Hockey Today - December 16

Hockey Today - December 16

Hockey Today - December 16
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD Sunday, Dec. 16

Phoenix at N.Y. Rangers (5 p.m. EST). Wayne Gretzky, who finished his remarkable career with the Rangers in 1999, makes his first New York appearance behind the bench, coaching the Coyotes against his former team.

STARS

- Alexei Ponikarovsky, Maple Leafs, scored twice with an assist in Toronto's 4-0 win over Atlanta.

- Brian Rolston, Wild, had a goal and two assists as Minnesota downed Anaheim 5-2.

- Dion Phaneuf, Flames, scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and added an assist to lead Calgary past Carolina 4-3.

SHUTOUT

Goalie Vesa Toskala continued his hot streak with 24 saves as Toronto blanked Atlanta 4-0 on Friday night. Toskala, who posted his second shutout of the season and eighth of his career, improved to 6-1 in his last seven games, a stretch that began with a 4-2 win in Atlanta on Nov. 29.

GOING WILD

Minnesota, averaging just 2.43 goals, snapped out of a scoring slump Friday night with a 5-2 victory over Anaheim. The Wild, who had scored just four times in their previous four games and no more than two goals in any of their past six, went 4-for-4 on power play opportunities in the second period, the first two coming after a 4-minute high-sticking penalty against Chris Kunitz, the other two after receiving a two-man advantage.

SWAPPED

Anaheim traded forward Andy McDonald to St. Louis Thursday, freeing up cap space for the return of defenseman Scott Niedermayer. McDonald, in the second year of a $10 million, three-year contract, was dealt to the Blues in exchange for center Doug Weight, left wing prospect Michal Birner and a seventh-round pick in the 2008 entry draft.

SPEAKING

''I don't think we've ever had the same problem. Hockey players have been tested for many years in international play. It's simply not part of their culture. And we have tested NHL players up to three times a year since January 2006 and obviously have not had many issues other than one failed test.'' - NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly on the use of performance-enhancing drugs among hockey players.

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Re: Hockey Today - December 16

Sunday's NHL matchup notes
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

Philadelphia at New Jersey

Martin Brodeur is 12-1-1 in his last 14 starts against Philadelphia and has beaten the Flyers 38 times in his career.

Phoenix at NY Rangers

New York has won three straight against the Coyotes, but the teams have played only once since 2003, with the Rangers winning 7-3 on the road on Oct. 28, 2006. The Phoenix franchise is just 1-8-1 in its last 10 games at Madison Square Garden, dating to 1991, when the team was still the Winnipeg Jets.

Calgary at St. Louis

The Blues and the Flames have split their first two meetings this season with each team winning at home. St. Louis' victory last month snapped a seven-game losing streak to Calgary.

Florida at Chicago

The Panthers snapped an eight-game winless streak with a 4-3 victory over the Blackhawks on Dec. 3, 2005, in the most recent meeting between the teams.

San Jose at Anaheim

The Ducks have won both meetings with San Jose this season in shootouts.

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Ducks return Scott Niedermayer to active roster
ASSOCIATED PRESS

ANAHEIM, Calif.  -- The Ducks added Scott Niedermayer to their active roster Saturday, clearing the way for the defenseman's expected return against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

Niedermayer had been suspended since the season started while he pondered retirement. The 34-year-old Stanley Cup MVP announced his impending return Dec. 5.

He helped the Ducks win their first Cup championship last season, when he became the first Anaheim player to lead NHL defensemen in scoring with 15 goals and 54 assists during the regular season.

The Ducks traded Andy McDonald to St. Louis on Friday, freeing up enough money under the salary cap to active Niedermayer. McDonald was in the second year of a three-year, $10 million contract.

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Re: Hockey Today - December 16

Gratton, Ouellet join Tampa Bay's growing injury list
ASSOCIATED PRESS

TAMPA, Fla. -- Center Chris Gratton and right wing Michel Ouellet have joined the Tampa Bay Lightning's growing list of injured players.

The team said Saturday that Gratton will be sidelined two weeks because of a hip injury. Ouellet dislocated his left shoulder Thursday night in a 9-6 loss to Calgary and is expected to miss four to six weeks.

The Lightning also are playing without top defenseman Dan Boyle (wrist surgery), team captain Tim Taylor (hip surgery) and center Ryan Craig (knee). All three are out indefinitely.

Blair Jones, recalled from Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Friday, and Craig MacDonald will likely fill in for Gratton and Ouellet.

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Canadiens return Halak to Hamilton
ASSOCIATED PRESS

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens assigned goalie Jaroslav Halak to the minors Saturday after Cristobal Huet was cleared to return to action.

Halak, who was recalled on Dec. 3, made one appearance during his backup stint behind rookie Carey Price while Huet was sidelined by a groin injury.

The 22-year-old Slovak allowed one goal on seven shots a week earlier when he replaced Price for the third period of Montreal's 5-1 loss to Carolina.

Huet, who hadn't played since he injured himself in a 5-4 shootout loss to Nashville on Dec. 1, dressed for Saturday's game against Toronto after missing five games.

The Canadiens went on to win the game.

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