Around the Rink
The Capitals just can’t solve Dwayne Roloson, can they? Rollo shut out the Caps for the second time in eight days Wednesday, handing Washington its first regulation loss since December 18, a span in which they went 6-0-3. Roloson, meanwhile, has won three of four starts as a Bolt, including the two shutouts, his first ones since last January.
Corey Crawford was never hyped as a future star, and maybe this breakout isn’t any more real than Antti Niemi’s, but he picked up his second shutout in a row Wednesday (against the Avalanche, who beat him twice in a row last month) and now has a 2.14 GAA and .920 save percentage. Savvy fantasy owners who picked up Crawford when he started taking time from Marty Turco are likely headed to the playoffs.
Jordan Staal finally got on the scoresheet in his sixth game back Wednesday, picking up a goal and assisting on two more, all on the power play. Staal seems like he’s been around forever, but he’s just 22; he can still become that 70-point guy. There were also three assists in that game from Kris Letang, who is now sitting with 40 points.
After the game, Marc-Andre Fleury totally tol’ Carey Price what's what.
Allow me to throw in my belated endorsement on the Michael Rozsival-Wojtek Wolski deal. Roszival wore out his welcome in New York by signing a big contract and totally ceasing to score once Jaromir Jagr left, while Wolski is still young enough to realize his potential – an apt replacement for the injured Alex Frolov.
Projected Starting Goalies
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies grid.
Vancouver (Corey Schneider) at Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:00 ET
Philadelphia (Brian Boucher) at Boston (Tim Thomas), 7:00 ET
Carolina (Cam Ward) at Buffalo (Ryan Miller), 7:00 ET
Ottawa (Robin Lehner) at Islanders (Kevin Poulin), 7:00 ET
Nashville (Pekka Rinne) at Florida (Scott Clemmensen), 7:30 ET
Toronto (James Reimer) at Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov), 9:00 ET
St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 ET
Edmonton (Nikolai Khabibulin) at San Jose (Antti Niemi), 10:30 ET
Recent Injury News for Teams Playing Thursday
Raffi Torres, LW (illness) – Missed practice Wednesday; questionable for Thursday
Ryan Callahan, RW (hand) – Was reevaluated Tuesday and not cleared to hold a stick
Erik Christensen, C (knee) – Able to walk without crutches, but still has a full-leg brace
Nikolay Zherdev, RW (groin) – Has missed four straight; no word on Thursday status. Call him iffy
Chris Pronger, D (foot) – Cleared to practice
Matt Walker, D (hip) – Expected to be sent to the AHL for some rehab games
Milan Lucic, LW (undisclosed) – Feeling better, but out Thursday
Mark Stuart, D (hand) – Skated Thursday morning, but probably won’t go
Ryan Carter, C (undisclosed) – Could return Thursday
Jiri Tlusty, LW (upper body) – Should return from IR soon
Patrick Kaleta, RW (hand) – Out Thursday and at least a week after
Thomas Vanek, LW (hand) – Will play Thursday
Alexei Kovalev, RW (knee) – Out through the weekend
Rick DiPietro, G (groin) – Was on the ice Tuesday, but not starting Thursday
Frans Nielsen, C (groin) – Won’t go Thursday
Rhett Rakhshani, RW (concussion) – Doubtful for Thursday since he hasn’t seen a specialist yet
Kyle Okposo, RW (shoulder) – Practiced with team Wednesday for first time since injury, but still weeks away
Mark Streit, D (shoulder) – Unlikely to return this year
Martin Erat, RW (upper body) – Won’t go Thursday, but could be back this weekend
Chris Higgins, LW (hamstring) – Couldn’t go Tuesday and no word on Thursday status yet
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G (groin) – Supposed to back up Reimer on Thursday
Michal Rozsival, D (ribs) – Likely to debut for Phoenix on Saturday
Carlo Colaiacovo, D (face) – Left Wednesday’s game and questionable for Thursday
Gilbert Brule, C (ankle) – Out for the remainder of the road trip
Shawn Horcoff, LW (knee) – Could return January 20
Logan Couture, C (knee) – Doubtful for Thursday
Joe Pavelski, LW (lower body) – Skated Tuesday, but no word on return
Bobby Ryan, LW, ANA – Ryan has had a disappointing season, delivering neither the breakout we expected nor the power-play points we were used to. However, he has been waking up lately, particularly Wednesday, when he lit up Ty Conklin and the Blues up for three goals and an assist. Ryan now has six goals over a three-game scoring streak after scoring just three in his previous 18 games.
Tuomo Ruutu, LW – Ruuuuuuuuuuutuuuuuuuuu is on pace for the best season of his career, and he’s been unstoppable in January, racking up three goals and seven assists in six games.
Phil Kessel, RW – With the reminder that he’s supposed to be an All-Star, Kessel has taken off of late, scoring goals in four consecutive games. The Leafs as a whole are on fire, so I could have as easily listed Nikolai Kulemin, Mikhail Grabovski or Clarke MacArthur here.
Duncan Keith, D, CHI – Keith’s assist Wednesday against Colorado broke an eight-game scoreless streak, an indication of the type of season he is having after last year’s 69-point breakout. Were the Blackhawks really just that much better last year, or is Keith simply having a down season?
Vincent Lecavalier, C, TAM – Vinny doesn’t have a goal in his last seven games and is minus-five over the last four. Remember when he scored 100 points?
Jimmy Howard, G, DET – Howard has hit the skids of late, surrendering four goals in three of his last five starts, including his most recent one Monday in which he lasted just 14 minutes against the Avs. Howard does play for the Wings, though, so as long as he plays (Joey MacDonald is certainly no replacement), he’ll rack up wins.
Kevin Poulin, G, NYI – The way Poulin has played, it’s very possible Nathan Lawson will get sent back to AHL Bridgeport when Rick DiPietro is ready to go. The kid has impressed in all three of his big league appearances this year, including stopping 48 of 51 shots in Tuesday’s loss to Vancouver. With how terribly DP has played this year, Poulin may just be the best goalie the Islanders have. Poulin put up great numbers in the AHL this year, so it would not be surprising to see his role increase going forward. Get on board early if you need goalie help.