Around the Rink
Thursday night featured a lot of great action around the league – a slate of closely contested games featuring some big-time goals. Of the evening's nine games, eight were one-goal decisions, and the ninth featured a two-goal difference. Three went to overtime and one (very nearly two) to a shootout. Fun for the whole family!
Observe Daniel Alfredsson's last-second overtime winner off a Pittsburgh defender and past Marc-Andre Fleury.
Take in Ales Hemsky's man-among-boys move culminating in a goal-of-the-year candidate.
Or enjoy Thomas Vanek's master blast for his fourth goal in two games.
Enjoy a rare tally by assist master Joe Thornton or a beautiful, unicorn-rare backhand goal by no-offense defenseman Eric Brewer.
Friday's got a small slate, but one that features a host of terrific netminders, so feel free to look forward to some highlight-reel saves.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00
Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at Blackhawks (Corey Crawford), 8:00
Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov), 9:00
Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Flames (Joni Ortio), 9:00
Injury News for Teams Playing Friday
Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Murray, D (knee) – Out about another 2-4 weeks following surgery
Justin Faulk, D (illness) – Sat out Tuesday; one would imagine he'll be good Friday
Ryan Murphy, D (upper body) – Left Tuesday's game
Joni Pitkanen, D (heel) – No timetable
John-Michael Liles, D (concussion) – Practicing sans contact
Jiri Tlusty, LW (lower body) – Couldn't go Tuesday; no word on Friday
Elias Lindholm, C (illness) – Late scratch Tuesday; seems likely for Friday
Patrick Kane, RW (lower body) – Out three weeks – killer
Brandon Saad, LW (upper body) – Missed Wednesday's game
Michal Rozsival, D (lower body) – Out a few games
Adam McQuaid, D (groin/hip) – Now at low end of 2-to-3-week shutdown timeline
Johnny Boychuk, D (foot) – Skated with the team Thursday, offering some hope for Friday
P.A. Parenteau, RW (knee) – Out for the regular season; playoff return possible
Alex Tanguay, LW (knee/hip) – Had season-ending hip surgery
John Mitchell, C (back) – Expected to play Friday
Paul Gaustad, C (upper body) – Left Wednesday's game after face-to-ice incident
Karri Ramo, G (knee) – Practiced fully Thursday; likely to return next week
Dennis Wideman, D (upper body) – Unlikely to return this season
David Jones, RW (upper body) – Still out another week or two
Markus Granlund, C (shoulder) – Will be back this year, supposedly
Matt Duchene, C, COL – Duchene's simply been an unstoppable force dating back to the last game before the Olympic break. He scored two goals in that game, went to Sochi, won a gold medal, and came back white-hot. He's got a whipping 19 points in his last 13 games, and he's only been held off the scoresheet one time in that span. Now averaging a point per game for the season, he's finally developed into the legit stud we expected him to be.
Michael Cammalleri, C, CGY – Cammalleri's game is best described as "enigmatic," but over the last nine games, he's been closer to automatic, netting seven goals and three helpers in that span. Before that, he'd been muddling along at a half-point-per-game pace. He's a nice roll while he's hot, but be prepared to bail if things really go south for the Flames.
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS – The only way Rask could be more helpful to fantasy owners right now would be if the Bruins were rolling him out every game. Though Chad Johnson seems to reliably be starting one in three games at this point to keep Rask fresh for the postseason, Rask has been incredibly hot lately, with three consecutive one-goal outings and six goals allowed in his last five games. He's riding a six-game string of victories and hasn't lost since March 1. Hot indeed.
James Reimer, G, TOR – Since taking over full-time duties for the injured Jonathan Bernier, Reimer's lost three consecutive starts, allowing 11 goals in that span. Go back a little more, and he's allowed 27 goals in his last eight appearances. But while Bernier remains out, the Leafs have no one else to whom they can turn. Drew MacIntyre certainly isn't going to cut into Reimer's playing time in any meaningful way.
Michael Del Zotto, D, NAS – Now DZ's in the doghouse with a second franchise, as he was a healthy scratch Wednesday and has totaled just three points (assists all) in 18 games for the Preds. As usual, his coaches feel like they should be getting more out of Del Zotto than they are. If he keeps underwhelming like this, he's going to wash right out of the league in no time.
Jason Garrison, D, VAN – It seemed like a near-guarantee, entering this season, that Garrison would reach double-digit goals. After all, he'd tallied 16 two years ago and eight in last year's strike-shortened campaign. But with 10 games left on Vancouver's schedule, it looks like he won't get there. Garrison has no points in his last four games and all of three in his last 13 contests. It's not pretty.
Jared Spurgeon, D, MIN – The secret's coming out about Spurgeon now, as he's got three points in his last two games – Tuesday's goal followed by two assists Thursday. A talented, if undersized defender who's posted a plus-10 rating for the season and is seeing heavy ice time every game – typically in the range of 25 minutes – Spurgeon can deliver real results for fantasy owners down the stretch. P.S.: One of Thursday's assists came on the power play.