So you stuffed yourself silly all weekend and now you’ve got a leftover turkey leg and three-day-old mashed potatoes and stuffing to keep you feeling lazy today. Kick back and enjoy it everyone, it’s a three-game Sunday of action and you’ll be able to get it all done before you pass out from exhaustion tonight. Time listed is, as always, Eastern.
Carolina @ Washington
These two teams just met last on Wednesday, a Caps 3-2 win that got Washington off a three-game losing streak. In the meantime, it’s looking like Mike Green will return to the lineup and that can only spell bad things for the Hurricanes. The Caps broke out in a big way on Friday night beating Tampa Bay 6-0. As for Carolina, they’re riding high after a 3-0 shutout win over the Bruins Friday afternoon. Cam Ward is going to have to be on top of his game just as much today for the Canes to hang in with the scoring Alex’s in Washington.
Boston @ Atlanta
Remember when people were saying that the Thrashers could surprise some people this year? They’re doing just that now and it’s thanks to Ondrej Pavelec and his stellar goaltending that they’re hot. They’ve won four in a row and in those four games, the Thrashers have allowed two goals. Yes, they’re giving up an average of .5 goals per game. That’ll get you a win or two. The Bruins are hoping to put their 3-0 shutout loss to Carolina on Friday behind them. Getting their power play performing well would go a long way towards doing that as their power play has been bad of late. Side feature of this game sees Thrashers head coach Craig Ramsay going against the team he was the assistant coach for last season.
Columbus @ Detroit
Another rematch of Friday night’s action as the Blue Jackets hope to get revenge against Detroit after the Wings’ 2-1 win. In that game, Jimmy Howard played big stopping 34 shots while Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula scored for Detroit. The Wings will be going without Mike Modano who may have seen his season put to an early end thanks to getting his wrist cut by a skate blade on Friday. For Columbus, they’re looking to get back to winning. The loss to Detroit on Friday snapped their five-game win streak and getting one back on their divisional mates would make for a good way to do it.
Sitting three points out of top spot in the Central Division and on the eve of an important divisional clash on home ice with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Dallas Stars have placed center Jason Spezza on injured reserve retroactive to Thursday, the club announced on Friday.
Spezza, 32, was injured during Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. The Stars can move back to within a point of Chicago for the division lead with a regulation win on Saturday.
In 52 games this season, Spezza has 18 goals and 40 points, which ties him with Patrick Sharp for fourth on the team in total points.
With Spezza out, the Stars recalled 22-year-old forward Radek Faksa from the Texas Stars in the AHL.
Faksa has 15 goals and 26 points in 28 games this season with Texas. In 18 games with the NHL Stars, he has one goal and three points.
Ken Hitchcock wants the Blues to spend more time attacking and less time defending.
Because hockey isn’t rocket science, that’s why.
“To score and win games in the National Hockey League…you have to spend as much time in the offensive zone as you can,” Hitchcock told the Post-Dispatch.
“When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, you’re forechecking more. When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, the goalie has to make saves. They’re having to defend more. And the opposing team takes penalties on you. So they’re all connected. … What I want to see from us is staying on the puck for longer stretches.”
According to the stats, the Blues have not been spending as much time in the offensive zone as we’re used to seeing from them. In fact, in their last 20 games, they rank in the bottom third of the league in score-adjusted Corsi. That compares to their first 20 games when they were in the top third.
The result is fewer shots, and more importantly, fewer goals. The Blues have fallen all the way to 25th in offense, averaging just 2.37 goals per game. Last year, they finished fifth (2.91).
Yes, some of that may be due to the absence of Jaden Schwartz, and he should be back soon. But there’s a reason people are watching GM Doug Armstrong as the Feb. 29 trade deadline approaches. This team could probably use another piece up front.
The Blues host Minnesota Saturday.
St. Louis has scored just five goals in its last five games.
Tonight in Anaheim, Anders Lindback will make his first start for the Arizona Coyotes since Jan. 16.
The Coyotes have been riding rookie Louis Domingue since just before Christmas, but Domingue has allowed five goals in each of his last three starts, including last night’s 5-4 loss to Chicago.
Lindback’s last appearance came Tuesday in relief, when he allowed one goal on 10 shots in a 6-2 loss to the Kings.
Lindback was in goal for one of Arizona’s three victories this season over Anaheim, stopping 33 of 36 shots in a 4-3 overtime win on Nov. 9. However, his .896 save percentage ranks among the lowest in the league.
Frederik Andersen is expected to start for the Ducks.
— No word yet on a Penguins starter in Tampa, but Ben Bishop will go for the Bolts.
— Cam Ward will start for the Hurricanes in Winnipeg, where Connor Hellebuyck is expected for the increasingly desperate Jets.
— Joonas Korpisalo was solid last night in Vancouver, but the Blue Jackets have not announced their starter for tonight’s game in Calgary. Karri Ramo will be in goal for the Flames.
The latest Penguins injuries, these ones to Evgeni Malkin and Eric Fehr, have led to an opportunity for Oskar Sundqvist.
Sundqvist will make his NHL debut for the Penguins tonight in Tampa. The 21-year-old center has five goals and 11 assists in 39 AHL games this season.
“Sunny’s a pretty solid two-way player,” coach Mike Sullivan said, per the Tribune-Review.
“I don’t think he’s going to dazzle you with flashy plays, but I think he’s a guy who plays the game the right way. He’s hard to play against because of his size. He’s got a long reach, and he’s got a good stick.”
Sundqvist was selected 81st overall by the Pens in 2012. He’ll become the fourth player out of that Pittsburgh draft class to make his NHL debut, after Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, and Matt Murray.
Veteran Matt Cullen will replace Malkin on the second line, skating with wingers Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel.
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