Around the rink – Sunday, October 24th

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.

6:00 pm

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.

7:00 pm

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.

8:00 pm

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.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT

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Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)