Around the Rink
The Caps marched into Detroit with nine straight wins and a head of steam Wednesday night, but it was the Wings who came out on top, thanks to a pair of goals from Henrik Zetterberg – his first two points in March, as he’d been held off the scoreboard in his last six outings. Still, Washington finds itself just a point out of first place in the East – man, does that period of struggling badly while on “24/7” seem like a million years ago.
In other notable news, Vancouver became the first team to clinch a playoff berth last night, falling behind 2-0 to Colorado before coming roaring back with four unanswered goals.
The Blues, the Scottrade Center and their AHL affiliate in Peoria are all for sale! You, too, can own an NHL franchise for the one-time low price of, well, I’m not sure how much. The players were so excited to hear Dave Checketts has one foot out the door that they scored one goal in a loss to Anaheim.
The NHL GMs debated the spin-o-rama shootout move, among other things, at their annual meetings; allow me to just go ahead and throw down my support for stopping the puck, moving it backwards, or flipping it up into your mouth, then dropping it back onto your stick and firing it into the goal. I say anything goes when it comes to creating highlights.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m celebrating with a baseball draft and an enormous slate of NHL games.
Projected Goalie Starters
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Detroit (Joey MacDonald) at Columbus (Steve Mason), 7:00 ET
Philadelphia (Brian Boucher) at Atlanta (Ondrej Pavelec), 7:00 ET
New Jersey (Martin Brodeur) at Ottawa (Craig McElhinney), 7:30 ET
Tampa Bay (Dwayne Roloson) at Montreal (Carey Price), 7:30 ET
Toronto (Jean-Sebastien Giguere) at Florida (Scott Clemmensen), 7:30 ET
Boston (Tim Thomas) at Nashville (Pekka Rinne) 8:00 ET
Chicago (Corey Crawford) at Dallas (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 ET
Colorado (Peter Budaj) at Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff), 9:00 ET
Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Edmonton (Devan Dubnyk), 9:00 ET
St. Louis (Ty Conklin) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 ET
Minnesota (Niklas Backstrom) at San Jose (Antti Niemi), 10:30 ET
Recent Injury News for Teams Playing Thursday
Chris Osgood, G (hernia) – Not quite ready yet
Ruslan Salei, D (personal) – Missed Wednesday’s game and most likely will miss Thursday’s
Marc Methot, D (lower body) – Has missed two in a row
Kristian Huselius, RW (lower body) – Remains out
Chris Pronger, D (hand) – Having surgery and out 3-4 weeks
Dustin Byfuglien, D (undisclosed) – Missed practice Wednesday, but expected to go Thursday
Bryan Little, C (undisclosed) – Missed practice Wednesday, but expected to go Thursday
Zach Parise, LW (knee) – May be close to returning to practice; still hoping to play this season
Craig Anderson, G (lower body) – Won’t play Thursday, but injury supposed to be minor
Ryan Malone, LW (abdomen) – Non-contact practice participant Wednesday; about two weeks away, assuming all goes well
Steve Downie, RW (ankle) – Could be back on the ice next week
Tomas Plekanec, C (lower body) – Hasn’t been ruled out, but replacements have been called up
Jeff Halpern, C (lower body) – Same deal as Plekanec
Max Pacioretty, LW (concussion, spine) – Could be back for the playoffs (!)
Mathieu Darche, LW (groin) – Skating, but won’t go Thursday
Mike Komisarek, D (lower body) – Left Wednesday’s game, so seemingly unlikely for Thursday
Colton Orr, RW (head) – Could return before end of season
Colby Armstrong, RW (foot) – Foot is broken and could be out for the year
Evgeny Dadonov, RW (finger) – Probable for Thursday
Jacob Markstrom, G (knee) – Successful surgery, out for season
Andrew Ference, D (lower body) – Could go Thursday
Shane Hnidy, D (shoulder) – Should be back when eligible to come off IR March 22 – if there’s a spot for him
Dave Bolland, C (concussion) – Won’t go Thursday
Brian Campbell, D (foot) – Out Thursday
Jordan Hendry, D (knee) – Successful ACL surgery; out six months
Adam Burish, RW (lower body) – Didn’t go Tuesday; unlikely for Thursday
Loui Eriksson, LW (upper body) – Left Tuesday’s game; Thursday status unknown
Steve Ott, C (upper body) – Probable for Thursday
Tomas Vincour, RW (upper body) – Probable for Thursday
Milan Hejduk, RW (shoulder) – Missed second straight game Wednesday and doubtful for Thursday
David Moss, LW (ankle) – Out indefinitely
Daymond Langkow, C (neck) – Practiced Wednesday, but return date unknown
Martin Hanzal, C (groin) – Not traveling on current road swing
Gilbert Brule, C (concussion) – Out indefinitely
Jean-Francois Jacques, LW (foot) – Out indefinitely
Theo Peckham, D (concussion) – A couple days away from returning
Nikita Nikitin, D (upper body) – Didn’t go Wednesday, but possible for Thursday
Tyson Strachan, D (upper body) – Will be reevaluated Monday
Philip McRae, C (lower body) – Skating, could return soon
Guillaume Latendresse, LW (lower body) – Won’t go Thursday, but injury aggravation not believed to be serious
Jose Theodore, G (illness) – Missed Wednesday’s practice
Marek Zidlicky, D (lower body) – Didn’t practice Wednesday and doubtful for Thursday
Josh Harding, G (knee) – Traveling with the team, but no timetable
Dany Heatley, LW (suspension) – Will sit Thursday and Saturday
Marc-Edouad Vlasic, D (throat) – Took a puck to the gizzard Tuesday, but apparently good to go
Niclas Wallin, D (upper body) – Left Tuesday’s game after going headfirst into the boards
Alex Ovechkin, LW, WAS – Yes, all is right with the world again. Ovechkin has points in 13 of his last 15 games. For the month of March, he’s picked up five goals and 12 points in nine outings. His usual 50 goals are a near impossibility, but at least he’ll get 30, and maybe even close to 40 if he remains hot.
Daniel Sedin, LW, and Henrik Sedin, C, VAN – The twins have twin seven-game point-scoring streaks, with Daniel collecting 13 points in that time and Henrik picking up a cool dozen. Over the last two weeks, no one has as many points as either Sedin.
Jamie Benn, LW, DAL – One of the effects of the James Neal trade is that Neal turned into a pumpkin and Benn turned into Neal. He’s got an eight-game scoring streak and scored a goal in seven of those games to reach 20 on the year.
Michael Cammalleri, C, MON – Sure, he picked up a goal and an assist two games ago, March 12 vs. Pittsburgh, but that accounts for two-thirds of his points in seven March games. In his last outing, Tuesday against Washington, he recorded just a single shot on goal (the third time this month he’s done that) and went minus-2.
Patric Hornqvist, RW, NAS – The Swedish sniper’s got just one point, a March 3 goal, in his last 11 games, nearly ensuring that he won’t repeat last year’s 30-goal campaign. Hornqvist loves to shoot, but he hasn’t put one on goal in two of the last three.
Tomas Kaberle, D, BOS – Since joining the Bruins, Kaberle has managed all of two assists and no goals in 11 games, including just one point in his last eight. Think he misses Toronto? Well, probably not, since the Bruins are actually going to make the playoffs.
Tyler Kennedy, LW, PIT – Someone’s got to be responsible for the scoring load in Pittsburgh with Sidney Crosby still recovering, and lately it’s been Kennedy, who’s racked up a goal and two assists in his last two outings. He’s widely available and he plays a premium position; what more can you ask for?