Hockey Today - Jan. 4

Hockey Today - Jan. 4

Avalanche's Smyth out up to eight weeks with broken ankle
ASSOCIATED PRESS

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth has a broken right ankle and will miss up to eight weeks, the latest blow to a team that already lost captain Joe Sakic to injury.

Smyth was hurt during Colorado's 4-3 overtime loss at Phoenix on Monday. The club said Thursday the fracture was discovered during a follow-up MRI.

Smyth has 28 points, third-best on the team, with 11 goals and 17 assists in 36 games.

Sakic, who underwent hernia surgery Dec. 28, is expected to be out eight to 12 weeks.

Defenseman Kurt Sauer (neck) and center Tyler Arnason (wrist) are also on injured reserve. Arnason is expected to join the Avalanche on their upcoming five-game road trip.

''Arnie has been skating and progressing well,'' coach Joel Quenneville said before Wednesday's 5-2 loss to Phoenix.

Colorado recently recalled rookie T.J. Hensick from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League to add some offensive punch. It's his second stint with the Avalanche this season. He has one goal and two assists in 12 games with Colorado.

''I'm glad to be back,'' Hensick said. ''If I play at a consistent level, I can play in this league.''

Quenneville is hoping Hensick can ease the loss of Smyth.

''He's a guy who can help us,'' Quenneville said.

The Avalanche have lost four straight games, including three at home.

Colorado forward Ian Laperriere said Wednesday it will be a challenge to make up for the losses of Smyth and Sakic.

''You need more than one (person) to step up to fill the void,'' Laperriere said. ''It takes a team effort.''

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Blue Jackets activate Peca, place Vyborny on IR
ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Blue Jackets activated center Michael Peca off injured reserve and placed right wing David Vyborny on the injured list Thursday.

Peca, 33, was available to return to the lineup for Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Kings in Los Angeles. He was sidelined since Dec. 23 and missed the past five games.

In 25 games this season, Peca has two goals and 12 assists.

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Friday's NHL matchup notes
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Philadelphia at New Jersey

New Jersey is 13-1-1 in the past 15 regular season meetings with the Flyers. Philadelphia is 0-8-2 on the road against the Devils since a 3-1 victory on March 9, 2004.

Ottawa at Buffalo

The Senators lead this season's series 2-1-0, including a 5-3 victory at Buffalo on Dec. 26 that snapped the Sabres' six-game win streak.

Carolina at Atlanta

Atlanta has since won the last two meetings, including a 3-0 win on Nov. 16 as Kovalchuk had two points.

Chicago at Anaheim

The Ducks look to win their fourth straight over Chicago (19-17-3) and 10th in their last 11 meetings.

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Toews joins the Hawks' walking wounded

Has MRI on knee, may miss 2-4 weeks

LOS ANGELES -- You know it's a bad night when being pummeled 9-2 isn't the worst thing that happened.

For the Blackhawks, their disastrous start of this week's West Coast trip not only began with the shellacking the Los Angeles Kings administered Tuesday night, but they lost star rookie Jonathan Toews to a knee injury in the process.

Toews, the Hawks' third-leading scorer with 15 goals and 17 assists, was to return Wednesday to Chicago to have an MRI on his left knee after the center injured his MCL during the first period Tuesday.

"I was chasing the puck around in a couple of different directions … and I just tried to change directions too quickly. My leg gave in a little bit," Toews said. "I just have to be optimistic about my situation and do what I can to get back as soon as I can."

Hawks coach Denis Savard said the doctors in Los Angeles believe it's a second degree strain, saying Toews could be out "two to four weeks, but we'll find out a little more this week."

The depleted Hawks placed Toews on the injured list, where he joined seven teammates: Kevyn Adams (knee), Jason Williams (groin), Martin Havlat (groin), Dave Bolland (finger), Brent Sopel (finger), Ben Eager (concussion) and James Wisniewski (knee).

The Hawks recalled winger Kris Versteeg from Rockford of the American Hockey League, where he had nine goals and 20 assists in 30 games. Savard is hopeful Havlat and Williams can return for Sunday night's game against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center.

The Hawks have 131 total man-games lost thus far after having 345 last season.

tribune.com

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Philadelphia Flyers vs. New Jersey Devils

- The Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils will meet on the ice at Prudential Center on Friday in a battle of division rivals.

The Flyers defeated Florida 1-0 as a +125 underdog last time out. The one goal scored fell UNDER the posted over/under total (5.5).

Antero Niittymaki stopped all 38 shots to earn the shutout for Philadelphia, while Derian Hatcher scored the Flyers' lone goal.

Jamie Langenbrunner scored a goal and picked up an assist as the Devils slipped past the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Wednesday night.

The Devils cashed as -170 home favorites as the teams' 5-goal total resulted in a push on the listed over/under.

Current streak:
Philadelphia has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
Philadelphia: 19-14-4
New Jersey: 22-14-3

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-6-1
Before playing Tampa Bay are 6-4
After playing Florida are 5-5
After a win are 3-7

New Jersey most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Buffalo are 9-1
After playing Florida are 7-3
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Philadelphia's last 11 games when playing on the road against New Jersey
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 7 games on the road
Philadelphia is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 6 games
New Jersey is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
New Jersey is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games at home
New Jersey is 13-2 SU in its last 15 games when playing Philadelphia
New Jersey is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games

Next up:
Philadelphia at Toronto, Saturday, January 5
New Jersey at Boston, Saturday, January 5

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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Atlanta Thrashers

- The Carolina Hurricanes and the Atlanta Thrashers will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at Philips Arena.

Eric Staal, Ray Whitney, and Erik Cole all had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes in their 5-4 overtime loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday night.

The Thrashers upset the Canes as +140 road underdogs as the game played over the 6-goal total posted by books.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal and assisted on three more to lead the Thrashers over the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday night.

The Thrashers upset the Canes as +140 road underdogs as the game played over the 6-goal total posted by books.

Current streak:
Carolina has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Carolina: 20-18-4
Atlanta: 20-20-1

Carolina most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-6-1
Before playing Boston are 5-5
After playing Atlanta are 7-3
After a loss are 6-4

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing NY Rangers are 4-6
After playing Carolina are 8-2
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Carolina is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Atlanta
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Carolina's last 7 games when playing Atlanta
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Carolina's last 7 games on the road
Carolina is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Atlanta is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home
Atlanta is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Carolina
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Atlanta's last 7 games when playing Carolina
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta's last 6 games at home

Next up:
Carolina at St. Louis, Saturday, January 5
Atlanta home to Buffalo, Sunday, January 6

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Ottawa Senators vs. Buffalo Sabres

- The Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres will meet on the ice at HSBC Arena on Friday in a battle of division rivals.

The Senators were upset 6-3 by the Capitals last time out, as -170 road favorites. The nine goals sailed OVER the posted over/under (6).

Chris Neil, Dean McAmmond and Andrej Meszaros replied for the Senators. Ray Emery replaced starter Martin Gerber and stopped 15-of-17 shots in the loss.

The Sabres fell 2-1 in a shootout to the Penguins at the outdoor classic last time out, as -145 favorites. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under (5.5).

Brian Campbell scored the Sabres marker, and Ryan Miller stopped 24 shots in a losing effort.

Current streak:
Ottawa has lost 2 straight games.
Buffalo has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
Ottawa: 25-10-4
Buffalo: 19-16-3

Ottawa most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Boston are 8-2
After playing Washington are 4-6
After a loss are 2-8

Buffalo most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Colorado are 6-4
After playing Pittsburgh are 8-2
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Ottawa's last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Ottawa's last 6 games when playing on the road against Buffalo
Ottawa is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Buffalo
Ottawa is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Buffalo's last 6 games when playing at home against Ottawa
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Buffalo's last 8 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Buffalo's last 6 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Buffalo's last 6 games when playing Ottawa

Next up:
Ottawa home to Tampa Bay, Saturday, January 5
Buffalo at Atlanta, Sunday, January 6

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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks

- The Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks will both be gunning for a victory on Friday when they meet at Honda Center.

The Blackhawks were doubled 4-2 by the Coyotes last time out, as +120 underdogs. The Blackhawks won the game as -140 favorites, while the six goals made it OVER the posted over/under (5.5).

am Barker and Kris Versteeg had the goals for the Blackhawks.

Chris Pronger and Ryan Getzlaf each had a goal and an assist to lead the Ducks to a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.

The Ducks cashed as -187 home favorites as the game played under the 5-goal total listed by oddsmakers.

Current streak:
Chicago has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Chicago: 19-17-3
Anaheim: 20-17-5

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Friday are 1-7-2
Before playing Edmonton are 6-4
After playing Phoenix are 2-8
After a loss are 3-7

Anaheim most recently:
When playing on Friday are 6-4
Before playing Phoenix are 4-6
After playing Columbus are 8-2
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Chicago's last 7 games
Chicago is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games on the road
Chicago is 1-8-2 SU in its last 11 games when playing on the road against Anaheim
Chicago is 1-10 SU in its last 11 games when playing Anaheim
Anaheim is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games when playing Chicago
Anaheim is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Chicago
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Anaheim's last 8 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Anaheim's last 8 games

Next up:
Chicago home to Detroit, Sunday, January 6
Anaheim at Phoenix, Saturday, January 5

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Islanders lose, DiPietro faces suspension

Rick DiPietro's return could be short-lived. In last night's 4-3 overtime loss to the Panthers, the Islanders goaltender - back after missing three games with a sprained left knee - played the first period with pads not inspected by the league and could face a two-game suspension.

Goalie equipment must be inspected and approved by the NHL before it can be used in a game. Using illegal or uninspected equipment results in an automatic two-game suspension for the player and fines of $25,000 for the team and $1,000 for the equipment manager.

"I got those pads a week before I got hurt, started wearing them and breaking them in and started using them in the game today," said DiPietro, who wore the new white pads in the warm-ups and changed to his old ones after the first period after a phone call from league officials in Toronto. "Usually before I get them, they've been sent to the league. I guess it's my fault, but I was under the impression that they'd been approved."

Sometime before the game, Islanders equipment manager Scott Boggs called Kay Whitmore, who oversees goaltender equipment issues for the league, and apparently believed they were up to code, DiPietro said.

"I thought we did the right thing," he said. "Once we found out after warm-up that they hadn't been approved, we called and let them know and made sure they were legal and everything measured out fine, so it's their call. We called and told them. I'm not trying to sneak anything by Kris King [who oversees equipment issues] or anybody."

During the first period, television broadcasters mentioned that the pads looked bigger, and league officials watching in Toronto stepped in. "The ref had come in and told [Boggs] and he told me," DiPietro said, "so I had to switch to the old ones."

Coach Ted Nolan said he found out about the problem when he "got a phone call after the first period." He deferred other questions to general manager Garth Snow. "The only thing I can say is Garth is going to be in discussion with the league," Nolan said.

Snow spoke briefly with NHL executive Colin Campbell last night, the team said, and the talks will continue today.

The Panthers scored three times in the second period for a 3-2 lead, but DiPietro said neither the change nor his knee affected him. The Islanders tied it at 3 with 5:19 left when Bill Guerin rifled a wrister past goaltender Craig Anderson on a rush off a backhanded feed by Mike Sillinger, his third point of the game. But Jassen Cullimore's knuckler from between the blue line and the left circle went over DiPietro's left shoulder at 1:33 of OT.

Nathan Horton, an Islanders menace, scored twice for the Panthers and added an assist. Horton had a power-play goal in a win over the Islanders last month and has four goals and four assists in a five-game point streak at the Coliseum.

The right wing opened the scoring when he scooped up the puck along the left boards, skated alone into the slot and rifled a shot between DiPietro's pads that rolled across the goal line 50 seconds into the second period. The Panthers took a 3-2 lead when Horton scored his 12th goal, wristing a bullet from the left circle over DiPietro's left shoulder 16 seconds after Mike Comrie took a penalty.

The Islanders caught a break when Panthers coach Jacques Martin sat No. 1 goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who had beaten the Islanders five straight times, registering a 0.98 GAA and two shutouts, and started Anderson, a 26-year-old former Blackhawk.

With Florida leading 2-1, Anderson's blunder helped the Islanders tie it. His clearing attempt hit Sillinger in the right leg, and Sillinger leaned around a Florida defender to flip the puck into the open net at 11:37. Sillinger missed Monday's game with a sore hip flexor.

Meanwhile, DiPietro ended the night with an ice pack on his left knee while speaking with "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak, who attended the game with his son. The next turn of DiPietro's wheel could be determined today.

newsday.com

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