Around the Rink
The sun rose on Monday, the moon continued in its orbit around our planet, and Ondrej Pavelec and the Jets blew a 4-0 second-period lead against Anaheim, ending up with an overtime loss. You may have been confused initially to see the terrible Jets leading the Ducks 4-0, but no worries – all is right with the world.
Not to downplay the difficulty of making it into the NHL's playoffs, but literally more than half of the league's teams do so every single year. Even in the seemingly more-competitive Western Conference, the eighth-place team (Phoenix) has lost three more games (counting overtime decisions) than it's won, so it's not like you need to put forth a legendary 82 games to make the postseason. Well, it's been three campaigns in Winnipeg now, and the Jets are 0-for-3 on playoff appearances – a continuation of the rich tradition of their Atlanta days, which saw them make the playoffs just once in 12 years.
It's past time for some changes in Winnipeg, and it starts with writing Ondrej Pavelec's ticket out of town. Pavelec signed a five-year deal before the 2012 season, but unless the Jets are committed to another three years of losing, they need to bring in a legitimate NHL netminder. And a couple good defenders. And some forward help wouldn't hurt. The Jets were playing somewhat better for a time after Paul Maurice took over as coach, but they're backsliding again. There may be no NHL team that needs a roster turnover in a worse way.
Before we get into Tuesday's action, let's watch this sweet video that comes from the University of Alabama-Huntsville's hockey program – a slow-motion look at the science of the slap shot that's both amusing and enlightening.
While the flex of a hockey stick is noticeable at full speed, so this is no big news to any hockey fan, it's pretty awesome to watch the way the stick digs into the ice before reaching the puck on a slapper, bending backward before snapping forward to send the puck flying with big velocity.
This also explains why my golf stroke is so bad – clearly, I'm just trying to take slap shots. And also to dig my way to the center of the Earth, one divot at a time.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
Devils (Cory Schneider) at Sabres (Matt Hackett), 7:00
Flames (Karri Ramo) at Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:00
Panthers (Dan Ellis) at Islanders (Evgeni Nabokov), 7:00
Hurricanes (Cam Ward) at Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00
Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Capitals (Jaroslav Halak), 7:00
Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00
Canadiens (Carey Price) at Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:30
Flyers (Steve Mason) at Blues (Ryan Miller), 8:00
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Canucks (Eddie Lack), 10:00
Jets (Ondrej Pavelec) at Coyotes (Thomas Greiss), 10:00
Oilers (Ben Scrivens) at Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:30
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Injury News for Teams Playing Friday
New Jersey Devils
Ryane Clowe, LW (head) – Left Monday's game
Anton Volchenkov, D (lower body) – Could go Tuesday
Bryce Salvador, D (lower body) – Didn't go Monday, but seemingly possible for Tuesday
Tim Sestito, C (head) – Has missed five straight; no word on return
Jon Merrill, D (face) – Didn't go Monday; no word on Tuesday
Stephen Gionta, LW (lower body) – Didn't go Monday; again, no word on further availability
Alexander Sulzer, D (concussion) – Hasn't played since March 13; no firm timetable
Zenon Konopka, C (back) – Has missed three straight, but injury supposed to be minor
Chris Stewart, RW (ankle) – Missed almost all of March; no return date specified
Michal Neuvirth, G (lower body) – Doesn't seem close to returning
Jhonas Enroth, G (leg) – Could return before end of year
Torrey Mitchell, C (undisclosed) – Return doesn't seem imminent
Tyler Myers, D (upper body) – A possibility for Tuesday; check back
Ville Leino, C (illness) – Expected to be in Tuesday's lineup
Ladislav Smid, D (upper body) – Hurt Friday; sat Sunday; no word on Tuesday
Dennis Wideman, D (upper body) – Likely out for year
David Jones, RW (upper body) – Started skating on his own last week
Markus Granlund, C (shoulder) – See: David Jones
Toronto Maple Leafs
Paul Ranger, D (neck/head) – Has sat out last four, but still day-to-day
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW (upper body) – Expected to practice this week
Tom Gilbert, D (sports hernia) – Season-ending surgery
Roberto Luongo, G (upper body) – Not traveling with team
Tomas Kopecky, RW (concussion) – Out indefinitely
Aleksander Barkov, C (knee) – Out indefinitely
New York Islanders
Kyle Okposo, RW (lower body) – Has missed the last two; no word on return date
Michael Grabner, RW (concussion) – No timetable
Lubomir Visnovsky, D (concussion) – Symptomatic again; no timetable
Brian Strait, D (hand) – Broken hand; no timetable
Sebastian Collberg, RW - Collberg is out with a shoulder injury, according to Newsday. (3/26/2014)
Joni Pitkanen, D (heel) – No timetable still, and career seemingly in jeopardy
Paul Martin, D (hand) – Practiced fully Monday
Evgeni Malkin, C (foot) Still out 1-2 weeks
Kris Letang, D (stroke) – Practicing, but no timetable
Chris Conner, RW (wrist) – Out another 1-3 weeks
Joe Vitale, C (upper body) – Still week-to-week despite getting back to skating
Tomas Vokoun, G (pelvis) – Could see game action before end of season
Marcel Goc, C (foot) – Out about three weeks
Erik Cole, RW (upper body) – Sitting Tuesday, but seemingly close to return
Jack Hillen, D (upper body) – Could return Tuesday, but no final word yet
Patrick Wey, D (upper body) – Injured Sunday
Brooks Laich, C (groin) – Improving, but still out for regular season
P.A. Parenteau, RW (knee) – Expected back for regular-season finale or start of playoffs
Matt Duchene, C (knee) – Out about four weeks
Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Murray, D (lower body) – Skating on his own;
Nathan Horton, RW - Horton (lower body) won't play Tuesday against the Avs, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch reports. (3/31/2014)
Travis Moen, LW - Moen (concussion) will not travel with the Canadiens on their upcoming four-game road trip, Renaud Lavoie of Journal de Montreal reports. (3/26/2014)
Josh Gorges, D - Gorges is targeting a return from his hand injury April 9, when the Canadiens play the Blackhawks in Chicago, Hockey Inside Out reports. He has missed nearly a month because of a broken hand. (3/31/2014)
Brandon Prust, LW - Prust (upper body) will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 season, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports. (3/21/2014)
Dale Weise, RW - Weise will be out two-to-three weeks with a wrist injury. (3/25/2014)
Tampa Bay Lightning
No new news
Kimmo Timonen, D (upper body) – Didn't travel for Tuesday's game
Steve Downie, RW (head) – Won't play Tuesday
St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW (hand) – Back to skating Monday; still done for regular season
New York Rangers
John Moore, D (concussion) – One more practice and he'll be good to go
Chris Kreider, LW (hand) – Out indefinitely following surgery
Chris Tanev, D (finger) – Out another couple weeks yet with broken finger
Henrik Sedin, C (leg) – Could be out another week yet
Zach Bogosian, D (upper body) – Has missed four straight; no word on return
Al Montoya, G (undisclosed) – Wasn't on the ice for Monday's morning skate
Mark Scheifele, C (knee) – Recovering well, but still could be done for season
David Moss, RW (lower body) – Sat out Saturday
Mike Smith, G (lower body) – To be reevaluated at end of week; injury not that serious
Andrew Ference, D (chest) – Likely done for the year
Jesse Joensuu, RW (ankle) – At least two more weeks to recover, so not likely to play again this year
Ryan Jones, LW (knee) – Ruled out for the year
Luke Gazdic, LW (shoulder) – Season-ending surgery coming
Mark Arcobello, RW (shoulder) – Likely out for the year
Viktor Fasth, G (neck) – Backed up Ben Scrivens on Sunday; could start Wednesday
Nail Yakupov, RW (ankle) – Suffered a setback; seems unlikely to return this season
San Jose Sharks
Jason Demers, D (illness) – Sat Saturday, but seems likely to return Tuesday
Adam Burish, RW (hand) – Could still return during playoffs
Raffi Torres, LW (soreness) – Out again Tuesday
Patric Hornqvist, RW, NAS – It's largely been another slow season for Hornqvist, but he's been coming on very strong lately; the 27-year-old Swede has a five-game point streak going in which he's compiled a sturdy eight points, evenly split between goals and assists. With 43 points on the year now, he's tied his season total from 2011-12 (in 70 games as opposed to that year's 76), but has scored 10 fewer goals. Despite this mediocre campaign, though, there are plenty of positives for Hornqvist – he remains a big part of Nashville's future, and he's set a new career high with 16 power-play points. He could be a nice late-round sleeper for next year's drafts.
Gustav Nyquist, RW, DET – This guy is just awesome. The latest product of the Red Wings' star development program, Nyquist is on a nine-game point streak and has scored goals in eight of those games – with 11 total goals in that span. And, hey, two assists! The guy is a legit stud; buy him in the middle rounds of next year's drafts and you'll turn a very neat profit. And, of course, he's keeper-league gold.
Kari Lehtonen, G, DAL – After suffering through some concussion troubles, Lehtonen's flying high again – he's won four of five, posting a save mark of .927 or better in four of those games and allowing just 10 total goals in that span. With the Stars just a single point out of the final playoff spot in the West, Lehtonen seems likely to draw the starts in most – if not all – of their eight remaining games. Backup Tim Thomas hasn't started since March 20 and didn't give the Stars a whole lot of confidence when he had his chances. It's gonna be Lehtonen or bust.
Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer, G, TOR – The Leafs are losing in spades – eight straight now – and it should come as no surprise that their goaltending has been rather suspect during this skid. Bernier's made three straight starts, allowing four goals in each; Reimer gave up 18 goals in the prior five games, never posting a save mark better than .906 in that span. Bad and worse – yet Toronto's still just two points out of eighth in the East and four points out of seventh. If the Leafs can turn things around over their last six games, this slump could yet be forgotten.
Torey Krug, D, BOS – A popular draft-day sleeper following his impressive playoff performance last year, Krug has delivered for fantasy owners this season – 14 goals, 37 points and a plus-15 certainly get the job done. But March was easily his worst month of the season, as he totaled just three points in 14 games and has now been a healthy scratch in two of the Bruins' last five contests. Boston's just got too many healthy bodies on the blue line right now, leaving Krug in a bottom-pairing timeshare with the likes of Matt Bartkowski and Corey Potter. He's better than that, but that may not matter right now.
Martin St. Louis, RW, NYR – Even if you gave St. Louis credit for the two goals he's had disallowed since joining the Rangers, he'd only have those two goals and three assists to show for his 14 games on Broadway. The superstar winger remains stuck one shy of 30 goals for the season, as he's had a ton of trouble getting going for the Rangers. They're shuffling him around into different line combos to try to find some chemistry, but there's not much time left in the regular season for him to get things going. Could be a sneaky playoff-pool pickup, though.
Dougie Hamilton, D, BOS – Hamilton's ownership is on the rise as a result of a six-game stretch during which he's averaged an assist per game while going plus-4, and if you go back further, he's plus-9 in his last 10 games. The Bruins do nothing but win, so Hamilton's going to keep compiling positive plus-minus even if the points don't keep coming quite so steadily. You probably own a less-valuable defenseman, so make the move before it's too late.