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(Page 238 of 259)
NHL Insider

Penguins' PK to receive stiff test from Thrashers

Thursday, 12.02.2010 / 2:07 PM / NHL Insider

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh's penalty-killing unit has been flawless for the past nine games, killing off 30-straight shorthanded situations.

But if the Penguins plan to extend their run at perfection to a franchise-best 10 games -- as well as extend their winning streak to eight games -- Thursday night at the Consol Energy Center, they'll have to be better than ever. Their opponents, the red-hot Atlanta Thrashers, walk into the Steel City with a six-game winning streak that has been fueled, in large part, by a clinically effective power play.

The Thrashers rank third in the League in power-play efficiency, scoring 24 goals in 101 opportunities (23.8 percent). Amazingly, they have been even more effective on the road, scoring 12 goals in 46 opportunities.
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Gionta brothers to battle on the ice for first time

Thursday, 12.02.2010 / 1:21 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"The only time that we've skated together competitively was in training camp here in Jersey, but there is a first time for everything. When he was here I was hoping to get into a game with him, but now that he's moved on the next best thing is playing against him and hopefully it'll be a good one tonight."
-- Stephen Gionta

NEWARK, N.J. -- Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner never doubted he was going to return to the lineup Thursday for the first time in nine games, but he still needed coach John MacLean's blessing. Stephen Gionta wasn't so sure if he would be in, but he was hoping MacLean would point in his direction Thursday.

He did, so Langenbrunner and Gionta will play for New Jersey against Montreal at Prudential Center (7 p.m. ET, RDS), and the Devils, winners of three of their last four games, hope to get a jump from both players for completely different reasons.

Thursday's game will mark the first time Gionta will square off against his brother, Canadiens captain Brian Gionta, in any organized hockey game. Brian is four years older and far more accomplished in the NHL, but Stephen, who was called up by the Devils on Nov. 4, has earned his spot in the lineup.

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Ordeal finally nears end for Anaheim's Lupul

Thursday, 12.02.2010 / 10:31 AM / NHL Insider

Lindsay Kramer - NHL.com Correspondent

The low point wasn't the pain in Anaheim forward Joffrey Lupul's back as much as it was the anguish on the face of his father, Craig.

Craig Lupul was one of the family members and friends who gathered in Joffrey's house in Newport Beach, Calif., last June as Joffrey tried to recover from two back surgeries. Six weeks of antibiotics was thought to have cured a subsequent infection, but another one was attacking him hard and his family could only watch as Joffrey struggled to get well.

Lupul could manage the physical discomfort. But reading the worry on Craig's face was a sobering tip-off to a real career threat at hand.

"I literally couldn't leave the house. I was in a lot of pain. It wasn't the pain I was concerned about. It was six months after the surgery," Lupul said. "Those thoughts (that he might be done playing) stick into your head. You want to block them out."

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Heatley ready for rough reception in Ottawa return

Thursday, 12.02.2010 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Dany Heatley understands what probably lies in store for him Thursday night, and the San Jose Sharks forward is fine with it.

"I think there will probably be some booing, but fans are entitled to do what they want," Heatley told assembled media following Thursday's morning skate in Ottawa, according to the Toronto Sun.

"I'm not nervous. I've been through this before. This is just another game. I've moved on, I'm happy in San Jose and I want to win the game," said Heatley, who will be facing the Senators in Ottawa for the first time since asking to be traded during the summer of 2009.

"I've played a lot of games in here. It was nice to see some of the guys on the team here for sure."

Heatley spent four seasons in Ottawa, where he had the only two 50-goal seasons of his career and helped the Senators to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. His desire to be traded was granted three weeks before the start of the 2009-10 season, as the Senators dealt him to the Sharks in exchange for Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a second-round draft pick.

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Isles have healthy MacDonald back on blue line

Thursday, 12.02.2010 / 9:00 AM / NHL Insider

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- When Andrew MacDonald injured his hand in Tampa Bay on Oct. 21, never in a million years did he think he'd sit and watch his team lose the next 14 games without him.

But that was exactly what happened to the New York Islanders, who suffered through an 0-11-3 skid before beating the New Jersey Devils at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum last Friday. The Isles will look to make it two in a row on Thursday night, when they begin a home-and-home series with the New York Rangers at the Coliseum.
 
"It's bad enough sitting out for six weeks, but if the team's winning, you're happy," MacDonald told NHL.com. "You come in and we lose the amount of games that we lost, everyone's kind of down. It really was tough to watch. But we got a big win our last game. We're just building off that and going forward."
 
Going forward, the Islanders will finally have MacDonald back in the lineup. The solid two-way defenseman practiced with the team on Wednesday at the Coliseum and will be in the lineup against the Blueshirts.
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Fleischmann practices, eager to start Avs career

Wednesday, 12.01.2010 / 6:26 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Tomas Fleischmann was huffing and puffing a little more than usual Wednesday following his first practice with the Colorado Avalanche.

It was a longer session than usual -- about 90 minutes -- and the 26-year-old forward was dealing with the mile-high altitude on top of jet leg after Tuesday's cross-country flight following his acquisition from the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Scott Hannan.

"Today was a pretty hard practice, I would say," Fleischmann said. "I was kind of winded, but it's good."

After being told of the trade by Capitals general manager George McPhee and coach Bruce Boudreau around noon EST Tuesday, Fleischmann hopped on a plane at 5:30 p.m. and landed in Denver at 8 MST. He arrived at the Pepsi Center in time to watch the last two periods of the Avalanche's 3-2 overtime loss to Atlanta, met his new teammates after the game and was taken to a hotel to get some much-needed rest.
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Memories of last spring run gamut for Flyers, B's

Wednesday, 12.01.2010 / 2:39 PM / NHL Insider

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"We haven't forgotten. It was a tough way to end the season and they were the team to do it, so the emotion is there for this game. It's a game we need to get back on track with the way things have been going the past couple of games. Yeah, we remember what happened last year." -- Patrice Bergeron

PHILADELPHIA -- The Boston Bruins would like to treat their first regular-season meeting with the Philadelphia Flyers like any other game on the schedule.
 
Unfortunately, however, the team was reminded of their epic seven-game setback against the resilient Flyers on more than one occasion as they made final preparations for Wednesday's game here at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
It marks the first clash between the Eastern Conference rivals since May 14, 2010 -- the night Philadelphia put the finishing touches on their remarkable comeback in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Not only did the Flyers become the first team in 35 years to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first three games, but they also rallied from a 3-0 first-period deficit to win the decisive Game 7 showdown in Boston.

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Oilers will have Hemsky back to face Habs

Wednesday, 12.01.2010 / 1:43 PM / NHL Insider

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

MONTREAL -- The Edmonton Oilers are on their best run of the season with three wins in their past five games, and the bulk of that was done without top winger Ales Hemsky.

But after a three-game absence with a groin problem, Hemsky will be back in the lineup Wednesday night when the Oilers take on the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

"It's improved a lot," Hemsky said of the injury. "I still feel it a little bit, but I just have to be smart about it."

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Recent last-minute heroics have saved teams points

Wednesday, 12.01.2010 / 1:13 PM / NHL Insider

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

When NHL coaches talk about having to play the full 60 minutes to earn a victory, they can cite a number of examples in the last two weeks about the importance of playing to the final whistle.

Certainly Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson was telling his players that Tuesday night, after he watched Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis score the game-tying goal in the final seconds of the third period of what ended as a 4-3 Lightning overtime victory.

Dominic Moore won a faceoff in the Toronto end with the puck ending up on St. Louis' stick at the blue line. St. Louis' rocket from the point went through traffic and behind Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson with 8.7 seconds left. Simon Gagne's goal 1:15 into overtime gave the Lightning the win.

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Avs excited by Fleischmann's upside

Tuesday, 11.30.2010 / 4:20 PM / NHL Insider

Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Already one of the youngest and highest-scoring teams in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday acquired forward Tomas Fleischmann from the Washington Capitals in exchange for veteran defenseman Scott Hannan.

Fleischmann, 26, was en route to Denver but won't play Tuesday night against the Atlanta Thrashers at the Pepsi Center. He'll make his Avalanche debut Friday in Carolina when Colorado opens a five-game road trip that ends Dec. 11 in Washington.

Defenseman Matt Hunwick, 25, will play his first game in an Avalanche uniform against the Thrashers. He was acquired Monday from the Boston Bruins in exchange for defenseman Colby Cohen, 21, the Avalanche's second-round pick in 2007.
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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