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Empty Netter Assists - 12-27-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-"It doesn't matter who's playing or who's not. My job is still the same -- to stop pucks." - Marc-Andre Fleury (above).

-Welcome back Paul Martin... later this week maybe?

-Donations for the family of fallen East Washington, Pa. police officer John David Dryer will be collected during the game.

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Patrick Killeen made 30 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 2-1 shootout loss to Elmira Jackals.

-Former Penguins forward Ryan Stone joined the Hamburg Freezers of the DEL in Germany.

-Happy 40th birthday to former Penguins forward Bryan Smolinski (right). Acquired in the 1995 offseason along with Glen Murray and a draft pick in a trade which sent Shawn McEachern and Kevin Stevens to the Bruins, Smolinski spent on seasons with the Penguins. In 1995-96, he played in 81 games and scored 64 points. The 1996 postseason saw him compile eight points in 19 games. After holding out to start 1996-97, Smolinski was traded early in the season to the Islanders in exchange for Darius Kasparaitis and Andreas Johansson.

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins coach Kevin Constantine. Hired in the 1997 offseason, Constantine spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. In 1997-98, he directed the club to a 40-24-18 record and a Northeast Division title. In the postseason, the team lost in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals to the Canadiens, 4-2. He followed that up in 1998-99 by leading the Penguins to a record of 38-30-14. The club reached the postseason as a No. 8 seed. After defeating the Devils in the conference quarterfinal round, 4-3 - one of the largest upsets in franchise history - the Penguins were eliminated in the semifinals by the Maple Leafs, 4-2. After 25 games and an 8-10-3 record, Constantine was fired early in 1999-2000 and replaced by Herb Brooks. In 189 games as the Penguins coach, Constantine had a record of 86-67-35. His wins are the eighth-best total in franchise history. He is currently the head coach of HC Ambri-Piotta of the NLA in Switzerland.

Atlantic Division

-Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves for the Rangers in a 3-0 shutout of the rival Islanders. Carl Hagelin scored two goals for the Rangers while teammates Ryan Callahan and Michael Del Zotto each recorded two assists.

-Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (concussion) was given medical clearance for contact in practice.

-Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk (right) is dealing with a wonky hip.

-The Islanders recalled defenseman Anders Nilsson from Bridgeport of the AHL.

Northeast Division

-Ryan Miller made 20 saves for the Sabres in a 4-2 defeat of the Capitals. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Buffalo.

-Check out this nasty goal by Washington captain Alex Ovechkin:

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-Buffalo's Robyn Regehr smacked Ovechkin pretty good here:

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-Washington's Michal Neuvirth had issues with this puck:

-Sabres forwards Brad Boyes (ankle) and Jochen Hecht (foot) returned to the lineup after missing six and 13 games respectively.

-Buffalo demoted forward Derek Whitmore to Rochester of the AHL.

-“Embarrassing.” - Canadiens defenseman PK Subban on being a healthy scratch in his team's previous game.

Southeast Division

-Cam Ward made 23 saves for the Hurricanes and was credited with a goal in a 4-2 win against the Devils. Former Penguin Tim Brent recorded two assists for Carolina. Fire Ray Shero. David Clarkson collected a goal and an assist for New Jersey.

-Ward's "goal:"

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-Ward became the 10th NHL goaltender and first since Nashville's Chris Mason in 2006 to score a goal.

-Brent returned to the lineup after missing two games due to an "upper-body" injury.

-With forward Patrick Dwyer suffering an undisclosed injury last night, the Hurricanes recalled forward Zac Dalpe from Charlotte of the AHL.

-Capitals forward Mathieu Perrault was hospitalized after accidentally spearing himself last night.

Central Division

-Two goals by Valtteri Filppula led the Red Wings to a 4-1 defeat of the Predators. Jimmy Howard made 31 saves in the victory.

-Howard was all over this puck:

-Red Wings forward Darren Helm needed 20 stitches after taking a puck to the face.

-Predators captain Shea Weber missed the game due to an "upper-body" injury.

-Victor Stalberg scored two goals for the Blackhawks who beat the Blue Jackets, 4-1. Former Penguin Marian Hossa added a goal and an assist for Chicago while teammate Dave Bolland recorded two assists. Fire Ray Shero. Corey Crawford made 37 saves in the victory.

-Chicago became the first team in the NHL to reach 50 points this season.

-Chris Stewart scored two goals for the Blues in a 5-3 win against the Stars. Captain David Backes, Patrik Berglund and David Perron each recorded two assists for St. Louis while teammate Jaroslav Halak made 20 saves.

-With forward T.J. Oshie dealing with a wrist injury, the Blues recalled forward Adam Cracknell from Peoria of the AHL.

-The Blackhawks recalled forward Brandon Pirri (right) from Rockford of the AHL.

-Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger was given medical clearance to resume playing for the first time since he suffered a head injury on a hit by Deryk Engelland last Tuesday.

-The Predators recalled defenseman Ryan Ellis from Milwaukee of the AHL.

Northwest Division

-Andrew Ebbett scored two goals for the Canucks who beat the Oilers, 5-3. Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler each added a goal and an assist for Vancouver while teammate Roberto Luongo made all of 18 saves. Jordan Eberle and former Penguin Corey Potter each netted a goal and an assist for Edmonton. Fire Ray Shero.

-Pass of the Night: Vancouver's Jannik Hansen setting up Ebbett:

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-Kesler had a nice set up for Burrows as well:

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-High five times for Luongo and teammate Dan Hamhuis:

-Bloody times for Edmonton's Alex Plante:

-Eberle and Edmonton Jordan Hall are popular:

-Hall didn't seem too fond of Kesler:

-T.J. Galiardi, Jan Hejda and Ryan O'Reilly each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche in a 4-2 win against the Wild. David Van Der Gulik recorded two assists for Colorado while teammate Semyon Varlamov made 20 saves in the victory. Dany Heatley collected two assists for Minnesota which has lost seven consecutive games.

-Save of the Night: Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom on Colorado's Matt Hunwick:

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-Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon was injured on this ugly hit from behind by Colorado's Cody McLeod:

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-McLeod was given a boarding major and a game misconduct.

-Wild captain Miikko Koivu returned to the lineup after missing four games due to a leg injury.

-The Oilers recalled defenseman Alex Plante from Oklahoma City of the AHL.

-Oilers defenseman and former Penguin Ryan Whitney has developed tendonitis in his surgically repaired right ankle.

Pacific Division

-Jonathan Quick made 26 saves for the Kings in a 4-3 defeat of the Coyotes. Anze Kopitar recorded two assists for Los Angeles. Raffi Torres scored two goals for Phoenix.

-Cool Photo of the Night: Quick stretched out for this save:

-New Kings coach Darryl Sutter got in the ears of former Penguin Rob Scuderi (right) and Drew Doughty:

-Happy times for the Kings. Not so much for Phoenix's Daymond Langkow:

-Phoenix's Jason LaBarbera kept his eyes on this puck:

-Kings forward Simon Gagne left the game due to a suspected head injury.

-Jonas Hiller made 36 saves for the Ducks who beat the rival Sharks, 3-2. Anaheim snapped a 13-game road losing streak.

-Defensive Play of the Night: Anaheim's Bobby Ryan stealing a puck of San Jose captain Joe Thornton and walking in for a goal:

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-Check out this rocket of a one-timer by Anaheim's Luca Sbisa:

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-Happy times for the Ducks:

-Hiller had issues with this puck:

-Someone threw a duck on the ice in San Jose:

-Funny Face of the Night: Anaheim's Teemu Selanne:

-The Ducks recalled forward Jean-Francois Jacques from Syracuse of the AHL.

-The Coyotes placed goaltender Mike Smith (groin) on injured reserve, recalled goaltender Curtis McElhinney and forward Patrick O'Sullivan from Portland of the AHL and demoted goaltender Justin Pogge to Portland.

-Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray is dealing with an ankle injury.

IIHF World Junior Championship

-A hat trick by Senators prospect Mark Stone led Canada to an 8-1 rout of Finland.

-Four goals by Ducks prospect Max Friberg helped Sweden defeat Latvia, 9-4.

-Wild prospect Charlie Coyle netted a hat trick for the United States which beat Denmark, 11-3.

-Denmark Sebastien Schultz stretched out for this save:

-Undrafted goaltender Andrei Vasilevski made 40 saves for Russia in a 3-0 shutout of Switzerland.

-Canada forward and Ducks prospect will miss the rest of the tournament after breaking his foot.

Adams Division

-ESPN did a in memoriam segment of sports figures who lost their lives this calendar year. Not one person tied to hockey was mentioned.

(Photos: Fleury-Jamie Sabau/Getty Images; Smolinski-Tim DeFrisco/ALLSPORT/Getty Images; van Riemsdyk-Al Bello/Getty Images; Capitals/Sabres-Rick Stewart/Getty Images; Red Wings/Predators-Mark Humphrey/Associated Press; Pirri-Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images; Oilers/Canucks-Rich Lam/Getty Images; Coyotes/Kings-Victor Decolongon/Getty Images and Danny Moloshok/Associated Press; Ducks/Sharks-Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images and Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press; IIHF World Junior Championships-Canadian Press)

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