With just three games scheduled for today, you’d think it might be an easy day for storylines. You’d be wrong though. With Ilya Kovalchuk being a healthy scratch for last night’s game against Buffalo and coach John MacLean not giving an explanation as to why, all eyes will be focused on the lineup card in New Jersey. Here’s the rundown of what’s up today with all times being Eastern.
Nashville @ Tampa Bay
Pekka Rinne was the man last night pitching a shutout over Dallas. Getting Rinne or Anders Lindback (whoever gets the starting nod today) a few extra goals in support might help. Tampa is coming into the game high off a win over Atlanta on Friday night. Whether or not Simon Gagne suits up today is as yet unknown. Gagne is without a goal so far this year and looking to get things started.
Update: Gagne is out of the lineup again tonight according to Erik Erlendsson.
New Jersey @ NY Rangers
Whether you like it or not, the playing status of Ilya Kovalchuk will be the story here. Martin Brodeur will get the start in goal and the Devils could really stand to have a strong game out of him after Johan Hedberg let everyone in New Jersey down giving up four goals in 13 shots before being pulled in the second period. The Rangers, meanwhile, are on a bit of a roll. The volatility level for this game has to be sky high with the Devils coming in agitated and the Rangers always being eager to push their buttons.
San Jose @ Calgary
San Jose had a bit of an easy go of things last night mopping the floor with the Oilers 6-1. Expect Calgary to be a little bit tougher on the Sharks in this one. The Flames are back at home after thumping the Blue Jackets on Friday night 6-2. The Flames desperately needed something to jump start their offense and that win could be the thing that does the trick for them. If it weren’t for potential Kovalchuk madness in New York City, we’d circle this game as our must-watch of the night.