We're up early this morning to try and get this post out before play starts at 11am MT, as it's an early start for the NHL schedule, with two games before the prime time action.
We are still on Troy watch today, as his keeper, Jaroslav Halak, was unable to pull a win out of the game against the Penguins on Friday night.
And it appears one of the early 5pm MT games will be his last chance for survival, as Tuukka Rask is expected to be in net for the Boston Bruins, when they take on the Winnipeg Jets at the TD Garden. Grant's goalie, Michael Hutchinson, has a chance to play spoiler tonight and deliver the knock out blow. The anxiety surely grows, especially since Troy's team was one of the early favourites, still ranked tied for 3rd in the pool in wins with 13.
The early start, which should be just getting underway here as we hit the publish button sees the Lightning and the Flyers going today. Andrei Vasilevskiy will get a start for Ryan, while Brenda & Seward should have Steve Mason in net in this one. These two teams are separated by 4 spots and 7 points, down in the bottom half.
Didn't see any confirmation, one way or the other, mostly because it is a very early start on the West Coast between the Devils and Kings, but I believe we'll see Cory Schneider for Stuart and a non-pool goalie for the Kings. Ha! The Kings are playing again on Sunday and it wouldn't surprise me to see Jeff Zatkoff in net to save Peter Budaj for the Ducks.
We know that Anders Nilsson will be getting a second start for Ryan on Saturday, as the Sabres host the Penguins and with Pittsburgh playing last night, then it should be Cam's first goalie of the night, Marc-Andre Fleury for the Pens. Ryan is 8 points behind Cam, but is really in tough in this game, with the Penguins rolling along.
Dale C. gets another start from Kari Lehtonen tonight, as announced by the Stars already today and we are expecting to see a start for Marcie, with Cam Talbot likely to take to the crease for the Oilers in a potential barn burner. The difference between Marcie and Dale is 11 spots and 11 points.
It will be a second start for Cam in Ottawa, as Roberto Luongo should be getting the call for the Panthers, while Wilton will get a start from the host, Craig Anderson. This game could be a good swing game in the standings, as Cam only leads Wilton by 5 points, in the thick of the standings, still separated by eight spots.
If there was no survival game on the docket today, this one would be the marquee game tonight, as our pool leaders, Brian and Benson, will have their goalies going tonight in the game between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. Frederik Andersen will go for Brian and Carey Price will go for the Habs and there is only 4 points difference between the two. Big game in the crease here!
Marcie's team will get a second start tonight, as Mike Smith will be getting the call for the Coyotes with the Sharks in town. Her goalie will face the goalie she was hunting for in the draft, Wes' Martin Jones, so now she'll have to cheer against one of her favourite players to stay in the money hunt tonight.
The expectation is that we'll see Semyon Varlamov going for Kristy & Don and Devan Dubnyk going for John S. in the game between the Avalanche and the Wild. This Central Division match-up could lean heavily on the home side today, especially given all the injuries the Avalanche are dealing with these days.
It's another game where we expect the number ones in St. Louis, as another Central Division clash, between the Predators and the Blues, should provide a good show tonight. Pekka Rinne should be going for Stacey M., while Mike calls out Jake Allen on his side, this could be a great goalie battle here.
Only one late game tonight and the Chicago Blackhawks will roll into Vancouver, the second of back-to-back nights for the travelers. Scott Darling should get the nod for the Blackhawks and for Scott, while the Canucks starter is still up in the air, but Jacob Markstrom has put a couple of wins together and could get the nod ahead of Ryan Miller, which Clayton would very much appreciate.