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Raanta will take on Sharks in his Rangers debut


The New York Rangers went into the season with plans of limiting Henrik Lundqvist to about 60 games, but that will likely only happen if Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is comfortable with backup goaltender Antti Raanta.

The 26-year-old netminder will get his first chance to build that level of trust tonight as the Rangers have confirmed that Raanta will make his season debut against the San Jose Sharks.

Raanta will be tasked with filling the void left by Cam Talbot, who for two years was a superb understudy for Lundqvist. Talbot also played a key role last season after Lundqvist suffered a vascular injury in his neck that sidelined him for most of February and March.

The Rangers’ new backup goaltender had a superb 1.89 GAA and .936 save percentage in 14 contests with Chicago in 2014-15, but he still lost the backup job to Scott Darling. That was trying for Raanta and led to a report from the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat that he hoped Nashville would sweep the Blackhawks in the first round. While he later denied making that comment, the interviewer said that it’s on tape, but that the quote lacked context.

Regardless, this is a fresh start for Raanta and an opportunity for him to play an important part on another team that’s regarded as a serious Stanley Cup contender.

San Jose will counter with the red hot Martin Jones, per CSN Bay Area.

Rozsival might rejoin ‘Hawks in a few weeks

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Michal Rozsival‘s long recovery from a broken ankle is nearing its end, but there’s still more work to be done before he can rejoin the Chicago Blackhawks.

Although he was able to take part in Chicago’s morning skate on Saturday, he only has about 85 percent of his original range of motion in his left ankle. The 37-year-old defenseman opened the campaign on the long-term injured reserve list, which a player must stay on for at least 24 days and 10 games, but he’s likely to remain on it for more than the minimum.

“I can’t tell you how long but it’s definitely not ready now. It may be a few more weeks before I can actually go out and play an NHL game,” Rozsival told CSN Chicago.

Still, he’s made significant strides since reporting to training camp. At the time he had swelling in his ankle and the area was stiff.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ defensive depth was dealt a significant blow when Rozsival broke his ankle in Game 4 of the second round on May 7. He underwent surgery less than a week later.

He agreed to a one-year extension in September that comes with a base salary of $600K and can pay him an additional $200K in performance bonuses, per General Fanager)

Where does Backstrom’s return leave Burakovsky?

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Andre Burakovsky began the 2015-16 campaign as Washington’s second-line center, but he was just there to help fill the void left by Nicklas Backstrom. So now that Backstrom has returned from his hip surgery, where does that leave Burakovsky?

With the Capitals third line clicking, Burakovsky went all the way down to the fourth line on Saturday. The 20-year-old isn’t likely to remain in that role and in fact might not have regular linemates for a while.

“Bert’s pretty good offensively,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Post. “He could move up a little bit, but he’s going to be a little bit of a swing guy probably for a little bit here. When I’m looking for a little more speed or offense, I’ll probably be throwing him up.”

He might specifically find himself getting the odd shift alongside Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin in place of T.J. Oshie, who Trotz wants to be careful about overworking given the fact that Oshie also logs big minutes in penalty killing and power-play situations.

While Burakovsky began the season as a center, that’s not his natural position and occasionally filling in for a right winger like Oshie would likely be more in his comfort zone. Not that Burakovsky is likely to be particular as he tries to claw his way up the depth charts.

“That’s something I’m trying to fight for every day, to get up in the lines a little bit here,” Burakovsky said. “Obviously, now it’s fun to have [center Chandler Stephenson] on my line, the two youngest guys on the team playing together, so that’s kind of fun. But obviously, I want to get up in the lines here and play with the top-six guys here.”

PHT Morning Skate: Avs unveil fan voted 20th anniversary team

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

As part of the Colorado Avalanche’s celebration for their 20th anniversary season (not including their time as the Quebec Nordiques), the team held a fan vote to assemble the franchise’s all-time roster. (Avalanche.nhl.com)

The Toronto Maple Leafs might not have a great record, but there have been some early season positives. (Toronto Sun)

Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz is “curious” to watch Connor McDavid. Washington will play Edmonton on Friday. (CSN Mid-Atlnatic)

Here’s a recap of what happened this weekend in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. (Puck Daddy)

Do the Ottawa Senators have an offensive depth problem? (Ottawa Citizen)

Patric Hornqvist is upbeat about the Pittsburgh Penguins’ work with the man advantage, even if it hasn’t produced results yet. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Bergeron rallies late to push Bruins past Coyotes

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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Patrice Bergeron scored twice in the last 11 minutes to lift the Boston Bruins to a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.

Tyler Randell, Dave Krejci and Brad Marchand also scored to help the Bruins win their second straight. Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots for his first win of the season, and Krejci and Torey Krug each had two assists.

Shane Doan had a goal and two assists, and Tobias Rieder and Kyle Chipchura also scored for Arizona. The Coyotes have lost two straight after opening the season with three wins.

Rieder and Chipchura scored 2 1/2 minutes apart in the third quarter to tie the score with about 13 1/2 minutes to go.

Bergeron then redirected a pass from Ryan Spooner into the net for the go-ahead power-play score at 9:10 of the period. Bergeron then added his third of the season with 1:06 left to seal the win.

Marchand’s short-handed breakaway goal at 4:44 of the third period extended Boston’s lead to 3-1 before the Coyotes rallied to tie it.

Doan gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with his first goal of the season at 2:12 of the first period. He forcing a rebound off the skate of Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller and under Rask’s leg pads. The goal was reviewed after Boston coach Claude Julien used his challenge but the ruling stood.

The unassisted goal marked Doan’s 900th career point, making him the second player in franchise history to reach that milestone.

The Bruins failed to capitalize on their first three power plays of the game, but spent much of the night peppering Coyotes goalie Mike Smith with shots.

Boston outshot Arizona 10-1 at one point in the first period, but Smith was sharp in goal early, turning away several quality Bruins chances. Smith stopped shots from David Pastrnak at 16:48 of the period and Krejci during a power play, finishing with 38 saves.

The Coyotes had chances to add to their lead in the first period but could not convert on their two power plays.

Coyotes center Joe Vitale, involved in some physical play early in the game, was given five minutes for fighting in the second period along with Boston’s Miller. Miller had the better of the scrap with Vitale but the Bruins couldn’t convert on the resulting power play after Oliver Ekman-Larsson was given two minutes for roughing in the skirmish.

Vitale went into the locker room after his time in the penalty box and did not return.

The Bruins finally solved Smith at 8:42 of the second after Smith has stopped two shots by Bergeron and a wrister from Colin Miller. Randell finished a pass from Krejci with a left backhand to tie the score at 1.

Less than a minute later, Rask stretched to stop a shot by Rieder.

Krejci put Boston ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal with 4:41 to go in the second.

NOTES: Marchand returned from a concussion suffered on Oct. 10 against Montreal. … RW Brett Connolly, a healthy scratch, missed his first game of the season . … A good portion of the crowd of 13,411 inside Gila River Arena wore Boston’s black and yellow. It was the Bruins’ only visit to Arizona of the regular season. … Coyotes C Antoine Vermette played after suffering a lower body injury in Thursday’s loss to Minnesota. … LW Jordan Martinook has a lower body injury and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.