Tonight's games: Caps and Pens meet again

Boy, I wish there was at least one game with some kind of panache. I mean, really, what a boring slate of — oh yeah. Washington vs. Pittsburgh is tonight. I guess that game, you know, has a tiny bit of relevance … right? Maybe.

Today’s Best

Pittsburgh Penguins (42-25-6, 90 pts) at Washington Capitals (48-14-10, 106 pts) 7:00 PM ET

The Penguins have a lot more to play for in this one being that New Jersey is now in first place in the Atlantic. Still, something tells me the Capitals will have plenty of motivation too. Some might say that the Caps are playing to see which round the Penguins will play against them, but Pittsburgh is struggling right now. A lower seed might make it difficult for Pittsburgh to meet Washington halfway.

Los Angeles Kings (42-24-5, 89 pts) at Colorado Avalanche (40-25-7, 87 pts) 9:00 PM ET

The Colorado Avalanche cannot afford to slip much further because the Calgary Flames are only 4 points behind them for a playoff spot. Considering their 3 game losing streak, I’d be a little concerned if I were Joe Sacco and Co. For the Kings, it’s all about maintaining their superior position over the pesky Nashville Predators.

The Rest


New York Islanders (29-33-10, 68 pts) at New York Rangers (31-32-9, 71 pts) 7:00 PM ET

Want more evidence that the East is an inferior division compared to the West? Thanks to a 3 game losing streak, the playoff-hopeful Rangers are now under .500.

Montreal Canadiens (36-30-7, 79 pts) at Buffalo Sabres (39-22-10, 88 pts) 7:30 PM ET

The Buffalo Sabres are sitting pretty as their other Northeast division neighbors slug it out for a playoff spot. Montreal needs to keep an eye on Atlanta right now.

St. Louis Blues (34-29-9, 77 pts) at Detroit Red Wings (36-23-13, 85 pts) 7:30 PM ET

The Blues might be the strangest team in the league: they have more road wins (22) than Detroit has at Joe Louis Arena (20). Someone explain this to me.

Anaheim Ducks (34-30-8, 76 pts) at Vancouver Canucks (44-25-4, 92 pts) 10:00 PM ET

My guess is that Roberto Luongo is just fine. Relax, Canucks fans.

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    Logan Couture can at least speak and eat following horrifying mouth injury

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    As much as many of us suffer during a trip to the dentist, few can fathom the horrors hockey players often go through when a puck, stick or fist finds their teeth/mouths. Consult this vintage PHT post from 2010 if you want to cringe, a lot.

    Much like Eddie Lack “only” dealing with a neck sprain, it’s strange to be heartened to hear that Logan Couture can speak and eat after his own painful ordeal, but that’s the positive update from the Mercury News on Tuesday.

    Couture, Wilson said, did not need to have his jaw wired shut after a deflected puck caught him in the mouth on Saturday when the Sharks played the Nashville Predators.

    “Hey, he can speak and eat … and his jaw isn’t wired shut!” Yeesh.

    To little surprise, Couture isn’t playing on Tuesday. As far as the Sharks next three games (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), that remains to be seen.

    As an aside, consider this: on the same day Jonathan Drouin‘s celebrating his birthday after helping the Lightning win, Couture is lucky if he can force down some birthday cake. Life: it isn’t always fair.

    PHT discussed his trip to the dentist on Monday.

    More mouth pain: When David Backes felt like his face was falling off.

    Athanasiou got hurt during that Lack collision, too (and he blames Rask’s hit)

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    The Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings both exchanged signs of respect after Eddie Lack left last night’s game on a stretcher, but there’s a little controversy surrounding that situation … from the Red Wings’ perspective.

    You see, Andreas Athanasiou may not have collided with Lack if not for a shove/cross-check by Hurricanes forward Victor Rask.

    Athanasiou is out for the Red Wings tonight, and as the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James reports, he blames the Rask hit.

    Here’s a screen grab of that moment via NBCSN/the Fox Sports broadcast:

    Now, check it out in full motion:

    It’s unfortunate that two injuries came of that overtime-clincher, though one may at least mildly defend Rask in noting that Athanasiou was really displaying his blazing speed on that play.

    The Red Wings could very well be eliminated tonight, or soon, but Athanasiou has been a bright spot during a sometimes-glum season for Detroit. Hopefully, like Lack, this is merely a minor issue from an unfortunate collision.

    More promising Eddie Lack news: Hurricanes label his injury a neck strain

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    Yes, it feels a little weird to “cheer” a neck strain, but such injury news feels pretty fantastic for Eddie Lack.

    The Carolina Hurricanes announced that he’s dealing with exactly that on Tuesday morning, not that long after Lack’s scare after being stretchered off the ice following a collision with Detroit Red Wings Andreas Athanasiou.

    Lack ended up being hospitalized, but as it turns out, that was a pretty short-term situation.

    With the positive news in mind, it’s already appropriate to wonder when Lack might be back, particularly since he’s been on quite a tear during Carolina’s unlikely push for a possible playoff spot. The Hurricanes didn’t provide a window of time for his recovery, and Lack himself was vague-if-positive:

    In the mean time, the Hurricanes recalled Alex Nedeljkovic, who one would assume would primarily back up Cam Ward.

    So, long story short: things seem very positive for Lack, though his rehab process remains cloudy.

    Bruins recall McIntyre from AHL on emergency basis

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    Update: As it turns out, Anton Khudobin might be the goalie dealing with an injury, according to the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy. So, tonight’s starter boils down to Tuukka Rask or Zane McIntyre.

    (Rask it is.)

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    Tuukka Rask was supposed to be back in goal for the Boston Bruins tonight.

    But then, just a couple of hours before their game with the Nashville Predators, the B’s announced they’d recalled goalie Zane McIntyre from the AHL on an emergency basis.

    It’s not yet clear why McIntyre was recalled. Rask missed Saturday’s game in Brooklyn with a lower-body injury, but coach Bruce Cassidy said earlier today that Rask was healthy and ready to go.

    “Tuukka is healthy,” said Cassidy. “That’s what he indicated to me and that’s all I needed to hear. He’ll be our starter tonight.”

    If Rask is unable to play, expect Anton Khudobin to get the nod.

    Khudobin backstopped the B’s to a 2-1 victory over the Isles on Saturday.