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The Daily Puck: Surging Sabres

John Toperzer

John has written for since 2003 and serves as the beat writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates. Heís worked for the Pirates for 17 years, written for the Penguinsí Web site as the first game-day editor, and rooted for the Steelers dating back to the Immaculate Reception.

Around the Rink

Tuesday proved to be another day self-inflicted injury in the NHL. Steve Downie hit his head on the side glass and Troy Brouwer smashed his shoulder into the end boards after a missed check on Lars Eller. Kris Russell had his ankle injured in a more conventional way, when a pair of skaters landed on it.

Thomas Vanek potted a hat trick for the hard charging Sabres and no one mentioned his $50 million contract (until now).

Jhonas Enroth is Buffalo's hands-down MVP for the month of April, as is Ryan Miller for the other five months.

The Devils have scored 55 fewer goals than any other Atlantic Division team and 23 less than any other NHL squad.

League-leading Detroit has one more goal scored than the Canucks (255 to 254) with one game in hand.     

What's more surprising, that the Maple Leafs weren't eliminated until Tuesday or that they competed into Week 26 with a minus-28 goals scored differential?

It will be interesting to see if Toronto can over-hype goalie James Reimer, who's gone 20-8-5, 2.51 GAA and .923 save percentage in the offseason. Is he the real deal or a half-year wonder?

Alexander Ovechkin has 82 points (31, 51) in 77 games. Remember early-season projections questioned whether he'd get to 20 goals? His shooting percentage (8.7 percent) is no better than a hot defender, however. Oft-injured teammate and blueliner, Mike Green, holds a 9.0 career shooting percentage mark.

The Flyers, winless in four (0-3-1), are just waiting to turn things on in the playoffs, right?

How is it possible for the Predators to score six goals with both Ryan Suter and Shea Weber going pointless with minus-2 ratings?

Can you imagine the outrage if Matt Cooke had leveled Jordan Eberle on Tuesday and not Raffi Torres? Chances are you didn't even hear about the hit, unless you're a Vancouver or Edmonton fan.       

Who's Hot

Mike Richards - He potted a pair of power-play goals Tuesday before the Flyers just went away.
Jason Spezza - Found time to not be injured, scoring a goal and adding three assists Tuesday.

Who's Not

Kris Letang - Had 41 points in 50 pre All-Star games and eight in 30 after break.
Dustin Byfuglien - I didn't think it was possible for a 270-pound, linebacker-like defender to have such a quiet second-half after a monstrous start. Big Buff has four goals since the All-Star break after scoring 16 before it.   
Recommended Pickup

Filip Kuba - You could do worse switching out your defensemen in Yahoo! leagues the last week of the season. Kuba has points in four of five games for the surprising Senators.
Kevin Shattenkirk - He's got 16 points (2, 14) in 24 games with the Blues and 42 in 70, overall. This is from a rookie. 

Probable Starting Goalies

Islanders (Al Montoya) at Boston (Tim Thomas), 7:00 p.m.
Toronto (James Reimer) at New Jersey (Martin Brodeur), 7:00 p.m.
Florida (Scott Clemmensen) at Washington (Semyon Varlamov), 7:00 p.m.
Detroit (Jimmy Howard) at Carolina (Cam Ward), 7:00 p.m.
St. Louis (Jaroslav Halak) at Chicago (Corey Crawford), 8:00 p.m.
Edmonton (Devan Dubnyk) at Calgary (Miikka Kiprusoff), 9:30 p.m.
San Jose (Antti Niemi) at Anaheim (Ray Emery), 10:00 p.m.
Phoenix (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Los Angeles (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 p.m.

RotoWire Goalie Grid

Injury Roll Call

Bruno Gervais - Questionable, missed last three with foot, likely out Wednesday.
Zenon Konopka - Questionable, no word on whether he'll play Wednesday.
Radek Martinek - Questionable, missed Monday, might be maintenance day off.
Ty Wishart - Questionable, another Monday miss but likely maintenance day.
Milan Jurcina - Out, will miss final three games of season due to hip.
Frans Nielsen - Out, will miss last three games with concussion.
Shawn Thornton - Questionable, could return from cut, 40 stitches Wednesday.

New Jersey
Zach Parise - Probable, missed Tuesday but expected to go Wednesday.
Anton Volchenkov - Questionable, not likely to play Wednesday.
Colin White - Questionable, longshot to play Wednesday with lower body.

Shawn Matthias - Questionable, missed Saturday with ankle injury.
Alexander Sulzer - Questionable, also missed Saturday with groin/hip.
Tomas Vokoun - Questionable, skated Monday and could still return in 2010-11.
Stephen Weiss - Questionable, could return this week but didn't skate Monday.

Niklas Kronwall - Out, ruled out Wednesday with shoulder injury.
Jay Harrison - Questionable, has missed the last four games with upper body.

St. Louis
Dave Scratchard - Out, will miss rest of season with head injury. 
Troy Brouwer - Out, apparent dislocated or separated shoulder Tuesday.
Patrick Sharp - Questionable, hopes to skate on Wednesday or Thursday.

Gilbert Brule - Questionable, day-to-day with undisclosed injury.
Tom Gilbert - Questionable, also day-to-day with back injury.
Colin Fraser - Questionable, missed Tuesday with undisclosed injury.
Shawn Horcoff - Out, hopes to play over the weekend.
Niklas Hagman - Questionable, missed Saturday but close to returning.

San Jose
Ryan Clowe - Questionable, may return Weds. against Ducks, check updates.
Kent Huskins - Out, getting closer and is skating but won't play Wednesday.
Scott Nichol - Questionable, could return on Sharks' upcoming road trip.

Martin Hanzal - Out, will not play against Kings on Wednesday with lower body.
Lauri Korpikoski - Probable, expected to play Wednesday.
Taylor Pyatt - Probable, also expected to return Wednesday after upper body.
Ed Jovanovski - Probable, out since Feb. 17 and likely on fantasy waiver wires.
Los Angeles 
Justin Williams - Out, skated and shot pucks Sunday but still weeks away.


Kris Newbury - Assigned by Rangers to AHL Connecticut.
Andre Benoit, Patrick Wiercoch, Roman Wick - Recalled from AHL Binghamton.