Friday Morning NHL Papers (Western Conference): Patrick Kane returns to Buffalo, Rick Rypien handles Boris Valabik and who will start in net for St. Louis?
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- Tonight is Patrick Kane’s first game in Buffalo since his arrest this summer, writes Chris Kuc. Brian Campbell was a big part of the Sabres’ team post-lockout and only has great memories of the city.
- The Blue Jackets are cursed in Nashville and even Mathieu Garon, the shootout master, couldn’t put an end to an ugly streak. The Jackets have a lot of depth up front, which is why Ken Hitchcock feels comfortable running four lines.
- With Danny Clearly out of the Wings lineup for approximately the next four weeks, the Wings will look to Ville Leino to pickup the slack. The Cleary loss is going to be a significant one, especially with the way he was playing when he went down.
- The Predators blew three one-goal leads last night but at the end of the game they got their two points. The switch of Martin Erat and J.P. Dumont has sure worked out well for Nashville.
- Ty Conklin has been playing well for St. Louis, but he would understand if Chris Mason gets the call, as he knows what his role was coming over to the Blues this summer. The Blues host the streaking Oilers tonight.
- Rene Bourque didn’t care that his first goal since returning from injury was an empty netter. The Flames have come a long way from getting dominated by the Blackhawks ten games ago. Sure they have been better since that loss, but they can still play even better. Was the Canadian anthem that bad when the Flames played at Los Angeles earlier this week?
- Craig Anderson is obviously eager to get back between the pipes for the Avalanche and wants to start tonight if Joe Sacco will allow for it.
- The defensive combinations in Oiltown are meshing very well, as Lubomir Visnovsky and Ladislav Smid demonstrate good chemistry and Tom Gilbert has found his game alongside Sheldon Souray. Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal profiles Ryan Potulny.
- The Wild doesn’t have a good history in Calgary, but coach Todd Richards hopes for some new luck under the Saddledome.
- The Canucks played hard, Daniel Sedin recorded a hat trick but the highlight of yesterday’s game was Rick Rypien beating up big Boris Valabik in a fight. Fights aside, the Sedins are the driving force behind the Canucks.
- Saku Koivu’s work ethic has never been in question, so it was nice to see the veteran center score the overtime winner the other night against Dallas.
- He has been under-appreciated his entire career, but Karlis Skrastins can play defense.
- It took eight rounds, but the Kings were victorious in a match-up of surprise Western Conference teams last night at the Staples Center. Jack Johnson says the Kings have their sights set on the San Jose Sharks.
- Underrated Doug Murray hopes to play tonight for the Sharks after missing the team’s last game against Los Angeles.
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