Around the Rink – Friday, October 15

7:00 pm

Colorado @ New Jersey

Brian Rolston’s loss seems to be New Jersey’s gain, as the team looks like it will finally dress a full roster – or close to a full roster – because of his placement on the long term injured reserve. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they’re at “full strength” though, as they’ll be dressing minor league players instead of guys like Anton Volchenkov. Either way, the Avalanche will likely depend on Craig Anderson to outplay Martin Brodeur in this one.

Toronto @ NY Rangers

Win or lose, it’s still too early to know for sure if the 3-0 Toronto Maple Leafs are “for real.” Still, another win would embolden the team quite a bit. It’s probably asking a lot for Clarke MacArthur (four goals in three games) to keep it up, but the Maple Leafs might be onto something as a team. If Toronto beats the Rangers in their home opener tonight, it will be their first 4-0 start in 17 years

NY Islanders @ Pittsburgh

This one ranks pretty high on the “Something Has to Give-o-meter.” The Penguins began the season 0-3 at home (with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury sharing that same record), but Brent Johnson – the only Pittsburgh goalie with a win so far – might end up getting the start tonight. If the Penguins lose to the scrappy-but-still-seemingly-lowly Islanders, it might be time to get a little worried.

Chicago @ Columbus

The Blackhawks are probably pretty heavy favorites in this one, although the strong possibility of Patrick Kane missing this one with “an illness” increases the Blue Jacket’s chances of winning.

7:30 pm

Montreal @ Buffalo

Oddly enough, in some ways, Carey Price has been a bigger strength for Montreal (91.8 save percentage) than Ryan Miller has been for Buffalo (90.7 save percentage). Obviously it’s an incredibly small sample, though, but Price is keeping the Habs in games so far as they’ve been severely out-shot (they average 27.3 shots per game while giving up 36.6 per game so far).

10:00 pm

Atlanta @ Anaheim

The Ducks finally earned a win in their first home game of the season and might have the perfect tonic to keep that going against the Thrashers, who are 0-2 on the road so far. After going without a goal and -12 after three awful games on the road, the Ducks big three of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan produced three goals and four assists in their win against the Canucks.

10:30 pm

Vancouver @ Los Angeles

The Kings could get off to a quick start this season at the expense of their hated rivals in Vancouver, as Los Angeles already has a shootout win over the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season. The Sedin twins are off to a nice start themselves, with Henrik producing four assists and Daniel notching up three goals and two assists in the Canucks’ first three games.

‘Dialed in’ Hurricanes could add more drama to playoff race

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At first glance, Carolina’s potential playoff push seems like a longshot.

The ‘Canes head into tonight’s action five points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and would need to leapfrog both the Bolts and Isles just to get there.

BUT!

The ‘Canes have a game in hand on both New York and Tampa Bay, and two on Boston. They also get to play six of their last nine at home, and are currently riding a terrific streak in which they’ve collected 17 of a possible 20 points (7-0-3 in their last 10).

“Guys are playing well, guys are dialed in,” head coach Bill Peters said, per the Raleigh News & Observer. “You’ve got to continue to keep pace. Around the league everyone seems to find a way to win, so you’ve got to keep pace and then hopefully somebody falters.”

Looking ahead, the next 48 hours will decide if this dream becomes a reality. Carolina begins a crucial back-to-back set against the Red Wings tonight, with both games to be played at PNC.

Tonight’s game, you may recall, is the makeup date for the Dec. 19 postponement due to unplayable ice.

As such, the ‘Canes now get a Red Wings team playing its third game in four nights, following Friday’s 2-1 OT loss to Tampa Bay and yesterday’s 3-2 OT win over Minnesota. Veteran Detroit d-man Niklas Kronwall isn’t expected to face Carolina, and the club is unsure if Darren Helm (lower body) can go.

The ‘Canes, meanwhile, are pretty healthy and firing away. Jeff Skinner has a five-game goalscoring streak, Elias Lindholm has points in each of his last 10 contests and Sebastian Aho in each of his last six. The club has also received terrific netminding from Eddie Lack, who has gone 5-1-1 in March with a .931 save percentage.

If they can get a result tonight, attention will be turned to the out-of-town scoreboard. The Isles are at home to the streaking Nashville Predators (6-1-0 in their last seven), and the Bolts host the Blackhawks, who are coming off an embarrassing 7-0 loss in Florida.

The Bruins aren’t back in action until Tuesday, when they host the Preds.

Report: Coyotes majority owner has a ‘potential new partner’

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The Arizona Coyotes’ ownership group may be getting a new member.

According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, Randy Frankel is a “potential new partner” for majority owner Andrew Barroway.

Frankel, who made his money on Wall Street, is already a part owner of MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays.

Shannon also reported that the Coyotes required a mid-season cash call, to the tune of $20 million, from their ownership group. Arizona has averaged just 13,020 fans at home games this season; hence, the revenue shortfall.

The Coyotes, of course, are trying to get a new arena built in the greater Phoenix area. So far, their efforts have been for naught.

Related: Arizona lawmaker suggests Coyotes pledge more money for new arena

Report: Rangers land Gophers standout Lettieri

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University of Minnesota senior Vinni Lettieri has agreed to join the Ranger organization, per the Star-Tribune.

Lettieri, 22, finished second on the club in goals this year, with 19, and third in scoring with 37 points in 38 games. The Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo reports Lettieri is joining New York’s AHL affiliate in Hartford, and that he and the Blueshirts are closing in on a two-year, entry-level contract.

Lettieri has some interesting bloodlines. His grandfather is former Minnesota North Stars player/head coach/GM Lou Nanne, and his father is former professional soccer netminder Tino Lettieri, who represented Canada at the 1986 World Cup.

The younger Lettieri went undrafted, and was a free agent following Minnesota’s NCAA championship loss to Notre Dame.

Zetterberg on pace to play 1,000th game in Joe Louis Arena farewell

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Barring injury, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg will get the opportunity to make his 1,000th NHL game even more special.

Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill confirmed today that Zetterberg will play tonight and tomorrow in Carolina, putting the 36-year-old on pace to play his 1,000th game on Apr. 9, the date of the final Wings game at Joe Louis Arena.

The Wings, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990, have eight games left in their regular season. They host New Jersey on Apr. 9.

Tonight’s game was originally scheduled for Dec. 19, but had to be postponed due to poor ice conditions at PNC Arena.