Around the Rink
When the Red Wings come to town, even with their division locked down, you don't figure on shutting them out, but that's precisely what Cam Ward and the Hurricanes did, beating Detroit 3-0 to stay in the playoff picture, two points behind the eight-place Rangers with two games to go each. Ward made 42 saves and Eric Staal had three assists.
Still, the 'Canes will need help tonight from the rival Thrashers, who will play the Rangers in a nationally televised game. Watch it on Versus and think of me.
The West is a bit clearer right now; Anaheim and Chicago are seven-eight with 95 points and two games to go each. Calgary is two points back, but eliminated based on tiebreakers, but Dallas has 91 points and three games left, so the Stars could still sneak in if they win all their remaining games and get some help, though it seems unlikely. They'll welcome the Avalanche to town tonight.
In teams-actually-making-the-playoffs news, the Kings beat Phoenix in the shootout to clinch a berth last night. Jarret Stoll is 9-for-10 in the shootout this year, which has helped Jonathan Quick go 10-0 on the season.
Unless Steven Stamkos puts together a couple of hat tricks, Corey Perry's trick last night will make him the NHL's only 50 goal scorer, and with this insane late push (29 points, including 19 goals, in his last 14 games), he's very possibly stolen the Hart Trophy from Daniel Sedin, although Sedin does have a cool 100 points to Perry's 97.
And, in final playoff/trophy news, the Caps won to push their lead for the No. 1 seed to four points over the Flyers. I know I've said something to this effect before, but wow, it really is like "24/7" was about an entirely different season. That was four months ago. Wow.
Projected Goalie Starters
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Thrashers (Chris Mason) at Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:00 ET
Montreal (Alex Auld) at Ottawa (Craig Anderson), 7:00 ET
Colorado (Brian Elliott) at Dallas (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 ET
Minnesota (Niklas Backstrom) at Vancouver (Corey Schneider), 10:00 ET
Recent Injury News for Teams Playing Thursday
Radek Dvorak, RW (upper body) - Won't play Thursday
Tobias Enstrom, D (upper body) - Won't play Thursday
Chris Drury, C (knee) - Practicing in non-contact jersey
Ryan Callahan, RW (ankle) - Out long-term with break
Jeff Halpern, C (lower body) - Didn't practice Wednesday; iffy for Thursday
Jaroslav Spacek, D (knee) - Expected back Thursday
Max Pacioretty, LW (concussion, spine) - Skating on his own; still could be back for the playoffs!
Daniel Alfredsson, RW (back) - Confirmed out for the remainder of the year
Sergei Gonchar, D (concussion) - Likely out for the remainder of the year
Erik Karlsson, D (leg) - Out for the remainder of the year
Peter Regin, C (shoulder) - Successful surgery, 4-6 months to recover
Marek Svatos, RW (concussion) - Out… for the year
Adam Foote, D (leg) - Hopes to play in one more game before end of year
Matt Hunwick, D (head) - Doubtful for Thursday
David Jones, LW (leg) - Doubtful for Thursday
John-Michael Liles, D (concussion) - Could possibly go this weekend, but more likely done for the year
Paul Stastny, C (leg) - Done for the year
Adam Burish, RW (leg) - Out since March 11 and day-to-day for the last week and a half
Brian Sutherby, C (back) - Still no timetable; seems likely done for the year
Cam Barker, D (back) - Won't play Thursday
Martin Havlat, RW (upper body) - Seems done for the year
John Madden, C (lower body) - No go Thursday
Jose Theodore, G (leg) - Missed practice Tuesday; Josh Harding could handle the backup duties for the remaining games
Marek Zidlicky, D (hamstring) - Likely out for the year
Nick Schultz, D (concussion) - Done for the season
Dan Hamhuis, D (concussion) - Skating and may return for playoffs
Andrew Alberts, D (wrist) - Practicing, but no word on availability
Alexander Edler, D (back) - Thursday return possible
Corey Perry, RW, ANA - I've said what needs to be said; he's just so hot it deserves two mentions.
Jarome Iginla, RW, CGY - The Flames may be eliminated, but Iginla is still playing like a man possessed, picking up a hat trick plus an assist on Wednesday to stretch his point streak to six games and 10 of 11. He has 14 points in his last six games, including nine goals.
Simon Gagne, LW, TAM - Gagne has had a very disappointing season, as he was entirely ineffective, then got hurt, then came back still pretty ineffective. He has, however, looked more like the old Gagne of late, as he just had a six-game points streak snapped - and it was no cheap streak, as he had four two-point games in that span.
Jonathan Toews, C, CHI - Toews did score a goal Wednesday, but that came on the heels of a four-game stretch in which he scored no points and went minus-2.
Marian Gaborik, LW, NYR - Gaborik has a three-assist streak going, so he's not exactly cold, and he's been playing good defense, too, but when you're coming off your second 42-goal season and you barely have half that this year, well, it gets noticed. Gaborik hasn't scored a goal since March 20, and with Ryan Callahan injured, he's the one guy the Rangers will need to step up to get them into the playoffs and then carry them through. Will he answer the call?
Travis Zajac, C, NJD - The two-time 60-point scorer has a meek 43 this season, and he hasn't helped himself much lately, managing no goals and two assists over his last 11 games. Zajac last scored a goal March 12.
Jamie Langenbrunner, RW, DAL - The Stars are one of few teams with three games left (including tonight, which means you probably will only be able to get him for two games). Langenbrunner hasn't done a whole lot in a Dallas jersey, collecting 18 points in 36 games, but call this a hunch. He's widely available and the Stars have good matchups against Colorado and Minnesota left; if you're desperate, why not roll the dice on a veteran who's scored a lot of clutch goals before?