Ryan Miller/Martin Brodeur update: Expect to see New Jersey and Buffalo’s backups tomorrow night

Sometimes, sports fans are treated to epic confrontations. Whether it’s Bird vs. Magic, Ali vs. Frazier or any other irresistible force squaring off against the latest immovable object, we occasionally get to witness parity-defying showdowns of athletes at the top of their respective games.

Wednesday’s match between the woefully inept New Jersey Devils and the wounded Buffalo Sabres is about as far as you can get from that, so perhaps it makes sense that the two teams’ workhorse goalies probably won’t play.

In one corner, you have the Sabres, who are tied for the second worst record (10 points) in the NHL. Word from the Buffalo News is that Ryan Miller should be in a snappy Sabres uniform, but only as a backup to Jhonas Enroth because Patrick Lalime is injured too.

Meanwhile, in the swampy Jersey corner, Johan Hedberg is the odds-on starter for the Devils, although that might be determined during Wednesday’s morning skate. Martin Brodeur might end up serving as a backup, too, if you believe coach John MacLean’s slip-up via Fire & Ice.

MacLean later slipped up, though, when asked if the team would call up a backup in case Brodeur isn’t ready.

“We’re just day to day with Marty, so we’ll see,” MacLean said. “We’re hoping Marty can skate tomorrow. It’s getting better every day. If he can take warm-up in the morning, I’m sure he’ll be able to back up.”

MacLean then paused for several seconds before adding, “If that’s the way we go.”

Oh, MacLean, you savvy cat.

Anyway, the winner of this game can rest easy in knowing that they’re probably not the worst team in the NHL (only somewhere between the second and fourth). It probably won’t be a barn burner … but if things go well, we might at least have a warmer barn on our hands.

Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth

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Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.

With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.

Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.

The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth.

Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around

Gleason ends tryout with ‘Canes

Tim Gleason, David Desharnais
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Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.

“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”

Gleason started last season with Carolina before he was traded to Washington in February.

In his career, he’s played 727 NHL games, plus 32 more in the playoffs.

Isles call Strome back up

Ryan Strome, Johnny Boychuk
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Ryan Strome has been called back to the New York Islanders, the club announced this morning.

The 22-year-old returns to the NHL after eight games with AHL Bridgeport Sound. He had been sent there three weeks ago, after a tough start to the season.

Strome had two goals and two assists during his stint with the Tigers.

The Isles’ next game is Friday at Florida.

McLellan on Oilers’ loss to ‘Canes: ‘That’s a really disappointing effort from our hockey club’

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With the addition of Connor McDavid, 2015-16 was supposed to be the year Edmonton showed significant progress on the ice.

We’re less than two months into the season, McDavid’s out because of a broken clavicle, and the so-called progress just hasn’t been there.

On Wednesday, the Oilers hit a new low, as they were handed their fifth loss in their last six games at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring in the first period, but Carolina answered with four unanswered goals by Jordan Staal, Elias Lindholm, Jeff Skinner and Andrej Nestrasil to win 4-1.

“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”

As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupov to injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.

After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:

Edmonton collected 14 points in the first 22 games of the 2014-15 season and after the same amount of games this year, they have just one more point.

They’re currently alone in last place.