Saturday Daily Puck: Wednesday Night Rivalry, On Saturday

Saturday Daily Puck: Wednesday Night Rivalry, On Saturday

This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.

Around the Rink
There are some good games Saturday. The Penguins visiting a desperate Red Wings team should provide some quality action. Boston and Toronto is a good rivalry even though one team is eliminated (though that team has been pretty good and the Bruins are sliding). The Panthers and Lightning provide a good divisional battle for playoff position that could be a preview of a second round match (please, please make that happen). The Flyers are playing fun, desperate hockey right now (did you see their third period comeback against Colorado on Thursday?!)

But there's one game that may provide some serious fireworks.

The Wild visit the Avalanche with two incredibly meaningful points on the line.

The Wild currently hold eighth place in the West. The Avalanche are the only team capable of taking that playoff spot away from them. They're back three points after Minnesota won Thursday and the Avs lost.

Importantly, Colorado has a game in hand. That's not enough to grab a playoff spot alone, unless they win Saturday. A win doesn't give them a playoff spot, but puts them in great position to overtake the Wild, one point back with a game in hand. A loss puts them five points back.

That could bury them. Only seven games remain after today.

This will be a viscous game between two rivals who have absolutely no love lost between them. The fans will be rowdy, the team will not only be looking to beat a rival who knocked them out of the postseason two years back, but they need redemption after an embarrassing loss Thursday. Philadelphia put up three third-period goals to take the lead from the Avalanche and win.

Adding to the drama, the Avalanche are going to have to overcome being without some key players. Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene are out, as is defenseman Eric Gelinas.

There are frequently rivalry games and there's plenty of meaningful hockey happening, but you don't get games with the potential to provide this much fire that often.

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

Jets (Ondrej Pavelec) at Sabres (Chad Johnson), 1:00 PM
Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Red Wings (Petr Mrazek), 2:00 PM
Wild (Devan Dubnyk) at Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov), 3:00 PM
Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Sharks (Martin Jones), 4:00 PM
Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:00 PM
Rangers (Antti Raanta) at Canadiens (Mike Condon), 7:00 PM
Ducks (John Gibson) at Senators (Craig Anderson), 7:00 PM
Panthers (Roberto Luongo) at Lightning (Andrei Vasilevskiy), 7:00 PM
Blues (Jake Allen) at Capitals (Philipp Grubauer), 7:00 PM
Islanders (Jean-Francois Berube) at Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:00 PM
Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Predators (Pekka Rinne), 8:00 PM
Blackhawks (Scott Darling) at Flames (Joni Ortio), 10:00 PM
Flyers (Steve Mason) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 10:00 PM
Oilers (Cam Talbot) at Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:00 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday

Winnipeg Jets
Toby Enstrom, D (knee) - is out indefinitely
Mathieu Perreault, C (concussion) - is out indefinitely
Tyler Myers, D (hip/knee) - won't play again this season
Bryan Little, C (head) - has hit the ice again, but isn't expected to play again this season
Anthony Peluso, RW (shoulder) - is expected to miss another 13 weeks
Jacob Trouba, D (foot) - didn't practice Friday, but his status for Saturday is unclear
J.C. Lipon, RW (upper body) - hasn't had his situation updated

Buffalo Sabres
Robin Lehner, G (ankle) - did not practice Thursday
Cody Franson, D (neck) - is in a "holding pattern"
Tyler Ennis, LW (concussion) - hopes to join practice again soon
Cody McCormick, C (blood clots) - is still not expected to return

Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin, C (upper body) - remains on IR
Kevin Porter, C (ankle) - isn't expected back soon
Olli Maatta, D (lower body) - is considered week-to-week
Scott Wilson, LW (lower body) - remains out

Detroit Red Wings
Johan Franzen, RW (concussion) - won't play Saturday
Drew Miller, LW (lower body) - isn't expected to return this season

Minnesota Wild
Ryan Carter, LW (upper body) - didn't play Thursday and isn't expected to draw into the lineup Saturday

Colorado Avalanche
Jesse Winchester, LW (concussion) - remains on IR
Matt Duchene, C (knee) - has been ruled out of Saturday's game
Eric Gelinas, D (elbow) - is out indefinitely
Nathan MacKinnon, C (knee) - won't play Thursday
Ben Street, C (chest) - remains out
Brad Stuart, D (back) - is still on IR

Dallas Stars
Kris Russell, D (lower body) - was held out of Thursday's game
Jason Demers, D (shoulder) - won't play again during the regular season
Tyler Seguin, C (Achilles) - is out for the remainder of the regular season

San Jose Sharks
Joonas Donskoi, RW (lower body) - is considered questionable for Saturday
Matthew Nieto, LW (hand) - is still out
Matt Tennyson, D (concussion) - has skated, but hasn't been cleared for contact
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D (lower body) - isn't likely to play Saturday

Boston Bruins
John-Michael Liles, D (lower body) - isn't traveling with the team for Saturday's game
Chris Kelly, RW (fractured femur) - has skated, but isn't ready to play
Zac Rinaldo, C (suspension) - has not yet started to serve his five-game suspension

Toronto Maple Leafs
Byron Froese, C (hand) - is still sidelined
Leo Komarov, LW (lower body) - is unlikely to play Saturday
Matt Hunwick, D (hernia) - won't play again this season
Stephane Robidas, D (knee) - is still without a timetable for return
James van Riemsdyk, LW (foot) - is out for the remainder of the year
Viktor Loov, D (undisclosed) - is still out
Nikita Soshnikov, LW (upper body) - didn't play Thursday
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) - has been shut down for the year
Joffrey Lupul, LW (abdomen) - won't play again this season

New York Rangers
Dylan McIlrath, D (knee) - is considered day-to-day

Montreal Canadiens
Brendan Gallagher, RW (groin) - hasn't had his situation updated, but his initial timeline would have him returning in the near future
Victor Bartley, D (lower body) - is considered day-to-day
Lucas Lessio, LW - has been ruled out of Saturday's match
Brian Flynn, C (lower body) - is still sidelined
Daniel Carr, LW (knee) - is out
Carey Price, G (leg) - remains out
Jeff Petry, D (lower body) - is done for the year
Tom Gilbert, D (knee) - is done for the year
P.K. Subban, D (neck) - has been ruled out of Saturday's game
Mark Barberio, D (concussion) - is out indefinitely

Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Kesler, C (personal) - returned home and didn't play Thursday
Kevin Bieksa, D (upper body) - left Thursday's game with an injury
David Perron, LW (shoulder) - is not expected back soon
Simon Despres, D (undisclosed) - was sent home from Toronto on Thursday
Sami Vatanen, D (head) - participated in Thursday's morning skate

Ottawa Senators
Mark Borowiecki, D (knee) - is out
Patrick Wiercioch, D (upper body) - is considered week-to-week
Kyle Turris, C (ankle) - is out indefinitely
Clarke MacArthur, LW (concussion) - has passed a baseline test, but will decide soon whether or not he'll return at all this season
Chris Phillips, D (back) - has confirmed he won't play again this season
Dion Phaneuf, D (lower body) - has been ruled out of Saturday's match

Florida Panthers
Willie Mitchell, D (concussion) - hasn't yet determined if he'll return to the ice
Derek MacKenzie, C (foot) - is questionable
Dave Bolland, C (lower body) - remains out
Erik Gudbranson, D (lower body) - is questionable

Tampa Bay Lightning
Valtteri Filppula, C (upper body) - didn't play Friday
Ryan Callahan, RW (lower body) - didn't play Friday
Anton Stralman, D (fractured fibula) - is out indefinitely

St. Louis Blues
Jay Bouwmeester, D (upper body) - will not play Saturday
Alexander Steen, LW (upper body) - does not yet have a definite date for his return
Steve Ott, C (hamstrings) - is skating and working his way back still

Washington Capitals
T.J. Oshie, RW (illness) - did not play Friday

New York Islanders
Marek Zidlicky, D (upper body) - remains out
Jaroslav Halak, G (groin) - isn't expected to return until the postseason
Mikhail Grabovski, C (undisclosed) - remains out
Adam Pelech, D (undisclosed) - may return by the end of the month

Carolina Hurricanes
Andrej Nestrasil, C (back) - has been ruled out for the remainder of the season
James Wisniewski, D (knee) - has skated, but isn't quite ready yet

Columbus Blue Jackets
Fedor Tyutin, D (undisclosed) - isn't traveling with the team and won't play Saturday
Jack Johnson, D (shoulder) - is out for the year
David Clarkson, RW (lower body) - was still not back in the lineup Thursday
Curtis McElhinney, G (knee) - is out for the year
Jared Boll, RW (suspension) - is serving a four-game suspension

Nashville Predators
Anthony Bitetto, D (lower body) - didn't play Thursday
Paul Gaustad, C (upper body) - has been out for quite a while

Chicago Blackhawks
Corey Crawford, G (upper body) - doesn't have a timeline for return

Calgary Flames
Josh Jooris, C (lower body) - is considered day-to-day
Matt Stajan, C (undisclosed) - left Thursday's game with an injury
Ladislav Smid, D (upper body) - is on IR
Karri Ramo, G (ACL) - is out for the remainder of the season
Dennis Wideman, D (tricep) - is out for the year
Deryk Engelland, D (personal) - didn't play Thursday

Philadelphia Flyers
Michal Neuvirth, G (knee) - will miss the rest of the regular season
Michael Del Zotto, D (wrist) - is sidelined for the season

Arizona Coyotes
Joe Vitale, C (concussion) - isn't expected to return this season
Anders Lindback, G (Achilles) - remains on IR
Jarred Tinordi, D (suspension) - continues to serve a suspension for PED use

Edmonton Oilers
Andrew Ference, D (hip) - is done for the year following surgery
Brandon Davidson, D (lower body) - is out long-term
Benoit Pouliot, LW (shoulder) - may be done for the year
Adam Pardy, D (hand) - is day-to-day
Eric Gryba, D (knee) - is out long-term
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C (concussion) - is sidelined with a "minor concussion"
Oscar Klefbom, D (infection) - is unlikely to return this year

Los Angeles Kings
Jordan Nolan, RW (back) - is out indefinitely
Matt Greene, D (shoulder) - is done for the year
Vincent Lecavalier, C (undisclosed) - was held out of Thursday's game for minor injuries
Marian Gaborik, RW (knee) - could return before the end of the season
Kris Versteeg, RW (foot) - did not play Thursday and is considered day-to-day

Brian Elliott, G, STL — Elliott posted a shutout Friday, giving him three straight. He only faced 15 shots from the Canucks on Friday, but it's an impressive run despite the opponent (the Canucks actually represent two of those three shutouts). Since returning from injury Elliott has stopped 71 straight shots, adding to his league-leading .934 save percentage. He looks playoff-ready.

Nikita Kucherov, RW, TBL — Kucherov extended his goal-streak to four games Friday, giving him seven points with a plus-3 rating and 14 shots in that stretch. Tampa is putting up points and Kucherov has been a big part of the attack. As a whole, the team has scored at least four goals in 12 of their last 24 games, including scoring 13 goals in their last two games.

Henrik Sedin, C, VAN — Honestly, no one in Vancouver is having a good time right now. They've been shutout in four of their last five games, including three straight to start that run, setting a franchise record. For his part, Sedin is without a goal in his last five games and has just a single goal in his last 16. There have been complaints about the team's effort level from the Sedins, and between a lack of effort and injuries, it's hard to feel like there's a single player in Vancouver who is a good bet right now.

Thomas Greiss, G, NYI — Jaroslav Halak is sidelined for the remainder of the regular season. That made it a golden opportunity for Greiss to prove that he really is the superior goaltender in Brooklyn. He had a better save percentage that Halak in less ice time, but it hasn't gone swimmingly for the 30-year-old netminder of late. He's seen a career-high amount of work, but his save percentage is sinking as fast as the Islanders are sinking in the standings. He allowed six goals on 41 shots Friday, for a .854 save percentage. The prior game he posted an .885. He can recover, but it's been a tough run that includes a 1-5-0 record over his last six starts.

u<>Recommended Pickup
Nino Niederreiter, RW, MIN — Already at a career-high for points with 41, Niederreiter is a part of one of the hottest lines in the NHL right now. Centered by Erik Haula, they can do no wrong. It almost hasn't mattered who is on the other wing, they've put up points night after night. But that duo was best when they had Jason Pominville on the other wing, and he returned from a lengthy injury Thursday, reuniting the band. The trio connected for a Niederreiter goal with an assist to the other two. Niederreiter has points in six of his last seven games, putting up five goals and three assists with a plus-2 rating, two power play points, and an average of over 2.5 shots per game.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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Dustin Nelson
Dustin Nelson is a writer based out of NYC. His fantasy team is full of loafers.
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