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Tuesday Daily Puck: Back In Beantown

Andrew Fiorentino

Andrew Fiorentino

A degenerate fantasy player since the age of 13.

Around the Rink

For the first time since his mini retirement, Tim Thomas is coming back to Boston on Tuesday night, and he'll start for the Panthers to what will presumably be a mix of cheers and jeers from the fans at TD Bank Garden – cheers for the Stanley Cup he helped bring home in 2010-11, and jeers for his hardheaded, tone-deaf comments upon refusing to visit the White House for the traditional post-championship meeting with the president. It'll be an interesting time.

Meanwhile, the battle for position in the Metropolitan Division continues, with the majority of the division in action Tuesday night. The third- through seventh-place teams – Carolina, Columbus, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Washington, in that order – are all within three points of each other and all in action against teams outside the division. There could be quite a reshuffling in that order tonight.

Oh, and the entire Atlantic Division is playing. I didn't forget you guys, I promise – there's just a lot more intrigue going on in the Met.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.

Panthers (Tim Thomas) at Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00
Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:00
Red Wings (Jonas Gustavsson) at Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00
Senators (Craig Anderson) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00
Capitals (Braden Holtby) at Sabres (Ryan Miller), 7:30
Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at Canadiens (Carey Price), 7:30
Devils (Cory Schneider) at Blues (Jaroslav Halak), 8:00
Predators (Devan Dubnyk) at Jets (Ondrej Pavelec), 8:00
Kings (Martin Jones) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00
Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Flames (Reto Berra), 9:30
Wild (Darcy Kuemper) at Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 10:00

Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday

Florida Panthers
Mike Mottau, D (leg) – Remains out and not skating
Tomas Kopecky, RW (shoulder) – Placed on IR Sunday
Aleksander Barkov, C (lower body) – Expected to miss two more games

Boston Bruins
Chris Kelly, C (leg) – Possible for Tuesday return
Adam McQuaid, D (leg) – Didn't travel for Saturday's game

Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos, C (leg) – Didn't practice Monday, as leg didn't feel right

Toronto Maple Leafs
David Clarkson, RW (elbow) – Out at least through end of January
Trevor Smith, LW (hand) – Could be back this week
Dave Bolland, C (ankle) – Practiced for 25 minutes Monday
Frazer McLaren, LW (shoulder) – Back with the team, but not in the lineup yet

Detroit Red Wings
Stephen Weiss, C (hernia) – Skating; post-Olympic return still on tap
Pavel Datsyuk, C (groin) – Out again Tuesday; no timeline clarity here
Henrik Zetterberg, LW (upper body) – Didn't travel with the team for Tuesday's game
Cory Emmerton, C (hand) – Placed on IR; no word on return date
Joakim Andersson, C (lower body) – Expected back in the lineup Tuesday

Philadelphia Flyers
Zac Rinaldo, LW (ankle) – Practicing with the team

Ottawa Senators
Mark Stone, RW (undisclosed) – Skated on his own Monday morning

Columbus Blue Jackets
Marian Gaborik, RW (collarbone) – Skating lightly, but not back to practice yet
Jared Boll, RW (ankle) – Still out 2-3 months post-surgery
David Savard, D (illness) – Sat out Monday

Washington Capitals
Mikhail Grabovski, C (leg) – Not playing Tuesday
Jack Hillen, D (leg) – Skating; could be back sometime after the Olympics

Buffalo Sabres
Matt D'Agostini, RW (upper body) – No timetable
Cody McCormick, C (finger) – Still not taking contact
Drew Stafford, RW (shoulder) – Didn't play Monday, but sounds like a short-term deal

Carolina Hurricanes
Cam Ward, G (lower body) – Took some shots Monday
Patrick Dwyer, RW (lower body) – Has missed five of the last six

Montreal Canadiens
Davis Drewiske, D (shoulder) – Skating on his own
Louis Leblanc, C (illness) – Sat out Monday's practice
Alex Galchenyuk, (hand) – Skating on his own
Ryan White, RW (upper body – Weeks away yet

New Jersey Devils
Peter Harrold, D (foot) – Chance he could return from IR Tuesday

Nashville Predators
Matt Cullen, C (upper body) – Didn't go Sunday; no word on Tuesday
Pekka Rinne, G (hip) – Rehab continues… slowly
Viktor Stalberg, LW (upper body) – Didn't go Sunday

Winnipeg Jets
Matt Halischuk, RW (forearm) – Skating, but no timetable
Grant Clitsome, D (back) – Season-ending surgery
Paul Postma, D (leg) – Practicing with contact
Jim Slater, C (sports hernia) – Making steady progress in recovery

Los Angeles Kings
Matt Greene, D (head) – Working out off the ice
Alec Martinez, D (elbow) – Out the next two games at least

Chicago Blackhawks
Nikolai Khabibulin, G (shoulder) – Out for the year after surgery

Calgary Flames
Michael Cammalleri, C (concussion) – Skating in practice
Curtis Glencross, LW (ankle) – Out about another three weeks to month yet
Brian McGrattan, RW (undisclosed) – Sat out Friday, but seems likely to go Tuesday

Minnesota Wild
Brett Bulmer, LW (ankle/knee) – Out 4-6 more weeks
Jared Spurgeon, D (foot) – Traveling with the team, but only skating, not practicing
Mikko Koivu, C (ankle) – Won't play on current road trip, but skating
Josh Harding, G (illness) – Not traveling with the team due to more MS treatment changes

Anaheim Ducks
Luca Sbisa, D (hand) – Possible to play Tuesday
Viktor Fasth, G (lower body) – Worked out on the ice Monday

Hot

Jamie Benn, C, DAL – Always a reliable scorer, Benn's been extra reliable lately. He's scored goals in three straight games and has been on the score sheet in four straight, with a total of eight points in that span. Benn has been clicking admirably with first-line mates Tyler Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin – particularly Seguin, who's making a convincing case that he's a top-10 player in the league.

Alex Goligoski, D, DAL – Benn has been kind enough to bring some of his Dallas teammates with him, and none more than Goligoski, who's racked up seven assists in his last four games and handed out helpers in seven of eight games overall. Goli's been a major disappointment offensively since being dealt to Dallas for James Neal a few years back, and this year has been no exception. Prior to collecting these 10 points over his last eight contests, he'd managed just 14 points in 44 games to start the season.

Jonathan Quick, G, LA – Quick's been a whole different goalie since missing a month-and-a-half with a groin injury; after seeing Martin Jones and the since-traded Ben Scrivens dominate for large stretches in his absence, he's come back and reestablished himself in a big way here in January. Quick's started all but one game for the Kings since returning, having posted a 1.53 GAA and .938 save mark with two shutouts. And yet, despite allowing just 17 goals in 11 games, he's amazingly lost more than he's won – his record in that span is 5-4-2. The Kings have simply stopped scoring for him, especially lately – they've scored more than two goals just twice in those 11 games.

Cold

Carey Price, G, MON – Price has been setting a new standard for consistently poor play lately, as he's allowed four goals in four of his last five games – and in the fifth one, he gave up five goals. This is startling work from the Habs' No. 1 minder, as he'd looked like a superstar through the first two months of the year and much of December. Entering January, he had a sparkling .930 save mark; this month, he's sporting an .877, killing his owners with this midseason slump.

Erik Johnson, D, COL – Remember when Johnson was the first overall pick by the Blues in 2006 after a dominant season with the U.S. National Development Team? Ah, those were the days. EJ's gone without a point in his last nine games and has gone minus-7 in his last five contests. He hasn't even been putting many pucks on net – Johnson's got just eight shots on goal over the course of this slump. It's amazing that the Avs are so good with this guy as their top defenseman.

Andrew MacDonald, D, NYI – MacDonald went on a nice little stretch around the new year, going on a five-game point streak in which he collected eight assists, but has gone stone-cold since. He's got just a lone assist in his last 11 games, a miserable stretch of play that has been – and should be – getting him dropped from fantasy rosters. The only real positive for him has been his nine power-play points on the year.

Recommended Pickup
Mark Barberio, D, TB – Barberio's been really coming into his own lately, playing very well and finally securing his spot in the lineup after a disappointing campaign last year in which he could hardly find a way to crack the lineup. He's got four points in the last four games – three of them goals. And this is nothing new for him – Barberio was a 61-point scorer in the AHL two years ago, and though he regressed some last season, he still put up 42 points and another 15 in the playoffs. There's legitimate offensive upside in the former sixth-round pick, though he'll need an injury ahead of him to climb the depth chart and skate more than the 15-17 minutes he's seeing lately. Still, there's room for Barberio to gain more power-play responsibility.