The Daily Puck
Andrew Fiorentino, RotoWire Writer
Around the Rink
Can somebody please tell the Devils to stop winning? You're making me look bad, guys. You know, a regulation loss here and there can be good for you. Seriously. Now that Zach Parise is skating again, every one of my nightmares is coming true.
Bobby Ryan joined the 30-goal club with a one-man overtime shootout - that is to say, a penalty shot - against Jimmy Howard, ripping a wrister right by him on the glove side to give Anaheim the win in the extra period. Howard responded by breaking his stick in two on the goalpost, which is always kind of awesome to watch for some reason.
Am I the only one who wishes that NHL.com would give a little more time to its highlight videos? You know, on the TV broadcasts, they show slow-motion replays and multiple camera angles, and that's great stuff - I'd love to see it in the highlights as well. I do see it sometimes, but it's pretty unusual. This is something that's bothered me for a while.
Don't look now, but your Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks are streaking. They're winners of six in a row and have only lost in regulation once in their last 11 games.
Oh, Alexander Ovechkin is back on Twitter - @ovi8 - this time without a ghostwriter! As a hockey fan and an under-the-radar Russian myself, I must say, I love everything about that guy.
That's right. Fiorentino. Russian. Last names can be deceiving.
Projected Goalie Starters
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Minnesota (Jose Theodore) at Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:00 ET
Ottawa (Craig Anderson) at Atlanta (Chris Mason), 7:00 ET
Toronto (James Reimer) at Philadelphia (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00 ET
Buffalo (Ryan Miller) at Carolina (Cam Ward), 7:00 ET
St. Louis (Ty Conklin) at Washington (Michael Neuvirth), 7:00 ET
Tampa Bay (Mike Smith) at Boston (Tim Thomas), 7:00 ET
Montreal (Carey Price) at Florida (Tomas Vokoun), 7:30 ET
Columbus (Steve Mason) at Edmonton (Devan Dubnyk), 9:00 ET
Nashville (Pekka Rinne) at Vancouver (Roberto Luongo), 10:00 ET
Detroit (Joey MacDonald) at San Jose (Antti Niemi), 10:30 ET
Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Bernier), 10:30 ET
Recent Injury News for Teams Playing Thursday
Cal Clutterbuck, RW (head) - Took a headshot Wednesday, stayed in, then said he wasn't feeling well after the game; mild concussion possible
Chuck Kobasew, RW (illness) - Didn't travel to NY to see the Isles, so probably won't play the Rangers tonight either
Mikko Koivu, C (finger) - Skated on his own, but no timetable
Marian Gaborik, LW (concussion) - Practiced Wednesday, but won't go Thursday; maybe next week
Mark Staal, D (knee) - Good to go for Thursday
Daniel Alfredsson, RW (back spasms) - Hopes to play again this season and stick around for next year, too
Peter Regin, C (shoulder) - Still out indefinitely
Ondrej Pavelec, G (wrist) - No timetable
Jim Slater, C (concussion) - Out another month at least
Blair Betts, C (finger) - Still having trouble holding a stick
James van Riemsdyk, RW (lower body) - Missed Tuesday's practice
Jordan Leopold, D (upper body) - Didn't go on Tuesday and sounds like no go for Thursday
Tomas Vanek, LW (leg) - Didn't practice Wednesday, but will go Thursday
Derek Roy, C (quad) - Confirmed out for the year, including playoffs
Nikita Nikitin, D (lower body) - Has missed three straight and no word on status
Jaroslav Halak, G (hand) - Just a cracked bone, that's all; he won't go Thursday
Vladimir Sobotka, C (foot) - Placed on IR
Semyon Varlamov, G (lower body) - Didn't practice Thursday morning; Holtby recalled to back up Neuvirth
Tom Poti, D (groin) - Still not allowed to participate in contact drills; is that a euphemism?
Marc-Andre Bergeron, D (back) - Scratched late Wednesday with back spasms; seems iffy for Thursday
Andrew Ference, D (lower body) - Out a couple weeks
Jaroslav Spacek, D (knee) - Needs arthroscopy; out 4-6 weeks
Byron Bitz, RW (sports hernia) - Will miss the rest of the year
Anton Stralman, D (lower body) - Out 3-4 weeks
Ales Hemsky, RW (shoulder) - Had MRI Wednesday; no word on results, but highly unlikely to play Thursday
Theo Peckham, D (head) - Got his bell rung Tuesday and still feeling it; possible mild concussion
Nikolai Khabibulin, G (eye) - Said he's ready to go, but looks like it'll be Dubnyk on Thursday
David Legwand, C (foot) - Missed practice Wednesday, but supposed to be "fine" and will go Thursday
Francis Bouillon, D (concussion) - Has been skating, but still a couple weeks away
Matthew Lombardi, C (concussion) - Done for the year
Steve Sullivan, LW (groin) - May have a procedure that would keep him out a couple more weeks
Alexander Edler, D (back) - Not expected back until the playoffs
Chris Higgins, LW (thumb) - Will start skating in "a week or so," then will probably need a week or two after that
Brian Rafalski, D (back) - Missed his third straight game Wednesday, but hopeful for Thursday night return
Den Boyle, D (undisclosed) - Questionable for Thursday
Antero Nittymaki, G (groin) - Won't go Thursday
Kent Huskins, D (upper body) - Placed on IR
Scott Nichol, C (upper body) - Placed on IR
Ben Eager, LW (upper body) - Practiced Wednesday and should be good to go for Thursday
Ed Jovanovski, D (face) - Hopes to start skating next week
Andrei Loktionov, C (shoulder) - Will need season-ending surgery
Jonathan Toews, C, CHI - I've been wondering when Toews would break out and start scoring at the point-per-game pace I knew he was capable of. Apparently, that time is now. Over his past 15 games, Toews has an out-of-this-world 25 points and a plus-13 rating. The elevation of Toews' game and the emergence of Corey Crawford are the two x-factors that have saved this season for Chicago.
Phil Kessel, RW, TOR - Mr. Irrelevant - the "worst," or at least loneliest, of the best - has been rolling lately, carrying a five-game point-scoring streak into Thursday's contest against Philadelphia. Over his last eight games, he's collected eight goals and five assists.
Devin Setoguchi, RW, SAN - Huh? What? Setoguchi? I remember when he was good! Well, actually, he's still good - well, good again, anyway. Setoguchi, endeavoring not to be the second coming of Johnny Cheechoo, has been smoking-hot lately, tearing off six goals and a couple assists in his current five-game points streak.
Steven Stamkos, C, TAM - Stammer has fallen off the pace a little of late, as he's managed just a goal and three assists over his last seven contests. Even more frightening, he's been held shotless twice in a row and only has one shot on goal over the last three games - something he hadn't come remotely close to doing all season up ‘til now.
Corey Perry, RW, ANA - After a red-hot streak early in February, Perry's cooled off dramatically over his past five games. He's minus-6 over that span with just two points. He'll break out of it soon enough, though.
Danny Briere, RW, PHI - February was Briere's worst month of the season, so I'm sure he's glad to see the calendar turn. He doesn't have a goal since his three-point effort Feb. 16, which accounted for half his points for the month.
Patrik Berglund, C, STL - Owners with need at center should look to the fairly little-owned Berglund (available in 85% of Yahoo leagues and 41% of CBS leagues; c'mon, Yahoo people, get with the program), a big prospect - quite literally, at 6-4 - up the middle for the Blues who struggled last year after a 21-goal rookie season. This year, he's got a respectable 41 points, 13 of which have come in his last 14 games.