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NHL Insider

Flyers looking for better start against Predators

Thursday, 02.03.2011 / 2:38 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers hope to use the energy and emotion emanating from within Wells Fargo Center to their advantage prior to the opening faceoff against the Nashville Predators on Thursday.
 

"You almost hope for a back-to-back situation after those types of losses. But Nashville is a pretty underrated team, so we need to be ready to play. When you're playing against a team you don't really know, you want to come out and get off to a good start and kind of dictate the pace of play and try to make them adjust to us rather than making adjustments to them." -- Matt Carle

The joint certainly will be jumping, too, as Flyers icon Bob Clarke will be presented with his No. 16 banner that hung in the Spectrum during a pregame ceremony. On top of that, the Flyers also would like to nix any lingering memory of Tuesday's 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
 
"A good start will be big," forward Scott Hartnell said. "The crowd will be pumped, as it always is, and we have to use that to our advantage. We have to get pucks deep. Against Tampa, we turned pucks over and got cute sometimes and it cost us early on."
 
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has opted to go right back to rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky against the Predators, who will counter with rookie Anders Lindback. Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up three goals on six shots in the opening period against the Lightning and was replaced by Brian Boucher as Philadelphia lost for just the third time in its last 13 games.
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Penguins' Malkin set to play Friday vs. Sabres

Thursday, 02.03.2011 / 1:51 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won four straight without Evgeni Malkin, so how good will they be with him back in the lineup?

They'll find out Friday, when the high-scoring center plays against the Buffalo Sabres. It'll be his first game since Jan. 18 due to a knee injury and a sinus infection.

Malkin has been practicing with the team for a few days, and coach Dan Bylsma on Thursday pronounced him healthy and ready to play.

It's good timing for the Penguins, because a team renowned for being deep in centers is running short in the position. Sidney Crosby is working his way back from a concussion, and the team announced Mark Letestu needs surgery on his left knee.
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Coyotes trying to bounce back from tough loss

Wednesday, 02.02.2011 / 3:15 PM / NHL Insider

Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. – If there was one thing the Coyotes could count on during this up-and-down season, it was their ability to ride a lead home in the third period. Now after two collapses in their last three games, nothing is certain anymore.

The Coyotes had gained a point in all 21 games in which they had taken a lead to the third period (19-0-2) before blowing a 2-1 lead at home to last-place Edmonton on Jan. 25 in what many players called the low point of the season. But one week later in San Jose, the Coyotes appeared to have a sixth straight road win wrapped up with a 3-0 lead late in the second period, only to see the Sharks roar back with five unanswered goals and steal a 5-3 win Phoenix needed to get the post-All-Star playoff spring off on the right foot.

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Health is Hemsky's main focus moving forward

Wednesday, 02.02.2011 / 1:42 PM / NHL Insider

Robin Brownlee - NHL.com Correspondent

"I'm just happy I can play again. It's been a tough two weeks for me. I'm just glad to be back and be fine to play."
-- Ales Hemsky

EDMONTON -- As much as he wants two points against the Los Angeles Kings tonight, Ales Hemsky of the Edmonton Oilers wants nothing more than to stay healthy for the balance of this season.

The Oilers have 49 games in the books as they host the Kings at Rexall Place, but Hemsky has played in just 32 of those because of a strained groin and a concussion.

Limited to 22 games in 2009-10 because of season-ending shoulder surgery, it's been a difficult stretch of bad luck and bad health for the talented Czech winger.
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Rangers getting back some of their injured players

Wednesday, 02.02.2011 / 9:05 AM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- At least the New York Rangers have their health.

It may seem like a small consolation after failing to hold a 2-0 lead and losing 4-3 in a shootout to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, but the Rangers received a huge boost by getting forwards Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan back in the lineup.

Dubinsky, the team's leading scorer with 39 points, missed five games with a stress fracture in his left leg. Callahan has 11 goals and 13 assists in 33 games, but the Rangers really missed his contributions as a penalty killer and human wrecking ball, a skater willing to throw his body around without concern for his well-being, when he missed 19 games with a broken hand.

They returned in style Tuesday, as Dubinsky picked up an assist and Callahan scored a goal from in front of the net to tie the game at 3-3. They both logged more than 21 minutes, but it looked like Callahan got into the flow of things a little faster than Dubinsky.

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Pens not sure they'll have Staal on Wednesday

Tuesday, 02.01.2011 / 11:52 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- The Penguins don't expect to know until Wednesday if center Jordan Staal will face any supplementary discipline from the NHL for the match penalty he received after punching Rangers forward Brandon Prust in the face late in the second period of Tuesday's 4-3 shootout win at Madison Square Garden.

Staal hit the Prust with his left fist and sent him spinning to the ice at the end of a scrum in front of the Rangers' bench. The officials first sent Staal to the box and then sent him to the dressing room with a match penalty.

The NHL rulebook states that "in addition to the match penalty, the player shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the Commissioner has ruled on the issue." Pittsburgh is scheduled to host the Islanders on Wednesday night.

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Hurricanes get back to work

Monday, 01.31.2011 / 8:04 PM / NHL Insider

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Of everyone in the Carolina Hurricanes locker room Monday who was excited to get back to the business of playing hockey, coach Paul Maurice was clearly the most relieved that the All-Star festivities were finally over.

With three players in the All-Star Game and franchise goaltender Cam Ward taking part in the fastest skater competition during the Honda SuperSkills and getting blitzed during the first 20 minutes of Sunday's game, how could you blame him?
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Richards sees Wild starting to come together

Friday, 01.28.2011 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Minnesota coach Todd Richards has his All-Star break plans squared away, and it'll be a great change from the norm.

Richards told NHL.com that he has two boys playing hockey in the Twin Cities region, so he plans on being at the rink this weekend, "but I'll be in the stands critiquing the coaches."

For all the shots he's taken over the last year and a half, the Wild bench boss deserves this chance to be on the other side. You can even say he's earned it by how his team played heading into the All-Star break.

January was by far the Wild's best month of the season. Their 8-4 record, including 6-2 on the road, lifted them to within one point of seventh in the Western Conference, meaning there is reason to believe that with a good start to February the team that missed the playoffs the past two seasons has a legitimate shot at getting back in the spring dance this year.

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Karmanos talks growth in Raleigh on NHL Hour

Thursday, 01.27.2011 / 7:40 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Peter Karmanos clearly remembers the ridicule his organization received after it moved from Hartford to North Carolina in 1997. Attendance was poor as the team played its first two seasons in Greensboro while waiting for its new arena in Raleigh to be constructed.

Karmanos repeatedly heard that hockey wouldn't catch on in such a non-traditional market, but with the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover days away from facing off at the RBC Center, such a notion has been clearly disproved. The Hurricanes draw well and boast one of the loudest arenas in the League. This weekend, Raleigh is the center of the hockey universe.

"To me personally, I think it's always rewarding for the owner to be able to show off his market, show off our building, and have a chance to let the community respond on a national basis," Karmanos said on Thursday's "NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman."
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New-look Lightning lead surprise teams

Thursday, 01.27.2011 / 1:31 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

With a new owner, a new general manager, a new coach and 10 new players who have played at least 24 games, the Tampa Bay Lightning went through a full overhaul this past summer. About the only thing the Lightning didn't change was their address and a couple of superstars that call the St. Pete Times Forum home.

Change apparently has done the Lightning well. Their new look from top to bottom has been a great fit, but it would be hard to find anyone who expected Tampa Bay to be leading the Southeast Division 50 games into the season -- ahead of the reigning Presidents' Trophy winners, the Washington Capitals.

Well, it is true. The Lightning have a four-point lead on the Capitals and shut out their division rivals twice in January. They also lead our list of the three most surprising teams in the NHL at the All-Star break:
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Quote of the Day

I came into a team that had 65 points, that was at the bottom of the basement, a team that everybody wrote off as never going to be good. My goal is to go from the very bottom to the very top.

— Forward Brandon Dubinsky on signing a six-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets