The Flames didn't have a great deal to play for, a lot of what could have happened fell out of their own hands, so they were not going to worry about it very much. So, out of the lineup came Mikael Backlund, Kris Versteeg, Mark Giordano and Deryk Engelland, among the hockey pool players, as they get rested up for their playoff run, which starts next week. All four are believed to be as healthy as they're going to get, but why risk them moving forward?
All four didn't play a part in the money race being won or lost, as it was, in order, Dale C., John S., Derek B. and Wilton all missed out on skater games between the Flames and the Sharks, Wilton was the closest to any money in the PIM pool but with very little time left, it was pretty much over for him there too.
With the Florida Panthers out of playoff contention, it did seem somewhat strange to still rest some players and not go out with a bang, but they sort of did with a 3-0 win over the Sabres. They did so without defenseman Jason Demers, who didn't appear to be nursing any injuries, since there were no reports of any, so we're left to assume that he was a healthy scratch for the second-to-last game of the season. The Panthers do play Washington today, he'll be questionable to return, I guess.
The chase for the money was already quite difficult for Brenda & Seward, even without losing bodies to healthy scratches. They will open the last day of the season, 11 points back of the money and more projected games than anyone else in the money. How many of them will play?
The Montreal Canadiens were certainly not risking anything with their last game of the regular season, leaving players like Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov at home, when the team traveled to Detroit to take on the Red Wings. The Red Wings aren't exactly a rough & tumble team, but anything can happen in any game, so leave the risk at home and go win the game with a minor-league club, as they did, 3-2 in overtime.
Ryan's team was the biggest loser in this set of transactions, as he lost a key skater game with Pacioretty being left at home, as his team couldn't gain any ground. His team will open the Sunday schedule 10 points back. Benson, Stuart, Scott and Derek B. also lost man games, but they weren't serious losses.
The Nashville Predators were also joining the fray of teams that were not taking much for risks, as they have been a health risk for the better part of the season already. Defenseman Roman Josi was among those not skating on Saturday night, getting an extra night's rest, as the Predators' regular season concluded with the game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Stacey C.'s team is having an okay week to finish off the year, but it was too little, too late. His team goes into Sunday's action, 25 points out of the money and only has nine projected games.
In Ottawa, on Saturday afternoon, the Rangers continued their rotation of resting players, as they already have been for nearly a week now, with the scratching of forward Derek Stepan, already being added to the likes of Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello, among others. The Rangers do return home to Broadway for their season finale tonight against the Penguins, but it would be surprising if any of those scratched players make an appearance, unless they're really chomping at the bit.
Stepan was Clayton's only scratch on Saturday night, but that didn't mean that his team was able to pick up any extra points to try and catch up to Cam's team, which is his closest competition. There is a slight chance he could catch him, being down 4 points and with an extra projected game on hand.
The Penguins are in full rest mode too, as they left goaltender Matt Murray at home for their trip to Toronto on Saturday night and he won't be on the trip to New York either. Pittsburgh also added forward Patric Hornqvist and Nick Bonino to the scratch list for the game against the Leafs, while Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel remained in the lineup, trying to pad their stats. The Penguins have made some more call-ups already on Sunday morning, which suggests that there will be more bodies upstairs on the final night of the year.
Scott and Derek B. have been kicked around pretty good with the healthy scratches on Saturday, while Stacey M. gets her first from the Penguins. Stacey doesn't care, she's won money this year.
The San Jose Sharks, already hit hard with injuries, were not going to take any risks against the Calgary Flames, scratching forward Joe Pavelski from their season finale. The Sharks were still able to pick up a 3-1 win without their captain, but now they can look forward to their opening round opponent, to be determined tonight, with a healthy and ready captain.
Grant's team has done exceptionally well with what they had this week, as his team has only registered 21 skater games played, last in the pool this week, and three starts from his goalies, yet he's right in the middle of the pack with 20 points. His team will need a miracle if he's going to get any higher than 22nd though, with only three more projected games to play.
The Toronto Maple Leafs needed a win against the Penguins on Saturday night to be the last team to clinch their spot in the Spring Dance this season and they sent their number one to the crease, giving Frederik Andersen the start. Two minutes into the 2nd period, Leafs already up one, Tom Sestito took a run at Andersen, clipping him in the head, forcing the keeper, who has had a history of head injuries, from the game, not to return. Curtis McElhinney drew into the game, surrendered a goal right away, taking Andersen's goalie of record away, but the Leafs still ended up winning the game. The Leafs, now having clinched, won't risk Andersen on Sunday, as they have called up Garret Sparks to back-up McElhinney in Columbus to finish the season.
This was the biggest of all the blows on Saturday, as Brian is still trying to hunt down Dale B. for 1st place in the hockey pool. The loss of a win and another possible start on Sunday is a crushing blow. His team was able to keep pace and will start the day only 2 points back, but his team is at a disadvantage of projected games.
Finally, the Vancouver Canucks announced that forward Sven Baertschi wouldn't be available for the home and home series with the Edmonton Oilers to conclude the 2017 season for them, already missing out on Saturday's home game and he will miss Sunday night's away game. Baertschi is dealing with a neck injury, which isn't believed to be too serious, but there was no need to make things any worse, since the Canucks are destined for 29th in the NHL with the loss last night.
Wes' team still has the ability to finish as high as 16th, but his team sits 4 points back of Kristy & Don and they don't have the first tie-breaker, so they'll need points on Sunday to do it. No Baertschi in the lineup will make things much harder, indeed.