Hockey Today - December 12

Hockey Today - December 12

Cheechoo, Roenick go on injured reserve for Sharks
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Forwards Jonathan Cheechoo and Jeremy Roenick went on the San Jose Sharks' injured reserve list Tuesday, keeping them out for at least one week.

Cheechoo, the NHL's top goal-scorer in the 2005-06 season, injured his groin in Saturday's 7-1 loss to Buffalo. The season has been a disappointment for Cheechoo, who has just four goals in 28 games after undergoing double hernia surgery in the offseason.

Roenick is the Sharks' second-leading scorer in his first season with the club, with six goals and eight assists in 26 games. He's sidelined with a minor knee injury.

The Sharks activated center Marcel Goc from injured reserve to play Tuesday night against Minnesota, and seldom-used veteran forward Curtis Brown also was in the lineup. Goc missed San Jose's previous eight games because of back spasms.

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Wednesday NHL Gameday

Boston Bruins at Atlanta Thrashers, 7:00pm ET


The Bruins lost three of their first four games in December, but they're now on a two-game winning streak thanks to the goaltending of Alex Auld. The newly-acquired netminder, playing in place of injured Tim Thomas, allowed just one goal on 26 shots in a victory over Toronto on Saturday, and one goal on 45 shots versus Buffalo on Monday.

The Thrashers had a modest two-game winning streak (versus the Islanders and the Rangers) snapped on Saturday in a 6-3 loss to the Capitals. Kari Lehtonen allowed six goals on 27 shots versus Washington in his third game back from injury. Atlanta is square at 14-14-1 on the season, although they've allowed 96 goals in their 29 games.

New York Rangers at Washington Capitals, 7:00pm ET


New York began December with an impressive 5-2 win over the Senators, but they then proceeded to drop three straight decisions to the Hurricanes, Leafs, and Thrashers. However, the Rangers did snap that skid on Sunday with a 1-0 win over the rival Devils. Brendan Shanahan had the OT winner that day, and Henrik Lundqvist made 17 saves.

Washington is still mired in last place in the Southeast Division (at 11-17-2), but they are coming off consecutive wins over the Thrashers and Devils. Mike Green potted two goals for the Capitals in their 6-3 win over Atlanta on Saturday, while Jeff Schultz, Nicklas Backstrom, and Quintin Laing scored in their 3-2 win over the Devils on Monday.

Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks, 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles lost three in a row at the beginning of this month, but they have managed to win two of three contests since then. The Kings destroyed the Sabres 8-2 last Thursday night, fell 4-2 to rival Phoenix on Saturday, and doubled up Vancouver 4-2 on Monday. Dustin Brown and Derek Armstrong each had two points against the Canucks.

The Blackhawks have fallen on hard times in December - four games, four losses (to the Blues, Canucks, Ducks, and Flames). Against Calgary on Sunday Hawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin gave up three goals on 29 shots, while Robert Lang had a goal and an assist. Chicago has dropped into the basement of the Central Division at just 14-13-2.

Vancouver Canucks at Anaheim Ducks, 10:00pm ET

Vancouver followed up last week's two-game winning streak with two straight losses on Saturday (in OT to the Penguins) and Monday (to the Kings). Taylor Pyatt and Alexander Edler had the goals for the Canucks in their loss to Los Angeles, while Curtis Sanford gave up four goals on 31 shots. The Canucks are 16-11-3 so far on the season.

The Ducks are waiting for Scott Niedermayer to return to the ice, but in the meantime they've won three of their past four games. Anaheim is coming off a 4-3 road OT win over the Blue Jackets on Monday. Chris Pronger has the game-winning goal in that extended contest, Ryan Getzlaf had two assists, and J-S Giguere saved 32 of 35 shots.

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Hockey Today - Wednesday, Dec. 12
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD Wednesday, Dec. 12

N.Y. Rangers at Washington (7 p.m. EST). The Capitals are 5-3-1 since Bruce Boudreau took over as interim coach on Nov. 22.

STARS Tuesday

-Joffrey Lupul and R.J. Umberger, Flyers. Lupul had a hat trick and six points and Umberger also scored three goals to lift Philadelphia to an 8-2 win over Pittsburgh.

-Shawn Horcoff, Oilers, had a goal and an assist and scored the only goal in three rounds of a shootout to help Edmonton beat St. Louis 5-4.

-Steve Bernier and Evgeni Nabokov, Sharks. Bernier scored two goals and Nabokov made 36 saves in San Jose's 4-1 win over Minnesota.

FLYING HIGH

Philadelphia's Joffrey Lupul had a hat trick and three assists in an 8-2 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night to record the first six-point game for a Flyer since Eric Lindros on March 1, 1997, against Toronto. R.J. Umberger also scored three times and the Flyers had two players with a hat trick in the same game for the first time since Tim Kerr and Dave Poulin against the Islanders on Dec. 18, 1986.

SNAPPED

Philadelphia ended a five-game home losing streak with an 8-2 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. The loss ended Pittsburgh's four-game win streak. ... St. Louis' six-game home winning streak ended with a 5-4 shootout loss to Edmonton.

RETURN

Calgary's 2-1 shootout win over Florida on Tuesday night marked the return of Mike Keenan to South Florida. Keenan coached the Panthers for two-plus seasons from 2001-02 until being fired in December of 2003. He served as Florida's general manager in 2005-06.

SLUMPING

Montreal lost 3-2 to Tampa Bay in a shootout Tuesday night and has lost six straight at home. The Canadiens have lost six of eight overall (2-4-2).

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Doug Weight had two goals and an assist in St. Louis' 5-4 loss to Edmonton.

SPEAKING

''Are we talking about the same team that got five guys suspended this year? Is that the same team?'' - Pittsburgh coach Michael Therrien after the Penguins and Flyers combined for 156 penalty minutes in Philadelphia's 8-2 win Tuesday night.

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Wednesday's NHL matchup notes
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Boston Bruins at Atlanta Thrashers

This is the first meeting of the season between these clubs and Atlanta has won the last six.

Colorado Avalanche at Columbus Blue Jackets

Colorado has dominated the series since the Blue Jackets entered the league in 2000, going 22-2-1 with one tie. The Avalanche have outscored Columbus 101-40 in those 26 games.

New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres

Goaltender Ryan Miller has struggled lately against the Islanders, going 1-3-0 with a 4.57 GAA in his last four starts.

New York Rangers at Washington Capitals

Henrik Lundqvist is 7-2-0 with a 2.26 GAA in nine career games against the Capitals, including a 31-save performance on Nov. 1.

Ottawa Senators at Carolina Hurricanes

The Senators lost 5-3 to Carolina on Oct. 11, Ottawa's only defeat in its first 14 games of the season.

Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks

Since Feb. 18, 1997, Nikolai Khabibulin is 15-5-0 with a 1.81 GAA and six shutouts against Los Angeles.

Vancouver Canucks at Anaheim Ducks

Vancouver has won four of its last six visits to the Honda Center.

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Canadiens center out six weeks with sprained knee
ASSOCIATED PRESS

MONTREAL -- Center Bryan Smolinski will be out for six weeks after spraining his right knee against Boston on Dec. 6.

Winger Steve Begin, who separated his left shoulder in the same game, will also miss two to three weeks, the team said Tuesday.

Both players missed the Canadiens' 5-1 loss to Carolina on Sunday, and were out of the lineup Tuesday against Tampa Bay.

Goalie Cristobal Huet is also out because of a pulled groin, but is expected back on Saturday.

Forward Mikhail Grabovski, sent down to AHL Hamilton last week, sprained his right ankle in a game against Binghamton on Dec. 7 and is out indefinitely.

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Boston Bruins vs. Atlanta Thrashers

- The Boston Bruins and the Atlanta Thrashers will both be gunning for a victory on Wednesday when they meet at Philips Arena.

Alex Auld made 44 saves and the Bruins scored three goals in the first period Monday, as they defeated the Sabres 4-1 as +150 road underdogs. The five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Marc Savard, P.J. Axelsson, Peter Schaefer and Glen Metroplit scored for the Bruins. Milan Lucic pocketed two assists in the win.

The Thrashers were doubled 6-3 by the Capitals last time out, as +105 underdogs. The nine goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Todd White scored two goals, and Bobby Holik had the other Thrashers goal. Kari Lehtonen allowed six goals off 27 shots.

Current streak:
Boston has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Boston: 16-10-3
Atlanta: 14-14-1

Boston most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 3-7
Before playing Ottawa are 3-7
After playing Buffalo are 5-5
After a win are 4-6

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 4-6
Before playing NY Rangers are 4-6
After playing Washington are 4-6
After a loss are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Boston's last 5 games on the road
Boston is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Boston's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Boston's last 9 games when playing Atlanta
Atlanta is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Boston
Atlanta is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing at home against Boston
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Atlanta's last 6 games when playing at home against Boston
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Atlanta's last 9 games when playing Boston

Next up:
Boston home to New Jersey, Thursday, December 13
Atlanta home to Toronto, Friday, December 14

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New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals

- The fans at Verizon Center will be treated to a game between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals when they take their seats on Wednesday.

The Rangers lost to New Jersey 1-0 in overtime as a -140 favorite last time out. The one goal scored fell UNDER the posted over/under total (5).

Brendan Shanahan scored in overtime for the Rangers, while Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 17 shots he faced to earn the shutout win.

The Capitals carried a two-goal lead into the final period Monday, and held off a late attack to earn a 3-2 victory over the Devils. The Capitals won the game as -115 favorites, and the five goals were a PUSH against the posted over/under (5).

Nicklas Backstrom, Jeff Schultz and Quintin Laing had the goals, and Olaf Kolzig made 20 saves for the win.

Current streak:
Washington has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
New York: 16-12-2
Washington: 11-17-2

New York most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 6-4
Before playing Florida are 7-3
After playing New Jersey are 4-6
After a win are 6-4

Washington most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 1-8-1
Before playing Calgary are 5-5
After playing New Jersey are 4-4-1
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
NY Rangers are 6-1 SU in their last 7 games when playing Washington
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the NY Rangers last 5 games when playing Washington
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the NY Rangers last 5 games when playing on the road against Washington
NY Rangers are 6-2 SU in their last 8 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Washington's last 5 games when playing NY Rangers
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Washington's last 5 games when playing at home against NY Rangers
Washington is 8-3 SU in their last 11 games when playing at home against NY Rangers
Washington is 6-13 SU in its last 19 games

Next up:
NY Rangers home to Phoenix, Sunday, December 16
Washington home to Buffalo, Friday, December 14

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New York Islanders vs. Buffalo Sabres

- The New York Islanders and the Buffalo Sabres will both be gunning for a victory on Wednesday when they meet at HSBC Arena.

Mike Sillinger scored at 4:32 of overtime to lead the Islanders to a 3-2 win over the Lightning last time out, as +155 underdogs. The five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Bill Guerin and Andy Hilbert had the other goals in regulation for the Islanders, and Rick DiPietro made 29 saves for the win.

The Sabres were upset 4-1 by the Bruins last time out, as -170 favorites. The five goals were UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Jaroslav Spacek scored on the power play for the only Sabres goal.

Team records:
New York: 14-12-2
Buffalo: 13-14-1

New York most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 4-6
Before playing New Jersey are 6-4
After playing Tampa Bay are 7-3
After a win are 5-5

Buffalo most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 4-6
Before playing Colorado are 6-4
After playing Boston are 5-5
After a loss are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 13 of the NY Islanders last 16 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of the NY Islanders last 9 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the NY Islanders last 6 games when playing on the road against Buffalo
NY Islanders are 4-11 SU in their last 15 games when playing Buffalo
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Buffalo's last 5 games at home
Buffalo is 6-2 SU in their last 8 games when playing at home against NY Islanders
Buffalo is 11-4 SU in their last 15 games when playing NY Islanders
Buffalo is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games at home

Next up:
NY Islanders home to Phoenix, Thursday, December 13
Buffalo at Washington, Friday, December 14

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Ottawa Senators vs. Carolina Hurricanes

- The Ottawa Senators and the Carolina Hurricanes will both be trying to pick up a win on Wednesday when they battle at RBC Center.

Ottawa's Antoine Vermette had a goal and an assist in Friday's 4-2 win at Dallas, coming in as -125 road favorites. The six goals scored were OVER The posted total of 5.5.

Chris Kelly also had a goal and an assist, and Ray Emery made 23 saves for the Senators.

The Hurricanes lost to Detroit 5-2 as a +200 underdog last time out. The seven goals scored went OVER the posted over/under total (5.5).

Erik Cole scored both of Carolina's goals in the loss, while Cam Ward stopped 33 of the 38 shots that he faced.

Current streak:
Ottawa has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Ottawa: 18-7-3
Carolina: 16-12-3

Ottawa most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 7-3
Before playing Boston are 8-2
After playing Dallas are 6-6-1
After a win are 7-3

Carolina most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 6-3-1
Before playing Boston are 5-5
After playing Detroit are 2-2-1
After a loss are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Ottawa's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Ottawa's last 6 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Ottawa's last 6 games when playing on the road against Carolina
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Ottawa's last 5 games when playing Carolina
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Carolina's last 6 games when playing at home against Ottawa
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Carolina's last 5 games when playing Ottawa
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Carolina's last 10 games
Carolina is 5-13-3 SU in its last 21 games when playing Ottawa

Next up:
Ottawa at Pittsburgh, Thursday, December 13
Carolina home to Calgary, Friday, December 14

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Colorado Avalanche vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

- The Colorado Avalanche and the Columbus Blue Jackets will both be trying to pick up a win on Wednesday when they battle at Nationwide Arena.

The Avalanche defeated St. Louis 9-5 as a -140 favorite last time out. The combined score went OVER the posted over/under total (5.5).

Milan Hejduk had three goals and three assists for Colorado and Paul Stastny had two goals and three assists in the win.

The Blue Jackets lost 4-3 to the Ducks in OT on Monday, as -115 favorites. The seven goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5).

Rostislav Klesla, Kris Beech and Nikolai Zherdev answered for the Blue Jackets in the loss.

Current streak:
Colorado has won 2 straight games.
Columbus has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Colorado: 16-12-1
Columbus: 13-11-6

Colorado most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 3-7
Before playing Buffalo are 8-8-1
After playing St. Louis are 6-4
After a win are 4-6

Columbus most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 3-7
Before playing Boston are 1-5
After playing Anaheim are 3-7
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
Colorado is 21-3-1 SU in its last 25 games when playing Columbus
Colorado is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Columbus
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Colorado's last 10 games when playing Columbus
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Colorado's last 6 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Columbus's last 10 games when playing Colorado
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Columbus's last 9 games
Columbus is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games at home
Columbus is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games

Next up:
Colorado at Nashville, Thursday, December 13
Columbus at Boston, Saturday, December 15

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Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks

- The Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks will both be gunning for a victory on Wednesday when they meet at United Center.

The slumping Kings picked up a 4-2 win over the rising Canucks last time out, as +120 underdogs. The six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Brad Stuart, Anze Kopitar, Derek Armstrong and Dustin Brown each scored for the Kings, while Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 26 saves for the win.

The Blackhawks lost to Calgary 3-2 as a +105 underdog last time out. The five goals scored caused this game to be a PUSH on the posted over/under total (5).

Robert Lang and Dustin Byfuglien each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks in the loss.

Current streak:
Chicago has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
Los Angeles: 12-16-2
Chicago: 14-13-2

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 5-5
Before playing Dallas are 3-7
After playing Vancouver are 4-6
After a win are 3-7

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 5-5
Before playing Edmonton are 5-5
After playing Calgary are 3-7
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Los Angeles's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Los Angeles's last 5 games when playing on the road against Chicago
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Los Angeles's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Los Angeles's last 10 games when playing Chicago
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Chicago's last 5 games when playing at home against Los Angeles
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Chicago's last 10 games when playing Los Angeles
Chicago is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing Los Angeles
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Chicago's last 9 games at home

Next up:
Los Angeles at Dallas, Thursday, December 13
Chicago at Buffalo, Saturday, December 15

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Vancouver Canucks vs. Anaheim Ducks

- The Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks will both be gunning for a victory on Wednesday when they meet at Honda Center.

The Canucks were tamed 4-2 by the Kings on Monday, as -140 favorites. The six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

Taylor Pyatt and Alexander Edler scored in the loss.

Chris Pronger scored the overtime winner on the power play on Monday, as the Ducks got past the Blue Jackets 4-3. The Ducks won the game as a +105 road underdog, while the seven goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (5).

Corey Perry had a pair of power play goals in regulation, while Samuel Pahlsson had the other marker on a penalty shot. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 32 saves for his 12th victory of the season.

Current streak:
Vancouver has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Vancouver: 16-11-3
Anaheim: 15-13-4

Vancouver most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 8-2
Before playing San Jose are 5-5
After playing Los Angeles are 6-4
After a loss are 7-3

Anaheim most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 6-4
Before playing Minnesota are 7-3
After playing Columbus are 8-2
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Vancouver's last 14 games when playing on the road against Anaheim
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Vancouver's last 9 games
Vancouver is 7-9-6 SU in its last 22 games when playing on the road against Anaheim
Vancouver is 3-10 SU in its last 13 games when playing Anaheim
Anaheim is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games when playing Vancouver
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Anaheim's last 14 games when playing at home against Vancouver
Anaheim is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Vancouver
Anaheim is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games at home

Next up:
Vancouver at San Jose, Thursday, December 13
Anaheim home to Minnesota, Friday, December 14

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Manny Legace's comments on injured knee surprise Blues' front office
December 12, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) -St. Louis Blues goalie Manny Legace surprised the franchise's front office Tuesday, saying he'll probably need additional surgery on his right knee after the season.
Coach Andy Murray said Legace's remarks after the morning skate prior to the Blues' 5-4 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers were the first he's heard on the topic. Legace is on injured reserve after hurting the knee again and has missed four games, but anticipates being activated on Wednesday.

Murray said team doctors have discussed another operation as an option, but not as a certainty.

``To be honest with you guys, I have to say I heard that for the first time tonight,'' Murray said. ``I have no idea what Manny was talking about.

``It's possible he could require some minor surgery, but I don't know where Manny was coming from.''

Team president John Davidson also said Legace's comments came as a surprise to him.

``I would think that at the end of the season, he'd re-evaluate the situation and see if he needs surgery or not,'' Davidson said. ``As far as I know, I don't think there's anything in stone.

``Manny said what he said. If he thinks at the end of the year he'll need surgery, he'll have surgery.''

The 34-year-old Legace missed the final 25 games last season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage and had another operation on the knee in the summer of 2006. He's 11-6-1 with a 2.22 goals-against average.

Legace is wearing a knee brace to reduce wear and tear and believes he can make it through the season. He's in the first year of a two-year, $4.3 million contract.

``You bang it, you ice it, it goes down the next day and you're perfectly fine,'' Legace said. ``It's just getting the swelling out. This is the worst it's going to be.''

He anticipates an operation to remove additional cartilage damage and a series of injections to cushion the knee also might be likely.

``The cartilage probably wore away to the bone,'' Legace said. ``If it wasn't for these braces, I don't think I could play.''

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Penguins' Fleury has ankle injury, may not return until mid-February
December 12, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, unbeaten the last three weeks, has a badly sprained ankle that will keep him out of the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup for up to two months.

Penguins forward Maxime Talbot has a similar injury and may be out a month. Both Fleury and Talbot were examined Wednesday by a team doctor after the Penguins returned from an eight-day road trip.

Fleury and Talbot have a more severe type of sprain that occurs in the ligaments of the upper ankle and takes longer to heal than a normal sprain. The team said the minimum Fleury will be out is six weeks, or until late January.

Losing Fleury and Talbot for an extended stretch is a major setback for the Penguins, who made the playoffs for the first time in six years last season but have hovered around the .500 mark this season. They take a 15-13-2 record into Thursday night's home game against Ottawa.

The injuries occurred during what traditionally is one of the busiest stretches of the season, with Thursday's game being the Penguins' sixth in 11 days. Even if Fleury can return in late January, he would miss 19 games - nearly one-quarter of the schedule.

Coach Michel Therrien does not expect the club to add another goaltender, which means the Penguins will go with former Vancouver backup Dany Sabourin as their starter.

Until losing Tuesday, the Penguins were coming off a franchise-first three-game sweep of Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver during a western Canada swing and had won seven of eight.

Sabourin, at least statistically, has played better than Fleury this season, but Sabourin was pulled after allowing five goals in two periods of an 8-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. He is 6-5-1 with a 2.50 goals-against average.

Fleury is 9-8-1 with two shutouts and a 2.90 goals-against average, but had begun playing much better before getting hurt early in the first period of a 3-2 shootout victory in Calgary last Thursday.

The 23-year-old Fleury - the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft - has won his last four starts, allowing only four goals and making 84 saves. He hasn't lost since Nov. 21. Fleury's recent play was a turnaround from a mid-November slump in which he lost four consecutive decisions and gave up 19 goals in four-plus games.

Fleury had a breakthrough season a year ago, going 40-16-9 after previously winning only 17 of his first 71 NHL games. He tied with Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff for third place among NHL goalies with 40 wins and trailed only Martin Brodeur (48 wins) of New Jersey and Roberto Luongo (47 wins) of Vancouver.

Talbot has seven goals and four assists in 24 games, with a plus-four rating that ties with Ryan Malone as the highest among the Penguins' forwards - even though Talbot usually plays on the fourth line.

Talbot had two goals in four games beginning Dec. 3 after being out for five games with the same type of ankle injury he has now.

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Jackets activate center Novotny after 8 game absence
ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets activated center Jiri Novotny off injured reserve on Wednesday after he missed eight games with a concussion.

Novotny suffered a concussion in the 4-0 win at Minnesota on Nov. 23. Novotny collided with the Wild's Aaron Voros as Voros left the penalty box.

The 24-year-old Novotny has four goals and six assists in 22 games this season.

The native of Czech Republic has 12 goals and 20 assists in 104 career NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals and Blue Jackets. He signed as free agent with Columbus last summer.

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