanen

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 5:00 PM

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

Benns set to become 15th brother combination in NHL

With defenseman Jordie Benn set to make his NHL debut tonight for the Dallas Stars, joining brother Jamie Benn, a forward on the team, it brings to 15 the number of brother combinations currently playing in the League.

The Benns joined Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin as the only current set of brothers playing on the same team. While the Sedins are twins, Jamie Benn is actually two years younger than Jordie, despite already being a veteran of 188 NHL games.

Here is the full list of brothers playing in the League:

Foligno (Nick, Ottawa and Marcus, Buffalo)

Koivu (Saku, Anaheim and Mikko, Minnesota)

Kostitsyn (Sergei, Nashville and Andrei, Montreal)

Michalek (Zbynek, Pittsburgh and Milan, Ottawa)

Miller
(Ryan, Buffalo and Drew, Detroit)

O'Reilly (Ryan, Colorado and Cal, Phoenix)

Pyatt (Tom, Tampa Bay and Taylor, Phoenix)

Schenn (Luke, Toronto and Brayden, Philadelphia)

Sedin (Henrik and Daniel, Vancouver)

Sestito (Tom, Philadelphia and Tim, New Jersey)

Staal (Jordan, Pittsburgh; Eric, Carolina and Marc, NY Rangers)

Stewart
(Chris, St. Louis and Anthony, Carolina)

Stuart (Mark, Winnipeg and Colin, Buffalo)

Wellwood
(Kyle, Winnipeg and Eric, Philadelphia)
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 3:48 PM

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

Stamkos back home as Lightning face Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos, the NHL's leading goal scorer, is back home for the first time this season as the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I talked about it since day one, it's nice to come back and play in front of friends and family. It's always a special time for me and a big time for our team right now with the position we're in," said Stamkos, who was named the League's first star for the past week.

Currently, the Lightning have won three games in a row and Stamkos is eager for the club to continue to its recent play.

"We obviously wanted to have a better start but I think we have cleaned up our game drastically over the past 10 games," Stamkos said. "We may have not gotten the results we wanted to in a couple of them, but the last three for sure we have really tightened up defensively and we need another big game tonight.”

While the Lightning have gone 6-3-1 in the past 10 and are on the rise in the Eastern Conference, the Maple Leafs have struggled, losing three games in a row, and are 3-5-2 in their past 10 games.

If the Leafs are going to right the ship, taking advantage of home ice will be key. Tonight marks the first of a season-high nine home games this month.

"It's up to us to determine home ice advantage and go out and play well," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "It seems here in Toronto that you don't get very many teams that come in often and have an off night. Everybody gets fired up to play here in Toronto, so your advantage is taken a away a little bit, but we will try to push the pace and make it a home ice advantage."

Ron Wilson who will give Jonas Gustavsson his first start since December 17th versus Vancouver. 

"It's a tough team," Gustavsson said. "(They have) always been tight games against them and I'm sure it will be another one tonight."

Notes: Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman remains out of the lineup with a concussion and did not make the trip to Toronto.

Toronto made a minor deal this afternoon, dealing forward Luca Caputi to Anaheim for forward Nicolas Deschamps.  Forward Phillipe Dupuis was also assigned to the AHL Toronto Marlies after clearing waivers, while defenseman Korbinian Holzer was recalled.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 3:12 PM

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

Knee surgery sidelines Pitkanen four weeks

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen underwent surgery on his left knee on Tuesday and is expected to miss the next four weeks, the club announced.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Marty Isbell of Raleigh Orthopaedic at Rex Hospital.
 
Pitkanen, 28, has totaled 3 goals and 12 points in 21 games this season. The Oulu, Finland, native has earned 54 goals and 268 points in 504 career NHL games with Carolina, Philadelphia and Edmonton.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 3:08 PM

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

Ducks acquire Caputi from Maple Leafs

The Anaheim Ducks acquired left wing Luca Caputi from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday in exchange for left wing Nicolas Deschamps.

Caputi, 23, has appeared in 21 contests for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL) this season, collecting 2 goals and 3 points with 10 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound winger split time with the Maple Leafs and Marlies in 2010-11, appearing in seven NHL contests with the Leafs, going scoreless with four PIM.

A native of Toronto, Ontario, Caputi made his NHL debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2008-09 and scored his first career NHL goal Feb. 3, 2009 against Montreal's Carey Price. Caputi appeared in a career-high 23 NHL contests with Pittsburgh and Toronto in 2009-10, registering 2 goals and 8 points. Originally selected by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 2007 Entry Draft, Caputi was acquired by Toronto from Pittsburgh with Martin Skoula in exchange for Alexi Ponikarovsky on March 2, 2010.

Deschamps, 21, was a second-round pick by the Ducks in 2008 and appeared in 31 contests with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL) this season, collecting 5 goals and 7 points. The Lasalle, Quebec native has recorded 20 goals and 54 points in 113 career AHL contests.
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Posted On Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 3:00 PM

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

Projected lines for Maple Leafs

TORONTO -- Here are the projected lines for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who face the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at Air Canada Centre:

Joffrey Lupul - Tim Connolly - Phil Kessel
Joey Crabb - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Clarke MacArthur - Matthew Lombardi - Nazem Kadri
Darryl Boyce - David Steckel - Matt Frattin

Keith Aulie - Dion Phaneuf
Carl Gunnarsson - Luke Schenn
Jake Gardiner - Cody Franson
 
Jonas Gustavsson
James Reimer
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Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp