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Sabres' Moulson likely out through Olympic break

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 2:51 PM / News

NHL.com

Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Moulson likely will be out through the Olympic break due to an upper-body injury.

Moulson left the Sabres' game Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes with 6:05 left in the third period after he was hit by the Coyotes' Shane Doan.

Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said he wasn't sure if Moulson's injury came from a slash on the wrist or a cross-check.

Moulson has nine goals and 15 assists in 40 games with the Sabres, who acquired him from the New York Islanders on Oct. 27 as part of a trade for Thomas Vanek.

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Parise named captain of U.S. Olympic team

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 2:40 PM / 2014 Olympics

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise on Friday was named captain of the United States team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Parise helped the U.S. win the silver medal four years ago in Vancouver, tying for the team lead with four goals and eight points. His goal in the final minute of the third period against Canada in the gold-medal game forced overtime.

"It's a special thing to be named captain of any team," Parise said during a conference call. "When it's a national team, when it's an Olympic team, it's extra special."

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Return to AHL not keeping Blues' Allen down

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 2:11 PM / AHL Update

Alyssa Dombrowski - Special to NHL.com

Veteran goaltenders Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak have helped raise the St. Louis Blues back to a place among the elite teams in the NHL.

However, it was around this time last year that Jake Allen made the League take notice that the Blues' goaltending depth didn't stop there.

Recalled from the American Hockey League to replace an injured Halak in February and again in early March, Allen posted a 9-4-0 record in his 15 appearances with St. Louis, including one shutout. The significance of his performance, which earned him a spot on the NHL All-Rookie Team at season's end, was recognized by Blues assistant general manager Kevin McDonald, who also oversees the team's prospects in the AHL.

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Stars focused on strong finish entering Olympic break

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 12:41 PM / NHL Insider

Steve Hunt - NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- With just four games remaining prior to the Olympic break, the Dallas Stars are well aware of how important it is to enter it on a positive note.

Dallas begins a three-game road trip Saturday at the Anaheim Ducks, then faces the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday and the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday before returning home for another game against the Coyotes next Saturday, their final game before the League breaks for the 2014 Sochi Olympics beginning Feb. 9.

No one better realizes how crucial this four-game stretch is than Dallas coach Lindy Ruff.

"When we tried to set some goals, we talked about trying to win three out of four," Ruff said. "If we can have a good finish before the break here it sets us up. And it's really a must because otherwise you're chasing it too much."

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Oilers acquire Fraser from Maple Leafs

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 11:21 AM / News

NHL.com

The Edmonton Oilers added a veteran presence to their defense Friday, acquiring defenseman Mark Fraser from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Fraser, 27, has one assist, a minus-8 rating and 33 penalty minutes in 15:12 of ice time in 19 games. He last played Jan. 9 and has been a healthy scratch in 19 of the Leafs' past 20 games.

He sustained a knee injury in the Leafs' second game of the season, Oct. 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers, and missed a month, and in November missed two games with a knee injury.

"I'm happy to get to play for another organization with extremely passionate fans," Fraser told the Oilers' website. "I'm very excited. I'm confident I can provide something the Oilers may be missing. ... Most of my success comes from my size and aggression."

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Super 16: Calder Cup winners boost Wings, Lightning

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 3:00 AM / Super 16: NHL Power Rankings

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan each had a goal and an assist in a 5-4 come-from-ahead loss Saturday the Detroit Red Wings probably would like to forget.

The night before Tyler Johnson netted the first hat trick of his NHL career to help the Tampa Bay Lightning to a comfortable victory the rookie forward will remember for a long time.

Why are these seemingly random events connected? Tatar and Sheahan were part of a Grand Rapids Griffins team that defeated Johnson and the Syracuse Crunch in six games last season to capture the Calder Cup in the American Hockey League.

The Red Wings and the Lightning affiliates have won the Calder Cup the past two seasons, as Tampa Bay’s players won with the Norfolk Admirals in 2012 before the organization switched affiliates.

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Predators seeing Ellis move forward in development

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent

When the Nashville Predators elected to trade No. 3 defenseman Kevin Klein last week to the New York Rangers, management made the decision in no small part because of the improved play of Ryan Ellis.

It caught the eye of general manager David Poile that Ellis and the rest of the defense corps played well without Klein, a veteran of 403 games with Nashville, when he missed two games with the flu. In the three games preceding the trade Ellis totaled two goals and two assists.

"We've always felt highly about Ellis' future," Poile said of the 11th pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. "We just haven't been able to put him in that position to make a contribution that he's making recently. But it's interesting that in at least two of those games Kevin Klein didn't play."

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Daily Primer Jan. 31: Stadium Series rematch

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 2:52 AM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

Two nights after the New York Rangers and New York Islanders took their rivalry outdoors, they'll meet again indoors.

The Rangers will be looking for a sweep of their local rival when they host the Islanders on Friday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). The Rangers edged the Islanders 2-1 at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday in the first outdoor meeting between the teams. That victory gave the Rangers a sweep of their two games in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series; they beat their other Metropolitan area rival, the New Jersey Devils, 7-3 on Sunday.

Here's a look at all of the action Friday:

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Varlamov signs five-year extension with Avalanche

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 2:01 AM / News

Semyon Varlamov
Goalie - COL
RECORD: 27-9-5
GAA: 2.47 | SVP: 0.924
Semyon Varlamov isn't going anywhere.

The Colorado Avalanche on Thursday signed the 25-year-old goaltender to a five-year contract extension through the 2018-19 season. No financial figures were released, though multiple media reports say the deal is worth $29.5 million, an average annual value of $5.9 million.

"It was a big day for us," coach Patrick Roy said. "I'm sure it's a great day for Varly as well. He certainly deserved that contract. We're very happy it's a done deal."

Varlamov is 27-9-5 with a 2.47 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout in 43 games this season. He earned his career-high 27th victory Thursday night with a 5-4 win against the Minnesota Wild.

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Lightning goalie Bishop injured vs. Senators

Friday, 01.31.2014 / 12:06 AM / News

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

Ben Bishop
Goalie - TBL
RECORD: 26-7-4
GAA: 2.01 | SVP: 0.932
OTTAWA -- Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop left the game against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday at 1:49 of the first period after he was struck on the back of the head by teammate Nikita Kucherov's skate.

He did not return to the game.

"At the beginning I didn't feel good at all, kind of real weak," Bishop said. "I kind of have my bearings now and feel good, just a little bit of a headache. I think it's gotten better as the game has gone on, so hopefully I'll wake up (Friday) and feel good and hopefully be able to practice."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he does not believe his starting goalie is seriously injured.

"I felt a lot better after speaking with him after the first period," he said.

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Quote of the Day

Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals