On a night where John isn't supposed to get a start, the Minnesota Wild go into the 3rd period against the Florida Panthers, tied 3-3, and they pull Darcy Kuemper for Devan Dubnyk and then they go on to score four unanswered to win the game 7-4, giving Dubnyk the W and John his qualification for next week. Unbelievable!
John Gibson also returned for the Ducks last night, which came as a surprise to this blog post, as the reports were suggesting that he wouldn't play on this last trip, but he suffered a 4-3 loss to the Blues, but he's back nonetheless.
So, what does that mean? Well, that's easy. We'll look at the money games today, as Brian and Dale B. jockey for 1st place, going into the day only 2 points apart. Marcie lost her buffer to Eric and also loses the tie-breaker, so we have a new occupant in 3rd place today, but Jeremy is 5 points back, Brenda & Seward are 6 points back and Ryan is 8 points back. 8 points is two shutouts, which is certainly something to celebrate, if it happened in a night. We'll concentrate on these teams today.
Frederik Andersen (Brian) versus Cam Ward (Brian)
The 5pm games open up with the possibility of Brian's goalies going head-to-head tonight, which almost (not 100%) guarantees 2 points in his coffers. The Maple Leafs are looking to jump back into the Eastern Conference wild card spot and the Hurricanes are primed to be picked off, so there is certainly a favourite in there.
Thomas Greiss (Dale B.) versus Carter Hutton (Stuart)
The Islanders are wrapping up a road trip of their own these days and their next stop is in St. Louis tonight. The Islanders are trying to stave off those Maple Leafs from taking their playoff spot, so there will be likely no doubt that they'll start their number one in Greiss, while the Blues played last night against the Ducks and they are confident that Hutton should be good for a productive start tonight.
This will be Dale's only start tonight, as his team tries to keep pace with Brian's two starts above.
Reto Berra (N/A) versus Andrei Vasilevskiy (Ryan)
After James Reimer got lit up last night by the Minnesota Wild in the 3rd period, it would be tough to imagine that he would get the start on the second half of back-to-back starts, which opens up the gates for Reto Berra to get a start tonight, sniping a start away from the pool. Ryan won't seem to mind, as his team has lost some ground and a gimme start for the Lightning is just what the doctor ordered.
This is Eric's only chance at a start tonight and Berra isn't quite confirmed, but he does seem most likely. Vasilevskiy was confirmed, so if Reimer does get the start, it would make for a good game for the pool.
Cory Schneider (Stuart) versus Mike Smith (Marcie)
Marcie's team can make up that extra point (or two) to climb back into 3rd place with a start from Mike Smith and the Coyotes tonight, as the lowly Devils are running into town, who are likely to leave Cory Schneider high and dry again. I guess we can't rule out the Devils completely, but the dogs have been playing fairly well after the trade deadline, now that they have nothing to lose.
Braden Holtby (Jeremy) versus Jonathan Quick (Kristy & Don)
The late, late game tonight will have the Capitals in Los Angeles to take on the Kings and it was far too early in the day to have confirmed starters for this one, but all indications suggest that Holtby will go for the Caps and the Kings will give Quick the go, since neither team played last night.
Holtby is tied for the overall lead in points, but has 2 more shutouts than Sergei Bobrovsky, which has him ranked 2nd by the tie-breakers, being wins in this case. Jeremy could use these 2 points tonight to see his 1st overall pick be 1st overall in scoring.
Steve Mason (Brenda & Seward) versus Tuukka Rask (Troy)
The first of two starts for the pool's second duo is the first game of the day, as the Flyers and Bruins go in a Saturday matinee. Mason and Rask are the expected starters for the game, although the Bruins could make the swap, since they are unconfirmed.
Matt Murray (Scott) versus Ryan Miller (Brenda & Seward)
The Penguins were in Edmonton last night, so they will more than likely send Matt Murray to the crease for the Canucks tonight, who will continue to run with Ryan Miller, giving the duo their second start and their chance for a couple wins today.
Neither one of the duo's starts are all that favourable, but if they can somehow manage 4 points from the crease today, they will snuggle up against the 3rd place race.
Joonas Korpisalo (N/A) versus Anders Nilsson (Ryan)
The second half of a home-and-home series between the Blue Jackets and Sabres could feature back-up goalies tonight, which would be great for the hockey pool race, as that could possibly give Ryan a second start tonight. The Jackets took their home half of the series, but Ryan certainly hopes that his goalie can do the same thing for the Sabres tonight.