It’s a light night around the league with just three games but they’ve each got their own side stories and drama unto themselves. See, every game counts for something in the NHL, doesn’t it? That’s your feel-good moment of the day and you can just tuck that away into your pocket and save that smile for later. At least we’ve got an Original Six battle to fall back on tonight. All times are Eastern.
Toronto @ NY Rangers
A pair of teams butting heads on two-game losing streaks. As any promo might say, “Something’s got to give.” For the Rangers they want to put slow starts and bad efforts against Philly and Montreal behind them and jump out fast. Will we see a change in Marian Gaborik’s game after getting benched for parts of the game against the Flyers? We’re thinking he might break out against the Leafs. That’s not because the Leafs have been bad lately, just one guy’s dumb gut feeling. The Leafs are hoping Gaborik can stay quiet at least one more night so they can get back on the winning side. After a pair of lacking efforts in a row, the Leafs are hoping their anemic offense can break out against the defensively tough Rangers.
Columbus @ Florida
Columbus’ Sunshine State tour concludes in Sunrise after a shootout loss to Tampa Bay last night. They’ll be dealing with a Panthers team that’s won three of their last four but are coming off a shootout loss to Atlanta. Perhaps both teams would like to avoid going to the skills competition to settle things then. Columbus would just like wins, period. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games. Their effort against Tampa Bay was better and continuing that against Florida would be a show of consistency the team hasn’t had since October.
Minnesota @ Calgary
The Wild expect Niklas Backstrom to be back and ready in goal but maybe sticking with Anton Khudobin might not hurt. If it wasn’t for a dumb fight by Brad Staubitz leading to an Oilers power play goal late, the man they refer to as “Borat” would have two straight shutouts. Winning two in a row will have to suffice. The Flames come into this one losers of five of their last seven games and teetering on the edge of irrelevance in the Western Conference. Getting a win over a divisional foe at home would help stem the tide of failure.
Less than a week after falling two places to fifth in the NHL draft lottery, the Vancouver Canucks have reportedly received more bad news: NCAA free agent forward Drake Caggiula will not be signing in Vancouver.
That’s according to reports from TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Friday. Not only are the Canucks supposedly out of the running, but so, too, are the Ottawa Senators, according to Friedman.
Where could Caggiula be signing?
It was believed earlier in the day that the Canucks could be front-runners for Caggiula, who played at North Dakota with Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick Brock Boeser and recent college signing Troy Stecher.
The ill will between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning has continued early in Game 4 on Friday.
It started with a scuffle in front of the Tampa Bay net after Islanders forward Steve Bernier fell over Ben Bishop, appearing to push downward with his stick as the Lightning goalie covered the puck.
Anxious few seconds there for the Lightning, as Bishop, appearing to favor the back of his head, was slow to get back to his skates. He has remained in the game.
The Islanders, needing a win to even the series, broke through for the game’s opening goal. Kyle Okposo ripped a shot from the slot that beat Bishop on the glove side late in the ensuing power play following the aforementioned heated gathering.
Related: WATCH LIVE: Lightning and Islanders — Game 4
There is only one game on the playoff schedule tonight, but it’s a crucial Game 4 between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders are looking to even the series at two games apiece before it shifts back to Tampa Bay for Game 5.
You can catch Game 4 between the Lightning and Islanders on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Isles need ‘a short memory,’ can’t get hung up on Game 3 disappointment
Andreychuk confident that Stamkos will re-sign in Tampa Bay
No hearings scheduled for Boyle on Hickey hit, or Hickey on Drouin hit
In an emotional farewell ceremony to Edmonton’s Rexall Place last month, organizers somehow overlooked one rather significant detail about a former WHA player.
We will let the Oilers explain:
Oilers Entertainment Group would like to issue a formal apology to former Edmonton Oiler (WHA) Roger Cote and his family. In a special segment during the Farewell Rexall Place Night on April 6, 2016, the organization honoured members of the Oilers Alumni who have unfortunately passed on. In an extreme oversight and error, we included Mr. Cote in that portion of the program. Roger is alive and well, living in Garson, Ontario. For this action and any confusion or pain it caused Mr. Cote and his family and friends, we sincerely apologize.
In addition to recognizing the error and issuing an apology, the Oilers added that they will be hosting Cote and his son at a game at Rogers Place next season.
Cote played two seasons for Edmonton during the WHA days.
The ceremony following the final game at Rexall Place involved more than 150 Oilers alumni members, staff and special guests, as well as current members of the organization, according to the Oilers.