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Tuesday Daily Puck: Mr. Universe Is Back

Andrew Fiorentino

Andrew Fiorentino

A degenerate fantasy player since the age of 13.

Around the Rink

If you like goaltending, Monday was a banner day for you. Three games, three shutouts, and they could hardly have come from a less-likely trio of goaltenders –Anaheim's John Gibson, Calgary's Karri Ramo and Minnesota's Ilya Bryzgalov. Not exactly the murderer's row you drafted back in the fall with dreams of fantasy-playoff victory dancing in your head, eh?

A rookie making his NHL debut, Gibson shut out the flailing Canucks on 18 shots; Ramo, with only one shutout to show for the first 73 starts of his NHL career, stopped all 31 to put a major dent in the Devils' playoff hopes; and Bryzgalov recorded his second consecutive shutout as he continues surprisingly putting his stamp on the Wild's starting goaltending position.

Meanwhile, their opposites didn't disappoint either; two of the games were 1-0 affairs, making the Ducks' 3-0 win over Vancouver seem a blowout by comparison. Poor Eddie Lack was the only man out of the six starters who allowed more than one goal on Monday. Now that's wild.

In other league news, the Lightning have given GM Steve Yzerman a four-year extension – a powerful statement for a Tampa team that recently locked up a playoff spot despite missing Steven Stamkos for most of the year and trading Martin St. Louis. Yzerman's done a great job building up that organization, and it all truly starts with his ultra-savvy deal of Cory Conacher to Ottawa for Ben Bishop. Conacher's since moved on to the Sabres after being surprisingly waived in early March, while Bishop's turned in a season that should have among the Vezina finalists.

But that's far from Yzerman's only accomplishment. Indeed, despite his inaugural first-round pick (Brett Connolly) looking like a possible bust, he's hit paydirt with low-investment assets like Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson, while the Valtteri Filppula signing is looking like a win. Further, Yzerman has been the beneficiary of development by inherited youngsters like Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn. All in all, he's built one of the NHL's more complete teams, and it's going to be exciting to see what the Lightning do next year with a (presumably) healthy Stamkos as well as last year's No. 3 overall pick, Jonathan Drouin, in the lineup.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Red Wings (Jimmy Howard) at Sabres (Matt Hackett), 7:00
Senators (Craig Anderson) at Islanders (Evgeni Nabokov), 7:00
Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:00
Coyotes (Mike Smith) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00
Maple Leafs (James Reimer) at Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:30
Flyers (Steve Mason) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:30
Capitals (Jaroslav Halak) at Blues (Ryan Miller), 8:00
Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Wild (Ilya Bryzgalov), 8:00
Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30
Avalanche (Jean-Sebastien Giguere) at Oilers (Ben Scrivens), 9:30

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

Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday

Detroit Red Wings
Stephen Weiss, C (hernia) – Not expected to return this season
Henrik Zetterberg, LW (back) – Expected to resume skating this week

Buffalo Sabres
Nathan Lieuwen, G (concussion) – Done for the year
Torrey Mitchell, C (undisclosed) – Could be back in action Tuesday
Tyler Myers, D (midsection) – Could still return before season's end
Chad Ruhwedel, D (concussion) – Shut down for the rest of the year
Chris Stewart, RW (ankle) – Could return Tuesday
Michal Neuvirth, G (lower body) – Expected to be out for the remainder of the year
Jhonas Enroth, G (leg) – Unlikely to return this year
Christian Ehrhoff, D (head) – Game-time decision Tuesday
Drew Stafford, RW (undiscloseD) – Could play Tuesday
Henrik Tallinder, D (lower body) – Needs more time; return this year in doubt

Ottawa Senators
Bobby Ryan, RW (hernia) – Had season-ending surgery
Colin Greening, C (lower body) – Sat out last five; may be done for the year

New York Islanders
Brian Strait, D (hand) – Likely done for year with broken hand
Lubomir Visnovsky, D (concussion) – Symptomatic again
Kyle Okposo, RW (lower body) – Has now missed six games; no return date outlined
Michael Grabner, RW - Grabner (upper body) will not play Sunday against the Blue Jackets. (4/6/2014)
Calvin de Haan, D (lower body) – Unlikely to play again this year
Sebastian Collberg, RW (shoulder) – Out with no timeline

Carolina Hurricanes
Jiri Tlusty, LW (lower body) – Skating, but no word on return date
Andrej Sekera, D (lower body) – Won't be back Tuesday
Drayson Bowman, C (illness) – Has missed last two; should be back Tuesday

New York Rangers
Chris Kreider, LW (hand) – Working out, but still out indefinitely
Ryan McDonagh, D (arm) – Not skating in practice

Phoenix Coyotes
David Schlemko, D (foot) – Traveling with the team, but no word on return
Mike Smith, G (knee) – Practiced fully Monday; can't rule him out for Tuesday
Martin Hanzal, C (lower body) – Questionable for Tuesday

Columbus Blue Jackets
Nick Foligno, LW (lower body) – Likely done for regular season
Nikita Nikitin, D (lower body) – Missed third straight game Sunday
R.J. Umberger, LW (upper body) – Out a couple weeks; could be back during playoffs
Nathan Horton, RW (lower body) – Game-time call Tuesday

Toronto Maple Leafs
Jonathan Bernier, G (knee) – Out at least three weeks; see ya next year
Joffrey Lupul, LW (knee) – Surgery coming; done for the year, naturally

Tampa Bay Lightning
Mike Kostka, D (concussion) – No timetable

Philadelphia Flyers
Zac Rinaldo, LW (suspension) – Four-game ban starts Tuesday
Steve Downie, RW (head) – Will return to lineup when healthy, whenever that may be

Florida Panthers
Tom Gilbert, D (hernia) – Had season-ending surgery
Brad Boyes, RW (back) – Has missed two straight and not practicing
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW (upper body) – Cleared for contact; a possibility for Tuesday
Aleksander Barkov, C (knee) – Likely finished for the year

Washington Capitals
Patrick Wey, D (head) – Not traveling on road trip
Dustin Penner, LW (upper body) – Seems possible for Tuesday; awai t word
Mike Green, D (upper body) – Not traveling for next two road games
Jack Hillen, D (head) – Out for rest of road trip

St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko, RW (hand) – Back at practice Monday, but in a cast
Alexander Steen, C (upper body) – Also back to practice Monday

Boston Bruins
Kevan Miller, D (undisclosed) – Not on the ice for Monday's practice
Dennis Seidenberg, D (lower body) – Could be back in the Bruins go deep in the playoffs
Adam McQuaid, D (quad) – Ramping up rehab efforts, but still not skating
Jarome Iginla, RW (lower body) – Being held out as precaution; note kid-glove treatment

Minnesota Wild
Keith Ballard, D (groin) – Didn't go Monday
Clayton Stoner, D (knee) – Close to skating
Mikael Granlund, C (head) – Out indefinitely
Darcy Kuemper, G (upper body) – Expected back for playoffs
Josh Harding, G (illness) – Practicing again, but seemingly no timeline

Nashville Predators
Patrick Eaves, RW (upper body) – Doesn't sound likely for Tuesday

Dallas Stars
Aaron Rome, D (undisclosed) – Hasn't been practicing
Ray Whitney, LW (lower body) – Didn't play Saturday; no word on Tuesday

Colorado Avalanche
Cory Sarich, D (back) – Missed his third straight game Sunday
P.A. Parenteau, RW (knee) – Expected back for last game of regular season or playoff start
Cody McLeod, LW (ankle) – Sat out second straight game Saturday
Matt Duchene, C (knee) – Out 'til the end of April

Edmonton Oilers
Tyler Pitlick, C (knee) – Expected back in Tuesday's lineup
Mark Arcobello, RW (shoulder) – Likely to miss balance of season
Nail Yakupov, RW (ankle) – Also most likely done for the year
Ryan Jones, LW (knee) – Ruled out for the year
Luke Gazdic, LW (shoulder) – Had season-ending surgery
Andrew Ference, D (chest) – Likely done for the year too

Hot

Taylor Hall, LW, EDM – Hall's absolutely lit on five over Edmonton's last four games, scoring two goals and handing out a spectacular seven assists in that span. Going back, all you find is this guy scoring more and more points – we could talk about him having X points in the last Y games and just keep revising the numbers upward. He's finally living up to his No. 1 pick status, and boy, can you imagine how much better his numbers would be on a good team?

Mikko Koivu, C, MIN – It's been an injury-shortened season – as usual – for Koivu, but after struggling initially following his return from an ankle injury, the Finnich centerman has rallied for 14 points (11 of 'em assists) in his last 11 contests. And hey, he's plus-8 in that span, too.

Patric Hornqvist, RW, NAS – Hornqvist has been on an absolute tear over his last seven games. He's gone off for multi-point games four times in that span, resulting in a spectacular line of seven goals, seven assists and a plus-11 rating. In short, he's been perhaps the best player in the NHL over the last two-plus weeks. With 49 points, he's now just two points off his career high and should receive a good amount of attention in next year's drafts.

Cold

Scott Hartnell, RW, PHI – Hartnell picked the wrong time of year to go stone cold, as he's without a point in his last five games and the Flyers are fighting for playoff position. This, of course, follows a stretch in which he recorded a sparkling eight points in six contests. Despite the slump, this has been a fairly standard campaign for Hartnell, who's one off his third career 50-point season.

Alexander Semin, LW, CAR – Semin got back in action Saturday following a two-game absence, going an uncharacteristic minus-3 without a point. He's generally been a pretty good plus-minus guy, so he'll surely iron things out on that front, but Semin's now without a point in his last four games (a six-game span for the Caps).

Jaroslav Halak, G, WAS – Halak's made five consecutive starts without a win, though at least three of those games have gone to overtime. Still, it's small consolation when you go from a team that practically never loses (the Blues) to a Capitals team with a lot of weak spots. While Halak hasn't been uniformly awful during this stretch, he's only managed save marks over .900 in in two of those losses.

Recommended Pickup
Ilya Bryzgalov, G, MIN – If consecutive shutouts might be something that catches your eye, then Bryzgalov's already got your attention after blanking the Penguins on Saturday and the Jets on Monday. In fact, he's allowed only five goals in total over his last five starts, and with Darcy Kuemper still banged up, Bryz may carry the load for the Wild down the stretch in the regular season as well as in the playoffs. Of course, his last three playoff experiences have gone poorly – he's won just one series and is 8-14 in total – but you're not picking Bryzgalov up for his postseason stats.