Saturday, April 09, 2016
Goalie Announcements (Apr 9)
It's the last Saturday of the season and if it wasn't for the snow storm in January, this would also be the last day of the season... but it's not. Tomorrow, we'll have a couple of rescheduled games, possibly to decide something... maybe. Today, we cast a lot of final stones out there and see what falls into place, since every team is playing today on the schedule. Every team. All 30. 15 games. You've read that correctly.
The day gets underway early, which means that this post gets done earlier than through the week and the first game of the day, Ottawa in Boston, has some implications on the races. John P. will not get another start to try and shrink that 16-point gap between his team and 3rd place today, as Andrew Hammond (Dropped) gets the call for the Senators, keeping Craig Anderson on the bench today. John's chances were slim to make the money, regardless, but this doesn't help. With Boston still without a confirmed playoff spot today, Tuukka Rask (Dale C.) should be getting the call today.
There's one other early game, with no money implications, as the Detroit Red Wings and their playoff hopes, enter the Big Apple to take the Rangers on. Jimmy Howard (Stacey M.) has been hot for the Wings lately, so he gets the call and the Blueshirts are mailing this one in, with Antti Raanta (Dropped) in net, among other scratches.
Let's continue with the 3rd place money race, since that's where we started and we'll start with the team in defense of their current spot, which belongs to Brian. What we do know for sure is that Cam Talbot will be the starter for the Oilers tonight, as they are in Vancouver for one of the late games against the Canucks. His opponent will likely be, yet unconfirmed, Jacob Markstrom (Wes), as it seems to be his turn in the rotation.
The other big question for Brian, and then for Brenda & Seward in 2nd place, is who gets the start for Los Angeles, as they play host to the Winnipeg Jets tonight. It is one of the late games tonight, so not knowing a starter isn't a huge surprise. The Kings hold somewhat of an advantage over Anaheim in the race for the Pacific Division title and that could be a big deal, since that will be the difference between playing San Jose or Nashville in the opening round of the playoffs. I would have to assume that the Kings want that title, so Jonathan Quick (Brenda & Seward) should get the call tonight.
The Kings situation could all change though, if Anaheim drops their game this afternoon, in Denver, since they could clinch with a Ducks loss.
The Ducks & Avalanche game isn't without its own intrigue, however. Kristy & Don have a long shot to make 3rd place in the last two days of action as well and it is expected that they'll have Semyon Varlamov in net for Colorado, likely taking on John Gibson (Clayton). Neither are confirmed yet this morning, so if anything changes, that would be a big loss for them.
The pool's duo have another shot today at points from the crease, in theory, as Roberto Luongo is expected to be in the Panthers net, despite a meaningless game against Cam Ward (Neil) and the Hurricanes. Kristy & Don are 14 points back and with two potential starts.
The team closest to Brian to start the day, belongs to Eric. His team has a couple of potential starts, but with the two teams that they play for having some outside factors, he could have no goalies playing or both goalies playing. Both are unconfirmed at the time of this post. Thomas Greiss may go for the Islanders against the Sabres this evening, but they are playing the first half of back-to-back days, where a win could help them secure a date with Pittsburgh and a loss could give them Florida in the first round. His other goalie, Scott Darling, has been running with the ball in Chicago, while Corey Crawford (Stuart) has been out hurt, but there is a chance that Crawford could come back today, in need of a start to prime himself for the playoffs. They are in Columbus today.
How about those big money teams? Jeremy's team is left to defend a 9-point lead today and Braden Holtby is a win short of tying the NHL record for most wins in a season. Does he play? My guess is yes and we know that he gets Brian Elliott (Grant) and the Blues today. We know Brenda & Seward might have a goalie playing today, for what that's worth. It looks like the real intrigue will come outside of the crease, with lots of players going today.
Other match-ups that are confirmed this morning... Garret Sparks (Ryan) will be in the for the Leafs against Cory Schneider (Troy) in New Jersey tonight, Niklas Backstrom (non-pool) gets the call for the Flames against his former team, the Wild, who have Devan Dubnyk (Derek W.) in net. We know that Mike Condon (John R.) is in net for the Habs this morning and Martin Jones (Scott) is in net for the Sharks later tonight.
It's not a lot of help, this post, but that's what you get when the NHL starts the schedule at 10:30am MT on a Saturday. You get very little help.