RotoWire Partners

Wednesday Daily Puck: Penguin Down

Dan Pennucci

Dan Pennucci

Dan Pennucci has covered hockey for Rotowire since 2002 and is the author of Blue Line Buzz since 2011 as well as being the co-author of Morning Skate. He also is a contributor to Talking Red, a New Jersey Devils blog and podcast. He is an English teacher and formerly wrote for The Coast Star in Manasquan, New Jersey where he and his sports section won several New Jersey Press Association awards. Dan Pennucci is a supporter of the New Jersey Devils, Washington Nationals and Chelsea FC. He's attended sporting events in six countries.

Around The Rink
-Leafs fans began to rejoice after Tuesday’s morning skate, which saw goalie Jonathan Bernier on the ice for the first time in quite a while, a welcomed sight considering the abysmal play of former savior James Reimer. Reimer looked woeful at times the last week but was also the victim of a slow-footed and positionally unsound defense fond of giving up odd-man rushes and breakaways. Strangely, Bernier fell to some of the same play that victimized Reimer in a loss to St. Louis Tuesday. True it was St. Louis and not New Jersey, but the Leafs haven’t exactly protected their goalies, something that may end up costing them what once seemed to be a secure playoff spot.

-Pittsburgh will be without their other all-world center, as Evgeni Malkin is slated to miss most of, if not, all of the regular season’s final weeks with a knee injury. Geno has been streaky this season, but the point binges were enough to satisfy owners, especially the six he notched over a two-game span recently. Malkin should return for the playoffs, but the Penguins, virtually assured the Metropolitan Division’s top seed, will be wise to rest him. Malkin’s absence will hurt owners in the midst of playoffs, or those vital final weeks of rotisserie, but players like Jussi Jokinen and James Neal could be affected more without their all-world center (although both notched a power-play point in Tuesday’s loss to Phoenix). Look for Brandon Sutter to see a bit more ice time in Malkin’s stead, making Sutter a viable option for owners seeking a potential gem from the waiver wire.

-Wednesday’s Metropolitan Division clash between the Flyers and the Rangers is essentially a contest to jockey for playoff position. With Washington and Columbus, as well as the Devils, lagging behind in the division, Wednesday’s game can help determine home ice for what should be a first-round, divisional playoff matchup. Philadelphia is playing excellent hockey of late, owning wins over Chicago, St. Louis and two over Pittsburgh. The Rangers are still a solid team with one of the league’s best netminders, so expecting a physical, playoff-type game Wednesday should be in order.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid

Vancouver Canucks (Eddie Lack) at Minnesota Wild (Darcy Kuemper), 7:30 PM

Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason) at New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 8:00 PM

Anaheim Ducks (Jonas Hiller) at Calgary Flames (Karri Ramo), 10:00 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Wednesday

Vancouver Canucks
Henrik Sedin, C –Out the next two games at least, leg injury.
Andrew Alberts, D – Still recovering from a concussion, no timetable
Alexandre Burrows, RW – Will travel with the Canucks for next two games, likely won’t play.
Mike Santorelli, C – Out for season following shoulder surgery
Chris Tanev, D –Could miss rest of regular season with a finger injury
Hunter Shinkaruk, C – Hasn’t played since December following hip surgery, in WHL

Minnesota Wild
Jason Zucker, LW – Out for rest of season with knee injury
Niklas Backstrom, G – Abdominal injury, has been practicing, a return this season appears unlikely
Clayton Stoner, D – Remains out with a lower-body injury
Keith Ballard, D – Groin, is skating but doubtful for Wednesday
Josh Harding, G – Complications from MS, is practicing but unlikely to play again this season
Philadelphia Flyers
Steve Downie, RW-Upper body, out Wednesday
Marc-Andre Bourdon, D – Recovering from upper body injury in the AHL

New York Rangers
Martin St. Louis, RW – Illness, but should be ready for Wednesday’s game
Derek Stepan, C – Illness, but played sparingly Monday. Should be good for Wednesday.
John Moore, D – Working out following concussion
Chris Kreider, LW – Injured hand, likely out for rest of regular season

Anaheim Ducks
Sheldon Souray, D – Hasn’t played and won’t play, wrist surgery
Cam Fowler, D – Sprained MCL, out for now
Stefan Noesen, C – Out for season following knee surgery
Patrick Maroon, LW – Day-to-day with a lower body injury.

Calgary Flames
Michael Ferland, LW – Out for season with knee surgery
Markus Granlund, C – Could play again this season following shoulder injury.
Dennis Wideman, D – Done for season, will be ready for training camp
David Jones, RW – Out another two weeks likely

Hot
Mikko Koivu, C, Minnesota- He isn’t the most prolific player on the Wild roster, but the team simply plays better when Koivu is producing. The crafty playmaker has a goal and five assists heading into Wednesday’s tilt with Vancouver. Koivu is in a tremendous situation alongside Zach Parise and the rest of the Wild’s power-play snipers, like Jason Pominville, Matt Moulson and the player who used to be Dany Heatley. Koivu has a goal and two assists in the last two games and figures to factor much into the team’s scoring as they look to secure a playoff spot.

Ryan McDonagh, D, New York Rangers- McDonagh’s career season continued on Monday with the overtime winning goal and two assists in the Rangers’ vital victory over Phoenix. He remains the team’s top option in scoring from the back end and one of their most important shutdown defenders. He’s going to keep seeing scoring chances and with six points in the last four games, McDonagh is cashing in for owners who snagged him late. Enjoy it the final three weeks of the season, as he won’t come this cheap next year.

Curtis Glencross, LW, Calgary- Seemingly everyone on the Flames had at least two points in Saturday’s 8-1 beatdown of the Oilers, but Glencross has at least a point in five of the last six games, including a hat trick Saturday. The Flames followed up that win with a shootout win over San Jose Monday, showing that once the pressure is off, it’s easier to win games. Glencross should see plenty of scoring chances for the Flames, who have rediscovered the offensive end of the rink. He’s probably available in most leagues and those in daily leagues may want to look at the veteran as there are just three games on Wednesday’s slate.

Cold
Martin St. Louis, RW, New York Rangers- Wantaway St. Louis is still waiting to pot his first goal for the Rangers since the deadline-day acquisition from Tampa Bay. The shifty veteran has a mere three assists in 11 games since joining the Rangers, certainly numbers the team was hoping would be better. It’s just a matter of time before a player of St. Louis’s caliber will start scoring, but him bagging a few important goals in the playoffs will make all forget this woefully slow start with the Rangers.

Mike Richards, C, Los Angeles- Richards has been rather quiet the last two weeks for the Kings with just one goal in the last eight games. That goal constitutes his only point as well. He’s still seeing scoring chances with the Kings, but simply has not been capitalizing, as he has 13 shots on goal in the last four games.

Teemu Selanne, RW, Anaheim Ducks- Despite having three points in the last two games, with a goal in each, Selanne had not scored in and NHL game since January 15. With just four assists over that span, Selanne had not been contributing much for the Ducks of late. He’s too good of a player to stay this quiet for this long, but age could be catching up with Teddy Flash. He’s still a player who will see scoring chances, and the Ducks will hope the last two games are more indicative of his ability down the stretch that the weeks leading up and immediately following the Olympics.

Recommended Pickups
Shawn Matthias, C, Vancouver Canucks-With only three games on the schedule Wednesday and the Canucks’ top center, Henrik Sedin, out with a leg injury, Matthias will see more top-six minutes than he usually does. A piece of the Roberto Luongo trade, Matthias won’t be expected to contribute regularly, but he grabbed a goal and two assists in Sunday’s win over Buffalo. Those in deep daily leagues may want to look Matthias’s way for Wednesday, just remember that the Minnesota team Vancouver faces is slightly better than Buffalo.

Brandon Sutter, C, Pittsburgh- Owners looking to fill an Evgeni Malkin-sized void, may want to look at Sutter, who could see an uptick in top-six ice time while Malkin is out for what should be the rest of the regular season. Sutter won’t produce nearly as much, but Malkin’s absence moves him up another line on the depth chart.